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No matter what season it is, it’s never too early, or late, to start planning out your garden space. This is especially true if you’re working with a smaller space and want to grow a variety of vegetables (and fruits if you’re ready).

A good plan for a small garden space might take a little more time. You already want to plant different types of crops (crop rotation helps to keep some nasty pests away) but have you considered some of the following cost-effective, space-saving tips?

Beds Over Rows

If you’ve been planting your vegetables in rows all this time, it’s no wonder why you can’t grow as much. Planting in rows creates the need for space to walk between those rows, effectively taking up more space than you have.
Switch it up next season by planting your vegetables in beds instead. This gets rid of the space that’s needed to walk between rows and gives better access to your vegetables as well.

Go Vertical!

A common beginner’s error is planting your vegetable crops horizontally, even if they can be planted vertically. It’s likely that a good number of the crops you’re growing are ones that can easily be grown on trellises, such as spinach, peas, tomatoes, and beans. This helps in reducing space uptake and gives you more room for planting other crops.

Plant Different Species

It’s not necessary that all your crops have to be grown far from each other. You can try planting two different species in the same bed as long as you’re familiar with their growth stages. A good example of a pair that can be grown together is radishes and sunchokes. Since radishes grow quickly, they’ll be ready for harvest before your sunchokes grow too big.

Use ALL Of Your Space

It’s not essential that you only grow crops in your yard or specific parts of it. For starters, you can grow a good number of vegetables, such as lettuce, radishes, and chilies, in pots. These pots can be placed on your front steps or a balcony where they’ll get enough sun too.

Moreover, not all of the crops you grow have to be planted in parts of your garden that get enough sun. Those shaded areas of your garden are good enough to grow some leafy greens, mushrooms, and even rhubarb.

Plant Some Microgreens

These little flavorful greens are an important part of any chef’s recipe and you can grow them in smaller areas of your garden. The best part is that most kinds of microgreens grow pretty fast and can be planted close to each other.

Keep Little Space between Plants

The most space you’ll need between garden beds is around 20 inches if you’ll want to carry a bucket or two. The space between your garden beds can be used effectively when you grow plants close together. If you’re growing cherry tomatoes of the indeterminate variety, know that they can take as less as a square foot of area, as long as you remember to take off the suckers.

These are some of the best tried-and-tested techniques that can help you grow a large variety of crops in your garden by managing your space effectively. Not only does it allow you to diversify your garden, but it also gives you peace of mind knowing that you don’t have a large garden to tend to.

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Dirty Little Truths About Homesteading

Homesteading is an absolute blast. But while we love to talk about chickens and jams and milking, there’s a lot of stuff we don’t talk about.

The excitement and thrill of homesteading often overshadow tough truths. Here are a few hard truths that all soon-to-be homesteaders need to consider.

You can’t do it all

Owning a homestead is no different than owning a house. There’s always a new project on the horizon. You might be tempted to dive headfirst into every new project. But that’s a recipe for burnout and overwhelm. Understand that there is always going to be another project on the homestead and enjoy the tasks you have today. Do things at your own pace, and acknowledge limitations. Use physical, legal, and property limitations to help you choose which tasks to prioritize.

The literal crap

You want goats, chickens, sheep, and pigs for your homestead. That’s so fun! But the piles of animal waste are less than glamorous. If it eats, it has to poop. Period.

Animal cleanup is a reality most people don’t consider. Always have a cleanup procedure and routine in place for them. If you don’t want to deal with the (mounds and mounds) of poop then, hmmm. How do I put this? Maybe you shouldn’t raise animals?

There are no breaks without a good plan

Let’s say you planned a weekend getaway with your friends. You’re excited, until you realize something. Your plants need watering and the animals need feeding while you’re gone. It’s much, much harder to get away when you run a homestead. Especially if you raise animals.

If you travel frequently, it’s going to be hard to maintain your homestead. You’ll need to enlist reliable neighbors, family, or paid hands to care for the homestead in your absence. Planning is key and you’ll have to get good at it.

It takes a village

Speaking of neighbors, a homestead is built on community. Sure, your nearest neighbors might be five miles down the road, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rely on others for help. Embrace your local community for help, advice, and even bartering. You never know when others will step in to save the day. And yes, in this day and age it might be easier said than done. People just aren’t as friendly as they used to be, right? But don’t give up. Keep up the neighborly vibes and hope for the best. Maybe one day your neighbor will need you for help, advice, and bartering. Ya think?

Homesteading is hard work! So even though it’s easy to get all romantic and dream about the fun stuff, keep a firm hold on reality. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂

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