Raised Bed Gardening – How to Start

How to Get Started with Raised Bed Gardening - Five Little Homesteaders

I do almost all of my gardening in raised bed.  I’ve found that when living in an urban or suburban setting, raised bed gardening is usually the most practical, attractive and fruitful way to grow your own food.

I do have a small plot of vegetables planted directly in the ground in our front yard but given that the land I live on hasn’t been used for farming in over a century, the soil has degraded and compacted.  I’m working on improving the soil in the front, but it is definitely an uphill battle.  For me, raised bed gardening is the way to go.

Read more ›

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Starting Seedlings

Seed Starting :: Five Little Homesteaders

Spring is coming.  I promise.

What this means is that it is about time to start thinking about starting seedlings.

Since I’ve been gardening for so long, it seems to me that starting seedlings is a no brainer.  However, I’ve recently been reminded that it isn’t for everyone.  Some people believe they have a black thumb…some people have never tried…and some people are just intimidated!  Whatever the case, this post will set you straight.

Read more ›

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

DiRT M.D. Giveaway!

Dirt MD Giveaway! :: Five Little Homesteaders

I know you guys love a good giveaway.  I mean…. come on!  I do too!

The giveaway that I’m starting today is amazing for several reasons:

  1. As a soil drench, DiRT M.D.  will help prepare your gardens and beds for spring planting.  I know you are all looking forward to getting your gardens started!
  2. Used as a foliar feed later in the season, this product may help produce healthier plants and accelerated growth.
  3. Ocean Agro LLC (the company that manufactures DiRT M.D) has been kind enough to offer 11 chances for readers to win.  They will be giving away 1 large bottle of DiRT MD and 10 individual use pouches.

Read more ›

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Planting Potatoes in Your Garden

Successfully Planting Potatoes in your Garden :: Five Little Homesteaders

I recently wrote a post on preparing seed potatoes for planting and it was one of my most popular posts of all time!  I guess there are a lot of gardeners, much like myself, who are looking to grow their own potatoes.

With that in mind, I decided to write another post on how we planted our seed potatoes into our potato growing bin.

Read more ›

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

How to Prepare Your Garden

How to Prepare Your Garden :: Five Little Homesteaders

photo courtesy of southern foodways alliance on flickr

For a lot of you, it might be hard to believe it right now with all the snow on the ground, but spring really is coming!

Before you know it, it will be time to plant your garden!  Are you ready?  Are your plans in place?

This post will give you my top 5 tips for how to prepare your garden this spring.  I’d love to know:

What would you add to the list?

Read more ›

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

How to Prepare Seed Potatoes for Planting

How to Prepare Seed Potatoes for Planting

When I sat down this fall to plan out my spring garden, I realized that I really wanted to try my hand at growing potatoes, so just a couple weeks back I bought a few bags of seed potatoes.  However, I quickly realized that I needed a refresher on how to prepare seed potatoes for planting.  I did it once before on a farm that I worked on but I wasn’t sure about cutting them and placing them and prepping them, etc. etc. and so on.

So, I took to the internet and my few favorite gardening books and this is what I ended up doing.
Read more ›

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Preserving Fresh Broccoli in the Freezer

How to Freeze Fresh Broccoli :: Five Little Homesteaders

I love growing our own produce. It is convenient, healthy, fun and (can be) cheap.  However, when the harvest comes in and you are up to your ears in one kind of vegetable or fruit, it can also be overwhelming.

I’m working on learning to preserve each type of vegetable and fruit that I grow so that I can make better use of it, realize less waste, and enjoy our produce for more of the year.  Last fall I took on water bath canning with our homemade applesauce and learning to properly store our bumper crop of winter squash.  Now I’m working on learning to effectively freeze vegetables, like broccoli, that don’t easily lend themselves to other types of preservation.  In this post I will teach you about preserving fresh broccoli.

Read more ›

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Homesteading in the Winter Series: Post 2 – Growing Cool Weather Fruits and Vegetables

I am taking part in a posting series related to the topic of “Homesteading in the Winter.” 

Each Thursday there will be a new post on a different issue associated with the needs and unique challenges of living on a homestead (big or small, urban or rural) during the winter.  I am a teaming up with several other bloggers to bring you this series.


Today’s topic is “Growing Cool Weather Fruits and Vegetables.”  The participating blogs for this week include:



After reading my post, please take a few minutes to visit these other blogs and learn about what growing cool weather food crops looks like where they live.  

———————————————————————


So.  Last week I posted about protecting your plants in the winter but THIS week I’m writing about which fruits and vegetables are good to grow in cool/cooler weather.  (Maybe these topics should have been switched, eh?) 

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably figured out that I live in Phoenix and that our “winters” aren’t typical of most winters around the country.  During winter, we can still grow a lot of things.  

 Brassicas 

I LOVE brassicas.  I love eating them, I love growing them.  The brassicas that I love to grow include:
  • cabbage - http://amzn.to/17G2s6a
  • broccoli - http://amzn.to/17G2tH7
  • cauliflower
  • kale - http://amzn.to/17dmUe6
  • brussels sprouts.

I have trouble with brussels sprouts, but I’m able to grow the others beautifully.  Brassicas are known for being cold tolerant and do not like high temperatures.  They do well in the shade.  They are a great fall/winter crop.  Both broccoli and brussels sprouts are known to have improved flavor for having been exposed to a mild frost.  




Root Vegetables  

There are many root vegetables that do well in the cold and that may actually “overwinter.”  Some of the cold weather root vegetables that I like to grow include:
  • carrots - http://amzn.to/17OeRCE (though I often fail)
  • radishes - http://amzn.to/17OeVlY (though I’m not terribly fond of the taste)
  • beets - http://amzn.to/17G2zyq (and chard)
Radishes actually grow best when the day length is short and I’ve read a couple of articles about people who thickly mulch over their carrots to get them through the winter.  I love roasted beets but can’t get my husband on board. 


You might be wondering why I have chard in this group….. well chard and beets are actually the same species of vegetable.  So I could have thrown it in with lettuce but it is actually more accurate to throw it in with beets.  As an aside, I really like chard (though not as much as kale) and it is considered one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat.  It is also a beautiful plant! 

Peas and Beans

I love growing peas - http://amzn.to/16HXfYy .  They are a beautiful and you can’t beat the flavor of a fresh pea off the vine.  While the blossoms are frost tender, you can usually get a pea plant and the peas through a light frost without much or any damage. 

Beans are all over the map. Some like it hot and some like it cold.  I’m going to try my hand at fava beans - http://amzn.to/19HnVKW this year and see how I do.  They will grow throughout the entire winter here, so I’m looking forward to it.  

Tomatoes

Ok.  NOW I’ve got your attention!  What are tomatoes doing on this list, you ask?  Well, here in Phoenix, the rule of thumb is that you have to get your tomato transplants in before Valentine’s Day to get the best production.  BUT, the trick is, you have to keep them protected because as we all know, tomatoes don’t like the cold.  So, since tomatoes are SORTA a cool weather plant here, we have to protect them.  I love these little contraptions - http://amzn.to/12XEQ9p that you see in the picture.  They work AMAZINGLY well.  

Finally, I want to give a quick plug to my post on starting seeds with grow lights.  A great way to grow plants in the cold is to start them by seed indoors so that you will have strong, healthy transplants to put in the ground once the weather improves.  Just make sure you are ready with row cover - http://amzn.to/1ffx6AH or a cold frame - http://amzn.to/1afeOMu if you put something in the ground that is particularly sensitive.  

What about you?   What cold weather plants are your favorite to grow?

        
Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.