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Pre-Game Your Garden This Fall

Updated: Jan 24

New homesteaders are popping up EVERYWHERE. Whether they are flocking to the countryside or trying to provide self-sustainability on a half-acre lot, there are people all over trying their hand at homesteading right now.

Let's be honest.. our country isn't.. in the best emotional state right now. People are angry and worried, and regardless of where you stand on all of this, I'd like to think we can all agree that our world is not one we are familiar or comfortable with right now. These emotions have caused folks of all sorts to research that one word, that I and probably you as well, have considered a way of life for years... "homesteading".

Homesteading is pretty simple vocabulary in my household and even our family that doesn't homestead has become familiar with and even impressed by our way of life and our plans to further that. However, for others, it's a foreign language and rather nerve-racking. The idea of being responsible for the success of your family's meals, live animals, and heat source, can be a stressful thought even when you are used to the everyday life of someone who financially provides for a family.

So if you are reading this and you are a newbie or maybe this is your first time even considering it, don't be nervous. I am going to walk you through the easiest way to prepare a garden space for next spring!

This way of prepping a garden space can be used right on your front lawn or anywhere. The name of the game is to stop the weeds without disrupting the soil itself. When we disrupt the soil, we disrupt the nutrients, and while I have done my fair share of tilling before gardening, I do end up feeding the soil a lot to make up for it.

Step 1- Cover the area you've chosen for your garden space with cardboard. Cover it well, the cardboard's purpose is to kill the grass and weeds underneath it. It might not kill them all but it sure will cut back a lot of the weeding you would typically have to do.

Step 2- Wet the cardboard down REALLY well. This is going to assist in the cardboard deteriorating and help keep it in place if it's windy out. Keep in mind this method works ANYWHERE. You can turn your front lawn into garden space if you'd like!

Step 3- Find yourself some nice quality compost from a local farm that has been rotated inside of a manure pit and won't have a lot of grass and weed seeds in it. You just put cardboard down to prevent weeds, you certainly do not want to grow more. You can also mulch your new garden bed with wood chips before snowfall if you'd like.

Step 4- In the spring before planting in your space add another 3-4 inches more compost, again, try to make sure it isn't out of a pasture or somewhere where it will sprout lots of grass and weeds.

Step 5- Plant your garden!! Keep adding an inch or so of compost every season to maintain nutrition and build your bed up. You can plant your seeds or seedlings directly into this bed, with no tilling!

**Be sure to ask where the compost came from and if it has been exposed to spraying of any kind. Compost that has been contaminated will kill your garden. If all you can get your hands on is from a local farm and it probably will have weeds in it, that's okay. Opt for mulch fabric or just put in the work of heavy weeding for the first year.

Remember... gardening at all is better than "perfect" gardening. I want to see you get started.

You can still prep your space after a frost but you will want to get it prepped before snowfall. I wish you all a plentiful gardening season next spring!

Until next time, happy homesteading!

I will leave the link to my composting blog here incase you are interested in starting your own!

Above is our pumpkin and cucumber trellis in our greenhouse garden from the garden season 2021.

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