Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homesteading Anyone?

This is my number 2 reference book
Has anyone ever wanted to just stop shopping at the grocery store? Or am I just crazy? Call me a hippie, but I actually want to grow my own produce for my family. I hate having to push those bacteria-infested shopping carts for hours every week just to waste my hubby's hard earned money. That's money we could use on a vacation somewhere (I've always wanted to visit Alaska for one month)!

Apparently, after doing some research on homesteading, it can and has been done. There are various websites that have made a homestead on as little as 1/10 of an acre in Los Angeles. Wow. (http://urbanhomestead.org/) Now their family is included in the whole homesteading business and they sell their extra produce. What about us who don't live in the Los Angeles area? What if I live in Northern California? Or Central California? (Seriously, is Bakersfield north, south, or central California? No one really knows this.) According to Sunset.com zip code plant zone locator, the Urban Homestead's plant zone is 22 and 23. The Bako Depot's plant zone? 8. Major difference. Citrus does okay here in zone 8, but the cold night could kill the citrus trees unless you keep some heating source on them.

The first step is research. There are other great websites that explain homesteading, but what about books? What if I have a small yard? Or don't even live in California? Don't fret. Check out your local library before anywhere for books. My library has a great selection of books, so if you don't have these books, I would look on Amazon.com or even craigslist.org.

This book is a must-buy for  beginners

The second step is to plan. Figure out how much land, pots, or area you want to use to garden with. My property is 1/3 of an acre with 3 chickens. I could grow an abundance of crops if we weren't hoping to move. There are multiple ways to have a garden and if you have a small area, then I would suggest you google "square foot gardening" to get the most out of your small area. Hey, 1 tomato plant will save you at least $10 worth of tomatoes. What have you got to lose?

The third major step to homesteading is figuring out what plants you (and your family) want and figure out their requirements. Full sun, good drainage, etc. You don't want to plant green beans next to tomatoes because of the green beans high nitrogen levels. You'll also learn about crop rotating to maximize food production each year.

Everything you wanted to know about composting

You'll also need to learn about composting. This book is a great easy-reading reference book that tells you the hows and whys of composting. I thought I would read a section, but I ended up reading it cover to cover.

So these are the first steps in creating your new homestead. These are vital. Like my stepdad always says, you can't get anywhere without a plan. So plan away and get the family involved. It does take more than one person to help with huge projects like these. My kids love when I ask them questions "what do you want to plant this year?" They feel like they are part of the team and will help whenever you ask. Remember, kids are proud to eat what they grow.