How to Grow More Food In Less Space


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

Expanding your garden without expanding your space can be tricky. Learn how to grow more food in less space and make the most of the space you've got! #smallgardenideas #smallspacegardeningOne of the biggest problems that every homesteader runs 

into sooner or later is the issue of wanting to grow more food than their garden space allows for.

You see, this whole growing your own food thing… it’s sort of addictive. The more you grow, the more you want to grow, the more seeds you want to start, and the more varieties you want to try.

Then, before long, you’ve got more plants than you do garden space, and you’re stuck trying to figure out where to put them all.

This often leads to either struggling to find a way to expand your garden space to accommodate all of your extra plants, or giving away— or selling— your extra seedlings.

Unfortunately, expanding your garden isn’t always possible. And you don’t want to be giving all of your extra plants away if you can help it. I mean, sharing is caring, but…

Selling your seedlings can seem like a good idea, because at least you can make a few bucks on the side. A little extra money is always great, but unless you’re selling quite a few seedlings or you start selling at farmer’s markets on a larger scale, you probably won’t make that much this way.

Really, the best value you’re going to get (in my humble opinion), is from the plants themselves. The money you can save by growing your own organic food at home is worth more than you’ll make selling a few extra seedlings, and the health benefits that you gain from eating said food are priceless!

So what do you do if you end up with more seedlings than you have space for, or if you simply want to produce more food on your property without actually having to expand your garden’s footprint?

 

How to Grow More Food In Less Space

While you may be tempted to just cram your plants into your garden wherever they’ll fit, this is actually a bad idea that is likely to produce smaller yields in the end. You might technically fit more plants in your garden this way, you probably won’t actually produce more food. Crowding your plants just means that they’ll end up fighting each other for nutrients and root space.

The best thing you can do to produce more food in your garden is to give each plant the space it needs to really thrive.

That being said, it can be hard to fit everything into your garden the “traditional way” if you’re trying to leave ample space between all of your plants. Luckily, however, there are a number of things you can do to fit more food (and more plants!) into your garden without crowding them all.

 

1. Choose your plants wisely

When choosing what crops you’re going to grow, it can be tempting to try out a bunch of different varieties and “novelty” items. But when your main goal is growing more food in less space, you want to be a lot more practical and strategic in your decision-making.

For starters, always grow what you and your family like to eat! I know this sounds obvious, but I have definitely wasted precious garden space growing things we didn’t even want to eat in the end.

Next, choose crops that do well in your area. Familiarize yourself with your gardening zone and even your specific microclimate, and choose crops that are best suited to grow where you live.

If you can find a local organic seed company, this is a good place to look for seeds and crops that are specifically adapted to your area. We grow paste tomatoes for sauce, and while we do grow San Marzanos (which are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to paste tomatoes in general), we actually have the best success and the most production off of a local heirloom variety called Ardwyna paste tomatoes, since these tomato plants have been selected and grown where we live for decades.

—> Learn more about heirloom seeds and varieties here.

If you don’t have a local seed company in your area, my affiliate True Leaf Market is a great source for seeds in the U.S. They offer tons of organic seed varieties— and of course, all of their seeds are non-GMO. Check out their seed selection here.

When looking for plants that you like to eat, and that grow best in your area, make sure to choose varieties that take up less space naturally, and/or that produce a lot of food per plant.

One year, I tried growing artichokes in our garden. Three of them took up practically an entire garden bed, and produced one small artichoke each that I couldn’t even figure out how to prepare. Needless to say, I buy my artichokes marinated in a jar now;)

Likewise, we grew bush (determinate) tomatoes in or greenhouse one year, and they just about smothered each other out and gave each other blight due to the humidity and the proximity of their leaves… Now we only grow indeterminate tomatoes, which grow up, not out. We also prune the foliage back to almost nothing, and each plant produces pounds and pounds of tomatoes each year. We can fit about 30 indeterminate tomato plants in our garden vs. maybe around half that amount of determinate plants.

Beans are another example: we grow pole beans rather than bush beans because pole beans take up less space. We’ll talk more about growing vertically in a minute…

At the end of the day, some things just aren’t worth growing because they take up a large footprint and produce very little food (or at least less food than if you were to choose a different variety).

Choose wisely when deciding what to grow in your garden and how to best use your space.

 

Expanding your garden without expanding your space can be tricky. Learn how to grow more food in less space and make the most of the space you've got! #smallgardenideas #smallspacegardening

2. Companion planting

Companion planting is another great way to maximize growing space and fit more into your garden, without compromising the health or space requirements of your plants.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of companion planting, it simply means planting certain crops beside each other so that they benefit from each other without hindering each other’s ability to grow.

Some companion plants will help to add nutrients to the soil, which helps other plants nearby; other plants will repel pests or attract beneficial insects like pollinators. Some will provide shade or protection from wind, while some companion plants are even said to make other crops taste better, like in the case of planting basil close to tomatoes.

Here are a few good companion plants that you can plant side-by-side:

Legumes and brassicas: Legumes are things like peas and beans. They fix nitrogen in the soil and help to make it bioavailable for other plants, making them a good companion plant for most plants. But they’re especially good companions for anything in the brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc.) since brassicas are heavy nitrogen feeders.

Brassicas and alliums: Brassicas (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) do well with crops from the allium family (onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, etc.) The theory is that the alliums repel pests and even improve the flavour of the brassicas. Just try not to plant alliums directly beside legumes as they do not go well together.

Tomatoes and basil: The basil is said repel pests that might otherwise attack tomato plants, such as whiteflies, tomato hornworms, and aphids. It is also said to improve the flavour of the tomatoes growing on nearby plants! (I can’t say for sure if this last one is true, but we do grow tomatoes and basil together and the flavour of both is always fantastic:)

Squash, corn and beans: This is the famous “Three Sisters” planting method: the corn grows upward, providing something for the pole beans to climb up; the pole beans fix nitrogen into the soil; and the squash grows underneath, providing shade to keep the soil cool and moist, acting as a living mulch that prevents too many weeds from popping up, and creating a barrier to critters such as squirrels, rabbits and raccoons.

 

3. Interplanting

Interplanting is a lot like companion planting, but instead of planting two crops that grow together at the same time and benefit each other, interplanting is the practice of planting a fast-growing crop between a slower-growing one to get two or more crops (and harvests) out of the same space.

For example, you could grow radishes in between your rows of carrots. The radishes will grow much quicker than the carrots, so you’ll get a harvest of radishes and then when you pull them out of the ground that will give your carrots room to fill in some of the space and grow larger.

You could also grow lettuce alongside onions. The lettuce will grow quickly and then you can harvest it and allow the onions to fill in the space, or transplant them to fill in the gaps. We did this last year and had a lot of success with interplanting these two crops together.

 

4. Succession planting

Another way to get two or more harvests from the same space is to succession plant. This simply means that you plant a new crop as soon as the old one has been harvested.

Some crops grow quickly or are harvested earlier in the season (such as lettuce, radishes, peas, and garlic). Once you pull these crops out of the ground, you can succession plant other crops in their place.

I like to succession plant beets after I pull up my garlic. I mentioned moving our onions to where our lettuce was, too. (That was sort of half interplanting and half succession planting).

You can also plant a fall garden in place of your summer annuals when they come out. Just make sure that you’re starting your fall crops way ahead of time so that they’re ready to go in the ground as soon as those summer crops come out!

 

Expanding your garden without expanding your space can be tricky. Learn how to grow more food in less space and make the most of the space you've got! #smallgardenideas #smallspacegardening

5. Grow vertically

Vertical gardening always makes the list when we talk about growing more food in less space. And rightfully so, since you really can pack a ton of food into a pretty small footprint if you grow UP instead of out. Just think about how many more apartments and people you can fit into a skyscraper vs. a two-story building with the same footprint. Vertical gardening is very similar in comparison.

But not everything can be grown vertically, so this comes back to choosing the right crops, and then making sure you have the right setup to actually trellis them and grow them vertically.

Some good vertical crops include pole beans, peas (English peas and sugar snap), cucumbers, winter squash and pumpkins, melons, and indeterminate tomatoes.

You will need some sort of trellis for each of these crops, and some will require more help than others to latch on and start growing vertically.

Peas and beans are the easiest crops to grow vertically because they’ll latch onto any trellis you provide them with all on their own. Pole beans wind around a trellis, so I like to stake them with bamboo poles that we either lean against our house or fashion into a teepee. Peas do best on cattle panel or chicken-wire style fencing. They grab on with little tendrils and climb up, so we like to grow them right along our garden fence.

Cucumbers will climb pretty easily, but may need a little help getting started. We have an arbor that we grew two different varieties of cucumber up last year. Our pickling cukes took off and produced a ton! Our fresh-eating cucumbers were slower to latch on and grow up, but they still did pretty well, and only took up about one square foot in total!

Squash, pumpkins and melons need a little more help with trellising, so you may need to weave some of the vines up a fence, hoop trellis or arbor. You may also need to support the fruits as they grow since they can get quite large and heavy. You can use some old nylons (pantyhose) to support squash and melons by tying them onto your trellis— like little hammocks for each fruit!

Finally, indeterminate tomatoes are also a great vertical crop. Since they vine out naturally, you can train them up a tomato stake and prune them ruthlessly to fit a whole bunch of tomato plants in a relatively small area and get a whole lotta tomatoes out of your plants.

There are different ways to stake and trellis indeterminate tomatoes, including string trellising, straight up-and-down poles, and the Florida weave. But my personal favourite way to stake tomatoes is on spiral stakes.

With spiral stakes, the tomato vines wind easily around the spiral stakes and don’t need any more support than that until they outgrow them. At that point we either top them or string them up to our tomato shelters, but that’s a rabbit trail I won’t go down right now.

Here are some more tips to help you grow a bumper crop of tomatoes.

I don’t recommend tomato cages for indeterminate tomatoes as they don’t offer the best support and your tomato plants will quickly outgrow them. Tomato cages are better for supporting determinate (bush) tomato varieties.

 

6. Utilize your microclimates

You may have areas around your property that aren’t necessarily in full sun, but where you might be able to add a few containers or even a raised bed. We have pockets of shade all over our property where most annual, sun-loving crops just won’t grow well, but we’ve learned to use these shady areas to our advantage and grow crops that tolerate or even thrive in cooler, shadier areas.

Crops like lettuce, kale, arugula, mustard greens, bok choy, and spinach all grow well in the shade. Peas, beans, carrots, potatoes and radishes also do well in partial shade. And hey, if you’ve got nothing but shade, why not try growing mushrooms?!

On the flip side, you might have a greenhouse on your property which acts as a man-made microclimate. You can use this to extend your growing season and get a lager harvest off of heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers, or even grow some vegetables year round!

For more information on leveraging your specific gardening zone and microclimates on your property, you can download my Working With Microclimates guide, which can be found under the Gardening Resources section of my Free Resource Library.

 

Expanding your garden without expanding your space can be tricky. Learn how to grow more food in less space and make the most of the space you've got! #smallgardenideas #smallspacegardening

7. Try square foot gardening

Another great way to grow more food in less space is to apply the square foot gardening method. The premise behind square foot gardening is that you section your garden bed into square feet, and then you allot each square foot to a certain crop and a certain number of vegetables that will grow in that space.

Some vegetables require more space, so some will take up the entire square foot for one plant, while others require less space and can be grown more densely.

For example, you might grow one tomato plant per square foot, four heads of lettuce in another, nine heads of garlic in another and 16 carrots in another as each of these needs different amounts of space to grow well.

The square foot gardening design breaks it down for you so you can grow a lot in a pretty small space. You can download a free copy of my Square Foot Garden Plan from the Gardening Resources section of my Free Resource Library.

 

Expanding your garden without expanding your space can be tricky. Learn how to grow more food in less space and make the most of the space you've got! #smallgardenideas #smallspacegardening

8. Plant in containers

Container gardening is a great way to grow food in small spaces, even if all you have is a patio or small balcony. But it’s also a great way to expand your gardening space without actually having to expand your garden beds.

You can add containers to your existing garden area or to different areas of your property (ie. refer to tip #6 on utilizing your microclimates… containers are a great way to add more growing space to areas of your property where you wouldn’t necessarily put in a full-on garden).

Containers are great because you can move them around to wherever you want or need them at any given time, so you’re never tied to gardening in one spot. Plus you can easily add more.

You might even want to try growing in hanging baskets! This is a serious way to save space or grow food on even the tiniest of balconies. As long as you’ve got good sun, there are varieties of tomatoes, chilli peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula, etc.) and herbs that can be grown in hanging baskets.

 

Expanding your garden without expanding your space can be tricky. Learn how to grow more food in less space and make the most of the space you've got! #smallgardenideas #smallspacegardening

9. Build healthy soil

Whether you’re trying to grow more food in less space, or you’re simply wanting to grow healthier plants and produce more food overall, it all starts and ends with your soil.

Focus on building healthy, nutrient-rich soil full of organic matter and I guarantee you your garden will go gangbusters.

When your plants have the nutrients they need from rich, well-drained soil and compost, they will grow much better, even if they’re a little tight on space. If possible, prepare your soil in the fall, either by planting a cover crop or by layering on a thick layer of compost or manure after you’ve pulled out your annual crops and then mulching with organic matter (wood chips, leaves, straw, etc.) All of that organic matter will break down and feed your soil over the fall and winter months and by spring your soil will be rich with nutrients and ready to plan in!

If you missed the boat in the fall and need to add compost in the spring, just make sure it’s well-aged compost. New, “hot” compost that is still in the stages of breaking down can be too high in nitrogen and can burn the roots of new seedlings. Same with hot manure: either put it on in the fall and let it decompose or make sure it’s well aged, composted manure if you’re applying it in the spring.

Read more: How to Prepare Your Soil in the Fall

 

10. Rotate your crops

Last but not least, always make sure to rotate your crops! Each crops you grow uses different nutrients from the soil. Those nutrients need to be replenished before you can grow the same crop in that space again, otherwise it might not contain enough of the nutrients that your plants need to grow healthy and strong and produce lots of food.

Amending your soil is one way to add nutrients back, and companion planting is another, but you should also always try to rotate your crops so that they’re not using the same nutrients from the same spots in your garden year after year.

Also, crop rotation helps to prevent diseases and pests from spreading to the same crop each season. The same way that a monoculture can spread diseases and cause pest infestations, so too can growing the same crop in the same spot every season.

Mix it up and move things around! By doing this, you’ll be setting your plants up for success in your garden no matter how much space you have to work with (and you’ll reap the accompanying harvest too!)

* * *

There are so many ways to grow more food in less space, from optimizing your garden space and soil health to growing more plants in less space through container planting, vertical growing, and square foot gardening.

You can even use a combination of all of the above, and before you know it you’ll have more homegrown food than you know what to do with. And THAT, my friend, is a very good problem to have!

 

Ready to grow your best (or your first!) garden ever??

If you’re ready to really dive in and learn how to grow your own food at home and maximize your food production no matter what size space you’re working with, my Seed to Soil Organic Gardening Course is now open for enrollment for one week only starting this Monday, March 15th.

In the course, I walk you through everything you need to know in detail to grow a 100% organic vegetable garden at home, completely from seed.

From how to assess your property and identify your unique microclimates to how to start your seeds off strong, set up your indoor grow lights and keep your seedlings alive and thriving until they’re ready to get planted outdoors, to hardening off your plants, direct sowing seeds and transplanting outdoors and then onto how to actually care for your garden without using any chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides whatsoever, I will take you through the entire gardening season step-by-step so you know exactly what to do first, second, third and so on, so you don’t have to guess or simply hope that you’ve done things the right way.

I’ll also be doing live monthly Q&As with my students throughout the growing season in our private Facebook group, where you can be part of a community of other gardeners of varying levels of experience, and where you can get tailored support and answers to your gardening questions in real time!

The Seed to Soil Organic Gardening Course is open for enrollment now, but only for a limited time. Click here to learn more or to enroll for the 2021 gardening season.

 

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂

 

 

 

 


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2 Comments

  1. Nora

    Your article How to Grow More Food in Less space was packed with very good info. Thank you for being so thorough and for sharing your experiences with others.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you Nora! It’s taken me a few years to really learn all of these things but I am dedicated to learning as much as I can about gardening (and homesteading in general) and testing it out in my own garden and life so that I can share with others. It’s so fulfilling in so many ways!

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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(See my last post from yesterday if you're not sure what I'm talking about).

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While we may not have control over most things in life, this is one area where we have complete control, and that's a good and comforting feeling.

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/yesyoucan to learn more.

(Remember to use code TAKE20 at checkout to get your discount)

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Nowadays we can hundreds of jars of food every year, both with our water bath canner and our pressure canner. But if you're just starting out, water bath canning is the way to go. It's easy, it doesn't require a lot of special equipment, and there are sooo many foods that can be water bath canned and preserved for the winter!⁠

Jams, jellies, pickles, pie fillings, sauces and salsas, fruits and fruit butters... The possibilities aren't exactly endless, but there are enough recipes to keep you going for a long time without ever getting bored.⁠

Now is the time to learn how to can if you haven't yet! I'll be opening the doors to my canning course next week, but in the meantime, click the ink in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/water-bath-canning-beginners/ to get started!
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🧺 I've heard some horror stories about homemade laundry detergent.

Many people claim that homemade laundry detergents are either bad for your clothes, bad for your washing machine, or both. I’ve read many articles that claim homemade laundry soaps and detergents either don’t work (ie. leave clothes looking and smelling dirty), have discoloured people’s clothes (leaving whites yellow and colours looking dull), or left soap residue in the fibres of clothes. Some say it even ruined their washing machines, specifically front loaders and HE washing machines.

Not to mention the many online sources that claim that if your washing machine goes on the fritz during your warranty period and you’ve been using homemade laundry detergent, your warranty will be void.

On top of all of that, borax -a common ingredient used in homemade laundry detergent- has been called into question for safety reasons, as it can be toxic and even deadly if ingested or used indicated on skin.

It's enough to scare you away from ever trying to make your own laundry detergent at home 😱

However, I’ve been making and using homemade laundry detergent for about 2½ years now, and not only have I never had a problem with the recipe that I use, our clothes are as clean as ever, and our brand new (as of three years ago) Electrolux-brand HE front loader washing machine still runs perfectly well and has no built up soap residue.

Since we started making our own, we’ve easily saved a few hundred dollars on store-bought laundry detergent, which is honestly the biggest reason why we make our own at home.

I've been getting requests from readers for a homemade laundry detergent recipe for years now, but I wanted to find one that I was happy with before sharing. I can say with full confidence that I am very happy with the recipe I'm sharing with you today, but I can only say what has worked for me and my family. I implore you to do some research on the pros and cons of homemade detergent before making your own.

That being said, if you do decide to make your own, this is a great recipe! Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-laundry-detergent-recipe/
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I sent a pretty vulnerable email out to my readers last weekend…

(Post 1/2)

I admitted that I spent my Sunday morning “crying in my coffee” because I feel like I’m really struggling in the garden this year; Moreso than any other year.

Our beans have been decimated multiple times by pill bugs (they even outsmarted my Diatomaceous Earth AND peppermint oil applications by resorting to eating the bean sprouts underground before they even had a chance to sprout!). Our cucumbers and squash are growing at a snail’s pace, and I’m still troubleshooting to figure out why. We’ve just overcome blossom end rot on our zucchinis and have yet to even taste one (normally they’re big enough to beat someone over the head with already). And I suspect the heatwave put a stop to our broccoli production, because we’ve got big leafy plants with no offshoots, and heads that were smaller than my fist this year.

We’ve had more plants eaten and ravaged by soil problems, disease and extreme temperature fluctuations than we’ve ever had before. The weeds were worse than they’ve ever been this spring (we finally got those under control with a lot of cardboard and mulch), and we’ve yet to really see a decent harvest from any of our vegetable crops.

BUT, the challenges we’ve faced this year have forced me to grow as a gardener, try new and innovative ways of dealing with problems, learn more about soil health, how to fix the issues we’re dealing with now and how to hopefully prevent these issues from being a problem in the future.

They’ve also made me grateful for what is working and for the crops that have produced. Many nearby farmers and gardeners lost their berry crops in the heatwave this year, but miraculously our strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are doing better this year than even before. Our herbs have done great and will provide us with more than we need for the year. Our peas were slow to start but did well in the end, basil and greens are going strong and we’ve got the most beautiful echinacea flowers in bloom right now from seeds we planted last year.

We also have our own compost for the first time ever.

(Continued in comments).
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*** CONTEST CLOSED ***

Congratulations to our winner @suzi.mayhem !!! Check your DMs for a message from me on how to claim your prize!

🍀Are you feeling lucky???

Because it’s time for a GIVEAWAY!!!

To celebrate Modern Homesteading Magazine’s upcoming two-year milestone, and in appreciation of our current sponsor @planttherapy (my favourite essential oils company in the world), we’re giving away a one-year membership level subscription to Modern Homesteading Magazine, which includes unlimited access to our entire digital library of issues, PLUS a 7&7 Set of essential oils from Plant Therapy.

To enter:

✨Like this post
✨Make sure you’re following @thehouseandhomestead and @planttherapy
✨Tag as many friends as you like below who might also be interested in this giveaway (every person you tag = an entry to win!)
✨Share this post to your IG Stories for a bonus entry!

You know the drill 😉

Contest ends Wednesday, July 14th at midnight PST. Winner will be announced on July 15th.

In the meantime, if you haven’t yet subscribed (for free) to receive new issues of Modern Homesteading Magazine straight to your inbox, head to the link in my bio to subscribe OR become a member and get access to all past issues right away! (If you win and you’re already a member, you can either choose to get your next year free once your membership is up for renewal, or you can gift your membership to a loved one:)

And if you wanna get your hands on the 7&7 Set (or any other Plant Therapy set), now is the time because right now you can save 20% on all Plant Therapy sets for a very limited time. Just enter code SETS20 at checkout OR enter code HOMESTEAD to get 10% off everything else site wide!

Links in bio @thehouseandhomestead to check out all of the above ☺️

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour!
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🍒 July is synonymous with cherries, and that means CHERRY PIE!!!

But there’s only so much cherry pie one can eat on hot summer days. So instead, why not preserve some cherry pie filling to enjoy all year long!

This recipe for cherry pie filling includes full waterbath canning instructions so you can have your pie and eat it too, at any time of year!

Recipe link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/can-homemade-cherry-pie-filling/

Summer pie season (and canning season) has officially arrived 😉
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🍔 It took me 33 years to try making my own hamburgers from scratch.

I know, I know… I preach about making everything from scratch, and burger patties are like, entry level.

But if I’m being really honest, I never liked homemade burgers patties growing up. They were always dry and flavourless. My mom would bulk hers up with breads crumbs and huge chunks of onion, hardly any seasoning and then she’d cook them until they were charred and very well done. So when I grew up I found a grocery store brand that I liked and we always just bought those, along with some store-bought buns and called it good.

But as I started making my own mayo and BBQ sauce and pickles and relish and started topping our burgers with homegrown tomatoes and lettuce, I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I was using store-bought buns and patties.

Now, don’t get me wrong: we use store-bought burgers as they’re good in a pinch, but we’ve also perfected our homemade burger game, from the patties to the buns to the condiments and everything else in between!

The secret to our homemade patties is using grass fed beef and BACON. And no extra filler, other than seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and Worcestershire sauce).

But what really makes these next level are freshly made homemade hamburger buns! There is nothing like homemade bread of any kind, and hamburger buns are no exception. Plus they’re quicker and easier than you might think to whip together!

Click the link in my bio to get the full recipes for both my homemade Beef & Bacon Burger Patties AND my Homemade Hamburger Buns. You’ll also find links to my Homemade Mayo and Homemade Rhubarbecue Sauce to top your burgers with:)

To BBQ season! And to replacing store-bought everything, one simple recipe at a time;)
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