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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 »

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Building Soil Quality with Leaves

Most of us are constantly working on increasing the soil quality of our gardens – both the soil nutrients and the soil structure. Either we’re starting a new garden on less-than-ideal soil or we’re trying to build the soil quality back up after previous crops sapped nutrients from the ground or winter rains compacted the soil…. Read more »

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September Garden Update

The harvest basket is over flowing on our homestead – finally! Squash is meandering through every open corner of the garden. Juniper is still finding ripe strawberries from our everbearing plants that carpet the planting areas. Bees are humming from one echinacea flower head to another. This is the homestead I have been dreaming of since we first… Read more »

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Planting Near Black Walnut

Every garden has its unique set of challenges, which is part of the reason I love garden design so much. There’s always a new problem to wrestle with in creating the perfect urban oasis. One particularly pesky problem is trying to plant near an existing Black Walnut tree. These trees are giant, strong, majestic specimens… Read more »

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Harvesting Goumi Berries

Goumi is a medium-sized shrub from Asia that is gaining popularity in western gardens. The berries are used medicinally and sweeter varieties are great for eating fresh. Goumi shrubs are nitrogen fixers, benefiting the plants around them with higher nitrogen soil – great for leaf growth. The shrub has long thorns that are easy to… Read more »

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Herb Spiral Update

It was years and years ago that I built an herb spiral in our backyard, but a reader recently asked me for an update on the project. But first, what the heck is an herb spiral? Our original herb spiral design An herb spiral is a popular permaculture project that incorporates micro-climates into the design…. Read more »

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Our Homestead Plan

We moved into our homestead back in 2006 when it was just a blank canvas of lawn, with a couple old rose bushes here and there. After six years of major landscape changes, it’s about time I got around to making a decent planting plan of the homestead. I used AutoCAD to create the above… Read more »

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New Fruit Trees

We have three new additions to our homestead! No, the baby is not one of them – yet. This past weekend we purchased three new, bareroot fruit trees to fill in some holes in our garden. Nothing makes me happier than adding new, exciting plants to our food forest. We lost two fruit trees during… Read more »

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Making Good Garden Soil

A garden is only going to be as good as its soil quality, which is why we gardeners are obsessed with building better soil. Many of us are not blessed with perfect soil where we have planted our gardens. We also do not have the luxury of an endless gardening budget, allowing us to bring… Read more »