Gardening · Homesteading · Urban Homesteading

Homesteading 101: It’s 3 Months Till Last Frost

The promised warm-up disappeared at our homestead last night. Instead, we got freezing rain on top of the snow late last night, leaving an ice rink to wake up to. I truly hate ice. People fall and get hurt. Fences don’t want to open. The animals are upset. But there is a bright light somewhere in it all.

In less than 3 months the last frost date for us will occur. Where our homestead is, our last frost date is April 15th. And yes, it often dips chilly in mid-April, as a last call out to winter going away.

It’s time to plan for spring. You might not be able to be outside right now, the ground may be frozen, but you can plan for your best garden ever.

And if you are stuck inside, it’s a good use of your time. Kids home? Get them involved!

What To Do Now:

  • Decide how much you want to plant. This is very important, as it determines the rest. Did you feel overwhelmed last year? Or did you feel you didn’t have enough growing?
  • Acquire pots. Whether you buy or get them free (Facebook Market, local plant nurseries) or you make them out of upcycled items such as berry containers and yogurt/sour cream cups, now is the time to get them. Make sure they are clean, and then you can tuck them away.
  • Start buying seeds. As well, go through your seed collection. See what you have already. While seeds do lose germination over time, most seeds don’t drop much in the first 1-2 years. Organize what you have on hand into categories. Make notes as well on what you have so you don’t double-buy. Have gardening friends? Maybe discuss what each of you has on hand if all you need is a couple of seeds.
  • Plan all changes to your garden, be it on paper or online. If you want to add beds, this is the time to sketch it out. If you wait till warm weather, you will be overwhelmed.
  • If you need to smother weeds, start stockpiling cardboard. As soon as the ground isn’t frozen, layer it thickly. This will help in removing weeds for when it warms up in late March.
  • Plan for preserving the harvest, especially if you are growing your gardens bigger this year. If you need more canning jars, keep an eye out for them. Or start saving for a dehydrator or a freeze-dryer, if this is in your plans. Consider checking out canning cookbooks from the local library for ideas – you can always snap photos of recipes to have on hand or check out all the water bath canning recipes we have posted.
  • If you have a greenhouse, consider cleaning it up and laying out trays with cups in them, and mixing up a big batch of potting soil, then filling them.
  • If you plan to start seedlings inside, take the time to set it up now and get your lights and trays ready.

The more you get done early, the more you free time you have when it is go time and warm again.