How to Harden Off Your Seedlings (a must do step before planting in the garden!)

This post explains how to harden off your seedlings and why it is very important to do so before planting them in the garden! Have you grown your own vegetable starts by seed? Or flowers? Have you spent months taking care of them? Are you excited to plant them out in the garden? DID YOU HARDEN THEM OFF FIRST?!?!? Please read on to find out more about this critical step that many new gardeners are not aware of. Other related articles you may be interested in: Seed Starting 101: Essential Seed Starting Equipment Seed Starting 101: Winter Sowing How to Build a Straw Bale Cold FrameOur favorite gardening and homesteading equipment in our Amazon Shop! What Does Hardening Off  Your Seedlings Even Mean? Simply put, hardening off is the act of slowly allowing your baby plants, to grow accustomed to living outdoors. Here they have grown up so well indoors, being pampered by you for months! They have had just the right amount of heat and light. Just the right amount of water, the right soil, everything is so perfect! And now you want to plant them outside in your garden where there is wind, fluctuating temperatures, harsh UV rays from the sun! If the baby seedlings go from one extreme to the other, they will not fair well. They need time. They need a slow introduction. They need to acclimate. This is what hardening off is. What to do Before Hardening Off Your Seedlings Outdoors: OK, before you even begin hardening off your seedlings outside, there are a couple of things you can to inside to help them begin their adjustment to moving outside. One thing I like to do is place a oscillating fan on my seedlings once they have germinated and I remove the dome lids off…

How to Build a Straw Bale Cold Frame

Make a simple DIY straw bale cold frame using old windows, to either harden off your plant starts or to extend your growing season! Today I am going to share with you how I created more room for my plant starts. My growing rack was getting full, and I came up with this simple DIY project, making a straw bale cold frame with old windows we had lying around. Articles you may be interested in: How to Harden Off Your Seedlings Simple Easy Gardening, Use Mulch for No Weeding! Seed Starting 101: Winter Sowing Our gardening and homesteading favorites in our Amazon Store! DIY Straw Bale Cold Frame It’s so simple, it will only take a moment to tell you how we built it. We bought six bales of straw. The straw will be reused later, for mulching in the garden. Don’t use hay if you want to mulch with it. Hay has lots of seeds in it, straw has less. We had 3 windows lying around, that had blown their seals. So six bales of straw was the perfect size for us. Depending on what old windows or glass doors you can get your hands on, you may need to buy more or less. We simply placed 2 bales end to end on the long side, 1 bale on each end, and placed the windows on top. Hardening Off Plants in a Cold Frame We built this cold frame to have additional space for our veggie starts. I needed my growing rack to start peppers and tomatoes, but it was full of celery, asparagus and artichokes. If it is still cool out, this works very well. We had a heat spell this week, where it got in the high 70’s and low 80…

How to Grow Lavender from Seed using the Winter Sowing Method

Learn how to grow lavender from seed easily and simply using the winter sowing method! I have been using the winter sowing method to grow lavender for the last couple of years. It has been really easy to grow a lot of lavender this way. Who doesn’t want to grow more lavender in their garden, right? It’s definitely one of my favorites! In this article I will show you how to grow lavender from seed using the winter sowing method. Other related articles you may be interested in: Seed Starting 101: Winter Sowing My 2018 Winter Sowing Results Are In! How to Organize your Seed Stash Our favorite Gardening and Homesteading items in our Amazon Shop! Collecting Your Own Lavender Seed When the lavender is in full bloom in the summer time, it is really easy to save some of your own seed from plants you may already have. Trim a couple of branches from just below all the blooms. Use a rubber band wrapped tightly around the stems, and hang them up to dry somewhere dry in your house. After they are good and dry, I place them in a ziplock back for storage until seed planting time. Be absolutely certain they are 100% dry, or they will mold. Then throw them in the freezer until you are ready to plant. Winter Sowing Basics If you are not familiar with Winter Sowing, it is the process of using milk jugs, as little greenhouses. Please see my article Seed Sowing 101: Winter Sowing, for more details about how to do it, with a step by step guide. You plant them, and set them outside in January. Super duper easy! Planting the Lavender Seed You can plant any hardy perennials in January when you use the winter…

How to Make Money Growing Plants at Home (an easy side hustle!)

Want to Grow a Money Garden? Don’t we all! Well today, I am going to talk about how you can make money growing plants at home, by growing plants and selling them right from your own home! That’s almost as good as a money garden! Make Money Gardening, Selling Plants for Profit It’s seed starting season, and you know what that means? It means it’s time to make a little cash with a little gardening side hustle! Every year I grow some extra vegetable seedlings, especially tomatoes and peppers, and sell them to local folks. It is an easy way to make money growing plants at home, since I am going to grow them anyway! Every year I try and add a few additional things to sell when it comes times for folks to come pick up their orders. In this article, I will share how I make money growing plants at home, how I find customers, and I will share a little bit about what other plants I sell. Selling Tomato and Pepper Seedlings from Home The first thing I started selling, was extra tomato and pepper seedlings. They are some of the most profitable plants to grow and sell from home in my opinion. But you can grow herbs to sell, annual, perennials, what ever strikes you fancy! I start the tomatoes and peppers from seed, and I always have planted a bit more than I need, just in case the germination rates were not good. That’s how it started, I’d have a few extra plants, and ask on Facebook if any of my friends or neighbors wanted to buy them. And they did! Then friends started asking me if they could buy all their starts…

How to Store Onions from the Garden through the Winter

How to Store Onions from the Garden Do you have goals to eat your own home grown onions through the winter? Than you are in the right place and I’ll tell you how to do just that. I will share with you my tips on how to store onions from the garden through the winter. A lot of it has to do with how you store them, but also a key component, is which variety of onions you grow. You might also be interested in: Seed Starting 101: Planting Onion Seed How to Plant Onion Seedlings Seed Starting 101: Essential Seed Starting Equipment Please check out our favorite Homesteading and Gardening tools in our Amazon Shop Growing What you Eat As a homesteader and gardener, my goal was to grow as much food as I can for my family to eat. The goal was to eliminate buying as much produce as possible from the store in an effort to be as self-sustaining as possible. So onions? YES! We eat a lot of onions. So through trial and error, I have figured out how to best grow them, store them and eat them, all through the winter. Please check out my articles on How to Plant Onion Seed and also How to Plant Onion Seedlings for more detailed direction on those specific topics. The rest of this article, will talk about which onion varieties to choose, and how to store them in order to keep eating your home grown onions through the winter. Long Day vs Intermediate Day vs Short Day Onions This is the first thing you must consider. If you live in the Northern States, you need to grow a Long Day Onion. These require 14-16 hours of sunlight per day in order for the…

How to Keep Your Seed Stash Organized

Today I am sharing with you my favorite system to keep your seed stash organized! If 2019 is your year to get organized, declutter, move toward a minimalist lifestyle, you need this if you are a gardener. It took me many years to finally find this system that actually works! I forget who shared this idea, but I know I first saw it on Instagram. I’d love to have you follow me on Instagram here if you aren’t already! Other related articles you may be interested in: Mother’s Day Gift Guide for the Homesteading Moms Holiday Gift Guide for Gardeners! Essential Seed Starting Equipment All of our Homesteading and Gardening Favorites in our Amazon Shop! Photo Storage Boxes to Organize your Seed Stash How simple is this?!?!? And why did we all not think of this ourselves? Some genius out there realized how perfectly photo storage boxes work for seeds. It’s like they were made to store seeds! They fit just right, snap closed, you can see through them so you know what is in each. It’s perfect really. And simple! Genius. My bags and boxes and bins of seeds are finally all neat and tidy.   Different Ways to Sort Your Seed Collection Yes, I have 3 cases of photo boxes for these 3 different categories. With just a few spare boxes in each case. Depending on your seed stash, you may need more or less. If you are like me though, go big! You will always have more seeds coming in. You can have a case for old seeds and new seeds! Flower seeds and veggie seeds! But 3 of these cases seems to work for me right now. Photo Storage Boxes to Organize Seeds is a Great…