Read This

January 31, 2009 at 5:41 pm 4 comments

urbanhomesteadbookI got this book as a christmas gift and it’s turned out to be the best present I ever received. It’s called The Urban Homestead, and it was written by an LA couple -Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen – who have a real knack for sustainable living in the urban environment. They cover all sorts of things, from making your own homegrown booze to city bike travel, but my favorite parts of the book are the sections on growing food. These guys have a full-fledged food forest in their back yard, and have also cultivated all sorts of crops on the road median out in front of their house. The book offers a slew of tips on mulching, container gardening, irrigation, and is a great place to start if you’re interested in growing some food but don’t have tons of experience. It’s been a pleasure to read this time of year, while I make decisions about what seeds to buy and daydream about digging in the dirt.

The authors also have a blog, which I recommend checking out, too – the web ads a layer of interactivity and accessibility to the authors that I can really appreciate. These guys are real pros – and they can write, which is always a plus. And they have chickens, which I’m kind of jealous about (for some reason I’m finding myself increasingly draw to animal husbandry – unfortunately I think my cats would torture and perhaps even kill a chicken if given the chance).

Big props to Kelly and Erik – you’re an inspiration! And if you ever find yourself in Brooklyn, you’re welcome to stay at my house and help me make my yard into an urban oasis.


Entry filed under: entertainment, food, gardening, recommended, reviews, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. owler29  |  January 31, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    I raise all my plants from seed and the best book on this subject is “The New Seed Starters Handbook” by Nancy Bubel. Mines a little old, but hopefully it’s still in print. Tips provided, such as which seeds need light to germinate, helped save many seeds! I use a dilute camomile tea spray on my seedlings for dampening off disease. I don’t loose any seedlings to this disease any more. I keep a spray bottle by my seed flats and freeze the rest for future use.

  • 2. Erik Knutzen  |  February 1, 2009 at 5:06 pm


    Thanks for the great review! Good luck with all your new projects!

    And cats don’t usually bother chickens–it’s dogs and raccoons you’ve got to worry about.

  • 3. cambree  |  February 5, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Hi Gwen,
    This book sounds interesting, I will look it up when I am the bookstore.

    My mom has one pet chicken and a cat. They get along fine. The chicken came her way as a little lost chick. And the cat was a stray that showed up two summers ago.

    Chickens can be fun pets and come when you call them. They also give you fresh eggs in the summertime 🙂

  • 4. gwen  |  February 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    OK, I’m convinced – time to get a chicken. I think I want a bantam (they’re smaller so they won’t trample all your veggies). The only challenge now is to convince Boyfriend that it’s a good idea.


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