The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Homegrown Humus free (and garden update)

Homegrown Humus

To give folks an easier entrance point to self-sufficiency, I enrolled most of my books in Kindle Unlimited for the spring season. And one of them --- Homegrown Humus --- is free today!

This book, full of tips on improving your soil with cover crops, has sold over 10,000 copies since it launched in 2013. If you've been gardening for a while, you'll understand why. The idea of turning your garden soil black through the application of a few seeds is like magic. I hope you'll grab a copy and work some magic today.

Worm bin

Speaking of black gold, I finally delved into our two bathtub worm bins to see how they fared over the winter. The bin we'd left alone had a few large worms in it --- perhaps enough to recolonize the half-composted manure by summer. The bin in which Mark had installed an electric heat pad on low, though, was so full of worms of all ages that we could have seeded a dozen more bins!

Since we don't have that infrastructure in place at the moment, I instead raked the finished castings to one side and filled the other half of the bin with semi-fresh horse-stall leavings. Hopefully the worms will migrate over, leaving uninhabited castings for me to spread on the garden in a few weeks. (I also scooped some of the worms over into the other bin to get that composting process moving a bit faster. Experiment is complete --- time to make double the black gold!)

Cat with kale

March is the season when our garden really gets going, and this year's coronavirus outbreak has made me more serious about the task than I have been since our move. Luckily, the winter was mild, so a bit of overwintering lettuce and spinach plus masses of kale are all available to keep us healthy without hitting grocery stores.

Leafy greens do get boring after a while, though. That's why we have new lettuce and peas coming up, lots of seedlings inside, and are planting potatoes for the first time in quite a while.

Yep, potatoes. When I feel insecure, I stock up, and potatoes are an easy way to ensure we'll have calories in a few months no matter what. Plus, the more time I spend in the garden, the less I'm listening to the news. Win-win!

Anna Hess's books
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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Hi Anna,

Did not find your free book....

Instead I found a clever link instead of a pdf.

2nd time this has happened. Recently I discovered's 'open' book is not really open.

It requires someone's online proprietary BS to even access the 'open' book.

Would you like to read a really free and very informative book about 'the flu'. Get on gutenberg and search for a book with the title 'the flu'. It has a lot of accurate unbiased information.

It is a very impressive work.

All, that said I really appreciate all the exceptional work you and your hubby have done.

For a little further help with staying healthy, I would recommend Sir Albert Howard's Soil and Health book. Also really free on in their farm library in the howardSH directory.

warm regards to you both. I hope we all survive this Chinese Military Virus.


Comment by John Tue Mar 31 20:33:08 2020
Thank you for making your book available for free! I found it very informative. I do have a question: what did you plant between your beds? Is the green I see just grass or is it also cover crops?
Comment by Elaine Thu Apr 9 06:40:08 2020

Elaine --- The photos you're looking at are from our Virginia garden. We lived half a mile from the nearest road, so our best bet for aisles was just turning them into lawns via mowing whatever came up (mostly grass and clover). Here in Ohio, we're more accessible and have opted for wood far! I need to flag down another tree-trimming truck because our pile is now gone. :-)

Of the two, wood chip aisles are definitely superior if you can get the mulch for free or cheap. Less work, not just in the mowing department but also in weeding encroaching plants in the sides of the garden beds. Plus, the mulch rots down into good soil that can be raked up into the bed!

Comment by anna Mon Apr 13 14:03:03 2020

profile counter myspace

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