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Homesteading in winter is a little more challenging then the other seasons when you live in a cold climate.
As long as I have been organized in summer and autumn with storing, preserving, freezing and drying homegrown food I should still have enough of my own food to eat.
Since I planted a good amount of hearty greens late summer and covered the area with a heavy duty garden cover I still have some fresh greens to pick in my garden.
I also grow oyster mushrooms indoors and they produce all year around. It’s nice to have some fresh produce growing in winter as well.
Plenty of wild meat is stocked up in the freezer and winter still brings good hunting opportunities. So we can still eat very well in winter!
Read more about hunting for food here
Mostly in winter we do maintenance and changes to do to the garden beds as well as preparing them for spring planting season.
Homestead in winter – planting garlic
Since we plant a large crop this is a fairly big job. I try to do it on the shortest day of the year or close to it.
I just separate the cloves from a garlic head and put the clove in the ground pointy side up.
I always use my homegrown garlic to plant again.
It’s a very good strain. To get big, good quality garlic we need to use the biggest cloves.
I pick out my best and biggest cloves to replant.
If they have started to sprout by now that’s fine. They are better to replant then to eat.
First I make rows, then I make holes with a pole around 5cm deep and 15cm apart from each other.
Then place the cloves pointy end up in the holes that I made.
I cover the holes back up then a generous amount of mulch on top of the garlic bed. I use straw as mulch. The garlic seem to do well under the straw and they don’t mind a thick layer.
The straw keeps the weeds out and I hardly need to weed at all, just watch them grow.
Garlic is fun to grow because they germinate surprisingly fast so you see the progress quickly and they’re very low maintenance.
Birds and other animals leave it alone as well so there is no need to cover up with netting or any other barriers.
You can read my full garlic growing guide here
Useful equipment for planting garlic.
Homestead in winter – Preparing garden beds
I also prepare my garden beds for spring planting, adding compost, lime and turning the soil over.
Greens still available in my winter garden are kale (both curly and green), silver beet, bok choi, wombok cabbage, spinach and herbs (coriander, thyme,rosemary).
I have oyster mushrooms in my indoor growing room, root vegetables and pumpkin in storage and homegrown vegetables in the freezer.
Homestead in winter – Plant protection blanket
A plant Cover Freeze Protection Blanket is truly amazing! It provides protection from frost, wind, snow, hail and low temperature in winter.
Keeps your plants warm, works perfect for fast germination and seedlings growth. It extends the growing season for your plants.
I have had hard frost and really cold temperatures as well as a couple of days with a layer of snow sitting on top of the frost cover. Besides all of that the vegetables underneath have not been effected at all. Even fresh coriander and bok choi is looking great still. It creates a little micro climate underneath.
The vegetables are not growing bigger this time a year but they are surviving and feeding us through the winter. That is amazing!
Try this venison stew recipe. A great winter warmer.
Check the links below for ways to be self sufficient in the other seasons. What I do and what they bring.
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