When winter rolled around, I was kind of blue about the slowing of activity in my food forest. While my planting and harvesting has slowed, I have found many other ways to keep on with the homesteading. Here is a short list of activities I’ve been doing, dream about doing, or plan to do, this winter.

  1. Ordering bushes, trees, seeds, and plants for spring.. I am most excited about planting elderberries, service berries, salmonberries, thimbleberry, huckleberries, wintergreen mulberries, Chinese Magnolia, a mulberry tree, and a jujube tree. I have also ordered dozens of perennial and annual seeds.
  2. Preparing new beds for Spring. I mostly use the Back to Eden, or lasagna, method for my beds. I will also be experimenting with pulling up and flipping turf, much to my grass-loving husband’s chagrin.
  3. Clearing ivy to make room for a shaded berry patches.
  4. Researching the proper growing conditions for everything I will be planting. Thank you to all of the amazing and generous gardeners on YouTube who freely share their knowledge.
  5. Planning where I am going to place new bushes, trees, and plants. You would be surprised how much time and effort this takes but it will be well worth it, especially considering that most of the items I’ll be planting will stay where they are for decades to come.
  6. Building a grape arbor and other trellises.
  7. Growing greens and winter veggies. Grow tunnels and clear plastic clothing bins help to extend the season.
  8. Pondering and researching the logistics of raising quail or ducks for eggs.
  9. Planning and building a quail or duck pen, should we actually decide to keep either.
  10. Identifying and researching the “weeds” and mushrooms in my yard. I have foraged quite a few wild plants for food. I rather like chickweed, dead nettle, wild onions, and dandelion greens. I have yet to try any fungus.
  11. Pruning.
  12. Propagating plants. I have hopes of creating a long lavender border along the edge of one of my one of my beds, and I am attempting to root several lavender cuttings.
  13. Preserving and fermenting food.
  14. Saving seeds.
  15. Packaging seeds for gifts.
  16. Researching what to do with excess veggies, seeds, and cuttings when summer hits.
  17. Researching ways to serve my community with my garden.
  18. Researching laws on raising backyard chickens…and how to change those laws.
  19. Updating my “for the neighbors” garden bed. When my husband and I created our food forest this past fall, we made a bed at the very front of our yard for the neighbors. I have planted a few things there and hope to really have at it in the spring. I plan to install some fruit trees and include more perennial herbs in the area.
  20. Creating signs for the garden, especially for the neighborhood bed.
  21. Researching nearby farms our family can tour in the spring.
  22. Watching documentaries and YouTube videos on permaculture, urban farming, food forests, homesteading, alternative housing, garden communities, off-gridding, and sustainable living.
  23. Fantasizing about building a tiny house, treehouse, or yurt for imaginary guests to come and enjoy our garden.
  24. Researching where to buy land should we decide to go all-in on farming or homesteading. This is most likely not going to happen, at least, not anytime soon. My husband and I are actually excited to see how much we can do with our small suburban lot. Still, it’s fun to see what properties are out there.
  25. Researching how to catch rainwater and purify it naturally–because it’s cool.
  26. Creating and filling compost bins.
  27. Researching garden chippers so I can make my own mulch and compost material from the piles of dead branches in our yard.
  28. Starting seeds inside. I don’t love this activity, as I prefer to start seed outside under a grow tunnel or a clear plastic clothing bin, but starting indoors helps to get ahead on growing certain plants.
  29. Cleaning up the yard and completing any other outdoor projects while the weather is still cool.
  30. Writing a book about how God inspired me to homestead in the first place.