I used to think cover crops were for commercial farmers with tractor attachments to use for tilling. Now, I know they are a basic gardening tool that any gardener can use to improve and protect soil while reducing weeds. What are Cover Crops? Cover crops are kind of like an exciting adventure vacation for your soil life. Because they germinate and grow quickly, a round … Continue reading Cover Crops: An Invigorating Vacation for Your Soil!
Want to live better while improving our shared environment? It’s easier than you think. Issue Two of Epicurean Living includes ideas on how to garden sustainably and regeneratively. There are tips on cooking and snacking to save time, money, and benefit your overall well-being as well as our environment. Plus, it’s full of ways to live more creatively and ecologically right now. You can read … Continue reading Live More Sustainably
Spring is nearly here. That means its time to get gardening in earnest! I have written tons of posts and made lots videos about gardening over the years. So, below, I’m going to detail what I’ve got going on in my garden right now and what’s coming up in the near future. Then, I’ll also intersperse links to some of my related posts. That way … Continue reading Vegetable and Spice Garden Time!
Each morning I walk our dogs through the semi-wild parts of our wooded property. There I encounter various trees, shrubs, ground cover, mosses, lichens, and a seemingly infinite variety of fungi. What beautiful complexity exists in this woodland ecosystem. Yet, as a gardener, I can’t help but notice the diseased limbs on otherwise healthy trees. My attention is drawn to the anthracnose stricken leaves on … Continue reading Simplestead Guide to Pruning Plants
Saffron is one of the most exotic seeming and expensive spices in the world. Yet I grow an abundant perennial crop of it in a weedy, but compost rich patch of ground in my North Carolina backyard. Okay, so my backyard isn’t exactly a typical yard. It’s a homesteader’s fantasy of organic food production meets ornamental farm meets ecologically managed wildlife paradise – complete with … Continue reading Growing, Harvesting, and Curing Saffron at Home (with Video)
You know that expression “good fences make good neighbors”? Well, I always thought of that turn of phrase as negative. That’s probably because Robert Frost’s poem, Mending Wall, made it seem so divisive and futile. Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. Good Reasons for Fences There are many ways a good fence can enhance community. For example, think about a fence around a … Continue reading Decorative and Useful Garden Fencing
Hi everyone! It’s finally fall here in Northwestern North Carolina. After the intense heat, humidity, and heavy rains we’ve had for the last two months, this weather is an amazing gift. I just wish I could wrap it up and share it with the West Coast for awhile to help all those brave people out there coping with this especially challenging fire season. For those … Continue reading Growing and Harvesting Ginger at Home (with Video and a Peak in My Fall Garden)
The COVID-19 virus has made it difficult for grocery stores to keep shelves stocked. I visited the grocery for the first time in a month and was surprised to see so many shelves empty. Toilet paper, of course, was no where to be found. But, other things like flour, eggs, butter, and many fresh vegetables were in short supply too. Seeing so many of our … Continue reading Potager Gardening in a Crisis
Choosing the plants that will grow well in your climate, weather, soil type, and garden is quite complicated. That’s why a big part of becoming a good gardener is learning how to read your landscape, understand your conditions, and carefully select plants that are most likely to thrive where you live. If you want to learn more about all the intricacies involved in careful plant … Continue reading Choosing the Right Plants for Your Garden
It can be difficult to think beyond the grocery store, or the farmers market, when deciding what kind of food to grow on your homestead. Every recipe we know, every cookbook we have, tend to rely only on the readily available ingredients most of us can access. Yet, the most thrilling part about having your own garden is that you are not limited to the … Continue reading What to Grow in Your Potager (including a list of 30 categories of plants to consider)
If you are new to gardening and looking for a quick and easy tool to help you decide what to plant when, check out this new planting calendar. The programming team at Morning Chores developed it. Then, I helped refine some planting dates and adapt it to work for many different climates. This is a perfect starting point for planning your own planting calendar. Plus, … Continue reading Vegetable Garden Planting Calendar
Do you want your garden to produce food even with 4 weeks of neglect in extreme heat and dry weather? Then plant a well-planned potager garden. Continue reading The Power of a Well-Planned Potager
The garden explosion happened. Those tiny, seedlings I showed pictures of in the last post Plant Your Homestead Potager suddenly started to look like fully-fledged plants. Even when you visit your garden daily, and observe the incremental growth, there is still this moment when you realize “Wow, this is a real garden.” Honestly, it was a real garden from the first moment you poured your … Continue reading Harvest and Succession Plant Your Homestead Potager
Now that you’ve constructed your homestead potager, it’s time to plant. Well, almost… There are two more things I suggest you do before you put plants or seeds in the ground. Pre-Planting Step 1: Start Compost Tea The first thing I recommend is that you get a five gallon bucket, fill it with rain water (if possible), and drop a bag of 2-3 cups of … Continue reading Plant Your Homestead Potager
With all the hard work of gathering inspiration, choosing a garden site, deciding on our paths and bed design, and formalizing your plan done, it’s now time to break ground. This is the moment when the dream – a thing that lives in the world of ideas – becomes tangible. This is when the seed sprouts. Personally, before I pick up my shovel and turn … Continue reading Constructing Your Homestead Potager