About Brunette Gardens

Hi! We’re Lisa and Anthony, two rapidly aging green thumbs working a 1/4-acre plot tucked between two apartment buildings. Our mission is to bring you gardening and garden-based eating stories here at empire’s end. We believe you don’t have to wait until you can buy land to learn valuable skills and put homesteading practices into place. Yes, even if all you have right now is a balcony!

If this sounds like your cup of (herbal) tea, welcome. You’ve found your people. Sign up for helpful advice on gardening and garden-based eating for autoimmune conditions and more, free recipes, sourdough support, and food-preservation tips. You’ll get weekly posts and podcasts, and you can join our chat community and most comment threads.

There’s a lot of homesteading advice on the Internet. Why should you trust ours? We cut through the compost and get you results. Take her word for it:

Most homesteaders have acreage, a barn or two, and livestock. We’re limited by age and location, just like you.

Try us on for size at the links below.

Food Preservation



No ads, no pop-ups, no holds barred. Readers like you fund this effort.

Our 1/4-acre city homestead.

Lisa’s Background

Through a lifetime of frequent moves—a military brat childhood and nomadic adulthood—gardening has been her one constant. Whether working a community tomato patch in the inner city or accepting a platinum award for her current urban homestead, her love affair with growing things has been lifelong. She’s also a big-time foodie. After trying every diet out there, she’s settled on a whole-foods ancestral habit that includes healthy meat and animal fats; raw, cultured dairy products; and lacto-fermented fruit and vegetables. She and Anthony try to only eat whole, unrefined grains, and both those and nuts, seeds, and legumes are properly prepared with a good soak or ferment.

A career writer, Lisa’s published journalism, books, and games, often winning awards.

Anthony’s Background

The other person with his hands in the dirt here is also known to bang out a few stories at his keyboard. While Anthony Valterra keeps insisting he’s not a writer, the readers who love his helpful hand with hugelkulturs and cool cast-iron tips beg to differ. He grew up with fond memories of visiting his grandfather’s Oregon dairy farm, and Anthony’s father is a never-seems-to-retire landscaper in the Walla Walla Valley. From him, he learned how to make a wreath, among other survival skills!

Stay Up-to-Date

You won’t have to worry about missing anything. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox or into the Substack app. We post every Wednesday, with a narrated version sometimes on Sundays.

Get more from Lisa Brunette in the Substack app
Available for iOS and Android
Gotta have a pano.

Paid-Subscriber Perks

  • Access to paid-subscriber content, including our full archive and garden-planning sheet

  • The power to start your own chats and access paid subscriber-only threads

  • A chance to win giveaway items and invitations to in-person and livestream events

  • Founding members also receive a free companion-planting guide that includes native plants

  • Most importantly, you’re funding a valiant effort to bring this perspective to the world without the compromises of sponsorship and advertising

Notices & Policies

We have a whole page for that right here.

Subscribe to Brunette Gardens

Where edible-garden enthusiasts (and dabblers!) find tips and tales to grow and thrive while navigating this collapsing empire. By a city-dwelling couple who built a platinum-certified yard from bare grass.


Lisa Brunette

Award-winning writer and gardener who’s always had her hands in the dirt.

Anthony C Valterra

Anthony's mother once told Lisa, "Don't believe everything he says." That's sound advice.