Cracking the Seed Germination Code

Many folks in the Pacific Northwest are starting seeds this month for transplanting later in the spring. But what about seeds that we can plant outside right now? I did some research and came up with a list of those plants that germinate better with a period of cold or fluctuating cold/thaw cycles, which is exactly what we experience at this time of year (and often throughout the entire winter).… Read more

Caterpillar Slaughter

Large tent caterpillar nestI have squished them with my bare hands, blasted the nests open with a power hose, sprayed them with vinegar, burned them alive with a blow torch, and for those that survived all that, drowned them in soapy water. If you, too, have stood aghast at the havoc they have wreaked in your beloved fruit trees, have vowed to take action, if not declare outright war, and have been somewhat taken aback by their tenacity – yes, we are talking about tent caterpillars – read on.… Read more

What Worked – or NOT – in the 2013 Garden

Winter Garden, Vincent Van Gogh: Buy through affiliate link at Art.com

Winter Garden, by Vincent Van Gogh (it looks like a dark and twisted place, does it not? You needn’t go there.)

It’s Garden Planning Season, and you know what THAT means: deep introspection to determine what worked and what didn’t, because unless you incorporate what you’ve learned into this year’s garden, you will be going forth with an impending sense of doom….… Read more

Good Fungi vs Bad Fungi, Molds, Mildews, and Blights

A reader from Texas posed some very good questions relative to my recent post on the importance of building the soil and, in particular, the essential role fungi play in the process. (Read: To Convert an Orchard to a Food Forest, Start with the Soil)

Specifically – How do you differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys?Read more

To Convert an Orchard to a Food Forest, Start with the Soil

Orchard path at Barbolian FieldsWe have this old orchard on our homestead – how old is anybody’s guess. The house is over 100 years, so perhaps the trees are as well? How long do they live? It comprises 9 trees (apples, pie cherries, and an Italian prune), and despite its age, produces more than we can use, but not really enough for any kind of commercial enterprise.… Read more

Garlic Planting Conundrums – Part 3

This is my final post in this Garlic-Planting Conundrum series – and by now you probably think I am beating this whole thing into the ground. But I wanted to share a few practical things about figuring out your space needs and preparing the planting area, particularly under less-than-ideal conditions. 

Read more

Food Forest Beginnings and Fall Tasks in the Orchard

Fall applesI have to confess, when it comes to the orchard, other than pruning, I’ve pretty much let the trees fend for themselves. This is a disgraceful admission, being as I spent many formative years in eastern Washington, arguably the apple capital of the world.  … Read more

Three Sisters Corn Patch

I get a lot of questions about growing corn in the Pacific Northwest, where our weather makes this a challenging endeavor at best.  We usually don’t get much heat until after the 4th of July, and even that is relatively speaking.… Read more

Permaculture by Nature

Paul Gautschi

Strong, expressive hands – huge spirit – Paul Gautschi shares his love for God and His creation.

Paul Gautschi is not a big man in stature, and one cannot help but notice that just walking is difficult for him, as his body is quite crippled from the ravages of Agent Orange.… Read more