I had a few questions from friends about gardening these last month or so..
Where do I start?
What do I plant?
I’ve so been there. And I’m basically still a green horn at everything. There are way too many options out there. Here’s a bit from us so maybe y’all won’t have to go through the same trial and errors that we have.
We live in North Central Oregon (zone 6) so growing a plentiful garden can be a challenge. Since we don’t have the longest growing season, our last frost date being early to mid June, starting indoors is basically required if you want to be eating from your garden through spring and summer. Have a greenhouse? Perfect. You’re already a step ahead of me! We do have two 4’x 8′ hoop houses though, which will serve as a green house to our first transplants for our spring garden. Currently they’re housing 22 layer chicks, sorry, not sorry!
(We plan to build a greenhouse in the near future in order to grow short season cold weather varieties through the winter)
No greenhouse? Don’t fret. Seed starts do well with artificial light. Affordable growing lights can be acquired on the internet or at a local garden store. No money in the budget for garden purchases? That’s ok to. Lights are the best option to keep your seeds from becoming lanky but they’ll do fine with natural sun exposure also. Find a southern facing warm window in your house where you can set up a table for seed starting.
Now onto the good stuff.
Here’s a simple list of basic seed starting supplies:
- Seed-starting soil mix (I reuse any soil from last years pots or planters before buying new) But I also really love those jiffy pellets!
- Seed starting trays- basic containers w/drainage holes and a tray (upcycle and get creative if you need to)
- Grow lights
Choosing what to put in your garden up to you. I can tell you all day long what you should be planting, but in the end it’s all about what you and your family will eat and how much time you’re willing to spend tending your plants. No sense in wasting time and money on food you’ll likely not eat, and a garden does need regular tending whether it be mulching, weeding, or checking for (squishing) bugs.
Here’s a list of what belongs in YOUR spring garden: (what I’m planting/ already planted = *)
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard*
- Mustard greens*
- Green Onions*
Since I’m a seed addict and have so many of these varieties already, choices were made based on what I have on hand right now. I still have to purchase things like radish and broccoli seed, we plant so much of these I never have left overs. Our potatoes will be planted next month using the potato tower method, which I’ll definetly be making a post about as it happens. I’m also starting herbs I have now since they can easily be grown indoors full time anyway.
Mike the Gardner – Seeds of the Month club
- 100% non-GMO
- 8 packs your first month, 4 thereafter
- Affordable heirloom seeds
Territorial Seed Company
- Local- Cottage Grove, OR
- Family owned
- Offers only untreated seed (non-GMO)
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
- Nearly 2,000 varieties of heirloom seeds – largest selection in U.S.
- Family owned
- Supplies free heirloom seeds to poor countries.
Seed Savers Exchange
- USDA organic
- Heirloom seeds
- Non-profit dedicated to preservation of heirloom seeds
- Tax deductible membership
I take whatever advice I can get, and have learned much from fellow homesteaders and some really amazing books. Most of what I know I can thank these three folks and their amazing families for the trial and error they’ve let us all watch over the years.
Shaye Elliott- The Elliott Homestead
- Welcome to the Farm — How-to Wisdom from The Elliott Homestead
Justin Rhodes- Abundant Permaculture
- Permaculture Chickens DVD
- YouTube vlog
Jill Winger- The Prairie Homestead
- Your Custom Homestead e-book
These folks are my heroes and I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for these amazing homesteaders who inspired me and my family to get back to basics and grow a life of wholesome plenty.
Over and out.
Peace and Love,