What Can Feed Your Family Can Also Make Some Income

What Can Feed Your Family Can Also Make Some Income

So, you manage to set up the land and determine the best areas for plant growth. It is an exciting time! If you are still unsure about what to grow on your homestead, you may want to consider planting some microgreens. These are edible young seedlings of vegetables and herbs. Microgreens are ready for consumption roughly a week and ten days after the leaves have blossomed. The best varieties of microgreens to grow in your garden are radishes, broccoli, and peas. Radishes are a great microgreen to start with. They grow rapidly (one or two days) and can thrive in cool and warm conditions. They can be harvested and ready to consume within 5-10 days. They are nutrient-dense vegetables packed with vitamin C that do not require presoaking.

Broccoli is one of the most nutrient-dense microgreens. It grows easily and can even thrive in an adequately ventilated jar if it has access to water throughout the day. However, you can gain a higher yield of broccoli if you grow it in thick soil. Peas are microgreens that must be soaked for 24 hours before being sown at a high density. You can harvest them once they reach roughly two inches in height. Packed with magnesium, iron, and vitamin B1, peas can be consumed raw or cooked. Ensure you cover them up for protection if you choose to grow them outdoors.

You must determine if your state allows you to sell with or without a license. Once you figure that out, you can start by selling seeds. You can place them in little packages and get them ready for sale. If you specifically want to sell items grown in your garden, consider selling thyme, rosemary, mint, or basil. You can dry these herbs and then organize them in snack bags. You can take this a step further by making herbal oils and salts as a product of your own that you can market and sell consistently. Herbal teas are also a great option in this regard.

Produce is the most obvious and arguably most profitable thing to sell from your garden. It is extremely high in demand, so you could decide to create a roadside stand or even join a local farmer’s market. You can also speak to local grocery stores, restaurants, event venues, and caterers that might be interested in purchasing your product. Flowers are a great industry, and many of the same customers you would seek for your product would be willing to buy your flowers (aside from florists). You could use some of the fruit you sell to make homemade jams, tarts, and jellies. Several states now enjoy cottage laws, permitting you to sell homemade baked goods and foods without having a commercial kitchen. If you decide to grow grains, then you can also mill your flour and sell it. Among making homemade baked goods like bread.

What to Plant and When

You may have a list of vegetables you want to plant, which is excellent. It’s essential to have a plan and be as prepared as you can be for your homestead. However, your goals also need to merge with your homestead area. To have a successful harvest, you want to ensure that you are keeping track of frost dates (the date of the first light freeze in fall and the last light freeze in spring) in your area. A light freeze (29-32°F) is when tender plants are killed. A moderate freeze (25-38°F) can destroy most vegetation. A severe freeze (24°F or less) does extreme damage to most plants. Let’s use the case of families A, B, and C to understand frost dates and productive planting practices.

Family A is based in New York their last spring frost is May and as late as June, and their first fall frost is in September and as late as October. Family B wants to buy their homestead in Wyoming, with the last spring frost in May, June, or July depending on were in Wyoming and the first fall frost is August and September. The final family resides in Oregon, this state has lots of different climates. Their last spring frost is in April, May, June, and July and the first fall frost is in August, September, October, and November. All these months depending on where you live in the state. Look at the two images to see where you might be on the map for the first and last frost dates.

The coming of the spring months can lead to excitement for homesteaders. However, it is important not to begin planting too early (or too late). Homesteaders should ensure that the soil is thawed enough before planting. It should be moderately dry but still workable. Once you notice that your soil has achieved the right moisture level and texture, you can begin working on your plants. The ideal temperature for the soil to grow prolifically is 65-75°F. Note that some plants can endure colder temperatures. These are your lettuce leaves, broccoli, radishes, and peas (the microgreen family and more), so you can afford to plant these a little earlier in a small container filled with fresh soil.

As a homesteading newbie, you may not know that producing gardens begins before the spring season. Ideally, you will have already started preparing for your garden in the fall. You want to add organic matter to the soil and begin the tilling process to improve its nutritional profile. You can also start seeds indoors or outdoors, but not all plants are the same in this regard.

Starting seeds indoors requires them to be hardened off before outdoor planting. In other words, you should expose them to the outdoor temperatures slowly, roughly two weeks before officially planting them.

  • The best seeds to start indoors are herbs, flowers, and vegetables like eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, kale, peppers, and tomatoes. Seeds that are best started outdoors are corn, beets, cucumbers, carrots, and beans.
  • Certain plants can be planted each year, and they will keep coming back.

These are called perennial plants and harbor a different growth profile from annual plants. When you plant perennials once, they are guaranteed to grow yearly for several decades, so it is a lifelong investment. However, not all perennial plants can be prolific in every single location where they are planted. This is where hardiness zones come into effect. You want to ensure that the type of perennials you select can endure the conditions of your specific zone.

  • Family A (living in New York) can expect to enjoy the annual fruits of asparagus, horseradish, watercress, goji berries, raspberries, blueberries, nectarines, and garlic.
  • Family B (moving to Wyoming) can expect to enjoy the annual fruits of asparagus, horseradish, goji berries, blueberries, and garlic.
  • Finally, family C (living in Oregon) can expect to enjoy the annual fruits of kale, asparagus, watercress, goji berries, raspberries, figs, nectarines, mandarins, and garlic.

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