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sustainability starts at home

Growing a Snap Pea Bounty {with Two Recipes}

Posted in Gardening, Raw & Fermented, Salads, Side Dishes | 18 comments

Peas are pretty easy to grow. Just give them cool, spring weather, composted soil that drains well, and some climbing support. If you’re short on space, peas can be grown in containers, along walls, or trained up corn and sunflower stalks.

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10 Things You Should Not Put In Your Compost Pile

Posted in Featured Posts, Gardening | 6 comments

Composting is one of the most powerful things you can do for a sustainable planet—even if you don’t have a garden. We simply cannot continue to take nutrients from the soil to grow food, year after year, and not put them back in equal or greater measure, and expect the soil to continue to provide for us.

There are at least 100 things in your home that you can compost, which will greatly reduce the amount of trash you put out every week to go to the landfill. But even though technically you can compost anything that was once living, some things are better left out of the compost pile for the sake of better compost and less hassle. Here are 10 of them…

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Breaking the Ice Without Scorching the Earth

Posted in Cleaning, Gardening, Non-Toxic Home | 16 comments

In many parts of the country this week, streets and walkways are covered in snow and ice, and everyone is using salt, sand and other chemical de-icers to make their streets safe for travel. But not all de-icers are alike, and some are downright harmful to your pets, your children and your local streams and rivers.  

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Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Posted in Gardening, Soups | 0 comments

Butternut squash is a type of winter squash. It has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It has hard, yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp, and is an excellent source of nutrition during the winter months. This soup is one terrific way to enjoy it!

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How To Stop Blossom End Rot

Posted in Gardening | 0 comments

Your tomato plants are tall and green; you’ve taken the time to carefully stake or cage them to support their growth. Right now they are loaded with tons of green tomatoes, and some of them are just starting to blush red. And then three days later, it all goes horribly wrong. 

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28 Vegetables That Grow in Partial Shade

Posted in Gardening | 0 comments

Most food gardening requires a full day of sun to help your fruits and vegetables to grow and ripen properly. But what if your yard has shady spots? Can you still grow some of your own food?

The answer is YES! There are plenty of vegetables and herbs that can be grown in full shade, dappled shade, or as little as three to six hours of sun a day. Here is a list of 28 vegetables that grow in partial shade.

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Urban Farming for Kids Provides Vital Lifeskills

Posted in Gardening, Specials, Videos | 3 comments

For many years, I taught gardening to inner-city high school students in Washington, D.C.  We used the school grounds and derelict school greenhouses to grow tons of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits—often providing the only fresh produce the students got to eat all day.

It was one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve had in my career. 

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How to Grow Garlic

Posted in Gardening | 3 comments

Fall is the time to plant garlic. Garlic is ridiculously easy to plant and care for. It tastes great, looks beautiful, and takes up so little space that even people with very small gardens or containers can grow enough to be well-stocked in garlic for most of the year. Here’s how to grow garlic…

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Cultured Apricot Fruit Leather

Posted in Gardening, Raw & Fermented, Treats | 4 comments

Apricots are always the earliest stone fruit to come into season, and for many people, their arrival signifies the beginning of summer.

This weekend the farmer’s market had lovely, sweet organic ones for just $1.50 a pound, so I bought a crate of them. I plan to eat them fresh, dry some, and make the rest into fruit leather.

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20 Perennial Vegetables to Plant Once and Enjoy Forever!

Posted in Featured Posts, Gardening | 46 comments

Perennial vegetables—crops that you plant just once and harvest year after year—are relatively rare in North American gardens.

With the exception of asparagus, rhubarb and artichokes, most gardeners are probably unaware of the tasty, extremely low-maintenance bounty that can be harvested when many annual crops aren’t available.

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Online Tools for Planning the Perfect Vegetable Garden

Posted in Gardening | 31 comments

Maybe you are an experienced gardener, and you have a neat binder full of garden plans and notes where you’ve carefully recorded your crop rotations, varieties and successes over the years.

Or maybe you are starting a new garden in a new place, and want an easy way to plan and track your plantings. Or, maybe you’re a new gardener, and have no clue how to plan and organize your garden at all.

Whether your a garden sage or a total newbie, these online vegetable garden planning tools can make planning this year’s garden a real snap!

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The Difference Between Open Pollinated Seeds, Hybrids and GMOs

Posted in Featured Posts, Gardening, Making a Difference | 41 comments

It is common for people who support or defend genetically modified foods (GMOs) to argue something along the lines of, “What’s the big deal? Humans have been genetically modifying plants for thousands of years.”

Unfortunately, this claim can only be made by someone who either doesn’t understand seed breeding, or who is outright trying to deceive you. Here’s why…

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How to Keep Monsanto Out of Your Garden

Posted in Featured Posts, Gardening, Making a Difference | 77 comments

It’s that exciting, hopeful time of year again: All the seed catalogs have arrived and it’s time to plan your garden and buy seeds. 

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Simple Pickled Beets (And How to Grow Them)

Posted in Gardening, Raw & Fermented, Real Food Recipes, Side Dishes | 34 comments

‘Tis the season for greens, greens, roots, and more greens. This week in our CSA box, we got a lovely bunch of beets, and I picked up several more pounds of them at the farm market too.

There is something about the New Year that has me in the mood for pickled beets. 

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How Much Land Do You Really Need to Be Self Sufficient?

Posted in Gardening, Sustainability | 41 comments

Most Americans think that miles of machine-planted row crops and crowded feedlots are required to feed everyone—that without large-scale, industrial agriculture, with its chemical inputs and GMOs, we would all starve to death.

Even people who know that organic agriculture is just as productive as industrial agriculture often think you need to have acres of land to grow all your own food. Here’s why this is totally false…

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