Gardening Against Climate Change – 10 Tips and Techniques

“You can solve all the world’s problems in a garden.”  – Geoff Lawton, The Permaculture Research Institute RELATED VIDEO: Permaculture ideas for positive direct action! Hot enough for ya? If not, just wait: According to NASA 2014, 2015, and 2016 were each consecutively the hottest years on record globally, and 2017 was the hottest year on record without an El Nino, coming in second after 2016. Already, 2018 is looking like it will be a contender.  This next couple of paragraphs are the bummer part, so first: LOOK! A BUNNY! Of course, it would be nice if heat was the … Continue reading Gardening Against Climate Change – 10 Tips and Techniques

The Era of Edible Forest Gardening has Arrived

(Edible Forest Garden at Lillie House, filled with food, flowers and medicinal and culinary herbs.) Nature is calling us home, and people all over the world feel it, the urge to reconnect with their landscapes in a more meaningful way than the endless struggle against lawn and weeds. And the forest garden – a designed ecosystem filled with ripe fruits, lush vegetables, craft materials and medicine that integrates native plants and wildlife habitat – is the ideal representation of our rightful human relationship with the world, cultivating the wild, working with ecosystems to meet our needs instead of reaping them … Continue reading The Era of Edible Forest Gardening has Arrived

How Come There are Plants OTHER Than Mint and Bamboo?

  (Our neighbors – Lillie House is nearby the A.M. Todd Mint flavoring facility in Kalamazoo, and we sometimes enjoy the aroma of “stepping into a York peppermint patty” from our garden.)  Did you know that 90% of the world’s mint used to come from a small area around Kalamazoo?  That’s right! We were once the mint capital of the world! Farmers here used to grow mint right out in the ground like maniacs, first in burr oak openings and later as an alternating perennial crop in farm fields, especially in our Kalamazoo mucky soils, often in the same fields … Continue reading How Come There are Plants OTHER Than Mint and Bamboo?

This Hack Get’s Mother Nature to Fight Weeds for You: Fortress Plants

  Look: this is a picture of a vegetable at war with the lawn.  Given all the attention around the “food not lawns” movement, you might think I’m being metaphorical. But an experienced gardener will understand that the veggie patch is ALWAYS fighting a war for survival against lawn and “quack grass” greedily trying to take over any bit of land it can get access to.  “I’ve lost my garden completely to quack grass!!!”is one of the most common tales of garden woe, and usually the only recourse is to completely start over.  But LOOK AGAIN: Here, it is the … Continue reading This Hack Get’s Mother Nature to Fight Weeds for You: Fortress Plants

Selecting Trees for a Forest Garden: What to plant and How Many

These days, the “new” wisdom is that – 100, 400, 1,000 – “you can’t plant too many fruit trees!” Not surprisingly, this advice most often gets repeated by nursery businesses that sell fruit trees. And as a guy with a small nursery business, sure, I agree with it, but I add a HUGE caveat: it depends on what kind of tree you’re planting. The problem is fruit trees are work. Work, work, work! If you buy a bunch of fruit trees, you’re buying yourself a bunch of work!  So I break down trees into how much work -time, energy and care – they … Continue reading Selecting Trees for a Forest Garden: What to plant and How Many

Community Supported Forest Gardening Program!!!

If you’ve ever thought of starting a forest garden or food forest, we’ve got 2 days left to get the early registration price for our Community Supported Forest Gardening program for 2016. This program gives you everything you need to design, plan and implement your own forest garden project, including plants, design consultation, a complete course and a community of like-minded gardeners to learn with: https://lilliehousekzoo.wordpress.com/the-basic-home-garde…/  It also comes with complete access to our entire HUGE collection of perennial edibles, self-sowing vegetables and ideal forest garden plants. I’m especially proud of the course we put together for this program – it’s … Continue reading Community Supported Forest Gardening Program!!!

Civilization’s Fatal Flaw, the Root Cause of Our Problems – (And How toAddress It)

(Kalamazoo. All images via Wiki Images.)  “What would a just city look like?”  A friend recently wrote to me, asking that question. I responded: What would a sustainable city look like?  What would a healthy city look like, one that doesn’t suffer from high rates of cancer, heart disease, digestive disorders, obesity and the other so called “diseases of civilization?”  What would a city look like without hunger? Pollution? Urban decay? War? It’s impossible to know, because in all of human history there has never been such a city. We have exactly 0 models to draw on in 10,000 years.  This … Continue reading Civilization’s Fatal Flaw, the Root Cause of Our Problems – (And How toAddress It)

Plant Profile: Cornelian Cherry, Cornus Mas

If you like to pucker, then you’ll want to get acquainted with the sweet-tart flavor Cornelian Cherries.  The Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Cornus Mas, is a native of west asia and carries an ancient culinary pedigree, being pickled as “olives,” used as gourmet floral-scented preserves, and even as the orginial sweet-tart “sorbet” in Persia. “Floral, complex, intriguing, distinctive, rich, unequaled” are often found in the long strings of adjectives writers use in describing the flavor of the cooked fruit, when sweetened or added to alcohol.  In the Great Lakes landscape, (it’s hardy throughout the Great Lakes Region) it grows to a … Continue reading Plant Profile: Cornelian Cherry, Cornus Mas