Gardening, A First Step to Homesteading

Homesteading has seen a resurgence over the last several years which is very cool.  More people are opting to build a strong connection with the land and are moving toward mini-farms and homesteads to raise their families.  Before beginning a homestead future farmers should do one thing: learn to garden!  The garden is one major component of a successful homestead and is integral to the function of a complete homestead system.  The garden provides food for the table, food for the animals, it can be a highly valuable source of other materials, and it can even generate extra income. If I were to start a homestead the vegetable garden would be my first step. I'm not a homesteader, although I would love to be.  The whole self-sufficiency thing is a very appealing concept.  I'm a big fan of DIY projects and love learning how things work which is a trait that many…

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My Kids are Weird, and I’m Proud

My daughters from 2009 - Ages 2 and 4 My kids are kind of strange.  Of course I know what you're thinking, all kids are a little weird.  They have their quirks, their unique traits that will eventually turn them in to unique adults. That's not the kind of weird I'm talking about.  While visiting family over the Christmas season we were up at their grandparents house.  After opening presents dinner commenced.  Everyone filled their plates with main courses and sides but not my two girls. What did they go for?  The vegetables!  They filled their plates with raw vegetables like broccoli, cucumbers, olives, and carrots. Their granddaddy commented on how he never would have eaten like that when he was a kid, but this isn't an unusual thing around here.  My kids love having grapefruit or oranges in the morning.  The oldest isn't keen on bananas but the younger…

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The 5 Hats of the Gardener

As a gardener you will find that you wear many hats.  We aren't talking about fedoras, ball caps, or even straw hats here. We're talking about the different roles you will be called to fill as a gardener! Gardening isn't just about sticking a plant in the ground and watching it grow (although there is always some of that), gardening is a many faceted field with strong influences in areas from design to science.  Let's take a look at 5 of the many hats a gardener must wear! The 5 Hats of the Gardener The Hat of the Garden Designer Gardeners are landscape designers.  As a gardener you have to make good decisions on plant placement, hardscaping, landscape lighting, garden structures like arbors or pergolas, and the layout of your garden.  We try things.  We fix things.  We tear down things and start all over!  (I've done that a more than a…

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A Few Gift Ideas for Gardeners

It's that time of year when we're all struggling to come up with great ideas to give our favorite people. I've always found that the best gifts are those that you can use on an almost daily basis. A couple years ago at Christmas I was given an iron skillet. I thought for second "wow, an iron skillet." It certainly didn't seem to be the most exciting thing in the world.  It wasn't a fancy video game system (not that I need one of those - I don't have time for one), nor was it a spiffy GPS (I didn't really need one of them either as I don't travel and an atlas is good enough for me), and it wasn't that new high tech gadget that I couldn't live without!  But you know what?  I use that iron skillet just about every other day of the year.  It's my…

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The Summer Garden is Coming to a Close

I sadly saw yesterday a weather report that mentioned the "F" word - FROST.  It's coming very soon, most likely Sunday and/or Monday nights.  While there are some good feelings about this - like a rest period for the gardener - it's also a time I dread.  Those fresh tomatoes from the garden will soon be a thing of the past.  We've frozen some sauce to enjoy over the winter in soups or pasta but it's not as great as walking out under the summer sun and picking that ripe juicy tomato for my turkey sandwich. I'll probably cover our tomatoes for the next couple weeks to try and resist the cold a just little longer but the summer garden is quickly coming to a close.  I use old sheets to cover them since they don't transfer the cold through them like plastic does. The fall garden is partially planted…

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Your Labor Day Weekend Garden To Do List!

Just what you want right?  Even more things to do in the garden.  I'm sure you have everything perfect.  Everything is mulched to 2 inches high.  Every weed is pulled and the gardens are in pristine condition!  Not our garden, not even close! An extra long weekend is ahead which (unless you've been deluged with rain from Isaac) will give all of us gardeners a good opportunity to get a few things ready for fall.  So what should we be doing in the garden to get ready for fall over this Labor Day weekend? Here's a to do list! A Labor Day Weekend Gardening To Do List Get those beds cleared up and ready!  Pull out the old fading plants, add mulch, and get those garden beds back into shape.  Ragweed and crabgrass are flowering now so get them pulled before they go to seed and you will have fewer…

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In and Around the Garden

The end of August is nearly here and the garden is shaping up for its conclusion.  Hopefully it will be a spectacular finish where the flowers bloom out and blend with the foliage as it turns into flaming reds, oranges, and yellows.  That may be the proverbial pipe dream as the weather has been strange this year and we don't know how well the trees will retain their foliage and what colors they might display.  Cherry tree leaves We're already losing the leaves off of the cherry trees.  They tend to be the first to drop leaves in the fall.  The sassafras trees are beginning to change their coloring as well.  Next week I'll make an announcement about the Fall Color Project that I host each year here at Growing The Home Garden. You'll be able to see autumn foliage from around the country and even in other countries!  For…

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Over the Weekend

Mowed the lawn - check. Weeded the shed gardens - check. Weeded the sitting wall garden - check. Weeded and mulched the mailbox garden - check. Weeded the corner shade garden - check - kind of. Weeded the birdbath garden without a birdbath - check - kind of. Cut back a 'Powis Castle' artemisia that was long and leggy - check. Found out 'Powis Castle' artemisia was rotting at the crown - boo. Sadly removed 'Powis Castle' artemisia - check. Looked around and reassured myself that I had made several other backup artemisias through cuttings - check. Moved large sitting rock underneath a witchhazel to compensate for the expanding size of the witch hazel - check. Mulched the mum garden and grumbled about rabbits - check. Moved stepping stones near my plant holding bed - check. Cooked Chicken Parmesan for dinner - check. I enjoyed the weather this weekend!  How…

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Growing and Blooming Around the Garden

It's time to show you a few pictures of the plants around my garden!  The gardens themselves are in need of weeding, mulch, and assorted other chores I haven't had time to get to yet but that doesn't stop the plants from looking impressive.  Our weather lately has been wetter than normal for August and July.  That's a blessing since June brought us record heat and no rain to speak of.  For many of these plants it's like getting a second spring. I even noticed a new flower scape appearing on my Primal Scream daylily.  I don't have new flowers to show you yet but I think I will soon.  Apparently I have a reblooming one?  I didn't realize it did that! Let's take a quick look around! We'll start with the coleus I grew from seed.  You can really get some impressive looking plants in a short time when…

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5 Beginning Gardener Mistakes!

All of us experienced gardeners can tell you, you are going to make mistakes!  It's inevitable.  No matter how much planning or forethought you put into your garden you WILL make a mistake!  How's that for thinking positively?  You positively will make a mistake, and you know what?  That's OK!  We've all done it - albeit some more than others - but we've all had issues in our garden that we could have controlled with a little extra care.  Today for the Friday Fives I'm going to mention 5 Beginning Gardener Mistakes.  I've done most of these at some point so feel free to fess up in the comments if you have too! 5 Beginning Gardener Mistakes I suspect (although I have no studies or data to cite) that the most common mistake gardeners make is not watering properly! Every plant is different and so are their water requirements.  Too…

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