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Bees are a worthwhile investment for any homesteader. Although it comes with great payoff, beekeeping has a learning curve. Here’s a quick overview of what to expect when harvesting honey from your bees.

Step 1: Access the hive

Most beekeepers use a smoker to safely access the hive to harvest honey. Smoke the entrance of the hive and remove the lid, smoking the top. This pushes bees away from the area you’ll be working in. Gently remove the cover; you may need to use a special tool to pry it off if it’s covered in beeswax.

Step 2: Remove bees

To harvest honey from a frame, you’ll need to remove bees from the area. There are multiple methods for this, but the simplest is a DIY bee vacuum. Place the honeycomb frames in an empty frame holder as you collect more honeycomb. Once you’ve removed the frames you want, reseal the hive and replace the bees. Remember to always wear protective beekeeping gear!

Step 3: Remove wax

The precious honey is sealed up inside the protective beeswax. You can remove these beeswax caps with a butter knife, or you can also purchase a specialized capping knife. Tip: Save this beeswax to make homemade candles; it smells amazing.

Step 4: Extract and store honey

For this step, you’ll need a tool called a honey extractor. This gadget spins the honeycomb and collects it at the bottom of a drum. Open the spigot on the drum and filter the honey through a sieve and cheesecloth. Filtering prevents wax and other debris from finding its way into your honey.

Once filtered, the honey is ready to be bottled and enjoyed. It can be stored in Mason jars, where it can be safely kept on a shelf for up to two years. But we have a feeling that it won’t last that long!

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A New Plan For Your Spring Garden: Smart Ways To Make Money

You’ve probably had a lot of practice growing plants for your own personal use. And now that you’re in the midst of planning for your spring garden you might want to consider all the ways you can make a little extra money from it. You can still keep it small and earn just enough to cover your gardening expenses, or turn your garden into a full-time business with a full-time income. The possibilities are endless!

Grow and Sell Plants and Seedlings

Selling plants is an excellent way to make some money from your homestead garden because many folks don’t have the patience, time, or knowledge to grow their own plants from seed. If you’re growing your own seedlings for your garden every spring, why not grow some extras to sell at the farmers’ market or on Craigslist? We have great success with selling herbs (culinary or medicinal), heirloom tomatoes, and peppers in our area, but you can experiment to see what people want in your town.

In fact, you don’t have to limit yourself to just vegetable transplants, either. What about tree seedlings, shrubs, lilies, house plants, or started bulbs in the spring. If you want to get creative, you could make gorgeous porch planters, fairy gardens, succulent gardens, or even windowsill herb gardens. Just be aware of the laws in your state before you get started; there may be some degree of licensing required.

Sell Seeds

If you’re already saving seeds from your garden to use next year you can make some extra money without a whole lot of extra effort. Simply package up your seeds in small quantities and create some cute labels with some basic growing information. Seeds could be sold at the farmers’ market, on Craigslist, and even through websites online.

Sell Fresh Cut or Dried Herbs

Selling fresh cut or dried herbs at the farmers’ market can be a great source of income for your homestead. We sell fresh basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, lemon balm, and parsley at our local market every summer. You could also dry your homegrown herbs to sell for culinary use or making teas when the growing season is over. Try packaging them in plastic or paper bags, small glass jars, or get creative and use something like a corked test tube to really stand out. Cute labels will go a long way toward attracting attention, as well.

Grow and Sell Medicinal Herbs and Tea Blends

You could experiment with medicinal herbs to see if they sell in your area, too. Try selling them as seedlings, fresh cut, or dried at the market. Take it to the next level by turning them into salves, teas, tinctures, or even bath salts. Many people love tea blends of all types.

Grow Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be a great cash crop for the small homestead. They don’t take up a lot of space to grow, and most of them don’t even require sunlight. They can be sold fresh, dried, or even pickled. You could also get creative and sell mushroom growing kits, too.

Sell Your Freshly Harvested Produce

If you grow a large garden each year, there’s bound to be some extra produce to sell. Consider setting up a roadside stand or selling at local farmers’ markets. You might even consider starting a CSA program in your area. Locally grown produce is a hot commodity, so don’t be afraid to approach restaurants and even small grocery stores, too. Consider growing something exotic or unusual in your area to take advantage of an untapped market.

Grow and Sell Cut Flowers

I love selling cut flowers alongside our plants and produce at the market because they really draw in attention from people who might just walk by otherwise. There’s nothing like a gorgeous bouquet of seasonal, fresh cut flowers to attract attention! Restaurants and florists may be interested in purchasing floral bouquets as well.

Grow and Sell Gourmet Garlic

This is another fantastic cash crop for the small homestead. Garlic is easy to grow and doesn’t require vast amounts of space. It stores well, too, which can be a huge plus for taking advantage of the market all year long.

Sell Bulbs or Tubers

Plants like hostas, lilies, daffodils, tulips, and crocuses need to be divided regularly for the best growth, so why not set some aside to sell after you split them in the spring or fall. Early spring bulbs like hyacinth or narcissus could be planted into clear glass vases or jars and forced into early bloom to sell around Easter time.

Make Candles, Wreaths, Soaps, and Jewelry with Your Dried Flowers and Herbs

When the growing season ends, you can still make money from your garden by crafting with your dried herbs and flowers. Sell your crafts online and at winter craft shows to make money during the colder months.

Make Extra Money Through Photography

Everyone loves gorgeous garden photos. Practice taking pictures of your growing flowers and plants. You can sell stock photos and prints online or at the market with your other goods. If you are an especially skilled photographer, consider selling photography sessions in your garden for families, babies, or even engagement photos.

Grow Pumpkins and Gourds to Sell in the Fall

I think every homestead should grow pumpkins because they are so versatile! For personal use, they can be stored to make delicious soups and pies. Because they store well, they are also a great crop to grow for profits during the offseason. Some folks will buy pie pumpkins around the holidays, but decorative pumpkins and gourds will sell for top dollar as seasonal decorations. You’ll need to get your gourds and pumpkins growing early though because they take several months to grow.

Some Other Ideas

There are so many things you can do to make money from your garden all year long. How about making garlands and wreaths out of decorative branches, vines, and pinecones? Maybe you could have classes for people who want to learn how to garden in your area. U-pick farms, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes are also very popular if you have the space for it. The list goes on and on. Get creative and have fun with it!

Find local resources to help get you started.


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