Gardening

All the things involving growing our own food and plants!

  • Gardening

    Top 8 earliest spring vegetables.

    On the Crow Homestead, the animals are starting to get territorial and the smell in the air is starting to change, which means spring is on her way! Yes…we still have many feet of snow on the ground, but the sun is out well into evening and we are getting ready for the big thaw. We can finally start planning for the earliest spring vegetables. Here is a list of the very first edible plants we enjoy from our property. #1 Herbs: Our perennial herbs are the first to emerge and in our zone 2 garden they include chives, thyme and a fuzzy kind of oregano. We add the fresh…

  • Gardening

    #1 way to save money gardening: starting seeds

    Starting seeds can be tricky but I live  in the dark and cold tundra of northern Minnesota without electricity….. so if I can do it so can you! Starting your own seedlings is the #1 way to save money gardening.  If you are buying seedlings I guarantee you are spending more money with a garden than you need to. In most of my life I barely  miss electricity, but man would it be a bonus when starting seeds!!!  I’ll tell you how I do it off-the-grid AND how my sister does it with the benefits of electricity. Start out with good seeds. If you have any questions about the vitality…

  • Gardening

    5 Tips to Ordering Seeds

    The arrival of seed catalogs in the dead of winter is such pure joy for these two sisters that we believe it should be a holiday!  Dee and I had our first annual Seed Celebration in February 2018, where we discussed the previous years’ gardens, and enjoyed some snacks and libations.  Oh yeah, we also hatched the plan to start this blog!  Definitely seems like an annual tradition to us. In honor of our new, totally made up holiday, we bring to you The Top 5 Ways to Succeed When Ordering Seeds… Order seed catalogs from similar climates as you This year we ordered from Seed Treasures, Bakers Creek and…

  • Gardening

    2018 Crow Homestead Hits and Misses

    2018 was an exciting growing season on the Crow Homestead!  We buckled down and started 100% of our own seeds, we live in one of the coldest places in the continental U.S. and we were able to start tomato and pepper seeds inside without electricity….this is like a mini miracle people!  We expanded the garden by adding four more 8 x 4 foot raised beds and built the fence. We also added to the orchard by planting pairs of apricot trees, chokecherries and Nanking cherry bushes.  Mr. Crow has been VERY busy!  As with everything we do, we had some failures and some successes.  But I do not view our…

  • Gardening

    2018 Peach House Hits and Misses

    Since the garden is all sad and empty now, I thought it would be a good time to recap the season.  Lin will be doing hers as well this week, so come back for that! I tried several new things this year: a tomato trellis system, dried beans, potatoes, brassicas, squash (butternut and spaghetti) and onions.  I also planted sweet peppers, peas, green beans, carrots, kale, watermelon and zucchini!  Here’s the good list: Successes: Red beans – this was so fun for me to grow!  I planted maybe 12 vines, they did not take up a lot of space, and I got a substantial harvest from it (maybe 2 cups…

  • Gardening

    How to Start Saving Seeds.

    I can’t wait for the day I don’t need to purchase anything in the spring for the garden.  In my fantasy we will produce enough compost to feed all of our beds, attract enough good insects to battle the bad pests, utilize companion planting to perfection and save ALL of our own seeds.  But we are far from that and I have only started dipping my toe into the world of seed saving!  If you have purchased “open pollinated” or ” heirloom” seed you can save the seeds in the fall and plant them again next year.  With open pollinated seeds you always get offspring that are the same as…

  • Gardening

    A Micro Orchard in the ‘Burbs

    I love gardening in theory, but I am fairly terrible at it in practice.  I am all raring to go come March, April and May…but once the temps and humidity start soaring, my interest plummets.  Add to this kids being home for the summer, an increase in activities, gatherings and just plain socializing, and any lofty goals I have quickly fall to the wayside. Enter my love of fruit trees.  Growing up, our parents had several apple trees, and I loved picking them in the fall and all the different pies and bars my mom would make with them.  It also seemed like an unusual thing, since not many of…

  • Gardening

    Homestead Journaling

      Let’s just start this off with a confession, I have an obsession with journaling…..I blame the film The English Patient, I have dreamt about the journal from that flick…. with it’s leather cover, drawings and journal entries! I kept a consistent diary from ages 16-21, and I have annual notebooks from every year we have been living off-the-grid (2008-2018).  In those notebooks,  I make life plans, lists, notes from books I’m reading or programs I listen to, meal plans and list the goals I try to attain.  But the most treasured of all is my homestead journal, one that I have been keeping since 2008.  A homestead journal is…