Farm and Garden
Plants and produce from rural America

Starting From Scratch

When we first bought our property it was just an over-farmed tobacco field. Now we have a home. Here are a few things we’ve learned about starting a homestead from scratch.

Growing Strawberries and the Beauty of Four Seasons in Kansas

Growing strawberries symbolizes summer and plenty for which to be grateful.

Browse more great rural know-how in the GRIT archives: Farm and Garden

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What Homesteaders Need to Know About Mulching

Blogger James takes a look at the importance of mulch and how to apply it in your yard and garden.

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Preserved Vegetable Medley

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Lee AnnOne Ash Farm and Dairy Homestead

By Lee Ann Perez

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YEAR-ROUND INDOOR SALAD GARDENING

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening offers good news: With nothing more than a cupboard and a windowsill, you can grow all the fresh salad greens you need for the winter months (or throughout the entire year) with no lights, pumps, nor greenhouse.

Longtime gardener Peter Burke was tired of the growing season ending with the first frost, but due to his busy work schedule and family life, didn’t have the time or interest in high-input grow lights or greenhouses. Most techniques for growing what are commonly referred to as “microgreens” left him feeling overwhelmed and uninterested. There had to be a simpler way to grow greens for his family indoors. After some research and diligent experimenting, Burke discovered he was right—there was a way! And it was even easier than he ever could have hoped, and the greens more nutrient-packed. He didn’t even need a south-facing window, and he already had most of the needed supplies just sitting in his pantry. The result: healthy, homegrown salad greens at a fraction of the cost of buying them at the market. The secret: Start them in the dark.

Growing “Soil Sprouts”—Burke’s own descriptive term for sprouted seeds grown in soil as opposed to in jars—employs a method that encourages a long stem without expansive roots, and provides delicious salad greens in just seven to 10 days, way earlier than any other method, with much less work. Indeed, of all the ways to grow immature greens, this is the easiest and most productive technique. Forget about grow lights and heat lamps! This book is a revolutionary and inviting guide for both first-time and experienced gardeners in rural or urban environments. All you need is a windowsill or two. In fact, Burke has grown up to six pounds of greens per day using just the windowsills in his kitchen! Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening offers detailed step-by-step instructions to mastering this method (hint: it’s impossible not to succeed, it’s so easy!), tools and accessories to have on hand, seeds and greens varieties, soil and compost, trays and planters, shelving, harvest and storage, recipes, scaling up to serve local markets, and much more.

$29.95

PLANT CONSERVATION: WHY IT MATTERS AND HOW IT WORKS

Plants' ability to turn sunlight into energy makes them the basis for all life; without them there is no life. And they are more than just a food source-they provide us with fuel, fibers and pharmaceuticals.

Global warming and the destruction of natural habitats are a serious threat to many plants, and there are worldwide efforts to mitigate the disaster. Plant Conservation tackles this essential topic head on. Timothy Walker plays a key role in this effort as the director of the Oxford Botanical Garden, a leader in the field of plant conservation. He highlights what is happening now, from cataloging the world's flora to conservation efforts like protecting plants from overcollecting. He also shows home gardeners how they can become involved, whether by growing their own food to decrease reliance on large agriculture or by making smart plant choices by growing natives and avoiding invasives.

Plant Conservation treats a critical topic in an accessible and optimistic way. It is required reading for students, professionals and anyone with a keen interest in the importance of plants.

$29.95

NATURE'S GARDEN - EDIBLE WILD PLANTS

Nature’s Garden follows the same award-winning format of Samuel Thayer’s first book, with in-depth chapters covering 41 wild edibles. You will find the most authoritative accounts available anywhere of several important food plants, such as hackberry and American lotus.

You'll find mouthwatering photography of cranberries, blueberries, huckleberries, strawberries, wild plums and more. You’ll hear of new methods for using dandelions, and learn to make sense of the tricky wild lettuce / sow thistle group. You’ll also discover that wild carrot and poison hemlock can be reliably told apart, thanks to a detailed chart accompanied by 19 photographs.

You’ll read about vegetables with a rich tradition of use around the world that are largely ignored in the wild food literature, such as cow parsnip, patience dock and honewort. You can read more exciting myth-busting about poisonous plant fables and the maligned black nightshade, plus anecdotes about purple children and the hazards of eating cacti.

Yet, perhaps the best part of all is the book within a book about acorns: 51 pages of the details that turn these nuts into food.

Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, MOTHER EARTH NEWS is recommending books to readers. For 40 years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.

$24.95

ALMONDS EVERY WHICH WAY

Almonds are everywhere, and with good reason! Full of vitamin E, magnesium, protein, fiber, calcium, and more, this superfood delivers lots of health benefits in a delicious little package. When almonds are made into grain-free flour, nondairy milk and nut butter, these easy alternatives to wheat flour, dairy and peanut butter support a variety of diets - vegan to gluten-free, vegetarian to Paleo. Whether you're following a particular way of eating or just looking to add variety to your cooking, Almonds Every Which Way offers key info for incorporating more nutritious foods into your diet, including:

  • Basic recipes for homemade almond milks, butters and flours
  • Easy tips and tricks for using and storing almond ingredients
  • Nutritional info for each recipe
  • Designations for gluten-free, allergy-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan and Paleo options
And, of course, the recipes: You'll find more than 150 scrumptious almond-based dishes, from breakfast favorites like smoothies, pancakes and croissants, to sandwiches, snacks, and easy, family-pleasing entrees like fish tacos and vegan "neatloaf." With Almonds Every Which Way, you'll have every diet, meal and taste bud covered.

$18.99