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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Coösauke Kale

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

Making Marmalade

Making delicious homemade marmalade from Seville oranges.

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!

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.

Spring Planning

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

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.

How to Eat Seasonally

These resources will help you learn how to eat seasonal foods in order to save grocery money.

A Modern Homesteader's Shame

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...

What is Your Favorite Winter Tradition?

While some can't wait for the warmer days to return and others are invigorated by the seasonal briskness, most of us have some cold-weather habit, holiday activity or winter ritual that we hold dear. Whether it's burrowing under thick piles of blankets, watching for the first snow flakes or getting a head start on garden planning, what are your favorite winter moments?

Enjoy Fall Flavors With Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

Sweet potatoes are vitamin-packed powerhouses, and have a sweet, rich flavor that lends itself to a variety of recipes. From fun sweet potato biscuits to a traditional molasses sweet potato pie, use these healthy sweet potato recipes to enjoy one of fall’s best flavors.

Food is Love

Simran Sethi enjoys the fruits of late summer at a local farm dinner.

Roasted Green Tomatoes

How to roast green tomatoes to be eaten alone or to boost the flavor of other recipes.

Will You Get a Flu Vaccine This Year?

We received more than 900 responses to a recent poll about flu shots, and we want to know: Are you getting a flu shot this year, and why or why not? Plus, share your tips for staying flu-free, flu vaccine or no.

What's Your Favorite Part of Spring?

Spring brings an abundance of arrivals and changes, from returning birds and newborn critters to budding plants and warming breezes. We want to know, what are you most looking forward to this spring?

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Happy Thanksgiving! Want a new vegan dessert to serve at Thanksgiving? Try the Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Pie from the Web site Care2 Inc.

Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving Meals

Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy an excellent meatless Thanksgiving dinner. Check out these great vegetarian and vegan recipes and websites.

A Toast to Roasted Vegetables

Roasting is the best way to cook winter root vegetables, because dry heat coaxes out and concentrates flavors. Use this simple method and fool-proof tips to bring out the best in  parsnips, carrots, rutabagas and other root vegetables.

Grow Mushrooms This Winter!

Try doing something different this winter by growing mushrooms. It's entertaining, and it provides you with an edible treat!

Cooking Greens for Greens Haters

The right recipe can convert people who think they don't like cooked greens, or energize cooks in need of fresh ideas. Here we offer a roundup of recipe ideas for garden-fresh greens from arugula to turnips.

Taste Test of the Week: Organic Valley Pasture Butter

Organic Valley's new Pasture Butter is a standout among cultured butters and organic food products. This is one of the few products available today that respects Mother Nature by paying attention to the seasons, not to mention the needs of our food-producing animal friends.

The Perfect Tomato Sandwich

When the right bread envelopes sun-ripened tomatoes, one of the most righteous tastes of summer is yours to enjoy.   

It's Garlic Scapes Season: Try This

You'll love this recipe from William Woys Weaver for garlic scapes sauteed with tomatoes, white wine and sheep's milk cheese.

Garlicky Bruschetta Recipe

Bruschetta, the classic Italian appetizer, brings out the best of a few basic ingredients: tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil and fresh bread.