Backyard Orchard Culture

...you’ll save money. When you plant four or more trees in one hole keep all the trees pruned to the height of the weakest tree. In heavy clay soils, plant trees in raised mulch beds. Fruit trees and berries work great in containers, just remember to prune them and keep them small. Squirrel control: get a dog, use a have-a-heart trap or shoot-em! Another reason to keep trees pruned small is so that you can throw bird netting over them. Use th...

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Plastic or Wood?

...lastics out of the homestead as we can. We won’t toss what we have in the landfill right now, but when it is time to replace it, this is how it’s going down: Wood and metal utensils instead of plasticGlass storage containers instead of TupperwearWool blankets instead of Polarfleece blanketsDown filling instead of polyester filling (even for allergy sufferers)*Silk and wool fabrics for athletics instead of petroleum based technical fa...

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Craig Ponsford Bakes Whole Wheat Ciabatta

...ars about someone’s bread disaster, 99% of the time it’s because they did not use a scale. Rather than dust flour on work surfaces in order to handle dough you’ll see Ponsford use water instead. He also wets containers that he puts dough into. It’s a lot neater and less flour gets incorporated in the dough. Whole wheat doughs need to be wet. When he does use flour, as in the end of the video he’s using it strategical...

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Stern Sprouted Wheat Vegan Cookie or Health Bar Type Things

...aerates. Wheat will sprout in 24- 36 hours, depending on temperatures. I should pause here to point out that since this all happens at room temperature, you want to be careful about cleanliness. Keep your hands and tools and containers very clean. Don’t let the sprouts get too long (i.e. too old)  when making this recipe, because you want the wheat berries to be sweet and firm–not all spent out–or turned to grass! When the root...

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The Homegrown Mailbox: How and Where Do I Get My Soil Tested?

...ightly overpriced booklet that you can order along with the test. Another approach, especially if you live in an old house like ours, is to assume that your soil is contaminated, skip the test, and grow things in raised beds, containers or stick to ornamentals. You could also try bioremediation: each season plant a cover crop, let it grow, and then pull it up and dispose of it. Test the soil until it comes out clean. This works well, but it can t...

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Bisphenol-A

Above, the bisphenol-A or BPA molecule, a type of plastic found in all kinds of products including baby bottles, plastic food containers, Nalgene bottles, some wines (from the plastic stoppers and the lining of fermentation tanks) and the lining in metal cans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it’s safe, a viewpoint contradicted by at least 100 studies. The problem: BPA is a endocrine disruptor linked to a host of problems, acco...

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Pooh Power!

...owder actually gels liquid in seconds, while it neutralizes the odor (no perfume cover-up) and the catalyst starts the decay process. The Black degradable poly bags are environmentally friendly and can be disposed of in trash containers. Can be used with any portable toilet or even in your standard home toilet when water flushing is unavailable. Can be used under or over (to keep sanitary) any toilet seat. After use, simply fold the Wag™ Bag into...

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The Chicken and the Egg

...sider the consequences of the economic and quality race to the bottom of factory farming’s economy of scale–an abundance of cheap, tasteless and nutritionally deficient eggs that like the endless flood of shipping containers full of plastic crap from China poisons both our bodies and souls. Here’s a list of questions to ask the folks who provide your eggs. And more Francine Dancer for those without chickens....

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Healing the yard with a huge compost pile

...d beds and fill them with imported soil (soil which has, hopefully, been tested for lead!). Some people put plastic sheeting or rock barriers between the imported soil or native soil, which in effect makes the beds into giant containers. We did something a little different–and a lot harder. We dug out a huge pit where our beds used to be. When I say “we,” I mean Erik dug a huge pit. (Somehow I weaseled out of this project.) This...

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Hops Growing Resources

Reader Matt sent a couple of detailed links on growing hops. First an organic hops growing manual (pdf) by Rebecca Kneen of the Left Fields organic farm in British Columbia. Secondly, a PowerPoint presentation by hops farmer and breeder Jason Perrault here (pdf) along with the transcript here (pdf). I’m going to go through these resources before transferring the hops I’ve been growing in containers to the ground in the spring. Thank...

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