Compost Meat, Fish, and Dairy with the Bokashi Composting Method

Bokashi composting allows you to compost much more waste generated in your home which ordinarily, would not be suitable for the compost heap. It is a composting method which uses anaerobic bacteria (those which live in low oxygen environments) to ferment (or pickle) the waste and is small enough to fit in a kitchen, making it ideal for urban homes.

Cooperative Neighborhood Composting

Besides benefiting the environment by reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills and providing your garden with black gold, composting can build and strengthen relationships with your community.

3 Fertilizer Teas for Plants

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!

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.

A Royal Compost Adventure Report

Stan Slaughter gave a speech in England this April at the invitation of HRH Prince Charles. The speech described the many synergies available when we enlist the magical powers of the microbial friends around us. A section of the speech is exerpted in the blog post.

Homesteading and Wild Food Foraging Under the Poplar Moon: May To-Do List

As the days stretch closer to their full summer length, we are welcomed to sow directly into the warming ground. We are invited to harvest from the woods, which are coming to life with new abundance. Now, we step into the light of the growing season, and we plant beneath the poplar moon! Learn how to prepare your garden and what to harvest in the month of May.

Use Your Chickens as Compost Workers

If you have backyard chickens and you are not using them as composters and you have a garden, you are missing a valuable resource right at your fingertips. There are so many benefits to using your chickens, and it’s such a natural process for composting.

Composting FAQs Answered

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.

Working with Nature to Build Organic Soil, Part 3: Compost

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.

Reader Roundup: DIY Composting Toilets

Before you set up your own DI composting toilet, read the experiences of several folks who have successfully — and happily — lived with simple bucket toilets.

My 22-Bucket Yield from a 5-Hour Stint of Relaxed Composting

Composting is a great way to lessen our carbon footprint and it doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult. Read this article to learn about Blythe’s relaxed, easy going approach of turning scraps into treasure.

Recycling in the Garden During the Not-So-Dead of Winter

When our neighbors might not think we're gardening because the snow is flying and we're not as visible outdoors, there can be plenty of fun happening indoors. Dreaming, planning, plotting, and nurturing seedlings are all part of a gardener's life as well.

Preparing for Power Outages on the Homestead, Part 2

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.

Using a Worm Bin to Create Compost in Your Kitchen

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.

Know Your Egg Shed, Part 1

An egg shed could be defined as: the eggs produced within a certain distance that go to a specific place. That place could be your kitchen. In chicken-friendly, local food-supportive, low carbon-footprint communities, backyard flocks and small family farms produce eggs. The takeaway message is that egg shed needs for a family, or a community, are relatively easy to meet. A household or a community can somewhat easily be protein self-sufficient.

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.

Homestead Composting

One of the wonderful aspects of permaculture is the mindset of integrating systems in ways that enhance each other. Composting is a great example of integrating systems in a synergistic manner. Learn how the "problem is the solution" in this post.

Why Tiny Homes Are Inherently Green (With Lilypad Tiny Home Tour)

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.

Quit Feeling Guilty and Start Composting Everything

Composting doesn't have to be a perfect process that takes place in neat little piles. You can compost almost anything organic, including meat, bones, junk mail, logs, pet waste and more. Throw out the rules and start returning almost everything to the soil!

Compost Piles in Your Garden Rotation

Compost piles don't have to be relegated to an out of the way bin. If your compost-making materials are being produced in your garden, as they are following biointensive methods, the best place for the compost piles are in rotation right on your garden beds.

Troubleshooting Your Compost Pile

Having problems with your compost? Unusual smells? Growing mushrooms? Here are tips to fix any issues you are having with your compost pile.

Drought-Pod 2014 Update

Cooler, wetter summer than usual in Oklahoma, but the tomatoes produced very well with no water from the tap. 2015 experiment begins.

Worms Eat My Poop: Building a Vermiculture Compost Toilet

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.

Cover Crops and Compost Crops

Clean up your garden now and plant cover crops that will protect your garden soil through the winter and provide compost and mulch material for next year.

Summer Garden Tips

Tips for keeping your summer garden producing at top output. This is the time of year that warm season crops are at their peak. These 7 tips will give you continued bountiful harvests through the heat.

Compost Tea

A basic recipe for making compost tea.

My Goats Have Green Thumbs blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel of Dog Island Farm says keeping animals in the garden improves her soil and fights weeds and pests.

Compost-Heated Outdoor Shower

Here at Deer Isle Hostel, Maine, we use a compost pile built with local, natural materials and a 100-foot water pipe to create a steaming hot shower.

Gardening With Mushrooms

Fungi breakdown organic material and make it available to plants. Encouraging fungi to grow naturally, or inocculating your soil can have tremendous benefits for your garden.

Composting Toilets: From Waste Stream to Resource River

Making our own compost is not only a way to meet our need of fertilizer, it's also a way to redirect the garden scraps, chicken manure, leaves and grass cuttings from the waste stream to the resource river. Another area where this applies around our homestead, is our use of a composting toilet. For us, the difference between what goes down a flushing toilet and what accumulates in the buckets in the outhouse is the difference between waste and resource.

Zero-Waste Events

Thoughts on managing an event with lots of people and having minimal or no trash.

Compost: The End and the New Beginning

Growing an organic garden with compost I made using natural material from our surroundings is to comply with nature's way of taking care of itself – it's to remain humble for a true and tried life cycle and acknowledge our inevitable part in and connection to life on earth.

The Process of Composting

Compost happens, yes. But if food scraps are thrown into a pile and left to rot, a hot smelly mess may be taking over. That’s because the process of composting is a symbiotic relationship between carbon and nitrogen. Or at our home, cardboard and food scraps.

Permaculture Gardening, Part 4

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

Creating Your Own Mycorrhiza

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.

How to Improve Clay Soil

Gardeners in certain regions frequently ask about how to improve clay soil. Lighten up your heavy clay soil by using organic matter, sand and other soil conditioners.

The Compost Bandit

Compost and mulch material are in abundance in our backyard and our communities. What is ones man's yard waste is this man's treasure.

You Can't Compost Meat (And Other Ridiculous Myths)

Composting doesn't need to be complicated. It's time to throw out the guide book and start letting nature take its course. Meat? No problem. Bread? Don't worry about it. Human waste? Why not? It's easy!

A Compost Happening

I feed and water my compost “pets,” and they do the same for my plants.

Tea Anyone?

I ponder the benefits of, and experiment with, compost tea.

Biochar: Midwest Progress Report

About five years ago I started experimenting with biochar. I collected charcoal from my wood stove, crushed it in a tough plastic bag with the car and charged it by soaking it in compost tea.

Pasteurize Your Own Compost

Pasteurizing your own compost can protect your new seedlings from damping-off and harmful bacteria.

Using Wood Ash in the Garden

Using wood ash in the garden can be beneficial for raising the soil pH of your garden soil. These tips will help you know when to use wood ash in the garden. 

Kitchen Composting

These tips will help you keep your kitchen compost free of rotten smells and fruit flies.

Keeping Pet Worms

Raising worms for the compost material they make, vermicomposting, is the easiest indoor pet experience.

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

Composting Toilet Construction and No-Till Gardening Details

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!

Oven Fried Home-Grown Potatoes

A single, volunteer potato produces 10 pounds of potatoes in a hot bed. A recipe for addictive, oven-fried potatoes.

A Rind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Describes two effective alternatives to composting. Many factors can limit the ability to produce compost. These two products offer different but practical ways to organically recycle food scraps.

Saving Stressed Tomatoes

Describes a method of protecting tomatoes from excessive heat using a sunscreen, vermicompost tea, pulling blighted leaves.

Piles of Dirt

Taking care of compost is essential to healthy soil and good food.

Think Cool: Winter Worm Composting

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.

Compost: The Other Prize from the Business End of a Chicken

Eggs aren't the only things that come from the business end of a chicken. But with a little time and materials, and even less ingenuity, the rest can set you up with a free and steady supply of valuable organic fertilizer.

A Menu of Organic Fertilizers

Explains the benefits of organic fertilizers such as rock phosphate, kelp, fish meal and greensand, and tells you how to get buy these materials at reasonable prices.

To Compost or not to Compost, That is the Question!

It has become a Christmas ritual for me to clean out my mother's fridge. I find whiskery gnarled morsels, shoved to the back of the fridge many months previously, unseen, and untouched by my mother’s arthritic hands. Do I compost all this detritus?

Composting Humanure

Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.

HOMEGROWN Life: The Potato Bin Experiment

After a completely miserable potato harvest this year we’ve decided to pull them out of the ground and do them in boxes made out of pallets. That way we can use weedblock under them to eliminate the whole bindweed issue. So today, the boxes went up.

3 Ways to Compost

Three easy ways to compost in small spaces and with little effort.

Mulching with Leaves

Leaves are a valuable source of mulch and fertility within the permaculture garden.

Year-Round Mulching

Mulch, like compost, plays an important role in organic gardening. To maximize the flavor and nutrition of your produce, learn how to use and balance the characteristics of various organic materials when mulching.

Preparing Your Vegetable Garden for Winter

It pays to spend time preparing your garden for winter. You can improve your soil, increase your harvest, decrease garden pests and make next spring's planting much easier.

A Composter Anyone Will Ever Need

The Aerobin 400 uses a patented aeration core inside an enclosed bin to promote aerobic break down of organic matter. The Aerobin 400 is easy to use - just open, drop in materials, and close.

Quick Compost

Freezing compostable material creates five favorable conditions to speed the decomposition process along.

Oxo Biodegradable Bag Test

When Woods End Labs recently tested biodegradable plastics and found that most aren't compostable under home compost conditions, one reader (known as Eco-Oxo) wrote that Oxo biodegradable bags aren't designed to biodegrade under compost conditions. Woods End Labs is following up, taking the reader's suggestion and testing Oxo under the conditions Eco-Oxo recommends. This is Part 1 of the new test, where you can follow along and see how Oxo fares under different conditions. 

Gardening on a Budget: Seven Tips for Success

Don’t let the cost of gardening keep you out of the dirt this year. Cheap gardening can be fun and easy. With these tips for gardening on a budget, you’ll save on seeds, make your own fertilizer and impress your friends with your gardening know how.

Poo in the News

How to safely dispose of or make use of human waste is becoming a hot topic.

Can You Compost Black Walnut Hulls?

Organic farming research has found that you can compost black walnut hulls successfully, despite the fact that they contain the toxic juglone compound.

Got Leaves? Put 'Em to Work

Use autumn's bounty of fallen leaves to expand your garden, protect your plants and improve your soil.

Free, Easy and All-Natural Mulch

It's easy to overlook how useful grass clippings can be, but early fall is a great time to collect this valuable 'yard waste' to use in your garden as mulch.