From the Ground Up – Homestead Gardening

If this works out well, this will be a full years worth  of  weekly-monthly updates of posts on gardening on a larger scale from the ground up. I know that like many other folks we are worrying about the rising costs of everything related to food, food for ourselves, food for our critters as well..  As homesteaders, it’s not just us that need to be feed on the farm..

One of the other things I have seen often on other blogs is that first push of breaking a garden on a new homestead, starting with raw land so to speak..  now very few are starting with true raw land in the form of forest or prairie grass, and if you are, those both needed work done their own way..

But most folks are starting with land, or front yard space, a wild but disturbed land, raw land in many ways when it comes to gardening..

That is what we are going to be working with here..  I have looked at all our other garden areas and plans and while I can in-fill and I can do a number of extra planting. and I can increase our square footage by adding in vertical climbing space and also increase planting space by planting sides on mounds and hugelbeds

But in the end, it became plain to me that I just needed more garden to do what I wanted to do, and that lead to the question, where is that land going to come from.. hmm.. the answer surprised me..  I have decided to pull back the fence on a little corner of my pasture and turn it into more garden space.

So while I have not measured it, going by fence posts and doing approx math until I get out with a measuring tool, its going to be labeled at 60 feet wide by 90 feet long, or approx 5400 square feet.

Not nearly big enough of a garden for homestead, but more than big enough to bite off on your first year and chew, chew, and chew trying to get it to produce well for you.

As I have done on other years, when it come to the push and gardens, hubby will take his week off in the spring and I will get a bit of extra hands help, same with this project, I will be getting a garden helper on some of it.. this will be a very good thing for the blog readers and for myself. It’s a grand thing to see it happen from fresh eyes.

Its full sun so that is great zone 5  its far away from anything that can be used to collect water, that is bad, even in order to start seedlings, we will need to haul water to it.. I can run hoses to the very edge and put 55 gallon drums there for spring use but its will be dry in the summer pretty much.. Currently in a mix of typical pasture seeded mix for sheep-goats.

there is some natural poo’s in the land, sheep, goat, horse and some fowl, mainly geese but some chicken..  still not nearly enough for our garden needs.

The question is what to grow in it.. and that is still up in the air, I am torn between growing what I want to grow in it as extra’s that work with the rest of all the other gardens or growing it with the basics that are needed for the homestead. I expect I will meet in the middle.

After all, I have read enough blogs to know that I what I consider to be a staple is not what others will grow.

So the first thing we need to do is track wind pattern, and snow melt and drainage on it, I know a fair bit on it already but we will assume I know nothing, and we will need to do a some soil tests on it as well.

Having said that, I will come out and say, that while the soil tests will give us some information, the truth is, I will treat it like I do all my gardens, lacking and needing soil to be made!

So any of you breaking in new land this year? Want to compare notes? Do you think I just HAVE to grow something in this raw new land that you want info on how I would do it? Speak up and I will do my best to add it to the grow list, even if you only get a few of them 🙂



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5 Responses to From the Ground Up – Homestead Gardening

  1. judy says:

    We’ve been tlaking aobut plowing up more for soft fruit garden. We harvest soem already but could use more int he winter & then at the farmer’s markets. I would like another corn patch also.
    OUr soil here is sandy loom so have to watch closely during dry conditions. We collect rain water but are desinging a catch basin for our shop roof. We do everything not to drain our well during the summer months. We’ve never had problems & don’t want to test the waters!!!!
    We add LOTS of old compost material & barn/coop material to our gardens every fall before plowing the gardens under. During the corn season we add manure to the rows as they grow.
    A REAL TREAT to us is growing watermelon here. It’s kind of a labor of love treat!!!!! We’re in a zone 3, at BEST, so we cover them the whole season & hope for the best. we’ve tried several different kinds but love Cream Of Sask. watermelon!!!!!!! It’s sooooo good!!!!! It tastes kind of like a VERY mild slurp without all the nasty crap in those! LOL
    Our “do list” covers a greenhouse that we could get watermelons up to larger sizes but we do our best outside for now. Moon & Stars is really good too but can’t get them quite big enough yet.
    They’re beautiful to look at too!!!!
    Zone 5……wow!!!!! Bird hosue gords on the side of your garden maybe. We’ve only been able to get them harvested once but hubby made a treasure box for me out of the biggest one.
    There’s 2 ideas for your garden list…..don’t get us started with gardening!!!!!!! LOL
    I’m looking forward to see what you plant!

    • What a great overview, thank you and wow, you are in a tough growing zone, good thing you can buy and grow plants that have had years spent on them making them short season producers.. I just got seeds for that very watermelon this year, glad to hear the review on it. I will post how it does in my neck of the woods.

      I have looked at the bird house gords but I am concerned where I would be able to plant them that they can not have possible cross pollination with other things that I might want to keep back seed on.

  2. MaryQuiContrary says:

    Oh Boy!…..gardening!…can’t wait! We have enlarged our garden space every year for the last five years……..and aren’t done yet! We’re in zone 4b here and had good luck last year with Blacktail Mountain watermelons. I sourced those seeds from Hope Seeds in Nova Scotia ( and started them indoors. We didn’t have the greatest weather last summer – it was cool and wet well into July, but these watermelons didn’t seem to mind and sized up nicely.

    • I have been doing the same but in smaller amounts yearly, to be fair to hubby we already have massive gardens and so this is a huge amount to add to the process which already really takes a great deal of time now. but as the cost of food continues to rise, I find that I need to shift our thinking to even more production value. I will have to look up those watermelons.. 4b is still quite a good garden zone, do you do season extenders and do you have a some micro climates in your yard that let you grow things that are borderline to your zone

  3. judy says:

    Baker’s Creek company out of the States is a great sources if you can’t find seeds in Canada. Their pics are beacutiful!!! We try hard to buy local then at least Canadian when possible. We’re really lucky that the UofS does so much research here for short growing plants.
    We’ll look into Hope Seeds!!
    Do you plant flowers in your garden? WE always do & there’s lovely odler flower seeds around!

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