How to Make Currant Jelly with No Added Pectin

How to Make Currant Jelly with No Added Pectin. This easy homemade jelly recipe has just two ingredients and is perfect for beginning canners.

I think God has a funny sense of humor. I was thinking last weekend, “Hmmm, I wonder if my neighbor will have any extra currants this year since she didn’t have much of a harvest last year. It wouldn’t be too bad if she didn’t as I am quite busy enough already.” Said neighbor called later the same day to let me know she has a bumper crop of currants, and would I like to come over and pick some? Never one to turn away something free or waste food, of course I said “Yes”. So Tuesday morning was spent picking currants, and over the course of the day we cleaned them (picked out debris), washed them and made them into currant jelly. [Read more…]

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5 Reasons the Vine Spine is the Best Garden Trellis

Learn how the Vine Spine™ Garden Trellis can make your vertical gardening easier with long lasting, American made quality and 5 different shapes in one trellis.

This year I’ve been experimenting with tomatoes in containers in the greenhouse, and was wondering how to build a tomato trellis that I could move with the containers. My standard tomato trellis option using pounded in posts was not going to work. While I was thinking, I got an email from Dominic of Better Bilt Products, offering to send me some of their Vine Spine™ garden trellises to try out in the garden – plus a set for a lucky reader. Here’s my take on why the Vine Spine™ is the best all-purpose garden trellis I’ve seen to date. [Read more…]

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5 Ways a Roo Gardening Apron Makes Gardening Easier

The Roo Gardening Apron is a sturdy, hands free, go anywhere garden accessory to make your gardening life a little easier. From planting to weeding to harvest, this apron may become your new best friend in the garden.

I’m sure most of us who garden have wished for an extra set of hands at one time or another, or ended up carrying a load of produce in your shirt or misplacing a hand tool.  The Roo Gardening apron is a sturdy, hands free, go anywhere garden accessory to make your gardening life a little easier.  From planting to weeding to harvest, this apron may become your new best friend in the garden.  Let’s take a look! [Read more…]

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Natural Weed Control – 5 Non-Toxic Methods You Need to Know

Natural Weed Control - 5 Non-Toxic Methods You Need to Know - from crabgrass to dandelions, keep weeds managed in your yard and garden without poisons.

Natural weed control has become a hot topic in recent years as more people are realizing that chemical weed poisons can harm more than weeds.  (See “15 Health Problems Linked to Monsanto’s Roundup“.)  I’m not a weed hater – many weeds are edible and/or medicinal, or have other uses such as natural dye or cordage.  They can also be used to diagnose soil health, as many weeds thrive in disturbed and damaged soils.  They are part of nature’s repair crew. 

That said, I do manage my weeds so they don’t go completely bugnuts and take over the walkways and garden areas.  With a little observation and patience and a few simple tools, you can kill weeds naturally without poisons.  (“Killing naturally” sounds like an oxymoron, but death and life are part of the natural cycle.)  There are ways to virtually eliminate quackgrass, crabgrass and other problem weeds, and enjoy a tidy yard and lush garden without hours and hours of pulling and tilling. [Read more…]

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Homestead Permaculture Project – Site Overview

The Common Sense Homestead Permaculture Project - Part 1 - Site Overview, Our Homestead Permaculture Goals, Determining Permaculture Zones.Our homestead permaculture project officially began this spring. I’ve been nibbling at the edges of the idea for some some now, primarily since reading  Restoration Agriculture:  Real World Permaculture for Farmers

I’ve always liked the idea of working with nature instead of battling against it, and Mark Shephard’s comment (in Restoration Agriculture) that we really need to “stop trying to grow things that don’t want to grow and killing things that do want to grow” really struck a cord with me.  When we were stuck in limbo not knowing if we were going to have to sell this place or not because August couldn’t get a job closer to home (more on that on the About page), it didn’t make sense to invest in long term plantings.  [Read more…]

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