Welcome to Old World Garden Farms!

Old World Garden FarmsJust five short years ago on a crisp fall weekend, we began work on what we now call Old World Garden Farms. A little 3 acre plot of land in the middle of Ohio, “The Farm” was little more than an overgrown thicket of small trees, thick brush, and a mess of poison ivy. After a long weekend of clearing the land with a rented walk-behind brush cutter, and a few painful weeks of dealing with poison ivy for Mary – we had carved out a little space to start our dream.

With four kids in their teens heavily involved in extra-curricular activities, and with each of us juggling our own professional career, we wanted to build a place to be able to start to simplify our life – and enjoy our love of the outdoors and all it has to offer.

Let’s set a few things straight right from the beginning on what we are not.

Our ornamental peppers by one of the pergolas
Our ornamental peppers by one of the pergolas

We’re far from “hippies”…. and in spite of our children and friends constant ribbing, we don’t wish to make our clothes from hemp. We’re pretty regular people, we still go out to dinner now and then – we love to travel, and the last time I checked – we still shop in stores for some of our food and obviously those non-hemp clothes.

What we are – are two individuals committed to a more simple approach to life, who want to be responsible for a majority of the food we eat, and conserve the resources we consume. We both came from great families who gardened, and both have fond childhood memories of working alongside our parents in the garden and kitchen.

Homemade bread
Homemade bread

We remember homegrown meals, and great winter dishes made from the food we grew and canned in the summer. We both loved it, and strive to once again create a household that embraces those values responsibly. Simply put – to do things the best way possible for us and the land.

We have tried to incorporate simplicity and responsibility into every facet of our lives as we slowly work on our dream. We grow most of our own vegetables now in a 60 x 40 plot that yielded us over 3000 lbs of vegetables last year. Our chickens have grown up to supply our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers with fresh eggs every day – not to mention they give us great compost for the garden. This past summer we canned over 200 jars of our own tomato juice, pizza and pasta sauce, salsa, peppers and more. For us, we hope it’s just the beginning.

Old World Garden Farms

The Garden
The Garden

Our goal is to re-use existing structures and products and utilize new only when necessary – and to do so in a way that adds lasting beauty to the property. Too often the image of reuse and recycle conjures up thoughts of cardboard shanties and soda pop structures in what can only be called a junk yard. That’s a stereotype we hope to break with Old World Garden Farm. Showing that you can recycle and reuse with an eye toward creating something lasting and beautiful.

Our chicken coop was built almost entirely of used shipping crates we obtained for free. Same goes for our composting bins. Our “new” barn, was built over the course of a summer by reclaiming 2 turn of the century barns (one of which was my dad’s), and turning them into our Old World Garden Barn. Both barns came only for the price of simply tearing them down.

Our farm is and will always be a work in progress – and always with an eye towards good stewardship of the land and its resources. We have planted a mini apple orchard and grape vineyard on the hillside – and installed a rain collection system from the barn roof for watering the garden and landscape throughout the growing season. The ultimate goal is to build a house on the property, and live the dream!

Thanks for stopping by, and here’s to a more simple life!

Mary, Jim and the Chickens

Its a good feeling to know that everything grown on our farm is based upon pure organic principals
Its a good feeling to know that everything grown on our farm is based upon pure organic principals

52 thoughts on “About Us

  • May 29, 2016 at 9:52 pm
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    I love your site! I just found it. I currently have 7 Golden Comet hens who lay the best eggs! I’m a Master Gardener who loves to garden and put up my food. I do not think that I could kill an animal to eat. I can’t wait to start gleaning your articles.
    Thanks for your very informative site. will be visiting quite often. 🙂
    Maria gardenlady49@hotmail.com

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  • January 31, 2016 at 6:44 am
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    Love the idea of rain water catchment. Please check the PH usually too acidic, if so add a tbl spoon of baking soda and retest. Enjoy your bit of paradise! A fellow organic gardener.

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  • January 17, 2016 at 6:41 pm
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    Looking forward to digging through the website. Just finished your articles on building the garden. Great plan!

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    • January 17, 2016 at 6:50 pm
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      Thanks Jack! We hope you enjoy !!!

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  • January 17, 2016 at 11:35 am
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    I LOVE the new website! It’s everything you described. And I love the photo of you two. You’re so young, and gorgeous!! Keep up the great work. I can only imagine how many people you are inspiring by sharing your story.

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    • January 17, 2016 at 3:48 pm
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      Thank you so much for the compliments — especially the young part 🙂 I am glad you enjoy the new website and we hope that you continute to follow our journey! Mary and Jim

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  • January 16, 2016 at 8:34 pm
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    I am trying to make my way down this same path. Just found my spot last June and have been working on getting the homestead dry and tight. I have lots of ideas and am borrowing some of yours.
    Thanks for all you do!
    Kim

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  • September 7, 2014 at 9:26 am
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    I found this site this spring and it is by far the most informative site for any type of gardener. Enjoy every week when you post new things. And the candied jalapenos are the best!!!! Thanks for all the information and please keep posting!!!

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  • August 25, 2014 at 11:33 pm
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    Hello Jim and Mary,
    I just found your site and it is absolutely a delight to peruse. I had no idea there was so much talent and creativity so close by to me.
    Tim (from just down the street)

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  • June 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm
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    How do I winter over a rosemary topiary? I was told to put it in a dark closet till March then bring it out and begin watering it. I live ohio

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  • May 29, 2014 at 11:21 am
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    Have been following your blogs ever since finding them a week or so ago, and am thoroughly inspired and impressed from reading what you do.

    An idea for you::: If you would put your writings in hardbound volumes they would sell off the shelves.. There are still many (read: millions of) old-school people out there that do not “do” computers and would love to read about your ideas, successes, failures (if you have any), goals, dreams, and everything else you do. I would buy them, too. 🙂

    Keep up the good work. 🙂 Jim and Mary (-Jane)

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    • May 29, 2014 at 1:41 pm
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      Jim – Thank you so much for the kind words – that really means a lot! We are actually in the process of writing a book as we speak – and hopefully will complete it this year – and i hope you are right that it will sell! :):)

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      • June 1, 2014 at 11:59 pm
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        I totally guarantee you that they will sell. Proof::::: Just look how well received your articles already are. I wish I was your publisher. Just put one of those beautiful pictures on the cover of each one of your books. Go strictly hardbound and resist the urge to do anything in paperback. Your writings have real class and for that there is no substitute. Jim

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  • April 7, 2014 at 8:18 pm
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    Hi! I just started a new blog about our adventures in Western New York State. ziegenvinehomestead.blogspot.com/

    My first post just went up tonight. We have a long way to go! We are in the planning stages and your blog has been a great source of conversations and guidance! Please keep doing what you are doing! 🙂

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    • April 7, 2014 at 8:32 pm
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      Thanks Allison and good luck on the new blog – we will have to check out your first post!

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      • April 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm
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        Hope you get a chance to check it out. We love what you are doing and how you are doing it!

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  • December 3, 2013 at 8:57 am
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    I found your site just the other day, and I have to say that you encompass what my husband and I hope to achieve (with the purchase of some land hopefully in the future!) with our lifestyle. We’ve already started a raised bed garden complete with 6′ deer-proof fence and rain barrels to water the garden. Our kiddos are much younger than yours (2 and 4), and we want to raise them knowing the process and responsibility of gardening/creating your own food resources.

    I am curious about your climate – I am in Northern Ontario (Canada) and our growing season is brief, so we face some challenges with longer-growing veggies. Can you comment on what methods you use to extend your growing season if that is necessary in your area? I’ve been through Ohio many times, but honestly I’m not sure if it’s anything like Northern Ontario 🙂

    I look forward to reading through your blog and receiving email updates! Consider me a new fan 🙂

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  • August 31, 2013 at 10:14 am
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    Just found your site an copyed your blueberry syrup recipe my grandchildren will love this. We are also live in Oh not far from you Knox County we also grow most of out good, an what I cant do my dear amish friends help us. We are not that old 60s but health has slowed us down. We try an stay withheirloom seeds an most of the time I start my own, that way I get what I like. Due to ms this year in my life we got our veggies at a green house an wasn’t pleased with the out come. I would some day like a blog my sons tell me to but I am not smart about the ciber world I am Old world . Thank you for your most wonderful site,

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  • July 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm
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    love your article on garlic Going to try it in the fall, I also live in Ohio I have a friend who does a lot with culinary herbs so I am going to forward your web site to her, I know she will just love it.

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    • July 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm
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      Thank you so much! Ohio has been a challenge this year with all of the rain – but so far so good with the garden! We are about 30 minutes east of Columbus – what area of Ohio are you from?

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    • December 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm
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      Hi,
      Just for interest I would like to know If Akron, Is near Ohio. I used to work for General Tyre in Africa – Arusha which is in Tanzania. As now I am in Canada I would like to visit that place as matter of interest.
      Thanks and awaiting for reply – my email almas.nathoo@yahoo.com
      almas.

      Reply
  • June 26, 2013 at 10:05 pm
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    Just found your blog. I feel like we would have a lot to talk about as we are at a similar place. We have invested the last 25 years in our business and our kids and are now trying to simplify a bit. Our kids are teens (and early twenties), too, and very busy. We started gardening and canning and I started making a lot of my own personal care products. And NOW we are thinking about chickens and goats. Too bad you live a state away, I would love to sit down and talk over a cup of coffee 🙂 Can’t wait to try your blueberry syrup!

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  • April 15, 2013 at 11:45 am
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    Thank you, I will deff. take you up on that offer. What is the best time during the year.
    Thank you.

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  • April 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm
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    I am from Toronto Canada, reading you blog is very interesting. I love nature, hopefully live on one. I was wondering if you’ll take on volunteering holiday visitors to help on the farm. We would love to visit.
    Enid,

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    • April 15, 2013 at 10:03 am
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      Enid – We would always welcome visitors to the farm – especially volunteering ones :):) Let us know when you are thinking and we will see what we can do!

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  • April 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm
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    I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award today! In appreciation, it now becomes my turn to make choices! I hope you don’t mind, but… I’ve enjoyed your blog so much that I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thank you so much for ALL the great help and tips you’ve shared that will help my husband and I with our goals! ~ Teresa

    http://threecedarsfarm.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/a-surprise-in-my-email/

    Reply
    • April 3, 2013 at 9:16 am
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      Thank you so much Teresa, and congrats on your nomination as well!!! Jim and Mary

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  • January 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm
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    Thank you for taking the time to write about your experiences and share in such detail, all of your discoveries from Tomato stake/cages to growing from seeds. It’s a gift of your time to do that, and I’m really thankful! We are going to get our stake/cages ready for spring, and am looking forward to learning more as the season progresses! Sandy

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    • January 28, 2013 at 9:56 pm
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      Thank you so much Sandy – That was so nice of you to say!!! We really enjoy writing about the farm, and it makes it all the better when we get comments as nice as yours! Stay in touch and good luck with the garden this year! Jim and Mary

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  • January 23, 2013 at 8:00 am
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    You guys are such an inspiration to those who dream of a simpler life. Beautiful!

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    • January 23, 2013 at 9:16 am
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      Wow – thank you so much for the kind words Crystal!!!! We are glad you like the site!!! Jim

      Reply
  • November 6, 2012 at 1:52 pm
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    Love the barn. It is close to the one I have drawn in my head for our little piece of heaven. I might steal your idea of using the old metal roof as the lower siding. The patina on the old metal that I will be using is so beautiful and I was struggling with how to use it and enjoy it. I am impressed how much produce you are able to get from your garden in such a short amount of time since beginning this journey. Just want to clarify something. Are you actually living on the land currently or live off site and plan to build a cabin to live in one day.

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    • November 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm
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      Thanks so much for the compliments Kathleen. We were really happy with how the roofing material worked out -and hope yours does as well! We live off site – with the plan for a house and a cabin there at some point. We hope to have the cabin up soon – within the next year or two at the most.

      Reply
  • August 22, 2012 at 7:18 am
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    Love your story! My husband and I just bought 6.5 acres of wooded land this summer and plan to build our family a small house, garden and chicken coop
    to become self sustainable. I cant wait til our “Manitou Acres” is a reality!

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    • August 22, 2012 at 10:00 am
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      Thanks so much Christina for stopping by – and glad you like our little blog 🙂 It sounds like you have lots of excitement coming up – you will have to keep us updated on the progress!!! Good luck!!!! Jim and Mary

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  • August 6, 2012 at 12:48 am
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    LOVE LOVE LOVE your site! It’s soooo inspiring and SO ME! WISH my hubby liked to do this sort of thing to, but he doesn’t. Just dearly LOVE your barn! Would dearly love to tear down old places like that and rebuild with the materials. I have ALWAYS dreamed of having an old Victorian home to fix up or would just love helping someone else do one. lol I do get to fix up old furniture and I enjoy that. I have a couple pieces I have redone and working on one of those now. Anyway just had to tell you how much I enjoy reading and seeing your pix. WOW

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    • August 22, 2012 at 10:03 am
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      Thank you so much for the compliments Rose! We really enjoy tearing down and re-using items that might otherwise end up in the trash. It’s a lot of work but so rewarding.

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  • July 25, 2012 at 10:23 am
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    Just found your blog through Frugally Sustainable. It sounds like you live a lot like my family does. I’ll enjoy reading more about you.

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    • July 25, 2012 at 11:15 am
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      Welcome Heidi! So glad you enjoy reading it – I am going to check out your blog as well! We really enjoy the farm and hope someday to retire to it!

      Jim and Mary

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  • May 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm
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    Nice blogs,
    We just bought 4 acre’s with a standing decent shape mid size barn complete with a 3-4 stall milk palor. fenced in 2.5 acre pastor, House well and septic the property is in bad shape and needs tons of work it hasn’t been mowed in 2 years. Our goal is to simplify and become much more self sufficent. I have enjoyed your stories and you have sprouted some ideas for our farm.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm
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    That’s great – love the fact that you have so many diff’t breeds. We are going to add a few more to the flock next year – but probably keep it right around 12 to 15 birds total. We use large amounts of compost in our planting holes and use manure / manure tea as our fertilizer.

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    • May 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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      We have 3 Leghorns and 6 Golden Comets – they are all just over a year old – and we get about 8 eggs a day from them.

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      • May 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm
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        That so cool!
        We have 13 chickens, at least 6 different kinds of breeds. They are going to turn 3 years old May 18th.
        Do u use any chemicals on you plants?

        Reply
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  • February 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm
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    I feel like I’ve struck gold here, with your blog. I am looking forward to exploring your site and being inspired by your many wonderful projects! I dream of one day moving back to the country and of being as self-sufficient as I possibly can. It’s nice to have someone to look to who is already several steps ahead of me, and I’m hoping I can learn a lot from you!

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    • February 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm
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      Wow ! Thank you for that! We really do love working on the farm and creating what we call our “little slice of heaven”. Look forward to reading your new posts as well!

      Jim and Mary

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  • February 20, 2012 at 10:15 am
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    Well, this is great, your ideas are down to earth and doable, nothing like dreaming a dream that you CAN and WILL achieve.. I love your new old barn, we have an old old barn that is being remade using other old old barn timbers, but very slowly. I don’t mind slow.. c

    Reply
  • February 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm
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    Awesome Mary! Loved reading your story. It inspires me to spend a little more time in my own garden this year.

    Reply

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