Dear Neighbor,

Your homestead garden is essential in self- sufficency. It is not too late to plan your garden. If you live in the south, you have three garden seasons and are never behind. With the availability of grown plants, one can plop a garden in the ground in a day! If you are in the north, you haven’t even had the chance to work in your garden, yet. So you still have plenty of time.

Growing enough food for your family can be a challenge to calculate. There is a couple of sites that can help you. My favorite website on small gardening is Postage Stamp Vegetable Gardening. You can calculate and plan your garden through this website. They will help you garden in containers, build themed gardens (Italian, Mexican, etc.)

Ultimately, your garden will be decided on what you want to accomplish in your garden. Postage Stamp Vegetable Gardening asked these questions:

“Your garden will need to be defined by the number of hours you’re willing to spend gardening each week, how much space is available, how your garden fits into your yard, and what site makes the most sense.  You’ll also have to decide whether you’re going to garden at ground level or in raised beds.  You may also want to conside a separate garden for the children.

1.  What do I really want to grow?
2.  Do I want a combination in-ground and container garden?
3.  How big should I make my garden?
4.  How much time do I have to spend each week?
5.  Can I integrate my garden into my landscaping?
6.  Do I want raised beds?
7.  Do I need to grow my garden against a fence to support my vine plants?
8.  Do I want to garden vertically?
9.  Does pocket gardening make sense in my yard?
10. Do I want to grow enough vegetables to freeze or can?”

Once you decide what kind of garden you want and find your space you will want to
ready the soil and make it ready for your new plants and seeds. Till and fertilize the soil with manure or compost. Unless you own a garden tractor, I want you to get rid of the idea of large farm
gardening. Long, wide spaced rows were created for tractors to fit in between and that space was greatly wasted. However, those who owned tractors had a lot of land to work and the space to waste. Most of us will be doing this by our own two hands so we need to work the most out of the least amount of land. You want to get used to the idea of never walking on your garden bed. Walking on it compacts the soil and creates a need for regular tilling. There is no need to walk on your bed. Once you till it you can then only use light tossing of the soil to mix in new compost or manure. You need
spaces that have a minimum of six hours of full sun and more for vegetables like tomatoes and peppers who thrive in the heat of the sun. Today you need to go outside and look around and decide where you will carve out a minimum of 100 square feet of space for gardening.

You can do raised beds, vertical beds, roof top gardens, straw bale beds… there are many types of gardens if you do not have appropriate soil or do not want to garden at ground level.

All these issues will be addressed in letters soon.

Happy homesteading, S