Planning a homestead garden is a big part of building your homestead. A garden that is capable of feeding your whole family provides more than food; it provides self-sufficiency. If you can feed yourself and your family, then there is little that the world outside your property line can offer you! 

How big should your garden be for self-sufficiency?

Your family’s preferences and size will determine what vegetables you grow. But when you’re planning your homestead garden, you’ll want to think beyond what vegetables you like to have with your salad or as a side to your steak. Tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and lettuces are all common vegetables to find in any garden. But what about growing corn for canning, popping, and grinding into cornmeal?

Plan on enjoying your garden the whole year.

A cornerstone of self-sufficiency, fruit and vegetable gardening will provide you with fresh food for the whole year. Combine your harvested bounty with food preservation methods, and you’ll enjoy sun-touched peaches in the darkest winter. 

Blog Topics will Include:

  • Garden Planning
  • Permaculture
  • Companion Gardening
  • Strawbale Gardens
  • Raised Bed Gardens
  • Gardening to Feed the Family
  • Aquaponics/Hydroponics

Spending time out in the garden is not only good for the body, it’s good for the soul. Studies have shown that gardening decreases stress, improves mood, reduces anxiety and depression. 

Gardening can even help you recover from surgery.

There are many reasons to get out there and spend time cultivating a backyard garden – growing the food to feed yourself, and your family isn’t the only one. Planning your garden can be quite a challenge, however, especially if you’re going for self-sufficiency. For example, you need to know how many of each type of plant you need per person in your family. Does a member of your family like one particular vegetable most of all? Then you’ll want to plant extras of those. Then you have to know how to store or preserve it all so that you can enjoy it when it’s no longer in season. 

Learn About Your Microclimate

Have you looked at the growing season where you live? What zone covers your hometown? You’ll need to consider not just what state and area you live in but other topographic concerns, including elevation and the layout of your land. Permaculture practices, such as land mapping, help to tackle these questions. By looking at different permaculture techniques, such as Hugelkultur’s, you can explore ways of lengthening your growing and harvesting season naturally. You can do this without having to add a greenhouse – unless, of course, you want to. 

Gardening Companions or Companion Gardening?

We’re planning to build a full ecosystem using permaculture practices to develop an aquaponics system growing fish and vegetables in the greenhouse.

Companion gardening is another crucial part of gardening success. Permaculture principles are a key to the success of companion gardening, whether you’re considering the development of a food forest or just hoping to have fewer bugs in your tomato plants. Traditional systems such as the ‘Three Sisters’ have generations of success to back them up and can be used in almost any space, allowing you to grow things you might not have thought possible in your garden. 

The ‘Three Sisters’ method is an old Native American form of companion gardening centered around corn, pole beans, and winter squash, particularly pumpkins. A few stalks of corn are the centerpiece and provide a trellis for nitrogen producing pole beans. Pumpkins and other winter squash, with their big, broad leaves, provide shade and reduce weeds.

Health conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia shouldn’t stop you from getting out into your garden and enjoying your vegetables. Raised garden beds help alleviate strain on the body, and some options, such as straw bale gardening, provide a growing medium for three to five years! 

Gardening – Good Food for the Spirit and Soul

Our garden in the PNW has been my pride and my personal haven for the past few years. Through it, I’ve learned a great deal about quickly solving different problems that can crop up, such as pest control; I’ve had a chance to bond with our little Bearded Collie, who loves to go with me to walk the garden every morning in the summer. I consider the garden an absolute must when it comes to homesteading, but if you’re a backyard homesteader like I’ve been forced to be with our garden, then space is limited. Square foot gardening is the answer you’ve been looking for, and we’ll spend lots of time discussing ways in which this gardening method can be combined with others to meet the demand for produce, avoid putting a strain on the body, and fit in almost any space (even an apartment balcony). 

And we won’t stop there. As part of our house design, I have decided I want a solarium or conservatory to grow exotic plants such as vanilla, bananas, and other plants that just won’t survive outside in the cold winters of the Black Hills. This, in addition to our planned greenhouse for my father’s hothouse tomatoes and peppers and a planned expedition into aquaponics, has me very excited for how much we’ll be able to produce.