Guest Blog #2 Homesweet Homegrown’s Robyn Jasko on How to Grow Asparagus!

Days to Harvest: 2 to 3 years after initial planting. Perennial, harvest early spring through early June.

Light: Sunny.

Temperature: Cold season, 60° to 65° F is ideal.

Companions: Dill, coriander, tomatoes, parsley, basil, comfrey and marigolds.

Avoid Planting Near: Onion, garlic and potatoes.

Preparation: Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that lives 12 to 15 years or longer. Prepare bed for initial planting as early as possible. Double-dig bed and enrich with compost. Then, dig 12-inch deep trenches, 12 to 18 inches wide, with 4 to 5 feet between trenches.

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Planting: Plant one year crowns in early spring. Set plants 15 to 18 inches apart, mounding soil slightly under each plant so crown is slightly above roots. Spread roots over mound and cover crown with 2 to 3 inches soil. As plants grow, continue to put soil over crowns (about 2 inches every 2 weeks) until trench is filled.

Spacing: 18 inches between plants, 3 feet between rows.

Water: A flush of spears often follows a soaking rain.

Harvest:  Spears should not be harvested the first season after crowns set. Harvest lightly for 3 to 4 weeks the second year. In the fourth season, harvest 8 to 10 weeks a year. Harvest spears just under soil surface when 6 to 8 inches tall and before tips separate.

Tips: Asparagus does well where winters are cool and the soil occasionally freezes a few inches deep.

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Originally posted at Check out Robyn Jasko and Jennifer Biggs’ book Homesweet Homegrown right here.

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Guest Blog from Homesweet Homegrown’s Robyn Jasko! Create your Own Seedling Pots with Newspaper

After your seeds have started, these easy-to-make newspaper pots are perfect for transplanting your new seedlings. Forget pricey plastic sets and excess pots—-all you need is some extra newspaper and a small cup or mason jar and you are on your way.

Since the newspaper will decompose naturally, you can then plant these right into the garden.

Here’s how to make your own newspaper pots in 6 easy steps:

Step 1.


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Cut sheets of black and white newspaper in half or thirds, depending on the size of pot you want to make. Make sure not to use pages with color, since this will be going directly into your garden. (Color newspapers may contain heavy metals that are unsafe).

Step 2.

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Align your mason jar or cup with the newspaper so that a few inches of paper are above the opening of the cup. Roll the newspaper so it circles the cup.

Step 3.

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Push the sides of the paper that are above the cup opening inside, so they are wrapped around the lip of the cup.

Step 4.

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Remove the cup gently, while still keeping the pot’s shape.

Step 5.

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Use the bottom of the cup to reinforce the pot’s bottom by inserting it inside the newspaper pot. Tamp down the inverted ends, so it seals the bottom.

Here’s what it should look like after it’s done:

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Step 6.

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Add soil and transplant or start your seedlings.

When they reach the size for transplanting outside, they can be placed directly into your garden. This will also alleviate root disruption for healthy, happy seedlings!

Note: originally posted at Find Homesweet Homegrown right here.

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Zine Excerpt: Will Potter’s Vegan Cornbread Recipe from Let Gluten-Freedom Ring!

Note: Let Gluten-Freedom Ring! A Vegan, Gluten-Free Cookzine is available right here.


Fast and easy and not a lot to clean up, which is the holy trinity of cooking in my book. The key ingredient here is the cast iron skillet. You can pick one up pretty cheap, or I bet you’ve got a family member hiding a couple in their cabinets. My favorite skillet for cornbread is about 12” diameter, with 3” walls. It’s nice if it has an extra grip, because those things are heavy coming out of the oven.

Preheat oven to 425.
Rub some vegetable oil inside the skillet (all surfaces) and then put the skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes. Let it get good and hot, as you mix all this together in a bowl:

1 1/2 c cornmeal
1 1/2 c flour (for gluten-free, I like the Red Mill brand but whatever)
3 1/2 tsp b powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
2 1/4 c soymilk (or, I prefer almond milk)
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 c jalapenos chopped, plus some green chilis (both optional)

Mix all the dry. Stir in the wet until it’s as smooth as you can get it. If it’s too thick add a bit more milk. Pull the skillet out of the oven (be careful!). Pour your batter in, then put it right back in the oven. Bake it for about 35-45 minutes. It should start to pull away from the sides, and crack at the top, when it is almost done (if you’ve oiled it and let it heat up). This is a bit tricky, but you want to flip the skillet over on top of a cutting board and the cornbread should thud out in one piece. Let it cool, put some vegan margarine on there, and now you’re in business. If you want to get extra Texan have a piece or two for breakfast with your coffee.

PS: You’re not gonna use any soap on your cast iron, are you? Good. That’s bad for the skillet. Wipe it out with a paper towel, then rub a thin layer of oil over it before you store it. Keep doing that each time you use it, and it will have a natural “non-stick” finish.

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Inside Look: Notes for Building a Hearty Inner-City Community High Tunnel

Wow, this one is somethin’ special! The full-size Notes for Building a Hearty Inner-City Community High Tunnel gives the goods on building an unheated greenhouse called a “high tunnel.” (Says Bill in the zine’s intro, “This is a small community project for experienced food growers who want an affordable way to extend warm seasons.”) In easy, illustrated (comic book style) steps Bill and Max Konrardy lay out the tools and supplies you’re going to need; the design principles; a guide on making a correct angle; visualization of your project; team and material gathering; layout and leveling, and much more. All of this is done in a friendly, accessible way (i.e. you don’t have to be a master builder to do this.) The Konrardies’ plans will have you up and running and to the final, finished stages for less than $1,000 (these things are generally staggeringly expensive.) This zine is incredibly inspiring, well-illustrated, and really fun to thumb through. Much recommended!

Order Notes for Building a Hearty Inner-City Community High Tunnel here.

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Attention Lovers of Bikes, Photography, and Good Design!

It’s issue eight of one of thee hottest bike mags on the planet! (We say “mag” but it looks and feels like a book. Really solid, really well put together.) Between its beautiful must-be-seen-to-be-believed covers, the UK-based Boneshaker folks give us 56 pages of full, vivid color (and we mean jaw-dropping, eye-popping, brilliant color. It’s pretty outstanding). Issue eight’s topics include a history piece on Gino Bartali (winner of the 1948 Tour de France), bike chain sculpture, an on-the-road piece about two good dudes riding recycled bikes across the states, comics, a photo essay on abandoned bikes, and so much more. This full-course meal of photos, stellar design, and writing is one of the best things going these days in indie publishing; a total wow-your-socks-off combo-punch for cyclists and non-cyclists alike.

Order Boneshaker #8 here. And see below for an inside look (taken from

Inside Look: Homesweet Homegrown: How to Grow, Make, And Store Food, No Matter Where You Live

Robyn Jasko and Jennifer Biggs’ Homesweet Homegrown is self-described as “a simple DIY guide to growing, storing, and making your own food, no matter where you live.” An ideal companion to Raleigh Briggs’ DIY guide Make Your Place, Jasko and Biggs’ debut book will turn you into a healthy, happy farmer even if you live in a big city sky-rise. Based around eight comprehensive sections (Know, Start, Grow, Plant, Plan, Make, Eat, and Store), this wonderful 128-page guide takes you through all the steps of crop nurturing, and gives the goods for everyone from the base beginner to the well-seasoned farmhand. (The recipe section alone is enough to keep you comin’ back to this gem for years to come!) Narrated in a friendly, helpful tone by Jasko and held aloft by Biggs’ great illustrations, this book is the definition of awesomely useful. Super, super, SUPER inspiring. Grow your own!


Order Homesweet Homegrown here.

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Inside Look: Every Thug Is A Lady: Adventures Without Gender

We are in love with this one. Julia Eff’s 68 page Every Thug is a Lady begins with a co-opting of a Jay-Z quote: “I’ve got 99 problems but a gender ain’t one.” Julia’s zine deals with the concept of “neutrois,” in which an individual has no gender and does not identify as either male or female. Says Julia, “Many have gender dysphoria very much like that of trans people. It is often denoted with the ‘null’ symbol meaning ’empty set.'” This look into the realm of non-gender is heavy illustrated, good-hearted, and dashed with a strong, youthful sense of humor. It’s also a per-zine–in the best possible sense. This is Julia’s look at life as one free of gender (though still coming to terms with it; Julia’s in the trenches, knockin’ around while the bullets fly). Julia writes, “I see my gender in the way people say things–it’s not a tangible object or even a thing that can be described with a giant dictionary.” This spirited, adventurous, gothy little zine is something special. Don’t miss out. 

Order Every Thug is a Lady here.

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2011 Financial Report

In the name of fiscal transparency, here we have our 2011 financial report! The good news is we nearly broke even this year. We were still at a loss on January 1 but we got close. (Someday. One can dream, right?) Big thanks and hugs to everybody who stuck with us this year. It started out pretty gloomy and we all took pretty massive paycuts and had to lose our healthcare (both of which, sadly, are still in effect) but we survived to publish again! A toast to big things to come for everyone in 2012. Stay alive, stay well.

-Jessie Duke, Joe Biel, Rio Safari, Matt “The Option” Gauck, Nate Beaty, Danielle Duquette, and Adam Gnade


2011 Income $309,874.64 (19.1% decrease)



Total staff wages $25,286.26 (a 46.5% decrease, 8.1% of budget)

Printing Bills $59,595 (3.5% increase, 19.2% of budget)

Shipping $41,586.17 (40.1% decrease, 13.4% of budget)

Publishers and distributors $91,798.47 (30% decrease, 29.6% of budget)

Zines bought from makers $19,231.50 (21% decrease, 6.2% of budget) 

Rent $12,600 (13% decrease, 4% of budget)

Utilities, insurance, phone, office supplies, etc $39,748.78 (83.2% increase, 12.8% of budget)

Royalties to authors $13,637.02 (32.7% decrease, 4.4% of budget))

Travel $731 (85.4% decrease, .2% of budget)

Catalog Printing $2,886 (21.1% decrease, .9% of budget)

Donations $3,175 (36.2% decrease)

Staff Healthcare $0 (100% decrease, 0% of budget)

Advertising $3,013.88 (31.7% decrease, 1% of budget)


Total Expenses $310,114.08

Total $-239.44 (loss)