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 »

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 »

Latest
  • compost-innoculate

    Lasagna Compost

    It’s almost time to close the chapter on our former homestead, as new folks are ready to move in. I just couldn’t help but break a sweat one last time to get into shape before they take over stewardship. The spring vegetables had bolted to the sky. Groundcovers were eagerly encroaching on the pathways. The… Read more »

  • temp-coop-crooked

    Crooked Coop

    We recently moved into our new digs, but it hasn’t quite felt like home without clucking in the backyard. This weekend the chickens made the move to the new homestead too – finally! In a few weeks the chickens will have a nice, permanent chicken coop. But until construction is complete, we needed to construct… Read more »

  • sage

    Edible Groundcovers

    I’m excited to begin the design process at our new house and grateful for the blank slate yard that gives us a fresh start. The garden will likely emphasize edibles and I’m compiling a list of favorites. Here are some of my favorites. Thyme is a tough, evergreen ground cover. Cultivated varieties come in tiny,… Read more »

  • Our new house - ready for transformation into a homestead

    The Homestead is Moving!

    Eight years ago we moved into a little bungalow on a 1/10th of an acre lot in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood of SE Portland. We put a lot of elbow grease into polishing this house into a loving home.  But the tine has come to start the next chapter with a new homestead. We scored big… Read more »

  • spring-veggies

    May To Do List

    It’s that time of year when the garden needs help transitioning from spring to summer. Here is a rundown of my current to-do list for the garden: I densely planted the vegetable beds in early spring with the intention of pulling out the cool-weather crops when the temperatures heated up. That will make room for… Read more »

  • Our house in 2014

    Front Yard – 2014 Update

    We’ve lived in our little house for about eight years, but the front yard was the last garden I really put much effort into. In the fall of 2012, I finally took the time to draw up a landscape design. It was based on perennials from the backyard that would be easy to cut and… Read more »

  • crocus

    Flowering Perennials for Clay Soil

    Clay soil doesn’t have to mean your garden is destined to be anything less than amazing. In fact, there are so many great plant options that I’m doing a whole series this week on flowering perennials, shrubs and trees for clay soil. I wrote a recent post about ways you can improve your clay soil structure… Read more »

  • Print

    2014 Vegetable Garden Plan

    Every year I draft a garden plan for our four raised beds that will take us from spring into the fall. I try to balance a good crop rotation with companion planting to maximize our space. I am please to report that this year’s plan is ready for sharing! Companion plants are plants that pair… Read more »

  • clay-soil

    How to Improve Clay Soil

    Having good soil structure is crucial for growing a healthy garden, but most of us are not blessed with perfect humus (see pie chart below). Often we’re starting with poor soil structure that we need to keep amending over time to achieve that perfect blend of sand, silt, clay and organic matter. Recently I helped… Read more »