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 »

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 »

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  • irrigation-experts

    Garden Installation: Part I

    Construction has begun! We are in the muddy process of transforming this little house into a homestead. Everyone’s boots have about five inches of mud under them and our backs are getting a work out. The first phase of most residential landscapes is irrigation installation, which is now complete! Our former homestead did not have in-ground… Read more »

  • spring-crocuses

    Fall is Planting Time

    Fall is the best time of year for planting trees, shrubs and many perennials – including all those fabulous bulbs and tubers. Mother Nature will keep them watered and comfortable for several months, giving them lots of time to get established. Temperatures are cool and the ground is usually soft from autumn rain. Everything needs… Read more »

  • nature-play-hollow-log-adventure

    Exploring Nature Play

    As a landscape designer, I’m endlessly fascinated with outdoor spaces. How do we make them accommodate our need to grow food? To entertain? To support native wildlife? Rainwater? Beneficial insects? The list goes on. But my latest fascination is all child’s play – or rather, nature-based play. Nature-based play is an emerging concept in the… Read more »

  • canned-tomato-sauce

    Preserving Tomatoes

    Tomato season is just about to come to a close and I’m just a few pints and quarts away from being okay with that. Here is how I have been busily preserving the tomato harvest this year. First, dry them! You can leave the skins on or off depending on your preference. Sauce tomatoes work… Read more »

  • fresh-asian-pears

    Preserving Asian Pears

    Asian pears are still in season here in the Pacific Northwest and we just can’t get enough of these little gems! I often see two types grown locally – one with a thick, brown skin and one with a thin, yellow-green skin. I prefer the latter as I find the flesh to be softer and… Read more »

  • closet-reading-nook

    Juniper’s New Room

    It has been about three months since we moved into our new digs and I can finally say that at least one room looks the way I want it. Everything else – inside and out – is a work in progress and in some degree of construction. But let’s not focus on that overwhelming fact…… Read more »

  • Orchard-harvest

    Portland Fruit Tree Project

    Since I am gardenless this season after our recent move, I am completely dependent on local farms and generous friends to help fill our harvest basket. I was delighted to discover a local non-profit called the Portland Fruit Tree Project just as harvest season began to roll in, which has kept us up to our… Read more »

  • distressed-vintage-dresser

    DIY Distressing Furniture

    Distressing furniture doesn’t mean your furniture is feeling panicked. It’s a term used to describe the process of making furniture pieces look weathered – also called shabby-chic. I’m in the process of going room by room at our new house to try to blend a homestead feel into our new digs and Juniper’s room is my… Read more »

  • tree-skeletons

    Painting a Mural

    I did a lot of laboring over Labor Day weekend! Our new house is a cosmetic fixer, complete with old carpet and wallpaper in every room. Everywhere I look I see a new project, which has been overwhelming. So my new method to this madness is to finish one room at a time. Juniper’s room… Read more »