How to Get Started Homesteading

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How to Get Started Homesteading For someone who just heard of it, homesteading might be a lifestyle that is impossible to achieve in modern times. Most people imagine homesteading means you have to move to a remote place, building your own home, growing and raising your own food, and living without electricity. Basically, like how …

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How to Make the Perfect Potting Soil Recipe in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps

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Have you noticed how expensive potting soil can be?

I mean, truthfully, when you think about it – you are buying dirt. Why is it so expensive?

Well, a lot of it has to do with the nutrients that you are purchasing so your plants will grow better. But don’t you think there has to be a better way?

If so, then you’re in luck because I’m going to discuss how you can create your own potting soil and a few other facts that you might need to know along the way.

Here is how you create your own potting soil:

A Quick Warning:

When creating your own potting soil there are two things you need to understand.

First, there is no ‘one size fits all’ potting mix. Each plant has different requirements. So you may have to tweak any recipe for potting mix to better suit exactly the plant that you are wanting to grow.

Secondly, when creating potting soil there are dangers. Namely, you’ll want to be aware of a disease known as Legionnaire’s Disease. It is basically a severe form of pneumonia that can be contracted from bacteria which can live in potting soil mixes and compost.

So you’ll need to use safety precautions such as wearing a face mask, wear protective clothes and gloves, try not to work with soil when the wind is blowing heavily, and spritz dusty ingredients of potting mixes with water to keep them from flying in the air.

Also, be sure to always wash your hands after working in the garden or anywhere else outdoors. If you feel ill and think it could be an onset of this disease, please seek out treatment. Especially if the warning signs are spotted in those with weakened immune systems, small children, or the elderly.

Now that all of our safety notices are out there, let’s move on so you can create your own potting soil.

Why should you create your own potting soil?

Before you take on a DIY project, you need to be sure you know why you are doing it.

Otherwise, you might get frustrated half way through and quit. I’ve been there, and I totally understand. Sometimes when you are buying things to create something, you start adding up the costs.

Though the supplies you buy might make you a lot more than the store bought stuff, it still hits your wallet all at once.

And you begin to ponder why in the world you are doing what you’re doing.

Well, that is why it is important to know why you are doing the task. So in this case, you are creating your own potting soil.

Benefits of Making Your Own Potting Soil:

Here are a few of the reasons you might want to consider doing this yourself:

1. It Saves You Moola

When creating your own potting soil, you are actually saving yourself money. You may not feel like it at first, but how many times have you purchased potting soil and not used it all?

Then you put it in your garden shed, only to return to it later and it is unusable because it is all dried up. If you’ve ever done this, then you know how bad it feels to know that you wasted that money.

Well, if you mix up your own quality potting soil mix, you should save yourself money. You can store it better and easier than the store bought stuff.

Or you could actually just mix up what you need at the time and forget about having to store it, period. Either way, you’ll save yourself some money in the process, usually.

2. Convenience is a Sweet Thing

Convenience is pretty awesome. If it wasn’t then our society wouldn’t have shifted so easily to a newer more convenient way of living.

Let’s face it. We all love to have things when we want it and how we want it as well.

So when you create your own potting soil, you have this convenience. You can actually order most of your ingredients and have them shipped right to your door.

Then, as long as you have everything on hand, you can quickly and easily mix up your potting soil whenever you are ready to use it.

3. You Know All About It

The next benefit of mixing your own potting soil is the fact that you know what it is in it. Let’s face it. All potting soil is not created equal.

And we know that plants love certain things in the soil. It encourages them to grow and produce better, which is the ultimate goal.

Well, if you create your own potting soil, then you can adjust the ingredients as you see fit. You know everything that is in it, and you also can feel better knowing that all of your plants are getting what they need.

4. You Are More Self-Sufficient

So you want to plant your flowers, but it is at a time that maybe the store is closed. If you mix your own potting soil, you are practicing better self-reliance, and you don’t have to worry about when stores are open or closed.

Plus, now that you are learning how to make your own potting soil, you can also know that you are taking another step toward being more self-reliant.

5. Longevity

The final reason why you might want to consider creating your own potting soil is because quality potting soil usually lasts longer.

So if you buy potting soil from the store you might be surprised to realize how much of it is actually bark. This bark will then compost quickly and begin to decompose.

Then your potting soil struggles to retain as much moisture as your plants desire and money is wasted. But with creating your own potting soil (where you include your own quality ingredients), you shouldn’t have to worry as much about it decomposing and not being able to retain water.

In fact, since there is no bark in this potting soil mix, your potting soil should last much longer than a lot of the potting soil you purchase from the stores.

What Do I Want From My Potting Soil?

When I wanted to learn how to make my own potting soil, I found that soil actually did much more than I ever gave it credit for.

Truthfully, I didn’t think about what I actually wanted my soil to do, besides surround my plants, give them a happy home, and then I wanted to see the plants produce.

But now I know what I really want from my soil. Here are few things to consider:

1. Light and Fluffy

I knew I always loved to run my hands through the dirt before planting my flowers and veggies in it, but I never really knew what I was looking for.

But now I know that I want light and fluffy dirt. The reason is because the lighter and fluffier it is the easier it is for my plants to spread out and take root.

Also, you want the soil to be fluffy because that means it is aerated. This means that oxygen has an easier time accessing the plant.

2. Longevity

I want a soil that is going to last. I knew there were a few times I had put bagged soil in the garden shack, come back to it, and the soil didn’t do as well.

But I never knew it was because of the bark content making the soil water resistant. I want a potting soil that won’t break down easily and won’t compact. That way it will last for much longer, and I save money.

3. Retain Water

Naturally, you want your potting soil to hold water. This is great for the plants because they need water to be released to them as needed.

However, if your potting soil won’t hold water, then your plants will not get water as they need. That is something you should keep an eye on when choosing or creating your potting soil.

4. Add Nutrients to My Plants

Obviously, plants get nutrients from the soil. If you create your own potting soil, then you need to create one that will provide these necessary nutrients.

But be sure whatever soil you create or purchase, will give the nutrients your plants desire.

The Recipe

What You’ll Need:

  • Measuring cup
  • Large Mixing Container
  • Water (Jug or Water Hose)
  • A Sieve
  • Trowel
  • A Container to Presoak Peat
  • Potting Soil Ingredients

The Ingredients:

1. Coir Peat or Peat Moss

You will need 1 part of coir peat or peat moss. If you are about living a greener life, then you’ll want to go with coir peat. It is a waste by-product of coconut processing.

So it is clearly a renewable resource. However, if you just prefer peat moss it will do the same thing.

2. Vermiculite

Then you’ll need 1 part vermiculite. This is a natural volcanic mineral that has expanded because of heat. They do this because it increases its ability to contain water.

Also, vermiculite is great at providing necessary minerals for your plants. It can also hold minerals for your plants as well.

3. Compost

Next, you need 2 parts compost that has been sieved. You can make your own compost or purchase it. Whichever option works best for you.

4. Worm Castings

Finally, you’ll need ½ cup to 1 cup of worm castings. If you worm farm, then these should be readily available.

If not, then you can purchase them here. Also, you can use humus from the bottom of your compost pile.

Either way, you’ll want to include this part in your potting mix because it helps retain moisture in your potting soil. It is a great food source for plants and contains microbes that are beneficial to most plants.

Plus, it protects from toxic metals and toxic chemicals that can be found in some soil. It also helps create the desired texture for a potting soil as well.

The Process

1. Presoak the Peat

You will want to begin by placing the coir peat or peat moss in a larger container to soak. Be sure to soak it in warm water. You usually take the amount of peat you have and divide it in half to determine how much water you need to rehydrate.

But once you have loosened the rehydrated peat with your trowel and are satisfied with the consistency of it, then you are ready to move on to the next step.

2. Mix the Peat and Vermiculite

Then you’ll need to mix equal parts peat with vermiculite. If you are not able to purchase vermiculite, coarse sand could be used in its place.

3. Add Compost to the Mix

Next, you’ll need to sieve your compost. Then you’ll need to sieve your worm castings. Once you’ve completed that, you’ll need to take these items and combine them with other nutrients that you might want to add to your potting soil.

Then you’ll add it to the peat and vermiculite to round out your potting soil mix.

4. Check the Acidity

Then you’ll need a pH meter and measure the acidity of the potting mix. You’ll want the acidity to be between 6.0 and 7.0.

If you are having issues with balancing your soil, here is a link that can give you some ideas on how to deal with that.

5. Keep Moist and Store

Finally, you’ll want to insure that your potting mix is moist. Then you’ll store it with a lid to insure it stays moist.

Then you’ll want to recheck the soil’s pH within a few days. You are a looking for a soil pH that is neutral (around 7.0) or a little acidic (around 6.5). When you are ready to use your potting soil just add any last minute minerals you might want.

Plus, you’ll want to add some slow release fertilizers as well.

Finally, add water to moisten the mix and begin planting.

Well, now you are aware of how to make your own potting soil mix. You also know what you should look for in an ideal potting soil. Hopefully, this will help you with your gardening this year.

But I’d love to hear from you. Do you have your own recipe for making potting soil? What ingredients do you add to your potting mixes that you feel work really well for your plants?

We love hearing from you so please leave us your comments in the space provided below.

Saving our forefathers ways starts with people like you and me actually relearning these skills and putting them to use to live better lives through good times and bad. Our answers on these lost skills comes straight from the source, from old forgotten classic books written by past generations, and from first hand witness accounts from the past few hundred years. Aside from a precious few who have gone out of their way to learn basic survival skills, most of us today would be utterly hopeless if we were plopped in the middle of a forest or jungle and suddenly forced to fend for ourselves using only the resources around us. To our ancient ancestors, we’d appear as helpless as babies. In short, our forefathers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic ingredients to make super-food for your loved ones. Watch the video HERE .

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8 Dreadful Mistakes I Made When Creating My Dream Homestead (and How to Avoid Them)

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A little over 5 years ago my husband and I branched out into this lifestyle called homesteading. It was in the middle of winter of all times but something within us just clicked.

Oddly enough, the whole idea came while I was fretting over not being able to afford to feed our three children as healthy of a diet as I wanted to because of our meager grocery budget. Then, while watching an episode of Alaska: The Last Frontier, it clicked.

I saw Eve planting in her high tunnel, and I thought, “I need one of those.” Then my husband saw the chickens and said, “You know we could raise our own food instead of buying it.”

Just like that, the dream was born.

But looking back, we made a lot of mistakes. Some because of poor planning. Some because we had no idea what we were doing, and some because we had limited funds and had to do with what we had.

Today, I want to share a few of these mistakes with you. Hopefully, it can keep you from making the same ones.

1. We Failed To Plan

I know, that is literally one of the most foolish things you can do. But we literally had no game plan.

Honestly, I think it’s because we never really dreamed we’d make it this far.

Looking back, I think we literally thought we’ll only raise chickens for eggs, and a garden plus a greenhouse to extend our growing season. The thought of raising animals for meat hadn’t even entered our minds at this point.

I thought that would be it. But it wasn’t.

Had we taken the time to really think about what we were doing, our life could’ve been much easier. And we probably could have avoided a few of the catastrophes that we faced.

So if you can, look before you leap. Think long-term.

Give yourself some kind of direction so you can avoid some of the mistakes I’m going to talk about below.

2. We Took On Too Much At Once

As I said, we hit the ground running when we decided to homestead. A week after we watched the TV show that inspired it all, our greenhouse was up. Less than a week after that, we had a chicken coop and our first 5 birds.

We did not mess around. But unfortunately, we just kept doing the same thing over and over. We would have an idea and jump into it head first.

But this became a problem.

For instance, I got the idea that I wanted to raise small stature pigs just to feed our family, and I thought they’d be easier to contain instead of taking on a full-size hog. Well, before we did any research, my husband had already bid on a pig through an auction site and brought home our first pig for $7.

Granted it was a great deal, but I had nowhere to put the pig nor did I have a clue what I was getting into.

Now, guess who had a pig in her fenced in the backyard until my husband and oldest son could get a proper pig pen built? Guess who had a pig escaping every other day because the ‘proper pig pen’ still wasn’t strong enough to keep him inside?

Then we bought a mama pig and her baby.

Then the mama had babies.

And before I knew it, I had a full blown pig family and was completely exasperated because we had literally done very little right.

Then we did the same thing with bees. The idea came to mind, the opportunity presented itself, and we jumped in.

Yet again, we failed miserably our first year of beekeeping.

Thankfully, over the years we have learned but not without some hard knocks. So be sure you can chew the mouthful you are planning to bite off when it comes to your homestead.

3. I Put Livestock In The Wrong Spot

Our first investment in livestock and poultry was our chickens. So we built their chicken coop in our backyard so they would be easily accessible.

There have been some perks to the location of our chickens. I think they are better protected being that close to our house. They actually have two fences around them because of our backyard fence plus the fence in their chicken yard.

But there are some downsides.

We literally have no shade in our backyard. So now, I plant sunflowers around their coop each year to provide proper shade during our hot southern summers.

Learning from that mistake, I placed my goats in a very shaded spot that was farther off from the house. But then my goats would cry and cry because they wanted to see us and the other livestock we had.

So what I ended up having to do was to extend my goat area on around our property so they could come to a certain spot and see the backside of our house. That way when I’m out in the yard or on the back porch they can still see me, and I can talk to them.

(Yes, I talk to my goats like they are toddlers. I do the same to my chickens. But that’s a different story.)

Looking back, had I moved my goat lot over and put my chickens where my goats originally started everyone would’ve been happy, and I would have had to do a ton less work.

But you live and learn right? So when deciding where to put your animals think it all the way through so you can hopefully have to make fewer ‘adjustments’ than we’ve had to make.

If you are interested in making your own food then click here to find out more about this awesome survival guide on food independence. 

4. We Went From Zero To Sixty With Our Garden

When we got the idea to begin growing our own food, we had gardened a couple of years prior to that. We would grow a few green beans or some tomato plants in a small above ground bed.

It was just enough for us to make a meal or a sandwich out of.

We had never dreamed of canning or preserving our own food.

But that didn’t deter us from thinking we would grow this ginormous garden. And we did just that.

However, we learned the hard way that the larger the garden the larger amount of work that comes with it. I spent a lot of summers chasing my tail trying to keep this garden weeded and thriving.

Then we didn’t fully think through where we would like to place the garden. It is currently (and probably will always be) in the half of our backyard that isn’t fenced.

And it takes up a huge portion.

Looking back, I could’ve made it smaller and put it right out in my front yard. I live out in the middle of nowhere so I don’t have any strict regulations I have to follow.

Being in my front yard would have given my kids a lot more room to play in the backyard. Now, I have the swing set in our side yard along with a trampoline because our garden took up needed backyard play space. And we are getting a pool next year so who knows where I’ll end up putting it.

My advice is to really think about the placement of your garden. Make sure it isn’t so big that you can’t handle it. Because you can always go back and increase it later if needed.

Make sure it isn’t so big that you can’t handle it. Because you can always go back and increase it later if needed.

But you don’t want to forget that you need space for fun and living too. Otherwise, you’ll end up being like me and trying to figure out where to shove the play equipment without making your house look like a theme park.

5. I Had To Redo Things…A Lot

I catch myself saying things like ‘I wish’ a lot.

The reason is because anything you do with homesteading takes so much effort you rarely want to have to take it down and do it over again.

For instance, our perimeter fence.

It will have to be redone, no doubt. But I wish we had made it a larger priority. A perimeter fence not only keeps your animals home but it also keeps predators out.

Because we were short on funds when we started, we took the ‘free’ route. Granted something was better than nothing. But what we have really doesn’t function all that well.

We actually created our own perimeter fence out of pine slabs. We have a sawmill down the road that gives them away for free, and we utilized them. We hauled them for days but eventually got them all home, hammered them into stakes and trees. They completely surrounded our home.

But they didn’t last.

Between storms and children, some have collapsed. We keep repairing but it is something we put a lot of work into that will have to be taken down and replaced with a more sturdy option.

Realize that if you have livestock, you’ll need a perimeter fence. Find a way to create one that is the sturdiest option for your budget. Hopefully, you won’t have to constantly maintain or eventually redo something that you worked so hard on.

Just understand that no matter what you do you are probably going to look back on it and wish you had done it differently. I could tell you that I wish I had cleared certain trees at one time instead of going back and having to clear trees over and over.

The list goes on.

So pay attention to small details as you go so you won’t have the ‘I wish’ syndrome quite as badly as I tend to have some days.

6. I Developed The ‘Stress Yourself Out’ Syndrome

I’m going to be blunt. When you are building a homestead there are days your house and land will look like a junk yard.

That is just something that happens.

When you have 18 million projects going on at one time, don’t be surprised by this.

But I was. I had always lived in the suburbs with the manicured yard and it flat out freaked me out! So I stressed. And some days, I even cried because I wanted my house to look pretty and be a functional homestead. I wanted it all at once.

Well, the reality was, unless I wanted to go into major debt I was going to have to be patient. When I finally came to that reality, I let this syndrome go.

But the days I wasted stressing myself out instead of working on making our homestead our dream.

So if you are feeling the stress of your homestead, take a deep breath and realize it will all come together. It all just takes time.

7. I Failed To Locate Livestock Conveniently

Our chickens were the only animals we bought that we actually placed near our home for their convenience, and ours.

But after that, we kind of stuck the animals where we thought they’d fit. So the goats were off by themselves (until we made the extension.) Our pigs were down in the woods by themselves. And our rabbits were in two different locations because they ballooned faster than we had prepared for.

So, on winter days when I had to thaw and bring fresh water multiple times, I was hiking all over the place.

It was a mess. So needless to say, that had to be fixed. Yet again, we found ourselves redoing something we had put so much effort into.

So really consider yourselves when placing your animals. Obviously, you won’t want your pigs really close to your house.

But if you can place them even where it isn’t such a terrible hike on a cold, icy day then it will be worth it.

8. We Didn’t Create Proper Storage As We Expanded

We completely did not do this. And this is why our property stayed so messy for so long. As we built and added, we didn’t stop to think that we’d need additional space for the extra tools each addition required.

So for example, as the garden grew I had more tools I needed beyond what I used in my tiny above ground garden. And that equated to needing more space.

And I needed a garden shed.

Then we got a woodstove and needed a place to store wood.

But we are just now catching up to all of the storage we needed. We had to build a pole barn in addition to a few other storage spaces as well.

So when you are building your homestead, always think about storing anything you buy. You don’t want anything to get ruined and having proper storage will help with that and keeping your place neat and tidy.

Well, there are the top 8 mistakes I made as far as functionality on my homestead when I was just starting out. I hope these points will help you to rethink a few things so you don’t have to have as many hard knocks and redo’s as we had.

What were some of your biggest mistakes made when building your homestead?

We’d love to hear from you guys. Please leave your comments in the designated space below.

 

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28 Important Tasks You Should Do This Spring on the Homestead

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This article was originally published on morningchores.com

Have you ever noticed that you never feel like you are ever really done when it comes to a homestead?

I realized how frequently I feel like I am caught with my bloomers down last year. It felt like I wasn’t prepared for winter.

But then before I knew it, spring was upon us, and I was chasing my tail again.

So here are a list of spring chores that you should keep on your radar so that your homestead will run smoother. I’m happy to say with a little more organization, I feel much better prepared for my homestead duties this year.

Remember, organization is key to homesteading. Here are a few ways to help your organization along:

1. Nurse Your Garden

If you don’t plan on buying all of your seedlings (which I don’t recommend), then you’ll need to start your own.

Depending upon where you live will depend greatly upon when you need to start your seeds. Here is a great seed starter calculator. However, whenever you can start your seeds, do so. This will save you lots of money and also give your plants ample amount of time to grow.

2. Bring the Babies Home

If you do not set your own eggs, then the spring is the right time to purchase new chicks and ducklings. This is the right time also to purchase chicks that you plan on raising for meat.

Also, if you purchase a hog to raise for meat instead of keeping a breeding pair of pigs, the spring is the right time to purchase it. Keep turkeys in mind too. If you want to purchase just a few turkeys to eat on special occasions instead of raising a breeding pair, then you’ll want to purchase them in the spring too.

3. Rev Up the Incubator

Photo by The Poultry Guide

My husband runs our incubator year round. Between it and the massive brooder box he built, we are able to sustain baby chicks, ducklings, and keets year round.

However, if you don’t have a small hatchery in your backyard, then you’ll probably only want to start incubating eggs in the spring and summer months. This means that the spring is a great time to start pulling eggs out of your coops and giving them a chance to hatch.

4. Build Tractors

Photo by The City Chicken

We use a lot of tractors around our homestead. They are great for baby bunnies, chicks, ducklings, and keets when they are starting out.

However, this means that we must build and repair them in the spring while the babies are still too small for them. Then when the babies get bigger, we can place them in the tractors to move them around the land and allow them to safely forage. This give the animals a healthier diet and saves us a lot of money on feed.

5. Get Ready to Milk

As spring comes around so does the baby boom usually. If you have goats, cows, or any other animal that you use for dairy purposes, then you’ll need to have your milking supplies ready.

We use a basic set-up with a milking station and a pail. However, I have to make sure that my milking stand is in good condition and that my pail is still clean and ready for milk. It is better to make necessary repairs or purchases before it is time to milk. That way you aren’t caught off guard.

6. Prepare Your Birthing Kit

Being prepared for birth is a necessity so you get the most out of your homestead. For rabbits, you need to ensure they have nesting boxes and hay. Be sure your brooder is cleaned out and ready for baby birds.

Though, I actually have a birthing kit when I’m expecting baby goats. It is nothing fancy. It is a laundry basket I purchased at the dollar store. Inside of the laundry basket I have fresh towels and blankets. I also include some latex gloves as well.

However, each spring is a good time to make sure it is easily accessible and that I have everything I need inside the basket. Goats don’t really need much help when birthing, but I’m usually present and there to pull (if needed) and to help my nanny goats clean their kids as I feel sorry for them trying to clean one kid and birth another.

7. Take Down Winterizing Materials

Depending upon where you live, you may have to winterize your coop, hutches, or bee hives. When warmer weather finally comes around, you need to go through and take all of the layers off.

Even though I live in the south, I still winterize to some extent. Our rabbit hutches are layered with more wind breaking material and so are our coops. When summer hits, we remove some of the layering because they just don’t need it.

So spring is the perfect time to go through and shed some of those heavier layers of protection for your animals and bees.

8. Clean Out Your Sheds and Barns

Sheds and barns are used heavily during the warmer months. It is important that they are organized so that you can find everything that you need as efficiently as possible. My husband use to be the world’s worst at just laying stuff down or not putting it in its place.

Finally, I had enough and my oldest son and I went to town on organizing things. It is amazing how much more functional our homestead is now. My husband has even become more organized because it truly makes life that much easier.

So go ahead and clean out your barns, buildings, and storage sheds while you can. It will make your summer and fall much easier.

9. Mend Your Fences

It is a fact of life that things break. Unfortunately, a lot of things break during the colder winter months. Fences are often times one of those things. Something will happen while it is cold and snowy outside.

Often for us, we’ll slap a band aid on it until the warmer months. However, when the warmer months roll around go ahead and mend those fences. It will save you a lot of time later when you aren’t having to round up animals that have escaped through your band aid.

10. Repair Your Buildings

Buildings are not cheap nor easy to build. Taking care of them is a necessity. Over time though, they wear down.

So instead of just letting them fall to ruin, make necessary repairs during the spring. If you had a roof collapse from the weight of the snow, go ahead and put a new roof on it with whatever materials you have on hand. It will save you a lot of money in the long run.

11. Repair Equipment

In case you haven’t noticed my theme yet, spring is a great time to make repairs. The reason is that the busy season is almost upon you. You are making preparations for when your homestead is in full swing again.

So go ahead and get your equipment in tip top shape so you won’t lose precious times in those warm months having to fix a tiller, a tractor, or whatever else you need to help your garden along. This will certainly make your life easier later if you make the time now.

12. Place Your Order

Some times we have to break down and purchase things. I hate those moments because I’m frugal. Yet, they must be done. For instance, I can’t grow a tractor part, gardening tools, or even farm equipment. I can purchase them inexpensively or even second hand, but it still requires I place an order.

So if there are items that you absolutely need and you have to purchase, spring is a good time to go ahead and get it over with. That way you’ll have what you need for the busy season, and hopefully the busy season will be a profitable one as well in order for your to recoup some of the money spent.

13. Build Garden Beds

Every year we add a few more garden beds. It just seems that we want to plant more so we naturally create more space for it. If you have any garden beds that need repair, or if you are needing to build extra space, then consider this a good time to begin building them.

So when spring rolls around, try a few of these garden bed ideas to get your amped up for the grow season.

14. Harvest Winter Vegetables

If you live in a warm enough climate, you can still grow vegetables during the winter months. We usually grow vegetables like carrots, radishes, turnip greens, and lettuce throughout the winter.

However, before we use the gardening space in the spring I have to be sure to go through the beds and pull up any left over veggies. This is particularly true for carrots as they hide very easily beneath the soil.

15. Clean Up Winter Greenhouse

If you have a cold frame or a fully heated green house, chances are you may use it to grow vegetables throughout the winter. I think that is awesome! I have a smaller greenhouse I use to start seedlings and grow fodder for my animals throughout the winter months.

But these greenhouses have to be cleaned up and ready for a fresh cycle of planting. The spring is a good time to clean them up and also to plant in them again for the next cycle.

16. Mix Up the Compost

Planting season is upon you if spring time has rolled around. In early spring is a good time to mix up your compost. This gives everything a good chance at complete decomposition by the time you need it for planting in around mid to late spring.

So keep this in mind in the early months of spring. Compost is a vital part of having a successful harvest during the summer and fall harvest.

17. Plant the Future Harvest

If you expect to have a harvest, then you must first plant the seeds. Mid to late spring is when most items need to be planted. This can be a large task depending upon what size garden you have.

We have a larger garden so it usually takes me a couple of days to get everything planted. I also feel like I’ve had a tremendous work out by the time I’m done. So expect to put in a lot of work with this chore.

18. Plant Some Eye Candy

I love flowers. I know a homestead is meant to be functional, but for me, I want it to be gorgeous too. This is why décor around my homestead is super important to me.

So if you love having a beautiful homestead too, then use the spring months to plant gorgeous flowers in beds and in window boxes to add some natural color to your property.

19. Create an Outdoor Living Space

I have lots of outdoor sitting space. I want my home to be a place that sustains us while also being a place that we can enjoy.

For this reason, I create outdoor living space. We have a back porch that gives us a shaded space to rest on hot days. I have a front porch that gives me a great place to relax at night and enjoy the view.

However, when spring rolls around I must put out my outdoor furniture in order to enjoy these spaces. So if you have outdoor furniture the spring is a great time to pull it back out and enjoy those outdoor spaces again.

20. Clean Your Heating Source

I’ve mentioned that we do have HVAC, but we also use a wood stove to heat our home during the winter months. When spring time hits, I know it is time to clean out the wood stove one final time as well as the ash pale.

Also, I need to clean my HVAC unit so it can be ready to blow cool air as those warm temps are just right around the corner. This is a good time to perform routine maintenance on these items as well.

21. Work on Your Water Barrels

We use multiple water catchment systems around our house. You should consider these options if you aren’t familiar with rain catchment systems.

However, the spring is a great time to make sure your rain water systems are working as they are supposed to. Use this time to do routine maintenance so you can water your gardens and animals without having to use the water for your home.

22. Defrost and Clean Out Your Freezer

Spring is upon you so the cycle of refilling the freezer for winter has begun again. This is a good time (when it should be at its emptiest state) to defrost the freezer, clean it out, and reorganize the items that are left with in it.

This way you will be able to know what is oldest and eat it first so nothing wastes. You’ll also be able to spot if your freezer needs any maintenance. Plus, you can take inventory of what you have available to eat in your freezer as well.

23. Get Your Pantry Up to Par

I don’t know about you, but my pantry can become a mess rather quickly. I have multiple children who rummage through it and have a  way of taking my organization and throwing it to the four winds.

So spring is a good time to get a grip on that situation. I go through the pantry, reorganize, and rotate canned items so I know what I need to eat first. Plus, I make room for the items I’ll be canning in the upcoming seasons.

24. Make Room for Staples

My husband works a regular job while I work at home and then we homestead on top of that. However, his job is based upon work load. So he usually makes a lot more money in the summer in comparison to the winter months.

So I use these months to stock up on staples while I have the extra cash. But I also have to make room in my home to hold these extra staples. Spring is a good time to start making room and dedicating certain spaces in the pantry, closets, etc. to hold certain staples that you can buy cheaper in the summer and use all year.

A few examples of items I’ll buy in the spring and summer are wheat seeds (I grind my own wheat), sugar, baking supplies (like baking soda and baking powder), and often I find coffee cheaper during these months. So I go ahead and stock up for the year so in the winter when I don’t have as much stretch to my budget, these items are already stored away for when I need them.

25. Clean Your Homestead Home

You didn’t think in all of this preparation I was going to forget about your actual dwelling space, did you?

Well, I didn’t. Having a clean house is so important because it helps to keep things organized and that just makes life function so much better.

Not to mention, there are certain areas in our homes (like behind the stove and refrigerator) that need some attention every 6 months or so. This is a good time to make the time to clean these items so you start the busy season of homesteading with an organized dwelling space.

26. Pull Out the Cool Stuff

I’m talking about temperature cool. Spring starts bringing warmer temps with it so you’ll need to put away the warm winter clothing and linens.

Instead, you’ll need to replace them with lighter weight options. This will keep you comfortable and organized too.

27. Clean Your Canners

Canners need a good scrub down. I usually scrub mine down after I complete a season of canning and then again before I begin. You might think that odd of me, but I want to make sure they are put away clean.

Plus, I want to make sure that all of the dust that can gather on them during the winter is removed. It is also a good time for me to check my canners out and make sure they are functioning properly so they can do their jobs.

28. Go Shopping for Canning Season

Spring time is the time to shop for canning supplies. If you need to buy a new canner you better do it before the season really gets started.

Also, you must buy lids. If you live in my neck of the woods, when lids come into town in certain stores with the lowest prices, you have to hustle or you’ll miss out.

So use this time of year to get prepared for canning season and make sure you have all of the supplies you need.

Well, there are 28 chores that should help you use your time in the spring to better prepare for the busy time of year that is only right around the corner.

But I’m curious what chores you do around your homestead in the spring time. Do you have anything specific that isn’t mentioned here?

Please let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below.

Source : morningchores.com

 

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