Come spring, homesteaders and farmers across the globe brace for the spring race. The sunshine lasts a little longer each day. Livestock is giving birth. Chicks are in the stores. Plants are ready to be put in the ground. All of this means that homesteaders have a spring to do list that is a mile long.
Spring To Do List
Your homestead to do list can be broken down very simply.
- Clean/ Organize
Everyone’s to do list for spring is different because every homestead is different. Some people focus on firewood during spring, others their garden is their only focus. But everyone can agree, spring is a busy time for any homestead.
For us, putting in the garden is the highest priority every year. The first summer we were on our property we couldn’t get a garden in. We just had so many other things going on that it just wasn’t feasible. Last year, we got our garden in, but even with the woven ground cover, there was a ton of weeds. Which is scary because what would it have looked like without it?
We are expanding our gardens this year to include a kitchen garden. The original garden was great and produced a surprising amount of food, but it just wasn’t was I expected. The none of our carrots grew, and the tomatoes we had just didn’t wow us with big tomatoes or even a decent harvest. BUT we did grow tomatoes which is always awesome. This spring we will be installing our kitchen garden and turning the original garden into our “bulk” garden.
The biggest project for spring in the gardens (after installing the kitchen garden) is to get the pigs and chickens in the gardens and let them root, till, and poop in the gardens. We are hoping that will boost our harvests and keep down the weeds.
We are also going to be starting all of our own seedlings this year. Which is going to be intense and we will probably run out of room in the basement, but that’s ok. To put that into prospective, we plan on starting at least 100 tomato plants. Yes, 100. That may seem like a lot, but we eat tomato sauce in some form at least once a week. Then there’s ketchup, BBQ sauce, sloppy joes, etc. We need a ton of tomatoes.
If you haven’t already, I suggest getting your seeds now. You can order online or you can stop by pretty much any big box store and get your seeds from them. Personally, I order my seeds from Territorial Seed Company and Baker Creek. I have also ordered from other sites but I prefer these two.
Kidding season for the goats is pretty intense. Mainly because I am a nervous wreck. These girls are my favorite and I don’t want anything to happen to them. Plus, getting to see new favorite creatures born is amazing. But to prepare for it takes some effort. On my list is making sure that their birthing kits are ready and I have everything I need.
We are also waiting on our boar to be born to bring to the homestead. We are hoping that by breeding our own piglets, we will close one more hole in our food security. These American Guinea Hogs have been great and they are little work horses. They have been working on tilling up the gardens and other areas were the soil is just too hard to work.
Chickens, ducks and turkeys get their own category because we are placing a HUGE order this spring. We are talking 60 laying hens, 100 meat chickens and 15 turkeys. Why?
We have had a lot of issues free ranging the chickens. The chickens will wonder off or we can’t find their eggs. It’s been one thing after the other. My previous flock of 60 chickens and 25 ducks is now down to 16 chickens and 9 ducks. Though we did butcher 6 meat ducks. So I have to get the various brooders ready to go for them.
I’m going to do a blog post on why free ranging the chickens didn’t work for us and what we plan to do different this time. But the reality is that true free ranging has cost us a TON of money. Between the initial costs of buying the chicks and then having to rebuy plus the lost income of selling eggs and chicks? It’s sickening how much money was spent or lost. So we are working on some strategies to stop the bleed.
Because we are raising some chicken for friends and family, we are going to be raising 100 Freedom Rangers. We realized with our last batch of crosses that we just weren’t feeding them enough which led to them not gaining enough weight. That led to us having to wait to butcher them, making the meat tougher. This time we plan on moving them to a different area that is full of bugs, grass, and other yummy treats as well as feeding them all the feed they want.
The goal is to get all of this done before summer really kicks in but we will see what happens.
This is another long spring to do list for our homestead. We have slowly but surely been working on getting the property cleaned up and things moved around. It’s been a long process. We usually wait until fall/ winter to start working on the outside because the weeds and grass will hide a lot of the debris. When all the grasses die back, we can find these things and get them in the pile for trash.
Come spring, it’s the final push to get the unusable stuff off the property. Also on our spring to do list is gutting the basement to allow us to get our food storage room built and the rest of the animal storage done. It’s a tall order.
These are just some of the things we are doing this spring on the homestead. I would love to hear about what you are doing!