Homesteading Journey: Part Three

We are on a journey…a homesteading journey. Follow along and try it yourself!

Okay…so far we’ve cleaned out the house and maybe made a little cash on the side to boot. We looked at our finances and trimmed our spending…How do you feel so far?

Better, I hope.

So, now we are on to step three of becoming a homesteader.

How far you go will totally depend on you, your comfort level and where you live, but most people have room for a garden.

Gardening is a great way to reduce your food bill and provide you and your family with healthy food options. The size of your garden will be determined by the space you have and how much work you want to put into it, but trust me when I say at the at the end of the summer you’ll love it.

Think of it this way…you can spend hours mowing, fertilizing and seeding a lawn, or you can take the same amount of time and grow your own food.

Of course, if you are reading this, likely you are interested in homesteading or at least being a “weekend warrior” so here are some tips.

Start small and pick plants that tend to do well in your area. Trying to grow something that takes extra work will discourage you. Once you’ve had a successful year, you’ll be excited for next year and you’ll be ready to branch out and try new things.

If you can, try doing a raised bed garden. This requires building a “box” and filling it with good dirt. It will keep your garden tidy, help reduce weeds and your vegetables will love you for it. You can also try growing some vegetables like tomatoes and peppers in patio containers. And if you really want to get creative you can grow vegetables either right inside a potting soil bag or on a bale of straw. Some typical beginner vegetables include tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and peppers.

Herbs are another great item to add to your garden. Herbs are not only good for drying or adding fresh to foods but they often provide flowers and have interesting leaves that can add diversity to your garden. Thyme is typically a hardy ground cover that comes back each year. Chives can grow tall and taste great and have pretty purple flowers that attract honey bees. Mint is a hardy ground cover that smells amazing, but be warned. Mint spreads and will take over your garden quickly. You’ll need to keep it trimmed back.

If you are feeling adventurous, try a few fruits, too. We added a dwarf peach tree to our garden. It provides a bit of shade and tasty fruit. We also added blueberry bushes which double as a small hedge around the herb garden.

There is so much you can do with a garden. You can go hardcore organic or look for something in in between that will reduce the amount of pests and fungus while stimulating growth. Cold frames and greenhouses help extend the growing season in colder climates and if you want to get really adventurous look up aquaponics on the internet.

The great thing about gardening is that you can go to any extreme. Have some fun and do some searching online if you can. You can start with just a few container options or expand into multiple beds.

Make a list of your favorite vegetables and start there or go crazy and try new varieties or old favorites. If you are going for the whole “wholesome” package, look for seeds that are non-GMO. GMO seeds are genetically modified seeds that come with a whole legal booklet. Avoid these where you can.

There is no right or wrong way to plant a garden as long as at the end of the day you have lots of tasty vegetables to add to your dinner table. It can also be very therapeutic.

Enjoy!

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