Primer for Planning a Garden for Pollinators
Pink Viola

Primer for Planning a Garden for Pollinators

Although still officially winter, pollinators are already emerging from their winter havens. What will they eat? Here's what's blooming in my garden & pointers on planning a garden for pollinators.

Continue Reading Primer for Planning a Garden for Pollinators

Wild Harvest with Mac Smith: Seaweeds and More from the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Forager Alert: If you've ever wanted to identify, harvest, cook, & eat seaweeds, this post is for you! So much abundance right out our back door! If you are local, heads up: Mac Smith is hosting another Wild Harvest class at the next minus tide that will teach you how. Upland plants also included.

Continue Reading Wild Harvest with Mac Smith: Seaweeds and More from the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Victory Gardens for Change

The fact is, the greatest changes come from people, not from government. Now is the time to bring back the Victory Gardens of yesteryear. We can change the world, one garden at a time -- together.

Continue Reading Victory Gardens for Change

Permaculture Resolutions (and Where Do We Go from Here?)

Happy New Year from Barbolian Fields! We live in "interesting times." This year, we are incorporating Holmgren's Permaculture Princples into our New Year's Resolutions. Our goals, in general, focus on reaching out, buying local, being prepared for uncertainty, optimizing our backyard ecosystems, and keeping things in balance by also taking time to enjoy life. We hope you will join us in making a difference!

Continue Reading Permaculture Resolutions (and Where Do We Go from Here?)

Earth Day: Plant Something for the Bees!

Whether you recycle, upcycle, bicycle, reduce your footprint, make a footprint, go for a simple walk, plant a tree - so much we can do to celebrate Earth Day! My advice, if nothing else, plant a seed! Take care of our bees and they will help feed the world!

Continue Reading Earth Day: Plant Something for the Bees!

Identity Crisis 101: The Niche-Diversity-Resiliency Equation

This post is about focus, unfocus, hocus-pocus, and how diversity helps battle adversity. All this and figuring out how to define who you are, what you do, and what you can offer in 24 words or less - which is pretty much an identity crisis. Obviously, I took more that 24 words.

Continue Reading Identity Crisis 101: The Niche-Diversity-Resiliency Equation

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

If you want to convert an old orchard to a self-sustaining food forest, start with the SOIL. Billions of creatures can live in a single teaspoon, all connected by miles of fungal mycelium. It's an entire universe beneath our feet. Prepare to be amazed.

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

Garlic for Barter and Trade

What do 3 dozen eggs, 3 bottles of honey, and a beautiful handcrafted dish have to do with garlic? Barter Fare! A new economy is emerging - one that is deeply connected to the earth, self-sufficiency, living simply - one that places more value on human connection than on the almighty dollar - one in which trust, friendship, and the trade of goods and skills can strengthen local communities. And hey, this stuff is just so cool!

Continue Reading Garlic for Barter and Trade
Building an Insect Hotel
The finished insect hotel in a sunny spot at the edge of Barbolian Fields.

Building an Insect Hotel

Honeybees have their cozy hive, but what about all the other pollinators out there? Where will they overwinter? Upcycle your junk into an Insect Hotel! As crazy & elaborate as you make it. Very fun educational craft for kids, too.

Continue Reading Building an Insect Hotel

Plant and Seed Quest 2013

Still looking for heirloom, open-pollinated, non-GMO plants and seeds? Check out this list! So many to choose from! And what an opportunity for each of us to be a steward of our food heritage!

Continue Reading Plant and Seed Quest 2013

Food Forest Beginnings and Fall Tasks in the Orchard

Grass, to me, is Orchard Enemy #1. I talk about how to get rid of it, how to turn an orchard into a food forest, and what to do to get your orchard ready for winter, thanks to tips from Michael Phillips' book, The Holistic Orchard.

Continue Reading Food Forest Beginnings and Fall Tasks in the Orchard

Permaculture by Nature

Before we coined the word, "Permaculture," Nature was already perfecting it on her own. Here, Paul Gautschi describes his methods of mimicking nature by applying mulch in his garden. The results? Absolutely amazing! His approach has recently been featured in a film, "Back to Eden." Happy International Permaculture Day!

Continue Reading Permaculture by Nature

Let ‘er Bee Free!

Do you install bees? Dump them? Pour them? Knock them in? Release them? And what happens when you let loose 15,000 (or so) bees? Here's how it went down, folks. Happy Earth Day!

Continue Reading Let ‘er Bee Free!

Warre Hives Set Up at Barbolian Fields

A video and some close-up pictures on the Warre hives we built. If you are looking for something simple, inexpensive, and something that naturally lets the bees do what they instinctively do - this is it!

Continue Reading Warre Hives Set Up at Barbolian Fields

Bee Ready – Ain’t Mis-bee-havin’!

Happy Earth Day! In celebration, we are releasing somewhere around 20,000 bees into their new home, a Warre Hive situated on the back side of Barbolian Field. Here are a few videos to show you how we are getting ready for this big event (and conquering a few fears in the process!)

Continue Reading Bee Ready – Ain’t Mis-bee-havin’!

Tracking the Sun

Hooray! It's officially spring! Days are getting longer than the night - finally! Here are some cool tools to help you track the way the sun changes with the seasons and some ideas on how to apply that info to your garden design.

Continue Reading Tracking the Sun

Self-Imposed Limitations, Sustainability, and Creatively Breaking Rules

I’ve hit a turning point. Actually, several of them. In the process, I've been examining my self-imposed limitations, my concept of sustainability, and why now is the best time to break a few rules. Another lengthy psycho-analysis post of how our gardens teach us much about life and visa versa - and what to do about it.

Continue Reading Self-Imposed Limitations, Sustainability, and Creatively Breaking Rules

Lasagna Gardening and the Great Mulch Cover-up

"Lasagna Gardening" - heard of it? read it? Here's my review of the book and a take on a method that heaps organic matter on top of weeds and lets you kick back while nature does the work. Also a tip on slug control that doesn't involve squishing them with your bare hands or watching them shrivel under salt.

Continue Reading Lasagna Gardening and the Great Mulch Cover-up

Harvest Celebration Farm Tours

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 2, is the 14th Annual Harvest Celebration Farm Tour in Clallam County. If you are on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State, this is a very fun event that gives you a glimpse of what the Peninsula has to offer. This year, nine different farms are opening their barn doors and throwing a party – hayrides, music, great food, farm animals & produce, demonstrations – a ton of down-home family fun. We are incredibly blessed to have such an abundance of “real” food and local products available to us. It’s up to us to insure that availability. By supporting our local family farms, we are supporting our independence, our self-sufficiency, and our communities. Our health – and our quality of life - defined on so many levels – depends on it. So when you check out some of our local farms this weekend, take time to get to know our farming neighbors. We’re all in this together.

Continue Reading Harvest Celebration Farm Tours

Capturing Sunshine in a Jar

Save money, eat healthier, control the ingredients, be more self-sufficient – all good reasons to can your own food. It is a connection to past generations who understood the importance of self-reliance to survival. And like our grandparents, come some blustery day in the midst of winter, we can gather with family and friends, crack open a jar of those home-canned peaches, sit back, and close our eyes at the sweet taste of summer. Mmmm-hmmmm. A little sunshine in a jar.

Continue Reading Capturing Sunshine in a Jar

Addicted to Oil? Sharpen your hand tools!

The oil still gushing out of the bottom of the ocean in the Gulf should make us all aware that we are all part of the problem. Choosing to use hand tools instead of machinery is one small way we can cut back on our consumption. In this post, I describe how I sharpened an old sickle and cut down my green manure crop of a rye-clover-vetch mix (mostly rye) by hand. Let me tell you, it made me feel pretty darn powerful! Try it. You'll like it. And so will our environment.

Continue Reading Addicted to Oil? Sharpen your hand tools!

Support our Local Farms: PCC Tour of Nash’s Delta Farm; Visit Nearby Dungeness Valley Creamery

Saturday, Jan. 16, is the PCC Farmland Trust tour of the Delta Farm, part of the 400+ acres farmed by Nash Huber and his crew. Sign up and see first hand how he manages to keep us all fed through the winter. While you're in the area, stop in and see the Dungeness Valley Creamery, which recently received some bad press by the WSDA which implied a link between e. coli and their certified raw milk. Nothing could be further from the truth! See for yourself what a wonderful dairy they have and taste the difference in raw milk that comes from cows that are catered to! Supporting our local family farms is just so important to preserving farmland in our region. It is such a privilege to have them here. Meet the hands that provide us with such incredible bounty!

Continue Reading Support our Local Farms: PCC Tour of Nash’s Delta Farm; Visit Nearby Dungeness Valley Creamery

Local Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Check out the phenomenal variety of goods I purchased this week from the Sequim Locally Grown outlet: cinnamon rolls and a peach pie (wow!) from Sequim Valley…

Continue Reading Local Thanksgiving

Tomato Saga and Green Tomato Mincemeat

A story of growing tomatoes, from training them up a trellis to having them take over the garden. If you are wondering what to do with all those green tomatoes left at the end of the season, here is the best mock mincemeat recipe I have found. Ingredients include tomatoes, apples, raisins, citrus, and spices. No meat, lard, or suet. Makes a great mock mincemeat pie just in time for Thanksgiving and upcoming holidays. This post also recommends a couple of good garden cookbooks and a great place to purchase seeds and get gardening information.

Continue Reading Tomato Saga and Green Tomato Mincemeat

Rainwater Collection System

Conflicting demands of population growth, agriculture, and environmental needs (endangered salmon and other fish) are putting a huge strain on our water supply. Setting up a system to collect rainwater is easy and inexpensive and can not only get you through the dry spells, but leave precious water for other uses.

Continue Reading Rainwater Collection System