Goodnight Garden

Juniper and River were both sleeping inside as Jay puttered around the house, so I seized the moment by taking solitary refuge in the garden. We have had a handful of cold, hard frosts now as fall makes way for winter. What a wonderful way to spend my Thanksgiving, working outside on the homestead to clean up… Read more »


Preserving Chanterelle Mushrooms

This fall I spent more time hunting chanterelle mushrooms in the woods than I spent in our own garden. The combination of foraging for wild food, hiking for hours and simply being outside among torrential rains and giant trees made me feel more than alive at an otherwise sleepy time of year. I ended up with baskets full of… Read more »


Hunting Chanterelles

The end of the garden season signals the beginning of the mushroom season, which certainly takes the edge off of the end-of-season gardening blues. Wild chanterelles begin growing all over the Pacific Northwest in September and continue through November. They are a great “beginner mushroom” because they are very distinct looking, so you can’t confuse… Read more »


Last Harvest of the Season

After so many years outside cultivating my urban homesteads, I have developed a good sense for temperature.  I don’t need to scan the weather report obsessively – I can usually just feel when it’s getting cold enough to threaten frost or warm enough in spring to remove row covers. Portland has experienced one of the warmest… Read more »


Pumpkin Recipe Round-Up

I’m that person… the pumpkin muffin, pumpkin scone, pumpkin bread, pumpkin-everything-person. This delicious and versatile squash is the quintessential sign, smell and taste of fall. As our days get shorter and nights get colder, here’s a round up of my favorite pumpkin recipes to keep you warm and well-fed.   Pumpkins are fun, easy to… Read more »


Last Call for Tomatoes

This weekend or next may be the last call for tomatoes for the season, so break out the canner, freezer bags, dehydrator or whatever you preserving method of choice is. Tomatoes do best with nighttime temperatures above 55 degrees, but overnight temps in Portland are more consistently in the low 50’s at this time of… Read more »


My Proud Mama Moment

I had one of those overwhelmingly proud mama moments recently that I have to share. Juniper and I spent the morning of my birthday harvesting fruit for the Portland Fruit Tree Project. They help local fruit tree owners maintain their trees in exchange for donating the fruit to the Oregon Food Bank. If you volunteer… Read more »


Making Perfect Apple Chips

I have always loved drying the fruit harvest and with little kids we consume more of these goodies than ever. It’s a healthy, naturally sweet snack that you can munch away on without worrying about additives. And drying fruit doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time or money. A bulky dehydrator can tuck away in… Read more »


It’s That Time of Year

Fall… the crisp colorful leaves, the brisk mornings, that smell after a fresh rain… And of course, the canner. It’s a permanent fixture on our stove at this time of year while the dehydrator keeps a steady hum on the homestead. I have been busy, which is an understatement. Our ten heirloom tomato plants keep… Read more »


Planting the Winter Garden

The harvest basket is reaching the brim and the temperature is suppose to reach 90 degrees today, but believe it or not we are overdue to plant the winter garden! There are lots of vegetables we can grow in our mild winters, but they need enough time to get established before the winter chill sets in…. Read more »

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    First of the Season Berry Picking

    I had the pleasure of spending a recent sunny morning at a nearby farm picking berries with my friend Denise and my 3-year old Juniper. It’s been an annual early-June tradition since long before Juniper was born and each year this day marks both the kick-off the u-pick season and also the passage of time…. Read more »

  • 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 »

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    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 »

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    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 »

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    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 »

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    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 »

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    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 »

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    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 »

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    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 »