Homesteading is defined as a lifestyle of self-sustainability. While many people think of homesteading as providing the food needed off the homestead, there is another side that is most important! Income is needed to provide the things that we can’t do or make ourselves on the homestead. Today I want to focus directly on the garden, specifically how we can earn some income early on in the season when expenses are high in anticipation of the late summer payoff.
Growing Extras for Income
If you’re like me, you probably already have your seeds and game plan on what and how much you’re going to plant. Starting your own plants early in the spring can not only save you some money, but it can also provide that desperately needed cash cow for spring.
Try starting 3-5 times the number of plants you think you will need for your garden. For example, I have 10 different types of tomatoes to plant this year. I may plant on average 5 of each type. But my seed packs contain 50 seeds. If I start 25 plants I may end up with 15 keepers. I plant the 5 I need and sell the extra 10.
I try to focus on plants that are not commonly sold in stores, particularly heirloom varieties. Check your local area websites and farmer’s markets for pricing and high demand items.
Use What Mother Nature Gave Yah!
Another way to get some early income in spring is to look around at what’s already growing on your property. Many plants and trees will start sending up volunteer starts or maybe your squirrels planted some trees for you.
I have huge beautiful hostas and ferns on my property, but there are so many types of plants that will send up new growth in the spring that can be transplanted into a pot and sold to enjoy a new life somewhere else.
Some people will even come out and do the work for you, or do the work yourself and charge several dollars more per plant. For example, I could let someone dig up some volunteer fern starts for $1 each and they’d be getting a great deal. But, I could also do it myself and sell each pot for $5 and they are still getting a great deal.
The important thing is to look at what mother nature is giving you and see if you can find a customer for it. The more a product is in demand, the more you can sell your product for. If you’re not sure how to transplant your plants without harming them, a quick internet search will provide you with plenty of information.
“Don’t Lose it! Reuse it!”
Now let’s take a look at some free or super cheap ways to up our production from the garden. Remember, everything has more than one use. Homesteading is about taking what we already have and making it useful for something else.
We only have so much ground space to plant our garden whether it be a 10’x10’ square or a 10-acre field. If you’re like me, whatever you have is never enough to plant everything you want leaving proper space for plants to grow. While you can’t add more square footage to your garden, you can add more cubic feet.
There are lots of ways you can raise certain plants off the ground and let them grow above other plants. Do you have some old gutters lying around? How about some used PVC pipe that you can cut the top off of to make a long tray? Anything long and skinny that has a little depth to it can easily be propped up above your garden without blocking much sunlight to the plants below.
Even if you don’t have something around that you can use, you can buy a 10ft gutter for around $6-$8. Just make sure that they are secure. You don’t want one windy day to ruin your creativity.
Corners, fences, and ledges are also great spaces to add productive plants. Organic herbs are in high demand. They don’t typically need full sun, so find a ledge or corner around the house in the shade and find something laying around that will hold dirt and start a herb garden. It will pay for itself 10 times over.
Fences are great for hanging containers on and growing plants. Find a plant that can grow in the depth of your container and you’re in business.
Have an old clothesline? Cut the top off some milk jugs and string up the jugs through the handle. Poke some holes in the bottom for drainage and you’ve got some great full sun garden space. It may not look pretty, but it’s results that we are after right!
Maybe you don’t want to till up your grass to make a garden but you have a garden cart, wheelbarrow or wagon. Take some small containers or 1 or 2 bigger containers and place them inside and plant something. You can move it around the yard on a regular basis so no grass is ruined and you can temporarily remove the containers if you need to use the cart.
Send in your pictures of your creativity. I’d love to see them!