Homesteading for the Average Jane

An average mom, trying her hand at suburban homesteading!


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Winter sown seeds going into garden today!

Wow, what a difference a few weeks make! On April 1st, I transferred my winter sown seeds from their milk jug green houses to large pots. Here is how they looked today before I planted them in my straw bales.

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As you can see my lettuce is doing great, we regularly go out to clip lettuce for salads and here you can see my son munching on some greens as we hang out!

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Not pictured are my yellow squash and my lone spaghetti squash. I had given up on these winter seeds producing but out of the blue I went out and they were farther along than my indoor sown seeds and ready to plant!

We shall see how they all produce!


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Hand Me Down Garden Update!

Well my quest for a free shade garden is well on its way! As a reminder this is what my space looked like before.

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The first person to answer the call for plants was my own grandparents. I traveled to Alabama Alabama to dig hosta, lambs ear, tiger lilies, and day lilies! Here is how I planted them.

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As you can see it is really taking shape in the shade! As you can see, I found a cool wicker head board at a local dumpster!

I will continue to add more pictures as these plants fill in and I add even more!


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Planting my Straw Bale Garden!

Well today was the day! I planted a great deal of my garden. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and one lone spaghetti squash!
This is how my straw bales looked before planting!
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The bales have been out all winter, soaking up the rain and decomposing! Now they are ready to plant. As you can see they are dark brown inside and nice and wet, of course we had a big storm here last night so everything is wet! To plant I just used my garden trowel to separate the straw creating a place for the transplant.
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Once the plant is in place, I put some more soil around each plant and pushed the straw back together. When I finished I gave them all a good drink.
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Here they are all planted!
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Next week I will start my okra and carrot seeds!


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A Hand Me Down Garden!

I love growing and eating fresh veggies but I also enjoy the peace and serenity that a beautiful flower garden can provide. I am well on my way to a great vegetable garden but my yard really lacks a space to relax and unwind!

Of course, with little to no money to spend I have decided to start a “Hand Me Down Garden”. I am asking my friends, family, and neighbors to donate perennials that they need to be thinned or divided to my back yard shade garden!

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This is the space I will be working with, a small shaded area right off my patio under a lovely dogwood tree! I will keep you all updated!


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Indoor Seed Starting!

Well I finally got around to sowing my indoor seeds! It has been a crazy few weeks and transplanting into the garden is just around the corner so I had to get my seeds going.

My first step was to soak my seeds. By doing this, the husks of the seeds are softened making for easier germination. I used several small bowls that I had around the house and to keep them organized I just used a dry erase marker to label each bowl.

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I then prepared my seed trays. I used an organic seed starting medium. It has no soil so it won’t contaminate my seedlings. I did add a small amount of water to moisten up the seed starter. And then added it to my trays.

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You will notice that I left one spot open. This is so I can use this opening to water my seedlings later. This hole will allow me to put water into the tray, watering the seedlings from below.

I made small holes with the end of a paint brush and planted each seed to it’s required depth.  Since my garden isn’t huge I have started multiple types of veggies in each tray. I labeled each tray and put them in a sunny window. Of course this pic was taken at dusk, so not much sun shine going on.

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I started these on April 3rd and today, April 7th this is what I saw!

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I have seedlings! So far I have cucumbers, crockneck squash, and zucchini sprouting! I am so excited! I have decided to put a heating pad under my peppers because they need to be close to 80 degrees to germinate. Once my seedlings get started I will be moving them outside during the day and bringing them back in at night until I am sure we are past the threat of frost!


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No fools, this April First! Winter sowing transplants!

Well it is April 1st and is a beautiful day here in Tennessee. My winter sown seeds are doing great and are getting really crowded in the jugs so I decided to transplant them into pots. Some will stay in pots but many will be transplanted into straw bales by the end of the month.

 

I decided to start with my bibb lettuce which is growing at an amazing rate! My lettuce will stay in containers throughout the Summer so that I can move them to cooler spots when the sun is at it’s hottest.

I started with some long window box planters and added some large pine nuggets in the bottom, this really helps with drainage because the soil doesn’t get packed down in the holes.

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Next, I fill them nearly to the top with soil. I use a planting soil that is organic and consists of horse manure, mushroom compost, leaves, and soil. It is mixed locally so I trust it and I am helping a local business with my purchase.

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Next I dumped the jug, you can see how well the roots are established! I separated them carefully and planted them in clumps, with any luck they will spread out and fill the pots, providing us with lots of nice salads throughout the summer.

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Next, I worked on my head lettuce, It should be ready to transplant later as it gets bigger.

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I finished up with my cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts which will all be transplanted into the straw bales.

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Last but not least, Lbug gave them a good drink of water with my make shift watering can. It is just a milk jug with some holes punched in the top. It makes giving a good slow drink to the plants a breeze without having so much flow that the soil is washed from the roots, plus it is free!

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I still have crookneck squash, zucchini, and spaghetti squash are just starting to sprout, hopefully they will be ready to transplant in a few more weeks.

I hope you have enjoyed my posts on winter planting. I have certainly enjoyed using this easy method and I will definitely expand on this technique next Winter.


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Mid-March winter sowing!

Well my plants are really taking off. I have had to cover my ‘mini-greenhouses” on and off for the last month but I wanted to show you what my winter sown seeds are doing now.

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As you can see, I have lots of beautiful and healthy starts. What you see in these pictures are bibb lettuce, head lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. For now I am uncovering them and during the day and then closing the lids at night. So far I have not had to water these jugs one time! I can’t wait to get these transplanted.

Oh, and I had a little taste of the bibb lettuce…it was delicious.