Homesteading/gardening help idea

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cheryl in SD, May 11, 2006.

  1. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    I am going to plant a big garden this year. I have failed at this every year for the past several. I plant, take care of it and between bugs, critters and drought don't get much at all. Then what I do get I am not sure how to keep it and use it.

    Has anyone ever offered to let an older couple stay on your place? I am not thinking of the DOING the work but teaching the children and me HOW to do this stuff. Did it work? I am not talking about unpaid help, just teachers so we learn.

    We have a nice place for a camper, and are a reasonably normal, nice family. Would this idea work? How would we find someone?

    ???????
     
  2. SouthBoundGal

    SouthBoundGal Member

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    This is only our second year having a garden, but we have done extremely well. My husbands grandparents offer advice when we ask, and are basically moral support. That helps alot, just giving us the confidence to attempt it.
    How big is your garden? We only planted an acre, so maintenence only takes us a few hours a week at most.
    I'm sure the climate and critters here in SC are different than SD, but I found the Clemson University websites to be the most help while we are learning. Just google in the crop or question and a Clemson website or factsheet will be there somewhere.
     

  3. MomOf4

    MomOf4 Well-Known Member

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    I have always grown up with a garden, but didn't know how to take charge of it. This year, I am trying to lay newspaper down and cover with mulch to stop weeds so I don't have to worry about weeding when I return from our week's vacation next month.

    I would find a mentor by asking around. Most people are happy to share their knowledge. I also recommend reading "How To Live on Almost Nothing and Have Plenty" by Janet Chadwick. A wealth of information for the beginner on gardening, among other subjects.
     
  4. albionjessica

    albionjessica Hiccoughs after eating

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    I have found that just visiting a local nursery/greenhouse and talking with some of the more experienced people either working or patronizing there will get tons of my questions answered. Just don't go somewhere like Lowe's or WalMart and expect to get good answers from them. Find a little family owned and operated place.

    Does anyone else in your family garden? I have also had a lot of help from my parents.
     
  5. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    I think I'm the only other person living "West River" on here and I sure understand your frustration. I've struggled through 5 years now to get a good garden going. The wind and the drought take a terrible toll on the garden. The wind just took out all my lettuce, radish, spinach etc. seeds and I think I will have to replant everything. I'll give it a few more days to see what comes up. It sure is discouraging isn't it.

    I know the tips that work everywhere else like newspapers and cardboard don't work here - they would be gone with the wind instantly. Although I am going to try a few sheets of cardboard to kill some weeds. But I will have to load it down with rocks.

    Anyhoo - I can give you what works for me and what doesn't work if you are interested in long distance help. Maybe you have some tips for me also.
     
  6. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    Barb,

    Thank you! Your post made me realise that maybe it isn't ME! So far I haven't found anything that works, and we can't even plant for another month, so I don't have anything in now. My sil even lost her zucchini to wind! But we are getting some moisture, so just maybe this will be a better year?
     
  7. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That's what we are here for! I learned everything I know practically from this board by reading and asking.

    First, focus what you are doing in the garden. Grow what you can eat as much as possible fresh. The extras: I freeze when I'm busy and can when I'm not. Sometimes I freeze and then make, say jam, in the winter when I'm not busy in the garden.

    As for bugs. I garden organically, I plant things that are less bothered by the bugs and also can say that as my soil has improved over a couple years, the plants are healthier and can withstand an onslaught of bad bugs until their predators numbers catch up and kill them.

    I use the deep mulch method which both fertilizes and takes care of the weeding for me. I start out with a couple bales of straw then add paper and grass clippings all season.

    I have found great success in cole crops by covering with netting or sheer curtains. The water flows through but the bugs cannot.

    I learned to can through my local extension service.

    I think you could ask some retired ladies at church if they would like to come over and teach you to can and you will give them some canned veggies in return.

    Give us specific questions to answer.
     
  8. margo

    margo Well-Known Member

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    Hi Cheryl, I sympathize with you and hope that you don't get so discouraged that you quit.

    Do you have materials or natural situations that could provide a windbreak of sorts to modify growing conditions? In other words, can you use what's available to creat e a kind of microclimate. such as :
    a building
    trees
    rocks or hilly area
    your home
    snow fencing (reinforced to be very sturdy)

    you may need to scale down the size of the garden to accommodate the areas available or move some crops to a more suitable spot.

    can you make a type of greenhouse or other sheltered area?

    could you team up with someone else who grows veggies? Say, if they are successful with beans, could you raise carrots and then swap each other to provide yourselves with both veggies. I hope this sounds right..... :shrug:
    I mean a kind of co-op growing crops for each other......

    look to farm markets, ag businesses, university outreaches, place an ad in the local swap/trade paper to get the interest of others who may not want to attempt a huge garden, but who would like to specialize in a couple things and then barter/swap with you.

    this would minimize water usage for irrigating and suppplementing rainfall
    minimize the stress of trying to do it all
    might bring a great friendship too

    I wish you were not so distant, I'd enjoy sharing my "expertise" and also sharing the bounty of gardening..

    Are you anywhere near Sturgis? Waaay back like in 1962. I and my family lived there for about 3 months while the SAC base was being built. My father ws a const. electrician. we kids loved the adventure of being out west
    I digress, hope you find answers....
    Margo
     
  9. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    2 years ago, I planted my garden in rows and I weeded with a tiller. That meant that every other week I ran the tiller up one walkway and down the other. Excepting for the carrots, that was the only weeding that I did. It was MUCH easier.

    This meant that when I DID garden, I was watering and harvesting. And, I ended up with my most productive garden ever.

    As for putting the veggies up, in a pinch you can JUST put them in zip lock bags and freeze them. Get as much air out as possible first, of course. No fuss, no blanching. Blanching makes the veggies last longer, but if you eat them all in the first 3 months I have not noticed much difference at all.
     
  10. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    I do live near Sturgis! I am 20 miles away in the Black Hills.

    You all are in for a lot of questions. I will try to keep them on the gardening forum. :D
     
  11. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    Once the garden starts producing well you should eat something from it every single day. I walk through the garden every morning and decide what to fix for supper.
     
  12. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    Cheryl,

    We had several threads going before “the big crash” that related to the situation you describe. The only one I can find now is http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=117152

    My wife and I do, full-time, exactly what you envision – visit homesteaders with our RV and help with whatever they need. At the moment we are in northern Arkansas helping a homesteader who moved here recently from South Dakota. In this case, the homesteader is very knowledgeable about gardening and food preservation (and is sharing that knowledge with us) so we are helping primarily with more physically demanding tasks.

    In several threads I have been working toward developing a system to put homesteaders in touch with RV people for mutual benefit. I’ll be posting something new on that topic in the next day or two.

    Please feel free to PM or email (Obser1@gmail.com) to explore the topic if you wish.


    A point to consider: A small garden that is productive is better than a large garden that is not. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the work and attention required by a large garden and to have “things get ahead of you”.

    Unless you are feeding an army, all the vegetables you can use can be produced in a relatively small area. We have produced more than we could use and give away in a garden that was less than 20 x 40.

    That was a “standard” garden. This year our garden is entirely contained in two plots 4x8 each (at our homesteader's place). Though we cannot yet be specific about production, we are presently eating greens from the garden, and we know enough about gardening to expect ample production.

    It is soooooo much easier to manage and maintain the small raised beds. This subject is well covered in the book “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew.
     
  13. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Have you two ever considered planting a row of trees as a wind break and or using pieces of tin? I used a huge wall of used roofing tin to make a 12ft high 50 ft long trade wind/salt spray wind break when I was in the Marshall islands
     
  14. Wildoutdoorsmen

    Wildoutdoorsmen Active Member

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    I use used tires, they are free, hold heat are great for keeping weeds down and at the end of the year, just put in some compost material, straw, ground newspaper and worms. Next spring, flip over top tire of the two high stack, place compost soil from bottom tire in top one and put bottom on top. A great mini green house with a 4x4 sheet of plastic and twine. Plants start easy, water is not wasted and heat stays for a long time.

    If you took a month of week ends and gathered 24 tires a day from tire center, garages, farm tractor centers, etc. you would have more then you could need for self use. They last for ever too.
     
  15. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    If you don't have good soil, you won't get a good garden. Add as much compost as you can. Healthy plants are less susceptable to bugs. I also agree with the "start small" suggestion! Good luck!