Author Archives: Kerry Brown

Here’s a simple method to building a raised bed that you can accomplish in a weekend or less. Materials: wood (treated or untreated/salvaged/whatever suits you) Decent dimensions are 2×6 planks for depth and having something that’ll hold up for a few years. Stakes. You can make them or buy packs at the big orange store for a few bucks. Cardboard or lots of newsprint. No glossy. No tape. Screws. Self driving makes things easier. Once you’ve sited where you’d like your garden and determined your bed sizes (I recommend no wider than four feet and six to eight feet is a decent length.) If you opt for four feet, make sure you can reach it from all sides. The idea is to never step into this bed and compact the soil. If your soil seems pretty dead (only a few worms, compacted, etc, throw down some laying hen feed or…

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Strong Roots Resources is a business built around teaching the concepts of modern home economics in order to help others build resilience into their lives. We use a variety of permaculture techniques, waste stream redirection and frugal planning to demonstrate how to turn a standard consumer-oriented home into a place of food production, creativity and harmony. Our focus is helping our neighbors assess and understand the potential of their property, no matter how small, in terms of growing food, reducing energy use and fostering independence. These skills can be learned and applied regardless of economic status. We share this knowledge and skill set following our own 13 year (and on going) experience with small scale homesteading in an urban area. We speak from a place of humility, acknowledging a gradual learning curve and small successes that have built upon themselves. We have found that a change towards this type of…

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This past weekend I attended the first ever Rogue Food Conference in Northern Kentucky. Food sovereignty pioneers Joel Salatin and John Moody respectively emceed and coordinated the gathering, which included farmers, co-op builders, small business owners and other folks who are trying to work around the behemoth food system that is a contributor to the health problems of many Americans. I came away with a practical arsenal of information and methods to manage/mitigate the regulation factor. Or to take it another step: how to entirely disregard the highly invasive and overly persistent governmental interference in an action that’s no one’s business but my own: how I eat, and if I so choose, how I decide to produce food and share it with others. The fact that our food system is so broken and my belief that all people have the right to healthy, nutrient dense food is a large reason…

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When I’m out on a site evaluating land for its productivity capabilities, often my customer will lament that they just don’t have enough space. If someone is inclined towards traditional row gardening by tilling up a 1/4 acre garden, then the small city lots many of us live on will seem indeed too small to do much with. However, there’s a variety of techniques that work great for these smaller spaces and I would argue that small is downright the best way to go. Since I grew up helping my Mom in a traditional large garden, that was the knowledge I had when we moved to our home 14 years ago. I made several mistakes the first couple of years. I positioned the garden too far from the house in too shady of an area in a location that ended up holding standing water every time we had a heavy…

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When I meet a new customer, this is the first question I pose: What do you want to accomplish? For 14 years I have been transforming a neglected urban lot into a place that grows food, supports wildlife habitat and is an enjoyable and engaging place to spend time. There has been a tremendous learning curve during this time and I’ve done/redone/undone several aspects and put to work a variety of methods to achieve my goals. If I were to start over here or on another property, the most important change I would make would to collect data as a thorough assessment of all aspects of the property. From the orientation of the home and other buildings to how shade is cast or sunlight falls, how water moves and collects, all of this is just the beginning of the assessment process. Keeping in mind what you want to accomplish, we…

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