I am an artist, low-tech enthusiast, market gardener, and homesteader with a passion for food sovereignty, nature and ecology, beauty, and slow, intentional living. My husband and I (along with this perfect angel) turned our urban lawn into a permaculture garden of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers where we grow more than enough for ourselves and others. I spend a great deal of time focused on non-monetary income, creativity, and in developing home-grown abundance.
This site serves as a reflection and collaboration point to share my projects and interests in both the garden and life. You can follow me at @email@example.com.
→ Permaculture Principles and Resources
"Permaculture gives us a toolkit for moving from a culture of fear and scarcity to one of love and abundance."
We grow a dense yet diverse number of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers in a no-till organic system that we designed and built to replace the pre-existing lawn. We utilize drip irrigation, rain water catchment, and natural fertilizer sources to promote the long-term integrity of the soil and natural resources.
We employ Eisenia fetida (red wriggler) composting worms to turn food and garden waste into fertilizer for our gardens through vermicomposting. We have two different bin systems that we made, one of which is a 5-gallon bin that I take to events and workshops to educate folks on the importance of returning nutrients back to our soil.
Our two-bin system was built out of recycled (untreated) wooden pallets and accommodates our limited space. We primarily use wood chips for our carbon material or dried leaves as available. This bin manages overflow waste that is too large or unsuitable for the worm bins.
-*- COMING SOON -*-
We will be raising our flock on the ground in a contained area that provides a naturally enriching environment. They'll be able to forage, nest, and explore freely while protected from feral cats, wandering pets, racoons, opossums, and other curious predators. This winter we'll finish the roof, build feeders, and prep for their Spring arrival.
Starting plants from seed is one of my favorite parts of gardening. On just one modest sized metal shelf I start around 650 plants; all of our vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers for the season. Sometimes I start plants for other growers or donate starts to fundraisers. We use heat mats for germination and LED full spectrum grow lights for the first 4-6 weeks until plants are ready to move outdoors for hardening off.
We are working to remove all non-native invasive plants on our property. Namely English Ivy (Hedera helix), Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei), and Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). It's a labor-intensive process but once we have it managed we'll be able to plant small native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers.
We spent several years in a 1790s farmhouse where our love for homesteading began. Here we raised a small flock of hens for homegrown eggs and enjoyment. Chickens, or at least ours, had so much personality. These ladies enjoyed daily free-ranging, dust-baths, and getting into more mischief than you'd expect.
→ 2021 Small Farming Report
"To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd."
After studying a great deal about soil health, regenerative agriculture, and small farming we decided to take one full year to put it to practice and see just how possible it is to make a living at. On both leased farm land and our urban lot we grew over 2,000 lbs of food which we washed, packed, and distributed.
A large part of what interests me in small farming is the opportunities it lends to improving and building soil through the act of intentional farming. This image depicts the lethargic color of the soil at the start. We built up the health of the soil with mushroom compost, mycorrhizal inoculant, and lactic acid bacteria. In 2022 it was still rich with organic matter.
We sold our produce through a CSA where we provided a weekly bag of mixed vegetables and herbs to ten different families. While this was a great way to predict sales, we ended up having far more produce than interested people. We donated much of the excess to a local shelter.
Korean Natural Farming
Lactic Acid Bacteria
Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) is a beneficial bacteria that has been the catalyst for food preservation for centuries. It's the main player in cheese and lacto-fermentation. I learned through KNF how to make and use it in the garden to improve soil tilth and nutrient accessibility. I combine it with FPJ or a fish fertilizer when applying it either directly or as a foliar spray.
Fermented Plant Juice
Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ) is a process that extracts the nutrients from plant matter through fermentation. Massaging equal parts plant matter and brown sugar together kick starts a frenzy of naturally occuring bacteria to ferment the material into a dark juice that is then diluted and applied to the roots or leaves of the plants. When used in conjunction with a soil test you can ferment specific plant materials for targeted nutrient application.
We save seeds from any remarkable fruits we harvest - looking for the best flavors from the healthiest most productive plants. In early autumn I collect seed heads from flowers in our garden and elsewhere. I save a lot for us, share with friends, and donate to free seed banks.
Saving our homegrown foods for winter is a primary focus for me during the summer. I can, blanch, freeze, ferment, cook & freeze, and dehydrate depending on what it is I'm trying to save. Making and freezing soups is one of my favorite ways of preserving the incredible flavor of homegrown food.
Every season there's plenty of tomatoes to preserve. I mostly prefer to cook them into a soup or sauce to freeze, but I also like stewed canned tomatoes and "sundried" dehydrated. I freeze cherry tomatoes whole which are easy to throw onto a winter pizza for a sweet and fruity reminder of summer.
My first Sourdough starter I started with rye and built up with a local stoneground flour. Some day soon I want to try a gluten-free version with Sorghum flour.
I love enjoying a simple whole milk organic plain yogurt. We usually have it with homemade jam and homemade granola or a drizzle of local honey and fresh fruit.
I make a slow-cooker bone broth that fuels us through winter and works as a base for the many soups I prep during the summer. The bones are what remain after I slow-cook a whole chicken that we get through our participation in our friend's small farm CSA. They raise their chickens with a great deal of care for both the animals and the land while working to preserve heritage breeds and small farming sovereignty.
Overripened fruits make a great culinary vinegar before they head to the compost bin. It's is easy to make with a bit of know-how and time. If you don't have access to a fruit tree discounted fruits are easy to find in the grocery store and are otherwise wasted.
I like to dry herbs and spices, make tinctures, syrups, infusions, and teas from plants and materials we grow or source locally. We regularly keep dried culinary herbs, CBD tincture, and Elderberry syrup on hand.
We have three young Elderberry trees (Sambucus canadensis) on our property that are just starting to produce flowers. In the meantime we harvest from a friend's garden and make our syrup with raw honey and various herbs depending on our needs and the season. The trees provide a great habitat and food source for birds and insects.
Ghee is my preferred cooking oil of choice but I like to make rather than buy it. It's much more economic and I like being able to infuse it with CBD or other herbs. In Ayurveda its a Yogavahi, an agent that carries the medicinal properties of herbs into the dhatus (tissues) of the body.