The Minimalist Gardener is a perfect book for those who claim they don't have the time or space for gardening. Filled with colorful photos and easy to read essays, this book invites you to explore the possibilities of low input gardening. By using plants that want to grow and placing them to make it easy for them to thrive, you can have food from your yard with less work. [Read more…]
Organic fertilizer comes from a wide variety of sources – animals, plants and minerals. Some natural fertilizers may be available for free, like compost and manure. Others are readily available online or at your local garden center, like liquid kelp. The use of organic fertilizer is not a substitute for good gardening practices. That said, a little of the right fertilizer at the right time can head off pest and disease problems. This means less work for the gardener and a better harvest. In the post, I'll cover some of my favorite organic fertilizers and how to use them. [Read more…]
“The Resilient Gardener – Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times” by Carol Deppe came onto my radar while reading Harvey Ussery's book, “The Small-Scale Poultry Flock“. Harvey mentioned Carol's approach to feeding her ducks using garden crops to dramatically reduce purchased feed consumption, and I wanted to know more. Coupled with the duck information was an array of topics unlike any other gardening book I've ever read. [Read more…]
A root cellar is a great option to include in your food storage plan, since they require no energy to use and require very little maintenance. It’s great if you can build in a root cellar when your home is under construction, but it’s also possible to add a root cellar to your basement, or build one outside your home. Root cellars are a great low-cost, no-energy way to store food and extend the shelf life of fresh produce. [Read more…]
The spirit of Vincent Van Gogh visited my squash patch! Lest you think I have been sniffing the catnip, look at this squash! When we found this, we gazed at it in wonder. The intricate pattern is definitely not random. Did my artistic son sneak into the garden and prank me with this complex artwork? The vibrantly colored red Kuri squash looks as if someone took a teeny tiny woodburning tool and painstakingly etched a wonderful pattern just into the outer skin of the fruit, leaving the inner layer of the hull intact. When we found a second one, we knew this was not a prank. We posted a photo and a wise Common Sense Home reader told us that this was caused by a disease, the papaya ringspot virus, also known as papaya mosaic virus.
Say WHAT?! What is that and what is it doing in my Northeast Wisconsin garden? (We certainly don't have papayas nearby.) I had to do some research, which I'll share here with you. [Read more…]