Transform Your Landscape with Vertical Gardening

Transform Your Landscape with Vertical Gardening - 10 Reasons to Garden Up Instead of Out to improve your home landscape, make your garden healthier and more productive and create visual interest.

Often when people start talking about integrating a garden or other food crops into the landscape, the design ideas still tend to focus on two dimensional diagrams.  How many fruit or veggie plants can I fit per square foot?  While there’s nothing wrong with this per se, it means you’re missing out on some great opportunities to optimize growing space you might not even realize that you have.

If you haven’t tried vertical gardening, hopefully this post will win you over.  Yes, growing up instead of out takes a little more work initially, but the end result is well worth it.  I use trellises throughout my garden to make plants easier to care for, reduce disease and predation, and produce a larger crop in less space.  In the flower garden, vertical elements add visual interest and focal points – and can be just plain gorgeous.

[Read more…]

Home Grown Food Summit

Before You Plant Sunchokes, You Need to Read This Post

Before You plant sunchokes, you need to read this post.  What are sunchokes? What are the health benefits of sunchokes? Why you shouldn't plant sunchokes in your regular garden.

It all started innocently enough.

Somewhere I read about this native vegetable that was great for diabetics – or maybe it was that episode of Top Chef where one of the contestants made a sunchoke and spinach puree that the judges just raved about.  It could have been an article on easy care perennial vegetables.  I honestly don’t remember.  Whatever prompted me to grow sunchokes, there’s a few things I need to share with you so you don’t make the same mistakes I did. [Read more…]

Home Grown Food Summit

Introduction to Permaculture

Introduction to Permaculture - Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is an ethical, sustainable food system. Learn how one family is transforming their own land and helping to teach others.

I was busy in June ’14 cutting swales all over the garden. It is up to almost 2 acres of hand dug swales in under 8 months. It can be done for free and by one person!

 

This is a guest post by Matt Powers, author of “The Permaculture Student”.

Have you heard of Permaculture?

I hadn’t until I really began exploring organic gardening and saw a divide between those that were just changing their inputs to organic and those really gardening naturally. I was on a mission to find clean and healthy food for my wife, a 3 time cancer survivor. I was not going to be satisfied with good or better; I was going to find what was best. That’s what permaculture is for a gardener – it’s the best way to garden, but it’s also a whole lot more than gardening. In fact, gardening may end up being just a small part of it. [Read more…]

Home Grown Food Summit

Putting the Garden to Bed – Musings at the End of Another Gardening Season

Putting the Garden to Bed - Musings at the End of Another Gardening Season. Why my garden looks messy, and that's just fine with me.

Written on 11/7/2014 as a personal facebook post.  I got so much feedback on it I decided to add some photos.

Today I put up the driveway markers for snow plowing, emptied the kitty litter out by the fruit trees to discourage the mousies, spread the ashes lightly around the garden, took out the compost, brought in the last of the pumpkins from the greenhouse and the little fairy from the garden, fed the birds, tucked some bins and posts into the greenhouse, and added more corn stalks on top of the parsnips to hold the straw down. The boys moved the water jugs around the grapes and blueberries for extra protection, and filled the wood racks. Tonight I froze celery and made pumpkin leather. [Read more…]

Home Grown Food Summit

How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe

How to Tell if a Watermelon is Ripe - 4 clues to look for to tell if your garden or store watermelon is red, ripe, and ready to pick.

This post is primarily for those who are wondering if their homegrown watermelon is ripe and ready to pick, but most of the same tips apply for those rooting through the produce bins at the supermarket or scouting out the farmers market.  Watermelons are a little sneakier than muskmelons, which slip right off the vine (i.e. come loose on their own) when ripe.  Uncut watermelons are also less fragrant than muskmelons, because they don’t have that open end where the vine was formerly attached.  You will never find me sniffing watermelons in the grocery store, but you may find me sniffing cantaloupes.  (I do my own stunts. ;-) )

4 Clues to Tell if Your Watermelon is Ripe

Back in my late teens and early 20’s, my jobs at the family catering business included picking out the watermelons and carving the watermelon boats for parties.  I was known as the resident watermelon expert, almost guaranteed to be able to pick out the perfect melon, if there was a perfect melon to be found. [Read more…]

Home Grown Food Summit