We would love to have a homestead on a good sized chunk of land someday. I have no idea when that day will come but it most likely will be once Stephen is out of or close to the end of his Air Force career. Only God knows when that’ll be so something that I’ve been thinking a lot about recently and talking with Stephen about is how we can live as close to that dream as possible in our current home, station, town, etc. I think the definition of homesteading can vary quite a bit depending on who you talk to but no matter the current living situation, I do believe there are ways to incorporate homesteading into your lifestyle. One way to do that is by gardening.
We have a decent sized yard here in Mississippi, especially compared to our previous home in South Carolina (you can read how we optimized that tiny yard HERE and HERE). Square footage wise, there is a good chunk for us to have a garden with. However, we also have a bunch of really big trees that provide a ton of shade. It’s great for our electricity bill over the summer but not so great when it comes to gardening. Because of that, we are having to get creative with our garden set up. It probably will not be the most ascetically pleasing but that’s okay with us. Our crop yield is the priority.
With the arrival of our next baby quickly approaching and mid kitchen reno, we’re trying to make the garden as simple as possible while also trying to get as much out of it as we can. We’re not going to plant any new crops directly into the ground this year with one exception for space. Instead, we’re going to utilize the watering troughs we used in South Carolina as well as a vertical planter for herbs and lettuce. The vertical planter was completely an accident, by the way. Amazon sent it to me instead of something else I ordered and told me to just keep it. The thing is pretty darn cool though! It would be great for small spaces, apartment living, etc.
Over the winter we had a kind gentleman over to inspect our chimney. Somehow we got on the topic of gardening and I ended up finding out that he is quite the expert in the field, not only with 6+ decades of experience under his belt but also a master’s degree to make it “official”. He recommended a few places for me to get our seeds, one of them being Seeds ‘N Such. He said he’s always impressed with the yield he gets out of them and he is especially passionate about their tomato species, Grandma’s Pick. I took his advice and bought not only Grandma’s Pick tomatoes but also other varieties of crops as well. I made my decision for what to plant this year based on the amount of space we have, the answer to asking myself, “What is one thing that I’d like to produce myself instead of buy from the grocery store?”, the anticipated yield of the crop, and what would be best to preserve.
Here’s what we are planting this year:
For the Columbus area, the chimney man recommended getting seeds planted on Martin Luther King day and then 6 weeks later transplanting them into the ground. Six weeks after that, you should be prepping to harvest your first crops! Simple enough. I’m quite behind according to his timeline but I’m not concerned, especially since we have snow on the ground this morning here. I’ll strive for that next year though! 😉 He said that the most budget-friendly way to get your seedlings going was to get trays from the dollar store and a heating mat from Walmart. Since I was scrambling to get them going, I picked up an inexpensive seed starting tray with a lid and this seed starting mix while I was at Walmart. It all cost me less than $10. I decided not to get a heating mat to save on cost this year and because I figured I could make it work without it since it’s getting pretty warm. Ellie and I planted the seeds in the tray with the seed starting mix and I’m keeping the tray on the kitchen table next to the window with the lid on. Many of the seedlings have already grown a lot since we planted them last week!
I decided to plant the lettuce and herb seeds directly into the vertical planter with soil and the seed starting mix. The lettuce and Mesclun Blend have already sprouted. Now we’re just waiting on the basil and cilantro to make their way through the soil!
What are you planning to plant this year? I’d love to know! Let me know if you have any questions or need any help.
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