MOTHER EARTH NEWS October/November 2021

MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine is the Original Guide to Living Wisely. Launched in 1970, each bimonthly issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS features practical and money-saving information on cutting energy costs; using renewable energy; organic gardening; green home building and remodeling; fun do-it-yourself projects; and conscientious, self-sufficient lifestyles

United States
Ogden Publications, Inc.
USD 5.99
USD 12.95
6 Números

en este número

2 min.
bountiful basil

Several years ago, we had a significant mildew issue with our basil. We pulled off a small crop, but since we depend on basil to brighten our entire year, we set out to select for mildew-resistant lines. I wrote about this in the December 2017/January 2018 issue, and I’ve had quite a few requests and letters since then asking me to report on the outcome of those experiments. In a nutshell, that blighty year, we saved seed from the least-affected individuals and later mixed it with seed of several cultivars we obtained from various commercial sources—hoping for the highest genetic variability we could readily obtain. The following year, we scattered that seed in various raised beds, in containers, and on worked ground. To say we had a bounty of basil…

7 min.
essential wetlands

As droughts become more frequent and severe in some regions of the world, water conservation and infrastructure are critical components of mitigating the worst impacts. Wetlands are one such water-rich environment that can lessen drought’s effects. According to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands’ Global Wetland Outlook, “Wetlands provide us with water, they protect us from floods, droughts, and other disasters, they provide food and livelihoods to millions of people, they support rich biodiversity, and they store more carbon than any other ecosystem.” Yet the very disasters wetlands protect us from are simultaneously jeopardizing their existence; according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wetlands are threatened by worsening droughts and other effects of climate change, such as sea-level rise and storm surges. The Global Wetland Outlook’s 2018 report states that natural wetlands…

1 min.
hardy ground cherries

I was so happy to see Amyrose Foll give a shoutout to ground cherries in her article “Saving Culturally Significant Seeds” (August/September 2021)! Ground cherries are so underappreciated. I came across them a few years ago. I’ve been running a hobby farm on the High Plains since 2014, and I’d been desperately looking for a soft fruit that would work in my climate. I didn’t have any luck with the more common fruits. My soil has a pH of 8.0, and we get hail every single year. I was thinking of trying to find something native, knowing it would be better-adapted to my alkaline soil and rough climate. I remembered something from the Little House on the Prairie books about Laura gathering ground cherries, so I looked them up online…

11 min.
dear mother

“When we work at it, the land and seasons return a good life to us. Our garden produces fresh green things to eat; our chickens lay eggs when they’re so inclined; and when we kept goats, they produced milk by the bucketful.” Remembering Loyd Bruce Holman and ‘Down on the Farm’ Loyd Bruce Holman was the artist behind the cartoon strip “Down on the Farm,” published in MOTHER EARTH NEWS from 1975 through 1985. In his own words: “‘Down on the Farm’ isn’t a story about farming. It’s a story about returning to a country setting to live. I live in the country by preference. I’m not a farmer. I haven’t a farmer’s skills. But my wife and son and I enjoy the life that the country affords, and we try to maintain harmony…

5 min.
reviving hog traditions

On a cold, clear November morning, six students from across Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio gathered to perform a sacred act. They didn’t know each other prior to their arrival at Firefly Valley Farm in southern Indiana ( They were from a variety of backgrounds, but all shared a hunger for the knowledge of a ritual carried on for generations. All yearned to understand and practice the skill of humanely harvesting and processing a hog. COVID-19 significantly affected largescale meat processors as the virus found an ideal home in the industry’s close, cramped processing quarters. The domino effect across the meat system impacted farmers and processors of all sizes, backlogging the already fragile agriculture system. One unexpected result of the pandemic was the selling of unsupportable pigs to laymen. This, combined with the…

6 min.
unpacking ‘organic’

COVID-19 stimulated a huge uptick in gardening interest, exhibited by the massive demand for seeds experienced by seed companies of every type. Many people are confronting the term “organic” in a new way, as each of them strives to fit garden techniques into their worldviews and philosophies. With the surge in gardening interest, it seems like a good time to explore the term “organic,” which has been tagged with so many intents and variations over the years that its meaning has become a little murky. Searching for Organic Clarity If we just look at the word “organic,” a whole interesting set of definitions pop up. Organic means “related to or derived from living matter.” It can also mean a “form of farming or gardening involved in production without the use of chemical…