Episode-631- Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen from RootSimple.com

Erik and Kelly from RootSimple.com

Erik and Kelly from RootSimple.com

Today we are joined by Erkik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne of RootSimple.com to discuss urban homesteading (go ahead Dervaes Family, my lawyer can beat up your lawyer because my lawyer has an IQ with 3 digits) and how to convert your home from a consumer to producer.

Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen are the authors of The Urban Homestead and Making It and founded the blog RootSimple.com, which was formerly known as Homegrown Evolution, in 2006.

They live in the heart of Los Angeles, in a little bungalow set on a 1/12 acre lot where almost all of their land is devoted to growing edible or otherwise useful plants and trees. Their obsessions include bees, bikes, beer, chickens, dogs, healthy cities, healing herbs, simple living and good food.

Join Erik, Kelly and I Today as we Discuss…

  • How to make the most of any land you you
  • Replacing grass with useful and edible plantings
  • Jacks totally maintenance free lawn, built by doing nothing
  • The “militant view” on building mini orchards
  • The advantages of perennials over annuals
  • Kelly burns beans right in the middle of the interview (classic)
  • Companion planting for optimal production
  • Tepary beans and other dry climate plantings (my source of Tepary beans)
  • So what is spigarello
  • Growing luffa sponge gourds
  • Keeping chickens in the city
  • All natural bee keeping and capturing wild swarms

Resources for Today’s Show

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27 Responses to Episode-631- Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen from RootSimple.com

  1. If your lawyer has an IQ with more than three digits, he/she is quite a specimen and should probably be doing more important things than, well, lawyering. 🙂

  2. They’re threatening legal action? That’s it! I’m done with those people.

  3. Ok, how do you eat the Pads of a cactus? you just eat them raw or, need to be cooked?

  4. Fun interview, and some good information.

  5. Does anyone know how much yield they get from the densely planted trees? Its of course smaller, but are we talking a 5 gallon bucket or bushels? Great show, thanks!

  6. @Charlie – you need to very carefully remove the spines, then cut them into thin slices and steam or stir fry them.

    I didn’t like it too much the one time I tried it – gooey, like okra. Have never tried the fruit though – would be interested in that.

  7. A good way to get the spines off is to rub it around in the dirt, it works a lot better than anything else I have seen! And it gets rid of all of the tiny little hairs that will make your life suck.

  8. WOW Jack !
    I LOVED this show. Somehow I missed getting Erik and Kellys’ book last time ~ I think they are very informative and gave me great ideas. I am signed up for their book and i already have Jon Jeavons’ great book. Thanks so much for all the wonderful info you provide everyday.

  9. Looking forward to listening tonight.

  10. Great interview again. Sounds like their lot size is the same as mine, so I might try a little harder at growing stuff. Of course, I’m in Indianapolis, so my growing season is much shorter then LA. And most of my yard is concrete. Great for allergies, not so much for food production.

    Hey, maybe a show of planters or container gardening? Just an idea.

    Thanks for the excellent content Jack.

  11. Awesome show with an enormous amount of info and resources! Smoke alarm going off in the background was awesome!

  12. A Container gardening show would really be great.Where I live I have to grow most vegies in containers. Great idea Ben D !

  13. Here’s a link to Dave Wilson Trees youtube channel. All the info about dwarf trees, dense planting and aggressive pruning is spot on. I have 25 of their trees and can tell you that their recommendations work.

  14. How long have you been using the techniques and what type of yields do you get per tree?

  15. Jon,
    How long have you been using the techniques and what type of yields do you get per tree?

  16. Blitz, I’ve been using these techniques for 2 years on some trees. They are only 2 years old so I don’t have alot of data yet. Others in my area have executed the planting and pruning on more mature trees. Aggressive pruning really improves the quality/size of fruit not necessarily the poundage. One drawf tree will easily supply more than enough fruit for 2 people so develop a preservation plan before harvesting. Dave Wilson has a hot line for any and all questions.

  17. “my lawyer has an IQ with more than 3 digits.”

    This would make for a pretty good “fail” poster. 🙂 Everything else was good though!

  18. Perfect Jon, exactly what I was looking for!

  19. Modern Survival

    To those bashing lawyers let me say, if we didn’t have any good and smart lawyers the large number of bad ones would have us all screwed. If you bash an entire segment of society you are really being short sighted. Seriously!

  20. First off–thanks again Jack for having us on your show! Looking forward to listening, now that I’ve subscribed to the Survival Podcast.

    As to the cactus questions. You can eat them raw or cooked. I scrape off the spines with a knife–a task you get better at the more you do it. The fruit has much nastier spines–I burn those off over the stove. To get rid of the okra-like consistency, I boil sliced pads for five minutes, then fry them. There’s a pretty good book by Carolyn Niethammer called the Prickly Pear Cookbook.

    For those of us in dry climates, this really is a miraculous plant–food and medicine all in one low-water easy to grow package.

    • Modern Survival

      Erik, thanks again for coming on the show on the cactus one thing I have found with the fruits is they are self shedding of spines. If you leave them on long enough the spines just fall off. When they have them though you are correct, they SUCK. Tiny hairs the go in and don’t want to come out.

      When I was in Big Bend last time with Bryan from ITS we were eating them fresh all day long. We just picked on the most mature fruits. If you only have a small plot you may have to pick and burn before critters get to them but when wild foraging if you wait long enough they do it for you.

      I figure nature just knows what it is doing, when the seed is fully mature the plant sheds its spines and makes it easy for animals to eat the fruit and spread the seeds.

      I will have to try your method of cooking the pads even though I like okra the pads have always seemed a bit to slimy in texture for my taste.

      I find the fruit kind of like a cross between watermelon and strawberry. Basically everything a kiwi wants to be but can’t quite pull off, you have to try using it in mead or even in beer. Prickly pear wheat ale, YUM!

  21. A few weeks ago, there was one of those kitchen makeover shows on TLC or something where the young couple lived in a tiny house in LA. He made beer, and they had chickens and the whole backyard was a garden. Was that this couple by any chance?

  22. If It Hits The Fan–TLC show was not us.

  23. One more book order, so throw that in the face of stupid a-holes. Also I’m excited to read the book, being right on the edge of the city but still in suburbia style property I am dying to use my land most efficiently.

    These folks have nothing to worry about, if any real legal problems threaten their well being they clearly have a huge backing in our community. If they can have a book sell out from a flick of the finger from Spirko, imagine what could be done if they faced real danger as a result of legal problems.

  24. What is the name of the plant that Erik was growing to produce his own sponges?


    Awesome Show.

  25. It’s called Luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca).