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As the Worm Turns: Garden Karma—Lessons Learned

As the Worm Turns: Garden Karma—Lessons Learned

by Leigh Mills  I use my life as practice and my garden is just one big meditation cushion.  I’m always watching my thoughts while I work and take care to move my 52-year-old body in balanced ways so I don’t wear it out.  I bend my knees when I lift, change sides when I dig, […]

New to high-altitude gardening?

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New to high-altitude gardening?

by Matie Belle Lakish “High and Dry.” “300 days of sunny skies.” The best ways to describe the San Luis Valley also describe our challenges and assets when it comes to growing our own food. If you are new to gardening at 8000 feet, here are ten steps to making your first year a success. […]

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Building raised garden beds—Heyokah Homestead style

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Building  raised garden beds—Heyokah Homestead style

by Leigh Mills I learned the value of raised beds when I first started high-desert gardening in the Arkansas Valley over 20 years ago.  My next garden in the Baca Grande subdivision near Crestone had beautiful, sandy ground that was easily worked and I made short raised beds there to keep the amended soil in […]

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A passive solar cold frame

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A passive solar cold frame

by Kelly Hart Last spring I built a simple cold frame to get an early start on plants to set out into the main garden later, and also as a place to keep some plants that particularly love warmer weather.  It worked very well for these purposes, providing tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, squashes, peppers, eggplants and […]

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As the Worm Turns: My pampered lettuce

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As the Worm Turns: My pampered lettuce

by Leigh Mills We have a small, unheated greenhouse on our off-the-grid homestead.  It’s attached to a south-facing section of our house, and we’ve been growing salad greens, basil, and other plants in it for about 7 years.  It’s not a fancy greenhouse, but it’s built well enough that I can grow salad greens during […]

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As the Worm Turns: The Garden Journal

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by Leigh Mills Many of the gardening and homesteading books I’ve read suggest keeping a journal.  Farmstead journals keep track of all the numbers and details that help determine the cost effectiveness of animals or certain crops, weather patterns, and other related items.  Garden journals can be used to record germination rates, planting maps, insect […]

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As the Worm Turns: Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

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As the Worm Turns: Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land

A book review by Leigh Mills I read a lot of books. I rarely buy one.  I know about permaculture, yet tend to follow the “do-nothing” gardening approach.  Moments after opening this book for the first time, I knew I had to own it.  When I skimmed the book and saw pictures of green trees […]

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As the Worm Turns: Planting garlic

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As the Worm Turns:  Planting garlic

by Leigh Mills I love garlic!  I love eating it and I love its nutritional health benefits.  I’ve been growing garlic for a number of years and have been quite happy with a certain hard-neck type whose name I can’t remember.  It has light-pink stripes in the skin, is fairly easy to peel, and has […]

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As the Worm Turns: Saguache hollyhocks

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As the Worm Turns: Saguache hollyhocks

by Leigh Mills  On August 3, the Town of Saguache celebrated its 2nd Annual Hollyhock Festival.  Fun, hollyhock-related events took place in the Otto Mears Park and the town’s community building.  The main highlight of the festival was a “Best Hollyhock Garden” contest and a tour of 15 Saguache gardens, with prizes awarded in several […]

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As the Worm Turns: The Garden Guru

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As the Worm Turns: The Garden Guru

By Leigh Mills  My involvement with the gardening and seed-saving scene here in the San Luis Valley these past few years has gotten to where a few folks have called me a garden guru.  I haven’t accepted that title because I really don’t know that much; I tell folks I just get better press.  However, […]

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As the Worm Turns: The Morgan Center for Earth Literacy

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As the Worm Turns: The Morgan Center for Earth Literacy

by Leigh Mills  I’ve known the Wards for many years.  Dave, Suzanne and I have shared ceremonies, art workshops, and board memberships together.  I joined the Central Colorado Foodshed Alliance and became a board member because of their wonderful energy.  I’ve observed their commitment to growing and promoting local foods in the Arkansas Valley.  They […]

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As the Worm Turns: Irrigation install

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As the Worm Turns: Irrigation install

by Leigh Mills  Even though we’ve received some wonderful moisture lately, we might have another dry summer here in the San Luis Valley.  It’s challenging enough to grow plants without having to water them every day, too.  Due to financial constraints and personal enjoyment, I’ve been hand watering our gardens for many years.  When I […]

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As the Worm Turns: Growing squash for seed

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As the Worm Turns: Growing squash for seed

by Leigh Mills  One year, I planted seeds from an acorn squash someone had grown and given me.  I nurtured the seedlings and cared for the plants all season, anticipating an abundant harvest.  As the fruits grew, I observed strange things.  Their shape didn’t seem acorn-like and they took forever to turn green.  After the […]

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As the Worm Turns: I love my greenhouse!

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As the Worm Turns: I love my greenhouse!

by Leigh Mills  Growing anything in the San Luis Valley takes effort.  Our seasons are short and unpredictable.  Drought, wind, and summer hail add extra challenges.  One way to balance the odds is to have some sort of covered growing structure.  Here at the Heyoka Homestead, we have a small attached greenhouse on the south […]

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As the Worm Turns: Know your seed

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As the Worm Turns: Know your seed

by Leigh Mills  It’s time now more than ever for our communities to use locally grown seed in their gardens and fields.  In recent years, hundreds of seed companies have been swallowed up by large corporations intent on controlling our food supply.  Seeds of Change is now owned by food giant Mars (www.librarianatlarge.net/2011/06/who-owns-ya-baby-seeds-of-change-company-info/).  Since 2009, […]

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As the Worm Turns: Cleaning, packaging, & labeling seeds

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As the Worm Turns: Cleaning, packaging, & labeling seeds

by Leigh Mills  Winter has arrived with snow-covered ground and frozen garden beds.  New seed catalogs have started piling up and I feel good knowing I don’t need to spend a bunch of money buying seed because I’ve saved enough vegetable, flower, and herbs seeds this past summer to start this year’s growing cycle and […]

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As the Worm Turns Early planting in strawberry heaven

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by Leigh Mills April at the Heyokah Homestead is an exciting month. Spring is fully here, the temperatures are warming up, birds are singing everywhere, honeybees are flying around and it’s time to plant the first outdoor seeds. It’s been so warm that it’s been difficult to keep myself from planting too many different seeds […]

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As the Worm Turns – Seed Thoughts

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As the Worm Turns – Seed Thoughts

by Leigh Mills  Seed catalogs started arriving at the Heyokah Homestead mid-November.  We’ve got a nice stack of them by now and the colorful pages are very inspiring.  Before you place an order for seeds, here are some things to think about: What is your growing zone?  Commercial seed packages mark which zones are best […]

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As the Worm Turns – Growing excitement

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As the Worm Turns – Growing excitement

by Leigh Mills  The mid-winter mark has come and gone.  Days are noticeably longer and it’s time to start new seeds.  February is the month many seeds are started at our homestead.  We will be direct planting lettuce, cilantro, spinach, and maybe some carrots into the greenhouse.  Tomatoes, peppers and some flower seeds will be […]

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As the Worm Turns – Planning the garden

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As the Worm Turns – Planning the garden

by Leigh Mills  Whether you have all of your garden seeds or not, now is a good time to plan your garden.  I sat down the other day and planned out the Heyokah garden spaces and I thought I’d share my method.  First I made a list of what of we’ve grown in the past […]

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As the Worm Turns – Early planting in strawberry heaven

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As the Worm Turns – Early planting in strawberry heaven

by Leigh Mills  April at the Heyokah Homestead is an exciting month. Spring is fully here, the temperatures are warming up, birds are singing everywhere, honeybees are flying around and it’s time to plant the first outdoor seeds. It’s been so warm that it’s been difficult to keep myself from planting too many different seeds […]

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