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Free Compost. Just Add Pallets.

Pallets, the humble wooden shipping platform. They are experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Somebody, somewhere in the last few years realized their potential as an excellent source of (usually) free wood, suitable to any number of projects. Maybe a lot of somebodies, because a quick Pinterest search reveals a cornucopia of DIY inspiration: headboards to bookshelves, play houses to coffee tables. Possibilities, endless.

One could create a veritable rustic decor oasis from a bunch of bunged up free wood! But no where is the pallet more at home than the Urban Homestead. In all things garden, think free, repurposed, versatile, and sturdy as ideal. Pallets fit the bill. So last year, when I was building out the Ugly Garden infrastructure, I knew I wanted a kick-ass compost system. What would I construct it out of? Pallets, naturally. Read more

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Urban Homesteading Reality

A little over a year ago, I wrote about my Urban Homestead Dreams. Chickens, expansion, raised beds, crops, and big, big, grandiose plans. Now that we once again dwell in the time of little daylight, when my garden is neglected because there just aren’t enough hours in the day (not that there’s much going on there anyway), I’m reflecting on those dreams and plans. What was a success? What failed miserably? What do I want to add? Was it all worth it?

Broccoli. I manage to grow broccoli. Read more

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Ugly Garden: Enter Fall

Ugly Garden, its been a while. We’ve talked about some of your more noteworthy residents (Tomatoes and Potatoes), and we’ve addressed some of our organizational strategies, but Ugly Garden, the experiment, you’ve been neglected. As a topic. Not as an actual food producing garden demanding so much of my time. In that way, we are on track.


Right on queue. Pumpkins and a little powdery mildew. Sugar pumpkins. For pies and breads and soups and Fall. The dramatic conclusion of all things U.G. The dramatic conclusion that wasn’t, I should say. September has been, by far, the most productive month in our short lived history together. Read more

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Growing Potatoes in Burlap: A Review

This is my first year with most things dirt and garden and growing. Ugly Garden officially started last year, but she was, shall we say unsophisticated? The focus was on ‘can we do this?’ rather than ‘how much food can we produce?’. This year we moved a little closer to the latter. There were diagrams and plans. We promptly ran out of room for everything we wanted to grow. Enter: Potatoes in burlap.


Cheap supplies. Small footprint. Easy harvest and cleanup. Depending on who you read, it also encourages better airflow in the roots, keeping your spuds disease free. If it works. When you are googling all the ways to do something, the horror stories usually aren’t what pop to the top of the search results. Somewhere between when I planted these back in late March and well before I harvested a single potato I read Erica’s Total Potato Fail over at Northwest Edible Life. Concerned. Definitely, concerned.
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DIY: Chalkboard Garden Markers

There are many things I do not do well. Failed attempts. Flawed theories. I’m looking at you Lettuce Table. I could write a lot of blog posts on those exploits. Heck, I already have. There is very little on the urban homestead-garden front, which comes easily to me. When I get something right I should probably share it. Even when it’s something as simple as…

These little creations have served me surprisingly well in Ugly Garden. They haven’t run or faded, they look pretty cute, and like most of the best DIY they are cheap and easy. So easy, even I can do it. Read more

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Tomato Sucker

This is not a how-to. It may appear suspiciously similar to a how-to. It in fact could be a how-to, if I had any clue at all as to what I was doing. I don’t. This is merely documentation of me trying. I am not a student of Yoda in the ‘Do or do not. There is no try’. Nope. I am all about the try.

Let me reintroduce you to The Tomatoes Who Ate Seattle.


Or would like to. It’s hard to believe we first met these fellows in January, that I almost killed them right off the bat, and that they’ve flourished despite all my ‘trying’. They are about to fall victim to a more of those educational efforts
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