Crunchy Mama's Urban Homestead

Come learn about awesome plants on my homestead

Gardening with Epsom Salt

Thank you for the instructions! I will be using some straight away!


Gardening with Epsom Salt |


Epsom salt has become a popular and well-reputed supplement in organic gardening. With the recent push towards “green” living, Epsom salt is an ideal answer to a variety of organic gardening needs. Both cost effective and gentle on your greenery, Epsom salt is an affordable and green treatment for your well-tended plants—both indoors and out.

Completely one-of-a-kind with a chemical structure unlike any other, Epsom salt (or Magnesium Sulfate) is one of the most economic and versatile salt-like substances in the world. Throughout time, Epsom salt has been known as a wonderful garden supplement, helping to create lush grass, full roses, and healthy, vibrant greenery. It has long been considered a planter’s “secret” ingredient to a lovely, lush garden, and is such a simple, affordable way to have a dramatic impact. Just as gourmet salt works with the ingredients in food to enhance…

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Crunchy Mama’s All-Purpose Spice Seasoning Recipe

One of the reasons that I am successful on my high-veggie, no-grain, no-bean diet (paleo diet) is because I have learned that vegetables can go from blah to AMAZING with the right seasonings.  I have a lot of bottles of spices and when I cook I usually get out 5 or 6 different bottles of spices and just spinkle some of each on.  Today, I realized that should just make a batch of a spice blend (with my favorite spices) and keep it in a plastic container and then I only need to get one container out when I am cooking — less frustration! 

So, here is Crunchy Mama’s All-Purpose Spice Seasoning Recipe:

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp dried thyme

1 – 2 tsp. sea salt (I like Redmond’s Real Salt for all the minerals that support my body)

1 – 2 tsp. white pepper

2 tsp cumin (my favorite!)

1 tsp dried mustard

1 tsp powdered coriander

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground celery seed

1 tsp. dried marjoram

Makes about a 1/2 cup of seasoning.

You can adjust or omit or swap out any seasoning that you like and customize it to your liking or what you have on hand.

Additionally, I want to mention that I believe that consuming a variety of herbs and spice helps to support our bodies and build our immune systems.  There are a lot of studies out there that lend credence to that belief.

I’d love to hear from you!  Do you have a favorite spice blend recipe that you would like to share?  Comment below. 

Please consider subscribing via email or following me on  Have a wonderful day!

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50 Ways to Build Resilient Wealth Before and After a Collapse

My comment: Great stuff here! Ever since reading The Alpha Strategy by John Pugsley (free pdf online), I have been building an alternative wealth system. While there is merit to holding money (even in precious metals) and land (we have some of both), I really like to put my energy into things that CANNOT be stolen (yes, land can be stolen) — skills and working knowledge. Of course, for me as a Christ follower, my faith in God is my most treasured asset that cannot be stolen and it is eternal. My faith in Him and understanding how powerful He is (i.e. He spoke the unverse into existence) and how much He loves me (His promise not to leave me during troubles that are sure to come) — these things will I protect and defend and pass on to my children and their children. The battlefield is in the mind and heart.

Survival Sherpa

by Todd Walker

“Lordy, we’s got to have a doctor! I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin babies!”

That’s when Scarlett says, “You told me you knew everything!”

“I don’t know why I lied!”

Pinned ImageDoes this famous scene from “Gone With The Wind” sum up how you feel sometimes? You feel you don’t know nothing about escaping the caged wheel inside your cubicle.

That may be true, but you do know enough to turn your knowledge and skills into extra income.

The best place to succeed is where you are with what you have ~ Charles Schwab

Conventional prepper wisdom tells us to get our beans, bullets, and Band Aids in order. This strategy, which I embrace, begs the question(s): What then? What do you do after you have squirreled away this consumable stuff? Is it enough? How long before your stuff runs out? How long before the rubber seals on…

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Gorgeous, Delicious and Nutritious Violets! My Wild Food Adventures Series

I’ve said that ostrich fern shoots are my favorite wild edible but violets are a super-close second.  They are so lovely!  On my property, I have lots of Viola odorata.  Collecting Violets

The young leaves are mild and great in salads.  The flowers are mild-tasting with a hint of sweetness; you can just pluck and eat or gather some for a beautiful addition to your salad or sprinkle on your cooked and plated food.

Violets top my salad In this photo, I have a base of cut-up turnips topped with an avocado slice, tomato slices, garlic mustard leaves, and violet flowers and young leaves.

Here are some close-up photos that I took:

Violet flower Violet leave front Violet leave back

Violets & other plants

In this photo, you see a violet plant growing all by itself and so I just used some scissors to harvest the leaves.   Harvest Violets

Here is the itemization of the violet:

Identifying Features:

Flowers have 5 petals in a butterfly shape.  They grow as a single flower at the end of the stem.  There is a sharp bend where the flower and the stem join.

Leaves are heart-shaped; the sides often curl toward the juncture of the stem and the leaf.

Roots are fibrous and are NOT edible and actually toxic according to Teresa Marrone.

Time of Year: mid-spring to early-summer for the flowers and leaves (before they become tough from the summer heat)

Environment: Preferably moist soil with some shade.

Method of Preparation: You can eat the flowers and young leaves (lighter green) raw.  You can also cook the young leaves as well as older leaves as you would spinach.

Medicinal uses? Yes! Two Herbal Mamas has a video on how to make an oil infusion with violets. And on their blog they have a post which lists the medicinal qualities of the plant: “Violet…contains saponins, salicylates, alkaloids, flavonoides and volatile oils. The actions of this shy plant are anti-inflammatory, expectorant, diuretic, anti-rheumatic, laxative and stabilizes capillary membranes. Violet contains an enormous amount of Vitamin A. Chew on a violet leaf and spit it out on to your hand. Give the leaf a good rub. You will feel the slippery mucilage contained in this powerful plant. Mucilaginous herbs are moist, and soothe skin ailments and internal mucous surfaces.”


Poisonous look-alikes?  Larkspur and Monkshood— there blooms look similar perhaps to an untrained eye but you can absolutely tell the difference between them and violets in short order.

The larkspur bloom has a long spur on the rear of the bloom.  There are good photos here. The leaves are very different as well.  And, lastly, there are multiple blooms coming from one stem (unlike the violet which is one bloom on the end of the stem).

There are some good photos and information on monkshood here. Again, the leaves are very different than violet leaves; monkshood leaves are palmate while violet leaves are heart-shaped. While the blooms can be the same color as violets AND have 5 petals they are shaped differently.  According to the Wikipedia link at the beginning of this paragraph, “[the flowers] are distinguishable by having one of the five petaloid sepals (the posterior one), called the galea, in the form of a cylindrical helmet; hence the English name monkshood.”

According to Abundantly Wild by Teresa Marrone, you would be wise to collect violet leaves only when the plant is in bloom because the the leaves can resemble some poisonous plant leaves.   When the plant is in bloom, it will be easy for you to recognize and gather the correct leaves.

As with anything that you put in your mouth, you need to properly identify the plant. Here are more resources on properly identifying and eating violets:

Green Deane’s Eat the Weeds;

Eating Violets by The Urban Forager (Ava Chin);

Wild Man Steve Brill (great illustrations and close-up photos);

Elias and Dykeman’s Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide (pages 95, 96, 116);

Abundantly Wild by Teresa Marrone;

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Great Lakes Region by Thomas A. Naegele

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Individual Preparedness Program: My Primal Preparedness Pantry

Survival Sherpa’s post is so appreciated by those of us who don’t want to store a bunch of wheat and beans (for dietary reasons) for our long-term food storage plan. Part of our new food plan is learning wild edibles — the Earth and the plants store the food for us 🙂

Survival Sherpa

by Todd Walker

“Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.” – Michel de Montaigne

We’re advised to store what we eat and eat what we store by survival gurus. My problem with following this sage advice is that I no longer eat a Standard American Diet (SAD). Most of what is sold by long-term food storage companies goes against the grain (pun intended) with my eating habits and primal/paleo lifestyle. GMO wheat produced from the Industrialized Food Complex is the number one offender to my system. Sugar is my number two nasty. That just sounded awful.

I’ll try to avoid turning this into an infomercial for Primal/Paleo living. I follow the 80/20 rule promoted by Mark Sisson in his Primal Blueprint. I do have cheat days where I eat a pizza and draft beer with DRG and friends – without guilt. My primal lifestyle isn’t a diet. It’s…

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Creeping Charlie, Ground Ivy or Gill Over the Ground — found some here — can I eat?

Just about every day here on the homestead I am walking around to see what is growing.  Today I decided to pluck a plant that I suspected was in the mint family because it has a square stem and smells faintly of mint.  Thanks to Google (Image and Web), I found out that it is in the mint family (catnip genus, according to Green Deane’s post) and goes by several names: Gill Over the Ground and Ground Ivy and more.  ground ivy

To learn more about this plant, I’ll direct you to one of my favorite teacher’s website: (Green Deane’s post has better, close-up photos than my post.)

Have a great day!

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