Steven Hill (Editor)

Stories from Steven Hill (Editor)

by: Steven Hill

Five years ago I read an article about hanging tomato plants upside down to grow them. The article talked about how much easier it was to grow tomatoes that way because you did not have to stake the plants and the fruit would be in easy reach. I thought it sounded like a very interesting idea. The article also talked about how the plant's natural inclination is to grow upward, so I wanted to create a planter that could start with the plant on top and be turned over when it got to the point of needing to be staked.


After thinking about various options, I went to my local home improvement center and purchased four 5-gallon buckets with lids. These were the kind of bucket you would see joint compound or paint sold in; they are also sold as just empty buckets. I thought they would make a good container for hanging tomato plants.


by: Steven Hill

Summer gardening can involve lots of weeds and it may be very tempting to use commercial weed control products. The problem with this is that it will probably lower the quality of your produce. It most certainly will have a negative effect on the overall ecology of your area. These chemicals will be washed away with the rain and will ultimately end up in the waterways where they poison the fish and other wildlife as well as possibly poisoning those who consume the produce without washing it thoroughly. They also tend to take away from one of the less noticed benefits of gardening, and that is the exercise it provides for you. Just leaving the weeds is one approach to dealing with them, but this is not good for your garden. Sure, it may be “natural”, but they take nutrients from your vegetables and provide shelter for pests.



In a 12/31/2009 post to the energy options forum, MidKid requested a detailed explanation to the workings of a ram pump. I hope this provides that explanation.

Ram pumps are a centuries old “simple” tool used to move water from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. Like the lever, screw, pulley and inclined plane, it makes use of the laws of physics and nature to make tasks easier to perform. Two of the laws that apply to a ram pump are gravity and the law of inertia, which is the resistance of an object to a change in its state of motion.[cite] The ram pump relies on gravity to cause a flow of water and it then harnesses the energy of that flowing water's resistance to being stopped suddenly and redirects that energy into pushing water to higher elevations. At its simplest level, a ram pump consists of an inlet for water and two outlets; a discharge outlet and a delivery outlet.

by: Rick Walker



by: Timothy Samuel

Hay bale gardening technique is a low-cost and convenient way of growing flowers and vegetables. Growing vegetables in a hay bale garden is similar to the technique used to grow vegetables in a raised bed garden. If you are just getting your bales, give the bales a thorough soaking, and let them begin to break down before you plant your vegetables. Hay or straw bale gardening is another great way to have your garden if you have limited space, terrible soil, a bad back or for those who are confined to a wheel chair! So much time is saved by not having to weed or hoe or even water as often as well. This project was first researched by a Dr at the University of Minnesota Extension who says, "Hay bales provide a well-aerated, disease free growing medium that is perfect for growing vegetables.

Author: Joe Swantack

I can’t promise you a beachfront view, but I know you’ll enjoy relaxing on this simple deck wherever you choose to build it. Since it’s at ground level, you don’t have to fuss with challenging railings or footings. All you need are basic carpentry tools and a relatively flat area in your yard or garden. The foundation is nothing more than 4x6 treated timbers buried in the soil, with decorative joists and construction-grade cedar decking and a bench. Follow the instructions for detailed measurements and building techniques.

Materials List:

(2) 4x6x12’ Treated Timbers

(9) 2x6x10’ Cedar Joists

(2) 2x6x10’ Cedar for Blocking

(1) 2x12x10’ Cedar Bench Supports

(2) 2X6X10’ Cedar Bench Tops

(22) 2x6x12’ Cedar Decking

(32) Metal Corner Brackets

Author: Helen Disler

The entire food production system depends for its viability on healthy soil. Healthy soil produces the healthy crops that give nourishment to people. Organic farming is intimately related to the concept of soil health because its advocates have always believed that a healthy soil is the key to the sustained production of healthy, nutritious food.

Author: Carole DeJarnatt

There is a movement across the nation, more and more people are starting to raise chickens. Whether it be the state of the economy or people just wanting to get back to the basics--people are looking for ways to be a little more self-sufficient and having eggs supplied by your own animals is one of many ways.


Written by Orville Wyatt on Break The Matrix website and reprinted here with author's permission.

I’m at the Farmer’s Market talking to the goat cheese dealer, who also sells my second favorite eggs in the world. He is an awesome Foodie . . .

-----it occurs to me that many of you may be misconstruing ‘Foodie’, and confused when I use it in a positive sense-----


Written by Orville Wyatt on Break The Matrix website and reprinted here with author's permission.

Let me radically oversimplify the argument of the entire pro-liberty movement and all of its strange bedfellows:

Voluntary cooperation within a society is always superior to fraudulent or forceful control used to achieve the same ends. Always.


Time to start thinking about gardening, but not necessarily about growing your own. If you happen to be in an area where you can not plant your own garden, or you simply are  unsure you even want to, then there are other options besides shopping at the local grocery store. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provides a way for you to take part in a farm or garden while not requiring you to take all the risk or to do all the hard work that gardening can entail.


Welcome to homesteader's journal where our goal is to help you find inspiration and knowledge on your path to higher levels of self sufficiency. Whether you are a “forty acres and a mule” type, “urban balcony container garden” type or simply a “dreamer of the good life”, it is our hope that you will find the pages of this site provide a variety of relevant material for all levels of modern day homesteading.