During the summer months, running a homestead is a full-time job. Before you know, you’re spending all day, everyday keeping up with your veg and your land. You’ll rise and settle with the sun, and you’ll barely be able to catch your breath from one task to the next. It’s an exhilarating ride, and it’s probably this buzz which got you interested in homesteading in the first place.
When the winter months roll around, though, things quieten dramatically. Instead of rushing to keep up, you may find yourself twiddling your thumbs. The ground is hard and often covered in snow. All your crops have died back, and you have no vegetables growing. But, despite all that, work shouldn’t let up, even in the deepest winter.
That’s because a homestead is a year-round commitment. There’s no denying that work lessens as the days get shorter, but that doesn’t mean you can stop work altogether. If you make that mistake, you’ll soon find yourself paying for it when the sun comes around again. But, if there are no crops or vegetables to take care of, what exactly should you do during winter? Keep on reading to find out.
Putting plans in place
If you’ve already worked through the summer, you know by now how busy things can get when the season gets going. You don’t have time to sleep, let alone think. It’s one task after the other with no let-up. As such, this quieter period offers the ideal chance to put plans in place for the coming summer. If you don’t do this now, it isn’t going to happen, and that’s a problem. You can’t just wing it with your homestead, after all. You need to have some idea of what you’re doing, or this won’t work. So, make sure that you plan every detail of your summer operations now. We’re talking design plans, planting layouts, and even a month-by-month breakdown. What’s more, you should keep coming back to this plan as you think of things throughout the winter. The more you include, after all, the less chance that you’re going to come short when it matters. How you choose to display these plans is down to you. It is worth noting that you want something which is easy to access and change. As quaint as a paper plan might seem, then, it isn’t always practical. It may be better just to store every file you need on your computer. That way, you can keep tweaking all winter long if it helps you prepare.
Tidying things up
Let’s be honest; even the best-kept homesteads lose their finesse during winter. Those vegetable patches which made you so proud can become overrun with husks from last year’s crops. The hedges which keep your land in order could become overrun and unruly. It may even be that you’re still dealing with a deluge of leaves left over from fall. Whatever your issue, things aren’t as tidy as they should be right now. Chances are, you’ve decided to leave your land be until you need it again. But, you don’t need us to tell you that’s a mistake, surely? Remember that, the moment spring rolls around, you’ll need to deal with intensive tasks like planting. The last thing you want is having to tackle maintenance and cleanups at the same time. Hence why now is the ideal time to get tidying. For one, you want to clear out those vegetable beds for the planting time which is now just around the corner. You also way to seek out companies who can help with things like hedge pruning. At the very least, you should dig out that leaf blower and start clearing the ground a little. These are all tasks which needn’t take you much longer than one winter day each. Yet, they could save you a whole mountain of work come spring.
Many of us assume that there’s nothing we can do in terms of gardening during the winter. But, that isn’t always true. A little thing called pre-seeding is entirely possible. While this isn’t for everyone, it’s a fantastic way to spread the workload more evenly through the year. That can save you getting overloaded come spring. It’s also an excellent way to keep yourself busy through winter. In short; this is what it sounds like. It involves planting certain vegetables during the winter so that you see results sooner. Not every vegetable seed can withstand something like this, but some to look for include:
Some people also find success here with everything from peppers to tomatoes. The trick is merely to acclimatize those seeds to cold temperatures. That means planting during a cold snap and using mulch to keep the ground cold. With a bit of luck, this can see you with a hardy patch to withstand most weathers. Who said it wasn’t possible to get your fingers green during winter?
Learn new skills
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If you prefer sheltering from the cold, you could take this opportunity to learn new skills. There are a whole host of lessons which could help you to run your homestead better. There’s also no way you’ll have time for them later in the year. What these new skills entail is, of course, your decision. It may be that you take the time to research new jam recipes for the next time you have a crop to hand. Or, perhaps you want to learn how to do something like blog or start an online store to earn for your homestead. You may even want to take this chance to learn all about keeping animals. That’s sure to lead to a new and exciting homestead chapter. Whatever your decision, now is the ideal time to get down to this. You could research free with websites like YouTube, or even sign up for online classes. Then, you’ll be able to snuggle up inside with a hot drink, and still work towards your homestead’s future.