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Spring Garden Prep

There might be snow or ice on the ground where you live, but it’s already time for some spring garden prep. Here are a few productive ways to get started: Decide What to Grow Think about what you buy most frequently from the grocery store and grow that this year! Even better, think about what… Read more »

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Garden Installation: Part IV

The backyard has taken shape! The concept for the backyard is to create an edible food forest. It’s similar in design to our former homestead – working in layers to add edible ground covers, shrubs, trees and vines – but I added a few new components like a┬ánature-based play area to accommodate our growing family,… Read more »

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Garden Installation: Part II

With irrigation construction complete, the next phase of our garden installation was site preparation. All that sod had to be removed and it was time to address the soil nutrient and structure needs of our new digs. I’m a big fan of taking pictures through all stages of your homestead’s growth. So this is your… Read more »

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Why Practice Crop Rotation?

It’s time to start planting your fall crops. I know, I know… it seems crazy to think about winter when it’s a bazillion degrees outside, but it’s true. Before you start sowing seeds though, be strategic about where things get planted by practicing crop rotation. Put simply, crop rotation means you plant each type of… Read more »

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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 »

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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 »

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Spring Soil Prep

Before you get spring planting fever, take the time to replenish your garden soil first. It’s the best way to ensure you have an excellent harvest this year. Great soil makes a great garden, and it’s something you have to keep cultivating year after year. Vegetables draw lots of nutrients from your soil, which is… Read more »

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Winter Compost Maintenance

There is one garden chore that doesn’t take a break in the wintertime: making compost. It’s a good excuse to get outside, get some exercise and prepare for the springtime garden. I have loved our three bin compost system, which gives us ample space to process all the garden waste, kitchen scraps and used chicken… Read more »

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Prepping Beds for Winter

The days are growing darker and there is a bite in the morning breeze. Before the first frost hits, which for Portlanders is around November 15th, the homestead needs to be prepped for winter. We have had some fierce rain and wind storms already, so when we had a clear weekend I jumped on my… Read more »