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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Intro to Beekeeping: Part III

The first post in this series covered the roles of different bees in the colony. The second post in this series talked about reproduction, swarming and environmental needs of a colony. This final post will focus on equipment needed to start keeping bees in the city and potential disease. Glen Andresen advised that a love… Read more »

Intro to Beekeeping: Part II

This is part two of a three part series on the beekeeping workshop I attended recently. Reproduction: It was interesting to learn that it is up to the female worker bees to determine when it is time to hatch a new queen bee, more worker bees, or drone bees. The worker bees are the ones… Read more »

Intro to Beekeeping: Part I

Last summer I was introduced to Glen Andresen, a local bee-keeper, at the Lents Farmers Market. He gave a short overview of bee-keeping and I signed up to receive notices about future workshops he typically hosts in the Spring. I was lucky to snag a spot in one of his recent “Intro to Beekeeping” workshops… Read more »