Grow Warm-Weather Plants Year-Round with a Chinese Greenhouse: New Book Shows You How

For those gardeners who wish to grow year-round longtime MOTHER EARTH NEWS Contributing Editor and home-energy expert Dan Chiras has a solution for you: the Chinese greenhouse. Typically earth-banked into a hillside or girded by mounded earth, Chinese greenhouses bring many principles of passive-solar design into the greenhouse in order to grow using 100-percent solar radiation.

4 Ways to Use Beautiful Bee Balm on the Homestead

When it comes to landscaping the farmstead or urban homestead, it’s nice to be able to include plants that are both beautiful and functional. Bee balm is a North American wildflower that easily fills both roles. With an unusual, eye-catching bloom that is loved by bees and butterflies, these showy flowers can come in either scarlet or lavender, but this plant provides more than just looks and wildlife habitat: It is also a versatile herb with many different uses for health and home.

Healthy ‘Texas Caviar’ Southern Pea Salad Recipe

Folks here mostly cook purple hull peas with quantities of fatty pork. Although this is similar to the way we Yankees bake beans, I wanted to try something healthier, more Mediterranean. I came up with a pea salad they call “Texas Caviar” and developed my own version of this healthy, nutritious dish.

Conducting Experiments in the Garden

Although you may hear the term "master gardener", there is no one right way to grow your garden. For all gardeners out there, the surefire way to learn how to garden is by conducting experiments — by setting a hypothesis, testing it, and recording your results in a gardening journal.

Study Finds Benefits in Mediterranean Way of Eating

The blessings of the Mediterranean diet have been praised for years. The fact that a diet based on olive oil, vegetables, and pulses has significant cardiovascular benefits makes it immediately a sensible and healthy gastronomic choice. But thanks to a major scientific study, we may also have some real evidence that Mediterranean diet is a powerful and tasty way to prevent serious chronic diseases.

How to Warm Soil and Protect Seedlings from Frost

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.

Build a Hotbox for Cool-Weather Gardening

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.

5 Considerations for Year-Round Greenhouse Growing

Many people believe they can grow anything anytime when they just got their own greenhouse. You can, but that’s not always the case. Sure, it depends on what you’re planting in the first place. But, it also depends on the greenhouse itself and how you plant it.

The Power of Pulses

Pulses are tried and true — people in temperate climates have been growing and eating them for more than 10,000 years. Pulses are still the most essential part of the diets of billions of people worldwide. Learn to grow and eat this nutritional powerhouse.

How and Why to Support Beneficial Bacteria During Pregnancy and Beyond

Recent scientific studies show that the baby is interacting and takes in the mother´s beneficial bacteria throughout pregnancy and during natural birth and breastfeeding. The risk for pregnancy complications seems to partially depend on whether mother´s bacteria are dominated by beneficial or potentially pathogenic strains. This new knowledge means that we need to pay close attention to the symbiotic bacteria of pregnant women and new mothers and help beneficial strains thrive and prosper.

Stacking Functions in the Greenhouse

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.

Working With Nature to Build Organic Soil

Understanding a bit of the chemistry and biology behind building healthy soil allows us to work in harmony with nature to contribute to the health of our soil, plants, food and planet.

Using Phenology to Better Know Your Land

Observing and documenting the seasonal phenomena that happen on your land can be a fascinating and important way to get an understanding of how it changes through the year. And it can be fun, too!

Seed-Starting, Part 2

The results are in: Starting even cool-weather crops inside is faster. See Seed-Starting, Part 1 for details on the set up.

10 Super-Easy Veggies to Grow

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!

Seed-Starting, Part 1

Several experiments in seed starting: inside, in the greenhouse and in the ground.

Honoring the Seasons Through Land-Based Living

At Wild Abundance, reconnecting with the land means living and working in sync with the cycles and seasons as they unfold. Here is a guide to the very beginnings of the East, when the earth is waking up, and moving from the slowness of winter into the flurry of action of spring: Harnessing the Maple Moon of February and the New Growth Moon of March on your homestead.

2016 Goals for the Garden

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!

Fall and Winter Crops

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.

Apple Guacamole Recipe

Use the last fresh foods of fall to make a lively guacamole. The apple guacamole is not only a fine substitute to traditional guacamole, but it is lovely in its own right. It’s flavor is subtle, but complicated. It tasted great with homemade nachos. I can even imagine experimenting with different kind of apples for different flavors. The green apple gave is a sour punch, but a sweet apple could work too for a different effect.

Mistakes to Avoid When Putting New Plastic on Your Hoophouse

After four changes of plastic on our hoophouse (high tunnel we are ready to tell you some mistakes to avoid, mostly involving hoophouse plastic too tight or too loose, or cut wrong, and inflation blowers that didn't perform well enough. Our experience can save you from the same mistakes.

Is Breastfeeding Better for Your Baby?: 5 Benefits of Breastfeeding

The choice to breastfeed or formula feed is a highly personal one, and new mothers will need to take many factors into consideration when making the decision. Experts suggest that new mothers breastfeed exclusively for at least the first six months, if possible. Besides providing you and your baby with time to bond, studies show that breastfeeding can protect your child from a variety of illnesses and conditions.

Use the ‘Shoulders’ of the Season to Increase Farm Profits

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.

Is Steam Canning Safe?

New research shows that steam canning can be just as safe as water bath canning if performed properly to preserve acidic foods. Here are guidelines for operating a steam canner.

Fibromatosis in Wild Deer

We had a visit from a deer that looked to be in bad condition and the result was fibromatosis, a non-life-threatening skin condition afflicting mostly young male deer.

How to Pickle Radishes (With Recipe Variations)

Radishes are among the very first non-leafy greens available in the spring. While radish pickles can be canned, I find them more delicious as refrigerator pickles. They can last up to 2 months (but trust me, you’ll eat them long before that time). I create all kinds of variations: Asian-style for use in ramen, sweet, spicy, citrus, and more.

An Educational Visit to Four Season Farm

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.

5 Tips for a More Productive Garden

Five tips for increasing your garden's productivity and yield. Utilize every inch, get the most from your space, and use all three seasons.

Easter Babka Bread

Babka is traditionally made in Poland, Russia and other Eastern European countries. Apparently babka is a popular Christian Easter bread, but is also made in the Jewish tradition.

Winter Food Crop Rotation

You can eat carrots and greens from your garden and grow cover crops to feed back the soil the rest of the year. Learn how Cindy Conner does it with this 3-bed plan.

Shredded Kale Salad Recipe

With a little bit of elbow grease, you can turn kale fresh from the garden into a delicious raw salad in the middle of winter.

Securing Covers on Low Tunnels

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.

Fight Next Year's Blight Now with 5 Easy Steps

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.

October Garden Planner for Growing Cool-Season Crops

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.

Time to Plant the Fall Garden

You can be harvesting from your garden all year long, including through the winter months! It's time to plant the fall garden.

How to Prevent Alzheimer's With Diet

Learn how to prevent Alzheimer's with diet. There is plenty of time for people to make brain-healthy lifestyle and dietary choices to potentially delay the onset of this dreaded and devastating disease.

What to Do With All That Zucchini

The zucchini harvest overflows. Learn how to preserve zucchini for year-round enjoyment and creative ways to eat it now.

My Breastfeeding Relationship with My Kids

In honor of World Breastfeeding Month, this momma shares Part 1 of her relationship with breastfeeding including her beastfeeding timelines for each child and her variety of pumping locations.

Best Mosquito Traps for Your Yard

Discover the best mosquito traps to use in your yard. Improving your mosquito control will ensure that you can enjoy your summer evenings outdoors.

Spring Asian Noodle Recipe

Use the freshest spring veggies to create a cost-effective dish packed with nutrition and flavor. It's seasonal eating at it's best.

Hoop House Transformation

The hoophouse on our farm is filled with greens all winter long. It’s almost hard to switch gears for summer tomatoes.

Cold Frame Lids

Make the best use of your cold frame by having lids designed to be easily adjusted or removed.

Creating Your Own Micro-Climate

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.

Watching The Snow Melt

Everywhere is full of micro-climates. Discover the places in your garden where the soil warms first, or last, by watching the snow melt and taking pictures.

Feast Days And Potlucks

Celebrate meals with homegrown or local food. Tips for making your celebration gatherings zero-waste events.

What’s Wrong With 2,4-D Herbicide?

The release of new genetically modified crops resistant to 2,4-D herbicide will mean a huge increase of potent, dangerous chemicals on American farmland and a serious threat of herbicide drift problems for other growers.

Four Season Garden Explained

If you have wondered what a four season garden is, the definition is simple. It is a garden that you can get produce from all year long through spring, summer, fall and winter.

Hearty Venison Chili Recipe

Use venison to create a pot of rich, meaty chili perfect for warming up on cold, fall days. So good, there won’t be leftovers to freeze.

One of the Best Gifts for Gardeners!

A Garden Planner subscription is a budget-friendly gift that offers the satisfaction of spending the chillier chunks of the calendar plotting the bounty ahead.

100 Mile Food Plan

What would you do if the trucks stopped coming to the grocery stores? Find out how a community college class project spurred students to make plans for just such an experience.

Succession Planting for Space Saving and Season Extension

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.

Canine Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration

A sudden onset of a canine eye disease called SARDS leaves dogs totally blind very suddenly. Bruce McElmurray explains this disrder from a personal perspective.

Coösauke Kale

The process of saving seed for next year begins while the growing season is still going strong

Soda Consumption Raises Cancer Risk

You may want to think twice the next time you reach for that cola. A recent study has found that one can of soda a day can increase chances of prostate cancer by 40 percent.

Bastyr University Helps Create New Line of Teas

Bastyr University is pleased to announce it has partnered with Seattle-based Choice Organic Teas to develop and launch a new line of flavorful, certified organic Wellness Teas. This marks the first time the University has lent its name on a consumer product.

The Race Is on for the First Pea

In addition to my taste for shelling peas, I also want to get the first taste of the season to show off my gardening prowess.

FCX Oil-Fired Condensing Boilers Entering North American Market

FCX Oil-Fired Condensing Boilers, designed and manufactured by Geminox, provide a reliable and efficient alternative to non-condensing boilers. FCX Boilers feature a steel, non-condensing primary heat exchanger coupled with a stainless steel, condensing secondary heat exchanger.

Permaculture Chicken: Pasture Basics

Summing up pasture data where it relates to chickens and customizing land to better suit poultry and their behavior and stomachs. Measuring oil viscosity levels and rescuing a trailer with a portable winch were some of our favorite things.

When Eating Greens Is Not Good For You

Leafy greens are among the most nutritious foods you can eat, but what if they contain systemic pesticides like imidacloprid? New pesticides that are taken up by plants mean there may be pesticides in food crops like collards and kale, not just on the surface.

Making Marmalade

Making delicious homemade marmalade from Seville oranges.

Do Flu Vaccines Really Work?

Although the Centers for Disease Control has launched a vigorous nationwide public health campaign urging everyone, particularly elderly and vulnerable people, to get vaccinated against the flu, some researchers disagree with the message.

Delicious, Nutritious Barley Risotto

A healthier version of the classic rice risotto, delicious barley risotto is easy to make and can be modified with whatever ingredients you have in your kitchen.

Dipping Beeswax Candles

We dipped candles from our hive's beeswax to celebrate winter. Candlemaking is a nice seasonal craft. Here’s how we did it, plus some tips to get you started.

Goats: It's All In The Names

Often time choosing the right name for your kids is the most difficult part of kidding! Here is a little help on picking out names that are appropriate!

What is an Energy Efficient Mortgage?

A Federal Housing Association (FHA) EEM provides mortgage insurance to the borrower who is looking to purchase or refinance their home, and incorporate the costs of energy efficient improvements into their mortgage.

Weighing a Bee Hive and Improving Dielectric Hygiene

Orchard soil health is a topic that gets covered as well as the new asparagus beetle management system and how it seems to be working better than we could have hoped for. Dielectric grease to prevent rust and corrosion on the golf cart battery post.

Visitors and Company

Ed and Laurie struggle with making time for visitors while dealing with all of the daily business and homesteading tasks.

The Benefits of Highland Cattle Genetics

The American Highland Cattle Association is funding a Highland beef research study on fatty acid profiles, tenderness of cooked steaks and sensory characteristics of Highland beef.

Disease-Resistant Apple Varieties and Bamboo Chicken Carriers

Comparing different home made do it yourself chicken carriers for the Tractor Supply animal swap this past Saturday. Reporting on edible mushroom cultivation harvest and what it takes to pick the right disease resistant apple variety.

Soup in a Pumpkin!

Small pumpkins or squash make great individual bowls for serving these easy soups.

Arctic Sea Ice Melting at an Accelerated Rate

In this posting we discuss why the Arctic sea ice is melting at a record rate. We also discuss how global warming is triggering this sea ice melt and the potential consequences to the Arctic.

Grasshopper Receives Award

Investments in lawnmower fabrication processes save more than 310 tons of steel annually.

Ventrac Unveils New 4500 Tractor

With new powerful engine options, more safety features, enhanced technology and easy, comfortable handling, the 4500 will soon become a customer favorite in Ventrac’s lineup.

Tomato Tastings, Fall Garden Starts, and Getting Ready for Garlic

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!

A Midsummer Garden Haircut

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.

ECHO Bear Cat Achieves Certification

ECHO Bear Cat is excited to announce that is has met the required guidelines to attain certification on the manufacture of its outdoor power equipment by the National Association of Trailer Manufactures (NATM).

New: Bobcat 3-Point Tillers

Bobcat Company introduces 3-point tiller implements for the Toolcat 5610 utility work machine and the full line of compact tractors.

Summer Planting for Fall and Winter Harvest

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.

New Stay-Clean Chicken Waterer

The Chicken Kooler keeps the water away from the chicken’s feet, where is can get filled with straw and dirt.

Three New Hand Pruners

Fiskars' new hand pruners combine form and function to make every cut easier.

Centro Ashe Announces Group Trips To Costa Rica

The Roots and Culture Tour is an incredible opportunity for all those interested in working towards a more sustainable and just food system to dive into the local food system in the small and amazing Talamanca Region of Costa Rica.

Kubota donates equipment for Joplin, Mo., Restoration

Joplin’s one-year, post-tornado milestone to be marked with neighborhood tree planting, community beautification led by national equipment manufacturers, Vermeer Corporation and Kubota Tractor Corporation

Chilipad Mattress Cooler

Wireless temperature control mattresses and pads offer a dream come true for restless sleepers.

Stained Glass Soap Circles

Here are instructions for making a quick and easy batch of stained glass soap. Once you get the basics down you can make all sorts of unusual and beautiful embedded soap to give as gifts or enjoy for yourself.

Be Self Sufficient with Sweet Potatoes; Harden off Your Tomatoes

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.

Donate Blood — The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Adult males and post-menopausal women are quite likely to suffer from health problems caused by excessively high levels of iron in the blood. Donating blood is the safest and most useful way to deal with this potential problem.

Rooftop Beekeeping Photography

If you have ever thought about beekeeping photography then this article is perfect. Geoff Fitzgerald talks about his motivation for the topic and what got him started on the rooftops of Brooklyn. There are also some fantastic urban beekeeping photos.

Kioti Enters Subcompact Tractor Market

The CS2410 subcompact tractor is appropriate for those homeowners with property sizes ranging from just under an acre up to 5 acres, possibly more.

Three Easy Easter Basket Crafts

Here are three easy Easter basket items for you to make. Children can act as helpers, or you can surprise them. Make rainbow crayons, mini soaps and bath bombs.

Spring Planning

Starting flats of seedlings begins this year's growing season.

Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

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.

American Garden Tool Company

The American Garden Tool Company is an online source for American-made garden tools, products and accessories.

Heirloom Seed Collections

The Living Seed Company is working to preserve genetic diversity in our food chain, through the distribution and growing of open pollinated seeds and preserving the ancient art of seed saving.

The New Recharge Mower ULTRALITE

As spring approaches the lawn surrounding your home will certainly begin to grow. With the New Lithium Powered Cordless Recharge Mower ULTRALITE, from Driven By Solar Inc., achieve beautiful manicured results without nasty fumes.

What’s new at New Holland Agriculture?

New Holland Agriculture is unveiling a number of new tractors as well as new haytools and other equipment at the 2012 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California and the 2012 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

Tendril Announces Partnership with BMW

Companies launch demonstration site to illustrate the consumer and utility benefits of a BMW electric vehicle in a Smart Energy Home powered by Tendril Connect(TM) cloud platform.

Breadcrumbs

This blog is called Breadcrumbs, because it brings together a diverse set of topics, including the patron saint of bread, sourdough, starters, yeasts, and a recipe for corn pancakes.

Caribou Coffee Achieves Rainforest Alliance Milestone

The Rainforest Alliance is pleased to announce that Caribou Coffee is the first major coffee company in the US to source 100 percent of its coffee and espresso beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.

Cold Frames, Kim Chee, and Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch

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.

Gold And Buried Treasure

History and those who may have crossed or used your homestead before you discovered it. Treasure is where you find it.

End-of-Season in the Greenhouse

As winter descends a three-season hoop house is weeded, compost spread, and a straw mulch applied. Next spring will be here soon.

So, You Want To Adopt A Dog!

Why are you adopting a dog? For more on pet ownership see our personal blog at www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com.

Help Solve the Real Food Deficit

Kashi, the natural food and lifestyle leader, will support organizations that provide education and greater access to healthy foods in cities across the U.S.

New Chick on the Block

The Front Yard Coop Supplies Innovative and Elegant Chicken Coops to Meet Rapidly Growing Interest in Raising Hens.