Farming may be the dream, but sometimes it can also be the nightmare. Balancing the good, the bad, and the ugly poses challenges.
What can freshen breath, fight infection, and clear up acne all at once? Tea tree oil, from the Australian plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, has widespread medicinal qualities, making it an effective home remedy for many different conditions. Try these tea tree oil uses for yourself.
Planting cover crops to build soil fertility will benefit any garden. The soil is what gives the plants the necessary nutrients to grow strong, fight off pests and disease, and produce the best flavored, most nutrient-dense food possible and it requires those nutrients to be given back. Cover crops will give back to the soil.
If you are new to aromatherapy, start building your home kit with these 19 essential oils!
Just as people are more comfortable and productive at certain temperatures, so are your seeds. Consider the soil temperature before you plant.
In order to secure a building permit to construct a new home, many counties require a septic system inspection and approval. Here’s how one couple had a successful “perc” test done at their future home site, along with a quick explanation of what a perc test is.
My garden started out as just a need for feeding my family in the summer months. Over time, it not only needed to feed my family, but needed protection from various critters—including backyard chickens—that inhabit my yard. Learn how to construct raised beds, install shade cloth and build a fence to protect your plants.
A great garden needs great soil. Regardless of a garden's size, there are always ways to improve the soil quality.
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.
Tea-tree oil may actually be the ‘cure all’ of essential oils. You have probably heard of it by now, but do you know how to use it?
In order to secure a building permit to construct their future home, we must first complete a soil evaluation and meet the county's requirements for septic system installations.
Oregano is well known as a culinary herb with warming and aromatic flavor. The oil of oregano has shown great promise in treating many illnesses, including colds, flu, muscle pain, GI problems, respiratory illnesses, skin conditions and urinary-tract infections.
A newly acquired garden or an over-spent allotment can have poor-quality soil, making it more difficult to manage and use, and leading to potential problems for those wishing to grow a new lush, green lawn or plant some daffodils, crocus or hyacinths bulbs in the spring.
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.
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.
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 and why I started using leftover raw milk as a natural soil supplement and fertilizer on my dairy farm.
Oregano is often regarded as "just" a flavoring. It has a rich history of medicinal use and shows great promise for the future.
With our chickweed and lavender salve, the bites I typically get that are swollen and painful were nothing more than a minor annoyance. All came from ingredients that we made ourselves.
Solving the mystery of finding broken shards of china and pottery in an old garden. Discovering the history of the land and its first settlers.
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.
Your soil can be your best friend or your worst enemy as you prep your garden. Find out what you're up against with one of these three easy methods!
Find out the easy way to make hard-boiled eggs.
Learning how to make a soil block is a simple skill capable of permitting one to become involved within their local CSA or farm. It can also be a great way to meet local farmers, reduce CSA membership fees, and learn about organic gardening. Before each seed is sowed it must have a soil block to grow in. Being part of that initial step brings great joy.
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.
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.
Essential oils can be a useful supplement for honeybees. Lemongrass, spearmint and thyme essential oils are being used to encourage brood development and the overall health of bees.
Intensive grazing management can answer questions regarding field carrying capacity, how much forage your animals need each day and how to manage what you have. Pizza, anyone?
The Union of Concerned Scientists is advocating the reform of current palm oil farming practices which release drastic amounts of carbon, harm local ecosystems and treat workers in an ethically unsound way.
The first organic inhaler, The Lung Cleaner, hits markets.
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.
Do you know about the magic of milk and molasses in improving your garden? Yes, plain old milk of any kind – whole, 2%, raw, dried, skim or nonfat – is a miracle in the garden for plants, soil and compost. Molasses only boosts the benefits! Let’s see how and why they work.
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.
Soil microbes provide numerous benefits to plants. This is a recipe for creating a brew of your own local, indigenous microbes.
Noticing the cycles of the plants, animals and insects around you, which is the study of phenology, will help you become more attuned to your garden. Soil temperature has a lot to do with those cycles.
Choosing olive oil you love will depend on whether you want fruity oil, peppery oil or another flavor profile.
This basil-infused olive oil comes from Andrew Carmallini’s book, "Urban Italian."
Olive oil contributes to a tender crumb in this traditional olive oil cake recipe.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and West Missouri farmer Bryce Oates shares his approach to improving soil health and preparing a soil microbe brew.
Using leaves in the garden will boost the soil’s organic matter.
At the Mother Earth News Fair, I always enjoy speaking with fellow farmers and gardeners about inputs, organic standards and sound practices in the field. At the OMRI booth, we always provide free OMRI Products Lists of approved input materials, to help you find the right fertilizer or livestock feed additive and keep your farm or garden truly organic .
This divine herb has a multitude of properties – it’s a potent skin-cell regenerative, mucolytic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, circulatory stimulant, vulnerary, antioxidant, antifungal, analgesic and deodorizing agent. I use both the essential oil and the infused oil in formulas to relieve sinus and respiratory congestion, muscle tension and soreness, and headaches; to soften and fade scar tissue; to stimulate memory, creativity, confidence and mental energy; and to stimulate circulation to encourage hair growth.
We can cut projected U.S. oil use in half over the next 20 years and create more than 1 million jobs, reduce annual oil spending by $550 billion, and eliminate 2 billion metric tons of global warming emissions per year by 2035.
The new 'Back to Eden' film, the first-ever documentary devoted to mulch, explores how using wood chip mulch builds soil fertility.
Here are some ways we use natural materials to improve our garden and orchards.
The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization published a new analysis that depicts the dangerous flaws in oil spill response and outlines technology they claim will save marine life, oceans, animals and people, while saving millions of dollars.
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.
Descriptions on oil labels are not defined by law, and are sometimes deceptive. Learn what these terms — such as cold-pressed, expeller-pressed and extra virgin — really mean, and which terms indicate quality.
Summing up pasture data where it relates to chickens and customizing land to better suit poultry and their behavior and stomachs. Measuring oil viscosity levels and rescuing a trailer with a portable winch were some of our favorite things.
This passive composting system creates beds of fertile soil through rotational composting.
Fixing the swamp bridge and starting some new onion seeds along with a new experiment involving willow rooting hormone tea.
Summing up the last week of mostly frozen stuff except for a brief thaw.
Launching Anna's new E book on cover crops in a no till garden and talking about the recent power failure that prompted us to do some Off Grid Homesteading which taught us a few lessons on using golf cart batteries for supplemental lighting.
Describes hopeful developments toward healthful soil and a safer climate.
An update on generating electricity with pedal power and which exercise bike we decided on and testing soil for nutrient ratios along with fixing a pair of leaky boots with adhesive and inner tube scrap patch.
We have slowly replaced out dated fixtures and the Rialto toilet was the final step in getting more environmentally compliant.
Announcing our new automatic chicken feeder contest and how some lucky person could win a 10 pack diy kit or 3 premade watering units.
Managing compost now allows for more productive use the following season.
Therapeutic grade essential oils have a tonne of uses on the homestead - here's how we've used them effectively, and how they bring us peace of mind.
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!
The University of California at Davis has released a report that shows how misleading the label "extra virgin olive oil" can be.
Soil Life is an all-natural, organic blend of microbes designed to enhance the nutritive value of soil in all growing conditions.
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.
Putting a new roof on a mobile home and harvesting the worlds biggest sweet potato while growing for the first time Par-cel cutting celery and hauling horse manure from our parking area back to the garden.
Using oil seed radishes to add organic matter to the ground and attracting native pollinators with a nest site. Harvesting sweet potato seeds if we're lucky and admiring the parasitic wasp's ability to lay white egg sacs into the body of a horn worm
Use herbs from your garden,vegetable oil and beeswax to make a solid perfume.
Taking care of compost is essential to healthy soil and good food.
Learn about using the Piteba to press your own homegrown oil.
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.
Nitrogen-fixing winter cover crops can save you money on fertilizer next year.
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.
We wade through deep snow to trim limbs and cut dead trees and nothing goes to waste.
Summing up the past week with a few highlights that help to illustrate how we've been getting along in the ending days of the 2012 winter season.
The Sun Mar composting toilet uses a first of its kind technology to deliver a pollution free and sanitary product.
Gathering leaves from the woods to mulch the garden and stump dirt to turn into potting soil not only provides free biomass for the garden, it also introduces beneficial microorganisms.
Tips on how you can reduce your exposure to radon in your home.
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
Cam dressed up as a bunch of blueberries for our local parade, and spoke to a group of university students about peak oil. Never a dull moment....
Cover crops are grown between planting seasons as a way to give back to the soil what cultivation takes from it. And cover crops aren’t just for large-scale growers—they can help you get the most out of your backyard vegetable garden too!
Tips on how to control soil erosion and help protect one of Earth's most important natural resources.
Want to add some flavour to your breads? Here's two suggestions, one sweet and one savoury. Enjoy!
Cam appreciates the simple things like rotten hay and beautiful vegetables from his garden.
Discover some of the properties of essential oils, along with some tips for cleaning with them.
Cam celebrates his daughter's engagement but considers the impact of flying across the world for the wedding.
Cam considers how Peak Oil will affect our lives....
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?
Nutrition breakthrough lets health conscious consumers drink in the benefits of Omega 3s.
Bread! hits the water on Lake Ontario while taking a week long sailing course. The Rosemary Olive Oil Sourdough was featured for dinner.
This home in the Florida Keys captures prevailing breezes and takes advantage of passive cooling techniques such as open walls and a reflective roof to keep its occupants cool and comfortable without air conditioning.
Using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, technique and a few changes, you can produce a sourdough olive oil/rosemary type bread that is just heavenly.
Noxious fumes aren’t conducive to happy cleaning. Give all your homemade cleaning solutions an invigorating and healthy boost by adding a few drops of pure plant essential oils such as lavender or lemon. Heavenly!
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.
A TransCanada Keystone pipeline was shut down by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, due to two spills in May. Though it lasted only a day, the suspension raises bigger questions about the risks of TransCanada’s current piping of tar sands oil, as well as the company’s proposal to build an even longer pipeline, the Keystone XL.
Get a glimpse of some of the unique exhibitors at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
We raise broiler chickens from hatchlings for a 4-H fair project every summer. This is a fun, managable project that provides us with some fresh poultry meat as well.
Cam describes "double digging" as a way of creating a new garden without losing precious topsoil.
Cam considers one of the causes of high gas prices....
Cam responds to a negative comment about a previous blog.
Cyndee and Tony love being in control of their own power and never having to worry about rate increases and outages in south-central Colorado. Solar panels, a wind turbine and a wood-fired boiler keep them plenty warm and happy.
Today we officially celebrate Earth Day, but we can celebrate healthy soil and all that it contributes to our lives every day.
B&R Automation announces partnership to serve renewable energy industry in US and Canada.
Change we can believe in? The Obama administration paves the way for more than 300,000 megawatts of coal-fired energy.
The price of food and oil are interminably linked. We are seeing this in our trips to the supermarket: every time we go, it's more expensive. What's a body to do?
There are many ways that each of us can lessen our unhealthy dependence on filthy fuels. You can do so in every area of your life, from choices you make regarding your house and home improvements, to food, transportation, and other consumer choices.
It's easy to make your own air freshener spray. You'll avoid chemicals and delight in the fresh smell.
Cam is amazed at the level of awareness concerning Peak Oil amongst today's youth.
You can get your whole house fresh and shiny clean with just five ingredients: lemons, vinegar, baking soda, tea tree oil and salt.
Cam finds getting around in the country, especially in the winter, so much easier with his 4X4 truck.
Invite the birds into your yard with this simple bird feeder made from a toilet paper roll.
Simran Sethi discusses how to green your bathroom in easy ways: through your choice of toilet paper, shower curtain, and towels.
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
JWTIntelligence predicts big green changes in the coming year (including tube-free toilet paper).
This posting discusses how deforestation increases global warming and ocean acidification. It also discusses the role of deforestation in triggering severe flooding,aquifer depletion, soil degradation and animal and plant extinction.
From West Africa to the Netherlands, furniture designers find oil drums an abundant, green material.
Simran Sethi explains her bathroom-remodel goals to conserve water.
Cam describes some family heirlooms - especially his favorite one - a shovel!
Cam considers how peak oil will impact our love of travel.
Cam considers the effect of Peak Oil on our wandering ways....
Although the well that caused the BP oil spill is now dead, the spill’s effects live on. Debate about oil dispersants, such as Corexit, and concerns regarding the settled oil on the ocean floor that came from Deepwater Horizon continue to grow. To understand how the spill impacted and continues to affect the Gulf of Mexico, MOTHER EARTH NEWS spoke with Ronald J. Kendall, director of the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
Both organic and local food are important if we want to eat nutritious and delicious food. Furthermore, our current food system is in jeapordy because petroleum and water supplies are dwindling and climate change is resulting in more extreme weather.
Here's the scoop on composting toilets, including the environmental benefits, how much they cost and how well they work.
Architect Nathan Kipnis also presented 10 key areas that designers, builders and citizens should be striving toward in the post-peak oil era.
Simran Sethi learns how to compost the right way and explores her composting options.
We produce wonderful, organically approved soil products for the independent garden centers.
An introduction to Cam Mather's off-grid home and lifestyle.
The oil spill is business as usual for a sociopathic system. It's time to fight back.
Simran Sethi discusses what it takes for a home to be truly clean by avoiding harsh chemicals and using natural cleaning products.
Hundreds of Gulf Coast oil spill workers have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms related to oil exposure. News reports claim that BP is not allowing workers to wear respirators, despite the potential long-term respiratory and neurological consequences workers could face.
This year at the LA International Olive Oil Competition, only one Best of Show was awarded to a domestic oil – to Apollo Olive Oil’s organic Sierra.
The BP oil spill shocked the nation, but it’s not too late to take action. We want to know what you plan to change.
We claim to live sustainably if we can harvest or extract the earth’s resources without depleting or permanently damaging them. By that standard, no one in a country that devours coal, oil and water—and uses up a quarter of the earth’s resources—can live sustainably.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi discusses the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill with Oceana’s Senior Campaign Director Jackie Savitz.
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been in the news constantly for the past two months, and all the new developments can be a bit overwhelming. Here's a comprehensive update to help you keep everything straight.
Now's the time to redouble our efforts to tap into energy efficiency. The potential is huge and the benefits are even greater.
Hundreds of gallons of water can slip down the pipes if you own a leaky toilet. You can save water by checking for toilet leaks using simple tricks or by replacing your old model with a water saving-toilet.
The Niagara Conservation Corporation has developed a new pressure-assisted toilet, the Stealth, which uses even less water than your standard pressure-assisted toilet.
Natural cleanup methods for the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, such as using hair and hay to absorb oil on the water surface, are beginning to spark interest in the United States.
Consider grafting your favorite tomato varieties onto disease-resistant rootstock to foil soilborne diseases.
A naturally absorbent fiber, hemp could help clean up the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast.
In light of the environmental, economic and other damage caused by the Gulf oil spill, has your opinion about increased domestic drilling changed? Yes or no, we want to hear your thoughts on the topic.
An explosion at a British Petroleum oil rig has caused a massive and growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just off the Lousiana coast. Here is an account of where the spill stands at the moment.
Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant explains how night crawlers and other worms can improve the structure of your garden soil, and how to attract them by using piles of compost and mulch.
Uruguay has authorized industrial hemp cultivation on an experimental basis. The South American country’s officials want to know how the crop responds to Uruguayan soil and its productive capacities before authorizing nationwide cultivation.
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras warns us that building nuclear power plants is not the solution to our current energy crisis.
After weeks of planning (and a little bit of panicking), the Natural Home team finishes decorating the Blair House and State Department for the holidays with a selection of fair trade, artisan-made items that benefit our planet and its citizens.
For the first time, investors put more money into alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power than fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
Seventh Generation commits to using sustainable palm oil in all products by 2012.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains paper giant Kimberly-Clark's new sustainability policy.
Ecuadorians want $27 billion in environmental damages, in the largest environmental damages lawsuit, and Chevron says it won't pay.
Find out what’s in your paper products with Greenpeace’s Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide.
A soil fertility expert shares his advice on using wood ashes as garden fertilizer.
For the first time ever, alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power received more investment money than fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
How to safely dispose of or make use of human waste is becoming a hot topic.
What do you think of composting toilets and would you consider installing one?
Of our daily water use, 75 percent is consumed in the bathroom. Changing our habits can cut back on our use. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence advises on how to save water and energy in the bathroom.
In the long term, using recycled tire planters or rubber mulch in your garden can cause problems. Here's why.
A reader inquires about the best fertilizer to work on anything you might grow.
See this unique new product - a toilet lid/sink combination.
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.
OPEC annouced it would cut oil production to stop oil prices from falling, which might be the best way to reduce American oil consumption.
What kind of mpg did MAX get in the race? How did Jack get fuel along the way? How much can you get for a t-shirt and a copy of Mother Earth News? Answers to these exciting questions inside!
Use autumn's bounty of fallen leaves to expand your garden, protect your plants and improve your soil.
MAX debuts by taking the checkered flag of the 800+ mile, no gasoline consumed, Escape from Berkeley race.
On Sept. 30, the offshore drilling moratorium expired, and the energy battle between the Democrats and Republicans began.
Everyone's talking about drilling in Alaska, so why learn some numbers to do some talking of your own? Here are some statistics about why drilling in Alaska may not be the saving grace some think it is.
Here are some good options for free, weed-free mulches.
It's true, under the right circumstances, livestock grazing does help build healthy soil. Here's how it works.
Find out what John McCain and Barack Obama have to say about energy issues including the use of nuclear power, clean coal and support for renewable energy.
Amid rising gas prices, some people think offshore drilling in America is the answer, but is it worth it? Also, read an opinion piece by Mark Weisbrot.
Abundant moisture and soil acidity are major factors in the growth of moss. There's nothing wrong with moss in your strawberry beds, but here's a tip on how to get more flavorful fruit.
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.
Who would have ever thought that worms could invade a forest and wreak havoc?
Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will not lower gas prices anytime soon. This summary of facts released by the Alaska Wilderness League exposes important pieces of the ANWR debate.
Oil companies are hungry for more land to drill. But meanwhile they aren't drilling in numerous approved areas.
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.
Although you need to refrigerate most salad dressings, you don't have to be as careful with a simple oil and vinegar salad dressing if those are the only ingredients. Find out why this is the case and what other ingredients might cause problems.
When it's cold outside, who doesn't love a cozy fireplace or woodstove? Wood heat is a comfortable way to warm your home, and there are many reasons it's a practical choice, too.
Bruschetta, the classic Italian appetizer, brings out the best of a few basic ingredients: tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil and fresh bread.
Now is a great time to sow a cover crop or two that will enrich your garden soil over the winter.
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.