Archive for the 'sustainability' Category


Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Of course now that I have way too many chicks, two of my hens go broody at the same time. Almost the same time. This hen sat on her eggs for 2 weeks or so ( more than 2/3 total incubation time) And then one night I opened the nest box to find this one […]

Fertilizer core

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

I have a friend in the Department of Natural Resources who hooked me up with the ultimate sustainable fertilizer: A particularly nasty invasive species, the Blueback Catfish is so good at killing off native species that the DNR periodically has to round them up and cull their numbers as best they can. Normally they’re just thrown […]

Overwintering sweet potatoes

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

Remember last year, how I got that absolutely massive couple of sweet potatoes from my new hugel bed? They turned out great, sweet and not fibrous at all like I’d feared. So in case part of their massive growth was due to amazing genetics and not just the pond goop I’d topped the hugel with, I kept the top […]

Homegrown babies

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Spring is right around the corner, and my poultry have been getting kinda frisky lately. I took that as a sign that it might be time to set the next generation in motion. Last year I was lucky enough to have three hens go broody and raise their own chicks (takes so much work off […]

Artificial Spring

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

One of the main factors that can speed or inhibit germination of seeds is the temperature of the soil. You can sow peas as early as you like, there are even some people who broadcast them over the snow – but if their environment isn’t to their liking, they’ll remain stubbornly dormant until it warms […]

Homemade Geosolar

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Remember how I was saying I was hoping to get some energy stored in the thermal mass of the garden bed, so that it could slowly release heat at night? Chewing on that problem reminded me of a video by Geoff Lawton done on a greenhouse in Canada. They keep their greenhouse warm enough to […]

Tricking Mother Nature? Experiments with bottles.

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

I really miss California. Growing up there deeply shaped my preferences as a gardener. My favorite flora all tend to be mediterraneanish in nature – lavender, rosemary, citrus…. olives. Oh, olives. I love everything about olive trees – the gnarly stubbornness of their trunks, the slender shape of their foliage. The silvery color of their leaves, their […]

Solar waterer fail

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Finished my solar-heated winter watering system the other day and was so excited to see if it worked! I set it outside just before a couple of 30* nights. Not too bad looking for being made out of scraps, eh? To test it, I put two identical buckets outside at the same time. Each had […]

Integrated composting system

Monday, November 30th, 2015

I used to have a few different sources of fertility for the garden. One compost pile for fall leaves, one for kitchen scraps, and then the every-so-often cleanout of the chicken coop. I’d have to fill them all individually, only to later re-harvest them and mix them together before spreading them on the garden. What a chore. […]


Thursday, November 26th, 2015

When I first started gardening on Backfill Hill, I was in such a hurry that I didn’t give a thought to layout. I didn’t take into account Maryland’s torrential rains, or the packed rock-like soil, or the steep slope.  I should have – native to California’s hard-baked desert clay soils, I was well acquainted with washout, […]