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 »

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 »

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  • garden-dusk

    The Sentimental Garden

    This week we have officially moved onto our new homestead and new folks have moved onto our former homestead. I’ve planted over a dozen gardens, but this one is sure hard to say goodbye to. Goodbye lilac. I always envisioned this tree as a version of myself in old age – tough, gnarled and yet beautiful…. Read more »

  • 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 »