We have many projects going on simultaneously at The 1892 Farmstead right now. But one that I didn’t get a chance to tell you about yet is the planting/restoring of the farm kitchen garden.
When my family bought the property, one thing we wanted to do first was restore some of the gardens that had fallen into disarray. This included the heirloom orchard and a kitchen garden next to the farmhouse. This kitchen garden area was obviously once a beloved garden with much use. It once had long rows of vegetables and herbs there. We know this because although it was now covered with years of weeds, we could still see the outlines of some of the beds vs. the pathways. [click to continue…]
Slowing Food Down
In a previous post, I talked about Slow Flowers and what that means in terms of living more local, in-season and sustainable with flowers. But as you probably know, the whole concept of “slow” started many years ago with food.
Slow food is just real food eaten fresh, in-season and grown in a sustainable way. And real food is at the heart of what so many of us strive for in our daily lives.
Who better to help us in our quest for good, real food than a chef whose entire career as a celebrity chef is built on the virtues of fresh, in-season produce?
Meet Chef Nathan Lyon
Chef Nathan Lyon worked at farmer’s markets for over a decade before becoming a celebrity chef
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Have you heard of From Scratch Magazine?
It’s a fairly new digital magazine that is focuses on homesteading and living a more simple lifestyle. It has feature stories, DIY, resources and even a few recipes. The best part is that is free. You can read it on any digital device.
I happened to discover this magazine when it started publication in February of this year. Great articles on goat keeping, bloggers I follow and more.
So when they contacted me a few months ago asking if they could do a feature story on me, I was very happy to say yes! [click to continue…]
Seasonal Recipes with a Twist!
I just want to update you on the new canning video series I have going on over at Growing A Greener World TV. Each week, we release a short (under 2 minute) video featuring some of my canning secrets, tips and how-tos. The videos have a full post with printable recipe included. (And I love the catchy music we used with each one. Thanks to our TV director Carl for find the perfect fit here.)
I wanted these videos to be fun, informative and playful.
Each one covers one of the following: [click to continue…]
As a city homesteader for the last 23 years, I couldn’t be happier about the current trends aimed at a healthier lifestyle for ourselves and our families. Growing vegetables and fruits in our backyards, canning to preserve fresh food for later, cooking from scratch and raising small flocks of backyard chickens are coming back into vogue in a big way. I’m so happy to see others jumping on the bandwagon. But the homesteading trends aren’t stopping there — they have moved on to creatures such as bees, rabbits…and goats.
Adorable, fuzzy, playful, impossibly small goats! Even I have been moved to consider owning backyard goats (and I am normally a very sensible person).
Yet, even after swooning over multiple mini-livestock photos and goat articles, I’m left with a (very) miniscule amount of good sense. But I wanted to know – exactly how do people decide if backyard goats are right for them? To get to the truth, I went straight to several of my goat keeping friends and also tapped into my hobby farming connections around the country. I wanted the real scoop from people who live with them every day.
To my great surprise, everything I had heard about goats being adorable was true. But wait… there’s so much more to consider besides the cute factor…
Thanks to some goat-savvy friends, I can offer you the whole truth about keeping goats in your backyard.
Before You Go Buy A Backyard Goat:
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One of the biggest perks about my job as Co-Executive Producer of Growing A Greener World, is that I sometimes get to pre-interview some of my personal garden heroes before writing out the production outline for filming. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to do this!
After spending time re-reading their books, sifting through articles and just generally researching some of my favorite people, I get to sit down and talk shop with them over the phone or Skype. I can ask them all the garden questions I have ever wanted to know AND I get to do this multiple times while prepping for the shoot. It totally rocks!
Such is the case with Margaret Roach – the former high powered, high profile corporate executive who left her job as EVP and Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Living for a new life out in the country working in and writing about her garden. She writes the incredibly prolific garden blog A Way to Garden, has a podcast, lectures and has written several books including The Backyard Parables that I reviewed here several months ago. To say that I am a big fan is an understatement.
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Perhaps you have dreams of running outside in your PJs every morning for a quick fix of fresh blueberries from your very own garden? After all, they are delicious, high in antioxidents and a wonderful addition to your morning oatmeal, right? Well they are all of those things and you can have them in your own backyard – you just need to grow them in acid soil.
But if you are like me and only have alkaline soil in your backyard, then the solution is to grow your blueberries in containers. It works great and my kids are now the ones running out in their PJs (or something less appropriate) to grab a handful when the plants are in full swing.
Keeping Blueberries in Their “Happy Place”
To be happy, blueberries need to grow in an acidic pH zone of 4.5 to 5.5. Growing in containers makes this a fairly easy process. You control the pH by using acid potting soil, and feeding them with acid fertilizer. Not that tough. But there is more… [click to continue…]
I’m Back in Business!
Thank you everyone for your patience while my website was having technical difficulties. It was extremely frustrating and took 2 months to fix. I ended up moving the site and rebuilding it from scratch and it was a long, hard (and expensive) road. Thanks to my friend Jayme who saved the day in the end and got me back online. (We are still making minor tweaks/fixes)
It just seemed as if the universe was working against us every step of the way as we had roadblock after roadblock and each barrier took days or weeks to fix. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back!
I have several posts in the cue for the next week or two. But I also wanted to share the projects I have been working on:
More Canning & Preserving on PBS
As most of you know, I am the Co-Executive Producer of PBS Gardening series, Growing A Greener World and the homesteading/canning expert for the show. We are currently in production for season 4 and THIS year, we are expanding the canning and preserving information both on line and in the series!
Going over where I need to place my hands with Director Carl Pennington
I just finished filming 13 mini-canning videos that will be posting on the Growing A Greener World website throughout the summer and I will be appearing on some of the S4 episodes. Plus I have a series of featured canning posts that include time-saving tips and unique ideas for saving the season in a jar. Everything launches in less than a week and there will even be a new website design to go with the new season. Exciting stuff! Keep an eye on the “Canning Blog” listing here on LivingHomegrown (at the bottom of this website in the orange footer below) to see the latest posts as they go live.
Restoring the 1892 Farmstead
I am still managing the 1892 farmstead property in Northern California for my family. I have been working hard on the antique fruit orchard (pruning and controlling the pests organically) and we have installed raised beds in the kitchen garden. Watch for posts on that as well.
My Urban Homestead
I have been doing some expansion of my food growing areas here at home. I removed my train garden in the center of my vegetable garden so that I could have more room to plant edibles. I will be posting on weed control and tricks for getting height and interest in a food garden.
So – We have a lot of catching up to do! Be sure to that you are signed up for my newsletter so you don’t miss anything.
It’s great to be back!
For the past several weeks, I have been experiencing some “technical difficulties” here on my blog. I can best describe it as my site is a bit “wonky” at the moment! I can only post with text – no pictures and we are having trouble with other areas of blog. Everyone who looked at the site has been stumped!
I finally had to call in the big guns: First a programer – Then my designer – Then another programer and finally well…we are still working on it. Once we get it all sorted out, I have a slew of posts backed up that will roll out as soon as possible.
So stay tuned and thanks for your patience!
Man, we are “this” close to being up and running again! We are moving the site to a new host and tweeking as we go. (That is why it is taking so long.)
Meanwhile, we have been filming Season 4 of Growing A Greener World and I have been canning like mad. With the new 1982 farmstead and my urban homestead to glean from, we have a whole lot of homegrown flavor going on!
Thanks for waiting everyone. We are very close to being fixed!
I love a good homemade marmalade – not the overly sweet, artificially flavored junk you find in the grocery store. No. I’m talking about an honest-to-goodness homemade marmalade where the citrus flavor pops the minute it hits your tongue.
Just as the flavor of a homegrown tomato cannot compare to the grocery store version, so too is it with homemade marmalade.
Many people think that making marmalade is too hard or even scary. But it really is not difficult – especially if you understand a few of the tricks. Here’s the scoop on how to make great marmalade and I’ve included a simple, yet delicious recipe to get you started.
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