Preparing to homestead number six skill, will not only help in starting to preparing to homesteading, but aid to grow your own food wherever you live.
Any homestead family will tell you one of the biggest rewards that is attainable by everyone, even if in small quantities, is growing and harvesting your own food for the table. In preparing to homestead, this skill can even be mastered with experience and a little help.
In preparing to master this homemaking skill, get in touch with your local feed mill, greenhouses, gardening clubs, farmers market, and 4-H clubs. Homesteading to grow your own food is not only essential, but it can also helps build great relationships along the way that will be a blessing to your homestead. If there are not obvious connections to get into gardening for the homestead in your area, try these 3 tips.
- Go to a swap. Your nearest seed swap or in some areas it’s just a farm swap may be vital. Many times this is not advertised, but asking at your local animal auction or sales barn will lead you to the right people. If you are smaller area, many animal and gardening groups are together because they are the same people. However, if you are a larger area that has more gardeners, you can often find a seed swap through the garden club. Although they do not advertise homesteading gardens, many ladies of the red hats club in the area are very familiar with the local gardening clubs or run them. Ask around. If you do not find a local seed sway, organize one. With homemade goods, jams, honey and other homestead product sales, it’s sure to attract a crowd for seed swapping. Any gardeners in the areas are more apt to come out or offer their goods for sale.
- Share compost. If this is an option for you, it is sure to attract neighbors and friends. Generosity and nutrient -rich compost is bound to make a good year and harvest. In so doing, one could offer a place to drop of grass clippings, leaves, food scraps and organic matter. You are bound to attract another expert gardener as well.
- Offer a community garden area. Amazing little community garden areas are popping up all over our region of the country. It’s awesome to go and meet some of the elders that run them! Their wisdom and tips/tricks ALWAYS work!
With just a few extra ideas to connect with expert in your area, let us not forget our local greenhouses and feed mills are packed full of great information!
So, what information are we looking for when preparing to learn the skill of gardening on the homestead? Here are nine questions that will help you prepare to garden for the homestead; no matter where you live.
- What zone am I gardening in? This information is can be found online. However, it never hurts to ask someone local either. I say this because our homestead is rated a zone, but many locals say there is an obvious line in the midst of the couple counties (perhaps with elevation) that get colder temps and more snow. While although it does not change the zoning map, if we do not heavily mulch those plants or cover certain perennials, they will need to be replanted. So, it does not hurt to ask your neighbors of local greenhouse for specifics about your zone.
- How many growing days are there?– Find the average amount of days you will be working with and how many hours of sunlight you can expect. All important in your seed selection and garden location.
- What are the best plants for pots? If you are planning to lay out a garden at your new homestead, awesome! Instead, you may want to find design or layouts for inspiration. However, in preparing for your homestead, you may be starting in pots or a couple raised beds, great. Wherever you are planting, ask what plants would do best in the space of which you are planting.
- How do I tell what will grow good in my soil? Again, this will also factor as where you are planting. If you are planting in the ground soil, you may have to add specific nutrients. Yet, if you are planting pots or small beds, altering the soil with nutrients, might simply mean an extra bag of nutrient rich soil or compost can solve the issue. Either way, your local expert with happily help you find the best tools and products for this question.
- What seeds or plants should I grow? This cannot be answered fully until you know the previous answers above. Your seeds and plants that need specifics will not thrive. With the wide selection of seed available today, even if you feel late to the game and didn’t get your garden in early; there are so many varieties that will still grow in the short season. Depending on your gardening situation, you can find local seed varieties that work great for your area!
- What is the easiest vegetables to grow in this area? If you are lacking time or just want something basic to grow food-wise, there are a few easy- to- grow food plants. You get the benefits of growing your own food, a little bit of experience, but not completely overwhelmed with a full commitment. Lettuces, radishes, carrots and cherry tomatoes are just a few.
- Are there any garden plants poisonous to my pets or kids? If you are not planting in the ground in a separate area, it is possible for a greater risk your kids or pets could get into your plants. This is great information to have and know.
- Can I plant as soon as the weather warms up? Although not everyone asks this, but in our area early planters that plant right away after it begins to warm are often fooled. We ALWAYS have another frost. There has not been a year at this homestead when we didn’t. We have even made the mistake ourselves even though that last big frost was over, a freezing cold and rainy spell prior to summer does damage too. It can be expensive to go back and replant if you have a large area–> not to mention time consuming. Even if plants survive, often they are stunted in growth and do not bear as much. In return, leaving you to decide if you should go back and pull/replant or take a smaller crop. So, if your new to planting in your area, ask around!
- What do I do about ______? This is the key. Develop a working relationship with your local farmers, area greenhouses and your feed-mill and shop local! The best varieties, nutrients, tips and tricks for your area can often be found close to home. Becoming a successful homestead family in your area will be best accomplished with local information first. Keeping an active relationship with them will also be such a blessing should or when a problem arises. Whether dealing with local pests, soil issues, germination problems or to increase production; local growers have the know-how.
As you already know, so many resources can help you prepare to homestead. Becoming a homesteading family and preparing to be a successful homestead varies from one family to another. Gathering these skills while preparing to homestead is such a blessing, in so doing, you will learn to not only manage your home better; but also your income and resources. Having individuals of which you can get advice and feedback only enhances this.
Did you miss the previous Preparing to Homestead posts in the series?