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Simple Backyard Nature Play

Our homestead garden plan includes a small area reserved for an evolving nature play space for our little ones. We didn’t have a budget to work with, so most the play elements were based on what we had on hand. It’s a flexible space that can change over time as the kids grow and their interests change. That… Read more »

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Problem-Solver: Sunshine Blueberries

Some of my fondest childhood memories were made among a berry patch. We grew raspberries, blueberries and strawberries on the urban farm where I was raised. Blackberries grew along a neighbor’s fence and we would cut them back just enough to keep them on their property, but within reach when the berries were ripe. In… Read more »

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Crushed Rock Pathways

Hardscape pathways in the garden can turn an otherwise messy space into a cleanly organized area. It’s one of those garden elements that doesn’t seem as sexy and fun as building a pergola or raised beds, but it will make a major impact in the overall visual appeal of a garden. Over my years of… Read more »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »