Learn the secret to getting better harvests by making your very own natural liquid fertilizers to use in the garden. Find recipes for homemade seaweed fertilizer and one that I like called Gardener's Revenge fertilizer that uses weeds from the garden.
Recently I came across a spate of comments about “humanure,” or the composting of human waste. I thought I would share the experiences of our friend, Gus, in California who has been creating humanure compost for over 5 year
We live in the mountains with our four German shepherd dogs. Our nearest veterinarian is approximately 45 miles one way and so we often treat our furry family members with homeopathic remedies. These have worked for us in the past, and although I am unable to say that the natural remedies always work, these are worth giving a try.
If you are trying to stay away from chemical fertilizers, stack the functions of the plants and animals on your property and save money then these simple fertilizer teas are just for you. There are many different kinds of fertilizer “teas” and we will be covering three of them in this blog. We will talk about comfrey, rabbit manure and vermicompost tea!
The strength of the sustainable and organic agriculture movement deepens and widens through the support of fellow women farmers. Create a local women farmer or homesteader network in your community to build a more vibrant local economy.
Being above the 56th parallel, we are in Zone 0, the harshest zone per Ag Canada. We're faced with a short, fickle growing season where frost can occur at any time during the summer months. We were faced with the daunting task of improving the poor boreal forest soil. Here is how we transformed the shallow, poor soils of the Precambrian Shield of our wilderness homestead into a rich garden loam.
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.
Garden fertilizer comes in all shapes, sizes, and formulas. Books and magazines maintain you can make your own by mixing this and that, and you’re flowers and veggies will amaze you. You can, however, follow our simple, sardine-based recipe for homemade garden fertilizer and not have to spend any extra money.
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.
If your cover crop was successful, and crowded out all of the weeds, you can go ahead and plant your new crop right into the cut cover crop. If your timing is right (with your cover crop in flower, cut very low to the ground, and is one of the crops listed) you can plant right into the undisturbed roots of your cover crop.
Ruminants have been maligned for causing desertification and worsening climate change, but when we emulate the way nature designed herds to graze, the result is a rapid improvement in soil, forage and animal health. Our planet's health is also improved because rotational and mob-grazing takes atmospheric carbon and stores it as organic topsoil.
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.
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.
Compost tea allows you to take a small amount of compost and give your plants the microbes and nutrition they need to resist disease and give you nutritious food. Making and using compost tea is both economical and easy.
There are many types of composting methods available for the urban homesteader — from fermentation bins called Bokashi systems that allow you to compost cooked foods, fish, dairy and meat, to vermicomposting, or worm composting systems, and everything in between. Learn the types of composting systems, along with what is compostable, the best compost material ratios for your situation, and troubleshooting tips for common compost problems.
You can turn kitchen and farm "wastes" into compost, which is full of microbes and nutrition for your crops. In return, you will be able to grow disease-resistant plants that produce highly nutritious food with fantastic flavors.
My freezer is full of beef fat and I finally rendered tallow for cooking oil. We raise some pastured beef for our family, and while we enjoy the grass-fed beef, we have been slower to learn the art of cooking with homemade oil. That's changing. Read how and why I learned to render oil from beef fat to make homemade cooking oil (tallow).
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.
If you’re questioning, from a food safety standpoint, whether the meat you have is safe to eat or truly rotten meat, you need to understand the proper cooking temperatures for meat and how they work to eliminate most meat spoilage bacteria.
I hate putting chemicals on my skin, so I use an essential oil spray that has proven to be very effective for preventing mosquito and other bug bites. In the past couple years in the garden, none of us have been bitten. Even at a riverside campground in Louisiana, there were no mosquito bites.
This is an exciting time for the healthy food movement. The number of tools and techniques that inform organic farming and gardening is exploding. Evidence is pouring in that the conventional food system is broken and the interest in food that can lead to health grows daily.
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.
Losing power is a reality that homesteaders must prepare for. It is not a matter of if, but when, and for how long. As a homesteader/farmsteader we have a responsibility to keep the home running regardless of “power.” This series of blog posts discusses homestead preparedness for power outages, part 2 covers generator usage, communications, water strategies and dry-composting toilets.
What is a cover crop? Understand how to build the health of your soil the natural way by planting cover crop seeds. Explore seed types, when to plant, and the step-by-step process for planting a healthy cover crop in your garden.
Make exceptionally rich compost quickly and easily by utilizing some of the planets very best eaters - worms! Vermicomposting, or using worms to break down waste materials, is a fast and effective way to turn kitchen scraps into worm castings, a highly valued form of compost.
Finding authentic, plant-derived, high quality essential oils and knowing what to look for is a challenge, particularly given the power of marketing. What do we mean by the terms genuine, authentic, plant-derived and unadulterated anyway? This post explains how to hone your senses and find the best suppliers of top-quality essential oils.
If you are planning to set up a garden with a surface that is bigger than 300 square meters, a tiller will help you save a lot of time and energy. Its sharp, heavy blades might be a little intimidating for first-time users, but with a little practice, you will get the hang of it.
While searching for essential oils on the internet you may come across some companies claiming to be approved by the ISO or to meet and/or exceed guidelines established by AFNOR or to be GRAS-approved and even one company claiming to have Certified Pure therapeutic grade/FDA approved. What exactly do the terms and certifications mean?
Sage is an herb of ancient repute, long valued as a culinary and medicinal plant. It has a stimulating, heating, and drying energy and is a well-known cold germ and flu fighter, having particularly potent antimicrobial, respiratory antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, mucolytic (mucous thinning), antispasmodic, and vulnerary (tissue healing) properties. Prepare for winter wellness with this garden sage body oil recipe.
Discover how to expand your olfactory palate to be able to determine qualitative differences between essential oils and learn what all the terms used in the marketing of essential oils mean. Feel more empowered in choosing a supplier and learn key elements to look for when making that decision.
The Soil is alive with mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria. Learn the ways to foster a healthy living soil by mulching, growing nitrogen fixing crops and chop and drop them back into the soil. Grow the soil and the soil will grow your plants.
Tiny homes are becoming more and more popular throughout the United States. This article explains why tiny homes are inherently green and offers an example of Anita’s 248-square-foot Lilypad Tiny Home, decked out with green appliances and sustainable materials.
Biodynamic agriculture views the farm as a living organism. By tapping into the ecology that makes up your farm and viewing these systems holistically, you can utilize the natural world to grow healthy crops and achieve true sustainability. Your farm has a body and seeks wellness through biodiversity and habitat variability.
During my time as a Polyface Farm intern, I never was able to grasp the turkeys as my personal responsibility. Now things are different. Get a glimpse through the eyes of a Polyface Apprentice as he raises Polyface Farm’s pastured turkeys.
What can freshen breath, fight infection, and clear up acne all at once? Tea tree oil, from the Australian plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, has widespread medicinal qualities, making it an effective home remedy for many different conditions. Try these tea tree oil uses for yourself.
Planting cover crops to build soil fertility will benefit any garden. The soil is what gives the plants the necessary nutrients to grow strong, fight off pests and disease, and produce the best flavored, most nutrient-dense food possible and it requires those nutrients to be given back. Cover crops will give back to the soil.
In order to secure a building permit to construct a new home, many counties require a septic system inspection and approval. Here’s how one couple had a successful “perc” test done at their future home site, along with a quick explanation of what a perc test is.
My garden started out as just a need for feeding my family in the summer months. Over time, it not only needed to feed my family, but needed protection from various critters—including backyard chickens—that inhabit my yard. Learn how to construct raised beds, install shade cloth and build a fence to protect your plants.
A simple, low maintenance compost toilet that makes instant fertilizer by separating solids (worm food) from liquids (fertilizer, ready-to-use). Two chambers allows one to compost while you make deposits in the the other.
Oregano is well known as a culinary herb with warming and aromatic flavor. The oil of oregano has shown great promise in treating many illnesses, including colds, flu, muscle pain, GI problems, respiratory illnesses, skin conditions and urinary-tract infections.
A newly acquired garden or an over-spent allotment can have poor-quality soil, making it more difficult to manage and use, and leading to potential problems for those wishing to grow a new lush, green lawn or plant some daffodils, crocus or hyacinths bulbs in the spring.
Your veggies contain the nutritional content that the soil can provide the plant. Saying a plant only needs NPK is like saying all humans need is carbs, fat and protein. It is much more complicated than that.
Composting toilets add sustainability to a homestead because they use zero water to flush. The waste from compost toilets are safe to add to compost piles. Additionally, it is handy that they don't require connecting to a septic system. This article describes two brands of composting toilets.
Learning how to make a soil block is a simple skill capable of permitting one to become involved within their local CSA or farm. It can also be a great way to meet local farmers, reduce CSA membership fees, and learn about organic gardening. Before each seed is sowed it must have a soil block to grow in. Being part of that initial step brings great joy.
The symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi are showing more than ever how life depends on life. Learn how to encourage what beneficial microbes you have in your soil for a powerful ally in your garden and fields.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is advocating the reform of current palm oil farming practices which release drastic amounts of carbon, harm local ecosystems and treat workers in an ethically unsound way.
Do you know about the magic of milk and molasses in improving your garden? Yes, plain old milk of any kind – whole, 2%, raw, dried, skim or nonfat – is a miracle in the garden for plants, soil and compost. Molasses only boosts the benefits! Let’s see how and why they work.
Noticing the cycles of the plants, animals and insects around you, which is the study of phenology, will help you become more attuned to your garden. Soil temperature has a lot to do with those cycles.
At the Mother Earth News Fair, I always enjoy speaking with fellow farmers and gardeners about inputs, organic standards and sound practices in the field. At the OMRI booth, we always provide free OMRI Products Lists of approved input materials, to help you find the right fertilizer or livestock feed additive and keep your farm or garden truly organic .
This divine herb has a multitude of properties – it’s a potent skin-cell regenerative, mucolytic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, circulatory stimulant, vulnerary, antioxidant, antifungal, analgesic and deodorizing agent. I use both the essential oil and the infused oil in formulas to relieve sinus and respiratory congestion, muscle tension and soreness, and headaches; to soften and fade scar tissue; to stimulate memory, creativity, confidence and mental energy; and to stimulate circulation to encourage hair growth.
We can cut projected U.S. oil use in half over the next 20 years and create more than 1 million jobs, reduce annual oil spending by $550 billion, and eliminate 2 billion metric tons of global warming emissions per year by 2035.
The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization published a new analysis that depicts the dangerous flaws in oil spill response and outlines technology they claim will save marine life, oceans, animals and people, while saving millions of dollars.
Descriptions on oil labels are not defined by law, and are sometimes deceptive. Learn what these terms — such as cold-pressed, expeller-pressed and extra virgin — really mean, and which terms indicate quality.
Summing up pasture data where it relates to chickens and customizing land to better suit poultry and their behavior and stomachs. Measuring oil viscosity levels and rescuing a trailer with a portable winch were some of our favorite things.
Launching Anna's new E book on cover crops in a no till garden and talking about the recent power failure that prompted us to do some Off Grid Homesteading which taught us a few lessons on using golf cart batteries for supplemental lighting.
An update on generating electricity with pedal power and which exercise bike we decided on and testing soil for nutrient ratios along with fixing a pair of leaky boots with adhesive and inner tube scrap patch.
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!
Putting a new roof on a mobile home and harvesting the worlds biggest sweet potato while growing for the first time Par-cel cutting celery and hauling horse manure from our parking area back to the garden.
Using oil seed radishes to add organic matter to the ground and attracting native pollinators with a nest site. Harvesting sweet potato seeds if we're lucky and admiring the parasitic wasp's ability to lay white egg sacs into the body of a horn worm
Describes a method of keeping red wiggler worms active and productive outside throughout the winter. Describes a method of sheltering and heating the worms using an active compost pile for heat and clear plastic glazing for shelter.
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.
Cover crops are grown between planting seasons as a way to give back to the soil what cultivation takes from it. And cover crops aren’t just for large-scale growers—they can help you get the most out of your backyard vegetable garden too!
A TransCanada Keystone pipeline was shut down by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, due to two spills in May. Though it lasted only a day, the suspension raises bigger questions about the risks of TransCanada’s current piping of tar sands oil, as well as the company’s proposal to build an even longer pipeline, the Keystone XL.
There are many ways that each of us can lessen our unhealthy dependence on filthy fuels. You can do so in every area of your life, from choices you make regarding your house and home improvements, to food, transportation, and other consumer choices.
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
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.
Although the well that caused the BP oil spill is now dead, the spill’s effects live on. Debate about oil dispersants, such as Corexit, and concerns regarding the settled oil on the ocean floor that came from Deepwater Horizon continue to grow. To understand how the spill impacted and continues to affect the Gulf of Mexico, MOTHER EARTH NEWS spoke with Ronald J. Kendall, director of the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.
Both organic and local food are important if we want to eat nutritious and delicious food. Furthermore, our current food system is in jeapordy because petroleum and water supplies are dwindling and climate change is resulting in more extreme weather.
Hundreds of Gulf Coast oil spill workers have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms related to oil exposure. News reports claim that BP is not allowing workers to wear respirators, despite the potential long-term respiratory and neurological consequences workers could face.
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been in the news constantly for the past two months, and all the new developments can be a bit overwhelming. Here's a comprehensive update to help you keep everything straight.
Hundreds of gallons of water can slip down the pipes if you own a leaky toilet. You can save water by checking for toilet leaks using simple tricks or by replacing your old model with a water saving-toilet.
In light of the environmental, economic and other damage caused by the Gulf oil spill, has your opinion about increased domestic drilling changed? Yes or no, we want to hear your thoughts on the topic.
Everyone's talking about drilling in Alaska, so why learn some numbers to do some talking of your own? Here are some statistics about why drilling in Alaska may not be the saving grace some think it is.
Although you need to refrigerate most salad dressings, you don't have to be as careful with a simple oil and vinegar salad dressing if those are the only ingredients. Find out why this is the case and what other ingredients might cause problems.