Welcome to Old World Garden Farms!

Old World Garden FarmsJust six 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

25 thoughts on “About Us

  • June 25, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Jan. The only thing that we used was vinegar to remove the haze when we tiled our bathroom. It worked great on our non-porous tile. Hope that helps and good luck!

  • June 25, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    You guys are so knowledgeable I’m going to give this question a shot because I cannot find a good answer online. Had my bathroom rehabbed and there is grout haze all over my brand new tub – I cannot get it off. My contractor is here using grout haze cleaner to no avail. Any ideas?

  • May 26, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    I tried potatoes in crates this year. I’ve never grown them at all. So far so good. However, I’ve been layering on decomposing old straw rather than dirt. I had thought that’s what I read one time. Do you think this will work? The straw is over a year old and dirt on the inside. I live in central Illinois and we’ve had so much rain I hope something grows this year.

  • April 25, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Jackie – so sorry I missed this comment! Yes, it sounds like you are all good to go! For the top layer, we use a few inches of compost around the top of the plant and then put straw on top of that. But yes, you are more than fine to use shredded leaves as well.

  • April 18, 2019 at 9:00 am

    I love your book. I’m planning on planting my tomatoes and peppers in the next few days and want to make sure this is right. I have built up my rows in my existing garden. Straw, existing soil and compost in top. I’ll use a post hole digger for my holes all the way through to the ground and plant in the hole. Fill in with compost and all you suggested with soil, coffee grounds….then at more straw on top? My last layer on my rows is compost so I’m to put more straw on that or I can also use shredded leaves too? Is compost ok to have as last layer or need something else?

  • December 27, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I absolutely love this sight. I have printed off articles and filled 4 binders, even though I keep the emails, cant take the computer everywhere. I recently purchased a new home, a log home on 3.25 acres. Horses are content with the new surroundings and my partner & I are eagerly waiting for the snow to be gone so we can create our new garden, patio and fire pit area. We are also looking to go off grid with solar. Thank you so much for you help and tips.

  • August 14, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Debbie. I am so glad that your garden is producing well. However we are sorry to hear that you that you had weeds in your straw. We have used wheat straw from a local farmer with excellent results. There are a couple things to consider when purchasing straw such as the method of storage of the straw prior to purchase. Was it sitting outside and weed seeds blew in? Or was it stored in a barn? Also be sure that it is straw and not hay. Hay will always have weeds in it. And finally, if you are putting down straw and see any weed heads, remove them immediately. I hope this helps for next year!

  • August 14, 2018 at 11:58 am

    First I want to say I love your sight, so much helpful info and great receipes…thank you. I tried your raised garden plan this year,used the worm casting, and I have had a great abundance of tomatoes, cucs, g. beans, okra and squash, more than in previous years. The only bad thing is the straw I used to cover with to keep weeds out made more weeds than ever, and I’ve been constantly( I quess because weeds in the straw). I want to do this again next year, but what can I do to keep from getting weeds from the straw??

    Debbie R.

  • August 7, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Thank you Julie! The cowboy candy is one of our favorite recipes! Good luck with the garden and let us know if you need anything!

  • August 4, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Love your site. I live in Liberty Center, Ohio. We are going to start our first real raised garden following directions from your book. We’ve always had pots or small flower bed areas that we’d plant vegetables. Looking forward to your ideas and tips. We’ve also used many of your canning recipes. LOVE the cowboy candy, jalapeños! Thank you !,

  • July 19, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I saw where using comfrey leaf is good for gardens. Do you know about this? If so, I don’t want to plant it , I would rather used dried leaf or powder—do you think that would work instead of fresh? Love your site

  • May 27, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Hi Louise
    You can contact us at thefarm@owgarden.com to possibly arrange a visit. Thanks Mary and Jim

  • May 23, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Is it possible to visit your farm? From viewing the pictures it looks wonderful

  • April 29, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Hi Shirley We are having an issue with our sign up banner. I have added you to our email list and you will begin receiving the updated articles via email every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Thank you so much!

  • April 29, 2018 at 7:54 am

    I am trying to sign up for your blog but I cannot find a place to add my information. Could you please help! My email is mcgypsy9@aol.com.
    Thank you!

  • April 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    No, we actually get that question asked a lot – but we use them as is.

  • April 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Read about you growing cucumbers in straw bales. Do you condition them with anything before you add your perfect soil mix?

  • March 1, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    I have not been getting the weekly emails and when I resubscribe it says I’m already in the system. Would you look into that please? Thanx dpreston8@gmail.com

  • August 7, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Bought a smoker last week and one of the foods wanted to try was a whole chicken. How ever , I have never used a smoker before and decided not to do just one , but I did 6 whole chickens at one time. Filling both grates with 3 birds on each. Made the dry rub from your recipe, after 2 hours in smoker , trying ever so hard not to open the smoker as tempting as it was lol. After the first two hours , I filled birds and rotated the grates , then added pre soaked ( for 6 hrs ) 12 ears of corn , right on top of the birds. Raised temp another 50 deg to compensate for the corn.
    All I have to say is this, the 9 people that I fed with all that did not go home hungry, only had bones and the husks to toss out. No left overs. Your dry rub, prep and all was a bang on hit for sure. Have saved recipie for next time for sure. Can’t wait for thanks giving , going to host my first dinner , and will be smoking two large turkies.

  • July 11, 2017 at 10:08 am

    We are so sorry to hear that. We put down wheat straw every year and have never had an issue with weeds. Do you know what kind of straw that was used? Hay will cause weeds and grass seed to be planted in the garden, but pure straw should not as it is a dead by-product.

  • July 11, 2017 at 8:51 am

    I was excited to try putting down straw to prevent weeds. It didn’t work for me, my garden is full of grass and crab grass. Never had it before i put down the straw. One big mess

  • May 30, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I done what you said about your strawberry/ rhubarb jam but its runny! I usually add certin to my jams and they come out great. but the flavor of your jam is like mine great! I made two strawberry /rhubarb pies and froze them for later use. So now have to wait for rhubarb to regrow again for sauce!

  • February 14, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Thank you for your website which I love.

    The only problem is that I live in Ireland and we don’t measure in cups. We measure in Grams, ,

    or pounds and ounces.

    Because your measurements don’t convert accurately I find that what I bake doesn’t turn out ok.

    Is it possible that you might be able to give recipes in metric rather than cups and also litres instead of cups That would be a great help.

    Thank you and keep up the good work.



  • December 29, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I also just found your website thanks to my sister in Ct.! I have been raising most of the vegetables and now eggs and chickens for several years.. I’ve always had a garden even while living in apartment houses/complexes! we have a little less than an acre of riverfront land… I will be watching and reading as you share your stories of life lessons from the “farm” Do you encourage visitors to your homestead? thanks Debie

  • December 20, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Just ran across your Blog. My wife and I , and another couple, Sam and Janie just bought some land here in rural Alabama ,together, mainly to create a organic garden like you have done.. I definitely will be interested in a lot that you and your husband do.. For “starters” I would love your Starter recipe and on-going recipe for your bread and for return I will send you a great marinate for grill chicken.. It has a secret ingredient that most people never use and makes the chicken and even BBQ ribs taste wonderful with it..
    Ill send it this weekend too ya

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