With every homesteading adventure big all small you need to start somewhere, it may seem like a lot of effort and you’ll probably be looking at things going “it is going to cost heaps to set up”.
Where we started: The garden of course.
We don’t have room for pigs or sheep and I highly doubt our neighbors would be to happy with us having chickens but there are other things you can do the first being a good vegetable garden.
If you are renting ask the landlords permission first before you dig up the lawn or do any alterations to the property the last thing you want is to have to tear everything down again. We were lucky our landlords said you can do what ever you like with the back section and have actually helped us on several occasions.
Your garden doesn’t have to be huge there are even vertical garden ideas made from the simplest of materials if you really are short of money.
We started by sourcing some wooden pallets (thanks again to our landlord) pulled them apart and built a couple of square frames to hold the beds in. I wouldn’t say we built raised beds because they aren’t raised at all. Where we wanted to put them had previously been a vegetable garden but had become over run by some weird annoying plant that no matter what we did wouldn’t go away.
We started to clear it all again and well I got lazy so instead got the cardboard boxes we had in the garage from our sons new cot and flattened them down over the plants put a few random bits of wood on top to hold it down and then just left it. Two weeks later the plants were dead. We didn’t bother with weed mat we just put our garden frames over the top put in some compost and away we went. The cardboard breaks down quite quickly so the roots of the plants are able to creep their way through it to the soil below.
Our first crop, Italian broccoli. I’ll admit I’m not a fan of broccoli, never have been and probably never will be but I was on trademe and spotted these lovely looking spiral headed plants. I’m a sucker for a bargain and it was $8 for 25 plants. My expectations were exceeded, we picked them up straight from the nursery and brought three bundles of herbs as well. It wasn’t until we got home and opened the box that we realized they had given up 29 plants and a free bundle of herbs, I will admit this is a great way for them to gain regular clients because I am now a huge fan. Awapuni Nurseries definitely will be somewhere I shop in the future, they are open to the public and work on an honesty box system but also sell plants on their website and on trademe and deliver to your door any where in the country.
We brought these.
As you can see we could only fit 20 of the plants in our garden so the others went along the back fence in a small empty plot of soil. They are growing so well but we have had issues with white cabbage butterflies but I’ll address that in another post.
We planted our herbs in pots for the front deck. All up we probably spent $30, compost was from the warehouse and was the cheap stuff they keep out the front, the pallets were free, the nails we already had.
It really does not have to cost much as long as you are happy to improvise you can easily build yourself a good little plot that will feed your family all year round.
Note broccoli usually like cooler climates and are best planted in autumn for harvest in late winter, but you do need to be careful of frosts.