Category: Homesteading Skills

Sunken Greenhouse Revival – Ventilation, Polycarbonate Panels

A sunken greenhouse is a low-cost structure designed to extend the growing season of vegetables. The intriguing structure combines the conveniences of an earth-sheltered building and passive solar heating for stable temperatures. For this reason, sunken greenhouses can potentially be independent from additional energy sources used in conventional greenhouses.

But how do you build an efficient sunken greenhouse DIY-style? In this YouTube video, Joe from Homesteadonomics embarks on a DIY project to build a sturdy sunken greenhouse—showing the steps he takes along the way.

First things first; you need to understand the basic principles of building a sunken greenhouse. That is:

• The roof should be angled to maximize daytime solar energy. The longer side should face the Winter sun, which is to the North if you live in the Southern Hemisphere and to the South for those in the Northern Hemisphere.

• The soil in the dug-out may need to be supported to ensure its structural soundness and resistance to erosion. The best soils have low permeability and they’re highly stable.

• It’s advisable to ensure the structure is at least 8′ x 12′ for best results. The size is more economical and functional in creating a thermal mass.

• The roof is made from plastic sheeting that lets the sun’s rays through into the greenhouse and traps the heat.

• You should also take precautions for ventilation (e.g., roof vents or windows), drainage, and waterproofing the structure. The video by Homesteadonomics highlights some creative building techniques to reinforce the sunken greenhouse and improve its functionality.

The stable temperatures of a sunken greenhouse allow you to grow a wide variety of veggies—even during harsh winter months. But if you’re planning on building your own DIY sunken greenhouse, ensure you do some research beforehand to determine whether your property is an ‘ideal candidate’.

Sunken Greenhouse Revival - Ventilation, Polycarbonate Panels
Sunken Greenhouse Revival – Ventilation, Polycarbonate Panels – Images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXE3el0eZ1M

$1000 A Week: Front-Yard Market Farming + Bicycle Delivery

Gardening is fun, exciting, liberating, and healthy. But it can be more than a hobby. Drawing on the example of Jim Kovaleski (as reported by Pete Kanaris from Green Dreams TV), you can rake in a decent sum from farming. All you have to do is learn the right techniques and skills, work hard, have a plan, find the right market, and scale based on your experience.

Whether you live in an urban area or you own a sprawling homestead in the countryside, a successful gardening business is well within your reach. But don’t approach the venture like you would a home garden. As Jim Kovaleski narrates, you need to be both strategic and passionate to thrive. Here are a few pointers to nudge you in the right direction:

• Minimize your start-up and operational costs — especially land and equipment. Use and maximize what you have. For example, our friend Jim turned his front lawn into a money-making machine, and he delivers the produce himself on his bicycle.

• Focus on profitable plants that attract significant demands in your market. You have to make optimal use of the real estate available.

• Ensure you have established reliable and market streams such as restaurants or health food stores. You can sell anything from micro-greens, seeds, herbs, to full plants.

• Market yourself! Just because your workflow is more on the ground than behind a screen doesn’t exempt you from digital marketing. You have to put your work in front of people in any field of life nowadays. Let people know who you are and what you’re about — whether it’s through “offline” promotion or online.

Jim Kovaleski shows us that farming can be both fulfilling and a lucrative source of revenue. So let your love for nature earn you some ‘green’! 🙂

$1000 A Week Front-Yard Market Farming + Bicycle Delivery
$1000 A Week: Front-Yard Market Farming + Bicycle Delivery – Images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2AJIRrAV1g

Completely 100 Percent Off-Grid – 9 Essential Foods You Should Produce

Completely 100 Percent Off-Grid - 9 Essential Foods You Should Produce
Infographic – off-grid.info Photo sources – see foot of article

Self-sufficiency is an important aspect of off-grid living. If you live in a property that has enough space for raising animals and growing edible plants, you can create a supply of food. A functional homestead is a key objective of many off-grid enthusiasts.

According to homesteader and seed breeder Carol Deppe, the five crops that homesteaders need to survive and thrive are potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs. This information is in her book The Resilient Gardener, which focuses on growing staple crops for food self-sufficiency.

For this article, we have grouped the essential foods you should grow into four: Protein, grains, fruits and vegetables, and others. Here is the list of foods that you should consider implementing for self-reliance in uncertain times.

Protein

1. Beans

Beans belong to the legume family of vegetables that also includes peas, lentils, and chickpeas. Rich in protein, beans are easy to grow and can be stored during winter. Deppe suggests growing different species of beans including favas, peas, and common beans. Growing the climbing type is ideal for maximizing space.

2. Poultry

Chickens are one of the most sustainable living meats that you can consider when it comes to living off the grid. For survivalists, you will need chickens that lay eggs and poultry chickens which are raised for eating. Some people prefer letting their chickens roam free, but keeping them in a fully-contained area will keep them safe from predators lurking outside your fences.

3. Rabbits

Nick Klein, a renowned rabbit keeping instructor, stressed in an interview the importance of rabbits as a key to efficient food production. According to Klein, a 6 x 4 living space could produce over 4,000 pounds of live rabbits a year.

Grains

4. Corn

Native Americans have been growing and consuming corn or maize for centuries. This prolific grain crop requires up to four months of warm weather for production. Corn can be an important staple grain once you have addressed pests or soil issues which usually occur in the first year of growing the crop.

5. Wheat

Wheat is another crop that is easy to grow almost anywhere in temperate regions. You could use your front yard to plant six pounds of wheat which could produce nearly fifty pounds of grain. Before you start growing your wheat, you have to learn how the grain behaves, the issues that beset its cultivation, and the impact of varying climate conditions on the grain.

Fruits & Vegetables

6. Winter Squash

Winter squash is one of the storage crops that a truly self-sufficient garden must have. There are six winter squash types that are favorites of American organic farmers including butternut squash, delicata squash, acorn squash, hubbard squash, spaghetti squash, and buttercup squash. Appropriate pest management and watering are necessary if you want to get a good yield of winter squash in your first year.

7. Apples

Planting trees needs to be one of your highest priorities if you are a homesteader. Apple trees take six to ten years before they will bear serious amounts of fruit, so patience and forward planning are important. An apple tree may take a few years to start producing big crops for you, but planting apple trees is well worth the wait.

8. Potatoes

Potatoes can grow pretty much anywhere. These vegetables should be a major storage crop in your garden when living off the grid. They are a sustainable food source that is easy to acquire and inexpensive to grow. You can grow them in open ground or recycled coffee sacks.

Others

9. Honey

There are several reasons why you should add bees to your homestead. Keeping beehives or boxes provides your crops with a diversity of pollinating insects to assist in the process. Raw honey offers amazing health and healing benefits including combating allergies and healing burns. Honey is a popular sale item and a potential source of additional income.

Infographic photo sources:

https://pixabay.com/en/apple-tree-orchard-apfelernte-360083/
https://pixabay.com/en/chicken-hen-poultry-free-range-2789493/
https://pixabay.com/en/corn-on-the-cob-corn-food-field-1690387/
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cucurbita_moschata_Butternut_2012_G2.jpg
https://pixabay.com/en/honey-sweet-syrup-organic-golden-1006972/
https://pixabay.com/en/potatoes-vegetables-erdfrucht-bio-1585075/
https://pixabay.com/en/rabbit-bunny-animal-easter-pet-435006/
https://pixabay.com/en/spike-wheat-cereals-grain-field-8743/
https://pixabay.com/en/yardlong-beans-string-beans-1098530/