Chelsea Green Blog

Farming & Homesteading

The Secret Life of Fungi: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility

April 18, 2018

Did you know that our collective future could well pivot on people coming to understand that soil fungi matter? Or that there’s such a thing as fungal consciousness?  Fungi have intricate lives, behaviors, and uses most people are unaware of. Mychorrizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with the root systems of other plants. The crucial, symbiotic role…

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Goats Gone Wild: The World’s First Farm Animal

April 13, 2018

Goats have provided humankind with essential products for centuries. They bear the noble distinction of being the first domesticated farm animal. From providing milk and meat for sustenance and fiber and hides for clothing and shelter to carrying packs and clearing brush, there isn’t much that goats cannot do. Managing goats successfully requires an understanding…

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Composting as if it Mattered

April 10, 2018

Composting is more than a way to minimize waste and supplement your garden. It is a method which can be practiced and perfected to “supply all the needs of [your] crops and the soil in which they live.” Composting master Will Bonsall has honed the craft to be so efficient that he has made over 200…

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Freedom from Poison: How One Small Town Banned Pesticides, Preserved Its Food Heritage, and Inspired a Movement

April 9, 2018

“The movement for freedom from poisons in our food and agriculture is the most important freedom movement in our times. . . . Read the story of Mals to get inspired. And act.” —from the foreword by VANDANA SHIVA The recent uncovering of The Poison Papers—a collection of documents revealing years of apparent collusion between companies…

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Good Enough is Perfect: How to Pick Land

April 6, 2018

There is a lot to consider when searching for farmable land— location, size, price, soil quality, water access, etc. When considering such factors, it is important to look beyond what a plot of land has at face value and consider its potential. Land quality is not stagnant, but can be shaped over time. With a…

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Organic No-Till: Farming like the Earth Matters

April 2, 2018

If we could do one thing for the planet it would be to ditch the plough. When we turn over soil, the air and sun wreak havoc on the microbes, which is why we need chemicals to bring the fertility back. No-till creates thin furrows in the soil and drops seeds in. It’s difficult to…

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Bubbling Waters: Raspberry and Blueberry Soda

March 30, 2018

Now fermentation fans and home brewers can rediscover these “primitive” drinks and their unique flavors in The Wildcrafting Brewer. You’ll be surprised at how easy making your own natural drinks can be! One of the best ways to begin brewing is by dipping your toes in the bubbling waters of homemade soda. Mountain raspberry and blueberry soda…

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Sustainable Food From the Local Greenhouse

March 27, 2018

The Netherlands—a country two-thirds the size of West Virginia— is ranked second in agricultural export volume behind the United States. Their secret weapon? Greenhouses and hoophouses. These protected structures allow you to control the environment, resulting in maximum resource efficiency, higher yields, and ultimately higher profits. Drawing inspiration from Dutch agricultural practices, Andrew Mefferd has…

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Grow Vegetables Like You Mean It

March 23, 2018

“I think farms…. are kind of like two-year-olds. They’re very loud and very insistent about what they need and what they want from you. If you don’t set some limits, you’re going to be a slave to the two-year-old.” – Chris Blanchard In the United States, 40 percent of the food we produce is wasted.…

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Survive the Winter Blues: Grow, Eat and Plan

February 15, 2018

There is no denying it: the days are short and unless you planned for a winter garden, fresh vegetables from your backyard have long passed. But don’t let the winter get you down. There are plenty of recipes to last you through the cold season and into the ‘hungry gap’. And we’ve shared a few…

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Soil Blocks vs. Pots: Two Ways to Start Seedlings This Spring

February 14, 2018

When it comes to starting your first seedlings, are you a pothead or a blockhead? We’re talking about using pots versus soil blocks and no matter which you choose, our authors offer step-by-step methods and troubleshooting advice. Master gardener Eliot Coleman is an advocate for soil blocks. In the excerpt below from The New Organic Grower,…

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8 steps to Fermented Hot Sauce with Wild Greens

February 13, 2018

Like hot sauce? Fermenting? Wild greens? This Fermented Hot Sauce with Wild Greens recipe from The New Wildcrafted Cuisine has it all! Wild foods are becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people want to learn how to identify plants and forage for their own ingredients, but self-described “culinary alchemist” deeply explores the flavors of…

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Books to Curl up with this Winter!

February 12, 2018

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading…

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Care of the Soil

February 8, 2018

Caring for the soil is the farmer’s number one task; if the soil is healthy, the crops will look after themselves. As the average age of America’s farmers continues to rise, we face serious questions about what farming will look like in the near future, and who will be growing our food. Many younger people…

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3 Steps to Start Your Plants Off Right

February 6, 2018

How you handle your seeds and your practices around seeding is your first chance to get your plants off to a good start and help them achieve their full potential. Ben and Penny Hewitt, authors of The Nourishing Homestead, have developed a three-step process which starts with inoculating the seeds, then sowing them in high-quality…

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Pass the Walnut Syrup?

February 5, 2018

Everyone knows and loves maple syrup, and in some states (like Chelsea Green’s home state of Vermont), it’s big business. However, it’s a widespread myth that maples are the only trees that can be tapped to produce sap, according to Michael Farrell, sugarmaker and director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Forest. Sap can also be collected…

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All-Star-All-Sprout Salad

February 2, 2018

At this point in winter, if you haven’t already exhausted your cellar of root vegetables, then you’re probably exhausted with it. But just because the ground outside may still be frozen, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fresh greens.Without a greenhouse or expensive equipment, it’s hard to imagine a reality in which you can have fresh…

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Creating Unique Drinks from Nature’s Ingredients: Winter in the Forest Beer

February 1, 2018

The art of brewing can explore far beyond the usual ingredients into a vast and luminous galaxy of wild and cultivated fruits, berries, grains, and herbs, which once provided a variety of fermented drinks as broad as the world. Now fermentation fans and home brewers can rediscover these “primitive” drinks and their unique flavors in, the…

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Homemade Bone Broth – A Healthy Diet Staple

January 30, 2018

Have you had your steaming hot bowl of bone broth today? If not, you might want to consider integrating this nutrient rich, immune system boosting elixir into your daily diet. With articles about the benefits of bone broth in The New York Times and Epicurious calling it “the new coffee,” it’s clear broth is taking off…

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Grow Mushrooms on Your Jeans. Seriously.

January 25, 2018

Thinking about getting rid of that pair of worn out jeans? Think again. You could use them to grow mushrooms. That’s right, mushrooms. Mycologist Tradd Cotter has been experimenting with mushroom cultivation for more than 20 years. Through his ongoing research he has not only discovered the best ways to successfully grow morels but also…

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Fermentation Favorites

January 24, 2018

There is no denying it: the days are short and unless you planned for winter growing your garden is all about the root vegetables. Don’t let the winter get you down. There are plenty of garden goodies perfect for the changing weather. A major part of Chelsea Green’s mission is to inspire you with ideas and practical…

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Sprout Today, Eat Healthy Tomorrow

January 22, 2018

If you’re ready to start growing a portion of your own food, but you aren’t quite ready for something that requires a big time commitment or a lot of effort, this is a good place to start. Sprouts are easy to cultivate, mature very quickly, can be used in a variety of delicious dishes, and…

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Grow a Year-Round Indoor Salad Garden, even in winter

January 16, 2018

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until Spring. As the weather gets colder and seasonal produce only means root vegetables, we begin to dream about fresh greens and colorful salads. Without a greenhouse or expensive equipment, it’s hard to imagine a reality in which…

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New French edition of The Resilient Farm and Homestead available

March 23, 2017

Great news for French-speaking fans of Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. The French language translation is now available from Imagine Un Colibri, from French booksellers, and on Amazon.fr. Falk’s book is a technical manual that details the strategies he and his team have developed for…

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How to Make Biochar

March 16, 2017

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by…

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