Advances in Gardening: The Screens of Discretion

When our friend Tara helped us reconceptualize our back yard, one of the first things she did was wave toward our compost pile and chicken supply zone, and say, “You’ve got to screen off all that crap.” Of course! We had to take control of the view. Ahhhhh….. So Erik built this screen. He started using a pre-made trellis material, but tricked it up.  Behind it you can see the massive compost pile. The structure on the le...

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Farmers Markets: Buyer Beware

...Caught on Tape at Farmers Markets” detailed something I’ve known about for a long time: some of the food sold at farmers markets comes not from local farms, but from wholesale sources. In short, some dishonest farmers market sellers are reselling the same inferior produce you get at the supermarket for a lot more money. And it gets worse. NBC also uncovered evidence of lying about pesticide use, also not surprising. A farmer who runs...

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Growing and Preparing Cardoons (Cynara cardunculus)

...ks, leaving the top few inches of leaves to poke out of the covering. I once tried to eat an unblanched stem and it was bitter and tough so, in my experience, the blanching is a necessary step. Pullin’ off the stringy bits To prepare it you take the blanched, tender inner stems and pull off the stringy bits on the back, being careful to avoid the sharp edges (did I mention that this is a pain in the ass food?). Chop the stems into two inch...

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The glass is half full–even if it’s full of greywater

...s. They’re the best avocados, too–buttery to the extreme. We literally do nothing for this tree, and it gives us this: We had plentiful greens this year during our winter growing season, mostly turnip and beet greens, bitter Italian greens and Swiss chard. The hoops you see support light row cover material to keep insects away. Our beds look like covered wagons a lot of the time! We’ve had some nice food this year, too, some...

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Sundiner

...a solar oven from the 1960s called the “Sundiner.” I couldn’t find much on the interwebs about it except for a brief mention in the  April 1963 issue of Desert Magazine, “Here’s a new product that suits desert living as few others can—it collects and concentrates the heat of the sun and allows outdoor cooking without fuel or fire. They call it the Sundiner. The technical description is “Solar Energy Grill.R...

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Urban Homestead on Craigslist. Act Now!

...photos and a downloadable pdf brochure go to http://www.ecorealestatesource.com/urbanhomestead.pdf. Call Mary 406-599-9889 or Dixie 406-223-1225 to preview. MLS#168742 ” Does the sofa double as a composting toilet? O.K., I see a microwave, but where the hell is the pickle crock? Can we keep the Buddha if we eat the koi? If any of you buy it, I’ll throw in a free copy of our book but you gotta take down that Thomas Kinkade pr...

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Urban Chicken Classes

...e info at our Chicken Enthusiasts site. The class is just $10 and if you have never been to The Learning Garden it is a real treat. It is one of my favorite gardens in our fair metropolis. The class is at 10:30 am and will be followed by a general meeting of local chicken enthusiasts. If you aren’t local but want to learn about chickens there are of course many resources out there. And if you already have chickens maybe you can share your...

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Radical Homemakers

...t. Radical Homemakers takes a look at the new domesticity of the past decade through a series of interviews with its practitioners. Touching on issues such as gender roles, food choices and finances, Radical Homemakers is the first book I know of to delve into the motivations of the unnamed movement that this blog and its readers are also a part of. I really like what Hayes says in the introduction about the subjects of this book: “the happ...

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UMass Soil Testing

...ers rather than just old “NPK.” Dr. Elaine Ingham is a pioneer in this field. She offers “Soil Foodweb” testing via her website. I’ve read some grumbling from academics about some of her ideas and her commercial endeavors, particularly related to aerated compost tea. However, soil foodweb testing makes intuitive sense to me, though I have not tried it. You can read her interesting Soil Biology Primer here, and make u...

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