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Tips on how to Maximize Your Backyard by way of Small House Gardening

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In our society, rising meals your self has turn into essentially the most radical of acts. It’s actually the one efficient protest, one that may—and can—overturn the company powers that be. By the method of straight working in concord with nature, we do the one factor most important to alter the world—we modify ourselves.
-Jules Dervaes

House — or the dearth there of — ought to not often ever detract from our means to develop meals.

I can consider only some issues extra pleasant than gardening. Even from the times of my youth, I’ve vivid recollections of begging my Mother to take me to the native nursery to purchase a couple of tomato crops and as many seeds as I might get my fingers on! Outdoors in a tiny yard backyard — with my fingers within the dust, nurturing crops that may in flip nourish my household — was the place I discovered peace and considered one of life’s best pleasures.

Right now, I’m a great distance away from the wealthy soil and beneficiant land numerous Northeast Georgia. The poor desert soil and small out of doors residing house of my Arizona residence has taught me the inventive artwork of container gardening.

Maybe you too are restricted by poor soil, house, and/or a mixture of the 2…

…be inspired, there are many methods to maximise your harvest and develop nutrient-dense meals.

In my very own life, I’ve tailored and achieve this by ::

  • increasing gardening house in all doable areas (i.e. the entrance yard, the yard, edible panorama — ‘develop meals not lawns’)
  • using container gardening strategies with pots and small raised beds
  • utilizing vertical house (i.e. Develop pole beans as a substitute of bush beans. Or create a trellis in your vine crops like cucumbers and squash.)

Red and green cherry tomatoes in the garden with metal support

Suggestions for the Starting, Small House Gardener

All the things I’ve realized about gardening, I’ve realized by way of studying about rising cycles + gardening fundamentals, taking to different gardening fans, and easy trial and error. And fortunately, kitchen gardens — whereas susceptible to being forgotten — are experiencing revival.

Learn Extra :: Raising with the Moon — The Complete Guide to Gardening and Living by the Signs of the Moon   

Rising greens…even when it’s solely ONE is an extremely radical act of independence!

Now, let me share with you a couple of methods to insure that you simply get essentially the most out of your backyard this season ::

  1. Create a customized design in your backyard. Everybody’s backyard seems totally different. And as we’ve established, it relies upon largely on the quantity of house you’ve. Some could possibly put in giant rows of crops, whereas others like us will make the most of some type of container instituting the Square Foot Gardening, or Vertical Gardening Methods. Probably the greatest on-line gardening instruments, Smart Gardener, can assist you manage your crops and maximize your yield in the house you’ve…irrespective of how huge or small.
  2. Develop crops from seed as a lot as doable. This alone offers an enormous financial savings! Whereas buying transplants from the nursery or native ironmongery store is a viable choice…it can save you practically 80-90% of the value by rising the crops your self from seed. Need assistance figuring out when to begin your seeds? Look here to seek out your greatest planting date for seeds. I additionally love this What to Plant Now tool(Be aware :: My most favourite seed firm is High Mowing Seeds. They’ve nice an incredible collection of easy-to-grow seeds for small space gardens.)
  3. Purchase low cost — or upcycled — gardening provides. Please don’t fall prey to the over-priced, gimmicky backyard provides bought in catalogs and within the shops. Recycle, or purchase secondhand, as a lot as doable. Seeds will be began in egg cartons, yogurt containers, water bottles, or milk jugs. All the raised beds I’ve each had, have been constructed from wooden discovered by the dumpster or salvaged. Buckets make nice grown containers. Examine on Craigslist and store yard gross sales for used pots and backyard instruments.
  4. Select what you’ll develop fastidiously. Take time to significantly contemplate your rising house, and the yield that you simply’re aiming for, then select the greens you’ll develop accordingly. For instance, I’ve a really small rising house; due to this fact, rising a big broccoli plant that can yield sufficient for one small snack simply doesn’t make sense once I might use the identical space to develop Swiss chard which can produce a steady harvest all season lengthy.
  5. Develop what you eat essentially the most of. Take stock of the meals that you simply and your loved ones eat most continuously…and develop these. Suppose too of these meals which can be straightforward to can, ferment, dehydrate, or freeze.
  6. Develop organically. After years of gardening, I do know the greens which have all the time been tough to develop on account of their sensitivities to fungi, bugs, and pests. Nevertheless, studying the best way to companion plant has revolutionized the way in which I do issues. There’s no want for chemical compounds — even the natural ones. (Learn extra :: How to Make Your Own Organic Insecticide Spray)
  7. Use mineral-dense, residing soil. When rising greens, particularly when rising in containers, it’s critical to make use of residing soil — soil filled with viable microbes, minerals, and magic! Look regionally for soils appropriate for containers that include issues corresponding to earthworm castings, peat moss, and fish meal.
  8. Water. Water will be the make-it or break-it in terms of container gardening. Utilizing a municipal water supply (can anybody say chlorine) to water your container greens is a surefire approach to destroy your rising efforts. I use this water filter hooked up to my backyard hose always when watering my crops.

Easy to grow vegetables in small spaces

5 Straightforward-to-Develop Container Greens

With a honest hope for a bountiful blessing this season…

…listed below are my 5 favourite container greens for starting gardeners. Every are straightforward to begin from seed — or buy as begins from a neighborhood nursery — and can develop joyfully in containers in your patio, in your driveway, in your doorstep…wherever you discover house.

  1. Tomatoes. The best, best varieties that I’ve grown have been the smaller cherry, grape, and roma tomato. They’re good for small areas! (I love these.)
  2. Cucumbers. Rising cucumbers vertically in pots — utilizing a trellis or tomato cage — has confirmed to be SUPER efficient, producing distinctive quantities of contemporary cukes. 2-3 crops in a bigger 16″-20″ pot can yield loads of pickles! (These are the cucumbers I grow.)
  3. Squash. Zucchini and summer squash develop exceptionally effectively in containers and supply wonderful quantities of meals! I really like zucchini noodles…and in the course of the months of harvest, I’ve my fill! (This zucchini is so easy to grow!)
  4. Beans. Inexperienced beans are splendidly productive…and who doesn’t love a residing teepee?!?! I really like rising inexperienced bean teepees in my patio backyard! They’re a lot enjoyable, very easy to develop, and a beautiful place in your backyard fairies to remain for the season! A big 20″ pot is large enough to assemble a trellis utilizing bamboo rods to help the vertical progress of pole beans corresponding to the Kentucky Wonder.
  5. Greens. Greens corresponding to spinach, swiss chard, and kale can produce for months and months when grown in containers! By slicing the outer leaves solely as wanted, the crops will present an limitless provide of nutrient-dense meals! (This rainbow chard + lacinato kale + corvair spinach have ALWAYS grown effectively for me!)

Now it’s your flip! Share with us within the feedback your favourite, easy-t0-grow container greens!

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Growing Your Own Food Can Save Your Family’s Life

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In times of crisis or uncertainty, having the ability to grow your own food can be a game-changer for survival and sustainability. Whether facing food shortages, supply chain disruptions, or other emergencies, cultivating a survival garden provides a reliable source of fresh produce and nutritional sustenance. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential steps and strategies for establishing a survival garden to feed your family during challenging times.

Assess Your Space and Resources

Start by assessing your available space and resources for gardening. Whether you have a spacious backyard, a small balcony, or even just indoor space, there are options for growing food in various environments. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, soil quality, water access, and climate conditions to determine the most suitable gardening approach for your situation.

Choose the Right Plants

Selecting the right plants for your survival garden is crucial for maximizing yield and nutritional value. Focus on high-yield, fast-growing vegetables and herbs that are well-suited to your local climate and growing conditions. Some excellent choices for survival gardening include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, leafy greens, carrots, radishes, and herbs like basil and cilantro.

Start with Seeds and Seedlings

Begin your survival garden by acquiring high-quality seeds and seedlings from reputable sources. Starting from seeds allows you to save money, customize your plant selection, and develop self-sufficiency in seed-saving for future seasons. Alternatively, using seedlings can provide a head start and ensure a more predictable harvest, especially for beginners or in short growing seasons.

Prepare Your Soil

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Prepare the soil for your survival garden by loosening it with a shovel or tiller and removing any weeds, rocks, or debris. Amend the soil with organic matter such as compost, aged manure, or peat moss to improve fertility, moisture retention, and drainage. Conduct a soil test to assess nutrient levels and pH, and adjust as needed to create optimal growing conditions for your plants.

Implement Sustainable Growing Practices

 

Practice sustainable gardening techniques to conserve resources, minimize waste, and maximize productivity in your survival garden. Utilize mulch to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and regulate soil temperature. Practice water-saving methods such as drip irrigation or rainwater harvesting to minimize water usage. Incorporate companion planting and crop rotation to deter pests, improve soil health, and optimize plant growth.

Maintain Your Garden

Regular maintenance is essential for the success of your survival garden. Monitor moisture levels, weed diligently, and inspect plants for signs of pests or disease. Provide adequate support for vining or heavy-bearing plants to prevent damage and maximize yield. Harvest fruits and vegetables promptly when they reach maturity to encourage continued production and prevent spoilage.

Save Seeds for Future Seasons

As your survival garden matures, save seeds from open-pollinated or heirloom varieties to preserve genetic diversity and ensure a sustainable food source for future seasons. Allow some plants to bolt and set seed, then collect and properly store the seeds for long-term viability. Learning seed-saving techniques empowers you to maintain your garden independently and adapt to changing conditions over time.

Adapt to Changing Conditions

Be prepared to adapt your survival garden to changing conditions and unforeseen challenges. Stay informed about local weather patterns, pest outbreaks, and other factors that may impact your garden’s performance. Experiment with different planting strategies, varieties, and techniques to optimize resilience and productivity in response to evolving circumstances.

Survival gardening offers a practical and empowering solution for growing your own food and enhancing your family’s self-sufficiency during times of crisis. By following these essential steps and strategies, you can establish a thriving survival garden capable of providing fresh produce, nutritional sustenance, and peace of mind in the face of uncertainty. Start planning and planting your survival garden today to reap the benefits tomorrow and beyond.

Does your family keep a survival garden? Do you plan to start? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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Homesteading

Harvesting the Cold: A Guide to Winter Foraging for Edible Plants

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Man holding fresh Chestnuts picked from the forest floor

Foraging has come to a temporary halt with cold weather coming into the picture… or has it? Those with a keen eye and no fear of the cold winter landscape can still find a surprising variety of edible plants from now until the opening day of baseball season. 

It’s just another skill set to learn. For family survivalists, it can be an excellent way to not only find food in your backyard but also to spend time with your family and learn more about the local ecosystems. Learning how to identify and locate edible plants during the winter months can uncover hidden gems, adding a touch of freshness and unique flavor to your winter dishes.

First, however, you must understand how winter foraging is different from foraging during other seasons. It will require a deeper connection with the landscape and a great deal of patience. You must also prioritize safety and warmth, dressing in layers, wearing insulated boots, and carrying emergency supplies, such as extra clothing, first-aid essentials, and navigation tools.

Patriotic Blade

Essential Tools For Winter Foraging

You’ll need more than a pair of gardening shears to do winter foraging. Any winter outdoor or wilderness activity requires that you carry a certain amount of survival equipment in the odd chance that you get lost or otherwise stuck out in the wilderness for longer than you planned to. 

First, you’re going to need a reliable field guide specifically about winter foraging or use a smartphone app offering detailed information on plant identification. One of the most dangerous things you can do with any kind of foraging is selecting the wrong plant. 

And, of course, you’re going to need a pair of pruners or scissors for harvesting. You should also carry some kind of digging tool so that you can access root vegetables. You may also need a digging tool to remove snow from areas, whether it be so that you can access a plant, clear yourself a path, or build an emergency shelter in the event that you get caught out in the cold. 

Common Edible Winter Plants

Patriotic Blade

There are a number of plants that grow in the winter that you can safely eat. Some of these include:

  • Cattail: Cattails grow abundantly next to wetlands and have edible parts just about year-round. During the winter months, you’ll want to look for their roots, which you can then harvest, peel, and cook.
  • Rose Hips: Rose hips are the fruit produced by wild roses. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C. You can make teas or jams with them, or add them to food for extra flavor.
  • Pine: Pine trees offer edible parts year-round. During the winter, gather the new, light-green growth at the ends of branches to add a citrusy flavor to food.
  • Dandelion: Dandelions are extremely hardy and can survive in very cold climates. Their young leaves are less bitter when harvested during the winter, making them perfect for salads or sautéing.
  • Chickweed: Chickweed thrives in cool winter weather. In fact, you can find it growing underneath snow patches. Its tender leaves and stems are excellent for salads.

Conclusion

Winter foraging may be a lesser-explored endeavor than foraging in the other seasons. However, it can be a rewarding and educational experience for those unafraid of the cold and willing to discover the hidden bounty of edible plants. For homeschool families, it can be an excellent way to do science classes during the winter for kids of all ages. 

Remember always to thoroughly identify a plant before you eat it. Eating the wrong thing is far more likely to cause you trouble than the cold weather. And always forage responsibly, respecting nature and leaving something behind for future generations.

Patriotic Blade

If you remember all of that you can feel free to venture into the winter wonderland to unlock hidden treasures of winter foraging.

What are some of your favorite edible wild plants for the winter months? Does anything cool or interesting grow in your neck of the woods? Share your favorites in the comments below.

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Family

Getting More From Your Garden: Preserving Your Home Harvest

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Home gardens are fun, but they can also be delicious if you’re growing things that you and your family can eat. Too many home gardeners, however, are content to have a ton of tomatoes that last a week and then give the rest away – or worse than that, throw them out when they go bad.

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

Homesteading Handbook

You can keep as much of your garden harvest as you like, give as much away as you like and throw out as much as you like. All you have to do is know how to prepare and store your harvest for long-term preservation. Once you learn how to do these, it’s going to make your harvest time much more satisfying. 

It’s Your Jam

If you’re growing fruit and not making jams, jellies and preserves out of it, you don’t know what you’re missing. Like a lot of other freshly grown foods, eating homemade jams and comparing them to what you’ve been eating from the supermarket is like you’re eating a completely different food. 

For those entrepreneurially minded, jams and jellies are great for selling at the local farmer’s market. So if you want to make a few bucks off of your home garden, this is a really easy way to start doing that.

Cure Your Vegetables

Your vegetables aren’t sick, but they might need a cure regardless. It’s not hard and doesn’t take it a lot of time, which makes it a very easy lift for someone who has a lot of veggies but not a lot of time. 

You have to wait until your vegetables are fully ripe before you cure them. Otherwise, they’re never going to get ripe. If you cure your vegetables properly they can last for weeks or months even if you don’t put them in the refrigerator. 

Homesteading Handbook

Dehydration Is Actually Your Friend

The main engine of vegetables going bad are fungus and bacteria. You can prevent this process by dehydrating your vegetables before they go bad. Some produce is much easier to dehydrate than others: If you want to dehydrate tomatoes, just slice them up, throw them on a sheet pan in the sun for a couple days, then store them.

For other fruits and vegetables you might need a dehydrator. Fortunately, these don’t cost much these days and can easily pay for themselves with all the produce that you save through the process. 

Can It Up

Canning is a great way to preserve just about every kind of food. You can can in either metal cans or in glass jars. The choice is yours, but the main thing you need to remember is that the main threat to canned food is botulism – and that can kill you or at least make you and your family extremely miserable. 

The good news about canning is that there are hundreds of centers across the country run by the Church of Latter-Day Saints where you can learn how to can without buying any equipment. Membership in their church is not required – all are welcome.

Ferment and Pickle Your Vegetables

One way to turn your veggies into something a little different is through fermenting and pickling. In the case of fermentation, there are also health benefits – fermented vegetables are great for your gut health. 

Unfortunately, however, fermented foods taste weird to some people. So pickles might be a better choice for you if you’re not into the taste of fermented foods. 

The Easy Way: Freezing

Of course, there’s always freezing your veggies. Your space might be limited here, however you probably already know how to freeze foods. You’ll want to prepare them specifically for the fruit or vegetables you plan on preserving. For example, some should be cooked, some should be chopped and others can just be thrown in the freezer. Look up whatever you’re looking to freeze before you freeze it.

Homesteading Handbook

There’s no reason for you to give away or waste your veggie garden when it’s time for harvest. With a combination of these methods, you can enjoy fresh-ish veggies all year long. 

What’s your favorite method for preserving your home garden for the long-term? What secrets have you picked up? Leave a comment below to help other homesteaders. 

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