Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

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Welcome Spring to Your Homestead

3/17/2009 2:05:07 PM

Tags: Cold Antler Farm, poultry, chickens, gardening, seeds

Sheep in Snow

Spring is taking over Cold Antler Farm and all of us are happily surrendering to it. The snow is melting off the garden fences, the sheep are starting to hoof up green mosses and young grass, and the chickens are getting brave enough to hop down to the stream that was once blocked by snow. There are buckets and tubing on every sugar maple in the neighborhood, and with every spare minute I’m thinking about plans for spring chicks and new beehives.

Yes friends, spring is finally here. Time to start farming.

Regardless of whether your homestead is your backyard or a couple acres off grid, it's time to start planning for the spring. If you're looking into chickens and plan on ordering from a hatchery, take some time to find the birds closest to you. If you have a particular breed in mind (I'm looking forward to raising some Black Silkie Bantams) you can use the Mother Earth News Hatchery Finder to find the right birds at the right time for you.

You can start sowing seeds indoors for early crops like lettuces, peas and broccoli. And if you haven't already stepped outside, crossed your arms, and given your garden plot a long hard look — it's time to start planning where the bounty will begin. If you're new to gardening, don't be shy because you're in good company. Scads of new homesteaders and urban gardeners are taking the reins for the first time, and blogs and forums are heating up as they discuss big plans for new gardens. Sites like YouGrowGirl are a constant inspiration for me to get my fingernails dirty.

 Maybe this year is the year you'll start that new project? The rain barrel or compost turner you've secretly been eyeing in catalogs all winter may deserve a place in your budget. But before any dollars are spent on large purchases for your farm, make sure you use the elbow room spring allows to research exactly what you need. Save yourself the problems of returning items that don't work for you, or the disappointment of getting that prefab coop only to find it's 3 inches too wide.

 Most of all, enjoy these warmer days. Before you know it we'll be pulling off ticks and cursing the heat, so revel in the honeymoon while it lasts darlings.

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Post a comment below.


3/28/2009 8:08:58 PM
I just cant wait to get to putting in a garden again. I have a bit of a delema though. We are going to be moving over 1900 miles from our home in Oregon to the great state of Kansas in early june. Any thoughts on how to appease my gardening urge??? Cant wait to find a home there and get settled so I can start the farm!!! Keep up the good work everyone. It does really matter what you do. :)

B Knight
3/19/2009 3:35:23 PM
Good wake-up call, with Spring just one day away now. Here's a list of 10 veggies that you can start early, with a starting timeframe, that's relative to your last expected day of frost. Even if you live in an apartment, you can likely find a sunny indoor spot to grow some herbs.

Charlie Conover
3/19/2009 1:12:41 PM
Finally! Temps here in the Badger State have gone over 70 degrees! This is my first year with Mother Earth News on-line. I was in Radio for over 30 years and forgot about all those wonderful "Mother Earth News Minutes" that I used to broadcast. Wonderful Information! This year an old gas dryer finally gave up the ghost. I now have turned the old porcelin tub into a perfect bin for composting. It already has built in air holes and the porcelin will keep it from rusting. Just put some chicken wire and a few sticks around it to keep out those critters! Keep up the wonderful web site! Charlie Conover

3/18/2009 4:10:35 PM
I have started a Garden Club on Fridays on my blog... you can link your articles and blog entries and share your wisdom with many people! Anyone may Join the club on Fridays at

Earth Spirit
3/18/2009 3:36:10 PM
I am a 66 yr old stroke/heart attack victim, woman, and have found I can still have wonderfully fresh grown veggies and fruits with my container gardening. I used to garden in the soil, about a half an acre and it was very rewarding but also back breaking at times. I then discovered the Mother Earth magazines and the idea of using old tires to plant in, lol, I along with all my friends and relatives were amazed at how much easier gardening became. Then I lost my home due to a fire and couldnt take all those tires with me, had to start using huge pots instead, and over the years I've simply "improved" on my containers but still using containers only. And still going strong and looking for ward to my garden this year. I just stopped in to say Hello and to add my 2 cents worth. Blessings to all, Earth Spirit

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