The Urban Homesteader Food Pyramid

urban homesteaders food pyramid

I’ve been thinking about self-sufficiency: what that means, and what is truly achievable in a small space, such as our 1/3-acre property. The key to eating more food from your own backyard, it strikes me, is to have a diet that focuses more on foods that can be grown in your backyard. Even though we [Continue Reading...]

Be Not Discouraged (If Your Garden Doesn’t Look Like Erica’s)

Ugly Garden / Dogs or Dollars

Today’s post brought to you by fabulous canine and personal finance writer Sarah, who blogs at Dogs or Dollars. Sarah’s a new gardener, learning the urban homesteading ropes by building her quarter acre urban oasis. She wants you to know that it’s okay if your garden doesn’t look like mine. I want you to know that [Continue Reading...]

Your Seedlings Hate Your Fancy Window: How Plants See Light

Photosyntheticly Active Radiation

Two months ago, Erica posted comparison photos showing seedlings started in a south-facing window vs seedlings started under full-spectrum grow lights. The results were surprising to many readers (including me!) and at least a few readers invested in grow lights after seeing the difference light makes. There are a few reasons why windowsill started seedlings [Continue Reading...]

Improve Your Soil With Chemical Exudates (It’s Not What You Think)

cowpeas

Guest post by Kelly Scott of Sweet Bay Farm. Thanks Kelly! The more I learn about farming, the more I realize that plants are truly wondrous things.  It’s easy to think plants are boring and passive.  After all, they just sit there. But here’s some news!  Plants are powerful chemists and very active participators in their [Continue Reading...]

Half-Ass Hugelkultur

Hugelkultur Beds (31)

Hugelkultur is all the rage right now. This permaculture method of raised bed building is supposed to reduce irrigation needs and provide long term fertility to plants while giving the gardener a kind of hipster garden cred that only comes from funny foreign-sounding growing techniques. A hugelkultur bed is built with hunks of wood as [Continue Reading...]

A Tour Of The Indoor Seed Starting Rack

Seed Starting (9)

My seed-starting set-up is pretty well equipped, which makes it a lot easier to manage the fairly aggressive seed-starting schedule I keep. When we moved into our current home, I commandeered a corner of the garage as my indoor garden and seed-starting area. Having a dedicated area to grow out seedlings is a luxury, but one I would sacrifice [Continue Reading...]

Stop Ripping Up Your Lawn To Grow Veggies

It’s a badge of honor among urban homesteaders to say, “I’ve ripped up my whole lawn and put in a garden.” Stop doing that. No, seriously, I would now like to explain why you should not actually rip up your lawn, and I’d like to start with a little soil science. Bear with me, this’ll [Continue Reading...]

Organize Your Gardening Like You Mean It – 2012 Garden Journal

Because I share a steady stream of tools, checklists and spreadsheets with NW Edible readers, I have been accused of being highly organized. In truth, organization, like a clean house, does not come naturally to me. I’m natually more of a project-oriented, creative type, and the discipline of structure and routine is something I have [Continue Reading...]

Refactoring In The Garden

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2011 was The Year of Additions. We added to our garden: new perennial bed, new mini-orchard, new chickens, two new coops for aforementioned chickens, and a couple new raised beds. We added this blog, and with it a sizable commitment and a wonderful community of like-minded folks. And late in 2010 of course, we had added this [Continue Reading...]

How To Plan Your Harvest Based On What You Eat (Plus The Winner of The Urban Farm Handbook!)

Annual Produce Harvest Planner

One you you awesome readers has won The Urban Farm Handbook. But before you shoot right to the bottom of this post to find out if it’s you, read on to discover a great way to plan your harvest from the plate backwards. This is a technique straight out of The Urban Farm Handbook, so [Continue Reading...]

Tools For A Hand Job

Good tools are essential to any job, and work in the garden is no exception. I’m one of those girls that likes a good workout session with a garden fork, but the longer I garden, the more I find small tools get most of the work done. For my last birthday, my best friends gave [Continue Reading...]

The Great Cover-Up: Carpeting Your Garden Floor

I have noticed that keeping my garden’s paths well-mulched does a ton for the overall appearance of my garden. This makes sense: if you walked into someone’s living room and they had tasteful, comfortable furniture, well-displayed books and artwork and walls painted in a stylish but personal hue, but the floor was rough, bare plywood, you’d probably notice that [Continue Reading...]