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wp-1476915124094.jpgWe’ve just recently started playing around with microgreens for our family. Taking two old window blind displays that are best kept out of landfill, I reconfigured them a bit to line up the horizontal supports to allow for continuous shelves across both units. The light fixture that was previously hanging vertically inside one of the units makes great lighting for the top shelf.



We also picked up a few grow-light units that were on clearance at a local indoor gardening shop for the middle. These use very little power, but as you can see below, the plants love them! We still have a couple of 3 foot fixtures sitting in shop that will work once we expand to using bottom section of displays. The plastic panels that used to sit in behind the display blinds were handy as shelf covers (makes easy cleaning) and light reflectors.

1 week old Peas – Can’t wait to try these!

This little storage room in our shop is heated with a small oil-filled heater each year already, so there will be no additional cost to keep the plants happy. We keep the heat very low and will see how happy the micro greens are once winter really sets in. About a week before this post, we were down to -4 C overnight and it was still comfortable in room.

Total cost to get going was only about $80.00 + cost of seeds. We decided to buy larger quantities. The two below we bought 10 kgs. of each. A little costly up front, but will save a lot over winter and spring. From what I can read, micro greens have an average 4 – 5 times the nutrients as their mature counterparts. There was a study at the University of Maryland that tested the claims on nutrition and found some exciting results. Here is the short version from WebMD.

We bought our seeds in bulk from a Canadian seed supplier that sells only organic, non-GMO seeds. Here is part of our first indoor crop!

The Sunflowers (Sunnies) are looking great as well. Diannes’ favorite! The black pieces are just the seed hulls that haven’t fallen off yet.

If anyone else is experimenting with microgreens, please let us know. We are thinking of starting a local ‘MicroGreens Club’ next year if all goes well, where we could have affordable monthly subscriptions. Let us know if there is anything along those lines in your area.








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Banned pesticides pose a greater risk to bees than thought, EU experts warn | Environment | The Guardian

Western honeybee (<em>Apis mellifera</em>) workers on flowers of oilseed rape near Shropshire, England.

New study by European Food and Safety Authority finds ‘high risk’ to bees from neonicotinoid pesticide sprays prompting calls for extending ban

Source: Banned pesticides pose a greater risk to bees than thought, EU experts warn | Environment | The Guardian

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Should you grow native plants?

Here is an interesting perspective from Toby Hemenway on: Should you or shouldn’t you grow native plants in your yard. He is a powerful advocate of native plants. And, at the same time, is concerned that the passions of some other native plant advocates might lead down a path that is not as good for native plants. Specifically, the planting of exclusively native plants vs. planting of an edible garden.

Have a look and let us know what you think.

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2015 Home Grown Food Summit

2015 Home Grown Food Summit.

Get ready to learn the essentials of food cultivation, harvesting and storage that will prepare you to grow your more organic life. The Summit offers 30+ presentations to help you get home grown food on your dinner table.   The Summit features the worlds leading experts in backyard food production.  These people have dedicated their lives to help you re-establish the skills of organic living as the foundation of good health and environment.

The Home Grown Food Summit is free to attend.

Here is what you can expect

Starting Monday April 6th and going through to Sunday April 12th, starting at 6:00 am EST four or five presentations will be posted.   The presentations will be up for a full 24 hours for you to watch and enjoy. Because we all deserve healthy food.

Meet The Presenters!
8 Reasons You Are Insane If YouAren’t Growing Some Of Your Own Food
Mike Adams

Youth Gardening:

Getting The Next Generation Growing
Julia Parker-Dickerson
GROW Bio-Intensive Gardening: Food
And Income In
Your Backyard
John Jeavons

The Natural Selection

Of The Wise
Sally Fallon
Aquaponics – Everything You NeedTo Know To Get Started
Sylvia Bernstein
Working With Kids So TheyWill Want To
Work With You
Joel Salatin
Picking Chicken Breeds BestFor Your Yard
Jeannette Beranger
Comparing The 6 Ways To KeepChickens and Which Is Best For You
Paul Wheaton
Growing Your
John Kohler
How To Preserve FoodWater Bath 
and Pressure Canning
Kendra Lynne

Secret Garden

Of Survival
Rick Austin 
Mulch Gardening Secrets
Jill Winger
Quality Seed
Stephen Scott
How To Preserve Food By Fermentation
Wardeh Harmon
7 Ways We Change
The World Growing
Our Own Food
Gary & Valerie

Beginners Guide To

Hunting Deer For Food
Jackson Landers

Detox Your

Leslie Parsons

8 Steps To Welcome Rain Into Your

Life and Landscape
Brad Lancaster

13 Wild Weeds Essential For

Human Survival
Katrina Blair
Permaculture Guilds: The BuildingBlocks For Food Forests
Toby Hemenway


With Plants
Doug Simons

13 Tips, Tricks,

And Lessons From Homesteading an Acre
David Goodman

How To Eat &

Enjoy Insects
Alllen Davisson

Botany In

A Day
Tom Elpel

Straw Bale Gardening
Joel Karsten

6 Laws Of Plant Growth And The Mittleider Method
Jim Kennard

Living Without Refridgeration
Woniya Thibeault

10 Reason To Grow Up Instead of Out
Laurie Neverman

Meet Your Host
How To Produce Half Of Your Food In Your
Backyard In Less Than An Hour Per Day

Marjory Wildcraft

Known as the Martha Stewart of self reliance Marjory knows just about everything
there is to know about growing and producing food sustainability in a back yard setting…
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Humus – the essential ingredient: Graeme Sait at TEDxNoosa – YouTube

Humus – the essential ingredient: Graeme Sait at TEDxNoosa – YouTube.

As Graeme Sait explains in this must-see Tedx talk, we all need to protect and increase our healthy soils, which have been devastated through conventional farming and other means. The humus in soil is what traps carbon, holds moisture and contains the minerals needed for healthy plants and food crops.

Graeme talks about one way we can all help keep our planet habitable for future generations, by simply making sure our towns and cities are collecting food waste and turning it in to compost, which is then put back into the soil to feed it.

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▶ Flow™ Hive Full Reveal – YouTube

Here is a rather successful Indiegogo campaign that allows you to support and own a very interesting new idea in Bee Hives. Instead of having to disturb the bees and endanger yourself to get at the honey, you can have the honey flow out easily through what looks to be a very exciting and innovative new hive technology. This could make it much easier for many more of us to enjoy our own home-grown honey and help to keep our honey bees around. If you do get one, let us know how it goes.

▶ Flow™ Hive Full Reveal – YouTube.

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Garden Pool

Here is a great way to make use of back yards pools. Many times you will hear people wondering how to get rid of their old in-ground pool. Instead of getting rid of it, take advantage of the structure to feed your family, or perhaps start an urban farm.

The use of home aquaponics has really been taking off among the urban homesteaders / backyard farmers over the last few years. Great to see all of the innovative ideas that people are coming up with. For more information, check out sources such as Aquaponics Source, where they have a blogs on how to build your own system along with inspirational stories from around the world.

Garden Pool from Dark Rye on Vimeo.

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Garden ideas – staging

Staging for growing peas and beans
Staging for growing peas and beans

We have some old staging that my Dad gave us many years ago. It’s not safe for working on anymore, so we were trying to decide what to do with it. Then we thought, why not make use of in the Garden! By using two ends and one cross bar, we created a great frame for our peas and beans to climb up on. The space inside allows for other ground or low growing crops as well. Great adaptive re-use of something that has been sitting around in the weather for ages.

We still had another staging left over, so our Daughter and Son-in-law created a a great little greenhouse for us at the back of the shop. The tomatoes love it in there! You can see the drip hose we are using. The emitters are supposed to be less likely to clog up with dirt. Seems to be working great so far 🙂

We keep talking about building a more permanent greenhouse, but so far this has worked out for us, so no hurry. Saves a lot of money as well!

Tomatoes love it in the greenhouse!
Simple greenhouse from old staging