Chelsea Green Blog

Farming & Homesteading

A Gardening Tip: Pinching Flowers to Prolong Bloom, When and How

June 15, 2018

Flowers are starting to bloom! School yourself on flower pinching to determine whether or not you are getting the most out of your flowers. The following gardening tip is from The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers by Lynn Byczynski. Pinching can be used to increase yield and to…

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Profit or Loss from Farming

June 12, 2018

Most people don’t start farming to crunch numbers and expenses. Like any business, even small-scale farmers need to consider their income and expenses. In his chapter on economics, Mike Madison breaks down everything he reported on his Form 1040, Schedule F: Profit or Loss from Farming to give readers a good idea of what kind of accounting…

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Low-Risk Silvopasture: Chickens, Turkeys, Guinea Hens, Ducks and Geese

June 5, 2018

Interested in getting started with silvopasture? Consider purchasing a flock of poultry, which add plenty of value to your managed ecosystem (pest control, soil turnover, etc.) and derive benefits of their own to fluorish be productive livestock. You will have to decide, though, which type of poultry will work best with your particular ecosystem: chickens,…

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Compost: Small Farm-Style

June 4, 2018

Composting doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, especially for a small farm.  There is a lot of expensive equipment on the market to precisely monitor your compost, but author Ben Hartman is here to share his strategies for avoiding those unnecessary costs. The following excerpt is from The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables by Ben…

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Mushroom Adventures: Mushroom Composting and Recycling

June 1, 2018

In the United States, an average of 35 percent of home waste and 60 percent of business waste is suitable for use as a mushroom growing substrate. Mushrooms can be grown on toilet and paper towel rolls, egg cartons, newspapers, magazines, coffee grounds, tea bags, old cotton clothing, tissue boxes, shredded paper, cardboard boxes, and more.…

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What in the world is Silvopasture?

May 31, 2018

Have you heard of silvopasture? This system of managing grazing animals in a temperate forest ecosystem is quite common in Europe but it didn’t quite make its way over to North America with the colonists. They must not have realized the benefits of silvopasture: healthier animals, better soil, less pest control and mowing, and climate…

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Victory Over Big Ag: How a small town said “Yes!” to a pesticide-free future

May 29, 2018

A Precautionary Tale shares the inspiring story of a group of citizens in Mals, Italy who fought Big Ag and won and, in doing so, became the first place on Earth to ban pesticides by a referendum vote. Their colorful, courageous, and ultimately savvy campaign is being heralded around the world as a landmark effort in…

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Gourmet Root Systems: Edible Mushrooms Wonders

May 25, 2018

For people who enjoy foraging for food in the wild, there are plenty of mushrooms to choose from — “ten thousand mushroom species to be considered on the North American continent alone”. But foraging for mushrooms should never be thought of as a game of chance. You need to know all the clues when it comes to identifying…

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How to Cook the Perfect, Tender, Grass Fed Steak

May 21, 2018

Memorial Day is one of America’s first “BBQ Holidays” of the year. It’s finally warm enough to grill outside in most of the country, and almost everyone has the day off to bask in the glory of the coming summer. Treat your tastebuds to an ethical feast: grill up some grass fed steak this year!…

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Good fences and good gates make good goats

May 17, 2018

So you’ve figured out how to move your goats, now how do you get them to stay in one place? We’re back with advice from fellow author and goat expert, Gianaclis Caldwell. She knows just how sneaky goats can be, so take her advice when considering the various options for fencing to keep your goats happy…

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From the Homemade Hooch Files: How to Make Dandelion Wine

May 15, 2018

Heads up: you definitely don’t want to be spraying weed killer on your dandelions. If your lawn is a total dandelion breeding ground, you are so close to having some delicious wine! Get out there and pick some so you can get started on fermenting a batch of flower wine. This drink is not only…

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A Farm is More than its Land: Why Farm Infrastructure Is Important

May 14, 2018

A farm is more than its land. A well planned and implemented infrastructure is just as crucial as great soil and hard work. We are facing serious questions about what farming will look like, and who will be growing our food. Many younger people are interested in going into agriculture, especially organic farming, but cannot…

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Are you Team Duck or Team Chicken?

May 9, 2018

Thinking about adding a laying flock to your backyard, but having trouble deciding between ducks and chickens? Agonize no more. Carol Deppe (The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties) has the lowdown on which type of poultry might be right for you. Deppe is a duck-lover at heart. In the following excerpt…

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The Perfect Mix: All Purpose Potting Soil Recipe

May 7, 2018

Potting Soil Annual plants require an early start to bear fruit in the short growing season of New England. The planting medium, daylight length, and temperature conditions are crucial factors for a healthy nursery of seedlings. In an attempt to localize our annual production we start seedlings on-site. This production requires specific timing and appropriate…

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Work Smarter, Not Harder: Goat Handling

May 3, 2018

If you have goats or are considering getting goats, at some point you’ll need to move them.  This can be a tricky task, as goats can scare easily and high levels of stress are not good for their health or productivity. Take some advice from author and goat whisperer, Gianaclis Caldwell, who has a handful…

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9 Things to Consider When Building Your Own Greenhouse

April 30, 2018

Daydreaming of extending your growing season and building your very own year-round greenhouse? It’s easier, more affordable, and will provide you and your family with more food than you might think — thanks to one of North America’s most accomplished permaculture designers, Jerome Osentowski. In his groundbreaking book, The Forest Garden Greenhouse, Osentowski provides growers of all skill levels in-depth…

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The Ultimate Guide to Sheet Mulching

April 23, 2018

Sheet mulching is a layered mulch system that nurtures the soil. You start with a biodegradable weed barrier like cardboard, and from there build a thick, layered substrate for your garden with compost and mulch. As the materials break down, worms move in, softening the soil below, and creating a healthy, aerated planting bed where…

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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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