Farm.House Suburban Homesteading

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Farm.House Suburban Homesteading Square Foot Gardening classes from a certified instructor in Boston MetroWest and now in Vermont. My passion for gardening started with my first taste of a home-grown tomato.

Until then I hadn't realized how fresh, locally grown produce, bred for flavor and not for hardiness for transport, could taste so amazing. Eventually I discovered the Square Foot Gardening method, and as I expanded my gardening skills I began to experiment with small-space food production including dwarf blueberries, trellised hardy kiwi, espaliered fruit trees, and backyard chickens. When I am n

Until then I hadn't realized how fresh, locally grown produce, bred for flavor and not for hardiness for transport, could taste so amazing. Eventually I discovered the Square Foot Gardening method, and as I expanded my gardening skills I began to experiment with small-space food production including dwarf blueberries, trellised hardy kiwi, espaliered fruit trees, and backyard chickens. When I am n

Operating as usual

Great news!! Free Shipping is now offered on Mel's Mix - Square Foot Gardening Soil Mix at Home Depot online - huge prog...
22/04/2017
1.5 cu. ft. Square Foot Gardening Potting Soil Mix-NW 11760 - The Home Depot

Great news!! Free Shipping is now offered on Mel's Mix - Square Foot Gardening Soil Mix at Home Depot online - huge progress!!! (you have to order at least $45 to get free shipping).
P.S. I get no reimbursement for promoting this - just spreading the news!!
This is the official Square Foot Gardening foundation soil Mix.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/1-5-cu-ft-Square-Foot-Gardening-Potting-Soil-Mix-NW-11760/203272590?keyword=square+foot+gardening

Square Foot Gardening Potting Soil Mix is perfect for any of your garden soil needs. Highly recommended for flower and vegetable gardens.

I've neglected to update you all with photos of the new Homestead. We've upgraded to a 1-acre new home in a small town n...
30/11/2016

I've neglected to update you all with photos of the new Homestead. We've upgraded to a 1-acre new home in a small town near Burlington, VT. One of the most appealing aspects for me is the "blank slate" state of the property, which was once a quarry and part of the farm next door. We brought with us the chickens and chicken coop. We left behind the solar panels, fruit trees, grapes, and berries. So we are starting from scratch, building a new and improved sustainable suburban homestead. Wait and see what we do now that we have a whole acre to work with! Winter is the best time to plan your garden projects for the next year. What are you planning to add to your homestead in 2017?

We've upgraded! We've moved to a new 1 acre home in a small town near Burlington, VT
30/11/2016

We've upgraded! We've moved to a new 1 acre home in a small town near Burlington, VT

We've upgraded! We've moved to a new 1 acre home in a small town near Burlington, VT

Price reduced! Energy-efficient home with Solar panels, Natural Gas high efficiency boiler/hot water heater, 5 new windo...
31/08/2016
Maynard Home For Sale

Price reduced! Energy-efficient home with Solar panels, Natural Gas high efficiency boiler/hot water heater, 5 new windows, all installed since 2015. Homesteader's haven includes fruit trees, chicken coop, fenced raised-bed garden and edible landscaping. 3br/1.5 ba with full finished basement. Maynard is a great commuting location, an up-and-coming suburb with a small town feel. Check out the new brewery, cooperative grocery and rail trail in the works. Best neighbors ever -- I almost want to change my mind and stay...
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/38-Old-Mill-Rd-Maynard-MA-01754/57088530_zpid/?view=public

For sale: $398,900. A young colonial in a friendly neighborhood offers it all: Bright fresh kitchen with white cabinets, stainless appliances and breakfast area. Living room with beautiful wood flooring and fireplace, dining room, and laundry/ guest bath on first floor. Upstairs: 3 bedrooms, includi...

The Maynard Homestead is for sale! We are selling so we can get a  place with more LAND (among other things). We've been...
09/08/2016
Maynard Home For Sale

The Maynard Homestead is for sale! We are selling so we can get a place with more LAND (among other things). We've been pretty busy getting the place ready. I also had to replace the front yard farm with grass again so vegetable production has been halved. But the Grapes, Raspberries and blueberries are plentiful this year, will share photos soon. In the meantime, if you know anyone looking for home in Maynard, with solar panels, new high-efficiency condensing gas boiler/hot water heater, chicken coop, edible landscaping, rain barrels, and fenced in vegetable garden in a friendly neighborhood in a walkable town, please share: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/38-Old-Mill-Rd-Maynard-MA-01754/57088530_zpid/

For sale: $415,000. Want to live a sustainable lifestyle while also enjoying a youngish colonial in a friendly neighborhood? This is your chance! With a fully-owned solar array that generates about 65% of annual electrical needs, new high-efficiency gas fired boiler, and Energy Star rated appliances...

I'm very sad to share the news that Mel Bartholomew, creator of Square Foot Gardening has passed. I had hoped to meet hi...
30/04/2016

I'm very sad to share the news that Mel Bartholomew, creator of Square Foot Gardening has passed. I had hoped to meet him one day.

Time to get those tomato seeds started indoors (4-6 weeks before the average last frost). Use only Indeterminate tomato ...
06/04/2016
The best tomato varieties to grow

Time to get those tomato seeds started indoors (4-6 weeks before the average last frost). Use only Indeterminate tomato varieties in your square foot garden - here are my favorites:
http://www.farmhousegardentable.com/new-blog/2015/3/5/the-best-tomato-varieties-to-grow

Tomatoes are the jewels of my garden, the prize we wait all summer for. Now is the time to order your tomato seeds for seed starting in about 2 weeks here (zone 6a, Boston area). I'm sharing the varieties of tomatoes I have grown that have been most successful (and least successful) in my garden (zo…

Here's help and some tips to avoid common problems starting seeds indoors
17/03/2016
Starting Seeds Indoors - What Went Wrong?

Here's help and some tips to avoid common problems starting seeds indoors

Last night I dug through the recycling bin to find empty cans I could use to raise my little flats of cabbage and kale seedlings closer to the florescent light fixture meant to mimic the sun. Ideally, there should be no more than 2 inches (5 cm) between the bulbs and the newly emerged sprouts, and b…

Some spots still available in Saturday's Square Foot Gardening class! You might want to hurry, the class was advertised ...
13/03/2016
Garden classes west of Boston - The Latest Worldwide News

Some spots still available in Saturday's Square Foot Gardening class! You might want to hurry, the class was advertised in Boston Globe West today and new orders have started to come in!

Buy tickets: http://www.farmhousegardentable.com/register/square-foot-gardening-class-in-maynard-saturday-march-19-2016

http://latestworldwidenews.org/metro/regionals/west/2016/03/11/garden-classes-west-boston/sBlMtMv1nQFn0C9gtU0x6I/story.html

From “living salad bowls” to gardening in a tiny plot, here’s how to have a green thumb this spring.

Don't know the frost dates in your area? Frost dates tell you when you you can expect no more killing freezes to strike ...
10/03/2016
Lookup your first and last freeze/frost dates by zip code

Don't know the frost dates in your area? Frost dates tell you when you you can expect no more killing freezes to strike for the season. Tomatoes, peppers, basil, lettuce can be killed by a light frost, so make sure it's safe to put them out before transplanting seedlings to your garden.
You can look them up here:
http://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/#b

Welcome to the famous Dave's Garden website. Join our friendly community that shares tips and ideas for gardens, along with seeds and plants.

Daydreaming about a career in Sustainable Food, Renewable Energy, Green Building, Social Responsibility? Check out Green...
09/03/2016
Green Job Post

Daydreaming about a career in Sustainable Food, Renewable Energy, Green Building, Social Responsibility? Check out Green Job Post - Farm Managers, Tesla Robotics Engineers, Assistant Editor at Rodale's Organic Life are just a few of the cool jobs I saw there.
http://greenjobpost.com/

Green Job and Career Listings

Have you started you pepper seeds yet? It's not too late! It's 9 weeks to the average last frost date if you live near m...
08/03/2016
Build your own grow light stand for seedlings

Have you started you pepper seeds yet? It's not too late! It's 9 weeks to the average last frost date if you live near me, so get sowing! Your pepper seeds need warmth, but they don't need light until germination, which gives you a couple weeks to build your own light stand - using regular fluorescent shop lights:

http://www.farmhousegardentable.com/new-blog/2015/3/3/build-your-own-grow-light-stand-for-seedlings

...I was surprised to learn that you don't need expensive grow lights to get good results with your seedlings. Normal fluorescent shop lights work perfectly fine...

I can relate to this!
08/03/2016

I can relate to this!

Oh, this is how we compromise too!

There is a free,100% online event starting March 7th: Home Grown Food Summit 2016 - with 30 experts presenting on topics...
05/03/2016
2016 Home Grown Food Summit

There is a free,100% online event starting March 7th: Home Grown Food Summit 2016 - with 30 experts presenting on topics ranging from backyard chicken keeping and livestock to legal issues with urban farming. Check it out:

Join this FREE global summit: March 7th 2016. 30+ Leading experts in backyard food production gather together to help free you of STORES. Save $$ and time!

What can you grow in a shady garden? At least 28 vegetables do well in partial shade / partial sun.  Read more: http://w...
02/03/2016
What to grow in shady gardens

What can you grow in a shady garden? At least 28 vegetables do well in partial shade / partial sun. Read more: http://www.farmhousegardentable.com/new-blog/2016/3/1/what-to-grow-in-shady-gardens

What do you do when to only available space in your yard is in the shade for most of the day? Don't give up! there are plenty of vegetables you can grow even if your space receives less than 6 hours of sunlight per day. The bloggers at Small Footprint Family have compiled a list of 28 vegetables th…

Here's a great example of a Suburban Micro Farm on 1/4 acre. (with full time jobs apart from their farm)  They even won ...
02/03/2016
How Much Food Can You Grow on a 1/4 Acre? | The Homestead Guru

Here's a great example of a Suburban Micro Farm on 1/4 acre. (with full time jobs apart from their farm) They even won "yard of the month" in their neighborhood.

How much food can you grow on a 1/4 acre lot? Not much, right… Maybe a small garden in the back yard… Think again!

Next class announced! Saturday March 19th, in Maynard, MA from 10am - 12. This class is a fundraiser for the Assabet Vil...
18/02/2016
Square Foot Gardening Class in Maynard - Saturday March 19, 2016

Next class announced! Saturday March 19th, in Maynard, MA from 10am - 12. This class is a fundraiser for the Assabet Village Food Cooperative - sign up here:

Member-Owners of the food coop- get your promo code from the co-op for a dicsount!
http://www.farmhousegardentable.com/register/square-foot-gardening-class-in-maynard-saturday-march-19-2016

Register for Square Foot Gardening class on Saturday March 19, 10 am to 12 pm in Maynard, MA. This class is a Fundraising event for the Assabet Village Food Cooperative. Member-Owners of the Food co-op receive a discount on the price! Class space is limited. You can register for 1 or more people by…

Chickens (especially cold-hardy breeds like mine) don't need heat in the winter! It weakens their constitution, and if t...
11/02/2016

Chickens (especially cold-hardy breeds like mine) don't need heat in the winter! It weakens their constitution, and if the power goes out in the middle of a winter with extra heating, they could succumb to the cold. Fresh Eggs daily concurs - even in Maine!

I've long been an opponent of heating coops. But that was while we lived in Virginia where it doesn't get that cold for that long. It's easy to tell people not to heat their coops while your chickens are perfectly comfortable in the winter.

When we moved to Maine, I admit, I was worried. I was worried our chickens would freeze and I would have to change my stand and heat our coop. I even had an electric package installed in the coop. Just in case. But how could I do something I've been telling all of you NOT to do for years?

Well, I am happy to say that I stand by my convictions. Chickens. Do. Not. Need. Heat. Period. And they sure don't need sweaters.

As long as they are healthy, full grown and fully feathered, they will be just fine in a dry, draft-free coop stuffed with straw. Not sand. Straw. Straw has such great insulating properties. If you do the Deep Litter Method (search my blog for details), even better.You can use straw, shavings, dried leaves or even pine needles for that.

Scratch grains before bedtime help to warm them up, sprinkle some cayenne pepper on top for a bit more of a warming boost. Be sure you have good ventilation up high to keep the moisture level down. And that's it.

Our temperatures have gone down to -11 here with the wind chill. Yet the coop hasn't gone below 9 degrees. Body heat is a wonderful thing! This morning its 6 degrees outside, yet when I went down to open up the coop, it was 17 inside and everyone was just fine. Fluffed up for sure, not in a hurry to go outside, But fine. No signs of frostbite or hypothermia.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Chickens don't need heat. Heat bulbs are dangerous and can cause fires, flat panels are useless if you lose your power and your chickens are not used to the cold, a light bulb on all night doesn't allow your chickens to replenish their melatonin they need to stay healthy.

Chickens are more cold-hardy than you think. It's the summer heat your REALLY should be worried about.

09/02/2016

Thank you for liking my page! I just need 4 more likes to reach the minimum 50 before I can use some of the Facebook promotional tools. I appreciate your support in sharing my love of gardening and sustainable living.

New classes are in the works!

Time to order pepper and tomato seeds if you plan to start your plants from seed indoors like me! Planting from seed giv...
06/02/2016
Time to order seeds: Tomatoes and Peppers

Time to order pepper and tomato seeds if you plan to start your plants from seed indoors like me! Planting from seed gives you the most options and access to less common varieties. What you need to know - from the blog

http://www.farmhousegardentable.com/new-blog/2016/2/5/time-to-order-seeds-tomatoes-and-peppers

If you are planning to start your tomato and pepper plants from seed, now is the time to start thinking about which varieties you want to grow, and to place your orders from your favorite seed suppliers. Pepper seeds need to be started indoors 10 weeks before the last frost date. Tomatoes should be…

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06/02/2016

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Selling this unique and lovingly restored historical farmhouse complete with a 160 year old hand- sawed timber mortise and tenon barn,wood stove, claw foot tub, original 160 wide plank pine floors, cement farmers sink, custom built interior ban doors, breezeway, fire place, wainscoting, large sunny lot with granite hand made walls, barn-board walls, fenced in back yard, koi pond, on .80 flat and cleared sunny lot in a gorgeous historical district complete with a gazebo and farmers market across the street, and .9 miles from train station into Boston. Minutes from Rt 93, 128, 62, 38, and 129.