Organic Gardening & Farming

Organic Gardening

Practicing Permaculture

Permaculture was one of the first sustainability models that I encountered in my early days of adulthood, when I was learning to tend my very first garden. I fell in love with the abundance, the layers of fruits and vegetables and vines and herbs, the home scale, and the can-do attitude of it. My permaculture has been expressed in different ways throughout the decades that followed, but it has been part of my life ever since. I’ve practiced permaculture on apartment balconies, in office towers, in community gardens, front yards, and now on a farm scale. The teachings of permaculture are a valuable tool in any Earth-lover’s kit. Whether you are managing big land, a small garden, or an apartment, permaculture can bring more abundance to your life through creativity and a well-engineered design. Click the title to read the full article.

Five Free Strategies For Regenerative Agriculture on Any Scale

Regenerative agriculture is a collection of agricultural methods that build soil back up. Instead of being content with trying to mitigate the harm humans are doing to the soil with our agriculture, the regenerative agriculture model seeks to improve the quality of the soil through agriculture. Read the article to find out my top five FREE regenerative agriculture strategies that can help you build healthy soil on any scale, on any budget.

Good Soil

In the spring before last spring, I tried to expand my vegetable patch. The new garden patch is conveniently located, only a few dozen feet away from my original garden. The two gardens appear to be at the same elevation, and to receive about the same amount of sun. There is one known difference: the new garden expansion is located on land that had previously been part of a corn and soybean farm, whereas the original garden had been carved out of the back yard and thus had been protected by a “cover crop” of grasses.
I knew the soil in the old crop fields had not yet been fully restored, even after several years of cover crops. Still, I could not have imagined the full scope of the impact this would have on my garden plans.

Breeding Winter Hardy Kale & Collards, Year 1

Biennial plants such as kale and collards produce seed in their second year. That means they won’t produce any seeds if they don’t survive the winter, and neither of these plants is reliably hardy in my Zone 6a garden in Indiana. Most Northern seed keepers dig up their plants and overwinter them in a greenhouse or root cellar, then re-plant them in the spring for a seed crop. I’d like to try breeding a hardy strain of kale by selecting seeds only from the hardiest plants that survive winter in the ground, and this year I tried to do just that. It turned out to be a very interesting experiment! Read the full article to find out what happened.

Permaculture In Place : Bioregional Plants For Permaculture Designs

The design patterns, goals, and ethics of permaculture can be practiced just about anywhere in the world. Plants, however, are best when they are local. In this article, I will share some of my favorite native plants to fill several important permaculture niches. By growing, tending, and using native plants, we can develop a more intimate relationship with our own bioregion. We gain an opportunity to nurture an even deeper form of abundance, one that nurtures us as well as the birds, insects, wildlife, fungi, and micribiota that co-evolved with the plants of our place.

Bee-ginning Again

When I opened my hives for their spring inspection, I couldn’t believe my eyes. My bees were dead. I had been visiting my hives every day to observe bee traffic through the hive entrance, and there were always bees coming and going. It turns out, they weren’t my bees.

Hardening Off Seedlings : A How-To Guide

When plants have been growing indoors under warm lights (or in windows), the great outdoors can come as quite a shock. The big bright sun can burn them, the wind can blow their leaves off, and the variable temperatures can stunt their growth. There’s a simple action you can take to prepare your seedlings for the real world. It’s called “hardening off”. Hardening off seedlings is pretty simple once you get the knack of it, but there are some tips that can help the process go much more smoothly. Read the full article to learn all my tips for giving your plants the best possible head start!

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