Stop Throwing Away Free Tomato Sauce

Making Thick Tomato Sauce From Tomato Skins (3)

It has come to my attention that many people are unwittingly throwing away free tomato sauce when they preserve their summer tomatoes. Here’s the thing: like all fruit, the skin of tomato is where much of the natural pectin resides. Pectin is the starch that gives jams their thickness and good tomato sauce its natural, [Continue Reading...]

The Ugly Side of Urban Homesteading: Screening Storage Areas with Pallets

Pallet Screen (5)

Perhaps your garden, like mine, has a dumping ground area. Some place where random bits of lumber, useful but not in-use buckets and lengths of rebar mingle with weeds, neglected tools and a compost bin that’s seen better days. That’s the Ugly Side of Urban Homesteading – it’s when a focus on reuse and the [Continue Reading...]

Wall Mounted Clothes Drying Rack, Perfected

Drying Rack Remodel (2)

Last week I talked about building my wall-mounted DIY clothes drying rack from a Freecycled baby play pen. Several readers expressed their concern that my rack as-built wouldn’t allow quite enough airflow to ensure prompt drying. I addressed those concerns temporarily by propping the rack when in-use away from the wall using a fruit tree branch spreader. [Continue Reading...]

DIY Wall-Mounted Clothes Drying Rack

DIY Wall Mounted Clothes Drying Rack (5)

The ad on Freecycle said, Wooden Baby Pen, and described some sort of a freestanding baby jail made from dozens of dowels. With visions of a garden cucumber support in my head, I said I would love to have it, and could promise reliable pick up. Before I could worry about trellising cukes, laundry room inspiration hit [Continue Reading...]

Not Your Grandma’s Plastic Bag Dryer

My grandma used to wash and reuse plastic bags. This Depression-era action epitomized, to my parent’s generation, cheapness and time wasting. I distinctly remember my own minimalist-minded mother laughing about the hoard of used plastic sandwich bags her mother-in-law never threw away. Well everything old is new again, and now I’m a bag washer and re-user. Say [Continue Reading...]

Get Off The Rack: A DIY Alternative To The Canning Rack

Most beginner food preservers (and I count myself as an advanced beginner) start with the standard issue water bath canner. It’s usually blue or green with funny speckles on it and can be found pretty cheaply new or really cheaply used. My ginormous canning kettle came from the thrift store and cost, as I recall, [Continue Reading...]

Garbage Made Useful: Milk Jug Garden Scoops, Two Ways

Got Milk? Then you’ve got milk jugs. We don’t drink a huge amount of milk, but I do buy several gallons at a time to make yogurt. That leaves me with a lot of these: Empty plastic milk jugs are recyclable in my area, which is good, but they can also be made into handy [Continue Reading...]

Garbage Made Useful: Wire Hangers Into Garden Staples

If you or a housemate work off the farm at one of those jobs that require clean, starched shirts, you probably have a lot of dry-cleaner’s wire hangers kicking around the house. We return our wire hangers to our dry cleaners for re-use (better for the earth and helpful to the small business owners who [Continue Reading...]

Homemade Biodegradable Pots From Toilet Paper Tubes

Our household generates plenty of toilet paper rolls. We’ve switched to cloth on just about everything else, but I’m not ready to make our house a TP-free Zone just yet (sorry, No Impact Man).   I save up toilet paper rolls (by the simple means of not emptying the powder room garbage nearly as often as I should) [Continue Reading...]