Thirty-five percent of American households are growing food at home or in a community garden, according to reports by the National Gardening Association. Providing high-quality food for your family all year-round takes foresight and simple planning – not to mention, a healthy dose of groundwork and commitment. Today, more young individuals and families are becoming involved in growing and eating their own food from their homestead now more than ever.
As a result, many are looking to improve their gardens design and create a space for maximum efficiency. So, do you dream of growing a self-sufficient living on a homestead? Not sure where to start or how to build your design? Here’s how to create a unique design for you self-sustainable homestead garden.
Planning Your Homestead Garden
People say that they’d love to grow food in their own homestead garden, but a vegetable plot would look out of place. They imagine the pin-straight rows of vines and muddy gaps, instead of the abundance of veggies they could be growing. The first step to planning your unique homestead garden is to focus on the vegetables you plan to use the most. Whether your space is enough for 10 varieties or 2, there are still creative possibilities to design your vegetable garden within your limitations.
In fact, an average 10×20 farming plot in New York can produce as much as $700 worth of food in a single season, according to a report by John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. If you plan to grow your sustainable homestead in the city, land often comes at a premium. So why not plant up, rather than out? A vertical garden will create an awesome growing wall in your space to create a modern homestead without wasting space.
Add Water Features
When incorporating a homestead water source, remember that water is liquid life. However, the quality of water you use will either keep your garden thriving or ruin the overall results. According to the World Health Organization, monochloramine is less effective than chlorine in attempts to ward off rotaviruses and E.Coli. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that plants are not harmed by chlorine-treated water.
For a unique design that will keep your plants thriving, consider building a rainwater conservation system to spread throughout the garden. You may have the entire pond or reservoir on your property or simply add an outdoor fountain to your garden design. The water feature can flow across your garden or become a place for storage. It will not only become a beautiful focal point but also add more life to your homestead garden.
Maximize Your Homestead Space
Contrary to what some people believe, a working garden doesn’t have to be hidden in the corner of your homestead. In fact, you can build rows of vegetables and flowers placed between to add structure and vibrant colors to your property. Choose a spot for your homestead that meets the following criteria:
An area with plenty of sun – at least six hours a day
Proximity to water storage and the ability to transfer with ease
Visible location from the house
An area with proper drainage – to prevent the risk of soggy dirt or else the roots will drown
In addition, aim to inter-plant with quick-growing herbs and vegetables. This will cover the soil with living mulch while giving you another crop between seasons. For example, inter-plant radishes with kale, lettuce with squash. When you harvest fast-growing crops with slower produce, you’ll be left with more space to plant larger produce during the changing season.
Lastly, aim to design your working garden with thriving produce. Keep a record of your plants between seasons to help plan your homestead for the following year. Record things like when you planted the summer squash, along with vegetables that did well and those that did not. Just as with any trial and error, record your failed produce today for a successful homestead tomorrow.