Almost unrecognizable to us today, this 3 minute video shows a 2008 interview with the young-ish Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, describing his conversation with his boss to leave his great job at a Wall Street firm to start an "online book store". Bezos's decision was based on minimizing his possible regrets of having the online book store idea, but never acting on it. If you have a new idea, project, philosophy, or adventure in mind, when you look back at age 80, what will you regret more: not acting on it? Acting on it and failing?
We're continuing this week with beginning guides to gardening for those who found a new pandemic past-time, and want to up your game from last year. Thrifty Homestead doesn't disappoint with a trove of links to answer the most common questions and how-tos for growing your own food. I especially like the "Planning the Sustainable Garden: How Much Will You Grow?" article because it seems like I never grow enough beets, and always grow more than enough tomatoes!
A lot of articles on the web try to tackle the start to finish of gardening, from seed to harvest, so to speak. When looking for seeds recently, I found this super simple and to-the-point planting guide from none other than Baker Creek, one of the most popular seed suppliers to home gardeners out there. Keep this link in your browser favorites. I am already using it to determine what I can plant outside before my last frost date.
Planting trees is one of the most rewarding and earth-friendly things you can do in your landscape. Trees offer beauty, shade, habitat for wildlife, sequester carbon, and depending on the type, may feed you as well! But you know who else loves trees just as much as you do? Gophers! Those frustrating little creatures LOVE to eat tree roots. Thankfully, it isn’t difficult to stop gophers from destroying trees. We simply have to plant trees in wire gopher baskets – and those are easy to make!
Diego Footer walks us through his experiment using cover crops versus tarps to determine which method builds better soil in preparation for a new garden bed. Cover crops and tarps have advantages and disadvantages to building soil. Diego thinks both build good soil, but both have different applications.
The researchers looked into the effects of soil organic matter on yield during drought for maize crops. They found that adding a single percent of soil organic matter to maize crops has massively positive effects, including increased yields (about 35 bushels per acre) and, most importantly, decreased vulnerability to drought. In farms that had that extra percent of soil organic matter, the researchers calculated, insurance liabilities under extreme drought conditions would be decreased by 36 percent.
Most gardeners this time of year are thinking about the last frost dates for their locations and how soon they can get out into their garden plots. In the Southeast, many areas have already passed their last frost or will soon, while in other parts of the country, it may be many weeks before the threat of frost is over. In this week’s column, the Garden Professors describe a way to get frost dates for your location and discuss the mystery of why the date of the last spring frost is getting later in the Southeast in spite of temperatures that are rising across the country.
One of the popular arguments against mulching landscape and garden soils is that mulch delays soil warming and thus retards plant growth. Given that a well-chosen mulch will moderate temperature extremes – both hot and cold – is this an argument supported with evidence? In today’s post, I’m reporting the data I collected in visiting various parts of my home landscape and gardens and measuring soil temperatures.
Greg Gunthorp raises turkeys on pigs on pasture at Gunthorp Farms in LaGrange, Indiana. He used to raise “a lot” of pastured chickens. Then Covid hit and business changed. The only poultry production to survive 2020 is pastured turkeys.
In the podcast, Greg unpacks exactly what Covid did to his pasture poultry business, which was almost exclusively wholesale to restaurants. You may be surprised that the second quarter of the summer of Covid saw Gunthorp Farms sell out of inventory. Thing were looking very good. They pivoted and responded to the immediate crisis. That’s a testament to the agility of a local, independent food supply. Then things tightened up over the following months as some of the traditional meat supply rebounded and other news took over the front page.
If local food and pastured poultry is your jam, then this is a must listen episode.
Today we have another rising star, but it's a far different situation. A couple of weeks ago the media was abuzz about Bill Gates being the new largest farmland owner in the U.S. Unlike Turner, Gates is buying cropland (farmland) not ranch land. The difference is important. Whereas Turner loved the historical animals, migratory patterns, and biomass accumulation vectors of the ancient prairie ecosystem, Gates wants nothing to do with historical norms. He wants nothing to do with animals. He wants nothing to do with perennials. He wants nothing to do with soil building, hydration, or biomass accumulation.
Five years ago, a group of nutrition scientists studied what Americans eat and reached a striking conclusion: More than half of all the calories that the average American consumes comes from ultra-processed foods. A growing number of scientists say another reason these foods are so heavily consumed is that for many people they are not just tempting but addictive, a notion that has sparked controversy among researchers.
The Monsanto Papers is something of a sequel to Gillam’s award-winning first book, Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science, which came out in 2017 and detailed the controversial history of Roundup as well as Monsanto’s wide-ranging efforts to manipulate the scientific record about it. But where Whitewash offers a more sweeping look at the chemicals and the company, Gillam’s new book tells a narrower, more personal tale—namely, that of Johnson and his lawyers.
As if farming organically weren't hard enough, these researchers are beginning to quantify the residual effects of pesticide usage. They found pesticide residue at all of their 100 samples, including organic farms that were converted over 20 years ago. This should be a warning sign for us to become more diligent about the effects our current actions have on our future soils.
See how easy (and inexpensive!) it is to mix your own herbs and give your chickens some aromatherapy in their coop! There are loads of different products on the market now in the dried herb niche. And they're all just about the same - likely most even source their herbs from the same place! But instead of paying an average of $14-17 for just 5 ounces of dried herbs, you can easily mix your own for around $20 a pound!
We do not denigrate these kinds of calls. We honor them as part of the process and welcome whatever created the flight from factory farming. Embracing a new system changes everything: the place, the personnel, the perception, and yes, the yolk color. It's what healing looks like.
Steward is a private lending partner, financing the growth of regenerative farms and sustainable producers through simple, flexible business loans. But we don’t do it alone—we bring together a community of values-driven lenders who participate in loans that fuel the growth of regenerative agriculture.
So whether you're a sustainable producer looking for the support needed to take that next step, or a qualified lender ready to make a direct impact with your resources, with Steward everybody wins.
Lauren and Christoph Herby were eager to put down roots. A “rusty, big hunk of metal” helped show them how. They dug it out and realized it was a maple syrup evaporating pan. The answer the couple was searching for was right there in the maple trees, birch trees, sycamore trees and walnut trees on their land.
Master grazier Greg Judy review the basics of fence chargers from this video in 2019 which deserves a lot more views! As we get ready for putting animals on pasture in the coming season in North America, this video provides the basics of successful containment from a trusted source. From Greg, "A good fence charger is the backbone of your grazing operation. This is not the place to buy a cheap one, get the best one you can afford."
Alicia Serratos, who is just 14, came up with the idea to start 3 Sisters Seed Box in 2019. Her goal: Send out enough starter kits to have at least two seed libraries in all 50 states. It started out as a Girl Scout project and turned into a nationwide movement.
"We love to complain about the enemies out there, but in many cases, we've invited the enemy into our own homes. What we patronize with our money and time says everything about our values and the ultimate practical solutions in which we believe. We only have a few hours, days, and years to sow blessings or cursings. Are we this inept, this vapid, this uncreative that we can't find something more noble, sacred and righteous in which to invest $50 billion than video games?"
Beth Dooley and The Forever Green Initiative have provided a free cookbook with some excellent recipes featuring some ingredients you may not be used to: Kernza, barley, hazelnut, and camelina oil to name a few. Learn the nutritional profiles of these ingredients and how to pick out the best and freshest versions of them. Download the PDF for free or order your own print copy for a small fee (and signed by Beth at no cost).
One of the newer “miracle products” targeted to gardeners is rock dust. Rock dust (also called rock flour or rock mineral powder) is exactly what it sounds like. It is a byproduct of quarry work and is generally a finely pulverized material that resembles silt. It’s heavily promoted as a way to provide macro- and micronutrients to your soils and plants. Is it worth adding to your gardens?
Farmers, ag professionals, and eaters alike are invited to our eighth annual Midwest Soil Health Summit, hosted virtually March 9-11. Each of these farmer- and expert-led sessions will be held from 7-9 PM CT and you can expect some robust discussion, including time for Q&A. Check out the schedule of events!
Like vegans who don't consume any animal product, veganic gardening doesn't use any animal product in the growing of food. I include this story because my first gut reaction was "integrating animals is a pillar of soil health!". However, can you still have a wonderful and productive garden without animal fertilizers? Of course!
New York legislators are considering a bill that would prohibit shipping live animals within the state after an article from the Portland Press Herald went viral in August 2020 which detailed how at least 4,800 chicks had died on the way to farms in Maine.
The scientists found that despite dextrous and visual constraints on the animals, pigs were able to both understand and achieve goals in simple computer games. Two of the pigs couldn’t even finish the experiment; they’d grown too big for the laboratory pen. All four pigs also turned out to be farsighted, which made seeing the screen a bit of a challenge.
We always hear a lot about compost tea being a great thing for our gardens, shrubs, and pastures. But do the benefits stand up to the hype? You might be surprised when author, master gardener, and biochemist Robert Pavlis lays out all the facts!
Farming has destroyed a lot of the rich soil of America's Midwestern prairie. A team of scientists just came up with a staggering new estimate for just how much has disappeared. The most fertile topsoil is entirely gone from a third of all the land devoted to growing crops across the upper Midwest, the scientists say.
“No skill is more valuable and harder to come by than the ability to critically think through problems. And schools don’t teach you a method of thinking, you have to do the work yourself. Those who do it well get an advantage and those that do it poorly pay a tax.”
Lacto-fermentation is the process used when we make fermented vegetables, fruits, and even kombucha. Lactobacillus bacteria converts sugars into lactic acid. This good bacteria inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. The lactobacillus organisms that develop when we ferment food preserves it, but it’s also a boon to our digestive tract. Foods fermented in this way provide us with the probiotics that we’ve heard so much about in recent years.
A chicken tractor is a handy and functional structure that every homesteader should have. Almost no one had one 10 years ago, but now it is necessary equipment! Here is everything you need to know if you are looking to add one to your homestead.
My high school German teacher used to occasionally remind our class of misfits that "Diese Klasse ist keine Demokratie!" Apparently a herd of goats is also not a democracy. From the I can't believe people study this for a living desk: When a herd of goats moves from one spot to the next, does one decide where to go next, or is it a democracy and majority vote wins? Sometimes it is just fun to learn about the behaviors of our animals and not just how to provide for them. Biologists, armed with GPS tracking collars and computer models found that goats aren't like other herding animals, they don't vote.
Female mammals only produce milk to feed their young. It’s as true for a woman as it is for a cow, a nanny goat or a ewe. Dairy production, therefore, typically relies on female animals falling pregnant every year and most of the young being sent away for meat along with the less productive older females. So, it’s fair to say, there is typically no milk without meat. But what if a farmer showed that goats that only were pregnant once still produced just as well? A French goat farmer has sparked an unexpected movement doing just that.
What is the best mulch for your garden? Compost? Nope. Composted tree trimmings? Nope. Fresh arborist chips? Yes! Jim Downer of the Garden Professors gives us a run down of why chips from the tree service are the best material to put in your garden. That Back to Eden stuff just might be on to something...
We have all left a banana on the counter for too long right? In 2012, materials scientist James Rogers received a $100k grant to figure out a way to reduce food spoilage. That same year, he launched Apeel Sciences, where he developed an edible, FDA-approved solution that works to extend the shelf life of produce around the world. The treatment is made up of lipids and glycerolipids (yeah I don't know what those words mean either), plant-based compounds that are found in peels, seeds and pulp. It acts as an invisible barrier, or an extra peel, as Rogers puts it, to double or triple the time it takes for produce to go bad.
Synthetic fertilizer has become increasing unpopular with the rise of the organic and sustainable agriculture movements. But is it all bad? Kathy Voth talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and their affect on soil microbes.
The preeminent event for those interested in the connections between soil, plant, human, environmental and cultural health will be an every Thursday (Feb-Sept) event online this year. I haven't physically gone to the conference, but have listened to sessions posted online and they never disappoint. Perfect for anyone looking to pick the brains of real-live food growing experts who actually grow nutrient-dense food.
"Our friends thought we were crazy, Dad made fun, we bottomed out financially and I thought I was gonna die. But there was hope…" Justin Rhodes gives us a never-before seen view of his origin story as a homesteader and content creator. With raw story and breath-taking cinematography, episode one of his new project will be available publicly for just 2 more days.
How can you succeed in a world of information abundance? David Perell introduces us to the Paradox of Abundance and how an unfamiliar financial theory applies nearly perfectly to our health and our digestion of today's news cycle. The paradox? As the internet and social media have brought unprecedented access to information, most people will fail to find and consume nutrient-dense information, while a small fraction will become uber-healthy gainers of knowledge.
There are at least 10 quotable gems in this article, and I'll share just one -- "On the Internet, your rate of learning is limited not by access to information, but by your ability to ignore distractions. The people you follow online is a leading indicator of your success, your health, and your happiness."
I find that gardening is the among the best therapies to shake off the winter blues and stress. When you can't garden because of the cold you read about gardening! In this article straight from the filmmakers, you can learn how to apply the Back to Eden Gardening principles to grow food indoors for better results. Prepare ahead of time and organize your planting schedule!
Many gardeners tend small herb gardens on their window sills, but far fewer take the next step to grow their own spices. Spice-grower and author Tasha Greer wants gardeners to know that while it takes a bit more technique to grow spices, it’s still something anyone can do. Greer wants to walk gardeners through the steps with her new book, Grow Your Own Spices, which she put together with collaborators, Lindsey Feldpausch and Greta Moore.
New chicken keepers usually start with baby chicks in the spring. The excitement of the chicks growing into adults, then that first egg in late summer or early fall is undeniable. And the eggs keep coming all through that first winter, right into the following spring and summer. But that next fall, all of sudden egg production drops and the hens stop laying eggs. What's up with that?
A few special ingredients make this Annual Conference remarkable, in spite of it not being an in-person gathering: A diverse array of presentations, workshops and discussions are on deck, bringing together farmer experts, educators and innovators who are sure to spark ideas and new practices. Session topics include quality of life on the farm, meat processing in Minnesota, economics of silvopasture, making hay, off-season side hustles, and feature speakers like Beth Dooley, MN Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen, Alan Guebert, and more.
According to a report from Reuters, Muyuan Foods, a Chinese pork concern, has started operations at a new hog farm that blows others out of the water in terms of size: it will eventually produce 2.1 million hogs per year. It’s roughly ten times larger than most of the bigger facilities in the US. Yikes!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) has developed a groundbreaking treatment for barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), the number one health issue in the sheep industry. In live-animal trials, the new treatment reduced fecal egg counts by 90% and overall parasite burdens by 72%. Perhaps most importantly, the treatment impacted female parasites the most, reducing their populations by 96%. Such a large reduction in females means an equally large reduction in the number of eggs produced, leading to reduced infections overall. While extremely successful with sheep, it did not translate to goats. Guess where they found the treatment? The soil!
If you do any searching for gardening (or even think about the color green), you’re likely bombarded with adds on social media and search engines about all stuff gardening. One of the recent trends is microgreen production. There’s all kinds of fancy little systems and gizmos that will help you grow microgreens for a price. But what are microgreens? Are they the same thing as sprouts? And do they have the same food safety issues as sprouts? Let’s discuss, shall we?
While seed sellers are already starting to get busy this year, time is still on your side. If you plan ahead, you can get the seeds you want and start your garden as soon as the winter frost subsides. Not exactly sure where to begin? Here’s our guide to buying seeds for the upcoming growing season.
Vegetable seed sellers experienced skyrocketing demand last spring as concerns over potential food shortages drove some of the demand; gardening also helped pass the time during quarantine—leading seed companies to post virtual “out of stock” stickers on some popular seed varieties. As seed starting season begins again, sellers say demand hasn’t slowed down.
I’d love to use chickens to till and fertilize my Raised Garden Beds, but will my Chicken Tractor work or will I need to make modifications? Spoiler alert. It worked, but let’s have a deeper look at how I easily set up five chickens to do the work of my Raised beds.
I'm sharing this spicy oven fries recipe with you – originally published in February 2020 for my Cooking Community members. Since then, I've made this recipe approximately 1 billion times. It seemed almost selfish to hold it back any longer.
Diana Rodgers writes: In my quest to make a case for “more better meat," I’ve been criticized at times for being an elitist. People have told me that eating grass-fed beef is simply too expensive and inaccessible.
So, I decided to do some investigation and compare the price per ounce of grass-fed beef to other processed foods, meat alternatives, and selected “health” foods. When you calculate the cost per ounce, grass-fed beef is really not any more expensive than many foods people consider “common” like candy bars and cookies.
The presence of persistent herbicides like Aminopyralid should be a concern for anyone using hay or manure in their compost, garden, or farm. Persistent herbicides can do damage to broadleaf plants in very small quantities for very long periods of time. If you are sourcing hay or manure, do you own due-diligence prior on the hay, manure, or compost in question before bringing it onto your property?
There are the classic resolutions that everyone’s heard before: drinking less, eating better, exercising more and prioritizing finances. But if you were one of the many new gardeners who started growing vegetables during the pandemic, maybe you’ll include some changes to make your gardening a little more eco-friendly this year. For your inspiration, look no further than regenerative gardeners and farmers, who live by principles such as soil health, carbon sequestration and responsible water management that nurture the land while they grow their food. We spoke to professionals in regenerative farming, gardening and landscape design to see what growing goals they have this year. May it inspire you to do the same.
"A four article series by Darrell Emmick. He’ll give you a really strong understanding of what’s going on in your pasture with your plants and animals based on the latest information and research. You’ll find out how plants influence animals and animals influence plants, how animals remember where to go to find the best stuff to eat, and how you can help them be as efficient at possible at finding good food. Finally, you’ll learn how animals choose what to eat."
From onpasture.com, "It’s the story of a young scientist, Hugh Hammond Bennett, who recognized 80 years ago that the United States was at risk of losing it’s most important resource – its soil. He made it his mission to change the trajectory of agriculture at a time of great crisis and to provide farmers and ranchers with the information and tools they needed to be sustainable."
"...mink have been shown to be one of the animals most susceptible to Covid-19, partly because they are farmed in big numbers in close proximity with one another." When will officialdom ever connect the dots to factory farming and disease? Have we not established that link well enough to stop all factory farming?
Join Food Animal Concerns Trust and guest presenter Felicia Bell from NCAT/ATTRA to discuss why continuous grazing is not sufficient, how to find and create markets for your products, and the importance of establishing a business entity and keeping it separate from one's homestead. Participants will learn how these management decisions not only affect their farm but also their community and the earth's sustainability for years to come.
There’s no denying that an annual trip out to the farm to pick the perfect tree makes for a memorable family outing, especially during a pandemic. But if you’re up for a challenge and have some patience, you could start a new tradition by growing your own.
Dr. Lisa Lunn of the University of Alaska – Fairbanks points out all the little cues that tell you an animal needs help. While she uses a cow to demonstrate, this information works well for all ruminants.
Mike answers a listener question, “How can I make my small laying hen flock more profitable?” With feedback from the community, insights from The Fighting Farmer, and personal experience, we dive deep into ways to prosper from your small flock of laying hens.
"The Environmental Protection Agency this week released a draft of its findings on how glyphosate affects endangered or otherwise at-risk animals, plants, and their habitats. Those findings are not great, if you’re a fan of glyphosate."
Keeping chickens has been on and off illegal in International Falls for the past 40 years. So, after years of back and forth — including a unanimous City Council vote in April to reject a proposal that would allow residents to keep chickens — the council decided to put the question to voters.
We’re told that if we care about our health—or our planet—eliminating red meat from our diets is crucial. That beef is bad for us and cattle farming is horrible for the environment. But science says otherwise. For a limited time, you can watch this new documentary all about how growing meat the right way can heal us and our planet. Headed up by dietician Diana Rodgers and recommended by Joel Salatin!
Joel reminisces fondly of his parents' contrarian ways that helped him and his farm become what they are today.
When others dug wells we dug ponds. When others grazed their woodlots we fenced ours out so the trees would be healthier. When others bought chemical fertilizers we bought a chipper and began composting.
Turkey, ham, and even a bit of venison or elk would pass muster on most modern Thanksgiving tables. But a century ago, many diners would have been just as happy to see some raccoon sitting next to the gravy boat
Adam Baker was in the work, buy, debt cycle that was feeding discontent when he asked his wife as they brought their first child home from the hospital "What does freedom mean to you?" The answer changed his family from seeking things to seeking experiences resulting in selling everything that wouldn't fit into 2 backpacks, and traveling to Australia to leave the job he hated, which bought things he didn't need, to impress people he didn't like. What would your life look like without the encumbrances of debt?
Joel walks us through his fascination with separating hydrogen and oxygen atoms from water though wind power. Salatin states "I'm waiting for the day when we have windmills on our farm ponds creating hydrogen to run our tractors. That would usher in a new age of resiliency and opportunity, for sure."
If you are a Back to Eden Gardener, you have probably witnessed how wood chip piles begin to steam and feel warm to the touch as they decompose after only a matter of days! But did you know that the center of these wood chip piles reach temperatures capable of heating water and air up to 140°F? We aren't talking about burning wood chips as a fuel for fires. We are talking about harnessing the natural heat generated from the composting process of wood chip piles.
Greg Judy obviously hasn't been a software engineer, which is clearly the lowest stress job...okay, I can't even finish that sentence it is so wrong. As someone who has been both an engineer and a grazier, I can say that Greg is right about this one with 100% certainty.
As the world stops today in hushed anticipation of the U.S. election outcomes, it occurred to me this morning that the earthworms I carefully brushed off the pieces of firewood at the bottom of the woodpile have no clue about this momentous occasion and go right on about their activities as though it's the least thing in the world to worry about.
Scientists recreated Martian soil to see if anything will grow in It, because science. A la the martian, we have an inner yearning to know if we can garden on the Red Planet, because we have obviously figured it out on Earth....right.
In March, I found 30 or so tomato cages in my farm's previous owner's old garden. I sold them all on Craigslist and all but one of the eight folks who bought them was gardening for the first time. Little did they know that their new hobby could blossom into something huge!
Have questions about Back to Eden gardening after trying it? This simple method can get complicated if you don't stick to the basics and if you have some issues. Learn about how to calculate your wood chip need, and get answers about everything from if you can use walnut wood chips (yes!) and if you will still have weeds (also, yes, sadly).
But wait, there's more...
You are viewing The Daily Grower's archives. To view the latest stories, go to the main page.
Building your homestead, starting your farm business,
or finding your independence but are overwhelmed with
the sheer amount of information telling you what to do?
Welcome to the Daily Grower, your guide to the best stories for
growing your homestead and farm. With daily or weekly email digests,
product reviews, and refreshing honesty, we make it so you can succeed
without the getting lost in it all.
Become a Daily Grower
Get The Daily Grower in your email and enjoy exclusive
content (before it shows up on the web) and special offers just