Assortment of heirloom tomatoes - mostly slicers

My Favorite Tomato Varieties

What is it about our love and obsession with tomato varieties? Seed catalogs respond by offering dozens and dozens of varieties to choose from. And plant developers are cultivating new and unusual strains every year to feed our desire to find the next great tomato. My method for choosing tomato varieties focuses on reliability, production, flavor… Read more »

covered-tomatoes-inside

Planting Tomatoes Outside

Everyone seems to have a different rule of thumb on when it’s time to plant their tomatoes outside. Some wait for Mother’s Day. Others swear by the first week of June. One my local growers was even recommending folks in the Portland area move them outside in late-April, due to our unseasonably warm spring. The… Read more »

protected-raised-beds

Cat-Proof Raised Beds

Vegetable seeds have been getting gently tucked into the garden beds for several weeks now, but neighborhood cats have been a major problem. They see this seemingly “empty” area of fine textured soil and think it would make a great litterbox. Adding composted steer or chicken manure to your beds is one thing, but cat poop… Read more »

finished-teepee

Bean Play Teepee

Long before I had a kid, I always had bean teepees in our garden. I didn’t have a lot of existing vertical space in full sun for growing beans, so I would collect long branches and pop one of these up every spring. They add a really fun, vertical element to the summer garden when… Read more »

blue-crop-flowers

Mid-Spring Garden

The early spring blossoms have faded, but the garden is still growing by leaps and bounds. Here is a little snapshot of what’s catching my eye on the homestead in mid-Spring. Several new perennial herbs have been planted – either in ground or in pots. Springtime is a great time of year to plant them,… Read more »

spring-old-growth

Spring Adventures

It has been a busy, busy spring on our homestead! Here is a little snapshot of what our life has looked like over the last few weeks. Juniper turned three! How did that happen? Thanks to some sweet well-wishers, she now has a new wheelbarrow, watering can and bean seeds – all awesome ways to encourage little… Read more »

spring-planting-helper

Early Spring Outside Planting

I love early spring planting! You can’t plant just anything – the warm season crops still need to wait for the last frost to be well past. But in many climates you are safe to plant cool-weather crops like onion sets, potatoes, shallots, peas and others. “Plant your peas on President’s Day” and “Plant your potatoes… Read more »

seed-packets

Early Spring Indoor Seeds

Early spring has officially arrived and it’s time to start planting the garden. Seeds should be started indoor pronto, so it’s high time to get organized and get to it! I started my seeds a couple weeks ago inside under a grow light. In past years I have made newspaper seed pots, which then get… Read more »

companion-planting

2015 Vegetable Garden Plan

It’s time to plan those vegetable beds! Spring is around the corner and thoughtful planning now allows you to maximize the amount of vegetables you can fit in your space.  Think about what produce your family eats most often and make sure to include those in your plans. Also, consider factors like crop rotation and companion planting… Read more »

raised-beds

Building Raised Beds

It took a village to pull it off, but we finally have some gorgeous, new raised beds! The planning started a few months ago when I finished our garden plan, which included four 4×8 raised beds for intensive vegetable growing. I wanted the beds to match the style of our mid-century home with thick, horizontal… Read more »

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  • raised-beds

    Building Raised Beds

    It took a village to pull it off, but we finally have some gorgeous, new raised beds! The planning started a few months ago when I finished our garden plan, which included four 4×8 raised beds for intensive vegetable growing. I wanted the beds to match the style of our mid-century home with thick, horizontal… Read more »

  • asparagus-crowns

    Growing Asparagus

    Asparagus is an adaptable, hardy vegetable that is also a rare perennial vegetable – meaning it will come back year after year to produce a harvest. It does best in climates with either cold winters or dry summers. That includes most areas of the country, so it’s likely you can grow this delicious vegetable on… Read more »

  • mama-junebug-coloring

    A Big, Big Project

    It’s been year of change for us here on the homestead! At home, we are busily transforming our new space into a homestead. At work, I decided to leave my job last fall and am now blissfully happy balancing residential projects with creating nature-play spaces for Learning Landscapes Design. Life feels very full! But our biggest project… Read more »

  • evergreen-huckleberry-buds

    Winter Awakening

    I love the quiet of winter and stillness of it all. The cold and rain forces us inside, pleading with us to slow down. Yet in between rain showers there are signs of late-winter life and a hint that spring is closer than we might think. You can find varieties of heaths and heathers to bloom at anytime… Read more »

  • play-kitchen

    DIY: Upcycled Play Kitchen

    Juniper loves to help – in the garden, in the kitchen or wherever we happen to be. So when my Aunt T called me from a thrift store and said, “There’s an old cabinet here that could really make a cute play kitchen…” I just had to say yes. And so began a do-it-yourself Christmas… Read more »

  • egg-basket

    Lighting the Chicken Coop

    To light or not to light the chicken coop? For many chicken keepers, that is the wintertime question. Chickens and other egg-laying creatures (like ducks) take a hiatus from producing eggs in the winter – and it’s natural for them to do so. The decreased sunlight tells them it’s not a good time to make… Read more »

  • Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, by Michael Judd

    Planting Near Black Walnut

    Every garden has its unique set of challenges, which is part of the reason I love garden design so much. There’s always a new problem to wrestle with in creating the perfect urban oasis. One particularly pesky problem is trying to plant near an existing Black Walnut tree. These trees are giant, strong, majestic specimens… Read more »

  • seeds

    Spring Garden Prep

    There might be snow or ice on the ground where you live, but it’s already time for some spring garden prep. Here are a few productive ways to get started: Decide What to Grow Think about what you buy most frequently from the grocery store and grow that this year! Even better, think about what… Read more »

  • torrey-pines

    Beating the Winter Blues

    It’s wonderful living in the temperate rain forest that is the Pacific Northwest, but the rainy days of winter do take their toll come January. Here’s a few tips to help you beat any winter blues that might be creeping up. Get Away This year we were fortunate to take a winter escape down to… Read more »