My wife has decided that she wants me to build her a garden area so that we can plant our own vegetables come spring. I don’t know where to start. Can you suggest a book or someone to talk to? We live outside of Seattle and we have some room. We live on 5 acres, but most of it is wooded. Any ideas?
I’m going to go under the assumption that you live in King County, since you say you live right outside of Seattle. You first need to decide where you’re going to put your garden. Plants need sun, so you need to have the garden in a sunny place. Most plants require at least 8 hours of sunlight a day. If you can’t find a suitable place in the cleared areas of your homestead, you may have to clear a spot. You don’t want your garden in any kind of marshy, swampy area. It needs to be well-drained soil. The type and condition of the soil doesn’t matter at this point, although if you have a place with good, rich soil that’s in natural sunlight and well-drained, then you’re ahead out of the gate. But, first find the location.
The next thing you’ll need to do is get a soil sample from the garden area. Depending how big your garden is, you may need several samples from different areas of the garden. King Conservation District has a free soil-testing program for anyone who lives in King County. Each landowner is eligible for five free samples and they’ll test the soil for major nutrients, organic matter, and other micronutrients. Go to https://www.kingcd.org/pro_far_soi.htm for information on how to gather your samples and where you need to submit them.
Your Extension Service will have all kinds of material on gardening. They’ll have material for everything connected to growing a vegetable and putting it up. Your Extension Service is a fount of information that is free to you as a taxpayer. Go to https://county.wsu.edu/king/gardening/Pages/default.aspx and look their menu of services. This is the best place to start. Then find someone who has been gardening for a while, someone that might be willing to teach you things they have learned through trial and error. Most gardeners are more than happy to share their knowledge with others.
I would also pick up a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. I have learned so much about gardening, when to plant, and different subjects from the yearly edition of this publication. You can also go to their website at https://www.almanac.com/ and look up a bunch of stuff.
There are a lot of books available at the Solutions From Science website under the category of “Gardening and Food.” You can go to https://www.solutionsfromscience.com/?cat=406 and browse through their selection of material. Now is the time to sit down and read everything you can in preparation for the spring planting season.
I’m interested in getting some ducks for my homestead. There are several varieties I’m considering, but I was wondering if there was any particular type that you recommended? Thanks for all the great information your site provides. I know that you have helped me learn more about being self-sufficient than I thought possible. Keep up the good work!
Peter from Little Rock
Thanks for the kind words! I’m so glad we’re helping you make a difference in your life by giving you the information you need to be self-sufficient.
As for ducks, my recommendation is the Muscovy duck, hands down. The Muscovy duck is the only breed of duck that has no genetic influence from the “great granddaddy” of all ducks – the Mallard. Muscovies are their own species. Muscovy meat is one of the healthiest on the market, coming in at around 98% fat free. They’re a quiet, gentle breed with their owners, but amazingly protective of their flock. Breeding this duck is quite easy and they will have up to three hatchings a year. The females are excellent mothers.
The Muscovy may not be the prettiest duck, but it’s certainly the easiest to take care of and raise on a homestead. For more information on this homestead bird, you can read our article at //www.offthegridnews.com/2012/02/24/the-ultimate-homestead-bird/.
Thanks for writing!
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