vertical gardening herbs
I miss our backyard garden – the battle with the red clay, the monster zucchinis and tomatoes, plentiful peppers, even the dispirited cantaloupe. When the yard was re-graded a few years back, the last remnants of it were wiped away. So there’s this large backyard with nothing to do. It’s […]

A Basement Garden. Chapter I – A Wishful Need

raised garden beds
Raised garden beds are extremely popular these days, however, some beginning gardeners ask themselves why they need raised beds at all. At first glance, they do not seem to offer much advantage over planting directly into the ground. If one conducts a quick search on the internet to try to […]

Raised Garden Beds: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

Hugelkultur in home gardens
What is Hugelkultur? Hugelkultur is a method of raised bed gardening perfected by Austrian permaculture guru Sepp Holzer. Another Permaculture expert, Paul Wheaton, has a good summary of Holzer’s work on his website You can also check out Sepp Holzer’s English website here as well as search the web for […]

Hugelkultur in Home Gardens

vertical gardening
Do you live in an urban area but still want the benefits of a rural garden? One of the biggest problems with having an urban garden is the space limitations. Many gardeners have less than an acre of land to work with, some may only have a few hundred square […]

How Does Your Garden Grow? – Vertical

It’s not you. It’s your soil. The soil quality in a typical neighborhood setting is usually pretty terrible. Although most people do not realize it, poor soil is the reason why backyard vegetable gardens do not perform to our expectations. It can be frustrating when one spends so much time […]

The Secret to Fertility: How to Improve Backyard Soil

backyard farm design
Backyard Farming sounds crazy at first. Urban Farming or Urban Homesteading does not sound much better. Yet, more and more people are beginning to see that there is a real benefit to growing one’s own food and making things at home. There are many reasons for this including the high […]

What is Backyard Farming

apple tree
If one is serious about producing a large quantity of truly organic produce within a small space, then fruit trees are absolutely essential. The advantages of fruit trees in your backyard farm garden far outweigh the disadvantages. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of fruit trees: Fruit […]

Fruit Trees and Backyard Farming

Forage for wild blackberries
One of the best fruits to forage for during the late summer and early fall in zones 5-10 are wild blackberries. In this article we will discuss how to forage not only for the blackberries themselves but for the plant too, so that you can grow these delicious, nutritious superfoods […]

Forage for Wild Blackberries and Blackberry Plants

Burdock Arctium
Weeds. The word seems synonymous with things abandoned, lonely, unkempt, not to mention unwanted and unloved. But for Those Who Know, many plants laboring under that unhappy name are associated with words like tasty, nutritious, and just plain yummy. They come in a virtually unending supply, growing where they please […]

BE the Weed Eater

double dig
Permaculture people like to practice a “no till / no dig” policy in their gardening. Most folks in Permaculture agree that one should never till your soil for a number of good reasons. There are fascinating Youtube videos and articles out there on the topic of soil science and why […]

The Double Dig: A Good Start to Backyard Farming

backyard farm design
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of getting a backyard farm up and running. By backyard farm we mean anything from a small garden plot to a larger, more systematic approach. It all depends what you want to accomplish. We use the term backyard farming simply because it implies […]

Backyard Farm Design: Converting Lawn to Garden

Make your own compost
Compost affectionately referred to as “black gold” by gardeners is another word for a material called Humus. (not Hummus—but you can make that too once you get your soil right…) Basically it is a dark brown spongy material that can be produced through the act of mixing together different organic […]

What is Compost and How to Set up an Easy ...

Azaleas as natural fences
Fences that mark off property can also add to the environment and beauty of a home; especially if they’re alive. The use of hedges – shrubs or trees – in place of wood or stone constructs adds to the beauty of a yard while serving as wind breaks, sound barriers, […]

Top 5 Natural Fences: Grow Your Own Fence

permaculture zones
Permaculture Zones are Absolutely Essential in Backyard Farming Design Permaculture Zones are a very interesting concept and cornerstone of Permaculture Design.  Basically you put things that you have to tend to more, closer to your house, like a vegetable garden; and you put larger things that don’t require much attention like […]

Permaculture Zones and Backyard Farming

vertical gardening wall
Backyard art. Smoothie garden. Privacy screen. The ultimate in wall art, indoor or out. Vertical gardening continues to offer opportunities that challenge the imagination and skill of backyard gardeners, especially those living with space-challenged yards. An interior or exterior wall, a fence, a free standing multi-tier planter or trellis, or […]

Growing Vertical

National Farm to School Month
In 2010, the U.S. Congress designated National Farm to School Month to recognize the impact of such programs in improving child nutrition, supporting local economies and educating children on where food really comes from. One Small Step is the theme of this year’s campaign, to show how easy it can be […]

Celebrate National Farm to School Month

stop raking leaves
Raking Leaves is bad. Never rake your leaves again. Today while driving on a short errand, I saw a gentleman with a leaf vacuum attached to a riding lawn mower in a small front yard sucking up his leaves to deposit into the street. Next I saw an old woman raking […]

Stop Raking Leaves Forever!

Basket of locally grown produce
In a recent National Restaurant Association survey, 44 percent of chefs surveyed identified local sourcing as the trend that has grown the most over the last decade. The drive for grow local/eat local is here to stay; restaurants and stores are growing their own or buying from very-near-by urban farms […]

Get Your Produce Featured in Local Businesses

cooked zucchini blossoms
Monday, August 8 is National Zucchini Day. Yes, there is an entire calendar out there of months and days celebrating food. (August is National Peach Month.) Actually I think there is more than one. Not that it actually matters, to me, these food ‘holidays’ are just a fun way to […]

Celebrate National Zucchini Day

Aedes aegypti mosquito
According to the Farmer’s Almanac (and AccuWeather), summer will be a rainy one. This could be good for gardens and other outdoor projects requiring water. The impact of Metro DC water utility company WSSC’s July 1 rate increase could be lessened by making use of all the free falling water. […]

Summer Harvests – Rainfall and Mosquitoes

DIY Seed Starting Mix
One trip to the big box store to buy seed starting soil and you will immediately notice two things.  First, store bought seed starting mixes are extremely expensive, relatively speaking, and second, they contain a lot of chemicals and mystery ingredients. The chemical component alone is enough to compel us […]

DIY Seed Starting Mix: Organic and Dirt cheap

Winter composting
Composting is not only a great way to improve the quality of one’s backyard soil, but is also a terrific method of reusing kitchen scraps and other household waste. This indoor waste recycling can dramatically cut down on the amount of trash that one generates per week. We went from 4-5 […]

Winter Composting: Jumpstart Your Spring Garden

cat playing with cat grass
Our first freeze warning has come and gone. It’s the time of the year when many start making room indoors for outdoor plants or start shopping for indoor plants to offset winter’s monochromatic view. Pets will be spending more time indoors too. This can lead to bad outcomes if pet […]

Plants and Pets – Wintering Together