Author: Jae

Monarch butterflies have a specialized life cycle that requires milkweeds as a place for their young to hatch and develop. Because of this many places make it illegal to remove milkweed and in fact encourage its growth. While this is great for the butterflies, it’s not great for your chickens who can actually poison themselves if they eat the plant by mistake! Milkweed Mistakes and Free Ranging We are in the camp that thinks milkweed is important. We have lots that grows on the boarders of our yard as well in sections we let it go naturally, but it is…

Read More

Feeding your chickens can take a bit of work, but if you’re clever about things you can use natures automatic feeder: fruit trees! Chickens love to eat fruit that falls from trees and a few types of fruit can be both easy to raise and plentiful producers for your chickens! On top of being a healthy treat for your chickens that self dispenses, your chickens can also benefit from the shade and cover the trees provide! Fruit Trees: A Dual Purpose Investment Fruit trees are a great investment for your yard on their own. I mean who doesn’t want fresh…

Read More

When we talk about getting an early start on your planting we often reference the last frost date. This is the day in which we no longer expect the temperature to drop below freezing. The problem with this recommendation is that weather is rather unpredictable to any degree of certainty, so this recommendation is made with very local and very rough guesses in mind. Let’s look at what it means and then show you some places where you can get that date for yourself. How To Look Up Last Frost Dates There are website all over the place that allow…

Read More

Starting plants from seed indoors is a great way to save some money, get better plants, and ensure a better harvest, but it takes a lot more effort than just buying starters from your local nursery. Given the extra effort is it really worth it? Does growing plants from seed actually save you money? Can you get better plants than your local greenhouse would provide? Let’s take a look! Does Starting Seeds At Home Actually Save You Money? Starting your seeds at home can be a great way to save a lot of money on your garden, especially if your…

Read More

Garden planning may seem straight forward initially, but there’s actually a lot of things that go into it. While it’s always a good idea to have a plan ahead of time, that time frame is often misjudged by new gardeners. The best gardens are planned out early to give you ample time to prepare! At Least A Season Before It’s no exaggeration that you should have a garden plan started at least a season in advance of planting. This means that if you’re in the summer, you should have finished your planning in the spring. This might sound like a…

Read More

Flavorful stock is something that can be hard to make as a homesteader. You can use a ton of vegetables to make a rich vegetable stock from scratch, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of vegetables that could be used in other ways. Mushrooms to the rescue though as dried mushrooms can make a dense and rich stock in minutes without wasting any of the mushrooms or burning through vegetables that would be used elsewhere. Let’s dive into mushroom stock a bit deeper. Farming Mushrooms for Stock Mushrooms are amazing. They’re delicious, flexible, and easy to…

Read More

All over the internet you will see gardeners swear by heat mats for getting their starters going in the spring. Given their ubiquity we wanted to ask if they really were necessary or if they’re just another gardening fad going around. Long story short, no, heat mats for seed are not necessary. In the rest of this article we’ll take a look at why, where they can help, and if you should use them. What Are Heat Mats? A heat mat is what it sounds like, a mat that when plugged in generates heat at a specific temperature. When used…

Read More

Making sugar at home is possible, but very difficult to do. It takes a lot of work and yields very small returns compared to the cost and time expense. If you want to make sugar at home, just know this is in no way easier or cheaper than just buying sugar at the store. For those of you who are not deterred by this, let’s press on and look at how you can make sugar form sugar beets in your very own kitchen. Some Sugar Beet Math The home process for making sugar is very inefficient. You will have losses…

Read More

If you want to grow your own cooking oil, in the US there’s really not anything better for this than peanuts. While Sunflower or canola can yield fairly high amounts of oil, peanut oil ends up being better to cook with than sunflower oils and easier to obtain than canola oil. The process can be a bit tedious and it’s certainly not something we would recommend doing, but for the more self sufficient homestead you can make your own oils at home instead of buying them from the store. Why Make Peanut Oil At Home There are two big reasons…

Read More

Wildflowers are great, but not all wild flowers are great for every location. While planting wildflowers can help pollinators and improve ecosystem health, that’s only if they are the correct native species. To the surprise of no one, companies that make and sell wild flower mixes don’t often care that they’re mixing native and non-native plants. Because of this gardeners with the best of intentions can end up planting invasive flowers in yards that end up doing more harm than good. The Root of the Problem: Wildflowers for a Quick Buck Companies that sell wild flower mixes aren’t just selling…

Read More