Being above the 56th parallel, we are in Zone 0, the harshest zone per Ag Canada. We're faced with a short, fickle growing season where frost can occur at any time during the summer months. We were faced with the daunting task of improving the poor boreal forest soil. Here is how we transformed the shallow, poor soils of the Precambrian Shield of our wilderness homestead into a rich garden loam.
This is the third blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers ideas for starting an edible landscape on your homestead including: soil improvement, cover crops, perennials, attracting beneficial insects, and home-based food production.
Building raised vegetable garden beds has many benefits: They negate contending with poor soil, you can make them tall to avoid bending, avoid soil compaction and they look appealing to name a few. But how can you make them biodynamic? This post will tell you how.
Biodynamic growing can be thought of as the next step up from organic growing, as many of the principles of organic growing are followed in biodynamics. The biggest difference in biodynamics is that everything starts with the soil and the alignment of the sun and the moon in the cosmos for planting, harvesting and tending to types of plants. For those of you who are not familiar with biodynamics, let me set the scene for you here.
Compost tea allows you to take a small amount of compost and give your plants the microbes and nutrition they need to resist disease and give you nutritious food. Making and using compost tea is both economical and easy.
You can turn kitchen and farm "wastes" into compost, which is full of microbes and nutrition for your crops. In return, you will be able to grow disease-resistant plants that produce highly nutritious food with fantastic flavors.
Make your own potting soil, plus tips for starting seeds.
Blessed with hard clay/rock soil, Jesse and Alyssa have a small list of improvements they are doing this year to get their soil veggie-friendly!
Understanding a bit of the chemistry and biology behind building healthy soil allows us to work in harmony with nature to contribute to the health of our soil, plants, food and planet.
Wondering how to test your soil? Get the scoop on proper garden soil testing, evaluating soil pH, and home soil testing kits before you plant this season.
Hugelkultur is the building of raised beds by burying wood and other organic material. Just because you are renting doesn’t mean you can’t implement one this season.
Sheet mulch fosters soil life, reduces weeds and feeds the soil. By sheet mulching you will reduce ongoing weeding and free up more time to make your garden more productive.
A great garden needs great soil. Regardless of a garden's size, there are always ways to improve the soil quality.
Your veggies contain the nutritional content that the soil can provide the plant. Saying a plant only needs NPK is like saying all humans need is carbs, fat and protein. It is much more complicated than that.
Using these techniques you can spend an afternoon building a deep mulch garden and stop tilling and composting for up to 30 years.
Moving to a different climate and gardening zone can be a challenge, especially in the high desert. The best approach is to start small and add plenty of organic material.
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.
Garden like the Native Americans by digging up 18-inch-diameter hills on four foot centers. Get your crops started, then worry about working the areas in between the hills.
Using leaves in the garden will boost the soil’s organic matter.
Here are some ways we use natural materials to improve our garden and orchards.
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.
This passive composting system creates beds of fertile soil through rotational composting.
Soil Life is an all-natural, organic blend of microbes designed to enhance the nutritive value of soil in all growing conditions.
Taking care of compost is essential to healthy soil and good food.
My first blog for MOTHER EARTH NEWS takes me back to a time when I didn't know I had a love of gardening. One of my first gardening experiences came during an unlikely encounter with my curmudgeon grandfather.
Tips on how to control soil erosion and help protect one of Earth's most important natural resources.
Cam appreciates the simple things like rotten hay and beautiful vegetables from his garden.
In July and August, it’s time to start thinking about planting crops for fall. But how do you get good seed germination when the soil is so hot?
Cam describes "double digging" as a way of creating a new garden without losing precious topsoil.
Cam finds getting around in the country, especially in the winter, so much easier with his 4X4 truck.
What’s your idea of a delicious and wholesome breakfast? A fluffy, organic egg omelet made with fresh vegetables? Perhaps scrambled eggs and roasted garden veggies? No matter what your preference, it may surprise you to learn the link between the
We produce wonderful, organically approved soil products for the independent garden centers.
A soil fertility expert shares his advice on using wood ashes as garden fertilizer.
In the long term, using recycled tire planters or rubber mulch in your garden can cause problems. Here's why.
Garden soil left exposed in winter is easily damaged by compaction, erosion and leaching. Use mulches or cover crops to safeguard and build your soil during the winter months.
Use autumn's bounty of fallen leaves to expand your garden, protect your plants and improve your soil.
Here are some good options for free, weed-free mulches.
Peat moss can help improve soil, but it can be expensive and its production can hurt the environment. Find out whether or not you should use it in your garden.
This photographic illustration shows how permanent gardens beds are beneficial, and prevent soil compaction.
If you've added too much nitrogen fertilizer to your garden this expert advice can help you figure out how to correct the mistake.
Expert advice on adding single nutrients, such as Epsom salts, to your garden and house 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.