To depend on your garden to feed your family, you must plant staple crops, the foods that are essential to human survival. The ideal staple crops for increasing food self-sufficiency should be easy to harvest and store, provide high yields, and be calorie-dense to give you the food energy from carbohydrates that you require each day.
You’ll need to preserve the results of your labor if you want to make wonderful meals all year. But you don’t want to plant ten pounds of carrots and let them go bad, or can a few dozen Mason jars of wild strawberry preserves without a place to keep them.
Using less energy is the most reliable way to save money and cut costs on the farm. Try these energy-saving strategies to reduce your reliance on energy and improve your homestead’s resilience.
Growing nuts can be a long-term endeavor, but it’s not always the case. For example, you can plant, nurture, and harvest a crop of peanuts in only a few months. Some, like walnuts, take longer to become productive than others, such as almonds, which can take a few years.
A while back, horses were an important part of everyday life in the United States. Folks were using them for transportation, fieldwork, and moving herds of livestock, and horses soon became a valuable possession. Purchasing a workhorse was back then serious business, and this endeavor was taken quite seriously by anyone looking for a reliable workhorse.
Cover crops are not just for large, commercial farming operations. Even on small farms and home garden plots, this regenerative technique works wonders on the soil.
When my wife and I purchased our rural 43 acres, both of us were hit with a range of emotions. It was a big step financially, and it suddenly dawned on us that it was going to take time and physical effort to make our homestead dream come true.
Have you ever thought about becoming a beekeeper? To be honest, before I became a beekeeper, I never thought about wanting to be one. I’m actually allergic to bees, and the thought of being around them terrified me, but I did want to grow my own food.
Now that it’s the peak of the summer growing season and you can find watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydew melons at nearly all supermarkets, curb markets, and roadside stands, you can pig out on the juicy delights. And each taste is made a little sweeter by the realization that within a few weeks, there will be no more melons for months and months.
Most homesteaders and small farmers are quite self-sufficient. Many raise their own chickens for eggs and meat, plant large gardens to grow their vegetables, and have sheep or goats around to keep the grass down in the pasture and provide delicious, protein-rich meals.
So often these days, families are making the decision to ditch the city life and rat race and relocate to the vastness of rural America. The lure of open spaces attracts those who wish to spread their wings yet put down roots.
Accidents often happen on the farm, and farmers have one of the highest rates of workplace accidents in the country. Old farmers will often show you their “battle scars” that put them in the statistics, and they will share their hard-learned lessons so that you won’t make the same mistakes.
Before the pandemic, our garden center organized some courses, and since I’m an old-time gardener, I decided to attend, just to see what new things I could learn. One particular session sparked interest among the attendees, the one about microclimates and how these microclimates can influence our gardens.