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P. A L L EN SMI T H'S

NATUR A LLY SUMMER 2020

GROWING PEONIES

NATIVE PLANT GARDENING

A MODERN TAKE ON HOMESTEADING

GROW YOUR OWN FOOD RAISE BACKYARD CHICKENS GREEN CLEANING


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Hi Friends, I hope you are navigating the present environment with good health and a positive state of mind. During this period of self-quarantine, I’ve been reminded of the benefits of living a more self-sufficient lifestyle. At Moss Mountain Farm, we grow our own organic vegetables, raise heritage poultry, make all-natural cleaning products, and use well water, among other green practices. Whether you live in a rural or urban setting, there are steps you can take toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle. When establishing Moss Mountain Farm, preserving the native landscape was at the forefront of my mind. I always recall a quote from English poet Alexander Pope when I begin to build or design: We should first “consult the genius of the place.” To me, that means understanding the land and working with its inherent properties. This can also mean considering native plants and other species when choosing items for the garden. I try to plant a diverse range of vegetables, flowers, and fruits to attract beneficial insects and pollinators, but I’m also making a concentrated effort to cultivate the native wildflowers and species into the landscape. Peonies, any way you want to grow them, get my attention, and full support. However, I will say that over the years I’ve learned a few things about harnessing my enthusiasm and succumbing to my weaknesses…peonies being one of them. Perhaps the most important lesson in order to avoid heartache, no matter the scale of your planting, is to get it right the first time. I’m sharing my takeaways from the field, hopefully, you’ll find them helpful! In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are partnering with health and wellbeing, gardening, and design influencers around the United States on an Instagram campaign called ‘Plant for Victory’ with the hashtag #PlantForVictory. We believe this will help more Americans live healthier lives, exercise, and be closer to Mother Earth. And as our country works slowly to re-open, we are also focusing on re-opening Moss Mountain Farm. With all the necessary precautions in place, we will open for tours in June. There is still a lot to see in our gardens before the hot summer gets here, so we hope to see you soon. Let’s all grow a greener world together! Be safe. Be well.

P. Allen Smith


P. ALLEN SMITH'S

NATURALLY PUBLISHER

P. Allen Smith DESIGNER

Katherine Laughlin PHOTOGRAPHERS

Beth Hall Mark Fonville Jason Masters Steven Veach

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table of contents

Growing Peonies 7

Modern Homesteading 13

Arugula Pesto 19

Native Gardening 23

Backyard Chickens 31

Green Cleaning 37

CONTACT For advertising inquiries, email cfreeman@pallensmith.com For editorial and general feedback, email klaughlin@pallensmith.com


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p. allen smith's tips for success

Peony Garden I’m a hopeless collector….of everything; you name it. Books, funky art, even funky friends, chickens, daffodils and lots of other flowers.

So, it’s easy to understand why I’d be drawn to peonies too…like, in a big way. They are truly the queen of the flowers. You know, those kinds of flowers that evoke that… ‘Oh! Be still my heart’ kind of moments in life when you see them.

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I’ve planted peonies in fits and starts my whole life, but mainly for others. Occasionally you’ll find a design client with enough space and passion for the flower to really go all out, but those are fairly uncommon these days. For the most part, many gardeners want a few in the garden integrated among other perennials, and I will be the first to say there is nothing wrong with that. Peonies, any way you want to grow them, get my attention and full support. However, I will say that over the years I’ve learned a few things about harnessing my enthusiasm and succumbing to my weaknesses…peonies being one of them. Perhaps the most important lesson in order to avoid heartache, no matter the scale of your planting, is to get it right the first time. So last year, true to my uncontrollable and unbridled passions, I embarked on a garden of 360 peonies from Gilbert H Wild. Yep… 360 plants (tubers), 36 varieties, 10 each. The results were spectacular.

Click here to read my notes and takes aways from the field to consider if you’re serious about peonies. Hopefully, you’ll find them helpful! READ MORE

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plan your wedding, rehearsal dinner or bridal photography at p. allen smith's private garden home retreat Photographer: Erin Wilson

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a modern take on

Homesteading As more and more people desire a connection to what they are putting in and on their bodies, a new trend has emerged—modern homesteading. This way of life can range from living completely off the grid to putting more sustainable practices into place in an effort to be more self-reliant. Whether you live in a rural or urban setting, there are steps you can take toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

At Moss Mountain Farm, we grow our own organic vegetables, raise heritage poultry, make all-natural cleaning products and use well water, among other green practices.

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grow your own

Food

An increased concern about GMOs and pesticides has led more and more people to go organic and even grow their own food. And, over time, organic gardening can be more cost-effective than buying organic produce from the grocery store or market. You should start small. You can grow edibles in containers or a raised bed. Herbs are a good place to start and most of them will thrive indoors. Roma tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, squash and carrots all grow well in containers. So do blueberries. Start with young plants that have already been grown out a little, then you won’t have to worry about getting seeds started. Raised beds are also great for first-time gardeners. With a raised bed you can create the right soil mixture. This is especially helpful when the soil around your house isn’t ideal. Also, by raising the soil in a wooden frame above the surface of the ground, it will actually warm up sooner in the spring. Seeds tend to germinate faster and roots will be stimulated to grow. In the fall, you can cover the bed when temperatures drop and extend the growing season a little longer.

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“When you visit Moss Mountain Farm, you’ll see that I have container plantings everywhere—on the porch, around the fountain and even in the vegetable and flower gardens. They’re so versatile. Whether you have limited space or you’re trying to do something a little more creative around your garden, containers are the solution.” — P. Allen Smith

upcycled garden planters

Don’t let a lack a space stop you from growing your own garden. Use containers! They are easy to do and you can make a planter out of just about anything. Here are 3 up cycling projects to try.

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how-to create a homemade keyhole garden

A keyhole garden is a round garden bed with a compost pile in the center. The garden has a notch in the front, so gardeners can easily add to or turn over the pile. Featuring a drainage layer, a soil layer, and a planting area, keyhole gardens combine all the necessities that plants need to thrive.

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composting Composting is similar to baking in that the right mix of ingredients is needed to produce the desired results. A compost pile needs brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen) materials, water, air and microorganisms to turn leaves, yard waste and kitchen scraps into usable organic matter. The relationship between the brown and green materials is key to a successful compost pile. The nitrogen producing green materials (kitchen scraps, grass clippings) work with microorganisms to break down the carbon producing browns (dead leaves, straw etc). You want one layer of green for every three layers of brown. If the ratio of green to brown is off, decomposition slows to a crawl and there’s not enough nitrogen to support the microorganisms necessary to complete the composting process. Basically you end up with undercooked compost that, when added to the soil, can make plants spindly and pale. So what do you do when you have a yard full of dead leaves you want to compost? If you are short on green materials, get yourself some compost starter. A nitrogen based starter will help activate decomposition. Blood meal, alfalfa pellets and chicken manure are good options. Don’t overdo it; a sprinkling of starter every now and again is all you need. Too much nitrogen and your microbes will start producing ammonia.

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Arugula Pesto There are a variety of ways arugula can be used in the kitchen. This recipe for arugula pesto is a prime example. It is a delicious way to prepare pesto when fresh basil is not available. It is great with toasted pita wedges as an appetizer or as a simple way to dress up pasta or chicken.

VIEW RECIPE

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grilled veggies with

Herb Marinade There’s nothing like enjoying the flavor of fresh vegetables whether you grow them yourself or pick them up at the market. One of my favorite ways to cook vegetables is just to put them on a grill. You can’t beat the flavor of fresh squash, onions, bell peppers and eggplant when cooked on an open fire.

VIEW RECIPE

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adding

Wildflowers & Native plants to your garden When establishing Moss Mountain Farm, preserving the native landscape was at the forefront of my mind. I always recall a quote from English poet Alexander Pope when I begin to build or design: We should first “consult the genius of the place.� To me, that means understanding the land and working with its inherent properties.

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This can also mean considering native plants and other species when choosing items for the garden. I try to plant a diverse range of vegetables, flowers and fruits to attract beneficial insects and pollinators, but I’m also making a concentrated effort to cultivate the native wildflowers and species into the landscape. These are the flowers pollinators feel most at home with, so it makes sense to include them! However, it’s tricky work. Wildflowers are more difficult than you might think. We live under the illusion you can take a packet of wildflower seed, throw them on the ground, and suddenly they emerge and bloom at your feet. That’s hardly the case. There’s a lot more involved in getting those plants established and integrating them into the ecology. For example, the pasture at Moss Mountain farm had cattle grazing for many years, so it’s a challenge to re-establish native wildflowers. But I still try!

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I always recall a quote from English poet Alexander Pope when I begin to build or design: We should first “consult the genius of the place.”


Another benefit to native plant species is they rarely require pesticides and use less water, because they’re already adapted to the landscape. Reducing those two factors can improve the water quality of a community and its aquatic life. In my home state of Arkansas, I’ll often find wildflowers on the road nearby and gather seed before they mow. I did that this year with a and with echinacea pallida, which is one of our native coneflowers. I planted those along my driveway to get them started. I also harvested seeds from the native coreopsis and rudbeckias and sowed them in different places around the farm. Usually I leave with a good case of chiggers, but it’s worth it. When sowing seeds, a good rule of thumb is to use around 40 or more seeds per square foot, depending on your landscape. Not all will germinate and this is a good place to start. You must also consider the land, however. If there’s run-off in the area or if it’s on a slope, you may need more. Despite the hazards, I’d encourage you to cultivate your native plants as well.

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Here are a few ideas to get started with “wildscaping� or incorporating more native flowers into your homesteads to offer shelter and food for pollinators and other wildlife: Hummingbirds will flock to tubular-shaped flowers such as honeysuckle and cardinal flower. Songbirds will feed on mulberry, hackberry, black cherry trees, and beauty berry which can be found in the most surprising places at the farm.

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Lemon Mint, or Purple Horse Mint, is a native annual wildflower that grows to be 2 or 3 feet tall and is attractive to many butterflies and bees. It’s drought-tolerant but does need re-seeding each year. It’s a wonderful “nurse crop” which, once established, can make way for other plants in the coming year. Bee balm is as Southern as chocolate gravy, in my opinion, and it’s a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds. However, it’s not appealing to deer or rabbits, in most cases. Northern sea oats is an ornamental grass which will tolerate part-shade, and the oat-like heads provide winter interest.

Lemon Mint

Asters are another tough perennial which soak up any attention you bestow on them and reciprocate with pretty little blue and lavender flowers in summer and fall. Woodland phlox is a delicate wildflower that’s more fragrant than you might expect. It’s hardy and diseaseresistant, and I think clusters of this beautiful gem are so romantic!

Aster

Hopefully, that’s enough to get you started. And while you’re traveling the back roads and highways of your lovely state, keep an eye out for the plants and flowers that seem to thrive and consider taking a few home with you! If you’d like to see how I’m incorporating flowers into my landscape, consider taking a tour of Moss Mountain Farm.

Phlox

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Our gardens are bursting with color now as the spring plants have bloomed!

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Come BLOOM WITH US at First Community Bank! First Community Bank and P. Allen Smith are helping to beautify and benefit communities by installing pollinator gardens. CLICK HERE TO SEE A LIST OF THE BANK LOCATIONS.

Learn about pollinator plants and habitats on our Bloom With Us YouTube channel.

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raise backyard

Chickens My fascination with chickens started at a young age and it continues today. At the farm, Poultryville now houses over 60 breeds of heritage poultry. Even if you live in a neighborhood with a modest backyard, having a small flock is a worthwhile investment. Before you jump in, make sure to check municipal codes for rules on raising chickens in your neighborhood.

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P. A L L E N S M I T H ' S

c h i c k e n c h at Learn the basics of starting your own flock, the importance of raising Heritage breeds, health & nutrition, biosecurity, and tips on conditioning and showing your poultry.

Heritage Poultry Conservancy is sponsoring all 4-H Attendees*!!!

Saturday, September 12th at Moss Mountain Farm B O O K N OW *4-H’ers receive free access when accompanied by a paying adult.

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how-to raise backyard chickens with keith bramwell

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Part of the fun of raising chickens is the different breeds available with their unique personalities and feathers. When pressed to recommend a “starter chicken” for those who are new to raising poultry and want a friendly, docile breed that are more like pets, I usually suggest buff orpingtons, they are a beautiful golden colored chicken with an easy-going disposition. A great way to get to know all of these breeds is to visit a poultry show or contact someone from the American Poultry Association. I’ve raised all these breeds and encourage you to read through this list to find the type of chicken that has the qualities that best match the characteristics that you are looking for.

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Preserve & Protect

Help Save Heritage Poultry We are dedicated to the preservation and support of all threatened breeds and strains of domestic poultry through encouragement of education, stewardship, and good breeding practices.

LEARN MORE 35


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diy household

Cleaning solutions

My attitude on this is if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t be using it. Making your own cleaners is easy, environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Many times you have most ingredients lying around the house already.

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While there are a few commercial products that are staples in my pantry, many of my cleaning solutions are ones that I make at home. Much like the home remedies I use in the garden, these formulas are inexpensive and simple to prepare. If I don’t have the ingredients already, I can find everything I need at my neighborhood grocery store.

STOCK YOUR PA NTRY BORAX – Great for disinfecting and deodorizing and as a mild abrasive. Borax is a safe alternative but IS toxic. So be careful where you store it. VINEGAR – A natural acidic for removing grime and soap scum. Because of vinegar’s acidic quality, don’t use it full strength on tile grout and it’s not recommended for marble or unprotected vinyl flooring. BAKING SODA – There are too many virtues of baking soda to list here, but mainly it is a great deodorizer, mild abrasive, and general gunk remover. LEMONS – The juice is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer. Dried lemon peel can be used as a moth repellent. ESSENTIAL OILS – These oils are great to add a little fragrance to homemade cleaners. I like to use lemon, grapefruit, or lavender. Check your local health food store for essential oils. LIQUID SOAP CINNAMON STICKS WHOLE CLOVES MUSLIN OLD T-SHIRTS, DIAPERS OR OTHER SOFT CLOTH PLASTIC SPRAY BOTTLES SMALL BUCKET

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CLEANING SOLUTIONS Here is a list of homemade cleaning solutions that I use in my home. When trying new products in your home use the same precautions as you would in the garden. Test in a small area before using it throughout your house. Also, remember to store cleaning products away from children and pets. ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/2 gallon water in a cleaning bucket. Then add 1/2 cup vinegar. Use immediately. FURNITURE POLISH Mix 1 cup olive oil with 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Apply to wood furniture with a soft, clean cloth. Allow to dry and buff with another soft, clean cloth. DISINFECTANT Combine 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. Remember that borax is toxic, so keep this solution away from the little ones. DRAIN DEODORIZER My plumber told me that one of the best ways to prevent build up in pipes is with boiling water. About once a week I pour a kettle of boiling water down the sink. To keep the kitchen sink fresh and deodorize the disposal pour 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain. Let stand for a few minutes and then flush with boiling water. The vinegar and baking soda will foam so be prepared for that. Also, don’t try this if you’ve recently used a commercial drain opener and are uncertain if any is still present.

GLASS CLEANER Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar with 1 quart of water. Store in a spray bottle. When cleaning windows using old newspaper really does make a difference. BATHTUB AND SINK CLEANER Mix 1 2/3 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of liquid soap, and 1/2 of cup water in a cleaning bucket. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar. AIR FRESHENERS My favorite way to bring fragrance into the home during the fall and winter is with a simmer pot. Fill a muslin bag with cinnamon sticks, orange peel, and whole cloves. Simmer the bag in a pot of boiling water. Just be sure you don’t leave the pot unattended. A few drops of essential oil in a small dish of baking soda freshens the air. Place a dish of vinegar by the stove when cooking fish or onions to eliminate odors. STUCK ON GREASE Baked on food can be loosened with baking soda. Sprinkle the dish liberally with baking soda and set aside for 5 – 10 minutes. Wash pan as usual. Sprinkle half a lemon with salt and use it to scrub dishes. FABRIC SOFTENER Use vinegar as a natural fabric softener. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle.

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green cleaning tips Set yourself up for success and take steps toward modern homesteading one at a time. Before you know it, whether you’re in a city apartment, suburban home or farm, you’ll experience the joy of a more natural, sustainable lifestyle.

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green building

Garden Home Cottage

Planning, design and craftsmanship converge when P. Allen Smith and his colleagues build an environmentally friendly designer home for $150,000 in 150 days at Moss Mountain Farm in Arkansas. Follow along to learn his secrets for packing big style into a small space without breaking the bank.

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G R A B A F R I E N D A N D C OM E TO A

LUNCH TOUR book now

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M O S S

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M O U N


T A I N

F A R M

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SunPatiens Article

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flower power

SunPatiens

®

The day the SunPatiens® are delivered at Moss Mountain Farm is like an early Christmas. I’m continuously inspired by their various colors, shapes, and full blooms, while ideas start flowing like water from a hose. I plant them almost everywhere I can. They’re the perfect summer flower: beautiful, long-lasting, heat-resistant and low maintenance. I can’t say enough about them! They work well in hanging baskets, containers or garden beds. They’re also disease-resistant, don’t require deadheading, and some even have variegated foliage. But the best part has to be the non-stop blooms all summer long.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE SunPatiens® can be purchased at your local Garden Center, Home Depot, Lowe’s or Walmart.

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p. allen smith and gilbert h. wild

#PlantForVictory The garden provides rewarding nourishment and health; and in this time of challenge, the P. Allen Smith team wants to share the benefits of the garden with those who are just new to gardening or who have never previously gardened. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are partnering with health and wellbeing, gardening, and design influencers around the United States on an Instagram campaign called ‘Plant for Victory’ with the hashtag #PlantForVictory. We believe this will help more Americans live healthier lives, exercise, and be closer to Mother Earth. Our aspiration is that this project will be positive and provide our collective following hope and inspiration to get into the soil, plant, and take control of their environments. We believe we can help promote health and well-being while also cultivating beauty by planting these colorful gardens. Gilbert H. Wild & Son has graciously agreed to donate and send perennials to each influencer to grow in their garden.

Click here to meet and follow the #PlantForVictory Social Media Gardeners

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l a rg e st g row e r o f day l i l i e s , p 48

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s ho p n ow

p e o n i e s , a n d i r i s i n t h e wo r l d 49


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Photo Credit Lewis Miller Design #flowerflashes


Photo Credit Lewis Miller Design #flowerflashes

New York healthcare workers continue to go above and beyond taking care of those in need during this pandemic.

lewis miller design

flower flashing My friend, Lewis Miller, with LMD, is creating extraordinary floral installations on the streets of Manhattan that are meant to brighten the days of healthcare and other essential workers. Click here to see more. 51


GARDENS of SOMERSET A BETTER LIVING COMMUNITY BY P. A L L E N S M I T H “We want to change the value proposition of later-life communities to life-enhancing, multi-generational activity hubs. By engaging the local community, nature, the garden and developing sensory enhancing environments, we can vastly improve the quality of life and health of our community members.” — P. Allen Smith

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Better Living‌Naturally The Gardens of Somerset, an 18-acre community located in Sterlington, LA, is designed to bring unparalleled living options to Ouachita Parish for older adults. Centered around outstanding architecture, The Gardens of Somerset will offer community members independent living, assisted living and memory care and a lifestyle focused on the things they love and cherish such as gardening, the culinary arts, exercise, and family.

C L IC K H ERE TO L EARN MO RE

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born cute, raised tough

Smudge & Squeak On Smudge and Squeak: Defenders of the Flock, two Anatolian Shepherds must learn to follow their instincts and go from adorable puppies to dependable working dogs. Will they learn the ropes and become the defenders of Moss Mountain Farm, or will they just take a really adorable nap?

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Profile for P. Allen Smith's Naturally

P. Allen Smith's Naturally 2020  

A Modern Take on Homesteading - Growing your own food, raise backyard chickens, green cleaning. Plus Allen's tips for successful peony garde...

P. Allen Smith's Naturally 2020  

A Modern Take on Homesteading - Growing your own food, raise backyard chickens, green cleaning. Plus Allen's tips for successful peony garde...