I ponder the benefits of, and experiment with, compost tea.
A basic recipe for making compost tea.
About five years ago I started experimenting with biochar. I collected charcoal from my wood stove, crushed it in a tough plastic bag with the car and charged it by soaking it in compost tea.
Bastyr University is pleased to announce it has partnered with Seattle-based Choice Organic Teas to develop and launch a new line of flavorful, certified organic Wellness Teas. This marks the first time the University has lent its name on a consumer product.
Three easy ways to compost in small spaces and with little effort.
Teaching children to enjoy helping around the house or farm will give them valuable skills to use as adults in their own homes and with their own children.
Simran Sethi learns how to compost the right way and explores her composting options.
Freezing compostable material creates five favorable conditions to speed the decomposition process along.
Learn more about making compost here.
Substitute teaching can be a pretty good gig, if you have the patience and discipline.
These tips will help you keep your kitchen compost free of rotten smells and fruit flies.
The Aerobin 400 uses a patented aeration core inside an enclosed bin to promote aerobic break down of organic matter. The Aerobin 400 is easy to use - just open, drop in materials, and close.
Stan Slaughter discusses a method to produce vermicompost in large quantities yearround.
This mojito recipe from a surprising source--a Teahouse--is light, refreshing and not too sweet--perfect for a warm summer evening.
When Woods End Labs recently tested biodegradable plastics and found that most aren't compostable under home compost conditions, one reader (known as Eco-Oxo) wrote that Oxo biodegradable bags aren't designed to biodegrade under compost conditions. Woods End Labs is following up, taking the reader's suggestion and testing Oxo under the conditions Eco-Oxo recommends. This is Part 1 of the new test, where you can follow along and see how Oxo fares under different conditions.
Composting doesn't need to be complicated. It's time to throw out the guide book and start letting nature take its course. Meat? No problem. Bread? Don't worry about it. Human waste? Why not? It's easy!
Tips on how to construct a compost bin and what to include in them.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributing editor and compost expert Barbara Pleasant provides some great homestead compost tips in celebration of Compost Awareness Week.
Team Germany takes first place in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in second and Team California in third.
Eggs aren't the only things that come from the business end of a chicken. But with a little time and materials, and even less ingenuity, the rest can set you up with a free and steady supply of valuable organic fertilizer.
What do you think of composting toilets and would you consider installing one?
A new study has found that biodegradable plastic's rapid rate of decomposition could cause the release of methane, a greenhouse gas. The study's authors suggest that petroleum-based products might be preferable. We need better alternatives than that.
If you strive to grow a garden that is beyond-organic, that relies on very few (if any) off-site products, and that saves you both money and work...deep organic gardening is for you!
Rishi Tea has handcrafted 12 new loose leaf tea blends, including 6 innovative botanical blends, 3 delicious chai teas, 2 energizing green teas and an aromatic oolong – perfect for fall and the holidays.
This is a summary of our attendance at the IBS show in Jan. Also a re-cap of Jan events and our transistion into the construction phase of the project. We also talk about the decision for the competiton to be moved off the Nationa Mall in DC
Here are instructions for making a quick and easy batch of stained glass soap. Once you get the basics down you can make all sorts of unusual and beautiful embedded soap to give as gifts or enjoy for yourself.
Sassafras Tea is an old-fashioned springtime favorite around here.
Two powerfully toxic herbicides, clopyralid and its close cousin, aminopyralid, persist in compost and endanger gardeners and the environment.
U.S. gardeners, organic farmers and commercial growers are reporting damaged or lost tomato crops from Milestone herbicide contamination.
Organic farming research has found that you can compost black walnut hulls successfully, despite the fact that they contain the toxic juglone compound.
Whether you’re a teacher, parent, school administrator, or homeschooler, you might be interested in some of these online resources related to environmental education and green curricula. Most of these websites are related to K-12 education.
Many a homesteader and farmer can use help, and many a young person wants to learn homesteading skills. Having apprentices is an important means to assure a continuation of farms and farming,as well as teaching youth essential survival skills.
The tale of my family’s barrel composter.
Human hair contains significant amounts of nitrogen and makes a great replacement for traditional fertilizers.
One reader from central Oregon shares her personal encounter with killer compost laced with aminopyralic, a toxic chemical herbicide, and the affects it has had on her small organic farm. Read about her experience, and find out what you can do to protect your own farm or garden.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has started a global campaign to help reduce food waste worldwide.
We've been warning you about aminopyralid-containing killer compost for quite some time. Now there's a new deadly herbicide on the market, Imprelis, and it's wreaking havoc in at least seven states.
Sipping on medicinal herbal tea is one of the best steps you can take to shorten the duration of illness when the symptoms of a cold, sore throat, or other upper respiratory infection begin.
In this blog we talk about our three differnet types of solar technology that we have on the Homestead.
Brief description of our journey back onto the National Mall, our Flex Space design, and our Solar Thermal Skylight.
This passive composting system creates beds of fertile soil through rotational composting.
Growing an organic garden with compost I made using natural material from our surroundings is to comply with nature's way of taking care of itself – it's to remain humble for a true and tried life cycle and acknowledge our inevitable part in and connection to life on earth.
Composting doesn't have to be tough! Learn to make easy compost without the stress.
With a little bit of planning and DIY know-how, it is possible to thumb your nose at old-man winter and enjoy biogas in subzero temperatures.
Sweet Iced Tea is a delicious Southern tradition, but store-bought concoctions are often full of high fructose corn syrup and other nasties. This recipe incorporates fresh herbs, which add natural sweetness and help knock down the sugar content.
ClearSpan Fabric Structures, a division of ESAPCO, is proud to announce a new strategic partnership with Vermont’s AgriLab Technologies, a company specializing in heat capture and transfer from aerobic composting.
How to safely dispose of or make use of human waste is becoming a hot topic.
Although paper is a wood product, it's not always the best answer for mulch or compost.
We had a once in a lifetime opportunity over Easter this year to talk to more than 30,000 people about honey bees, pollination, honey and beekeeping. And the place we got to do this in was one of a kind.
YIKES! What to do when you've planted too many veggies? Is your garden producing more than one family can eat? Sure, you can give it away. But wait! Try pickling those garden gems. This way, you'll be able to enjoy them through the winter and beyond!
On Wabi-Sabi Wednesdays, I feature excerpts from my book, Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House, which was released last month.
Wabi-sabi’s roots lie in Zen Buddhism, brought from China to Japan by 12th-century traveling monk Esai, who also picked up a few tea seeds while he was there. Zen, with its principles of “vast emptiness and nothing holy,” stresses austerity, communion with nature, and reverence for everyday life and everyday mind as the path to enlightenment. Zen monks lived ascetic, often isolated, lives and sat for long periods of concentrated meditation. To help his fellow monks stay awake during these sessions, Eisai taught them how to process tea leaves into a hot drink. Tea had arrived in Japan.
Once it left the monk's hands, tea took on a life of its own. Around the 14th century, the ruling classes developed elaborate rituals that took place in large tea rooms built in a gaudy style known as shoin, with imported hanging scrolls and formally arranged tables for vases and incense burners. Tea practitioners proved their wealth and status through their collections of elegant tea utensils and lacquered serving ware during three-day weekends where up to 100 cups of tea--as well as food and sake--were served. All of the day's revered Tea masters pushed the opulent style, to the delight of Chinese merchants and importers.
Making great sunshine tea is easy if you follow a few simple guidelines for contents, quantities, and water.
This ancient beverage has provided a nutritious, naturally-caffeinated boost for centuries and a new carbon-subtracting brand benefits the earth and consumers alike.
Herbs have so many healthful properties. It just makes great sense to take advantage of their benefits and taste in warming teas. The only limits to homemade tea from homegrown ingredients is your imagination!
Whether or not it was devised by clever Mexican potato growers, the cheap, easy to build, and space-saving potato tower is a unique alternative to rows, barrels, and other methods for planting, growing, and bringing in your season's spuds.
Describes a method of keeping red wiggler worms active and productive outside throughout the winter. Describes a method of sheltering and heating the worms using an active compost pile for heat and clear plastic glazing for shelter.
Pasteurizing your own compost can protect your new seedlings from damping-off and harmful bacteria.
Using wood ash in the garden can be beneficial for raising the soil pH of your garden soil. These tips will help you know when to use wood ash in the garden.
Taking a couple of extra steps before planting your crops will help ensure healthy garden soil. Here’s how to prepare your garden for spring planting.
Keep your garden safe by testing your organic materials for herbicide residue. A few simple tests can help you avoid harming your plants.
It's easy to overlook how useful grass clippings can be, but early fall is a great time to collect this valuable 'yard waste' to use in your garden as mulch.
It's freezing out - but that doesn't mean it's time to quit gardening. Learn how fall and winter are the key to next year's gardening success.
HOMEGROWN.org blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm says keeping animals in the garden improves her soil and fights weeds and pests.
Building a nutrient rich, low water, drought resistant vegetable growing system.
Use autumn's bounty of fallen leaves to expand your garden, protect your plants and improve your soil.
The Sun Mar composting toilet uses a first of its kind technology to deliver a pollution free and sanitary product.
Facts on the links between weather and pumpkins and what you can do with leftover pumpkins.
Composting toilets add sustainability to a homestead because they use zero water to flush. The waste from compost toilets are safe to add to compost piles. Additionally, it is handy that they don't require connecting to a septic system. This article describes two brands of composting toilets.
It has become a Christmas ritual for me to clean out my mother's fridge. I find whiskery gnarled morsels, shoved to the back of the fridge many months previously, unseen, and untouched by my mother’s arthritic hands. Do I compost all this detritus?
Cap off your Hemp History Week celebrations by making hemp soap. Hemp oil contains essential fatty acids and poly-unsaturated fatty acids known for their excellent emollient and lubricating properties.
Wabi-sabi teaches us appreciation for the good energy and soul that handmade items bring to our homes. Etsy, the premiere source for handcrafted home goods, offers an extensive list of items whose sale will benefit Japanese relief efforts.
Sen no Rikyu's simple, unpretentious ceremony using rustic, local tools usurped the elaborate, ostentatious Tea ceremonies that were the norm in 16th-century Japan. His "aesthetic of the people" made Tea accessible to all--and endures to this day.
I feed and water my compost “pets,” and they do the same for my plants.
Compost and mulch material are in abundance in our backyard and our communities. What is ones man's yard waste is this man's treasure.
Making our own compost is not only a way to meet our need of fertilizer, it's also a way to redirect the garden scraps, chicken manure, leaves and grass cuttings from the waste stream to the resource river. Another area where this applies around our homestead, is our use of a composting toilet. For us, the difference between what goes down a flushing toilet and what accumulates in the buckets in the outhouse is the difference between waste and resource.
Fungi breakdown organic material and make it available to plants. Encouraging fungi to grow naturally, or inocculating your soil can have tremendous benefits for your garden.
Compost happens, yes. But if food scraps are thrown into a pile and left to rot, a hot smelly mess may be taking over. That’s because the process of composting is a symbiotic relationship between carbon and nitrogen. Or at our home, cardboard and food scraps.
Building a layered bed to develop organic material in the soil, hold moisture and decrease the amount of work.
Gardeners in certain regions frequently ask about how to improve clay soil. Lighten up your heavy clay soil by using organic matter, sand and other soil conditioners.
Tips on ways to use fallen leaves in the fall.
NativeEnergy, an innovator in the United States carbon market, today launched its year-long 10-Year Anniversary program.
NativeEnergy, an innovator in the United States carbon market, today launched its year-long 10-Year Anniversary program.
Mulch, like compost, plays an important role in organic gardening. To maximize the flavor and nutrition of your produce, learn how to use and balance the characteristics of various organic materials when mulching.
A simple, low maintenance compost toilet that makes instant fertilizer by separating solids (worm food) from liquids (fertilizer, ready-to-use). Two chambers allows one to compost while you make deposits in the the other.
Tips on what to do with leftover pumpkins during the autumn season.
Tips on how to compost, what is composting and reasons why you should compost.
Cultivating and drying herbs for use as medicine throughout the seasons.
Celebrate spring by throwing a free tea party--here's how.
How to quickly and easily make a soothing herbal tea blend for children, plus bags and boxes to hold it.
The new farm retail store outlet is now open to the public for tea cuppings, farm and facility tours, and retail shopping.
A bombilla is a Latin American tea straw used to drink yerba mate. Why not use it to enjoy all kinds of loose herbal teas? Ilene White Freedman shares a story, a tea recipe and links to others recipes.
A truly authentic version of the subcontinent's favorite drink is finally available for American tea lovers.
If we use high-quality items in our everyday lives, our lives become a sort of training. By using each item with care and careful consideration, the way we live becomes a tradition.
Don’t let the cost of gardening keep you out of the dirt this year. Cheap gardening can be fun and easy. With these tips for gardening on a budget, you’ll save on seeds, make your own fertilizer and impress your friends with your gardening know how.
Tips for keeping your summer garden producing at top output. This is the time of year that warm season crops are at their peak. These 7 tips will give you continued bountiful harvests through the heat.
Cooler, wetter summer than usual in Oklahoma, but the tomatoes produced very well with NO water from the tap. 2015 experiment begins.
Clean up your garden now and plant cover crops that will protect your garden soil through the winter and provide compost and mulch material for next year.
Rancho Margot in Costa Rica is completely off the grid and constantly closing the circle. Nothing is wasted on this self-sufficient ranch, where everything is considered a resource--including methane from the compost ovens.
With a few simple tips, you can transform the leaves overtaking your yard into valuable, nutrient-dense compost, mulch or leaf mold.
There's only one rule for wabi-style flowers: strive for a natural look, with seasonal blooms and branches arranged as they are in the field. Don't worry about perfection. Your "arrangement" is a humble admission that we can't improve on nature.
Here are some ways we use natural materials to improve our garden and orchards.
Using leaves in the garden will boost the soil’s organic matter.
Here at Deer Isle Hostel, Maine, we use a compost pile built with local, natural materials and a 100-foot water pipe to create a steaming hot shower.
The symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi are showing more than ever how life depends on life. Learn how to encourage what beneficial microbes you have in your soil for a powerful ally in your garden and fields.
We produce wonderful, organically approved soil products for the independent garden centers.
After a completely miserable potato harvest this year we’ve decided to pull them out of the ground and do them in boxes made out of pallets. That way we can use weedblock under them to eliminate the whole bindweed issue. So today, the boxes went up.
Foodborne pathogens such as E. coli can be spread by uncomposted manure from grain-fed cattle on high-concentraton factory farms. The E. coli outbreak in northern Germany reminds us to look twice at the quality of our manure.
Managing compost now allows for more productive use the following season.
Our guest blogger is positively enchanted by the convenience, not to mention the benefits, of keeping worms in the garden.
It pays to spend time preparing your garden for winter. You can improve your soil, increase your harvest, decrease garden pests and make next spring's planting much easier.
Michelle Corbett's grandmother and great-grandmother taught her to use a natural compost consisting of eggshells and coffee grounds.
Smooth out the temperature range in your greenhouse by adopting one of these strategies for heating greenhouses.
It's easy to make your own air freshener spray. You'll avoid chemicals and delight in the fresh smell.
The four principles of Tea ceremony—harmony, respect, purity and tranquility—are the means to a good life.
Far from being weeds, spring's earliest greens are packed with nutrition and help detox the body.
Find out how wabi-sabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy that promotes attention, reverence, generosity and respect, can build the foundation of a happy home.
A number of tea companies are donating proceeds from sales to Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.
A proper tea house is a luxury I believe in.
Describes a method of protecting tomatoes from excessive heat using a sunscreen, vermicompost tea, pulling blighted leaves.
Grow Red Thai Roselle hibiscus for a tea, health drink and sauce. Roselle, also known as Florida Cranberry, can be grown outside the sunbelt if you have the right variety. Red Thai is that variety.
Thoughts on managing an event with lots of people and having minimal or no trash.
talking about building a composting toilet and how well the Seed Swap went on Saturday. Hauling capacity of a golf cart compared to an ATV generated some useful and helpful comments regarding electricity vs internal combustion engines. No till works!
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
The Mother Earth News Fair staff and volunteers work on green initiatives to divert Fair waste from landfills, recycling and composting as much as possible.
Get a glimpse of some of the unique exhibitors at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
Fixing the swamp bridge and starting some new onion seeds along with a new experiment involving willow rooting hormone tea.
You can get your whole house fresh and shiny clean with just five ingredients: lemons, vinegar, baking soda, tea tree oil and salt.
Chado-En tea company will donate 100 percent of profits from the sale of its special cherry blossom tea to Japanese relief efforts.
Roses are easy to grow successfully if you follow a few guidelines: provide good air circulation around the canes and keep the plants clean and not too damp. Roses come in many forms, including bush or shrub, climbing, and miniature.
Saving butternut squash seeds while using a sledge hammer and putting up a roof and planning a seed swap. Also planning a high density apple orchard with a new variety called Zestar.
Ellen Sandbeck, who has nearly a quarter century of experience as the Head Worm Wrangler of Laverme's Worms, writes about how to make and run a homemade vermicomposting bin.
Describes two effective alternatives to composting. Many factors can limit the ability to produce compost. These two products offer different but practical ways to organically recycle food scraps.
How to revitalize your potting soil for another strong vegetable season. You can use your own compost and homemade fertilizer to give your container veggies the boost they need for the season.
Description of garlic planting on a two-year cycle: from tiny topset bulblets, to large single bulbs, to large heads.
Explains the benefits of organic fertilizers such as rock phosphate, kelp, fish meal and greensand, and tells you how to get buy these materials at reasonable prices.
Taking care of compost is essential to healthy soil and good food.
I say compost, you think of rotting food, dirt, flies and a horrible smell. For that reason most people wont' even consider composting at home.
Now, when one tumbler is full and ready to start cooking, there is another tumbler ready to take in the raw compost.
How to define an egg shed? Let’s look at the definition of watershed to give the egg shed concept more shape. A watershed is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as: “The area of land where all of the water that is under it, or drains off of it, goes into the same place”. Based on the definition of a watershed, an egg shed could be defined as: the eggs produced within a certain distance that go to a specific place. That place could be your kitchen.
I had such a great time talking with attendees at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington, this past weekend about how to make green cleaners. As always, I learned a new trick or two, and I promised everyone I’d recap our conversation here for easy access. Today let’s talk about some of the unexpected food items—most of which you already have in your kitchen cupboards—that can be used to clean your home.
Use tea to remove old furniture polish and prepare wooden furniture for polishing. Simply soak a rag in room-temperature tea, then run it over the wood. The tea’s tannic acid makes your wood shine while removing all the dirt. Once that’s done, you can use mayonnaise to make the piece shine. Just rub the mayo into the wood, then follow with a damp rag and a few drops of vinegar to remove any residue. Olive oil is also a great natural furniture
Leaves are a valuable source of mulch and fertility within the permaculture garden.
Let's quash, once and for all, the notion that only harmful chemicals can kill germs and bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract are natural antibacterials that keep your home clean--and safeguard your family's health.
Growing Local Food is a new book that encompasses all the needed basics to grow plants, keep heritage breed animals and bees. The author is a homesteader and physician who gives the readers the basic information to grow or find nutritious, local food
How a born and bred city boy came to leave Detroit, start a Tennessee homestead with his wife, and blog about it here.
There's honey in the hive, peaches on the trees, and food on the table, but it's still a long way from self-sufficiency.