Them That's Doin': Labor of Love

Check out what MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors and readers have been enjoying lately, from apps and classes to tools and techniques. In this edition, editors are harvesting from volunteer plants, testing a new weeding tool, and more.

Welcome to Them That’s Doin’, a department featuring editors and readers discussing what they’ve been up to. We want to know what’s caught your eye, and how you’ve been spending your time. Have you tested a new composting method, or watched with delight as volunteer plants thrived? Tried a new weeding technique, or extended your growing season? Tell us at 

Photo by Laura Thomas

Laura’s Labor of Love

“A labor of love” is how we refer to my garden. And while I’m not new to gardening, it’s been 20 years since I last had one. I’ve experienced gardening on a whole new level, as I’m already harvesting produce. My husband built me garden boxes with greenhouse hoops over them so we could have a longer growing season, since ours in northwestern Montana is so short. The results were stunning; I have a late-season garden in July. And we’re already harvesting produce from the garden. We’re not only enjoying the bounty, such as squash and lettuce, but I’m also learning new methods of preserving food for our long winters, such as dehydrating and freezing. I’ve found this garden experience to be a truly satisfying labor of love in providing food for our table. —Laura Thomas, reader

Volunteer Pumpkin Patch

Our family planned to have a large pumpkin patch this year. I had harvested the seeds from several jack-o’-lanterns at last year’s Halloween party and was planning to start them in our plot where the early lettuce and spinach plants left an opening in June. Turns out, throwing our rotting pumpkin parts into the compost was much more effective. Volunteer pumpkin vines began popping up from our compost pile, and we left them, curious to see the result. We still throw compostable items in one side, but, because we use the deep-litter method in our coop, we won’t need to add the “hot” chicken manure until well after fall’s pumpkin harvest. Until then, we’re letting the vines take over. With almost no effort, we have a robust and beautiful “compost patch” filled with pumpkin blossoms, due just in time to decorate our porch for fall. —Christine Stoner, editor

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