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Herbs are quite literally the spice of life. Although store bought herbs work fine, there’s nothing like fresh herbs from the garden. They spice up affordable homemade meals and can be dried to use during the winter.

Here’s how you can start an herb garden on a shoestring budget.

Score a cheap container

You don’t need a fancy $40 planter to grow herbs. There are so many free or cheap options out there! Some people use cement blocks, tires, bird baths, kettles, tea cups, and more.

If you’re in the market for a unique container and don’t want to spend any money, try trash picking. Heck, that’s where I got the hanging basket for my herb garden!

If trash isn’t your thing, you can repurpose existing items around your house, ask neighbors, or poke around on Freecycle.com.

Get dirty

You don’t need a $10 bag of Miracle-Gro to grow herbs. Plants are just as happy growing in a $1 “knockoff” bag of dirt as they are in the fancy stuff. If you really want to save money, consider using soil from your yard. Better yet, use your own compost for maximum savings and plant nutrition.

Seed sourcing

Some people like to start an herb garden with mature plants. That’s a great way to have a harvest ASAP, but not a great way to save money. That’s why I always start my plants from seed.

Seeds can be the most expensive part of gardening, especially if you’re trying to go organic. Instead of paying $6 for a pack of seeds, check if you have seed banks in your area. These banks give out free seeds and just ask that you return more seeds once your plants grow. If you don’t have a local seed bank, check for mom-and-pop stores or co-ops. They usually have better deals.

The bottom line

Once you have these three basics, it’s time to get growin’! Harvest fresh, nutritious herbs from the comfort of your own home on the cheap.

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Dairy Goats For Your Small Farm

Goats are a lively and productive alternative to keeping dairy cows on your homestead. As a huge bonus, their milk is flavorful and full of nutrition. Use this quick guide to understand the basics of keeping dairy goats.

Legality

Always check your local ordinances and laws for livestock restrictions. Even if you’re allowed to keep chickens, it doesn’t mean you’re allowed to keep livestock. Don’t skip this crucial step!

Food and space

Where will you keep your goats? Ensure they have adequate shelter, housing, food, and water. A fence is necessary for shelter from the elements, as well as a fence.

Find your goats (yes, plural)

Goats are herd animals. For this reason, you should never buy just one goat. They can become depressed if separated from their friends, just like human beings. Always buy at least two goats so they have a companion. Opt for dairy breeds like Nubian, Nigerian Dwarf, or Sable.

Basics of goat breeding

Goats are mammals, which means they produce milk for their young. Just like humans, goats only produce milk for a certain time after giving birth. For this reason, you need access to a male goat to breed females for milk. A female goat can be bred every 12 – 15 months.

Make sure you have a plan for the kids! Many goat owners sell the babies at 8 weeks old to turn a profit. The mother goat will continue to produce milk for 10 months after giving birth, although the amount of milk decreases over time. Let the goat dry up for at least two months before she’s bred again.

Milking

The big upside to goats is that they produce more than enough milk for both you and their kids. You do need to milk a goat daily, and sometimes even multiple times per day. You can get more by milking up to three times a day, but make sure you have a plan for the milk. A goat can produce up to a gallon a day after birth, and about a quart a day 10 months after giving birth.

Always practice safe, clean milking procedures. This keeps your goat healthy and comfortable while preventing sour flavors in the milk.

The bottom line

Goats are a fun, lively addition to any homestead. Keep in mind that dairy goats can be a lot of work, but they can pay off in tons of milk and laughs.


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