Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Homesteading Where You Are Series-Grow

This is the third in a 7-part series
about how five bloggers strive to homestead 
right where they are.


Our focus today is GROW.


Before moving to Central Florida,
gardening was something I dabbled in.
After buying a (nearly) new home,
I felt a desire to make it my own
and create a more customized garden.
Creating a wildlife sanctuary was also on my mind.

Then I discovered "Florida-friendly",
which is a way of gardening using natives
or plants that do well in our climate with very little care.
I took as many workshops as I could 
offered by the local extension center focused on this way of gardening.
It makes so much more sense to grow things
that thrive in one's particular area.
It also lends itself well to attracting wildlife to your yard.

A few years later, I started experimenting with crops.
After reading a lot of books on the subject,
and viewing documentaries about our food system,
I was spurred to try growing at least a portion of our food.
A couple of organic growers at the farmer's market
helped me figure out what to grow when.
The growing season in Florida is different than
in other parts of the country, and it takes some getting used to.

I've had limited success.
We've harvested eggplant, garlic, green beans, herbs, pineapple, 
shallots, snap peas, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
I learned about growing in a square-foot bed,
and created a 6X3 bed in the backyard.

One of the challenges for us in wanting to grow organically,
has been that all of our neighbors spray pesticides on their lawns.
We have no fence, so there is the concern that those poisons 
will contaminate our crops. 
 Therefore, we keep most of our food crops close to the house.
It's not ideal, but it's the best we can do for now.

One of the easiest plants to grow here is pineapple.
You simply lop off the top, stick it in the ground
and watch it do its magic.
The flavor is succulent and witnessing the metamorphosis is amazing.


After working with Lynn at Farm School for the past year,
I know I will never again want to be without a garden.
He's shown me that there are other ways to garden,
and that you can adapt nearly anything to suit your needs.
Learning that not only can I grow food for my own family,
but enough to give away to others who might be in need,
is a very powerful thing indeed.
Being able to feed people is a big deal.

One of the things I'd like to do more of is save seeds.
I've done it with ornamentals,
 but I'm looking forward to saving crop seeds when I can and becoming more self-reliant.

Our goals for the future include moving to North Carolina this year to look for property.
We have had our time in suburbia and it's not for us.
We hope to acquire at least a few acres,
so that we can have a big garden and chickens.
I'm considering finding an apprenticeship up there
to help me learn about gardening in that climate.
I'd love to be able to take the Master Gardener course someday.
If you read "daisy's dream" under the header,
you'll get a better idea of our future plans.

This week we've talked about growing,
and I must say that as a gardener, I have.
I'm looking forward to learning so much more.

For additional great homesteading ideas, visit these other bloggers posting to this series:
*Jackie, at Born Imaginative, grew up as an avid 4-Her, on a 50 acre hobby farm, with parents who pursued a homesteading life. Now, with a husband and two small children of her own, she is bringing an 1880s farmhouse/30acre farm back to life in Southern Coastal Maine.

*Mary, at Homegrown on the Hill, lives in Southwestern Ohio with her family on a 5 acre homestead. Their goal is to be as self sufficient as possible. In helping with this goal, they raise a big garden and keep chickens, rabbits, and cattle for food.

*Staci, at Life At Cobble Hill Farm, was bitten by the homestead bug in 2006 and although she began her homesteading ventures in a rented condo, is now homesteading on less than an acre in Upstate NY.

*Sue, at The Little Acre that Could, shares her body with an auto-immune disease, and life with her husband. They live in a once-working Victorian farm cottage now bordered by a modern subdivision. She has dreamed of homesteading as long as she can remember and continues to strive toward that goal in rural Atlantic Canada.

Five bloggers, 7 weeks,
Big Ideas!
Join us every Wednesday!

Homesteading Where You Are-Intro
Homesteading Where You Are-Make

Tuesday Garden Party Co-Hosts

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

motivation monday