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Paige's Highlights

1. Companion Planting. This was always something that I tried to incorporate into my family's garden. I usually got a really bad case of cabin fever, right about February (and when all the gardening catalogs started arriving in the mail). I would spend hours pouring over Back to Basics (my favorite and most-read book), trying to finagle plantings that would allow me to put certain plants together. I'm sure that you could imagine a 12-year-old me, sitting on my bedroom floor, sheets of graph paper, books, pencils, rulers, and books scattered all over the place, working on my masterpiece of a plan. I never was quite able to get one of my brothers to trudge outside in the cold to take a measurement of the garden....though I did eventually manage to get it done. Wikipedia has a listing that's more complete.

2. Farmscaping for Biological Control. A 40-page guide to encouraging beneficial insects. More suited to a large-scale farm, but the appendices on the end have good charts for what plant to use to encourage certain bugs. (Ahem--Kristin, this looks like something the boys would be really interested in.) Not necessarily organic in mind, but good ideas to glean and you can down-size it and apply it to your garden or home. And a good quote that I found on the topic of pesticides and natural controls...

"Although chemical insecticide use in the United States has grown tenfold in both amount and toxicity since 1945, the share of crop yields lost to insects has nearly doubled during the same period." - David Pimentel, 1991
3. Grass-fed Dairying. Here's an excerpt from www.eatwild.com
In addition, a 2006 study shows that the softer the butter, the more fresh pasture in the cow’s diet. Cows that get all their nutrients from grass have the softest butterfat of all. Butter from grass-fed cows also has more cancer-fighting CLA, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids than butter from cows raised in factory farms or that have limited access to pasture.


4. Beneficial Insects--how to get 'em and keep 'em. So, as you can tell, my most recent kick was on beneficial insects. I found http://www.beneficialinsects101.com/ and an article by Grinning Planet to have a lot of good information. I love planting flowers in with the regular plants and one of the healthiest vegetable gardens I ever saw, I nearly mistook for a perennial border. The family had planted it by the house, and their perennials had vegetable pockets intersperse for herbs, vegetables, and the like. It was actually quite ornamental, gave good insect control, and was VERY convenient to have your veggies so near the house. So many of the "insectary plants" are beautiful and/or have use as herbs as well. I love gardening. :)

"If your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously
re-examine your life."
— Bill Watterson, "Calvin and Hobbes"

5. Mother Earth News. I've referenced them a bazillion times for articles and whatnot, so I figured I should just have the basic website somewhere! They're a great resource on homesteading articles. True, they can get a little on the iffy side with some of the herbal and home-remedies, but it's good reading in general. I really should do some reading and conduct some experiments....Any good PA wouldn't swear by something unless they have some evidence! ;) Also, a pop-up shows up the first time you visit the site, asking if you want to receive their newsletters. I finally filled it out and they have some interesting articles that they've highlighted. Probably good general reading, but I like being able to search specifically for things as well.

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