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.

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.

A Year at Bees of the Woods Apiary: April

In the Northeast, you never know what to expect in the beeyard in April. From snow to some very busy bees, Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will share what has been going on in the apiary this past month.

Simple Recipes for Spring Roots and Greens

Prepare simple recipes using greens and roots from the spring garden, including Dandelion Green Salad Recipe, Sauteed Sorrel Recipe, Braised Parsnips Recipe, and how to make Hyssop Tea.

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.

'Taters Gone Wild: Planting Potatoes from Sprouts

What do you do when you don’t have a root cellar and the potatoes you store in the basement have decided to volunteer for planting? This post will show you the beginning of one of my botanical adventures growing potatoes in abundance.

5 Clever Chicken Egg-Incubation Tips

While chickens are natural incubation experts, many breeders find that utilizing an incubator can give them more control over their hatch, ultimately leading to higher hatch rates than nature provides. Want to increase chicken egg hatch rates? Check out these fives tips to help you become an egg-incubation master.

Flower Essence Jellies

I combined my love of jelly making and my love of flowers. Using flowers in some sweet form is not something new. Mountain people have always known that there are plants that have the ability to cleanse, uplift, heal and so on. I start my process with the first early (Native) flowers of Spring. Red Bud bloom (from tree) which is high in Vitamin C, Violet (we call them Johnny Jump Up), Dandelion and Forsythia.

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.

Tomatoes from Seed: My 10 Most Important Seed-Starting Success Factors

I start a lot of seedlings each spring – far more than I can fit in my garden. We don’t have much room – this is our home, after all, not a nursery. Yet, with a sunny south facing window, some inexpensive heat mats, a garage with suspended shop lights and sunny driveway, I start hundreds (in some years, thousands) of seedlings successfully. Here are what I consider to be a list of the most important details to pay close attention to.

A Gradual Wakening to Spring

Following the Wheel of the Year gives us monthly moments to celebrate. Imbolc is a reminder that half of winter is now behind us.

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.

Transitioning to Spring On a Micro-Dairy, Part 2

Spring has been slow to arrive in the Green Mountain State. But there are signs of spring in Vermont and that means preparing your Micro-Dairy for the change in seasons. Bob-White Systems' Steve Judge shares more tips to transition a Micro-Dairy into spring.

Homesteading Chores in March

Any other year in March, the homesteading chores are back in full swing after the winter break. This year, winter lasted longer than ever and it wasn't until the end I could even conceive of getting any of the usual stuff done. Here's the list of what I normally do.

Spring in the Mountains

How we discovered a cut-glass prism that told us the exact first day of spring by producing rainbows.

March Garden Planner

March heralds the coming of spring and gardening. It is a great time to start your seeds and plants for veggies that thrive in cool temperatures.

Chickens Got Cabin Fever

The sun is shining, the breeze is starting to warm, but there's still three feet of snow outside. It's driving you crazy — why can't spring get here now? Well, you're not the only one because those chickens have cabin fever too!

Ford Brings a Charge to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Ford Motor Company’s electrifying presence at the 2014 Pennsylvania MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR included sponsoring the event, giving test drives, and updating fairgoers about the latest news on electric and hybrid vehicle technology.

Delicious, Nutritious, Ice-Cold Watermelon Cooler

Stephanie Tourles, author and Seven Springs, Pa., FAIR Speaker, shares how to make a delicious, ice-cold watermelon cooler. Refresh after a day in the heat with this super easy and nutritious drink.

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.

Preparing for Seed Saving at Twin Oaks Seed Farm

Twin Oaks Seed Farm’s focus has been producing seeds on contract for a handful of small seed companies. The author discusses involvement in starting a new cooperative retail seed project, Common Wealth Seed Growers.

Growing Fabulous Lettuce and Greens

If you love salads, lettuce and greens are a great vegetable to grow. They do great in pots or in garden beds. With a few pointers, you can grow salad ingredients for the entire season.

9 Things to Do With Dandelions

Unlike many wild foods that take a long search, dandelions are found in almost every wood and meadow. And while many wild plants require special training to identify and discriminate from similar-looking poisonous plants, dandelions can be readily identified by every schoolchild.

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.

April Showers

Finally some sun, too bad it is during the work week!

Piglets and Chicks, Oh My!

The arrival of our first chickens and pigs to the farm, and prepping to head off to my summer internship at Polyface Farm

May Garden Planner

May is a busy time in the garden for planting. Frost-free weather is the time to get summer veggies in their pots or garden spot.

First Beehive Inspection of Spring

Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary will explain how they perform the first beehive inspections of the year. This will be the first step in what will hopefully be a successful year in the beeyard!

Me vs. The Bees

Overcoming my personal fears and welcoming the newest addition to our homestead - honeybees

Finally Signs of Spring on the Farm

HOMEGROWN blogger Dyan finally spots signs of spring on her Maine dairy farm, from sunrises to newborn goat kids to eggs of every shade. Lovely!

Predicting Goat Kidding; or, Why My Goats Think I'm Nuts

Since Lulu and Belle had their kids, I'm now waiting on three more does to have their babies. Only, they aren't. So here is how the experts claim you can discover if your goat is going to kid. Only, it's really wishful thinking...

Five Seasons in the Rockies

Other than the four regular seasons there is a fifth season in the mountains called mud season.

Early Spring Foraging: Violets

Violet leaves are one of the best wild edible salad greens. Their pretty, edible flowers are only in season for a few weeks.

Homegrown Fridays 2014

Have you ever tried eating only what you've grown for a day or eating only food sourced withing 10 miles? Cindy Conner and Vicki Robin have. Learn more about the thoughts behind these adventures.

Spring Fever

Beekeeping supply arrived, it's light out and I have a fever!

How to Deter Swallows

Absolute Bird Control offers a few easy to implement tips for deterring swallows from nesting on, or near, your home.

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!

Preparing for Goat-Kidding Season

One of the most exciting facets of raising goats is when kids are born on your farm. Knowing how to prepare for the grand event makes for a smoother and more successful kidding process.

Start the Seeds Already

Dragging my feet to get spring started, afraid to fail and making the decision to jump in an succeed or fail already!

Spring Homestead Projects

Homestead spring projects include honey bees, Dorking chickens, Ancona ducks, Narragansett turkeys, Dutch Belted calf, Red-Wattle hogs, the incubator, pruning fruit trees,starting seeds, and heirloom plants so we can eat healthful and delicious food all year.

March Vegetable Garden Planner

Overview of the activities of a garden in March. How to prepare the soil for spring. What varieties I am planting this March in our Zone 6 garden.

April To-Dos

Spring tasks around the homestead.

The Green Fork in the Road

Green living is similar to taking yoga. It is a ‘practice’ – the more you get into, the more there is to learn. It really comes down to three simple things. Are you ready, willing and able to start living green?

We Are What We Read

My husband Alan’s first gift to me was Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The books we turn to regularly have changed, although some we go back to again and again, year after year. A list of our top 10 favorite books follows.

Avoiding Urban Beekeeping Problems

OK, you’ve got a start: where to get equipment, groups to join, classes to take, and mentors to hook up with. Now’s the time, before you have bees, to take a long hard look at some of the rest of the things you need to be thinking about.

Groundhog Crocus Signs

Talking about carrying in the red roofing tin the old fashioned way due to a broken golf cart and some very muddy conditions. The refrigerator root cellar continues to prove itself as an experiment that seems to be working so far.

The Accidental Homesteader

When I bought my farm, I did it to live in the woods. I would like to say I was deliberate. And intentional. But clueless is probably a better word. I should have suspected something when I bought the land and they threw the house in for free.

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.

Live the Homesteading Dream

Like Thoreau and the Nearings, we feel more alive and participative in the natural world around us on our 5.5 acre homestead and organic farmstead than Lisa and I ever did walking through a corporate cubicle maze in the city.

Ducks in the High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane

We folded down the back seats in our Subaru wagon, lined the whole back area with a heavy tarp and a thick layer of straw, and headed down to Nash's Delta Farm to catch us some ducks.

The Lazy Farmer

I don't know why, but somehow I think of myself as a lazy farmer. Perhaps it's because I know that I'm not a real farmer. Sure, we ate out of the garden all summer and I sold our excess produce at the farmer's market, but gardening is hardly farming.

We Can Do Better Than This

Change is not only possible, it’s inevitable. Within the next few decades, great change is coming, because the way things are done today literally cannot continue. America's use-it-up-and-move-on way of life is in its endgame.

Thinking the Way Animals Do

A horse trainer once said to me, 'Animals don't think, they just make associations.' I responded to that by saying, 'If making associations is not thinking, then I would have to conclude that I do not think.'

Hatch Your Own Chicks!

Nobody can resist fluffy baby chicks, so what would be better than hatching your own? Let us put your mind at rest and make your first time incubating an enjoyable experience you will want to repeat.

The Pickled Pantry

The thing about self-sufficiency, working with nature, making delicious food: There’s always something new to learn.

Math in the Hen House

Why do we believe that math must be done one workbook page at a time, at the kitchen table? Anyone who’s ever kept chickens can tell you all the math that can be found in the hen house.

Chicken Processing for the Uninitiated

‘Pluck A Lotta Chickens: A Live Demonstration’ was in the Timberstone Room, which holds several hundred people. I sat second row, center. Once they started the process, it wasn’t nearly as bizarre as I thought it was going to be.

Bobolinks

I grew up with bobolinks. All my life they have nested on our farm, but the bobolinks are in serious trouble, especially in the Northeast, largely on account of changes in agricultural practices.

Securing Rare Breeds in Drought Conditions

Heritage breeds are survivors, although some may be in for a very challenging year. The national drought is about to have a huge impact on the American economy and now is the time to plan ahead.

DIY Solar Installation

Solar expert Joe Utasi hopes to have his home solar panel installation complete and running, and will have lots of pictures to show and discuss by the time the Seven Springs Fair arrives.

Voyages in Food Security

My boyfriend and I traveled from Orlando, FL with the expectation that we were going to encounter a life-changing experience. It was well worth it. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Life on Desert Canyon Farm

We do a lot of things on our farm, but the primary way we earn a livelihood is selling wholesale potted herbs and heritage food plants to garden centers throughout Colorado and northern New Mexico.

Nuts About Nuts

The factory farm creates the wealth for the doctors, lawyers, government regulators, and bankers … is it ironic that these same professionals will choose a Beechnut Turkey or an Oaknut Ham from Big Horn Ranch for their family gathering?

What’s Wrong With Predators Nowadays?

One thing we can all agree on is that is time for things to change. So perhaps we need to look at the world more like prey and less like predators.

Let's Get Busy

Can a civilization this profoundly removed from the visceral participation in farming and food even survive? Can the assumptions, like cheap energy, cheap grain, and processed food that can be nutritious, really continue into the future?

A Barn Raising: “Brush Fires”

Until we built a barn of our own and experienced the kindness of neighbors firsthand, I would have thought the notion of a barn raising to be a quaint relic of the past.

The Home Cook: A Secret Ingredient

Cooking is great improvisation and I think that’s what I like most about it. You can say the word, “burger,” to any cook and be surprised by every interpretation that you get.

First Time Gardener in the Office Garden

Summer intern Megan describes her first time gardening at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, planting cucumbers for the first time and watering the office garden.

Eating Cicadas and Building a Porch

Eating cicadas, building a porch, and hauling lumber for said porch all in the same week with several images of the action as well as some bee installation pictures.

Introduction to the Eglu

Meet Amelia, Honey, and Tilda — an Ameraucana, Buff Orpington, and Rhode Island Red, respectively. We keep our little flock of three in an Eglu, which has an egg-shaped hen house attached to a wire-enclosed run.

Raising Rare-Breed Chickens

A few years ago the ALBC launched its Heritage Chicken promotion; if you’d like to get involved, here’s what you need to know.

Welcome to Chick Days Vermont!

I started my poultry quest way too early for New Englanders: January! I marked my calendar in red and drew childish pictures of a chicken on the calendar blocks. I was as impatient as a 6-year-old waiting for Christmas morning.

Why Have Chickens?

Why raise chickens? Because they’re the pet that makes you breakfast.

Spring Greens and Other Things from the Early Vegetable Garden

The mild winter has led to an earlier than usual spring growing season and plenty of surprises in the way of plants making it through the winter that normally would never survive the cold season. Here's a peek at what's growing in my spring garden.

Seed-Starting Shelf

Make a shelf or table into a growing space for starting seedlings.

Springtime Madness: Lovin' It

The peaceful tranquility of farm life is often more or less controlled chaos, especially during the busy spring season!

Spring Planning

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

Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

Ira Wallace inspires us to create flowering, native plant habitat in our gardens. Learn how to identify plants that are 'user-friendly' to the bugs that help keep our gardens healthy.

Seven Garden Activities to Help Kiss Winter Goodbye

So, you can't wait for the weather to warm up enough to get out and plant a few seeds in the ground? Well here is a list of gardening ideas and activities to keep you occupied and happy right up until the day that spring arrives!

Speaker Post: Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm

How lucky was I to find a pair of folks just as crazy about farming, working horses, working dogs, as I was? Us two women, practically Luddites in our past times, found each other because of an online publication of Barnheart at Mother Earth News.

Speaker Post: Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm

What I like about MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS is that they encourage an active, participatory human presence in nature. Too many environmentalists think that human activity or presence is incompatible with environmentalism.

Whole Radish Pasta

This delicious pasta uses the entire radish, including the nutritious greens.

Maple Baked Radishes

Roasted radishes are sweeter and less spicy than the radishes you might be used to.

Gardening With Children Workshop

Jason Akers, The Self-Sufficient Gardener, taught kids of all ages the basics of gardening on Saturday and Sunday at the Fair.

‘My First Farm Friends’ Coloring Contest!

This gift set of four farm-themed board books features illustrations that tell the story of a day in the life of each of four animals: chickens, goats, cows and pigs.

Food at the Fair

Wondering what delicious meals and snacks we’ll be serving up at the Fair? Wonder no more! See what food options will be offered by Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Fair exhibitors.

Three Cheers for the Volunteers!

What a nice surprise it can be to notice new spring babies emerging from where their parent plants grew the year before. Volunteer plants are a wonderful gift!

Springtime in Urbania

Springtime in Urbania can be fraught with temptations at the stores. I have managed to navigate these temptations, sometimes just by 'smelling the clover hay'! Now that the veggies are in, all we have to do is wait for the summer vegetable frittata!

Duck, Duck, Goose Eggs!

Now’s the time to hit your farmers market or specialty grocery store for duck, goose, pheasant, quail or turkey eggs.

Make a Sassier Salad

This spring, try more interesting salads with spicy, crunchy, and colorful greens.

A Sweet Time of the Year

Cam and Michelle enjoy a visit to their neighbour's "sugar shack" during maple syrup season!

With a Packet In My Pocket

To ensure we have a full productive garden, each spring I start a habit of carrying a packet of seeds in my pocket every time I head to the garden!

Photo of the Week: Spring Feeding

Join a little piece of nature for dinner in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you could be the next Photo of the Week!

Spring Awaits Us!

Getting ready for the new garden season is full of anticipation and ideas!

What's Your Favorite Environmental Literature?

Thoreau, Rachel Carson, Bill McKibbon, Terry Tempest Williams. Do you have a favorite nature or environmental writer? A book or story you can get lost in, that inspires you to action, or simply reminds you of how incredible nature is? Post a comment to share the titles that invite you into the wonder of the natural world — or have maybe even changed your life.

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?

Three's Not a Crowd

Growing the three sisters (corn, beans, squash) in the same plot of land actually helps yield healthier crops of each.

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.