Homesteading is a practice that means different things to different people. But, generally, it involves being as self-sufficient as possible. It’s a lifestyle that involves catering to your own essential needs. This may include growing your own food, providing your own electricity, or making your own clothing.
Whether you’re aiming to live completely off-the-grid, or you just want a better idea of where your food is coming from, maintaining your own homestead garden is a great place to start.
Taking DIY to a Whole New Level
When it comes to homesteading, trial and error is inevitable. An exciting part of the experience itself is learning and growing (see what we did there?) as you go. This comes in the form of choosing the plants best suited for your area and abilities, planning out your growing spaces, and determining what tools and supplies you need to be successful.
While the ultimate goal of creating a homestead garden is to live off the land, you can’t expect to be an expert right away. Start small and tackle food-growing projects that you know you can handle. (Square Foot Gardening is a great place to start.) You should also avoid overwhelming the process with excessive supplies and expenses. One of the main goals of homesteading, after all, is minimizing waste and using less energy.
Prepare to Prepare
Before you eat the food, you have to prepare the food.
And when you’re a homestead gardener, before you prepare the food, you have to grow the food.
But before you grow the food, you have to figure out the what/where/when of planting the food.
The key to building a successful and sustainable homestead garden is to figure out a plan before you get started. Whether you have acres of farmland or an apartment balcony, it’s important to survey your space and determine your size, sunshine, and soil availability so that you can properly work with what you’ve got.
When choosing plants, consider what you would like to eat and how much you think is appropriate for your lifestyle. While you want to make sure you have a sufficient food supply, you must also be mindful of the amount of work you create for yourself so that you’re not creating excess waste from unused products. Once you determine the available space and time, select a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that will adequately stock your kitchen.
Protecting Your Homestead
Once your homestead garden is set up, it’s important to dedicate time to regular care and maintenance. Here are a few tips to ensure you have a sustainably bountiful harvest:
- Companion planting can be beneficial for creating ideal growing environments for different plants. These plants provide shade for each other, share nutrients, and even act as natural pest control.
- Researching your local environment is critical for determining the amount of rain, sunshine, and soil conditions for your plants. This helps you create an effective maintenance plan. The Farmer’s Almanac or your local greenhouse (that’s us!) is the perfect resource for this.
- Advance planning for the next growing season is beneficial for saving time, money, and effort. This includes collecting and storing seeds, covering the garden beds with compost, and leaving stems and root balls in the soil to provide extra nutrients.
Whether you’re taking your first steps towards building a sustainable homestead garden – or you’re just about ready to live off-the-grid – our team at Chippewa Valley Growers is happy to provide you with all the plants, tools, and expert advice you need.
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