Homestead RequirementsGardening varies by climate, location, and season. There is no single way to design or build a homestead. Here are the things you need to take into consideration:
- Space: How much space do you have available to grow vegetables? This doesn't just include planting directly in the ground. Vegetables can be grown in containers on porches, decks, and walkways, as well.
- Sun: How much sun does your space receive? Sun is essential to healthy organic vegetable growth. If your land is shaded, you will struggle to grow anything.
- Access to water: Is there a hose, spigot, or well nearby. How easy or hard will it be to water your garden every day? Can you set up an irrigation system to make it easier?
- Soil: The type of soil on your land is extremely important. Not all soil will grow vegetables – some soils don't have enough nutrients. Organic gardening in clay soil, for example, requires adding lots of compost or using raised bed gardens.
- How long is the growing season? Some vegetables grow in 30 days, and others take 90-120 days. Locations that experience short growing seasons will not be able to grow all vegetables. Before you decide which plants to grow, you must make sure they can be grown in your area.
Choosing Crops for the Homestead GardenIt is best to choose a variety of crops, so if one struggles to thrive, there are others to make up the difference. Plant vegetables that your family enjoys, and also choose some high-yielding ones.
When deciding which crops to grow, take into consideration the space available. Pumpkins are high-yielding yet require a lot of space. They won't be the best choice for all locations.
Growing organic herbs and lettuce usually generates lots of produce, and they grow well in a variety of climates. Other high-yielding crops to consider include zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, and potatoes.
In addition to seasonal vegetables, consider planting perennial herbs and fruit. Perennials grow year after year without needing to be replanted. Berry bushes like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries and trees like peach, hazelnut, and apple provide harvests every year.
Homesteading in the CityDon't despair if you don't have a lot of space available for planting. There are many options that don't necessitate having land. Organic vegetable crops can be grown in containers on the balcony, along walkways, and even hanging from vertical structures. Be creative! Hydroponics is an option, as well, and can be set up indoors or outdoors.
Homestead Gardening Tips
- Draw up a sketch before you start anything. This includes where you want to plant the vegetables, how you will set up irrigation or watering, and where you will grow trees and bushes. Don't forget to include walkways so you can access everything.
- Make a planting schedule before you plant anything. Spots in the garden can be used twice for two short-season vegetables if it is properly planned.
- Plant continuous crops. For example, do a new planting of lettuce every three weeks, so there is always a crop ready for harvest.
- Start small. Always start small to see what works before creating a huge homestead. It would be awful to build a vast garden only to discover it isn't going to work out how you had hoped.
- Be flexible. It is hard to predict everything that will happen, especially when dealing with natural elements. Maybe you will discover a pest in your area that eats all the tomatoes, meaning tomatoes is not a good crop in your area. It's okay to try and have it not work. Just keep going and try something else.
- Learn from others. Ask around to other farmers and gardeners to see what successes they have. Locals folks have the best information.