Breaking Urban Ground

is thrilled to announce our first issue of

Breaking Urban Ground magazine.

It is currently available on iPads everywhere in the Newsstand app. We have interviews from Paul Gautschi on his amazing Back to Eden garden. Larry Hall talks to us about the Rain Gutter Automatic Watering System he created. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds comes to you via the voice of Jere Gettle. A personality local to me, Gretchen Anderson answers some of our questions about starting backyard chickens. If chickens are not for you maybe our discussion with Vice President of Mann Lake Ltd may interest you. Jack Thomas gives us great advice on the topic of becoming a bee keeper. If you want to know anything about real world emergency preparedness then you will want to catch Steven Harris‘ interview. He tells us what every home can do to take a first (and easy) step toward counting on yourself in a power outage or if you lose a regular water supply. We even have a special article contributed to us from Pepper Miller. Her 3 part blog article “The Chicken Plan” is an example for you to see how one person put her wish to keep chickens into practice.

We are thrilled about the launch of the magazine but we are always looking forward to new issues. We are building June’s magazine right now and would love your participation. It can be as simple as a picture. You can send us pictures of your Breaking Urban Ground Projects. They can fall into these major categories.


Show us your chickens, bees, rabbits, worms(worm compost projects) goats and others.

Alternate power:

Battery storage, home wind generator, solar projects, rain storage. Any utility you provide for yourself.

Food Production:

Canning successes, canning failures, dehydrated foods, cheese making, syrup, yogurt. What food did you make?


Your urban garden, community gardens you participate in, Veggies you grew or are growing, unusual crops, your first plant. If it is growing for food we want to see pictures.

Household Stuff:

Planter projects, a trellis you made, detergent, candles, beeswax lip balm, a bat house. This is the “construction zone”.


This is more of an action than a “thing” so let’s see first aid kits, group pictures of your CPR certification class, your 72 hour kit. Send photos related to “being” ready for lives turbulent situations.


How do you maximize your space. Lets see creative ways to manage what you have. Shelves you built, basement root cellars, serious spice cabinets.

Don’t forget to tell us about the picture. A picture of canned carrots is nice but information on who made them and a little background is better.

With all of this be sure to include the kids. Breaking Urban Ground includes all people learning to provide for themselves as they have interest. The entire family can be included. My kids don’t like gardening but love to make cheese. If your kids like doing something send pictures of their projects too.

We are all about learning. Learning includes mess-ups and failures. Send pictures of these and some info on what you learned from the experience and what you will do differently next time.

Sending your photos to constitutes permission to use or not use the photos in future issue and articles and on the Breaking Urban Ground website and social media affiliations. Don’t send us pictures if they are not your own or you do not have authorization to distribute them.

Our first issue was so much fun to make. Lets make the next one better.

Joe Gore


Cold Frames are hot.

The Cold frames my brother made me were cheap and easy and that’s pretty cool.

So I’m trying to start more of my plants this year from seed. It’s not going too bad but one of my problems is that my sunny window is only sunny for about 5 hours. And putting the seedlings in my sunny window takes up 4 square feet of counter space right next to my sink. This means I am moving my plants from a table in my front room where they spend most of their time under a homemade grow-light frame and back every day. Do I need to do this? Probs not, but I can’t help but feel that the sun is better than artificial light. That’s a “no brainer”.  The artificial light works and If I had no other option I would use it and be glad. But I am looking for better, more natural, less expensive and easier. If it reduces my need for electricity then I’ll call that the bonus. I live in a regular suburban home so I decided to use what I have, where I have it. I have a back yard deck so I figured that I would make a cold frame and learn to use it for germinating seeds and growing strong little plants.

My wife wants to make a greenhouse and she wants to use old windows from farm houses being demolished and has been able to collect a few of them already. She let me use two that my brother gave to us from a farmhouse in the area. They are the same size and have hinges still attached. I brought them to my brother to get some help building the body of the cold frame.

Old Farmhouse Windows

Old Farmhouse Windows

I was planning on spending a few dollars on a 2×12 board long enough to make the walls of the enclosure and a few more dollars buying a piece of plywood for the floor. When I arrived at my brothers one acre farm and showed my brother the windows he said he had an idea and walked to a lumber stack near the back of the property. He returned with an old section of cabinet that was hanging in the garage when he moved to the farm.

Garage Cabinet

Garage Cabinet

It was just the right size. The cabinet  length and width were almost exactly the same as one of the windows.After we removed the center shelf and the facing he cut a piece of old siding to cover the opening.

Facing and Shelf Removed

Facing and Shelf Removed

With this cut siding firmly in place what we had was now a closed box.

Closed box left

Closed Box Left

Closed Box Right

Closed Box Right

Question: What magical tool turns a closed box into 2 smaller open boxes? YES, a saw. So after deciding what angle we wanted for the sides we drew the saw guide marks and he went to cutting. 4 straight-line cuts later and we had two halves of a box.





Open box with backs taller than fronts

Open box with backs taller than fronts

They looked great. The next thing to do would be to attach the windows that would serve as sun gathering covers for these boxes. Screwing on the lids was easy since the hinges were already halfway attached. We simply placed the windows on the boxes, lined them up flush with the hinge side wall and ran the screws in with a power screwdriver.

Window aligned and hinges screwed in place

Window aligned and hinges screwed in place

I chose not to paint the boxes for a few reasons not the least of which is that I just didn’t feel like it. They will serve their purpose as is and should I decide to drill some smaller vent holes in them or should we scrap the frames to reclaim the windows for the bigger greenhouse project I won’t feel like I spent any money or time needlessly.

Matching Cold Frames

Matching Cold Frames

So there we have it, a pair of matching cold frames that cost almost nothing, use no electricity, reduce the risk of me dumping seedlings on the kitchen floor, and will help me bring strong plants to the garden.

Cold smoking cheese in the winter just makes sense

We often don’t smoke meat in the colder months because it is too hard to get some smokers up to temp but if you want to smoke cheese without melting it that is exactly what you want.  In the video below, Steve Hall (Shotgun Red) makes smoked cheese and smoked cashews and shares some lessons learned. Give it a try and remember, play with your food.