Starting a garden is a lot of work! You will need to read a lot of information before starting a garden in your yard. I have compiled a master list of gardening posts to do just that. Take notes! Keep a journal. Most of all once you actually get started gardening don’t forget to have fun, digging in the dirt! I think that is one of the best parts. I have heard that it is a great way to de-stress. Connect with the Earth and gain some positive energy. Make sense to me!
Homesteading and gardening go hand in hand, but why?
I have spoken to many homesteaders about how they got started homesteading, and it almost always starts with food. They wanted to eat healthier, or they realized like me, oh hey, I can make this stuff myself. Which, bring other epiphanies like realizing all of the unnecessary ingredients in the processed food we have been eating! Once you get started cooking from scratch, buying a lot of vegetables and fruits, you may realize that it may be a good idea to have a garden. For me I have always found it difficult with all of talk about GMOs and organic and you should buy this but not that talk.
This is where starting a garden comes in. If I buy good seeds, I can grow my own food and not worry about whether I bought the best food at the store. Plus, there is something special about having a store right in your yard. I love going shopping without leaving the property. My oldest son, said exactly what I was thinking the other day while we were picking kumquats. He said, “picking these is so addictive, I could do this all day!” Oh yes child, I know, I can barely stop myself! I made some kumquat marmalade that day. It’s delicious!
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Speaking of knowledge let’s talk about buying seeds. The seeds you find in the box stores have been shipped, stored, moved, shipped and stored many times and who knows for how long. Now, think about seed catalogs and buying organic or heirloom varieties. Both of these varieties are good choices. Seed catalogs are a great idea, or you can do what I do which is sign up for the Seeds of the Month Club.
Affiliate links ahead. I recieved this class for free in exchange for sharing the good word about it. This will not change the price you pay if you decide to buy.
If you are thinking about starting your herb garden with seeds instead of plants, check out this Seed Starting Class first. It’s a very affordable way to learn about growing from seeds. I took the class myself from the Online Gardening School. The instructor Rick has 18 years of gardening experience! He really knows what he is talking about!
The website is called “Average Person Gardening.” The seeds Mike the gardener sells are GMO FREE. Plus, these seeds are heirloom and you can save the seeds and replant with those in the next year. The prices are really, really good. The best part is that you can sign up and you will receive the perfect food to grow in the zone you live in. You don’t even have to know what zone you live in they will calculate it according to your address and this map from the USDA Plant Hardiness Map.
For newbies buying seeds can be a huge task. They also have an online store you can check out too. I plan on seeing what I get and possibly buying from Baker’s Creek also. It will be fun to pick out some new seeds myself! I have heard great things about that company. So I thought I would give them a try also.The seeds of the month club also offers some great information including some PDFs on seed depth, spacing, soil temperatures and more! The PDFs are free, and a wealth of information for beginners.
Starting a garden
This great post on seed catalogs is a must! I love to look at these and so does my oldest son. Go figure, he loves vegetables. He is a true weirdo just like me. I love vegetables. Also, these catalogs are always so beautiful and are a great thing to add to the coffee table for some light reading.
I have several friends who just love to open them up and dream and about their gardens. It also makes for great conversation! Making a seed list to buy and which seeds to sow can be a daunting task! This is a great guide just for that. Be sure to click on the seed germination post if you want to test last year’s seeds!
Here is a great post if you want to buy plants instead of seeds for some or all of your garden. There are some really great tips here that I am definitely taking with me next time I am shopping for plants. Sometimes during the spring I get the itch to plant stuff. It is a great time to find things on clearance also. I have found many great flowers that costed 60¢ and every year they surprise me that they are still growing strong!
This is a great article on the difference between cool and warm season veggies. This article does a great job explaining the difference between the veggies and whether they fall on the cool side or the warm side. It also mentions a couple of cheats to stretch the seasons out a little.
Five steps to getting your garden started is great. A quick read with so much insight! Are you starting to take notes yet? I sure am! I love this post from the Farmer’s Lamp. She shares ideas here like keeping a journal, seed saving and she suggested a book that I have not read yet called (affiliate link) The Encyclopedia of Country Living. It sounds very interesting! I found it on (affiliate link) Amazon, and put it on my wish list! She also shares some great mulching tips. There is a great little post on volunteer plants too!
A great tool I saw at Our Life Out There was What to Plant Now from Mother Earth News. This tool can tell you what you should be planting right now for the zone you are in. That is great for beginners. It is January while I am writing this so there is not much to be planting right now, unless I wanted to start planting inside. Next month I could start a whole bunch seeds. Good thing I already ordered my (affiliate link) seeds!
The Grace and Garden Homestead shares a great Garden planning series. You can learn everything from what to plant, to how much, annuals vs. perennials, fruit and nut trees and much more. There is a lot of great information here especially if you want to understand more in depth about these terms. Here is a great breakdown of a couple different things to plant and the best growing tips for each one from the 104 Homestead.
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There is a great post on composting at Survival at Home. All the basics you need to know about composting in this great post! Composting is something you may or may not decide to do, but it is pretty easy and you could save some money, plus you will be putting a lot less stuff in the garbage that will end up in the landfill decomposing anyway. You might as well use it to your advantage.
Get all you can out of the food you are growing to the last drop by making a vegetable broth and/or composting them. You can add the liquid and all to the compost after you cook up your vegetable broth as long as it doesn’t have meat, oil or any other the other no nos, you will learn about when reading these posts.
The University of Illinois shares lots of great articles on composting. Like, the science of composting, the history of composting, materials for composting, composting methods, building your compost pile, and more! The 104 Homestead shares a post on composting in your chicken run. I also checked out this interview that The Homestead Lady did an interview with a guy named Joe from Homesteading Chronicles about Vermicomposting.
If you don’t know what that is, well it is basically when you use earthworms to make fertilizer. The Homestead Lady also shares 3 reasons to use a compost tumbler, mulch composting, and DIY compost tea bucket. I find the (affiliate link) compost tumbler fascinating. I would love to try one.
Here are all of the resources I found from my fellow homesteaders and some not listed in the text above.
- Why Rototillers May be More Harmful than Helpful in an Organic Garden
- Using Wood Chips in a Vegetable Garden
- What is Raised Bed Gardening
- 6 Companion Planting Mistakes to Avoid – FREE Printable!
- Winter Growing Conditions in a Greenhouse
- 3 Great No Till Gardening Methods
- Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching
- Building Soil with Lasagna Gardening/
- 10 Reasons You Should Garden Indoors
- Use a Polytunnel to Extend Your Growing Season
- What Gardening Zones & Frost Dates Tell You
- How to get the most out of your gardening zone
- Planning the spring garden
- Raised Bed Garden: What to do in Later Spring
- Starting a Keyhole Garden
- How To Start An Indoor Herb Garden
- The Dirty Truth about Composting
- History of composting
- Materials for composting
- Composting methods
- Building your compost pile
- Q& A on Vermicomposting
- DIY compost tea bucket
- Mulch composting
- Composting in your chicken run
- 3 reasons to use a compost tumbler
- Garden planning series
- What to Plant Now
- Our Life Out There
- How to choose the best plant starts at the nursery
- 5 Tips for dealing with volunteer plants
- Garden journal keeping
- (Aff link) The Encyclopedia of Country Living
- Five steps to getting your garden started
- Seed catalogs
- Seeds of the Month Club
- The difference between cool and warm season veggies
- Making a seed list
- Using Mulch in our Garden
- Best growing tips
- Seed starting and Planting Schedule (including a free downloadable template!)
- Seven Easy Ways to Grow Onions
Whew, man that was a lot of reading. So glad that I did though. I have learned so much from my fellow homesteaders! I am so thankful for their wonderful insight everyday. It is always nice to know that you can have great people to turn to when you have questions. Did you learn a lot also? What was your favorite article?
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