Developing a 'Homegrown Lifestyle'

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Every Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. I take a class, hosted in webinar format, from my county's Iowa State University Extension Office. The class is 12 weeks long, and includes topics such as:

  • Permaculture and edible landscaping
  • Soil health and water resources
  • Vegetable gardening
  • Fruit, tree and wild crops
  • Food storage and preservation
  • Beekeeping
  • Composting and manure
  • Wildlife management
  • Backyard poultry

Ya know what else is cool about this class?

It's so close that I can ride my bike.

No big deal.
Actually, very big deal.

I have also met a bunch of really cool, likeminded individuals. People who care about the earth, want to get back to nature, and what to be less dependent on others. We were able to connect on three "field trips", too. We visited local small farms and got to see many of the aforementioned topics in action.


But I've also acquired a few valuable nuggets of information that I think are important for any sustainable living enthusiast to know:

1. Blight in tomato plants is caused by a disease in your soil. It rains, or you water your tomatoes, and the water splashes soil up on the leaves. The leaves become infected with certain diseases in your soil. Combat blight by putting a mulch down and watering at the root of the plant, not from the top. Or, do a soil test and have the professionals tell you what's up with your soil and how to fix it. Iowa State University Extension Offices do tests in Iowa for a small charge. It's worth it.

2. Blossom End Rot on tomatoes is caused by inconsistent watering. Inconsistent in the duration, frequency and quantity of watering. Combat this by watering regularly and consistently. If you don't, the plant is tricked into thinking it won't get water again so the end of the plant - the blossom end - is the last place to get the water that is being conserved by the plant.

3. Permaculture is not a type of gardening, it's a theory or way to living. For more information on permaculture, start here. The topic is very interesting, and very diverse.

(As the class continues, I'll be sure to add more essential concepts...)


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