spring-fava-bean-shelling

May Homestead Chores

Spring is turning into summer in a blink this year and the homestead is in full swing. Here is a rundown of some seasonal chores we do every year in mid-Spring to prepare for the warm months on the horizon. A little extra time spent now will keep your garden so much more manageable this… Read more »

wood-chip-mulch-front-yard

Using Wood Chips in the Garden

Spring is an excellent time of year to add wood chip mulch to your garden, before summer kicks your homesteading into high gear. We just got finished spreading a fresh batch of wood chips around our homestead to cover all of our planting beds. It was a big job, but the payoff of using wood… Read more »

homestead-eggs

What Makes a Homestead

“What makes a homestead?” is a question I have been asked a lot over the years. Most definitions have a common theme: it’s a home attached to the land. My belief is that your perception is what makes your home into a homestead. Here are some examples of how our home life is integrated into… Read more »

fairy-garden

How to Build a Fairy Garden Planter

This spring I began adding nature play “stations” throughout the homestead to make our outdoor space feel even bigger. I created a series of small fairy gardens at these stations using simple materials with Juniper’s help. They were easy projects to do together and have made a fun addition to the homestead. Our homestead has different use zones:… Read more »

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Seed Starting Calendar

It’s important to start out the growing season with a plan for when and where you are going to grow your crops. I shared the “where” portion of this plan in my 2016 Vegetable Garden Plan, but take a look at my seed starting calendar to see “when” to plant in the Pacific Northwest. This calendar shows when… Read more »

march-willow-buds

March Morning Inspiration

  “A March morning is only as drab as he who walks in it without a glance skyward, ear cocked for geese.” — Aldo Leopold. Good morning lovely readers! I wanted to plant a little seed of inspiration for you today. These early spring days are unpredictable, but I encourage you to grab whatever sunlight… Read more »

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Favorite Edible Evergreens

Winter is the perfect time of year to size up the evergreen structure, or lack thereof, in your garden space. Evergreens are often overlooked and unappreciated, leading the otherwise fullest summer gardens looking sadly bare during the cold months. Consider adding an assortment of these wonderful, edible evergreens to your homesteads. Bay leaf tree (Laurus… Read more »

leeks

February Homestead Chores

February is beginning to look less like winter and more spring every day! There are still lots of chores on my to-do list before the month is over. Here is a rundown of what we should be working on at this time of year. Assuming you are not still under a foot of snow, that… Read more »

2016-garden-plan

2016 Vegetable Garden Plan

This year my vegetable gardening plans are bursting at the seams! I poured over seed catalogs this winter, put in a huge seed order from my favorite suppliers and spent way too much time planning out every plantable inch of our homestead. The result is this colorful diagram that shows what will grow where this season… Read more »

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2016 Seed Order

I spent the cold dark days of winter pouring over my seed catalogs and dreaming of spring. The flowering quince are just ready to bloom, which tells me it’s time already to start seeds (Portland is in USDA zone 8). Making my list and checking it twice #seeds #homesteadplanning A photo posted by Renee Wilkinson… Read more »

Latest
  • blueberries-basket

    U-Pick Blueberries

    Spending early July u-picking blueberries is a family tradition that goes back as far as I can remember. Growing up, our family of six would all pile into the car and head to the same local family farm to stock up on berries for the year. This year, not even the full pregnant belly of mine could… Read more »

  • backyard-beds

    Backyard Update

    When we bought our house a year ago, the backyard was a blank slate save a rotting shed and a massive apple tree stump. It looks like a very different space just a year later. Although still a newly planted garden, I am so excited to watch this space grow into an edible jungle over… Read more »

  • Juniper-harvesting

    June Garden Update

    June is bringing lots of dry, hot weather to Portland and the garden is responding! I am now watering everyday, which seems just too early in the season. But on my evening garden strolls I was noticing dry, curled leaves. Our entire garden is filled with berry bushes, fruit trees and vegetables so it’s crucial… Read more »

  • front-yard-allium

    Front Yard Update

    It has been a year since we bought our new homestead and about six months since the front garden was installed. Time for an update on how it’s growing and some lessons learned! The concept was to design the front garden as a prairie. Our neighbors have two massive Coast Redwoods in their front yard, which… Read more »

  • german-pancakes-finished

    Egg Recipe: German Pancakes

    “So many eggs!” I hear that from first-time chicken keepers often at this time of year. All of that waiting for baby chicks to get old enough to lay eggs finally pays off when they are about six months old. With a new flock of 3-4 hens, you can easily go from zero to almost… Read more »

  • bathroom-remodel-towels

    Rustic Modern Bathroom Remodel

    We bought our small house a year ago – a cosmetic fixer-upper in the Sellwood neighborhood of SE Portland. It’s high time for an update on how we’re turning this 1950’s ranch into a rustic-modern-homestead space. I posted a while back about Juniper’s bedroom facelift, but let’s move on to the smallest room in our… Read more »

  • juniper-three-blueberries

    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 »

  • 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 »