How to Grow Butternut Squash from Seed

Butternut squash is one of the many different kinds of winter squash such as pumpkin. Characterized by a distinctive pale yellow color and a pear-shaped fruit, the squash is a valuable crop with high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Learn the essential details and some expert tips on how to grow butternut squash from seeds. You will also learn how to harvest butternut and other important information.

Grow Warm-Weather Plants Year-Round with a Chinese Greenhouse: New Book Shows You How

For those gardeners who wish to grow year-round longtime MOTHER EARTH NEWS Contributing Editor and home-energy expert Dan Chiras has a solution for you: the Chinese greenhouse. Typically earth-banked into a hillside or girded by mounded earth, Chinese greenhouses bring many principles of passive-solar design into the greenhouse in order to grow using 100-percent solar radiation.

Stacking Functions in the Greenhouse

ne of the principles of Permaculture is “Stacking Functions” or making every structure/addition to your plan serve at least two, if not more, functions in the landscape. When we added solar panels to the homestead, we wanted to honor this principle—and constructing a small greenhouse allowed us to install the panels, as the light was not great on the roof of the house. The number of functions we have stacked on this small structure became very clear to me as I prepared for an upcoming solar homes tour.

Partridge Berry as a Non-Aggressive, Pest-Resistant Groundcover

Native to 35 states and 3 provinces of Canada east of the Mississippi, Partridge Berry is rarely seen in the trade. I fail to see why, as it's very easy to propagate by rooting cuttings or from seed. In fact, it forms adventitious roots as it gently winds its way around the garden. It could never, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered aggressive or invasive.

Build A Simple ATV Sled

Learn how to build a simple sled in less than 30 minutes from scrap lumber and logs!

After the Storm, Getting Back on the Horse

Sometimes life’s events get in the way of our goals and aspirations in homesteading. This story is about how events in 2015 derailed our homestead activities and how in 2016 we’re trying to “get back on the horse”. We welcome your comments and advice.

A Gradual Wakening to Spring

Following the Wheel of the Year gives us monthly moments to celebrate. Imbolc is a reminder that half of winter is now behind us.

Let It Snow

A good snowfall now and then helps to test the limits of our resources. You never know if you are prepared for disruptions until you are disrupted. Here are some hints to help things go smoothly when there are real possibilities that they might not otherwise.

4 Ways to Remain Eco-Friendly During Winter

Winters can be brutal, especially on our homes when it comes to our energy costs. Winter tends to drive up energy costs but there is a way to prevent that from happening this winter including eliminating drafts, smart thermostats, and more.

Preparing Your Homestead Rabbits for Winter

Whether it’s as simple as switching our water bottles for crocks, or something more complicated, like stacking hay around your hutches — here are a few quick tips on how to keep your homestead rabbits warm this winter.

Best Kinds of Bird Food to Put Out This Winter

Putting out food for the wild birds in your area will help them get the nutrition they need to thrive through the cold months. Avian nutrition means much more than tossing out a few seeds. If you’re not sure what to put on your wild bird grocery shopping list, check out this list to get started.

A Slice of Winter Homesteading Life (with Videos)

Mark pulled out the camera this week to share a few short videos about our winter garden and goats. Explore our December garden and goat pasture in these short homesteading videos.

How to Make Great Kale Chips

Kale chips are the rage and they cook up quickly, but they can be tricky to make. Here are some tips to making great kale chips.

Does Snow Affect My Solar Panels?

Plenty of homeowners have both solar panels and snow, and some of the most popular regions in the U.S. for solar have snowy winters. Don’t let winter weather discourage you from going solar!

2016 Goals for the Garden

Solstice Night is the traditional time to set goals. On that night, we sit by the fire, review the year, and plan for the next. I’ve been thinking about the goals for the garden already; two are building upon existing systems and the third is new. Once I am clear on my goals, I am going to post them in the greenhouse, so I will see them almost every day!

6 Tips for Winter Organic-Gardening Success

Follow these simple tips for winter garden success. Increase winter garden capacity and yield while protecting crops from the winter cold with these helpful organic farming tips.

Technological Challenges of Off-Grid Homestead Living, Part 3: Water

This is part three in a series of articles on how I made the transition to off grid homestead living by combining appropriate modern technology and reliable techniques practiced for thousands of years. Currently I’m entering the first winter of full-time off grid living at my mountain homestead after completing the construction of my small house.

Getting Ready for Winter on Our Urban Farm

The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts for our area “Winter will be cooler and rainier than normal, with above-normal snowfall." To quote a popular television show “Winter is coming." Prepare for winter with this checklist and weatherization ideas.

Fall and Winter Crops

The time to be thinking about eating local food is in January, when you plan your garden, not in August and September, as you harvest and preserve. Fall and winter crops should be planted in June - but it is not too late to think about next year.

How To (Safely) Make Home-Canned Pumpkin or Winter Squash

Learn the correct method for safely making home canned pumpkin and winter squash. A few jars of ready-to-use canned pumpkin on your pantry shelf can save time when you want to bake a pumpkin pie, simmer a squash soup, or make any other favorite recipe calling for pumpkin puree.

Chickens Got Cabin Fever

The sun is shining, the breeze is starting to warm, but there's still three feet of snow outside. It's driving you crazy — why can't spring get here now? Well, you're not the only one because those chickens have cabin fever too!

Wintering Pigs on Pasture

Wintering pigs outside is both fun and rewarding, if you plan accordingly. The most important aspect for pigs wintering outside is that they have adequate shelter and protection from the weather and cold. Water and proper forage, even during cold months, are also important.

How to Keep Livestock Water from Freezing

Our Facebook fans gave us feedback on how to keep livestock water from freezing when the weather gets cold. Read their innovative tips to keep your own water warm.

What We Do Around the Homestead in January

The short period of time each year where homesteaders and summer-business owners like us get to freely bask in open-ended unscheduled time is as short as it is sweet, and it reaches its peak right now in January.

Winter Bird Survival

Birds are survivors. Learn about different adaptations birds have to thrive during the dark, cold winter days. And, what you can do to support winter bird survival in your backyard.

Getting to Know the Farmers at Winter Green Farm, Part 1

Originally founded as a homestead in 1980 by Jack Gray and Mary Jo Wade, Winter Green Farm has grown to become a successful biodynamic farm in Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley. This profile of Winter Green Farm has been excerpted from "Planting A Future: Profiles from Oregon’s New Farm Movement."

A Beekeeper's Short Story

A beekeeper, acting as the Guardian, discovers a hive that appears to have been frozen in early spring and then sees it come back to life before his very eyes. This beekeeping short story may surprise you, too.

Securing Covers on Low Tunnels

Low tunnels are easy structures to build to protect your winter veggies. Keeping the covers on in windy conditions can be a challenge. Learn simple steps you can take to make your low tunnel covers stable, no matter what the weather brings.

Winter Is Coming

The cold weather is hitting Virginia early this year and it's time to winterize!

Winter Solstice

Everything pauses during the time around the winter solstice.

Preparing a Rooster's Comb for Winter

Contrary to popular belief, most breeds are very well equipped to deal with the cold. But good husbandry skills will ensure very little frostbite irritation for your rooster and other large-combed chicken breeds. This blog post is about protecting your chickens' comb, but frostbite can also afflict the feet, mainly on snowy days.

End of the Season

A philosophical look at the coming of winter, with ideas for preserving the summer after the end-of-the-season pepper harvest.

Natural Conditions Beyond Our Control

Being a homesteader and living off the land often means being subjected to natural conditions beyond our control, sometimes predictable changes of seasons and temperatures, other times curve balls such as unseen pest pressure, hard frosts in late May or heavy snow in early November. A lifestyle where these natural circumstances is the main determining factor for what gets done when is getting increasingly rarer – humans have gained what some consider an advantage by manipulating the world into a state where we, in many ways, can remain unaffected from the forces of nature.

Grow Chard for Year-Round Steamed Greens

Chard is a wonderful green, chock full of vitamins. It can be eaten when small in salads. The large leaves can be harvested for steamed/cooked greens. It is a perennial that with cover can be harvested all winter.

Time to Plant the Fall Garden

You can be harvesting from your garden all year long, including through the winter months! It's time to plant the fall garden.

Hoop House Transformation

The hoophouse on our farm is filled with greens all winter long. It’s almost hard to switch gears for summer tomatoes.

Creating Your Own Micro-Climate

Creating a micro-climate is an essential tool for your survival and homesteading skills. Making the right micro-climate for your plants specific needs will not only help them survive, but thrive as well.

Snowshoeing Home

Winter has it's challenges, but the snow-capped beauty and the adventure of living simply amongst it makes it more than worth it.

Candlemas: A Midwinter Homesteader's Holiday

Candlemas is an ancient midwinter holiday, when people would take inventory on their stock of candles, pantry food storage and hay in the barn to get the homestead through the second half of winter.

Safely Cut Pond Ice

Maintaining access to a water source is one of the most important winter-time chores.

The Nature of Growing Up

4 or 40, growing up isnt always straight up. Branches, bumpy outcroppings and the occasional low hanging fruit serve as speed bumps on the road of life.

A Sunroom for My Chickens

Our chickens aren't fond of the snow and the wind, but we found a way to let them enjoy the sunshine from the comfort of their coop!

January on the Homestead

While the snow's flying, this is a good time to plan your garden rotation, order seeds, preheat early spring garden areas, and more.

Grow Indoor Winter Crops

It is possible to grow fresh crops through the dark months even without a greenhouse, and even where we live, a thousand miles from the Arctic Circle, where the winter sun brings only brief and meager light.

Winter Chores for Off-Grid Living

Outside of a few rare equipment failures, we’ve never had a power outage in the past 20 years that wasn’t our own fault — usually caused by not paying attention to power use or proper battery charging. Weather failures, on the other hand, are starting to become noticeable.

A Homesteader's Winter

A homesteader's year is over for this time. Nothing cleans the yard up as a foot of snow, and I think it's here to stay. winter on Deer Isle is great, so great I consider it something we deserve after getting through the summer, both for us as homesteaders and for us as a part of this community.

Always Getting Ready on the Homestead

Each season brings its own work on a homestead. In the autumn, the garden and animals still require work, but this is also the time to put in a cistern and begin a smoke house.

The December Garden

The December garden is still full of life, both in the beds and under cover, providing fresh ingredients for home cooked meals. Winter farmers markets and CSA's are a great way to learn what grows well in your zone.

How To: Winter Biking

Winter biking doesn't mean spending tons of money on new cold-weather gear. Adding a few essential items to your closet can help keep you warm during cold weather biking.

Making Clementine Candles

How to make candles you can really light from the peel of Clementine oranges. A wintertime craft...just oil and an orange peel!

Winter Chicken Care

Learn details regarding winter chicken care including ventilation for a cozy chicken house, heat for baby and grown chicks, and recommended poultry books.

HOMEGROWN Life: Canning Tomatoes 101

Tomatoes are the gray area of canning. They're not quite acidic enough to just straight can like fruit but the right amount of added acid can keep you from having to pressure can them. Here are the basics on canning tomatoes.

Plan Next Year's Garden Now

Plan fall cover crops to feed back the soil and leave the bed ready for when you need to plant the main crop next year.

Tomato Tastings, Fall Garden Starts, and Getting Ready for Garlic

Come rejoice in the bounty of heirloom tomatoes - experience the flavors and choose your favorites at tomato tastings throughout the Southeast. Plus, it's time to plant fall alliums - garlic and perennial onions - and fall crops for winter storage!

Summer Planting for Fall and Winter Harvest

It may be sweltering hot outside, but we're still busily sowing seeds at the Southern Exposure farms! Learn how to plant your bountiful fall and winter garden, with abundant harvests through Thanksgiving and beyond.

Think Cool: Winter Worm Composting

Describes a method of keeping red wiggler worms active and productive outside throughout the winter. Describes a method of sheltering and heating the worms using an active compost pile for heat and clear plastic glazing for shelter.

Spring Greens and Other Things from the Early Vegetable Garden

The mild winter has led to an earlier than usual spring growing season and plenty of surprises in the way of plants making it through the winter that normally would never survive the cold season. Here's a peek at what's growing in my spring garden.

A Recent Video Shoot

Looking after your chickens in the winter and cutting with a solar-powered electric chainsaw.

Seven Garden Activities to Help Kiss Winter Goodbye

So, you can't wait for the weather to warm up enough to get out and plant a few seeds in the ground? Well here is a list of gardening ideas and activities to keep you occupied and happy right up until the day that spring arrives!

Winter Winners This Year

Winter wasn't very hard this year, well at least so far, and even if it gets more normal winter like, there's not much time left. Our bees have done well, and it looks like it might be a great summer ahead.

HOMEGROWN Life: Utility or Useless?

Clearly the NACE considers “useless” degrees to be ones in which pay is low and availability of jobs is scarce. However, shouldn’t measuring the usefulness of an education take into account the actual benefits bestowed upon the person doing the study

What a Mild Winter Means

The good, the bad and the ugly of a nice mild winter and its effects on the homestead in 2012.

Resolve to Build a Hoophouse This Year

We’ve been growing in unheated hoophouses for a decade now, and we can’t recommend them highly enough for commercial growers. If you have any dreams of market farming, the first thing you should buy is a hoophouse.

Cold Frames, Kim Chee, and Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch

Progress in the straw bale and wooden cold frames, delicious Kim Chee recipes for winter harvested Chinese cabbage and winter radishes, and an update from the Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch program in Arlington, VA.

Permaculture in Winter

A rundown of activities you can do in the winter to improve your homestead.

Pink and Black Radish Bake

Black winter storage radishes can be roasted with bright, pink radishes to create a warming vegetable side dish best served atop of bed of crunchy salad greens.

Cold Frames, Fresh Greens and Homegrown Roots

Ira takes us on a winter garden tour of the experimental gardens at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. She describes the various experimental cold frames for winter gardening and winter starts. Includes a winter recipe for Sweet Potato Leek Soup.

Backyard Vegetable Gardeners: Go Get a Hoop House for Winter!

It is not difficult to set up a backyard hoop house to extend your growing season. The result is abundant, delicious greens and extra months with your hands in the soil. Share information here on backyard hoop house gardening and cuisine.

Winter In A Top Bar Hive

One way to overwinter a top bar hive in a northern climate is to provide good ventilation and some insulation. Enough food is needed, and good protection from the wind is too. We'll see how it works.

Preparing Your Vegetable Garden for Winter

It pays to spend time preparing your garden for winter. You can improve your soil, increase your harvest, decrease garden pests and make next spring's planting much easier.

How to Plant Garlic

The Garlic Gurus at Seeds from Italy give you the scoop on growing your own garlic. This post answers questions of when and where to grow garlic, what varieties to grow, how much to grow, where to buy garlic, and how much to plant.

Autumn Is A Time Of Preparation

In the beauty of autumn comes a time of preparation for winter. The many necessary tasks to be prepared if you are self sufficient.

2 Easy Homemade Spice Blends

Apple pie spice and quatres epices are two easy spice blends you can make yourself for fabulously fresh flavor.

Getting A Top Bar Hive Ready For Winter

When getting a top bar hive ready for winter, you need to know how much honey there is...and measureing these frames is different than measuring rectangular frames.

Getting Your Bees Ready For Winter...Already.

It's time to start thinking of winter for your bees. They much have enough food to get through the long months when no food is coming in. It's your job to see that they do.

Global Warming and Extreme Weather

This posting will discuss the relationship between the current global warming trend and hurricanes, extreme winter winters and massive flooding.

Help! I'm Allergic to Bread

The development of gluten intolerance persuaded me to investigate the possibility of an heirloom wheat flour that might not cause the gluten reaction of wheat-based products.

Project Planning and the Wait

It’s been bitterly cold in Michigan. The big blizzard has gone through and has left us with a bunch of snow.

On the Farm: Preparing for the Blizzard

A few considerations before the arrival of a winter storm can help you, your family and your farm animals survive during frigid blizzard conditions.

A Useful Space for Pigs, Chickens and Rabbits

Jenna Woginrich writes about the beauty of Cold Antler Farm, a small homestead that she shares with Pig, her rabbits Benjamin and Doe and several chickens. Taking care of her animals on cold winter nights is a challenge for Woginrich, but one she gladly accepts armed with a water bottle and affection. Woginrich's modest barn provides shelter for her animals and a useful space to feel at home.

Winter's Fast Food

There's no need to go to the grocery food in the winter if you have stored food in a root cellar, freezer or canning jars. Most of the work of preparing this food has already been done and so that winter meals are easy, nutritious and delicious.

What is Your Favorite Winter Tradition?

While some can't wait for the warmer days to return and others are invigorated by the seasonal briskness, most of us have some cold-weather habit, holiday activity or winter ritual that we hold dear. Whether it's burrowing under thick piles of blankets, watching for the first snow flakes or getting a head start on garden planning, what are your favorite winter moments?

A Toast to Roasted Vegetables

Roasting is the best way to cook winter root vegetables, because dry heat coaxes out and concentrates flavors. Use this simple method and fool-proof tips to bring out the best in  parsnips, carrots, rutabagas and other root vegetables.

Grow Mushrooms This Winter!

Try doing something different this winter by growing mushrooms. It's entertaining, and it provides you with an edible treat!