Early Spring Self Sufficiency On an Ecovillage Homestead

Living sustainably and self sufficiently is a lot of hard work. You have to take the opportunities to get work done when the weather allows, but you also have to take time to appreciate the natural world around you when you have the chance. This is early spring for me in the ecovillage where I live.

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Where Do Lettuce Seeds Come From? And How to Save Them

Some vegetables can be baffling when we think about where their seeds come from because we only see the part we eat. Sometimes that part is a seed and but most of the time it’s a completely different part of the plant. But the seeds are the key to the existence of the vegetable we are eating, so every vegetable must have seeds somewhere. But where are the seeds on a head of lettuce?

This video will not only show where the seeds are, but how to grow them and save them so you can grow your own lettuce year to year without buying seed.

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Supercharged SOLAR DEHYDRATOR that doubles as a COLD FRAME

When I was thinking about building a solar dehydrator, my unused cold frame caught my eye and I thought, hmm, that would make a great solar dehydrator during the off season. I use a cold frame in the spring to get my starts going early because it’s like a mini greenhouse. It gives full natural light early in the season when I start to run out of space under the grow lights.

But once I’m done with starts, the cold frame just takes up space in my backyard until the next season. I thought, why not have it double as a solar dehydrator. With a few modifications, it could become a dehydrator and not only conserve space, but save me the trouble of having to go to the trouble of building a separate dehydrator.

I’ve been frustrated with the inefficiency of an electric dehydrator since it uses over 600W and seems like just a waste of solar electric power when the sun is right there in the summer. So in this video I design and build a new kind of solar dehydrator that can double as a cold frame.

5 Best Tips From a 1908 Gardening Book: Old Timey Organic Wisdom

There have been many universe-jarring advances in agricultural technology over the past 100 years, but sometimes being more sustainable means going back to the way things used to be. A lot of those advances in technology rely HEAVILY on fossil fuel, a finite resource whose limited supply we are arguably still in the sweet spot of, but which is causing climate change on a scale rarely witnessed in the history of the planet.

In this video, I find some of the gems from the Biggle Garden Book. This was before the advent of hybrid crops, biotech, and chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

But the history of agriculture is not all peaches and cream. Many useful technologies and a lot of useful information about how everything works has been discovered since this book was published. This is back when people were ingesting lead, mercury, and arsenic like it was skittles. But it was also before DDT, agent orange, and glyphosate. In the next Biggle Garden Book video, I’ll be talking about the 5 scariest tips.

Finding Out What Corn Smut Tastes Like

It’s mid season summer and the corn is going nuts! I was determined not to let the raccoons eat all my corn this season like they did last. I was sick of messing around and it was time to install an electric fence. So I set up a three wire fence. It was much simpler and cheaper to do that I ever thought it would be. It remains to be seen if I’ll get a full crop of corn. Raccoons are wily and determined little creatures. But while I was waiting for the corn to get sweet, some of the ears started busting open with wild deformed kernals–an infection of huitlacoche, or corn smut. But not wanting anything to go to waste I decided to see what it would taste like to eat corn smut. It definitely has an earthy taste and it was slightly bitter. But since I didn’t have any corn to harvest yet, it was worthwhile making use of it. And it might even be more nutritious than just eating corn.