How to Grow a Medicine Cabinet {Top Ten Healing Herbs}

Cultivate your health and grow these 10 plants in a Salve Garden!

For most of us, gardening & growing season is wrapping up. However, you can still scheme for next year! Quinn from Reformation Acres is sharing her best ideas for growing your own medicine cabinet today. 

Summer may be over, but does a homesteader’s work really ever end?

There is a lot of work to do to get ready for those chilly winter days we’re facing. Are you feeling it yet?

I know I sure am!

But it’s to be expected. Homesteading can be rough.

From sunburns, to cracked hands, chapped lips, sore muscles, aching backs, poison ivy, bug bites, bee stings, bumps, bruises, or worse yet wounds, our bodies take a beating but it’s a life we all love.

When we have the privilege of taking in the sweet scent of a cow as the morning sun hits you warm on the back while listening to the swishing of the milk in the pail, or breathing deep the musty smell of soil just as it begins to rain when you’re pulling weeds in the garden, or the taste of that first homegrown tomato of the season, all the pain and toil is so easily rewarded.

Still, it’s no fun to get stepped on by the cow when you’re leading her back to the pasture, or pecked at by a hen who’s gone broody while you’re trying to work out whose eggs those actually are. The bees don’t realize you’re trying to help them out by checking on the hives and you’ve got the stings to prove it! And then there’s the sunburn you got in the garden that makes it hard to rest your weary bones when you lie down at night.

For all the hard work we do trying to grow and raise the best food possible for our families, we deserve to treat ourselves well by taking control of our own health and well being!… [Continue Reading]

4 Ways to Save & Ripen Green Tomatoes

how to ripen green tomatoes

I was NOT happy…

…when I found out it was supposed to snow several weeks ago. The calendar had *just* turned to September, and I was not ready to pull out my muck boots and coats. Not to mention this was the first year in a long time that my garden was actually thriving!

So after I finished my little homesteader temper-tantrum, I realized I was faced with a very real problem: what to do with all of my lovely tomato plants, loaded down with very green roma tomatoes…

I agonized over this decision more than I care to admit. Part of me wanted to ignore the weather warnings and take my chances that the supposed snow storm would skip us. But my more cautious side won out, and after asking all the smart folks on The Prairie Homestead Facebook page, I came up with a plan of action to save my poor green tomatoes.

And I’m glad I did–it snowed several inches that night. Thankfully, I’m still enjoying fresh, homegrown tomatoes, weeks after our freak snowstorm, due to the measures I took. Here’s what I did:

how to save green tomatoes

How to Ripen (or Save) Green Tomatoes

You have a couple of different options when dealing with green tomatoes. Being the curious blogger-type that I am, I decided to experiment with several of these choices . Here are all the juicy details—>

1. Cover ‘em.

I’ll be honest–this option scared me a bit, and I worried my my rag-tag collection of sheets and quilts wouldn’t be enough. But, I decided to try it anyway.

I covered some of my plants with sheets, and then topped them with quilts. I tucked the ends of the blankets around the plants to seal them in as much as possible, used clothespins to pinch up the edges and corners, said a little prayer, and walked back into the house for the evening.… [Continue Reading]

7 Things Every First Time Gardener Should Know

New Gardener Cover 3

As gardening season wraps up here at The Prairie Homestead, I always like to take stock of the lessons I learned this season and what I can improve for next year. I’m thrilled to be welcoming Tiffany from Don’t Waste the Crumbs to the blog today as she shares some of her hard-learned lessons and tips!

Last Christmas, my step-mom gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever received: four big buckets, a pair of gloves, a watering can and a gift card for dirt.

After paying off debt that surmounted to a small mortgage, my family settled on eating real food on a tiny budget (just $330 each month for a family of four). We want to eat more organic produce, but sometimes it doesn’t fit in the budget between the free-range eggs and organic chicken. In order to help off-set the costs, I wanted to start a garden.

Her gift was the exact push I needed to create my own urban garden in my small backyard, and immediately learned several ways to get the most out of a garden without spending a lot of money.

She gave me a few pieces of advice, like what breed of tomatoes worked best in our cool climate and that if I had to choose between less sun or less wind, choose less wind. But now that I’ve been tending my urban garden for about three months, there are a few other small tidbits that I wish someone had passed on as well.

So to all my fellow first-time gardeners out there, here are seven things you should know before you jump in and get your hands too dirty.

7 Things Every First Time Gardener Should Know

1. Plants need water and water’s not free.

That is, unless you have a well.… [Continue Reading]

Clean Up Your Fall Garden and Give it a Boost for Next Year!

how to prep garden for winter

I’m at the annual doTERRA essential oil convention this week, so I’m thrilled to be welcome Anni Winings of Homestead and Gardens to the blog as she shares her best tips for cleaning up your garden for the fall and giving it a boost! I’ll be doing my garden clean up sooner than I originally planned, especially after our freak snowstorm last week!

It’s nearing the end of the season, and all that luscious growth in your garden will die back as the cold winter months come. Why not turn it into a big boost for your garden next spring?

garden waste at the end of the year - thebestgardening.com

As a general rule, compost-ables fall into two categories – Greens and Browns. Many gardeners clamor for the greens, but both have a lot to give to your garden.

The greens?includes anything that is still alive or wet – green leaves, over-ripe produce, kitchen scraps, fresh grass clippings, etc. The greens contain more nutrients, including nitrogen, which is the number one nutrient people fertilize their garden with. Greens tend to compost more quickly.

The browns are dry, dead material – fallen leaves, bean pods, straw, dried grass clippings, etc. The browns do contain nutrients, but not as much as the greens. What they do have in abundance is carbon which, when composted, has a large nutrient-holding capacity (to hold all the nutrients from your composted greens) and the perfect light, airy, crumbly structure your plants love to sink their roots into. Browns compost more slowly.

Whatever you choose to compost, make sure it hasn’t been sprayed with chemicals. Perhaps your neighbor down the road thinks he’s doing you a favor by giving you all his grass clippings for your garden. But if he has sprayed his lawn with a broad-leaf herbicide (such as 2-4D) or preen (a pre-emergent herbicide that prevents seeds from sprouting), you really don’t want that on your garden.… [Continue Reading]