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.
You reap what you sow, but sometimes what you sow refuses to cooperate. Follow these seed-sowing tips to prevent gardening disasters.
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.
Start your dream garden as you would any project — with a project plan. If you break down your end goal into step-by-step tasks, you will see your dream come to fruition in no time.
Building raised garden beds for your garden does not need to be expensive. Here is how I built a number of raised beds in my garden for the cost of one box of wood screws.
You may remember back in April when I found some of last year’s potato crop dying to get out into the ground. This post is a continuation of the life and success of those wild taters.
Sweet potatoes are easy to grow, if you have 90 frost-free days. The work involved happens at times of year when you probably have fewer other garden tasks. Planting on ridges reduces damage from flooding. Biodegradable mulch warms the soil and increases yields, while reducing weed growth.
Now, 4 years into growing much of the produce we eat, I realize that garden farming connects me even more deeply than I had imagined to the earth, the life cycle, my body and food. It is also more difficult not only physically, but mentally as well. Had I known more from the start, no doubt it would have been easier and more effective. It is in this spirit that I am sharing some of what I’ve learned.
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.
The more tomato varieties you grow – especially if you delve into the wonderful world of heirlooms – the more you realize that not all tomato plants look alike. Look closely at the leaves and you will find lots of variations; once you become familiar with a particularly favorite variety, you may even be able to distinguish it early on just by its leaves. Pictures tell the story and take the mystery away from the commonly used tomato foliage terms "regular leaf" and "potato leaf."
When and how to water a garden can be challenging especially for beginner gardeners. Read the tips that will make you feel like an expert on garden watering.
Starting a garden can be intimidating, especially when there are all sorts of guru-gardening methods on the internet, but we are choosing to take an extremely straightforward approach that we want to share with you all!
John Fred, drummer for the band Black Stone Cherry, writes about his search for a healthy lifestyle and how gardening and living wisely has contributed to his health successes.
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.
“Golden” will be the first word to enter your mind when you see the roots, rhizomes and dormant buds of Hydrastis canadensis. You’ll understand immediately why the common name is “Goldenseal.” This very useful native woodland plant will not only charm and entertain you spring, summer, and autumn — it can even heal you.
It’s a common misconception in the home gardening arena that asparagus is a crop that should never be started from seed. I am not sure when this became the standard dogma, but it is far from the actual truth. Asparagus is a crop that thrives when started from seed and those plants that are derived from home-grown stock tend to be larger and more robust than store-bought crowns. Growing asparagus from seed is a rewarding experience that is easier than you think.
For this year's edible garden, I have my standby's I plant every year and new varieties to try. I plant a combination of vegetables, greens, herbs and flowers in my garden. Read on to learn which ones work best in the Midwest.
7 ways to use cut grass from mowing the lawn in the garden to reduce waste and recycle.
Want the money-saving and health benefits of a personal garden? Where to put it is the first question to ask. Learn the basics here.
With a little TLC, there’s no reason our trusty garden tools shouldn’t last for many years. Find out how to maintain your tools to keep them as good as new.
In spring, we plant several crops into hay mulch to help control weeds, including reducing the "weed seed bank". Few weeds other than perennial grasses will come up through a 4-inch layer of hay. Mulches of natural materials keep the soil damper, which can mean higher yields and less need to water. This method is quick and easy, and more effective than mulching around the plants after transplanting.
There is nothing like growing your own veggies and canning the excess. A good place to start your search is your local farmer’s market. Ask one of the veggie farmers if you can come out and help on their farm and see where it goes from there. All it takes is a couple hours every week or two to learn the basics.
Growing your own localized varieties of vegetables allows you to customize the taste to your liking.
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.
Learn how to create gardening microclimates right on your own property to help crops thrive in the conditions they like best.
This is the time of year that salad greens and herbs shine in the edible garden. Lettuce, chard, parsley, cilantro, mustard, corn salad, and many other greens love the cool and moist spring days.
Are you looking to start a vegetable garden? Before you so much as lift a spade, you’ll need to decide on the best garden site to achieve excellent harvests.
‘Bloody Butcher’ usually takes 110 days for full maturity. If you want to dry the corn for use, there are a couple of methods we use here in the mountains. This post will outline what works for us and give tips for shelling and grinding your harvested corn.
Looking to do some early seed starting to get a jump on the gardening season? Late-winter seed starting is possible if you follow these easy techniques.
Polypodium virginianum aka the "Rock Polypody" is native to just about every state east of the Mississippi, Alaska, almost every province in Canada and all the way north up to Greenland and Iceland. To grow it requires no master's degree in gardening or landscape architecture or any particularly colored thumb. It's really quite simple! This is the perfect fern for any shade garden or along the path of any shade border.
We were looking for an organic product we could grow on the farm and provide food for chickens, goats and pigs. We wanted something that was heirloom and not hybrid so we could save our own seeds to plant and not have to buy seeds each year. We found just the product: ‘Bloody Butcher’ corn.
Cymophyllus fraserianus is the perfect Hosta replacement for any native plant garden or any shade garden, especially if you have a deer problem as this is one plant that isn't on Bambi's menu or wish list.
Weeks after graduating high school, I was accidentally shot in the neck by a 14-year-old boy playing with a rifle in his home. This injury left me a quadriplegic. After months of hospitals and rehab, my desire for growing things began to reignite and I started with houseplants and a terrarium. That grew to lettuce and tomatoes on the patio. It doesn't matter if you plant something but have to have help somewhere along the way before your produce reaches the table. What is important is that you be involved in what you eat.
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.
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.
The results are in: Starting even cool-weather crops inside is faster. See Seed-Starting, Part 1 for details on the set up.
Afraid you have a brown thumb? Here are worry-free veggies that can be grown in pots or in the garden. Try one or two or all ten for your first garden!
February is garden planning and indoor seed-starting time!
Increase your garden’s productivity with growing vertically. Beans, peas, squash and cucumbers love vertical growth. Culinary herbs love the vertical pocket gardens.
Love kimchi? Grow Korean chili peppers for DIY Gochugaru powder to bring amazing homegrown fresh flavor to your kimchi and other spicy ferments.
A list of my 2016 vegetable catalogs that carry heirloom varieties, along with the veggies I chose for this year.
January is the time to plan for next winter's dinners: cabbages, corn, potatoes and squash.
This video will show you how to sidestep three common mistakes beginners often make when they start growing vegetables.
If you want permission to garden with your own goals and comforts in mind, you'll find it here. Gardening is a consummate joy that can easily reflect the personality of its practitioner.
Have you been wondering what it is like to raise honeybees? Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will offer a peek into the life of a beekeeper in part one of a year long series. She will share what goes into maintaining a beeyard throughout the course of a year.
This is a perfect time for reflection and planning, because the 2016 gardening season is peeking around the corner. Seed catalogs are arriving. I am sure that all of us are really missing freshly picked tomatoes. Here are 5 ideas to use in planning your 2016 tomato garden.
An urban homestead is as unique as the individuals who own the property. Our homestead developed slowly. In fact, my wife likes to joke that we are “accidental homesteaders.” We did not buy our village home nestled on 1/16th of an acre with the goal of becoming urban farmers, it just sort of happened, out of necessity.
While this young couple had dreams of buying land to start their homestead, they were still stuck in an apartment in the big city so they rented a community garden plot. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Find ways to accomplish your goals and do what you love!
Mark pulled out the camera this week to share a few short videos about our winter garden and goats. Explore our December garden and goat pasture in these short homesteading videos.
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!
In Part 1, I posted a series of questions to ponder over the winter. Now it's time to take things further and start to devise a tomato growing garden plan for next year.
Forward-thinking gardeners are working to develop new varieties of garlic and reverse the effects of thousands of years of cloning.
Did you know you can grow potatoes in an apartment? Whether you live in an apartment or on a hundred acre farm, you can take steps towards self reliance and lifestyle independence. Living with limited space doesn't have to be a setback towards homesteading, and there are many creative ways you can take advantage of your space to get the most out of it.
For much of the country, the tomatoes we are eating now are not the prized specimens plucked from our gardens. They are emerging from our cupboards (dried, canned) or freezers – certainly wonderful enhancements to our cooking endeavors, but not elucidating the summer time level of excitement. But the end of the growing season doesn’t equate to a long, tomato thoughts-free sabbatical. This post outlines how to be planning for next tomato-growing season.
Follow these simple tips for winter garden success. Increase winter garden capacity and yield while protecting crops from the winter cold with these helpful organic farming tips.
Abundant Fields Farm is receiving the support of a business incubator process in much the same way other types of start-up businesses do. Sharing infrastructure with other beginning farmers helps make success possible.
Researchers have found truth behind the belief that gardening promotes physical and mental health, referring to the activity as horticulture therapy.
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.
Have an excess of leaves on your property? Here are some ideas for how to put them to use!
'Orange Jazz' is a productive new tomato variety bred on Baia Nicchia Farm. It has a sweet-complex flavor, with hints of stone-fruit and unique coloration with yellow stripes over orange flesh.
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.
In the parched Tehapachi Valley of California, where the yearly precipitation rate is only four inches, farmers are investing in growing heritage grains.
Gardening is often hard work and often costly, but it doesn't always have to be. Here are some low maintenance techniques to help you garden smarter, not harder.
Cold frames offer a simple way to protect plants from frost, but take care to vent these season extension devices to avoid overheating your plants on sunny days.
Cereal rye, a popular fall-planted cover crop, will improve your soil, suppress weeds, add organic matter and germinate in temperatures as low as 34 degrees.
My grandfather emigrated from Sicily and loved to cook. A recent trip back to the island by my mom, sister and cousin triggered a desire for me to learn what would be in a typical kitchen Sicilian garden. Much research later, this is what a heirloom "l’orto biologico" you would see growing in Sicily at the time my grandfather left his homeland for America in the early 1900s and is being brought back to life through efforts like the Slow Foods organization today.
As your summer crops wane, no doubt you are planting cover crops in their space, but leave room for garlic! Plant it this fall, mulch, and harvest in early summer.
Ramps, aka Allium tricoccum, are really wild leeks. They combine the taste of garlic with the taste of onion, although that's really somewhat of an oversimplification as the taste of ramps is bursting with other — so many other — flavors and nuances that they leave their actual essence difficult to verbalize.
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.
Further expand your awareness and interaction with your environment by adopting the conscious attitude of moving Toward a destination instead of going To a destination. This post describes how the author's mentor was always prepared to further enhance the landscape by making any general improvements using the caretaker's attitude.
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!
There are probably over 100 reasons that you should be growing shade-loving and native ‘Tasslerue’ Trautvetteria caroliniensis, but the main reason that you aren't growing it is because you've probably never heard of it, let alone had someone offer to share some with you. All that's about to change.
The commonly used name for our beloved early-spring, native wildflower Sanguinaria canadensis is "bloodroot." Bloodroot was once used as a dye and as an herbal remedy by early Native Americans. Sanguinaria canadensis is native to every state in the US and to every Canadian province east of the Rockies. Consequently, it's considered hardy down to Zone 3.
Is your kale patch infested with insects? It may be time to mow it down and start a fresh patch for fall. But, don't worry: Here’s a chard variety to get you by in the meantime while you wait for your fall kale to come up.
Why mulch your garden? There are many benefits to a strong mulching practice in home gardens.
Jostaberries are a cross between black currants and gooseberries, combing the best of both fruits to make a tasty berry and an even tastier jam. You can use a water bath canning method to preserve this productive perennial fruit.
Permaculture premise is creating a self-sustaining garden that has a nurturing relationship with your yard’s environment and symbiotic relationship among the plantings.
Making your home garden productive is an in-depth and gradual process. Though you can work with a design professional to hash out a use plan and plant list early on, it still takes several phases and periods of acclimation for a garden to begin to really thrive. Start utilizing the margins in your garden and beginning yielding more for your community.
America’s favorite pastime is scoring big with the fans as more and more ballparks step up to the plate of sustainable food production by incorporating urban farming into their scenery.
On-farm enterprises often take root when a gardener produces more than they can personally use. Here is a brief guide to working with restaurants and creating a Farm-to-Table culture within your community.
You do not have to have “land” to farm. You can farm where ever you are. A 10th of an acre is enough and, on some days, more than you would want to can handle. Make the best use of your space, care for your soil, be thrifty with water and enjoy the garden and the fruits of your labor.
I’ve done what I can to reduce our household water usage; I am not sure how I could cut down any further and still keep my vegetable garden alive. These are the steps I have taken over the years. Use these five simple techniques to conserve water (and save money) on your homestead.
Trilliums just have to be the most beloved wildflower of any native or non-native plant. Trilliums are very easy to grow and are a long-lived perennial plant whose size can double every year when taken proper care of. And I know from experience, as I've spent the last 30-plus years building production stock beds of well over 100,000 trillium plants.
Basil is a favorite Mediterranean herb that is super easy to grow in the garden or container. There are simple ways to preserve for year round enjoyment of this flavorful herb.
We cannot all have farms, but we can all raise our own tomatoes.
There are many types of melons, including the new category of personal size, or individual serving cantaloupes. Lists of both hybrid and open-pollinated varieties are given here, along with information on when to harvest.
While building their own home and farm, one couple decides to learn from other talented and experienced market farmers about how to set up year-round gardening production. Here are some tips and photos from a trip to Four Season Farm, home of Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch, in Maine.
Calendula flowers make a lovely floral component for an organic vegetable garden. Plus, they pull their weight in terms of productivity: The petals are edible and can be used in skin-healing salves and balms.
Rethinking a garden bed - from problematic to perfect for garlic.
The Tao of Vegetable Gardening by groundbreaking garden writer Carol Deppe explores the practical methods as well as the deeper essence of gardening. She focuses on some of the most popular home garden vegetables—tomatoes, green beans, peas, and leafy greens—and through them illustrates the key principles and practices that gardeners need to know to successfully plant and grow just about any food crop.
In The Nourishing Homestead, Ben Hewitt along with his wife Penny tell the story of how we can create truly satisfying, permanent, nourished relationships to the land, nature, and one another. With plenty of practical ways to grow nutrient-dense food, build soil, and develop traditional skills, this book is sure to inspire a new generation of homesteaders.
Gardens are possible, but having a successful garden at high elevation presents a different set of challenges.
This in-depth gardening infographic covers both good and bad insects, as well as companion plants, row covers and more.
Container gardening can be a great way to feed your family healthy food right outside your door. Lyle provides specific information on varieties of vegetables and the set-up of your container gardens.
We know you're anxious to get growing! But HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel says it's not time to plant seedlings just yet.
Spring tomato rituals and a discussion of good varieties for the Pacific Northwest garden.
Learn how to identify pesticide drift on your property, and take action with these tips from Pesticide Action Network.
Five tips for increasing your garden's productivity and yield. Utilize every inch, get the most from your space, and use all three seasons.
Find out whether your home compost pile will benefit from commercial compost accelerators.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and pregnant Pennsylvania mama Michelle (Congrats, Michelle!) shares her plans for planting a baby food garden, including her entire seed order.
Chicken tractors, which sit directly on garden beds during fallow times, maintain soil, reduce insect pests and even provide fresh eggs.
Gardening at a high elevation presents challenges such as harsh sun and a shorter growing season.
With GMOs seemingly everywhere you turn, it’s hard to know where to buy non-GMO Seeds. Here’s how to keep GMOs out of your garden.
Grasshoppers can be devastating in a garden, an insect in the locust family. There are ways to control them naturally without chemicals.
Seed starting techniques and timing for an urban homestead in the Pacific Northwest.
Some unique plants that will grow wonderfully in your perennial shade garden.
From no-till gardening to vertical gardening and container gardening, there are so many options for the creative gardener. Check out these 6 gardening options to try in 2015.
Gardening offers some amazing benefits to your mental and physical wellbeing.
January is the time to start your indoor seeds for spring planting. Here is a calendar for starting your spring and summer seeds.
Put together your own mini-indoor garden with these clever ideas.
"An Unlikely Vineyard" by Deirdre Heekin tells her story of growing wine in the unlikely hills of Vermont and her quest to express the essence of place in every bottle. It is about the evolution of her farm from overgrown fields to a fertile, productive, and beautiful landscape that melds with its natural environment. A gentle narrative with lush photography, this book will appeal to anyone who loves food, farms, and living well.
Anyone can have an indoor supply of fresh greens. Just try nutritious microgreens and sprouts year round.
Want to learn how to go your own dragon fruit cactus? Here's how!
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.
This article takes an insider’s look at how the seed business works, and what you can do to get the best-quality seeds.
The first of 12 posts, seed saving begins with an introduction to the stories behind seeds and why they are so important. From preserving our shared botanical heritage to protecting a diverse and decentralized food supply, the story of seed is as varied as the people who plant them.
Carrots come in many colors and sizes. By picking the right ones, you can grow carrots year-round in the ground or in containers.
Why pay high prices at the grocery store when growing herbs outdoors is achievable all winter long?
Four questions I ask of new varieties, before ordering seeds.
There are many reasons to save seed. Why should you learn how to save seed?
Aji Amarillo peppers (Capsicum baccatum) are versatile, fruity peppers used extensively in Peruvian cuisine. We have found many uses for these bright yellow and orange peppers, and our journey to discover them has only begun.
Here is an idea of daily hoop house tasks and information on growing and harvesting abundant, healthy winter vegetables in your hoophouse, avoiding hazardous nitrate accumulation in greens.
Tap the Tomato Chooser app for info on 333 tomato varieties, plus help deciding which tomatoes to grow in your garden based on the traits you want.
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.
Building garden boxes that keep critters out.
Use the cold winter months to start your own shade garden with native woodland plants.
Everything pauses during the time around the winter solstice.
The methods of landrace gardening can provide food, even when social or family troubles take us away from the garden.
Composting doesn't have to be tough! Learn to make easy compost without the stress.
Why it is important to stay on top of a garden.
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.
A philosophical look at the coming of winter, with ideas for preserving the summer after the end-of-the-season pepper harvest.
The Food is Free Project has inspired thousands of individuals, families and groups around the globe to start front yard free gardens to share with friends and neighbors. They are losing their teaching farm.
If you want to start seeds indoors this winter, check out our video to learn which fluorescent bulbs are the best grow lights.
Want a worry-free, weed-free, organic-matter-rich vegetable garden bed? It is doable and fall is the best time to put it in action!
Winter is the best time to step back from your garden and learn something new. Do some research, participate in learning programs, and work on your garden notebook. When the opportunity arises next year, visit the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
Winter food storage in a naturally cooled space.
The first frost of fall is a significant change in the garden. It is a sign of summer vegetables finishing and cold crops coming into prominence.
The ripening time of a particular fruit varies from one location to another and from year to year, though the order in which varieties ripen stays roughly the same.
Keep those vegetable plants growing for a second harvest late in the year. Organically-grown, heirloom varieties will survive with a little help.
Could you eat only food grown within 100 miles of your home for 10 days?
Learn more about this challenge and why you should consider taking it on.
Using leaves as mulch to enhance soil fertility.
Using these techniques you can spend an afternoon building a deep mulch garden and stop tilling and composting for up to 30 years.
Though summer vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, basil and cucumbers grow at a reduced pace in the fall, cool season crops like lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are coming into maturity throughout October and into November.
This blog post explores eco-friendly gardening tips to refreshing your garden tools, furniture, accessories and outbuildings without the need to buy mass-manufactured goods or use harmful chemical treatments.
It’s absolutely possible to be gardening in winter. You simply need to understand what to plant, when to plant it and how to maintain the best possible growing conditions in your home for indoor agriculture.
A gravity watering system can consist of a cistern to save roof top rain water and elevated tanks to gravity feed this water to your garden. As climate change makes rain less predictable, you can both water your garden and help save ground water.
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.
The first killing frosts of the season change the garden-scape.
Fall is the time to plant garlic. The cloves send down roots during the winter, popping their green heads out in early spring.
The actual footprint of a garden is only one of many factors for how much food that can be produced there. With succession planting, good soil and some planning the same garden area can produce substantially more food.
St. Paul, Minnesota, not only allows front yard gardens and promotes growing vegetables in containers, but encourages residents to beautify the boulevard with plants, including edibles.
Consider planting these three categories of vegetable crops during late summer and fall:
Warm weather crops that will die with frost.
Cool weather crops that grow well in spring and fall, but don’t thrive in your summer.
Cold-hardy crops to grow over the winter and get off to a fast start in early spring.
Follow these simple tips on fall gardening.
Ira shows how you can keep sowing and planting through late summer and into fall. Learn how to keep your garden producing abundantly through the cold months ahead.
Which grows better in Pacific Northwest gardens - kale or collards?
A good gardening tool is lightweight, ergonomically correct and has a positive impact on the soil. We only use hand tools (non-powered) in our gardens since we find that we can get the job done easier and more efficiently with a more correct impact on the soil and less impact on our bodies than we would with any machines.
Good storage conditions for your garden seeds are essential. These tips will help you learn how to store seeds.
This blog takes a look at the steps taken to propagate lavender by taking cuttings.
The Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service is looking for an organic farmer worthy of being named their 26th annual Organic Farmer of the Year.
Starting a new vegetable garden bed doesn't have to be a long, tedious, back breaking job. There are a few different ways to get the job done quickly and relatively easily!
"Integrated Forest Gardening" is the first, and most comprehensive, guide about plant guilds ever written, and it covers in detail both what guilds are and how to design and construct them, complete with extensive color photography and design illustrations.
The greenhouse takes shape with the help of family.
This blog post tells you how to set up a drip irrigation system in a raised bed garden.
You’d think that if you have some 10 acres you’d have a wonderful fields full of fresh vegetables and fruits. You’d think you’d have a simple way to create an awesome garden. And if you live where I live, you’d be wrong.
There are many tomato tales out there. If you want to know which farmer stories are true, read on to get tips on growing great tomatoes.
Tips that we have learned gardening at a high elevation.
Learn what to do when you spot garlic scapes growing on hardneck garlic types, and discover how to use garlic scapes that you remove from plants.
The hoophouse on our farm is filled with greens all winter long. It’s almost hard to switch gears for summer tomatoes.
Do you eat garlic for its health benefits? Choose a Porcelain cultivar for maximum impact!
This post will take a look at how we transplant vegetable seedlings in our certified organic greenhouses, especially tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
Zucchini is a summer crop that keeps on giving all season long. They are easy to grow.
This blog post takes a look at some of the methods we have developed over the last 25 years growing vegetable seedlings in our certified organic greenhouses. This time we take a look at the conditions required for healthy seedling growth.
You're not just a beginning gardener - you're also a scientist!
Egyptian walking onions are one of my favorite crops because they produce food for my family from early spring until late fall.
Building a layered bed to develop organic material in the soil, hold moisture and decrease the amount of work.
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.
Sam Benowitz and Tara Bittler are joining the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Blog Squad, and they break down the types of gardening and fruit-growing information they will share with you each week.
What to plant in April for your vegetable garden, and what sized pot you need for your vegetable plant.
This blog post shares some of the simple techniques learned through many years of experience by someone who grows vegetable seedlings for a living.
Starting seeds with children indoors is a project that extends into outdoor planting of the seedlings in spring and harvesting produce in the summer. It allows you to share success and satisfaction with children and makes it more likely they'll eat their vegetables!
How fast climate change will require you and your descendants to move north in order to keep farming and gardening a serious question you should be asking yourself.
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.
Our first project: building a small keyhole mound.
Growing lettuce and other leafy greens indoors with an aeroponic system in a south-facing window seems like a wise move, especially during this long, snowy winter. Here I will explain the basics of growing greens with an aeroponic system, starting off with the initial expenses and moving on to pH and nutrient solution. Then I’ll hope the sun provides enough life-giving rays long enough each day to grow some leafy greens.
The innovative garden seeder from Simple Seeder increases speed and ease of planting.
Some tomato varieties wilt when temperatures get too hot. Find heat-tolerant tomato varieties that can grow robust tomato plants in hot climates.
Learning how to graft tomatoes yourself not only saves money but gives you unlimited options for what varieties you choose to graft. With a little practice, you can become skilled at this worthwhile technique.
Barebones strives to make the experience of outdoor recreation and hobbies a priority.
Some crops survived the cold temperatures while others died. Which ones are most reliable for winter outdoors and in the hoophouse?
When lettuce is mentioned, many think of the standard iceberg lettuce found in supermarkets and restaurant salads. That is changing with the growth in popularity of the different types of lettuces from Romaine to head and leaf-type lettuces, mainly due to the flavors and colors that they offer from deep red to almost white and noticeably sweet to tangy and slightly bitter.
A pragmatic approach to eliminating male sterility from a home garden. Includes a diagram and photos about what to look for.
Winter down-time from the garden is the best time for planning what vegetables you want to grow in the upcoming season. Having the seeds ready and knowing when to plant them can minimize the chaos in spring and maximize harvests in fall. It’s all about getting ready now.
EZ Tomato Cages are collapsible and sturdy unlike many currently on the market.
Here is a great article on straw bale gardening.
Cell Fusion genetic engineering is emerging as a hot topic in the Certified Organic seed and food industry. We can expect the resolution of this issue to impact both small-scale and large-scale growers.
Creating a landrace of promiscuously pollinated tomatoes. Details about my major plant breeding project for the next few seasons and a plea for help.
It is possible to grow fresh crops through the dark months even without a greenhouse, and even where we live, a thousand miles from the Arctic Circle, where the winter sun brings only brief and meager light.
Gardening is as easy as you want it to be!
Introducing Alpaca-Gold, a new company producing 100% all natural, organic Alpaca fertilizer.
A landrace market farmer’s perspective on survival seed banks. Part 3: Storing the seeds. With careful forethought, it is possible to store seeds in a manner that will allow them to avoid or survive common seed destroying events.
Wintertime for a farmer is full of projects and planning.
A landrace market farmer’s perspective on survival seed banks. Part Two – Suggestions about the types and quantities of seeds to include in an emergency seed bank.
A market farmer’s perspective on survival seed banks, evaluating current offerings.
Review of The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast, a new book written by Ira Wallace.
With a small space, how do you choose what to grow? You can grow an amazing variety and amount of vegetables and herbs in a very small space, integrate veggies and herbs into your flowers, and maximize the use of pots.
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.
Grow enough seed for yourself and a little extra for seed swaps and you may never have to pay for seeds again.
Give your pots the protection they need when freezing temperatures arrive with a portable greenhouse. You can also bring in pepper plants for the winter and have fresh peppers indoors.
The principles of landrace gardening can be applied at any scale from small annual gardens to multi-generational community wide tree farms.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel discusses using manure in the garden, including which type of animal waste is best for which crops.
Even if you only have garden pots to work with, you can still container garden in fall and winter to grow vegetables.
Sunroots are a typically-cloned crop with great potential as a locally-adapted survival-of-the-fittest landrace
Exploring my hopes and dreams for the landrace seed movement with suggestions about how farmers, merchants, and gardeners could cooperate to create a more robust, secure, and locally adapted food system.
A photo essay documenting imported landraces that I started incorporating into my existing landraces during the current growing season.
The Keystone Center, in partnership with the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, is hosting a regional food workshop called “The Traditional Winter Garden: Fresh Food From December to March.”
Among a slew of other awards for her outstanding writing, Barbara Pleasant has received the 2013 Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association for her Gardening Know-How column.
A photo essay showing off the beauty of landrace squash.
Cover crops protect your soil over the winter and are beneficial for soil building. Learn more about your cover crop options and the time to plant them.
Growing pine trees from seed will allow you to produce lots of trees very economically. Follow these instructions to propagate pine trees from seed.
“Aquaponics Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together” offers advice and insight into the world of sustainable gardening
An experiment in urban gardening produces a melon miracle.
A photo essay showing off the beauty of landrace crops.
Using leaves in the garden will boost the soil’s organic matter.
How to use hybrids in a landrace garden.
Joseph Lofthouse shares tips for growing landrace popcorn.
Our Vegetable Garden Planner assists you in planting your fall garden by giving you planting dates specific to your location, projected harvest dates and more.
A perfectly ripe heirloom tomato is one of the great joys of summer, here are some tips for organizing your own heirloom tomato party.
Landrace gardening allows us to minimize fertilization by selecting for plants that thrive in the pre-existing soil.
Joseph Lofthouse shares how to maintain thriving populations of landrace vegetables in the garden.
Seed saving is an integral part of landrace gardening.
This garden is practically maintenance free as it produces some of the most beautiful and most beloved flowers. After you have tried it, you will wonder, why didn’t I start growing hardy annuals sooner? Don’t miss the opportunity to garden in the forgotten seasons.
By growing potatoes from pollinated seeds we can develop locally adapted plants that thrive in our gardens.
Landrace gardening enhances food security by growing genetically diverse crops that are not as prone to crop failure as monoculture fields of near clones.
The journey to a self-sufficient life is a bumpy ride. Having a backup plan — or two — can make all the difference in your progress.
The set launch of Worm’s Way Group’s new website promises improved usability, more speed and exclusive web-based promotions.
By applying the principles of landrace gardening, you can help your plants win the race against weeds.
Blogger Crystal Stevens discusses her time working at a nature-based summer camp for kids.
Using landrace gardening and promiscuous pollination to get what you want from your garden.
These sources can help you locate organic and other natural options for plants, seeds, and weed and pest control products.
Landrace gardening promotes hybrid vigor and avoids inbreeding depression by encouraging promiscuous pollination.
Landrace gardening requires different plant naming conventions than those followed by industrialized agriculture.
A photo essay showing off the stunning success of landrace gardening on my farm. This success was achieved because I changed my growing methods to embrace one of the key elements of landrace growing; “survival of the fittest."
Using an old-world technique, Russians are growing their own organic crops -- and it's working.
Joseph Lofthouse, seedsman from Paradise Utah, is now blogging about “Landrace Gardening” on Mother Earth News. The blog is a practical hands-on manual about how to improve crop production by localizing your plants to your unique garden.
Completing tasks in preparation for a few days away from the homestead
Building community through sharing work and food.
But maybe, at the end of the day, I am just a person with weak nerves doing something that depends on so many unknown factors – the weather, the bug population, the quality of seeds and some plain ol' luck.
It was becoming pretty obvious the crowding and lack of light were real limitations to my mini garden. Then, the idea of a trough on the windowsill came to mind, combining a way to water all the plants uniformly and efficiently all at once. Great, now how to make this trough? Wood? Sheet metal? The choices all seemed expensive, clumsy, prone to leaking...then the light bulb went on in my head: gutters!
The all-new RZT S ZERO is available in select markets and will be headlining the Cub Cadet Test Drive Experience Tour.
April is National Garden Month! Learn about the benefits of building a garden and tips on how to create one even if you don’t have a big backyard.
Planting a vine patch for the first time is easy without the need to till up a lot of soil; instead, cut out sod circles and mulch the surrounding area.
By starting seeds indoors, you get a jump start on spring garden planting.
Have you started your tomatoes and peppers yet? 'Tis the season to start seeding long season crops indoors. If you normally buy organic starts from your local nursery, try your hand at seed starting.
Get a materials list and step-by-step insructions for low tunnel construction for your backyard garden.
What exactly is hydroponic gardening? Though it may sound complicated, it’s really not. The word "hydroponic" comes from the Greek "hydro," meaning water, and “ponic,” meaning work. The basic concept is this: growing plants in a nutrient rich water solution rather than in soil.
A neglected, overgrown, old apple tree does have charm, its gnarled, elbowed branches seemingly ready to reach out for a hug. The fruits, unfortunately, more often than not are too small, too pest-ridden, and too high in the tree. My fear of heights makes the last deficiency most important to me. Large, clean fruits are for nought if I can’t bring myself to climb a ladder or the branches for harvest.
A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.
Learn how to rotate crops with this helpful crop rotation video.
I’d like to introduce the words farmden and farmdener into the English language. I wonder if there are any other farmdeners out there. And just what is a farmden? It’s more than a garden, less than a farm. That’s my definition, but it also could be described as a site with more plants and/or land than one person can care for sanely. A gardener and garden gone wild, out of control.
Des Moines, Iowa, gardeners may soon find themselves in hot water with their City. A local resident recently took front yard veggie growers to task for what the resident feels to be unsightly lawn growth. Beets and berries, it seems, do not have the same aesthetic appeal as a green, freshly-mowed front lawn.
Using Pinterest can help inspire new gardening ideas.
Why “hot and humid” doesn’t have to equal “sad and lifeless.”
Try using the Grow Planner app to streamline your garden planning and your garden work.
EZ Tomato Cages are the brainstorm of two friends, both fed up with purchasing tomato cages that were cheaply fabricated, weak and difficult to store.
If I could only pick one season extending structure, it would be a cold frame. Incredibly versatile, a simple cold frame is the key to taking your garden from a two or three-season plot and turning it into a year round vegetable factory.
We're getting revved up for winter seed swaps, and planning our tomato plantings to account for all the great tasting events next summer and fall. Find out how to find your own local events, or host your own!
Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.
Ira Wallace explores good winter gardening reads, gives advice on how to use the winter lull wisely to plan and prepare, and shares an update in the ongoing court battle to protect family farmers from agri-giant Monsanto.
Use our popular When to Plant app to know when to plant each crop in your area.
In a war on gardens, the City of Orlando has taken issue with the rows of beans, greens, and other vegetables occupying Jason and Jennifer Helvenston's front yard garden. The Helvenstons respond to the City's request they remove their "illegal" garden.
Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.
Killing frosts are arriving, but Ira's staying self-sustaining all winter, with winter-hardy greens and plenty in storage, from sweet potatoes to pickled peppers. Get inspired with ideas for kimchi and a fresh twist on winter salads, with yacon.
Jason Helvingston of Orlando, Fla., fights for his right to grow food in his front yard garden after the City of Orlando cited him for illegal gardening, pitting food self-sufficiency against city ordinance.
Join us in fighting the threat of GMOs: California's Right to Know (Prop 37) for GMO labeling leads the nation, and the Southern Exposure lawsuit against Monsanto continues to push through the courts. Plus, fall gardening can be easier than summer!
Cam enjoyed a very successful sweet potato harvest!
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
Rural Living Today founder and advocate, Marie James, told us about a Homesteading Education Month event she and her family hosted in Northeast Washington to teach gardeners how to grow vegetables in cold weather.
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!
Heirloom vegetables are multi-use crops that have been passed down from gardeners for decades, sometimes centuries. Respected author and gardener, William Woys Weaver, discusses his reasons for using heirloom plants and saving seed.
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!
Monticello's Heritage Harvest Festival inspired us to keep at those challenges that frustrate us on the farm.
Thank goodness for good friends who will share their garden harvest with those of us less skilled.
Try BOGS gardening clogs, a super-comfortable pair of gardening shoes that will stand up to tough wear.
It's Week #11 of our CSA and we can't find boxes big enough to fit all of the great produce!!
Cam undertakes an experiment to see how much food he can produce on his one acre of garden space.
Cam is enjoying a bumper crop of onions this year!
Come rejoice in the bounty of heirloom tomatoes - experience the flavors and choose your favorites at tomato tastings throughout the Southeast. Plus, it's time to plant fall alliums - garlic and perennial onions - and fall crops for winter storage!
It's an aromatic time of year at Sunflower Farm - time to clean the garlic!
As you can guess from their name, cabbage worms primarily attack plants in the cabbage family, but are not exclusively cabbage feeders.
Ranting about the drought worked! We got rain here at Sunflower Farm!
Enter attractive easy to assemble garden structures that attractively stake, prop and gently guide plants while never stealing the spotlight from the beautiful garden starlets they support.
The drought conditions at Sunflower Farm are making Cam rather cranky.
Strategies for controlling voles in the potatoes in your garden.
Easy, practical, delicious – growing an organic food garden is a skill anyone can learn: that's my main message! It doesn't have to involve a lot of work and certainly doesn't require a big investment in special products or equipment.
This certification confirms that the company’s import, warehousing, and sales processes meet the standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program.
Describes a method of protecting tomatoes from excessive heat using a sunscreen, vermicompost tea, pulling blighted leaves.
Cam finds an new old-fashioned way to keep the wildlife out of his garden.
Taking care of compost is essential to healthy soil and good food.
Cam contemplates his place in the universe while weeding his corn patch....
It may be sweltering hot outside, but we're still busily sowing seeds at the Southern Exposure farms! Learn how to plant your bountiful fall and winter garden, with abundant harvests through Thanksgiving and beyond.
When I first got chickens many years ago I had two initial goals: to let my flock roam free range and live as close as possible to how they would naturally, and to build my soil with their manure.
There are many logical reasons for adding flowers to your vegetable garden: attracting beneficials, crop diversity, companion-planting, barriers and healthy soil. But perhaps their beauty does not need to be rationalized at all!
I asked Heather, the Marketing and Customer Service Specialist over at Thrive, a few questions and here’s what she said about mycorrhizal fungi.
Cam is exhausted but exhilarated by the early success of his CSA.
Cam describes the method he used when planting his sweet potatoes this year with hopes that he'll end up with a prettier finished product!
We're lucky to be able to live the way we do, even when we feel like we're melting
Let’s put water back into the soil where it belongs. Permeable or porous surfaces, like a gravel path or patio, allow rainfall and irrigation to percolate into the ground rather than spill into the street.
Keep your garden full all season by planting the next crop as soon as the previous crop is harvested. Tips for deciding what to plant next.
A birdbath in the garden does much more than a birdfeeder. Attract birds to the garden with water, and they will help with pest control, soil aeration, and much more as they get the water they need for drinking and grooming. Wasps love a drink too.
Hints for harvests all summer long - don't just sow once! Ira helps you plan summer successions for your garden. Plus, discover culinary secrets of okra you never suspected - okra coffee and okra oil - and a recipe for a simple okra lunch.
Cam is trying to extend his growing season with DIY greenhouse structures.
Our MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR last weekend was full of great presentations about all facets sustainable living, including on learning how to garden.
Steve explains how he and his 11 year old son grew a crop of wheat entirely by hand, and why this is something you should try, too.
Popcorn is easy to grow and makes an attractive and delicious alternative to sweet corn, especially in a small garden. Kids will love the cute little ears, and adults will treasure the superior flavor of homegrown popcorn. Plant in late spring.
Climate change is here to stay, with violent and unpredictable weather. This presents challenges to home gardeners, so is there a way to storm proof our gardens?
So, what do you do if you neglected to start your veggies way back in January or February? You had good intentions but there always seemed to be something that stole your attention. Now it’s the planting season and you have nothing to plant...
How far along are your tomatoes? Ira Wallace gets inspired by gorgeous gardens in Asheville, North Carolina, and shares a quick, easy recipe for tomato sauce.
Tips for keeping your tomato plants healthy.
Trying to decide the best way to trellis my cucumbers and learning some new techniques.
Transitioning seedlings from indoor starts to outdoor plants
There are many more ways than ever to earn income without ever leaving the homestead. As energy prices rise, earning the money you need without traveling is key to success. It just might not come from the place you expect.
Cam has been collecting old windows for years and has finally put them together to make a greenhouse!
Summer intern Megan describes her first time gardening at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, planting cucumbers for the first time and watering the office garden.
When a vegetable garden doesn’t look like a vegetable garden, what is it? A polyculture, where gardeners strive to address this simple truth: The most effective way to grow healthy plants is to create gardens that replicate nature.
Sweet, healthy, root vegetables that love growing through the heat of summer? Learn about adding Jerusalem artichokes, yacon, and sweet potatoes to your gardens. Plus, more on the incredible health benefits of roselle (hibiscus).
Experiences getting started gardening in the 1970's and suggestions for beginning your own projects in 2012.
Part of gardening is knowing what to do with your veggies after you've grown them. Here, we will examine what to do with those pie pumpkins this upcoming Fall.
Cam ponders the wisdom of starting a CSA at the ripe old age of 52.
There are various means for developing an edible landscape.
Deciding where to buy seeds can be a perplexing challenge. How does a conscientious gardener choose seeds that will grow well, look lovely and taste great, but also support sustainable seed farmers and healthy environments?
At the gardens of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, we're preparing to plant sweet potato slips, hardening off transplants, and enjoying an abundance of spring cabbage. Learn tips and tricks for getting your transplants ready for the great outdoors.
Where are we headed, vis a vis our food systems? Can we as individuals make a difference in our food? Yes!
I’m a handmade gardening gal – part eco-friendly, non-traditionalist; part crafty creative with more ideas than money, and an abiding aversion to off-the-shelf shopping. My garden is my canvas, my vision, and my voice.
When you ask people if they want chemicals in their garden or on their food, most will say no. They want to limit their exposure to the chemicals and pollutants.
Some of the difficulties we encounter in gardening at a high elevation
Ira helps you get started using nature's signs to plan your garden. Don't just rely on planting dates — easy observations of what's blooming, buzzing, and singing in your garden will help you see changing patterns from year to 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.
The mild winter has led to an earlier than usual spring growing season and plenty of surprises in the way of plants making it through the winter that normally would never survive the cold season. Here's a peek at what's growing in my spring garden.
Eating only homegrown foods on the Fridays in Lent.
Learn about the advantages of urban farming from those who are leading the way. The benefits include improved food production, increased revenue sources and reduced energy use.
Want lettuce and carrots all year round? Ira Wallace tells us her simple simple method for keeping track of succession plantings.
You want to start your urban garden from seed this year, but you're not sure where to start because you’ve only started from transplants.
Growing and harvesting hazelnuts (filberts) in your garden.
Starting flats of seedlings begins this year's growing season.
Ira Wallace inspires us to create flowering, native plant habitat in our gardens. Learn how to identify plants that are 'user-friendly' to the bugs that help keep our gardens healthy.
Get tips on growing watermelons from the expert growers at Willhite Seed company, which offers dozens of unique watermelon varieties.
Every fall Cam is tired of gardening and vows to make his vegetable garden smaller. Every spring he is excited about getting back in the garden and ends up making it bigger!
To make the best use of potato-growing season, use the technique of greensprouting.
Learn three simple tips for making the most of small gardening spaces, including hanging plants and advice for selecting seed varieties.
Thoughts on growing all your own food. How much space is required and other things to consider.
A tour of the gardens at Southern Exposure, where we're taking advantage of warm sunny days in February to get our gardens ready for intense planting ahead. But there's still plenty to sow, indoors and out.
Know how many seeds you need for your area considering germination rate and extras.
Highlights from the catalog of Fedco Seeds, by the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
So, you can't wait for the weather to warm up enough to get out and plant a few seeds in the ground? Well here is a list of gardening ideas and activities to keep you occupied and happy right up until the day that spring arrives!
The how's and why's we homestead
Knowing your average last frost date is key to getting your garden off to a good start.
It's mid-February, time to start thinking about spring! Ira Wallace helps us make our garden plan, remember our perennials, and Plant a Row for the Hungry this year.
Dealing with insects in your garden is inevitable. It’s just a matter of when it happens. Just because you have some critters munching on your food doesn’t mean that you have to break out the chemicals.
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.
Sauerkraut is an effective and delicious way to store cabbage and add something "fresh" to the winter months
Host a community seed swap in honor of "National Seed Swap Day," plan to save your own seeds from the garden this year, and get inspired to cook creatively with winter vegetables.
One way to get a jumpstart on the growing season is to start growing your seeds indoors. For most of you it’s still cold outside. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a headstart on getting your garden started for the new year.
You don't have to depend on nature to feed your bees. Take matters into your own hands and plant enough good food for your bees, so they have good, safe food all year long.
Ira Wallace covers developments in the lawsuit to protect your right to save seeds and how to take action against GMO contamination of the food supply. Also, choose the right onions for your garden and learn what to sow in January.
The good, the bad and the ugly of a nice mild winter and its effects on the homestead in 2012.
How to Schedule your Planting by the Moon
The ACTUAL benefits of weeds in your garden. Use and value diversity! Find the benefit!
Sue Parker shares her grandmother's secrets to a strong tomato crop.
Progress in the straw bale and wooden cold frames, delicious Kim Chee recipes for winter harvested Chinese cabbage and winter radishes, and an update from the Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch program in Arlington, VA.
Ira Wallace talks about heirloom grinding corns that provide resilience and sustenance to gardener interested in self reliance. Includes a recipe for Southern style cornbread muffins.
If we want future generations to live self-sufficient lives, we have to pass on the knowledge. This week's "Photo of the Week" reflects that point.
Southern Exposure celebrates Slow Food's Terra Madre Day with a fresh winter greens salad, featuring yacon, a South American root vegetable that tastes like fresh pear! Plus garden planning to have your own farm fresh food through the winter.
Potted greens are a good complement to greens in the hoop house soil.
Ira takes us on a winter garden tour of the experimental gardens at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. She describes the various experimental cold frames for winter gardening and winter starts. Includes a winter recipe for Sweet Potato Leek Soup.
Check out this roundup of 10 favorite sustainable gifts for the gardeners on your list — all under $50!
The vegetables and herbs that are still available in our Southeast garden make for delicious, festive and surprisingly varied holiday fare.
This spring when the pests arrive in your garden try this radical strategy - Do nothing!
For those of us who hate to use chemicals in our gardens, in our homes, or with our livestock and pets, diatomaceous earth may be a safe and efficient substitute. It may worm your animals, rid them of fleas and lice and even handle indoor pests.
A brief thesis on the finer properties of garlic and planting instructions.
It is not difficult to set up a backyard hoop house to extend your growing season. The result is abundant, delicious greens and extra months with your hands in the soil. Share information here on backyard hoop house gardening and cuisine.
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.
Cam is getting burned out on technology and seeks solace in his "low tech" garden.
Cam was generously offered the loan of a small backhoe and had a whale of a time getting jobs done!
This summer Cam became a market gardener and actually got paid for something he loves to do - grow vegetables!
Actor Carel Struycken is famous for his role as Lurch in Addams Family, as well as many other roles. He is also a big proponent of permaculture. Nyerges talks with Struycken at his Pasadena home about permaculture and sustainable farming.
Maddy Harland explains how to make light work of establishing the ground layer in a forest garden, create a wildlife habitat and control pests all at the same time.
Homegrown vegetables are a lesson for kids in where food comes from.
Cam appreciates the simple things like rotten hay and beautiful vegetables from his garden.
Jason Akers, The Self-Sufficient Gardener, taught kids of all ages the basics of gardening on Saturday and Sunday at the Fair.
I was 9 when Mr. Posey “hired” me. Once I was certain he wouldn’t chase me off, I started spending nearly every spare moment there. It was my first job, and I loved it.
Cam has a great deal of respect for farmers.
Gardening for the first time ever in a hoophouse is a lot like gardening elsewhere. But, it is gardening in a whole different climate!
Your attractive food garden could win you $500 and a chance to be featured in MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
This is an excerpt from Christopher Nyerges' "Self-Sufficient Home" book (published by Stackpole) where he talks about some of his early gardening experiences and when he learned that the health of the soil is the most important aspect of gardening.
Cam has been busy harvesting and sorting potatoes.
Gene GeRue relates the lessons he learned from a childhood of frugal living.
Elsa Sanchez of Penn State University will present two workshops on compost and mulch at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Diane Ott Whealy of Seed Savers Exchange and Jackie Cleary Dietrich of Auburn Meadow Farm will present workshops on gardening and farming at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, Sept. 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Linda Conroy of Moonwise Herbs and Brooms will present a workshop on bioregional herbalism at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Want to find a new garden plot for next year? Look into community gardens in your area, or start your own!
Jason Akers, The Self-Sufficient Gardener, will present two workshops on gardening at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Ruth Rogers Clausen of Timber Press will present a workshop on how to cope with deer when gardening at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Cam is getting worn out trying to keep up with watering during a drought.
Maddy Harland introduces the shrub layer of a forest garden and gives six useful tips for establishing a low maintenance and healthy garden.
Cam describes a recent adventure involving round bales, train tracks and a stressful drive home.
Sue J. Morris of Sue's Salves will present two workshops on gardening and creating salves at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Cam loves growing and selling food!
See this shot of Swiss chard with strong colors that any gardener can appreciate.
Candy DeBerry, Ph.D. of Washington & Jefferson College will present a workshop on pollination at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Tammi Hartung of Desert Canyon Farm will present three workshops on growing and using herbs at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival. September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Jennifer R. Bartley of American Potager will present a workshop on cooking with herbs and vegetables from a kitchen garden at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
If you’re a market gardener battling the heat, you’ll want to check out these great tips for keeping yourself and your crops cool.
Deborah Niemann of Antiquity Oaks will present two workshops on traditional home dairies and homegrown food at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger of Green Heron Tools will present a workshop on the principles of good body mechanics at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
It's been a rough summer for gardeners and farmers alike. Here's how we've been dealing with drought and a few tips on watering.
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 enjoyed another week with some volunteer helpers!
A transplanted Choctaw and Southerner, a grandmother shows her strength and creativity during the Industrial Revolution and shows how one can face and adapt to life’s challenges.
A problem for older gardeners is finding tools that make gardening easier as getting up and down becomes harder.
The next installment of Maddy Harland's blog series on forest gardening. This week how to choose the lower canopy.
Michelle knows how much work it is to grow strawberries.... and she's happy to be able to buy them at any price!
Michelle discovers a new threat to her basil plants!
Cam describes his weight loss program which involves lots and lots of gardening....
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.
Cam battles with scarabs in his raspberry patch.
Do you feel like the month of June left you gasping for air? You are not alone. I am hoping July will be slower paced and full of summertime fun!
Congratulations to Pat Stone creator and editor of Green Prints Magazine and, now, a recognized Asset to the Planet!
The RTA12 & RTR12 Series Rotary Tillers from Land Pride till soil for seedbed and planting preparation with uses and applications in landscaping, gardens, and residential areas.
Maddy Harland describes the canopy layer of a temperate forest garden and shares some useful tips on designing and planting useful and edible tree crops.
Cam has found another way to save money - his wife cuts his hair now! He also describes how even though he isn't artistic he creates and enjoys the masterpieces from his garden.
How can someone who claims to be a 'modern homesteader' not have planted her garden by the end of June, you ask? Well, let me tell you...
Our HelpXers Mike and Melissa share their experiences as volunteers here at Sunflower Farm.
Cam and Michelle enjoy having their first "HelpX" volunteers to help out in the gardens!
At this time of year, Cam feels a little overwhelmed by the gardening chores ahead of him.
Maddy Harland introduces forest gardening – beautiful, low maintenance and productive gardens that provide for many of our needs – food, fuel, medicines and fibers.
Take a visual tour of the events at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair in Puyallup, Washington.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Associate Editor Shelley Stonebrook offers tips for building permanent garden beds and paths. Shelley presented her workshop “10 Great Ways to Make Gardening Easier” at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Wash.
It's opening day at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR! We're covering all kinds of cool gardening topics at the Organic Gardening Stage.
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.
Linda Gilkeson, master gardener, and Jessie Price of EatingWell Magazine will present workshops on gardening and healthy cooking at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Growing potatoes in containers allows you to increase your yield in a small amount of space.
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!
Cam describes "double digging" as a way of creating a new garden without losing precious topsoil.
When you say “organic” most people think of elitists that are buying over priced food because they think that they are better than others. What does the “organic” really mean though?
Meet Kriste Misiak and her family, the recent winners of the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Ultimate Garden Giveaway.
Lindsay Lee, nursery owner and Seed Savers Exchange advisor, will present a workshop on grafting fruit trees at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Erin Harwood and Eloyce O'Connor of the Garden Delights CSA and Herb Farm will present a workshop on natural remedies at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Don't let your wanderlust for more space hold you back from creating your homestead in the city.
David Tracey of New Society Publishing will present two workshops on organic gardening at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
The Living Seed Company is creating a platform to inspire gardeners and gardeners to be.
Finding wild morel mushrooms growing in our urban backyard means plenty of marvelous meals.
Maddy Harland writes about principles that underpin our understanding and practical application of permaculture. She relates them to designing a green home and garden but also explains how permaculture can help us to create more sustainable lifestyle
Everyday families can now provide much of their fresh vegetables using Aquaponics. Aquaponics is the production of edible fish and vegetables growing in a drought proof, no weed, back saving growing system.
Here are six of my favorite ideas for those of you with small spaces and still want to get your garden on.
Registered dietitian, Linda Simon, shares her experiences growing gluten free grains in her garden.
Catch the gardening bug, and start to grow your own food! Once you start, you’ll love it. Here are some basic pieces of advice for the budding gardener.
Cam is hoping that the Queen attends his gardening workshop this weekend at the Royal Botanical Gardens....
Regardless of how little space you have, you can grow some of your own food. Space is just an excuse. By building a self-watering container or soda bottle planter you can maximize the space that you have. You don't have to have a huge garden - growi
Cam appreciates all four of our seasons!
To ensure we have a full productive garden, each spring I start a habit of carrying a packet of seeds in my pocket every time I head to the garden!
Old books can be a hoot to read! Check out these quotes from an 1890 book, How to Make the Garden Pay, by T. Greiner.
Having little space is not a reason to not be growing your own food. It's just an excuse. I've been apartment gardening since 2009.
Cam has always enjoyed playing with water. Now he lets his solar-powered pump do some of the work!
Companion planting can be a great strategy for organic gardeners. Take our nationwide companion planting survey to help us gather useful information about this gardening technique.
We learned a long time ago that we couldn’t attract an audience for our magazines unless we gave our readers tools they could use to improve the world personally. A backyard organic garden is the perfect symbol of positive vision and commitment.
A potential solution to rising food prices, food insecurity and the obesity epidemic may call into play raising farms inside the city limits.
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.
Once our bodies and our imaginations are engaged, the incremental change begins. Then it gets easier and easier to envision humanity occupying this planet–this beautiful, abundant planet–far into the future.
Lundberg Family Farms announces the opening of a new warehouse that is powered by 100% solar energy. Lundberg Family Farms produces wholesome, healthful rice products while protecting and improving the environment for future generations.
Cam finds getting around in the country, especially in the winter, so much easier with his 4X4 truck.
The UrBin Grower is a unique gardening system that takes place in self-watering containers that can be used on decks, patios, side yards or porches.
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
Can’t have a garden of your own, but you want to garden? Urban Garden Share allows you to do exactly that!
Use old CDs and soda cans to keep pests out of your garden.
Simran Sethi takes a moment to give thanks.
Simran Sethi starts dreaming of spring gardening, with the goal of renewing her efforts to grow real food.
Cam describes some family heirlooms - especially his favorite one - a shovel!
The Ogden Community Garden winds down, and one gardener marvels at the late October harvest, and on how much the garden has meant to everyone who has helped tend it.
While there are plenty of great reasons to grow a food garden, we recently polled readers to find out their primary motivation for gardening. Read their interesting results, plus tell us more about your gardening philosophy.
Amid mounting concerns over food security and sustainable food systems, the rise of urban gardens and agriculture has been on the rise. Due to a paralleled increase in the numbers of people interested in learning how to garden, programs in urban agriculture at colleges as well as nonprofit urban garden training programs have sprouted up across the country.
It's always wonderful to meet someone who is passionate about what they do!
After a summer of growing sweet potatoes, fall is the long-awaited time to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Properly harvesting sweet potatoes, followed by sound curing and storage methods, will ensure you can enjoy your crop through the winter months.
Engineer Venkappa Gani leads by example when it comes to sustainable living. His entire backyard is an organic garden, an edible landscape that borders his rainwater harvesting tank collectors overlooked by solar panels that power his home (and more!). Gani is dedicated to sustainability, a word he lives by everyday at his suburban home in Austin, Texas.
Mother Nature has a way of filling in the blank spots....
We produce wonderful, organically approved soil products for the independent garden centers.
The new website offers the home gardener an expanded product selection of useful garden products.
Do you know the best time to plant garlic? Try planting in fall instead of spring for healthy, large garlic bulbs.
Cam shares the results of his experiment growing wheat in his vegetable garden.
The right dog can be a very useful member of the family when you are growing corn!
Home gardeners and urban farmers can come up against garden laws and regulations that can limit the size, style and components of their garden.
The second post (of three) describing an organic gardener's attempt to grow his own wheat.
Cam grows a patch of wheat to see how much work is involved. He will never take a loaf of bread for granted again!
Simran Sethi teams up with two neighbors to "grow food, not lawns."
Cam shares what he has learned about corn smut in his organic garden.
Cam shares his love affair with garlic and explains the work involved with growing and processing organically-grown garlic.
Garlic is a very labour-intensive crop to grow but the rewards are worth it!
An introduction to Cam Mather's off-grid home and lifestyle.
I’ve learned that gardening in small spaces can be challenging, but I’ve had great success with a Topsy Turvy tomato planter this year. Have you used similar products in your home? How do you handle gardening in small spaces?
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.
Painted rocks or pebbles can potentially deter birds from pecking at ripening fruit. Tell us how this technique has worked for your, plus check out other readers’ tips and responses.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributing editor and compost expert Barbara Pleasant provides some great homestead compost tips in celebration of Compost Awareness Week.
Recently a trend in farming called hydroponics has resurfaced and gained national attention that has grown in popularity with some, but has left others with mixed feelings.
Have you heard of “guerrilla gardening,” where folks toss flower seeds into vacant lots, or sometimes sneak in at night and plant flowers in unkempt highway medians or strips along city sidewalks? Check it out this year as a fun and fruitful way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
Readers familiar with triple-digit temperatures share their best tips for gardening in the southwest. Get advice about what to plant, when to plant and how to plant if you live in the hottest areas of the country.
Consult these seed starting tips for easy advice on seed planting, using the best materials, watering, grow lights and more.
One great thing about gardening that goes beyond soil building and crop rotations is its ability to bring people together. As spring is now officially here, it’s a great time to revel in all the pleasures the season is sure to bring. Please share your thoughts and stories about how gardening has brought people together in your life.
The experience of growing one's first garden is a thrill one will never forget.
Readers share regional gardening resources.
Readers share tips and tricks for taking care of winter garden beds.
If you have a constant, overwhelming urge of wanting to be outside breathing in the fresh air and partaking in various farming activities, you may be suffering from barnheart.
If you’re growing food in the house through the cold months, our readers can benefit from your experience. Have you had success at indoor gardening before? What did you grow? Share your tips and tricks!
Attend the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello to learn more about heirloom gardening.
Gardeners suggest gardening books for beginners.
To better accommodate the planting schedule of gardeners in the southern United States, California’s Natural Gardening Company will make a dozen varieties of tomato transplants available by mid-August.
Yes, spring is finally here. Time to start farming.
Before space beneath your grow light is needed for onions and other early seedlings, fill it with baby lettuce grown in translucent clamshell salad containers.
Get an early spinach crop with this easy gardening tip.
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.
We have developed two customized search engines that make it easier to locate companies that offer specific varieties of seeds and plants, as well as organic garden products and tools.
Garlic is one of the easiest plants you can grow, and fall is the time for planting. Here are a few resources to help you get started.
You can sneak a few attractive, low maintenance food plants onto your lawn, and your neighbors will never even notice.
Use autumn's bounty of fallen leaves to expand your garden, protect your plants and improve your soil.
Involving children in planning a garden and growing vegetables can lead to healthier adults and a healthier planet.
The instinct to share home grown herbs, flowers and vegetables runs strong in gardeners, so sharing home grown goodies brings heartfelt rewards.
Is having too many gardens a detriment to selling a suburban home?
protect fall crops
A good watering system will save you time and money in your garden.
Sow leafy greens in late summer to reap abundant crops in the fall.
Many gardeners take lettuce off of their summer planting lists, but shade covers can put garden-grown lettuce on your table more than a month sooner this fall.
Learn how to calculate best planting times for fall harvested crops.
Growing fall brassicas can be a challenge, but here are some tips on how to prevent them from getting eaten by bugs or withering.
Is it too hot to grow spinach where you live? Try these fabulous alternatives.
Find garlic seed stock for growing garlic.
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.
Plan to plant garlic this fall, and enjoy unique varieties and their incredible health benefits.
Learn how to grow one of America's favorite treats, chocolate M&Ms.
Watch a roundup of organic options for controlling slugs and snails in your garden, such as organic slug baits, beer traps, copper stripping and more.