Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Homesteading Goals Adventures

As I have been researching for building out this next phase of our garden, I have stumbled across a homesteading movement on social media.  There are a bunch of different things that "homesteaders" do, but basically they try to be as sustainable and self-sufficient as possible.  Growing their own foods.  Making their own items.  Often this includes chickens or other farm animals...but that's not really in the cards for us.

Some of the things "homesteaders" do are things that I already know how to do...but maybe don't do them very often.  For example, I'm great at making homemade breads and pastas and cooking from scratch.  There's nothing like that yeasty smell of freshly baked bread.  I used to know how to sew and knit.  I could probably revive that knowledge with a bit of practice.

The aspect of homesteading that really calls to me is relying on less.  In wanting less, I'd like to rely on eating more from our garden...eventually extending the growing seasons.  Some of the volumes of stuff people grow on lots the size of ours is pretty impressive!  Also, another part of the homesteading movement that I want to aspire to is needing less and living more simply.  I want to try to not buy all the crazy toys for my kids so that they learn that they don't needs tons of stuff to be happy.

The philosopher Epictetus once said:  "Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants."  I want to raise my kids in a way that they have few wants not because they have tons of stuff, but because they realize that they don't need that stuff.

I don't plan to quit my day job.  I just plan to save more and use that extra towards building a special needs trust for little Blueberry.  And this also will reduce our carbon footprint which is also important to me.


I have a tendency to want to do everything at once so I am trying to break down my goals to monthly projects.

In addition to these monthly goals, my overall goal this year is to spend 15 minutes in the garden everyday.

April - Create new beds (adding about 180 square feet). Plant seedlings.  Start planting early season crops.  Finish my project calendar for expected planting and harvesting dates.

May - Lots more planting this month!  Make a compost pile.

June - Collect rain water to use in the garden. Month one of processed food detox.

July - Learn how to can.  Month two of processed food detox.

August - Learn how to ferment food and make homemade soda.

September - prepare beds for next year and make a cold frame

October - no spend month (only spend on absolute necessities)

November - knit something

December - enjoy the holidays...trying to not go all crazy on buying all sorts of stuff we don't need.  scaling down Christmas and focusing on what really matters...celebrating Jesus's birthday with those we love.

What homesteading or gardening goals do you have this year?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Newspaper Seedling Pots Adventures

I was hoping to get my first spinach, carrots, beets and chard in the garden today, but it SNOWed!!!!  What?!  That's Indiana for you.

So, instead, I decided to plant some seedlings that I was actually a bit behind on.  And I decided to try something new!  I made little seedling pots out of newspapers! 

Apparently, most newspapers are printed with soy based ink these days so are fine for composting and in this case, using as fun little free planting pots.  Masking tape is also compostable.

I plan to just plant this whole thing in the garden and let the newspaper decompose.  I'll probably open the bottom.  Also, as a side note...if you do this, make sure to put the whole newspaper under the ground, otherwise it'll just capillarity up the water to the top of the paper and let it evaporate.  If you aren't sure, that's a bad thing.  We want water in the ground, not evaporated.  So, if you plant it with the newspaper pots, just burry the newspaper and you'll be fine.

I took a piece of news paper, folded it in half, rolled it around the can such that enough was left on the bottom to fold under. 

I taped the side and then I folded it and taped it like I was wrapping a little Christmas present for myself.  If there is a little gap, that's totally fine because that just means extra drainage. 

I used a can of green beans, but you can use any jar, cup, etc that is the size you want it.  You can also make the pot any size tall.  I went with about 5 to 6 inches.  But if you are planting smaller things, you can make smaller pots.

My litte Blueberry wanted to help make little pots!

I made about 16 of them.

Then it was time to plant!  I used seed starting mix and got it wet until it reminded my little Tomato of Brownie batter.

I had this neat Hefty deep rimmed box that is a perfect little greenhouse.  I'm putting it on a sunny window sill to help with heat to germinate.  As soon as my baby plants pop out, I have a grow light for them.

Super easy...and even better, I didn't have to waste money on those peat pots!  I was a bit skeptical of the newspaper holding up to the moisture.  I even had some draining water and they seem fine.  I guess we'll see how they are in a few weeks!  I will keep you updated.

Has anyone else tried this fun little trick?