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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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Reader Links, Questions, and Ideas

One Green Generation Reader Forum

During my morning breakfast, I sit and read each of your letters and comments.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the day! Please feel free to email at any time. I receive a good deal of reader emails each week, and sometimes I have the time to answer them, while other times I don’t.  But I will try my best to answer questions you have, and I will definitely appreciate any thoughts, links, and ideas you send my way.

In fact, I wanted to see if it would work to discuss some of your questions, links, and ideas here.  Maybe you all have some answers to questions I just couldn’t answer.  Or maybe these links and ideas will spark something in you.  Please let me know if you like this, and I’ll do it again.

Links & Ideas

  1. A cheap and easy way to make a cold frame:  “Making a cold frame / construire une petite serre”.
  2. A cell phone application that lists local and green businesses in your area: 3rdWhale Mobile.  I haven’t tried it myself (I don’t have a web plan on my phone), but it looks promising.
  3. A seed library in upstate New York, offering seeds to purchase for the first time this year: Hudson Valley Seed Library.
  4. An inspiring article about how businesses can help rebuild the economy:  “Entrepreneurs of Coopperation.”
  5. A new social networking site that matches gardeners with garden space (from Grist):  Urban GardenShare.


Please help, if you can!

  1. By chance do you know of anyone who has planted a 5 in 1 fruit tree?  It sounds good but is it really?
  2. My husband followed your recipe for the deodorant a couple of months ago and it works amazingly. No deodorant worked for him EVER, now basically there is no odor. He runs a lot and yet after he comes home from training it is just a sweat. tonight I’m going to try your “shampoo”. If you have any ideas for toothpaste please let me know.
  3. I would like to grow some Russian Kale, I was hopeful you could direct me to a seed source in Hobart Tas, I live in Moonah.  [I had to look it up:  it's in Australia in case you're wondering! - Melinda]
  4. I was disappointed to see nothing about the great Portland resources [on the Northwest Resources page]! …Could we start listing some please? I will try to make a list, but I know there are tons of others out there who have their own ideas! Thank you!
  5. I’m working on an assignment about sustainability and I would like some information if you can help. Why is sustainability so important?  Many thanks. [Obviously a huge question, but maybe you have some links where he could learn more?  - Melinda]

Also, if you have any questions, links, or ideas to share, please feel free to share them in the comments here!

The Growing Challenge: What Are Your Favorite Seed Starting and Seed Saving Resources?

The Growing Challenge Advanced Edition:  From Seed To Seed

So far there are 131 participants signed up for The Growing Challenge: From Seed To Seed, and we’ve reached nearly 200 participants in The Original Growing Challenge. Together we’re an awesome support network for learning new things! Welcome, everyone who has recently joined. And if you haven’t already, please join us in taking a new step toward sustainability by growing your own food from seed to seed.

Thank you for your responses to our last check-in.  We have a large range of sizes and types of gardens – it’s fascinating to read.

New participants are in orange at the bottom. Please, let’s visit, support, and learn from one another!

  1. Jules, The Garden of Plenty, Melbourne, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  2. Jena, Married To The Farm, Caro, Michigan – zone 5
  3. Amanda, You Reap What You Sow, South Central Pennsylvania – zone 6-7
  4. Jen, Toward Arcadia, Michigan – zone 5-6
  5. Deb G, Bee Creative, Pacific Northwest – zone 7
  6. Greeen Sheeep, Wisconsin – zone 4
  7. Kory, Kicking And Screaming, Central New York – zone 5
  8. Abbie, Farmer’s Daughter, Connecticut – zone 6-7
  9. Margaret, Margaret’s Ramblings, Nottingham, England – zone 8
  10. SusanB, Southern New Jersey – zone 6b-7
  11. Karin, Fleecenik Farm, Central Maine – zone 4
  12. Kelsie, Hobbit’s Feat, Kentucky – zone 7
  13. Monica, Northern Ohio – zone 5-6
  14. Jen, Aaron-N-Jen: Living Life Simply, Iowa – zone 5
  15. Di, Path To Greendom & World of Yardcraft, Southern California – zone 10
  16. TomB, My Simple Home Garden, Central Massachusetts – zone 5b
  17. Judy, My Freezer Is Full, East Central Iowa – zone 5a
  18. Julie, Towards Sustainability, Newcastle, NSW, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  19. Dina, Hip Chick Chronicles, Portland, Oregon – zone 8-9
  20. Alana
  21. Milkweed, Milkweed Diaries, Swannanoa Valley, North Carolina – zone 6-7
  22. Melanie J, Ember’s Lighthouse, Jacksonville, Florida – zone 9a
  23. Risa B, Stony Run Farm, Western Oregon – zone 8
  24. Maureen, Fotos By Meg, Central Valley, California – zone 9
  25. Amy Crump, Crump Family Blog, Chapel Hill, North Carolina – zone 8
  26. Rob, Rob’s World, Burien, Washington – zone 8
  27. The Rachface, This Evolutionary Life, Virginia – zone 8
  28. Janice, Going Off Da Grid Janice, California – zone 8-9
  29. Green Bean, Green Phone Booth, Bay Area, California – zone 9
  30. Daphne, Daphne’s Dandelions, Winchester, Massachusetts – zone 6
  31. Briel
  32. Jimmy Cracked-Corn – zone 5
  33. Lisa, Domestic Accident, Southern Coastal Maine – zone 5-6
  34. Hannah, The Purloined Letter, Takoma Park, Maryland – zone 7
  35. Suzan, Scrub Oak, Rocky Mountain southern foothills (6,700 feet) – zone 4
  36. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener
  37. Onemotherslove, What’s He Up To Now?, North Central Texas – zone 8
  38. Red Icculus, – zone 5
  39. Jocele, Knitting On Call, Idaho – zone 6-7
  40. Matt, Florida – zone 9
  41. Sara, Mama Craft, Canada – zone 3a
  42. Tyra, Tyra’s Garden & The Greenhouse In Tyra’s Garden, Vaxholm, Sweden – zone 6
  43. Inadvertentfarmer, The Inadvertent Farmer, Western Washington – zone 8
  44. Lauren
  45. Melody, Merrie Melody, Utah – zone 6
  46. Melinda, One Green Generation, Seattle, Washington – zone 8
  47. Michelle, Alpaca, Chook, Garden, Travel and…., Hobart, Tasmania, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  48. Laurel, Nefaeria, North Bay, Ontario, Canada – zone 4a
  49. Mary, Freedom Gardens Journal: Mecar, Crete, Illinois – zone 5
  50. Susan, How Green In My Garden, Southern California – zone 8b
  51. Mary, Cat’s Fiber Adventures, Oregon – zone 8-9
  52. WIlla, Plants And Animals & Yumminess Ensues, S. Central Pennsylvania – zone 6A
  53. Jenn, Attempted Simple Life, Osgoode, Ontario, Canada – zone 5a
  54. Shibaguyz, Here we go! Life with the Shibaguyz…, Seattle, WA – zone 8
  55. Tina, Bee Content Ranch, California
  56. Cassandra, The Urban Trowel, Southeastern BC, Canada – zone 5
  57. Nico, Self Sufficient Life, North Germany – zone 8
  58. Sadge, Firesign Farm, Carson City, Nevada – zone 6
  59. Leanne, At The Good Life, New Zealand – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  60. Jenny, Studio J
  61. Sarah S, Life At The Ranch, Northern California – zone 9
  62. Sarah Z, Ward Road Garden, Northern California – zone 9
  63. Christy O, Farm Dreams, Georgia – zone 7
  64. Jason L, Vegetable Garden Planner
  65. Annette, Ward House, Hot Springs, Virginia – zone 6
  66. Paige, Clausen In The Hausen & Out In The Garden, Saint Peters, Missouri – zone 5
  67. Rhonda, FarmHouse Style, North Georgia Mountains – zone 7b
  68. Kelly, Taurus Rising, Adelaide Hills, Australia- zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  69. Laura, Mas Du Diable, France – zone 9
  70. Christina, A Thinking Stomach, Altadena, California – zone 9b
  71. Latigoliz, Cowgirl Up, Enumclaw, Washington – zone 8
  72. Lisa, Natural Gardening, Upstate South Carolina – zone 8
  73. Chris, Chattagarden, Chattanooga, Tennessee – zone 7
  74. Mary B, Tampa, Florida – zone 10
  75. Kathy, Birmingham, Alabama – zone 7-8
  76. Kathy and Skippy, Skippy’s Vegetable Garden – zone 6
  77. Katrien, MamaStories, suburb of Boston, Massachusetts – zone 6-7
  78. Maggie, Mama What The
  79. Christa, Lazy Toad Farm, New Hampshire – zone 4-5
  80. Emma, The Berry Patch, Sydney, Australia – zone 10 (Aust. 4)
  81. Jenny, Seeded, Toledo, Ohio – zone 6
  82. Melissa, Rabbit Hill Farm, rural North Carolina – zone 7-8
  83. Jessie Earth Momma, Pacific Northwest – zone 7b
  84. Catherine, Love Living Simply, Texas – zone 8
  85. Ian, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada – zone 6b
  86. Christy, Growing Human, Coastal Virginia – zone 7b
  87. Amanda, A Homegrown Life, California – zone 9
  88. Robbie, Going Green Mama – zone 5
  89. Pamela, Suburbancrunch – zone 6-7
  90. Beth, Potager Gardening, Columbus, OH – zone 5
  91. Tammy (+ her 6 cherubs!), Simply Beck’s Bounty, SE Tennessee – zone 7
  92. Ottawa Gardener, The Veggie Patch Re-Imagined, Ottawa, Canada – zone 5a
  93. Laura Chandler
  94. Lisa Cohen, Life Is In The Details
  95. Darlene, Stover Lane, Kansas – zone 5-6
  96. Sherri M, Sherri’s Mad Blabber Blog, Erin, Ontario, Canada – zone 5a
  97. Chad M, Minnesota – zone 4
  98. Shelby, Eat Local Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM – zone 5-6
  99. Linda, Garden Girl, Chicago, Illinois – zone 5b
  100. Stacy, Canada – zone 5b
  101. Joan, Young Girl, Old Life, Northeastern Missouri – zone 5
  102. Kim & Victoria, Living And Gardening In Idaho, Boise, Idaho – zone 5-6
  103. Sinclair, Nature With Me, Oregon – zone 7
  104. Jenette, Sacramento, CA – zone 9b
  105. Jennifer, Jen & The Bean Stalk, North Idaho – zone 4-5
  106. Laurie and Tim, Golden Gaits Garden, Colorado – zone 5b-6
  107. Phoebe, Cents To Get Debt Free, Southern Missouri – zone 5-6
  108. Megan, Raised On Sunshine, Dallas, TX – zone 8a
  109. Crunchy Chicken, Seattle, WA – zone 8
  110. Jenn, Jenn’s Coop, central valley, CA – zone 10
  111. Veriance, Michigan – zone 5
  112. Sande, Sow This, Sew That, Southeastern Michigan – zone 5
  113. Jenn, Newlyweds!, Texas – zone 9
  114. Carri, Home Of The Petersonclan, South Central Kentucky – zone 6
  115. Amber, Cloud9 Design, Texas – zone 9
  116. Jo, Little House By The Railway Line, England – zone 8
  117. Andrea, Colorado – zone 5-6
  118. Kendra, A Sonoma Garden – zone 9
  119. Stuff, Proactive Bridesmaid – zone 7
  120. LiBBy BuTTons, US – zone 6
  121. Healing Green, Gaylordsville, Connecticut – zone 6
  122. Carpe Diem, British Columbia, Canada – zone 3
  123. Trish, The Promised Land – zone 8-9
  124. Diana, Backyard & Community Gardening, Northern Colorado – zone 4-5
  125. Tricia, Little Eco Footprints, Australia – zone 9-10 (Aust. 3)
  126. Juliette, Abielle A Miel, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA – zone 8-9
  127. Ciera, Ciera’s Garden, Pittsburg, PA – zone 6a
  128. Kara, Garden of Eatin’, Canada – zone 4
  129. Vickie, In The Acorn, Winnetka, CA – zone 9
  130. Paula, Buckets Of Gardening Ideas, Idaho – zone 4-5
  131. Jennifer, Seeds In The City, Bay Area, CA – zone 9-10

I’ve added everyone’s name, blog, location, and hardiness zone. Please check your info to make sure I have it right as I had to guess on some of them.


What Are Your Favorite Seed Starting & Seed Saving Resources?

Here are my favorite resources:


What about you?

Of course, you can chime in whether or not you are officially taking part in The Growing Challenges.

Also, please feel free to discuss any other garden topics or questions. Leave links to your gardening posts, too, if you like. Chat away!

Hello World

Cherry Blossoms In Bloom In Our Neighborhood


My the world looks more beautiful with the pile of tax receipts tackled and put behind me!  Thanks for your patience, everyone.  I’m looking forward to spending my free time writing and gardening again.

In my absence, it seems many of you have read articles from the archive.  I’m very pleased!  Thanks for your wonderfully thoughtful comments.  They mean a great deal to me.

I’m writing away this afternoon, so this week should be pretty filled with words – and actions! – once again.  I hope you’re enjoying your day, and I will see you tomorrow.  Ciao!


In The Thick of Taxes

The travails of taxes are tremendous and a tad tumultuous at times, aren’t they?  Even with a friend who’s an accountant, and a fairly decent home filing system, there is still an awful lot of math and stressful running around finding papers from here and there.  Yowza!

So, if you’re wondering where I am, I’m sitting in front of the computer doing math.  And daydreaming about gardening.  It’s even a beautiful day!  Sigh.

I’m also so pleased to see so many newcomers to The Growing Challenge.  It’s not too late, nope!  You can participate at any time, though I recommend starting at the planning stage of the season if you can.  It will make it easier to plan for saving seed.  But it’s not essential!

At any rate, think of me thinking of all of you in your gardens, planting, prepping for the next season.  As I sit here in front of the rather unsustainable desktop computer staring at numbers!  I’ll be back soon.


A Wonderful Spring Surprsie!

It has been nearly a year now since we moved to Seattle – my how time flies!  Well, I was sure this would not happen until at least next year, but I have come upon a wonderful surprise….


My Little P-Patch Plot

Our New Plot


We have a community garden plot!!  One became available at the last minute, and I jumped at the opportunity.  It’s not at any of the three gardens for which I’m wait listed, so it’s a bit further from our home – over a mile away.  But it’s ours, and it’s ready to be weeded and planted.  So exciting!


On a beautiful sunny day yesterday, I walked to meet the garden coordinator and to be formally introduced to the plot.


Squire P-Patch


I’m really looking forward to gardening in this community setting.  I’ll be participating in some work parties throughout the year (it’s required), and I look forward to composting and gardening side by side with other food growers.


Squire P-Patch


Oh, I’m so excited I’ve already mapped out the plot with all the things we didn’t have enough space for at my mom’s, or that my mom just wasn’t inspired to grow.  Want to see?


Our P-Patch


Soybeans, beets, eggplant, bulb fennel, arugula and other greens, kohlrabi, kale, onions, carrots, rhubarb, and amaranth.  Wahoo!


I’ve been trying to go on daily walks, and now I have a destination….  This makes me very happy.


Recipes: Matt’s Roasted Beets And Beet Green Soup

Alternatively Titled, An Ode To Barack Obama (who doesn’t like beets because he’s probably never had them cooked well!)

Beet Green Soup

If you are eating locally during the fall, winter, and spring, chances are good that you will encounter beets.  They are wonderfully nutritious, usually quite inexpensive, and easy to grow yourself for next to nothing.

We love the extra sweetness that roasting adds to beets. And the tasty greens can be made into a delicious soup!

Continue reading Recipes: Matt’s Roasted Beets And Beet Green Soup

The Importance of Living Locally

I’m writing over at the Simple | Green | Frugal Co-op today – please join me there!  Here’s an excerpt:

As the economy ebbs and flows – but mostly ebbs – many economists, politicians, bankers, and people like you and I are taking a step back to figure out not only how to survive this economic downturn, but also how to prevent being hit so hard in the future. There is a lot of talk about Wall Street versus Main Street, and where our stimulus money to should go, where our concentration of effort should lie. …

This post includes The Benefits Of Supporting A Local Economy and The Importance Of Living Locally, two subjects that are right up our alley here at One Green Generation.  I hope you’ll join me over at the co-op today!