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.

How to Grow, Harvest and Cure Garlic

Since we were in the process of establishing a garden on our northern Utah homestead, we wondered if we could grow garlic ourselves. If the established farmers at the market failed to grow ample bulbs, perhaps the soil or climate forbade it. Still, we decided to try — and we had success growing garlic. Here are our tips for how to grow garlic and all that goes into cultivating a successful harvest.

Maybe Your Brown Thumb is Not as Brown as You Think

Years ago, if anyone would have told me I would be playing around in a vegetable garden I would have laughed at them. Not because I was too good or too stuck up to be doing that, but I kind of stink at making things grow. Don’t be so hard on yourself, keep trying, reading and learning. That’s the best way to turn that brown thumb into a green one!

The Market Gardener: A Successful Growers Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming

A step-by-step guide that lays out practical know-how, Fortier has done his due diligence to learn from those who have innovated in the past and compiled successful strategies into one small successful farm. In a time of “feel good stories” that may or may not be financially solvent, Fortier simply hands over to the reader the blueprints to confidently launch and run a small-scale market garden.

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.

Hardening Off Plants and Seedlings

Planting the seedlings you’ve raised carefully indoors is a proud moment. But be sure to acclimatize them to their new outdoor home first, or you’ll risk losing your plants and wasting all that hard work. This is a process known to gardeners as hardening off plants.

Gardening at High Elevation

Growing vegetables at a high elevation can be very challenging. Over the years we have had to be flexible and creative in order to manage a small garden. We grow enough for our needs but not enough to put any vegetables up for future use. This blog post outlines some of the challenges we have faced and how we overcame them.

Grow Shade-Loving Vegetables and Fruits

While shade presents a challenge, it certainly needn’t stop you from growing your own fruit and vegetables. In this video we’ll suggest shade-tolerant vegetables and fruits, and share a few tricks of the trade to maximize the light your garden does receive.

Convert Your Lawn to a No-Till Permaculture Garden

When we bought our homestead, the only gardening area was at the bottom of a fairly steep hill. Though fine for growing a winter’s worth of potatoes and squash, it’s less convenient for greens, which we prefer to grow close to the house. Having read about a method called "lasagna gardening" (named for its layers; learn the basics here), we decided to try it. Egged on by its success, we extended the garden the following year only this time incorporating hugelkultur techniques. Here’s how we did it.

Get Past Your Fears and Start Composting

Composting is beneficial for the earth in many ways: amending soil for gardening and diverting trash from landfills. But many people don't ever get started due to fears and misguided notions of composting. Learn your composting basics here.

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.

5 Gardening Hacks for Sowing Seeds

You reap what you sow, but sometimes what you sow refuses to cooperate. Follow these seed-sowing tips to prevent gardening disasters.

The ABCs of Homesteading: E is for 'Edible Landscaping'

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.

Creating A Project Plan For Your Garden

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.

How to Build Raised Beds for Next to Nothing

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.

Growing Sweet Potatoes

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.

10 Tips for New Garden Farmers

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.

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.

Common and Rare Types of Tomato Foliage

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."

Watering: Not too Much, Not too Little

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.

How to Build A Vegetable Bed Biodynamically, Part 2

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.

‘Goldenseal’ Charms and Heals in the Garden

“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.

Growing Asparagus from Seed

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.

My 2016 Midwest Edible-Garden Plan

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.

The Ideal Spot for a Garden

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.

Transplanting Seedlings into Hay Mulch

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.

How To Build a Vegetable Bed Biodynamically, Part 1

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.

What's Growing in the Early-April Edible Garden

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.

Choose the Best Garden Site (Video)

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.

5 Ways to Get Growing Earlier (Video)

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.

Rock Polypody: One Helluva Tough Fern

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.

All About ‘Bloody Butcher’ Corn, Part 1: Planting and Pest Control

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.

Gardening While Using a Wheelchair: How One Man Recovered from Injury to Grow Again

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.

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.

Why and How to Test Soil in Your Garden

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.

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!

Grow Up!: Vertical Gardening

Increase your garden’s productivity with growing vertically. Beans, peas, squash and cucumbers love vertical growth. Culinary herbs love the vertical pocket gardens.

Confessions of a Relaxed Gardener

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.

A Year at Bees of the Woods Apiary: January

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.

Let's All Start 2016 Right: 5 Resolutions for Tomato Lovers

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.

Becoming (Accidental) Urban Farmers

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.

Our Summer with a Community Garden Plot

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!

A Slice of Winter Homesteading Life (with Videos)

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.

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!

Farming at Every Scale

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.

Winter for the Tomato Grower, Part 1: Your-End-of-Season Questions Answered

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.

6 Tips for Winter Organic-Gardening Success

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.

'Orange Jazz' is an Excellent New Beefsteak Tomato

'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.

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.

6 Low-Maintenance Gardening Ideas

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.

When to Vent Cold Frames

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.

An Heirloom Sicilian Kitchen Garden

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.

Plant Garlic This Fall

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: Grow and Cook This Edible, Wild ‘Weed’

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.

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.

10 Reasons You Need Tasslerue in Your Garden

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.

Plant Pest-Proof, Perennial Bloodroot in Your Garden

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.

Time to Mow Down Your Kale

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.

How to Make and Can Jostaberry Jam

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 Companion Planting on Steroids

Permaculture premise is creating a self-sustaining garden that has a nurturing relationship with your yard’s environment and symbiotic relationship among the plantings.

Plant Your Margins to Increase Harvests

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.

Farming on a Tenth of an Acre in Town

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.

5 Tips for Homestead Water Conservation

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.

Plant Long-Lived Trillium in Your Perennial Garden

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 Basics: Growing, Harvesting, Preserving

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.

Growing Personal Size Melons

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.

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.

Growing and Using Multipurpose Calendula

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.

‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ by Carol Deppe

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.

‘The Nourishing Homestead’ by Ben Hewitt

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.

Container Gardening to Feed Your Family

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.

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.

Planning a Baby Food Garden

HOMEGROWN Life blogger and pregnant Pennsylvania mama Michelle (Congrats, Michelle!) shares her plans for planting a baby food garden, including her entire seed order.

Why I Use a Chicken Tractor

Chicken tractors, which sit directly on garden beds during fallow times, maintain soil, reduce insect pests and even provide fresh eggs.

Gardening at High Elevation

Gardening at a high elevation presents challenges such as harsh sun and a shorter growing season.

Where to Buy Non-GMO Seeds

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.

Control Grasshoppers Naturally

Grasshoppers can be devastating in a garden, an insect in the locust family. There are ways to control them naturally without chemicals.

6 Gardening Methods to Try in 2015

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.

Indoor Seed-Starting Calendar

January is the time to start your indoor seeds for spring planting. Here is a calendar for starting your spring and summer seeds.

‘An Unlikely Vineyard’ by Deirdre Heekin

"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.

The Story of Seed, Part 1: An Introduction to Seed Saving

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.

Seed Catalogs

Four questions I ask of new varieties, before ordering seeds.

Discovering Aji Amarillo Peppers

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.

Winter Vegetables in Your Hoop House

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.

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.

Winter Solstice

Everything pauses during the time around the winter solstice.

How to Supercharge Your Soil with Minerals

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.

End of the Season

A philosophical look at the coming of winter, with ideas for preserving the summer after the end-of-the-season pepper harvest.

'Food Is Free' Project Losing Their Teaching Farm

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.

Self-Directed Gardening Education

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.

The Larder

Winter food storage in a naturally cooled space.

Pre- and Post-Frost Garden Tasks

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.

Late-Season Garden Vegetables

Keep those vegetable plants growing for a second harvest late in the year. Organically-grown, heirloom varieties will survive with a little help.

10-Day Local Food Challenge

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.

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.

Eco-Friendly Gardening Tips for Any Season

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.

New Garden in the High Desert

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.

Great Ways to Increase Your Harvest

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.

Legal Front Yard Gardens Go Beyond Containers

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.

Last Chance to Sow Cool-Weather Vegetables

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.

Kale or Collards

Which grows better in Pacific Northwest gardens - kale or collards?

A Homesteader's 5 Favorite Gardening Tools

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.

How to Store Seeds

Good storage conditions for your garden seeds are essential. These tips will help you learn how to store seeds.

Propagating Lavender

This blog takes a look at the steps taken to propagate lavender by taking cuttings.

Easy Ways To Make a New Vegetable Garden

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!

Container Planting On 10 Acres

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.

Top 10 Tomato-Growing Myths

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.

What to Do With Garlic Scapes

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.

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.

How We Transplant Vegetable Plugs

This post will take a look at how we transplant vegetable seedlings in our certified organic greenhouses, especially tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

All About Zucchini

Zucchini is a summer crop that keeps on giving all season long. They are easy to grow.

Egyptian Walking Onions

Egyptian walking onions are one of my favorite crops because they produce food for my family from early spring until late fall.

Permaculture Gardening, Part 4

Building a layered bed to develop organic material in the soil, hold moisture and decrease the amount of work.

Hello From Raintree Nursery

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.

April Garden Planner

What to plant in April for your vegetable garden, and what sized pot you need for your vegetable plant.

Starting Seeds with Children

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!

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.

Aeroponic System Basics

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.

Heat-Tolerant Tomato Varieties

Some tomato varieties wilt when temperatures get too hot. Find heat-tolerant tomato varieties that can grow robust tomato plants in hot climates.

How to Graft Tomatoes

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.

Better Lettuce Seed Germination

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.

Plan Next Season's Garden Now

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.

Genetic Engineering and Cell Fusion CMS

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.

Grow Indoor Winter Crops

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.

Survival Seed Banks, Part 3: Seed Storage Common Problems

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.

Choosing What to Grow in a Small Yard

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.

Landrace Gardening: Seed Swaps

Grow enough seed for yourself and a little extra for seed swaps and you may never have to pay for seeds again.

HOMEGROWN Life: Let’s Talk About Poop

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.

Landrace Gardening: Sunroots

Sunroots are a typically-cloned crop with great potential as a locally-adapted survival-of-the-fittest landrace

Landrace Gardening for the Casual Grower

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.

Landrace Gardening: Foreign Imports

A photo essay documenting imported landraces that I started incorporating into my existing landraces during the current growing season.

Time to Plant Cover Crops

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

Growing pine trees from seed will allow you to produce lots of trees very economically. Follow these instructions to propagate pine trees from seed.

Planting a Fall Garden the Easy Way

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.

Flowers - Food for the Soul

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.

Always Have a Backup Plan

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.

Worm’s Way Launches New Website

The set launch of Worm’s Way Group’s new website promises improved usability, more speed and exclusive web-based promotions.

Find Organic Gardening Supplies

These sources can help you locate organic and other natural options for plants, seeds, and weed and pest control products.

Landrace Gardening: Survival of the Fittest

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."

Landrace Gardening: Localize Your Garden For a Better Harvest

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.

Home and Away

Completing tasks in preparation for a few days away from the homestead

Growing the Nerves

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.

Gutter-Planted Garden Greens

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!

Seed Starting Video and Tips

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.

A Hydroponic Gardening Primer

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.

An Apple Tree Returns to Its Former Glory

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.

Thoughts of Spring Begin to Stir

A winter thaw inspires starting the first seeds of the season - indoors, of course: kale, chard, and spinach to start.

From Gardener to Farmdener

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.

Illegal Front Yard Vegetable Gardens: Des Moines Considers Home Garden Ban

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.

The Amazing Cold Frame

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.

The Urban Food Forest: A Groundbreaking Trend in Urban Agriculture

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.  

Fruit for the Future

Looking ahead to spring, we're using these long days to plan a rootstock order of perennial trees, shrubs, and herbs.

Teaching Homesteading--in a Nutshell

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

Too Many Garden Veggies! What to Do?

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!