Diatomaceous earth (DE) is one of the most useful products you can have at your homestead, small farm, or even around the house. That might sound like a pretty bold statement, but if you’ve never heard of DE and its wide range of uses, you’ve been missing out.
When it comes to survival, everything starts from your mindset and preparedness. Your knowledge makes all the difference in what you can achieve.
There seems to be a still commonly held belief that, in 1492, the first European explorers discovered two entire continents populated with nothing but primitive Stone Age “hunter/gatherers.” That, in turn, made it only logical that the settlers who followed would displace the Native Americans with their own version of “highest and best use” farms and towns.
Perhaps the reason we don’t see many bare spots in the wilderness is that Mother Nature knows the uncovered ground is bad for business. When we manipulate our environment by growing something (plants, trees, flowers, vegetables), we can improve the ecosystem by covering up the resulting bare spots with mulch.
Plants need water; that is a fact. However, to make the most of this, often limited, resource, it pays to use it economically by understanding plants’ needs and using techniques to help limit water loss from both plants and soil.
In the first article related to Permaculture and how to get started with your sustainable, nature-based, and balanced garden, we covered the aspects related to its ideology and methodology.
There’s nothing that will make a gardener teeter on the verge of madness more than marauding wildlife. In the spring, rabbits, groundhogs, and ground squirrels (depending on your part of the country) can destroy a newly planted garden seemingly overnight. And throughout the season, wildlife does its best to harvest before you do.
As a homesteader, you’ve probably learned that diversification is a great way to ensure success, but have you considered growing anything other than annual crops that must be replanted each year? Fruit and nut trees are perennials that can provide you with excellent sources of food with little effort past the initial planting.
Growing along my front porch, a Virginia creeper rises up from the ground 10 feet below. It twists around 6×6-inch porch support, and once reaching the railing, branches are trained left and right to provide the south-facing porch deck some protective shade during the summer.
Containers can be tricky. They’re invaluable for those who don’t have garden space or whose soil is extremely poor. Even if you have space, there are areas where the soil is so poor or laden with heavy metals from historic mining or industrial use that you wouldn’t want to eat anything grown in it. Containers are the way to go in either situation.
Natural environments evolve effortlessly, so why oh why do we have problem areas in our gardens? Everywhere else on earth, these areas are simply places for something different to colonize. By identifying different microclimates in our gardens, we can turn these challenging areas into assets. Even better, we can increase the range of plants that will grow in our yards.
Vegetable gardening is a tremendously rewarding endeavor for multitudes of people. Not only is it very therapeutic, but much satisfaction is derived from planting, cultivating, harvesting, and ultimately consuming vegetables grown with personal labor of love.
Despite an above-average snowfall during the past winter, the spring was very dry. By the middle of May, New England was already having temperatures in the high 80s, and we were in drought by the start of June.