Although you may hear the term "master gardener", there is no one right way to grow your garden. For all gardeners out there, the surefire way to learn how to garden is by conducting experiments — by setting a hypothesis, testing it, and recording your results in a gardening journal.
A summer update from our wilderness homestead with an emphasis on how we get an early seasonal start to our gardens.
Hoops bent from conduit pipe can transform your season-extension system. I have 10, enough to cover two 10-foot garden beds, and they have been transformative. Learn the technique here..
Spring is without a doubt the most exciting time of year for us gardeners. It’s the time to get sowing in earnest! But before you so much as tear open a seed packet, you’ll need to make sure your soil is warm enough and that late frosts won’t hamper your efforts.
Who says inanimate objects can’t talk! The well-used tractor tire that washed up on the beach during an early winter storm had been pleading with me for months for a chance to prove its worth. Learn to build a hotbox from an old tire for season extension using permaculture techniques.
Many people believe they can grow anything anytime when they just got their own greenhouse. You can, but that’s not always the case. Sure, it depends on what you’re planting in the first place. But, it also depends on the greenhouse itself and how you plant it.
Our first salad is a big deal for us, considering we were hitting -20 degrees Fahrenheit two weeks ago, and we still have patches of snow on the ground.
ne of the principles of Permaculture is “Stacking Functions” or making every structure/addition to your plan serve at least two, if not more, functions in the landscape. When we added solar panels to the homestead, we wanted to honor this principle—and constructing a small greenhouse allowed us to install the panels, as the light was not great on the roof of the house. The number of functions we have stacked on this small structure became very clear to me as I prepared for an upcoming solar homes tour.
The results are in: Starting even cool-weather crops inside is faster. See Seed-Starting, Part 1 for details on the set up.
Several experiments in seed starting: inside, in the greenhouse and in the ground.
Solstice Night is the traditional time to set goals. On that night, we sit by the fire, review the year, and plan for the next. I’ve been thinking about the goals for the garden already; two are building upon existing systems and the third is new. Once I am clear on my goals, I am going to post them in the greenhouse, so I will see them almost every day!
Here is help with planning for a successful installation of new plastic or replacement of old plastic over your hoophouse (high tunnel). This post provides a list of tools and step-by-step instructions.
The time to be thinking about eating local food is in January, when you plan your garden, not in August and September, as you harvest and preserve. Fall and winter crops should be planted in June - but it is not too late to think about next year.
After four changes of plastic on our hoophouse (high tunnel we are ready to tell you some mistakes to avoid, mostly involving hoophouse plastic too tight or too loose, or cut wrong, and inflation blowers that didn't perform well enough. Our experience can save you from the same mistakes.
My brother told me about breeding fruit trees in order for them to go to market both earlier and later than the main crop. He said, “The real money is made on the shoulders of the season.” But it takes some real thought and effort to bring in your crop on the shoulders of the season.
Hoop houses have proven themselves to be invaluable for extending the gardening season in both spring and fall. But I didn’t expect to get even more use out of mine during our frequent and unpredictable hail storms!
You can eat carrots and greens from your garden and grow cover crops to feed back the soil the rest of the year. Learn how Cindy Conner does it with this 3-bed plan.
Why pay high prices at the grocery store when growing herbs outdoors is achievable all winter long?
Low tunnels are easy structures to build to protect your winter veggies. Keeping the covers on in windy conditions can be a challenge. Learn simple steps you can take to make your low tunnel covers stable, no matter what the weather brings.
The first killing frosts of the season change the garden-scape.
You can be harvesting from your garden all year long, including through the winter months! It's time to plant the fall garden.
Building a greenhouse out of an old carport destined for the dump.
Tips that we have learned gardening at a high elevation.
The hoophouse on our farm is filled with greens all winter long. It’s almost hard to switch gears for summer tomatoes.
Make the best use of your cold frame by having lids designed to be easily adjusted or removed.
Creating a micro-climate is an essential tool for your survival and homesteading skills. Making the right micro-climate for your plants specific needs will not only help them survive, but thrive as well.
Everywhere is full of micro-climates. Discover the places in your garden where the soil warms first, or last, by watching the snow melt and taking pictures.
Even as far north as Maine I can harvest produce from March to December with parsnips to dig from under the frost in February without the use of row covers or a greenhouse. In some beds I do two or more succession plantings that together with the root cellar keeps me with fresh produce all year.
I know how popular and much hyped season-extending materials are in the world of organic gardening, but is it a necessity to eat fresh lettuce year round?
Get a materials list and step-by-step insructions for low tunnel construction for your backyard garden.
Transitioning seedlings from indoor starts to outdoor plants
Starting flats of seedlings begins this year's growing season.
As winter descends a three-season hoop house is weeded, compost spread, and a straw mulch applied. Next spring will be here soon.