Homesteading for the Average Jane

An average mom, trying her hand at suburban homesteading!


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My daughter is Awesome!

My daughter Lbug is one amazing kid! She came to me a few weeks ago and told me that the Lord was leading her to shave her head to raise money for our local children’s cancer center here in Chattanooga, TN. Anyway, she is halfway to her goal of $300, if you would like to help please follow the link! Thanks for your support!
http://jackschattanoggins.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/mobileDonorPledge.asp?ievent=1099686&lis=1&kntae1099686=F29EEED03F6A44CA81787FDD695F3AFB&supId=407952595&team=0&scWidth=320&extSiteType


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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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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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Snow on my suburban homestead!

Well yesterday we got our first snow of 2014. Last year we got none and to be honest it isn’t something that happens very often here since we live on the boarder of TN and GA, and in a valley. When we do get snow it is a disaster! We don’t have lots of salt trucks or snow plows so our hilly roads and neighborhoods become impassable very quickly. So today I am home with the kids.  The view this morning was beautiful!

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Our little yard had about 2 inches of snow. The view down the street was a pretty one and my husbands little car is covered! He has already taken out our 4-wheel drive suv to go to our local fire hall where he volunteers and is a medical first responder. So I ventured out early this morning to get some pictures, do a few chores, and enjoy the snow before the kids got up.  The first thing I did was check on my winter-sown seeds….they are looking good, getting their first freeze and watering when the snow thaws.

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Then it was time to take care of some local wildlife! I put out some dry cat food for the local strays since I am trying to build some trust to capture them and have them fixed in our local feral cat program.  Then I noticed that both my bird feeders were empty. So I filled them up.

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Just now I saw a beautiful cardinal at my front feeder but I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo! I really feel like keeping wild birds fed and happy is important because they help with pest control, provide hours of entertainment for my cats, and are beautiful of course!

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My straw bales are also doing well! As you can see, they are just hanging out…slowly decomposing! Very soon I will be getting my stakes set and my trellis ran over each roll but right now with temps in the single digits I think it can wait a little longer!  Later today I am going to makes some chicken soup and get my indoor seeds started! So expect another post soon!

 


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Winter sowing…seeds get first snow!

So it is January 28th, 2014 and we were hit with a little snow storm! It was fast and furious! And I know many of you would scoff at 2 inches of snow but for lower, middle Tennessee it is a big deal. Anyway, after days of freezing temps we finally got some snow and my winter sown seeds are the benefactors.

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As you can see there is some snow inside the jugs and around the tops, as the temperature increases over the next few days (it is supposed to be in the 50’s by Saturday) the process of freezing and thawing will continue!

 


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Seeds for Winter-Sowing Going out TODAY!

So I showed everyone to how I made my containers for winter-sowing. With the help of my daughter, LBug, I got all my hardy seeds sown. Since it is 14 degrees outside we decided to work at the kitchen table.  HINT: I keep a crib sheet that I use to cover my table for messy projects like painting and potting, then I can just toss it in the wash!

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We put about 3 to 4 inches of organic potting soil in each bucket, the soil was already pre-moistened, but not too wet, since it set out in the rain! Make sure that the soil is loose and not packed down so that the roots can form. With this process it is not necessary to nick or soak seeds. The freezing and thawing they will go through over the next few months soften the seeds and prepare them for germination.

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We did space seeds that need spacing and others we spread across the top and covered with about a 1/4 inch of soil. This go we are starting the following seeds:

  1. Broccoli
  2. Cauliflower
  3. Brussels Sprouts
  4. Cabbage
  5. Spaghetti Squash
  6. Bibb Lettuce
  7. Head lettuce
  8. Crookneck Squash
  9. Zucchini
  10. Parsley

I plan to start some tender plants in March and April the same way but it is just too cold right now. I am also starting some of these plants indoors. Since I am new to starting plants from seeds I want to have several options! When the seeds are sown all you need to do now is put on a piece of duct tape to keep the tops closed and remove all the lids.

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Next find a good spot in your yard. I chose my patio because it gets good afternoon sun and some shade and is protected from the wind. I put them all up on a table so that they are protected from neighborhood dogs and such. Make sure they are accessible to the rain and snow!

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* It was not snowing the day I put them out! This is a few days later…

As you can see I placed them in the back yard on my patio table. I can keep and eye on them out the kitchen window and they get the sun and weather exposure they need.


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I promise I haven’t been lazy!

So I haven’t posted in awhile but hat doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. The weather here in Tennessee has been horrible! The cold temps and wet weather has kept me inside, so aside from raking leaves into my flower bed to keep weeds at bay and turning my compost pile, most of my time has been spent indoors.

One of the things that I have not always been good at is organization but with homesteading I know I have to get my house in order. So I have been tackling the huge task of organizing all of my storage areas!

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First I started with my pantry. I cleared out all of the expired food and then arranged everything that was left. I have to say I hope by this time next year all of those tin cans will be replaced with jars of my gardens bounty!

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Last night I tackled my biggest project yet…my utility/laundry/closet room. This room is the work horse of the house. It has our laundry, storage, deep freezer, and litter box, while at the same time acting as our closet! To be honest it was nightmare and I’m glad I didn’t take a before pic because I would have been ashamed! I had tools, cleaners, automotive stuff, paint supplies, and a bunch of other things all over the place. So I worked into the weee hours and am so happy with the results!

I know that to have any success as a homesteader I have to be organized. Recently I spent 2 hours trying to find my hack saw (it was in the utility room of death!) Access to my tools and materials is going to be essential to having a great homesteading year! So while the weather is keeping me inside, it is not keeping me down or from realizing my dream to become a suburban homesteader!