Repurpose kitchen knives and more to use as inexpensive and effective garden tools.
Selective weeding can result in finding delightfully surprising volunteers in your garden. I’m sure most of you have heard some version of the old adage, “A weed is simply any plant growing in an unwanted place.” When combined with “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” you can sometimes have eye-opening conversations (especially with neighbors).
Mulberries are delicious and one of the earliest fruit harvests of the year. Here's how to forage mulberries and turn them into a delicious chutney.
“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.
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.
Even though it's still too cold in Northern Wisconsin to be working the soil, the garden is already getting its kickstart inside!
Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive edible plant that is often compared to rhubarb. Here's a recipe for sweet and tangy knotweed bars that will help you conquer this weed by eating it!
Last weekend I spent an afternoon studying different bushes, trees, and herbaceous plants in order to design the newest guild on our Permafarm.
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.
Learn some common edible weeds that can be foraged in the spring in the Midwest.
What we know about the community of life in a healthy soil is that it is wildly diverse with a broad range of species. With so many members in the community, there is an answer for every problem. Every pest has a mortal foe waiting to attack it. There might be some occasional pest damage but very rarely a complete takeover by a particular pest or disease.
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.
What is the Cape Gooseberry? Understand this delicious, easy-to-grow South American golden fruit with many names, many benefits, and many uses.
Native to 35 states and 3 provinces of Canada east of the Mississippi, Partridge Berry is rarely seen in the trade. I fail to see why, as it's very easy to propagate by rooting cuttings or from seed. In fact, it forms adventitious roots as it gently winds its way around the garden. It could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered aggressive or invasive.
A hybrid is simply two different plant varieties crossed for specific reasons. You can save the seeds produced by these, contrary to what you may have heard. It’s just more complicated than saving heirloom or open-pollinated seeds.
To be an avid gardener means you need to have special skills. Here's a list of 7 abilities that will take you to the next level.
Increase your garden’s productivity with foliar spraying. Improve your success rate with cuttings by foliar feeding. Organic dilutions of lime juice, peppermint essential oil and kelp can each help your plant thrive. Reduce disease and pestilence by spraying weekly at sundown on your plant’s leaves and achieve larger harvests.
Now that this couple has moved into their new country home, they take time to plant garlic and a small fall garden in their “front yard.” One small step toward an established homestead, one giant leap for family morale!
How to identify wild burdock, a common garden weed, and turn its roots into a delicious stir-fry.
The emergence of the long-lasting flowers of 'Uvularia grandiflora' is something I really anticipate every spring. And every spring, my robust stand of ‘Large-Flowered Bellwort’ slowly opens their large, pendulous, bright golden yellow flowers that resemble inverted flowing candle flames. Learn how to grow and where to find this ornamental native flower.
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.
Twenty-five years ago, my daughter and I treated ourselves to New Orleans' famous Jazz Brunch at the Court of Two Sisters. One dish impressed me so much, I begged for the recipe. Our server took my plea to the kitchen and the chef actually sent down a copy! I have made some minor changes and offer it here that you, too, can enjoy this comforting eggplant dish.
While building a house on rural property, this couple explores the native wildflowers and prairie grass on their land. They plan to nurture the native species already taking hold, and in future years, do all they can to spread their growth.
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.
In the months before our move, I did extensive research to familiarize myself with gardening in Guam. I found Amot TaoTao Tano Farm and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a free tour of the farm to learn about native plants grown to educate the public about traditional healing practices of the Chamorro people. Here I share some of what I learned.
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.
Permaculture premise is creating a self-sustaining garden that has a nurturing relationship with your yard’s environment and symbiotic relationship among the plantings.
Is it possible that plants can actually respond to pain?
Plantain is probably growing in your lawn right now. Instead of cursing this common weed, use it for both tasty food and herbal first aid!
A transplanting that's done correctly will expedite resumed growth and encourage healthy plants. Here are some simple tips about when and how to transplant brassica, lettuce and tomatoes.
Interplanting, or relay planting, is a version of companion planting where the second crop is planted while the first is still growing.
Love herbs and gardening? Here are a few things you should know when it comes to companion planting and herbs.
Juneberries, or serviceberries, are one of the first wild fruits to ripen each year. Here's how to identify and harvest them, plus a recipe for juneberry pie.
Planting seedlings from large garden centers often delays production as plants must overcome neonicotinoid insecticides, hormones, and chemical fertilizers when planted in your garden. Learn more about the toxins used by large growers and then support small producers for a healthy garden.
Are your tomato plants putting out side shoots? Learn whether you need to prune tomato plants to keep them productive.
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.
Attracting beneficial insects to your garden is easy once you follow some basic guidelines. With a few management techniques, you will have the good bugs flying into your garden to help you out.
Caretaking wild places is a great way to homestead in paradise without having to afford land.
A story about Indigenous women taking care of their land in the Pacific Northwest by restoring the native ecosystem.
Japanese knotweed is a voraciously invasive plant and the bane of many gardens. It is also a delicious and versatile wild food.
"The Wild Wisdom of Weeds," by wild-foods advocate and author Katrina Blair, is the only book on foraging and wild edibles to focus on thirteen weeds found all over the world, which together comprise a complete food source and extensive medical pharmacy and first-aid kit. Blair’s philosophy is sobering, realistic, and ultimately optimistic: If we can open our eyes to see the wisdom found in these weeds right under our feet, instead of trying to eradicate an “invasive,” we could potentially achieve true food security and optimal health.
Tostones, or twice-fried plantains, are a crispy and delicious taste of the tropics.
Using the right component improves the chance of success when gardening.
A tiny teacup and an even tinier cactus make an adorable planter that’s easy to assemble. Small children’s toys, pebbles and other little decorative items add a whimsical touch.
Herbicide residue can linger in soil and ground water for years. Use these proven methods of strategic burning, grazing, cover crops, mowing and “frost interseeding” to establish your native prairie, and avoid harming wildlife.
Rice is the quintessential food plant around the world and it provides a significant amount of brown biomass for composting. Growing rice in the garden can be help you achieve food security but you need to pick the right variety for your region. There are a couple of important sub-categories of rice that need to be taken into consideration. Rice is either an upland type with a greater tolerance to dryer and cooler conditions or it is a lowland “paddy” type.
Using garden space to the maximum.
Redbud's bright pink blossoms are one of the glories of spring, but they're not just eye candy. Those lovely blossoms have a delicious flavor that is like a green bean with a lemony aftertaste.
Tangible benefits of companion planting come from intercropping (also known as relay planting, interplanting or undersowing), which is when one crop (or cover crop) is sown or transplanted in the spaces between the standing crop before it’s finished. Here, I write about relay planting in the early spring, particularly interplanting peas in spinach beds.
Please don't let the common name mislead you. Virginia Bluebells are native to just about the entire eastern half of the U.S. and Canada, and there are 18 different species of “Mertensia” in the U.S. alone!
Before beginning construction on their new home, this couple is taking steps to prepare their land for their impending move-in by planting perennial natives, building some walking trails, cutting firewood to dry, and more. They’re having a blast!
Annuals to plant for a drought-tolerant or pollinator-friendly garden.
How to use henbit, a wild green available most of the year even in cold-winter areas, to make a delicious fresh pasta.
Put together your own mini-indoor garden with these clever ideas.
Henbit and red dead nettle are two tasty leafy greens that are available even when there is snow on the ground. Here's how to identify them in the field and use them in recipes.
Birds are survivors. Learn about different adaptations birds have to thrive during the dark, cold winter days. And, what you can do to support winter bird survival in your backyard.
White rot is an invasive fungus that every garlic grower needs to be aware of!
Diospyros virginiana, the wild American persimmon, is a native fruit that is ready to harvest in autumn and even early winter. Here's how to identify, gather, and eat wild persimmons.
A new approach to conventional agriculture would unite not only row crops and prairie plants, but farmers and environmentalists.
How to effectively remove seeds from vegetables, fruits, flowers or herbs isn’t always obvious. Or easy. Sometimes you have to get creative.
If you think it's important to prevent Monsanto and other corporate giants from controlling the seed supply, you may want to consider donating to Organic Seed Alliance. Here is a short video about the work they do.
Every year gardens suffer from the "blight effect" on tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants. If left alone, the disease can prevent plants from flowering and maturing altogether. Here are 5 easy steps I encourage everyone to take before next year's garden even begins to sprout.
Hidden inside the stinky orange pulp of the fruits of the ginkgo tree is a delicious, pistachio colored edible seed. Here's how to identify and prepare ginkgo (without the stinky parts) by foraging for ginkgo nuts!
Ground cherries were once a popular staple in backyard gardens. Urbanization and lost space to grow our food led to ground cherries falling out of favor. Though older folks may remember eating ground cherry jam, they’ve only recently begun reappearing at farmers markets and in seed catalogs. Ground cherries are easy to grow and pack an unusual flavor punch in jams, pies, savory sauces.
Goldenrod is starting to bloom in the beeyard now that the cooler weather is on its way.
Rosemary is known as a tasty condiment, but it has also long been used as medicine, and makes for a blissful foot soak.
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.
Hawthorn fruits are in season in late summer and early fall. They are delicious, and also heart-healthy — eat your medicine!
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.
'Tis the season for education and celebration, at this year's herbal gatherings.
This blog takes a look at the steps taken to propagate lavender by taking cuttings.
A tutorial on making a flower press with supplies that don't require heavy tools or a visit to the hardware store.
Enjoy healthy blackberry and raspberry elixirs and teas, blessings from the brambles of Summer!
Planting a water-smart garden with native plants can help you save water when temperatures heat up.
Lamb's quarters, also known as wild spinach, is an abundant wild vegetable. It's a nutritional superstar with a delicious, mild flavor.
This post will take a look at how we transplant vegetable seedlings in our certified organic greenhouses, especially tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
Seed Germination depends on Soil Temperature. Transplants need to survive a late spring frost. Here are some handy charts and a lookup tool that will help your timing for a successful garden.
The USDA first published a plant hardiness zone map based on temperature in 1960. Hardiness zones are based on the average annual extreme minimum temperature. What's your zone?
This blog post shares some of the simple techniques learned through many years of experience by someone who grows vegetable seedlings for a living.
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.
The innovative garden seeder from Simple Seeder increases speed and ease of planting.
Birch trees are easy to identify in winter thanks to their distinctive bark, and they offer a hot drink, aromatic flour and sweet syrup to cold weather foragers.
With so many good things that plants do in our life, would it be so bad to stop and appreciate 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.
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.
Trying to tend to kids AND a garden.
I separate the fact from the fiction with use of soluble fertilizers.
Learn what to do when you come across onion flowers and garlic flowers in your garden.
How to measure tomato seedlings for success before planting into your garden.
Pasteurizing your own compost can protect your new seedlings from damping-off and harmful bacteria.
April 26, 2013 is National Arbor Day! Celebrate by planting a tree at home or enjoying trees where you live and learn about the many benefits they provide.
The process of training and pruning blackberry plants is demystified by a gardening expert from Gurney's Seed.
A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists shows significant lapses in nuclear power plant safety.
I cure my spring fever by planting in a hoop house.
Onions are daylight sensitive and need to have plenty of time to put on top growth before the days start to get shorter and the plant pulls its energy into the bulb. If you like to start onions from seed, don’t wait! The best time is already closing in.
This blog post discusses growing enough produce for canning.
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.
The week-long STIHL Tour des Trees is an international cycling tour combining natural beauty, camaraderie and fundraising for the benefit of urban trees.
Sorting through seed catalogs is one of the most entertaining tasks we have here at MOTHER EARTH NEWS. These garden seed catalogs come in handy when searching for just the right variety of heirloom veggies to grow, and they're fun to look at too!
Use our popular When to Plant app to know when to plant each crop in your area.
Grow calcium in your garden with collards, kale, and parsley. Suggestions are given for including these crops in your meals. Learn about companions to plant among your collards and kale to deter harmful insects.
A brief summary of the vast amount of data we've compiled over the last few years on experimenting with rotational chicken pastures on our homestead.
Deciding which vegetables to grow can be an important step for any gardener. It is efficient to fill the space that you have with vegetables that keep for the longest periods of time, which can also mean a lot to the bottom line of any garden.
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.
Description of garlic planting on a two-year cycle: from tiny topset bulblets, to large single bulbs, to large heads.
Learn how to breed corn in your own corn nursery, plus learn how to properly hand-pollinate corn plants.
Giving your ornamental and vegetable garden a thorough cleaning in midsummer not only leaves the landscape looking better, but can help prevent damage from diseases and pests by removing the conditions in which they thrive.
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.
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!
Michelle Corbett's grandmother and great-grandmother taught her to use a natural compost consisting of eggshells and coffee grounds.
This blog post tells about Barbara Lee's memories of her grandpa who built a two-holer outhouse for his family and surrounded it with peonies so that there would not be an unpleasant odor.
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.
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...
This blog post describes the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff's afternoon spent harvesting their homegrown garlic.
Transitioning seedlings from indoor starts to outdoor plants
Here are two helpful tips that will help you have a successful tomato plant.
Tips on how to celebrate National Wildflower Week, May 6-13!
Breaking down the last week of homesteading we've done over at WaldenEffect.org, and the Top Bar project we started as well as talk on Brix, biodynamics, and Plant Secondary Metabolites. Also have details on an external frame backpack modification.
Pruning perennials is essential for plant health and vigorous production.
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.
Make a shelf or table into a growing space for starting seedlings.
We took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather by planting potatoes, peas and beets in the garden outside our office.
Want lettuce and carrots all year round? Ira Wallace tells us her simple simple method for keeping track of succession plantings.
Using newspaper, learn how to craft easy, biodegradable pots to start seeds.
Spring is here and those tomato plants that were started in January are settled into their new hoophouse home. I have hopes for early tomatoes; will a late freeze stifle this goal?
Installing a rain gauge can help determine how much water your plants really need.
Sun-Lite HP for greenhouse glazing provides excellent diffused light.
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.
The best low cost (semi-reliable) options for getting animals and plants onto your homestead!
Information on World Wetlands Day and their benefits and tips on how to protect your local wetlands.
Barbara Pleasant offers a step-by-step plan to starting seeds.
How to Schedule your Planting by the Moon
Do you love strawberries? It is hard to decide on the best way to manage them if attempting to grow them. I want strawberries bad enough to try to figure out what method works best for me.
It pays to spend time preparing your garden for winter. You can improve your soil, increase your harvest, decrease garden pests and make next spring's planting much easier.
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.
The Garlic Gurus at Seeds from Italy give you the scoop on growing your own garlic. This post answers questions of when and where to grow garlic, what varieties to grow, how much to grow, where to buy garlic, and how much to plant.
How to avoid contacting poison ivy and poison oak.
How-To Build a Hoop House; a collection of resources for growers.
The Rhombin, a desktop organizer made from a plant-based plastic (bioplastic), merges sustainability with convenience and cutting-edge design.
On the eve of Southern Company (NYSE: SO) holding its annual meeting of stockholders in Pine Mountain, GA., the nonprofit Green America released a report ranking the major U.S. power producer as “the United States’ most irresponsible utility.”
Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and ethnobotanist James Duke, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts in medicinal plants, places garlic among the best all-around plant medicines in the world. Learn about the host of ailments garlic can alleviate and prevent, and discover some of the added health perks of this flavorful, folklore-infused herb.
What a nice surprise it can be to notice new spring babies emerging from where their parent plants grew the year before. Volunteer plants are a wonderful gift!
A Precision Garden Seeder can make planting seed crops quick and easy!
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!
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.
Herbs are versatile plants that enhance our lives by adding beauty, aroma, nutrition, seasoning, and a varied landscape. Because they can be grown indoors, or outdoors in pots, as part of landscaping or in the garden, everyone has room to grow herbs.
Creating tomato grafts may be a great way to grow tomatoes organically. Tomato grafting has emerged as one good way to bring resistance to soilborne diseases to susceptible heirloom varieties.
This posting discusses how deforestation increases global warming and ocean acidification. It also discusses the role of deforestation in triggering severe flooding,aquifer depletion, soil degradation and animal and plant extinction.
A heart warming story about a feral cat that traveled many miles across harsh terrain to be back to familiar ground.
This is a fun story about planting seeds for future generations and not recognizing a gift when it is blooming right in your face.
This is a fun story about planting seeds for future generations and not recognizing a gift when it is blooming right in your face.
Though it reuses a waste material, fly ash concrete contains traces of mercury and other chemicals from coal-burning power plants. Do you want that in your home?
I am especially concerned with the electricity hogs that keep us burning coal.
Mother Nature has a way of filling in the blank spots....
The future of the Pavlovsk Station in Russia is in jeopardy due to a pending housing development project. Find out what you can do to help save the world’s largest holding of rare berries and trees.
Basil is a versatile herb that can be used for companion planting, bee forage, year-round herb as well as delicious pesto.
Odwalla's Plant A Tree program enters its third year with a donation of twice as many trees to be planted in all 50 states as well as participating state park programs.
Thoreau, Rachel Carson, Bill McKibbon, Terry Tempest Williams. Do you have a favorite nature or environmental writer? A book or story you can get lost in, that inspires you to action, or simply reminds you of how incredible nature is? Post a comment to share the titles that invite you into the wonder of the natural world — or have maybe even changed your life.
The staff at MOTHER EARTH NEWS plants tomatoes and peppers during a seed-planting project at the office.
Save money by planting smaller trees and shrubs from mail-order sources.
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.
Advice on good online plant and animal databases.
A reader asks about when to plant potatoes in Zone 9.
Siegers Seed Company is attempting to patent and own a common cucurbit gene for warty pumpkins, and gardeners who know better are disappointed.
Old strains of holiday cactus are easy to grow, but updated varieties rebloom more often and produce bigger, showier blossoms.
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.
Growing the three sisters (corn, beans, squash) in the same plot of land actually helps yield healthier crops of each.
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.
Japanese beetles feed for six to eight weeks, and in that time, they are able to feed on over 300 plant species. Although collecting beetles may seem like an exhausting every day task, you're plants will appreciate it.
Expert advice on adding single nutrients, such as Epsom salts, to your garden and house plants.
Find garlic seed stock for growing garlic.
Plan to plant garlic this fall, and enjoy unique varieties and their incredible health benefits.
Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson will be remembered for her significant conservation efforts, especially with wildflowers and the preservation of native plants.