So in my last entry I started a series about what I’ve been doing with myself during the winter season. In that entry I talked about books and other forms of education that I’ve been focusing on. Now I want to talk about how I’ve been using the winter season for research and planning!
Here are some of the things I’ve been looking at:
Applying for Grants
This will be more applicable for me in the future when I have more land. There are grants available for all sorts of projects, including improving the nutrient and water cycling, installing food areas for pollinators, installing season extension such as high tunnels, and improving crop rotations. I’m starting to research these grants even if I can’t write any yet. Here are some of the places to start to look for grants:
The grant writing process itself is a little bit tricky in my experience, so I am definitely interested in finding local grant writing workshops as they are available!
Planning for the Next Season
The best homesteading efforts are well planned. New plant installations, crop rotations, improvements to soil, water, and nutrient cycles all need to be planned out. I’ve seen popular varieties get sold out pretty early, so for seeds I’m picky about I try to order earlier rather than later! There are also lots of planning resources out there. These resources are all based around traditional gardening methods, but they could still prove useful in organizing your plans. These resources include:
- Mother Earth News Vegetable Garden Planner (free trial for 30 days)
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Planner (free trial for 30 days)
- Gardener’s Supply Company Kitchen Garden Planner (free simple online interface)
- GrowVeg.com Garden Planner (free trial for 30 days)
- Garden Planner 3.2 (free trial does not support saving designs)
- Smart Gardener (free)
For the actual ordering, there are a lot of seed companies out there. However, not all seeds are created equal! I base the seed companies that I choose on a variety of factors, including: availability of heirloom varieties, organic seeds, pelleted seeds (for some crops, like lettuce), and overall reputation for seed quality. Here are some seed companies that I have experience with that are generally good quality:
In a future entry I’ll go into more detail about my plans for my garden this year! What resources do you use to plan for your next season?