Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

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7/2/2014

As a new blogger for MOTHER EARTH NEWS, I thought it might be a good idea for me to introduce myself and share a little bit of my unique story with you.

Douglas Stevenson and Deborah Flowers

In the early 70’s my high school sweetheart and I picked up the first issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS and became part of the back to the land movement. We dove in head first and never looked back.

Mother Earth News No 1

In the aftermath of the turbulent 60’s, it became apparent that change would not come to the world through politics. Our goal became not to take over the government, but to take over the government’s function, taking care of ourselves in every way we could. This meant getting land, growing our own food, building our own home, caring for our medical needs, and becoming as independent as possible.

At the same time, we saw that the life of a homesteader can be a very isolated existence. We wanted to be close to nature, but still involved in influencing society at large. We did not want to give up social interaction with friends, the joy of music, and the richness of life found through community.

In 1973, at the age of 19 and newly married, my sweetheart/now wife and I became part of one of the most dynamic and successful experiments in a back-to-the-land lifestyle, known simply as The Farm. We joined up with several hundred others of our generation on 1,700 acres in the backwoods of Tennessee to carry forward our vision of a better way for humanity to live in harmony and lightly on the earth. Now some forty years later, we are still here.

weeding crew on The Farm

Here at The Farm, we have learned a lot about growing food, building green, stewarding land, and most of all, the leverage to be gained when people work together. I will be blogging about all of this in the coming months.

The Farm Community was featured in Mother Earth News articles several times in the early days. 

Stephen Gaskin and The Farm, May 1977

Communal Life: A Look at The Farm in Summertown TN, March 1980

Those were quite some time ago and over the decades there have been many changes. Our current incarnation as a community is more relevant today than ever, with many different aspects that may resonate with you. I wanted to use this forum to share with you a little bit about the community as it is today and pass on what we’ve learned to this current wave of people seeking a more sustainable life, what we call “like minded folks.” The Farm’s mission has always been to serve as a model for what is possible and to inspire others to follow their dreams. A BIG THANKS to MEN for giving me this opportunity to communicate with you!

To learn more about The Farm, as well as my personal story, consider picking up a copy of my book, Out to Change the World, the evolution of The Farm Community.

Out to Change the World

My second book takes a deeper look at the building blocks of community, including our government, how we earn a living, our community health care, growing food, ecovillages, permaculture and more.

The Farm Then and Now

I will be speaking and giving a slide show presentation about my life at The Farm at the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, PA, September 12-14
http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/pennsylvania.aspx#axzz35x96oxxB

and in Topeka, Kansas, October 25-26
http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/kansas.aspx#axzz35x96oxxB

I hope to meet you there! More to come! Questions? Comments? Feel free to write to me at Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com



7/1/2014

Every species of plant and animal contains one variety that is just a little bit prettier than the others and garlic is no exception! In this post, I will introduce the Glazed Purple Stripe, the beauty queen of the gourmet garlic world. Like Marbled Purple Stripes, Glazed Purple Stripes were once considered to be a sub-type of the Purple Stripe group rather than their own distinct category. Now, they are respected by most growers as their own unique genetic strain. There are a number of Glazed Purple Stripe cultivars that you may be familiar with including Purple Glazer, Vekak and Red Rezan.

garlicCultivation

Similar to other hardneck garlic varieties Glazed Purple Stripe cultivars will perform better in cooler regions, although some growers have been successful with them in warmer climates. They tend to be fairly hardy and not very fussy, making them an easy growing option for most gardens. The plants are medium to dark green and appear thinner and more delicate when grown alongside more robust garlic types such as Porcelains and Rocamboles.

Glazed Purple Stripes are usually strong bolters. The scapes, which can curl as many as three times before they begin to straighten, are often ready to cut before other types. Their dainty size makes them a good choice for culinary use, with few woody stems even as they begin to uncurl. Umbels contain anywhere from 10-50 small to medium sized bulbils, which if planted, will produce a full-sized bulb in three to five years. Similar to the other Purple Stripe categories, scape removal is important to maximize the size of the bulbs at harvest.

Appearance

It is the beautiful, satiny bulb skins of the Glazed Purple Stripes that both gave them their name and also assisted their designation as an independent type. Luminous silvery-white skins are dappled and striped with silky, shimmering purples, and sometimes even a golden hue. The clove skins are equally shiny, colored in a range of tans with a purple bloom. Particular coloration of bulbs can vary between both cultivars and growing conditions, creating a unique appearance of the same cultivar in different regions. The bulbs are medium in size with large, stocky cloves that sit between Purple Stripes and Marbled Purple Stripes in shape and size. Clove number in each bulb varies between cultivars, but commonly ranges from six to twelve.

Purple glazerTaste

The appeal of Glazed Purple Stripe gourmet garlic is not merely due to its appearance. The clove flesh has a moderate heat, producing a warm, but not over-powering, mouth-feel. Compared to some other varieties, such as Rocamboles, the taste can be somewhat mild, but with a flavor that is still rich and complex. Glazed Purple Stripes are especially good for those who enjoy a good garlic taste but who find the hot sensation associated with raw garlic or a strong lingering aftertaste unpleasant. A versatile type, they are excellent for recipes requiring either raw or cooked garlic. They also have a respectable storage time of approximately six to eight months thanks to their tight clove skins, so you can expect to enjoy them all through the winter months!



6/30/2014

farm familyA napkin. That’s what prompted her first farm vision. It was January 2010, and Dawn Mathews had purchased her first goat, Athena, a few months prior. A woman, a goat, and a really big dream scribbled out on a napkin. Dawn is the first to admit that she had no idea what she was getting into.

Fast forward to four years later, and today you’ll find Farmer Dawn and her family running their flourishing farm, The Thankful Goat, in Granite Falls, North Carolina.

Soon after she and her husband Steve began saying “Good night” to the goats each evening, they realized “the girls” would shout back something that sounded very similar to “Thaaaaaanks!” so they appropriately named their farm in honor of the gratitude their goats expressed. And the Mathewses themselves have plenty they are thankful for. They have meat rabbits, dairy goats, ducks, laying hens and a three-season garden that contains “any vegetable you can think of.” Dawn makes hand-crafted goat milk soaps, lip balms, lotions and bath products, while milking and making cheese from her girls’ milk . . . all on one half acre.

Running a WWOOF USA Farm

“We are a micro farm. We have an all-inclusive farm, just on a small scale,” explains Dawn. “It’s what every home used to do decades ago. So many people are now getting back to this – growing their own food.”  So many people that the Mathews decided to open their doors to young people from across the country who have an interest in organic farming. This month marks their two year anniversary with the WWOOF-USA program (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA), a period during which they have hosted over 60 WWOOFers on their farm. “We are a teaching farm, so we actually teach WWOOFers homesteading skills as opposed to just weeding and watering crops, or feeding and watering animals,” said Dawn. “Milking, soap making, cheese making, quilting, sewing, jam making, canning, cooking, animal processing, tanning hides, hunting . . . anything they are interested in, we have time for.”

Hosting visitors has been a mutually enriching educational and cultural experience for all involved. “Dawn has a great vision for her small patch of land, and it's really awesome to see how she puts every inch to good use,” recalled Jonathan Oh, who came down from Virginia to visit the farm for over a month. “They are very eager to teach,” said WWOOFer Laura Sherry from Maryland. “I learned about building, quilting, canning, dehydrating, soap making and caring for animals . . . I recommend visiting to anyone interested in small scale farming and general self-reliance.”

people and goats

Dawn’s advice for young greenhorns interested in starting a farm of their own? “Try new things, learn as you go, and be flexible,” she advises. “We have turned our yard into an edible sanctuary, but it didn’t happen overnight.” 

Dawn has chronicled her journey, from personal hardships and beginning farm failures to the first small triumphant victories and her now flourishing business, in her first (and newly published) candid memoir, The Thankful Goat: An Unlikely Partnership Between a Woman and a Goat.

As the seasons and challenges change on her small family farm, one thing remains the same: Dawn’s undying love not only for her sweet goats, but for her family, her WWOOFers from around the country, her community, and the life she has built from the ground up.

Recipe from the Farm: Dawn’s Blueberry and Goat Cheese Crostada

1 pie crust
1 half pint blueberry jam
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup goat chevre
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
cinnamon to taste

Roll out the crust onto a large cookie sheet or jellyroll pan.  In the middle half of the crust pour out the jam and blueberries.  In a bowl mix the chevre, egg, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon well.  This is the cheesecake filling.  Drop dollops of the mixture into the middle of the crust.  Fold several inches of the crust over leaving several inches of the filling showing.  At this point you can use an egg wash with one egg mixed with a tablespoon of water on the crust and some coarse ground sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes to an hour until the crust is brown and the cheesecake is set.

Where to Find Dawn and The Thankful Goat products

a kidDowntown Hickory Farmer’s Market

Now through the end of October: Wednesdays 10am-3pm & Saturdays 8am-1pm.  (Dawn would LOVE to meet you!)

For more pictures of Dawn’s farm, The Thankful Goat, please click here

To order Dawn’s book, The Thankful Goat: An Unlikely Partnership Between a Woman and a Goat, please click here.

Are you interested in visiting and experiencing life on an organic farm?

Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA (WWOOF-USA) helps visitors from around the world link up with 1,900 organic farms across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. WWOOF-USA is part of a worldwide effort to link visitors with organic farms, promote an educational exchange, and build a community conscious of ecological farming practices.

For more information, or to find organic host farms nearest you, please visit the WWOOF-USA website



6/27/2014

At House in the Woods Farm, we may have a tendency to do things a bit unconventionally. We grow vegetable crops into landscape cloth usually used for trees. We trellis our tomatoes with cattle panels. Our most popular planting tools are a kitchen knife and a cement spatula. We transplant everything, even beets and beans. We even transplant corn.

Corn Tray

Some people find this comical, but I would say it’s just another one of our unconventional ideas that makes sense. People are accustomed to seeing farms with acres of monoculture corn, and sure, that would be ridiculous to transplant from seedling trays. But corn is just another row crop for us, in a diverse organic garden.

Why Try?

There are many reasons we like transplanting corn. Here are some of them:

You can start it earlier, in a hoophouse. We started ours April 12. The soil temperature needs to be sixty degrees for corn to germinate. You can get that and more on your heated tables in April, instead of waiting for outdoor soil temperatures to warm up.
You get a jumpstart on the weeds by transplanting. You can keep your garden bed weed-free a few more weeks while the corn gets a few weeks’ head start in trays.
No empty holes due to poor germination. Each hole will have a corn plant in it when you transplant only the successful seedlings. 
Crows won’t come eat your corn seeds right out of the holes you plant them in. The seed trays will be safe in the hoop til germination is complete and the plants have true leaves.

Be Early and Beat GMO Cross-Pollination

One of the most radical reasons to transplant corn and plant early is to have your corn pollinating itself without competition from your neighbor's pollination. When you plant early, your corn will be ready for pollination way before the neighboring corn fields, which may be GMO varieties and often feed corn at that. Neither are good for you or your sweet corn. Don’t cross pollination with them: plant earlier than they do.

Also planting early may very well help you beat the bugs. Harvest before those bugs are ready to come out and party in your patch. And the final reason for planting early: it’s always fun to be first. Even if “it’s not a race”. Still turns heads.

Tall corn

This is my corn, taller than me and in tassel, on June 10. None of this “knee high by the fourth of July” business. Our corn is Ilene-high by the fourth of June!

The challenge with planting early is early cold weather. We sure had some this season in Maryland, which might have put our corn project to a test. But it did great. We did cover our corn when it was young. We covered it with perforated plastic over hoops. By the time the corn was tall enough to approach the hoops, the weather was warm enough for uncovering.

When I looked up “growing corn” on Google, it states “Starting seeds indoors is not recommended.” But I wouldn’t let that stop you.

Coming soon: A blog post on why we transplant carrots...

Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 Mother Earth News Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at Mother Earth News  and http://blog.houseinthewoods.com, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to http://www.houseinthewoods.com.



6/25/2014

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any busier with planting the seed gardens, it was time to cut the hay. I’m not really in charge of hay cutting at Twin Oaks, but I am in charge of hayfield fertility and re-seeding. I care about getting the hay in before the rain. It is my job to fill in when needed, to help coordinate people, and to worry. I don’t cut or bale the hay (I’ve carefully avoided learning), but I do rake, deliver fuel, drive the flatbed dump truck, and help load the barn under threat of thunder. We got a really good harvest this time, 206 round bales, and we got it all in the barn before the rain. I credit the good productivity to the re-seeding we did in fall of 2012 with a no-till drill we rented from a neighbor. I also think it helped that we gave the fields a rest last year.

I live at Twin Oaks, which is an income-sharing intentional community of 100 people in Louisa County, Virginia. We use the hay to feed our dairy and beef cows, which we raise for our own food (not to sell).

Anyway, on Monday morning it was time to hit it hard with the final stages of planting the seed gardens, and I’d spent the whole weekend racing around dealing with hay. Not ideal, but I think I’m getting through it ok. Pretty much everything is planted, and we’re now busy with the hoeing, cultivating, staking, caging and irrigating.

This is me with a seed crop of Arkansas Traveler tomatoes.

DSC_0865MENBlog.jpj

Garden Planning With Seed Saving in Mind

The focus of this post is garden layout for seed saving of nightshade crops. I know it’s a little late to talk about garden layout. I have a decent excuse though, which is that I only started blogging on this site a month ago. Understanding isolation distances and cross-pollination is an important starting point for seed saving. So although its June, I’m still going to write about it. I hope that readers will be able to use the information I am presenting in two ways:

1)To identify crops already growing in the garden that you can save seed from. Its quite likely there are a couple.

2)To go through this garden season thinking about how to plan next year’s garden for seed saving.

Saving Seeds from Nightshade Crops

The Solanaceae family (nightshades) includes peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, tomatillos and ground cherries. These, with the exception of potatoes, are often a good choice and starting point for new seed savers.

Tomatoes need little isolation distance, and many people produce pretty good tomato seed with no isolation at all. Tomato flowers are usually self pollinating, but can be crossed by bees. Jeff McCormack, who has written several excellent pamphlets on seed saving in the Southeast (available at SavingOurSeeds.org), recommends an isolation of 10 feet for home use and 35 feet for commercial seed production of tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes and potato-leaf varieties may need more isolation: 45 feet and 35 feet respectively for home use. Even if your tomatoes are closer together than this, you could save seeds this year. There probably won’t be much crossing, and if there is, its good information to gather.

Tomatoes (and the other nightshade family crops) are also easy because they don’t exhibit something called Inbreeding Depression. Inbreeding Depression occurs in certain crops when you don’t save seed from a big enough genetic pool. With corn for example, you need to save seed from at least 200 plants or else the future generations will start to be stunted and less vigorous. This doesn’t happen with tomatoes. Just one plant will work, although more plants are better if you want the seeds you save to more fully represent the range of genetics present in a variety.

How to Save Seeds from Tomatoes and Peppers

I’ll cover seed saving techniques in a future blog, but here is a short summary of how to save seed from tomatoes. Mash the entire tomato, or else cut it in half and remove the seeds and gel from the seed cavity. Let the resulting mash ferment for about three days (don’t add water), stirring the mash at least once a day to prevent mold from forming on the top. Then add water. The seeds will sink and the water and pulp can be poured off. Add water again and pour that off to get the seeds cleaner. The seeds can be dried on a screen or on paper, ideally in front of a fan.

Peppers require a larger isolation distance than tomatoes. For sweet peppers, 40 feet may be adequate for home use, and about 125 feet for larger plantings. Hot peppers require more isolation. This is partly because they are more prone to crossing, and partly because its especially important that sweet peppers not be crossed by hots. I wouldn’t plant a sweet pepper within 350 feet of a hot pepper and save the seeds from it unless I wanted a cross.

Simply removing and drying the seeds from a ripe pepper (no green peppers) is one good way to save pepper seeds. Avoid any moldy and discolored seeds, and any thin seeds (that are not fully formed).

One great thing about growing peppers for seed is that you can save the seeds and still eat the whole pepper. Peppers are a major crop for us at the Twin Oaks seed gardens for this reason. We eat a lot of peppers in August, September and October, and also put them up as pepper pesto, pepper jelly, pickled peppers, hot sauce, and frozen in bags.

For small peppers it can be tedious to remove all the seeds. If this is the case, you can mash up the small peppers (do add a little water), let the mixture ferment for about one day, and wash the same as tomato seed. This method also works well for eggplant, ground cherries and tomatillos.

Eggplants need slightly more isolation than peppers – about 75 feet for home use and 150 feet for larger plantings. Tomatillos and ground cherries probably have similar isolation needs to eggplant.

Potatoes are usually propagated from the tubers. The plants also make small fruits which can be processed for seed, but this seed will not necessarily produce plants that resemble the parents. Saving this “true seed” from potatoes is useful if you want to do breeding work. Usually potato tubers that are used for seedstock come from northern areas where there is less incidence and risk of diseases like scab. We don’t grow potatoes in the seed gardens here.

This year in the Twin Oaks seed gardens we are growing seven varieties of peppers and eight tomatoes for seed. Our largest nightshade planting is 1/8 acre of Cherokee Purple tomato; the smallest is five plants of Matt’s Wild Cherry tomato (a sweet cherry tomato with exceptional disease resistance). We’re also doing a pepper observation trial. I’m looking for peppers that are productive, that taste good, that hold up well in the field, and that don’t rot or get spots on them before they get ripe. I’m especially looking for great red bell peppers, and am excited about several varieties from pepper breeder Doug Jones from North Carolina.

There will be lots to report at harvest time! I’ll have more to say about the seed saving part as well.



6/20/2014

Interplanted garden bed with southern exposureInterplanted garden bed with southern exposure

You may have heard something about permaculture. The book Gaia’s Garden brought this type of gardening to many. What is it and can I apply the principles in my garden and yard?

How Permaculture Works

Permaculture is creating a synergistic garden; one that is symbiotic and supporting. It includes enriching the soil, planting for nutrients, planting for shade, planting for food, landscaping for water, planting to attract beneficial insects, planting to repel bad bugs, planting to optimize your harvests. It is all of this combined to create a self sustaining garden and yard.

You can go big and do it all or start small and work your way into a full permaculture yard.

If you are just getting started, the first step is planning. For planning, I would join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to find out what grows well in your area and what you like to eat that can be grown locally. You will get fresh nutritious food while supporting your local farmer. It was amazing how well we ate and how small our grocery bill was when we first joined a CSA! We also discovered many vegetables that we loved but had never eaten.

Assessing Your Yard for Permaculture

Before placing your garden bed, look at how your water drains. Create small swells/berms to move the water to where you want it to go-like your vegetables. Utilize rain barrels to capture water. There are some quite attractive rain barrels available on line and even at big box stores. Together these will significantly reduce your watering needs.

Next, determine how the sun traverses through your yard. You will want to put the sun lovers where they get southern exposure. Add shade to reduce your utility bills and give relief to your plants. In the spring, all of your vegetables love the sun. Come summer, many appreciate some shade and cooler temperatures, particularly greens. Even peppers get sunburned when temps get in the 90’s in full sun all day. Some relief from afternoon soon is appreciated.

When you are thinking of where to place those shade trees and bushes, consider adding fruit trees and bushes that you and the birds will enjoy. Planting trees and bushes provide shelter for birds that love to eat insects. Look for trees and bushes that also provide food for the birds, including winter berries. Birds help to keep the garden in balance. Don’t forget a water source so they can get a drink. Make sure the water stays clean or the birds can get sick just like we do from contaminated water.

Now you are ready to place your garden bed. For prepping the soil, a super easy method is to do sheet mulching which I outlined here. You are basically composting in place, building incredible rich soil, alive with microbial and worm activity, which provide all the nourishment plants need to thrive. The great thing about this technique is that no tilling is required! Prepare in the fall and by spring, the bed is ready for planting.

When the garden bed is ready for planting, do a soil test, add the nutrients indicated. I also add minerals to the soil as most soil today is depleted of their minerals. After getting your soil in balance, you will be able to grow the right crops in the right rotational order and compost to keep the soil fertile and in balance without outside inputs.

Daylily border in front of vegetable and herb gardenDaylily border in front of vegetable and herb garden on south side of home

Beneficial, pollinating insects love the herbal flowers and the ornamental flowers. The pollinators insure the vegetable flowers are pollinated to produce their fruits. If the flowers are not pollinated, they will just fall off. We garden organically and only use organic insecticides in dire times. Insecticides don’t know the difference between a good bug and a bad bug; it kills them all. If you can wait, the bad bugs will attract the good bugs that eat them. Then, you will have balance. The first year, I bought insects that feed on the bad insects (lady bugs, parasitic wasps, and preying mantis). It takes them a year or two to get established.

Attracting Beneficial Insects and Warding Off Pests

You can add beekeeping to your yard. Or if that is not feasible, just placing mason bee homes on trees will attract these natives to your yard for pollinating.

You can plant flowers that naturally repel the bad bugs like nasturtium and wild marigold (tagetes minuta). Even deer do not like the fragrance of marigolds. Sometimes just surrounding your garden with marigolds and fragrant Mediterranean herbs is enough to keep the deer out of your garden. I put nasturtium in pots and circle the garden bed with marigolds.

Interplanting vegetables and herbs that support others is a win-win. An example is placing “nitrogen fixers” next to plants that love nitrogen. You can also place nitrogen lovers in the spot the nitrogen fixers were. Be conscious of how you interplant and succession plant your vegetables to keep the soil in balance and give each vegetable the nutrients it needs. Well known nitrogen fixers are peas and beans. Clover also does the job and it is edible.

By having a variety of plants mixed in your garden, the bugs that prey on one type of plant will not be able to just hop next door for their next meal. This keeps uncontrollable infestations from occurring.

A couple of common plants that bring an assortment of nutrients up from deep in the soil is mustard and dandelions. If you want a larger leaf dandelion, the French dandelion is the ticket. You get great salad greens even in the heat of summer and an auto nutrient fertilizer.

There are even plants that are good for breaking up your soil. These are ones that go deep, like daikon, chicory, dandelion, and mustard.

This is just some of the highlights of permaculture to give you an idea of what it is about.

For more tips on organic gardening in containers and small spaces, see Melodie's blog at www.VictoryGardenOnTheGolfCourse.com.



6/19/2014

Drink the Harvest book cover

It’s time to Drink the Harvest.

I am proud to announce the publication of an exciting new book: Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders. The book is available at bookstores across the country, or you can see it on the Storey Publishing website.

I am half of the creative partnership that wrote Drink the Harvest. The other half is DeNeice C. Guest, a friend, garden club buddy, and genius at inventing recipes. We think Drink the Harvest is beautiful, and beyond that, a great tool for learning how to harness more food power – more nutrition, more flavor, more health – from the garden. Together we have close to 70 years of experience cooking and preserving the bounty of our own gardens, of local farmers markets, and even of the streets around us.

With this lavishly illustrated book we introduce the idea of the “drinkable landscape” to gardeners and cooks everywhere, no matter what their level of experience in the garden or the kitchen. If you can boil water, DeNeice and I like to say, you can make everything in Drink the Harvest, which contains more than 40 original recipes. Ready to try prickly pear cactus wine, crabapple cider, blueberry-basil syrup, or spiced apple mead? Dig in.

Make Way for the Drinkable Landscape

Drink the Harvest author shot

The drinkable landscape is an approach to gardening and growing all sorts of plants with beverage production, not just food production, in mind. We take you beyond jellies and jams to a world of fresh juices, wonderful garden wines and meads, plus interesting syrups and even some teas for winter sipping.

Fruit, berries, vegetables, herbs, flowers, roots. You name it…and there’s a beverage to be made from almost anything that grows.

            We think of the garden as a four-season source of beverages: throughout spring, summer, and fall there’s plenty to pluck from the yard – always at the peak of ripeness – and process into beverages. But guess what; even winter has its crops, and Drink the Harvest describes them.

            We just want to roll back the clock to the “good old days” when people didn’t have grocery stores or even refrigeration, but had to use all their savvy to preserve what was growing all around them, enough to last all year. The results can taste surprisingly modern.

You Can Do It

Drink the Harvest beverage shot

Never canned juices before? It’s easy, and we show you how, step by step. Never made wine before? Join the crowd. But Drink the Harvest makes it simple.

Don’t have much time? We suggest ways to garden and use the harvest in small, easy to manage phases, day by day, so that time management challenges don’t become an excuse to not bother. We’re all busy! With Drink the Harvest we give everyone permission to go back into the kitchen and get creative. The word “homemaker” may have gone out of fashion as an occupation, but we want to bring it back as a way of life. Pretty soon you may be able to look in your pantry shelves and see bottle after bottle, jar after jar, of delicious, nutritious drinks for the whole family. We’ll celebrate with you!

Nan K. Chase lives and gardens in Asheville, N.C. She is the author of  Eat Your Yard! Edible trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and flowers for your landscape. She and Drink the Harvest co-author are members of the Asheville E-Z Gardeners.









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