A Complete Guide to Organic Gardening for Beginners


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

 

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide. Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden (or perhaps even a plant) before in your life, there are a few organic gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started.

On one hand, growing a garden might seem stupidly easy. At its very core, gardening is simply the act of planting some seeds, watering them and watching them grow miraculously into big, beautiful, high-yielding plants. 

But on the other hand gardening can seem so confusing and overwhelming that many people don’t even know where to start!

You need to decide if you’re going to use organic or modern conventional methods (and what that means, exactly).

You’ll need to learn about your gardening zone, your first and last frost dates and figure out what you are able to grow and when you should plant what.

You’ll need to decide whether to start your plants from seed or buy seedlings, and whether to direct sow or start indoors and transplant later. 

You’ll need to figure out how and when to fertilize and know what type of soil to buy if you are purchasing from the store.

And of course you’ll need to decide whether you will be planting in containers, raised beds or in-ground rows. And will you choose open-pollinated or hybrid seeds? And what’s the difference? And how do you know if your seeds are organic or if they are genetically modified? And are those even two sides to the same coin? And wait, what on Earth is an “heirloom” seed???

 

Related: 5 Easy Food Plants Anyone Can Grow

 

Indeed, gardening can be very simple or quite complicated, depending on how you look at it.

As someone who grew up with next to no gardening experience at all and is pretty much completely self-taught, I’ve learned first-hand that the key to success lies somewhere in between these two extremes. 

My best advice is to learn a few gardening basics and then get out there and get your hands dirty. Take a little time to learn the essentials and then take action.

Will you be a world-class gardener right away? Probably not. In fact, even the most experienced green thumbs experience crop failures and bad seasons. But with a bit of foundational knowledge and a willingness to try, you’ll soon be on your way to becoming a skilled home gardener and enjoying  bountiful harvests year after year.

Sound good? Alright. Let’s begin…

 

What You Need to Know BEFORE Starting a Garden

There are a few things you should probably know before you buy seeds or start planning your garden in order to make the right choices, avoid costly mistakes and optimize your growing success. 

 

Know Your Garden Zone

One of the first things you should know before you even buy seeds or start planning your garden is what garden zone (aka. “planting zone,” “growing zone” or “plant hardiness zone”) you live in.

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide.

2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

Garden zones are based on region and climate and help to determine which plants will survive and thrive best in each zone. So knowing what garden zone you live in will help you to select plant varieties that will actually, um, grow in your area.

Knowing your garden zone will also help you determine your average first and last frost dates and will subsequently help you plan when to plant what in your garden.

To find out what garden zone you’re in and what plants do best in your specific zone, you can Google your area or follow this link to find garden zones within the U.S. and Canada.

You can also head over to your local garden or feed store for more information tailored specifically to your garden zone.

 

Understand Microclimates

While knowing your garden zone is important, getting a feel for your microclimate is equally helpful. A microclimate is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a tiny (micro) climate within the larger, broader climate or garden zone that you live in. 

For example, you might live in a garden zone which is generally pretty hot and (surprise!) supports warm-weather plants. But you might also live in a shady area that is typically a few degrees cooler than the average climate temperatures than your garden zone, which might mean that you are able to grow plants that thrive better in slightly cooler, shadier areas.

Likewise, you might live in a garden zone that experiences pretty cold temperatures throughout much of the year, but if you have a greenhouse or high tunnel you can actually create a warmer microclimate so that you can extend your growing season and even grow plant varieties that normally wouldn’t survive in your region.

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide.

You can create your own microclimates using greenhouses, cold frames and cloches -and yes, even cups- to keep plants warm when the outside air is still cold.

 

Related: 3 Ways to Protect Your Plants From the Cold

 

Whether you make use of natural microclimates on your property or you create them yourself, understanding how they work will help you select the best variety and widest range of plants for your specific area and extend your growing season as long as you can to reap the largest harvest possible.

 

Understand What Organic Gardening Really Means

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide. If you’re aiming to be an organic gardener, you should understand exactly what that means, including what practices are acceptable and what you should never do if you want to truly go organic.

I won’t go over the laundry list of reasons you SHOULD use organic methods in your garden (you can find tons of information online if you want to know more). But I will say that using non-organic methods poses a risk to your health and to your garden itself as chemical sprays, seeds and fertilizers can affect the health of your soil which can in turn affect the health of your plants (and your ability to even grow anything with success).

So, what should you do if you want to be an organic gardener?

  • Choose organic, untreated seeds and plants
  • Use natural fertilizers (homemade compost is an excellent option)
  • Don’t use any chemical sprays or fertilizers
  • Be careful not to add non-organic items to your garden or compost pile
  • Keep your garden as sheltered as possible from neighbours who use chemical sprays on their garden as this can travel through the air to your own garden.

Of course, it might be difficult to control everything that’s floating in the air, but focus on the things you can control and you can rest assured you are doing everything in your power to go organic as possible.

Also, attracting pollinators to your garden is a wonderful all-natural way to increase your yields and create a healthy ecosystem.

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide.

Dandelions help to attract pollinators early on in the season. Resist the urge to cut them down (and definitely don’t spray them!)

Plant wildflowers or other brightly coloured flowers to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Hang a hummingbird feeder. Perhaps even consider purchasing Mason bees or building a bee hotel! Pollinators are essential to healthy crop production. Do your best to attract them rather than deter them:)

 

Know the Difference Between Organic, Open-Pollinated, Heirloom, Hybrid and GMO Seeds

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide. I could write an essay on this topic alone, but I’m going to keep this short and sweet. There are some fundamental differences between different types of seeds, and some of them overlap or are subsets of each other. Here’s the cliff notes version:

Organic Seeds: “Organic” is an umbrella term that describes any seeds that come from organic plants and have not been treated with any non-organic chemicals. Any of the following seeds could be organic (except GMO seeds by law), as long as they fit this criteria. But any of them could also not be organic if they have been treated or come from a non-organically grown parent plant.

Open-Pollinated: These seeds are as natural as they come. They come from plants grown and pollinated as nature intended (by wind or by insect pollination, or with help from a human hand). This is how plants have been grown since the dawn of time and this method of letting nature do the work has resulted in a huge range of genetic diversity among plant species. 

Open-pollinated seeds can be saved and replanted the next year and will grow into the same type of plant as the one they came from. Because of this they make an excellent choice for organic gardeners interested in seed-saving and who do not want to have to buy new seeds each year.

Heirloom Seeds: These seeds are a subset of open-pollinated seeds, meaning all heirloom seeds are open-pollinated, but not all open-pollinated seeds are heirlooms. Heirlooms are seeds that have been saved from specific plants and passed down through generations (hence the name “heirloom”). They are typically the best of the best as they are organic, open-pollinated and have been carefully selected from the strongest, tastiest and highest yielding plants by generations of gardeners and farmers. These are the all-around best choice for seed saving and organic gardening.

Hybrid Seeds: Hybrids come from two different parent plants that are the same species, but not the same plant. They are created by cross-pollinating two different types of plants to create an entirely new type. Some examples of hybrid plants are sweet corn, meyer lemons (cross between lemons and mandarin oranges), and grapefruit (cross between sweet orange and pomelo). If you save seeds from hybrid plants they will not grow true to the plant you saved them from, but instead will grow into one of the parent plants or may not produce at all. If you buy hybrids you are best to purchase new seeds each year so you know what you’re getting.

Genetically Modified “GMO” Seeds: These are the Frankensteins of the garden world. Genetically modified seeds take hybridization to the next level, and not only combine two different plant types of the same species, but different species altogether! So, for example, you might have a tomato that has been crossed with fish genes, or corn that has been genetically engineered to include a bacterial gene that makes it immune to certain herbicides. 

GMO seeds are also engineered in a lab and are patented, making it not only difficult to save the seeds (as they likely won’t produce true to their parent), but actually illegal! If you’ve heard of Monsanto, it’s likely because they are infamous for genetically modifying seeds and suing farmers who save and replant them. While it is highly unlikely that you will come across GMO seeds as a home gardener, it’s still something to be on the lookout for and avoid at all costs.

 

Getting Started

Now that you have some basic knowledge under your belt, it’s time to actually start planning your garden.

First you’ll have to make some decisions about what plants or seeds to buy to get started. Now that you know your garden zone, have an idea of what type of microclimate you’re working with and understand the fundamental differences between organic and non-organic gardening methods and the different types of seeds and starts you have to choose from, it’s time for the real fun part: choosing your garden crops!

 

Planning Your Garden

Depending on the size and scale of your garden (pro tip: start small if it’s only your first year, even if you have the space), you’ll need to decide whether you’ll be planting in the ground, in raised beds or in containers. 

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide. We do a mix of raised beds and container gardening and they compliment each other nicely! No reason you can’t do more than one, and containers are always a good choice for certain crops, so if you will be doing any container gardening, be sure to source out the right type, size and quantity you’ll need to get started.

 

Related: Container Gardening for Beginners

 

If you decide to do in-ground or raised beds, you’ll either need to plan your garden to the size of the beds that already exist or plan to build new beds to your desired size. Either way, write down the dimensions you will be working with before you start planning what will go in the soil.

When planning your crops, consider the following:

  1. What will grow well in your zone and microclimate
  2. What do you want to grow/what will you actually eat when it comes to fruits and veggies
  3. What companion plants grow well together (for more on companion planting, check out this post)
  4. What should you not plant beside each other (for more on plants that go well and don’t go well together, check out this post)
  5. What, if anything, was planted in that space last season? Rotating crops is important in organic gardening in order to avoid spreading disease and depleting the soil of nutrients, so if there was something planted in your garden the year before, it’s best to choose a plant from a different family to plant in that spot this year. For more information on proper crop rotation, read this.
  6.  

Choose Your Seeds (Or Starts)

You’ll need to decide whether you will be starting all of your plants from seed or buying starts (established seedlings) from your local garden store or farmers market. You may choose to purchase a combination.

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide. If you are limited on space or if you want to try a few different varieties rather than a large quantity of one plant, you may opt for starts. 

It doesn’t matter what you choose, but I will say there is something magical about watching a plant grow from a tiny seed! 

If you do decide to start from seed, you will also need to decide whether to start your seeds indoors to give them a head start on the growing season, or if it is better to direct sow them outside. 

Some plants like tomatoes, peppers and onions tend to do better when started indoors a few weeks before being transplanted outside as it gives them more time to grow. But others, such as peas, spinach, radishes and carrots, do better if they’re direct sown outdoors when the time is right.

 

Related: How to Build an Indoor Growing Stand With Lights

 

If you start your seeds indoors, be sure to harden them off for a few days before putting them outside for good. This just means you need to introduce them to the outdoors slowly so as not to shock them with the temperature difference. First, put them outside for a few hours in the daytime and then bring them back in. Then put them outside for a few hours longer. Then put them outside for a full day and then overnight. Then finally, transplant them outdoors.

If you direct sow your seeds, either be sure to space them far enough apart or thin out the seedlings once they start growing to give each plant enough room to grow.

 

Once you’ve chosen and bought your seeds/starts, time to get planting!

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide. Check your local garden supply store (or search online) for a chart on what to plant when in your area, or make your own chart according to your garden zone and the instructions on each seed packet. 

Plant your starts and start your seeds. You’re well on your way now!

 

Maintaining Your Garden

We all know plants need adequate light and water, so decide how you will give your plants both. If you start seeds indoors, you will most likely need an artificial growing light. For full instructions on how to make your own indoor growing stand with lights, click here.

If you are planting directly outdoors, you won’t have to worry about light, but you will need to make sure your garden gets enough water. If you have a small garden, you can water by hand. But a very large garden is more easily maintained with a drip irrigation system. What you decide on will depend on the size of your garden as well as the money and time you have to invest in it right now.

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide. Be sure to give your plants adequate water, but don’t overwater either. Make sure the soil is well drained. In-ground and raised bed gardens tend to need more water than containers as container hold more moisture.

As well as water and sunlight, you will need to “feed” your garden from time to time. You can do this with a store-bought organic fertilizer like fish fertilizer or with homemade compost or even compost tea. Fertilize once every month or so by spraying a liquid fertilizer on the soil or adding organic, well-aged compost to the top of the soil and watering.

 

Weed & Pest Control

Ugh. Weeds and pests. The nemeses of every gardener everywhere. These are two not-so-pleasant side effects of gardening that you will inevitably have to deal with at some point, and if you are sticking to organic methods, it will involve more work and diligence on your part.

 

Dealing With Weeds

When it comes to weeds, you can lay down landscape fabric and/or mulch to help suppress them in the first place. Also, there are certain weeds that prefer more acidic or more alkaline soil, which means you can help to eradicate them by adjusting your soil’s PH balance by either adding things like coffee grounds to make your soil more acidic, or lime to make it more alkaline.  

Short of that you’re pretty much stuck with hand weeding. It sucks, but it’s a part of gardening and it can be quite therapeutic once you get in the flow! 

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide.

 

Controlling Pests Organically

As for pests, some of the best organic methods include:

  • Soapy water (this works especially well on aphids)
  • Eggshells (deters slugs and snails)
  • Diatomaceous Earth (great for insects with an exoskeleton like ants and earwigs)
  • Beneficial Nematodes (good for underground pests like wireworms and grubs)
  • And of course the ol’ “hands-on” method (but who wants to be dealing with pests by hand when you’re busy weeding!).

Another excellent way to control pests is by using predators insects. Ladybugs, spiders and praying mantis’ are some of the best predators for pest control. You can even purchase ladybug eggs to introduce to your garden! I once caught a ladybug and put it on the stem of my parsley plant that was infested with aphids. I literally watched as it started devouring them and the rest of them ran and took cover. The next day, no aphids!

Again, talk to the experts at your local garden supply store about your specific weed and pest problems to get their recommendations on how to best control them organically.

 

End Of Season Gardening Tips & Tasks

So you’ve successfully made it through the gardening season and have some beautiful plants and produce to show for it. Hooray! Now what?

Well, an obvious first step is to harvest that goodness and enjoy it! There is nothing as satisfying as a homegrown tomato right off the vine:)

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide.

This is just a smattering of the beautiful organic food we harvested from our own garden last year.

Of course, if you have too much produce to use fresh, your best bet is learning to preserve it. You can freeze, dry or can anything out of your garden to preserve it for use all year long.

For some tips and ideas on preserving, check out the Food Preservation section of this blog or invest in the best home canning book there ever was or ever will be (in my humble opinion): The Ball Complete Guide to Home Preserving.

This guide is like my canning bible. I’ve tried at least a couple dozen recipes from this book and every single one has been tasty and easy to follow. I can’t recommend it enough to anyone wanting to learn how to can or expand their home canning repertoire. 

 

Seed Saving

You might also want to save some seeds from your biggest, strongest, healthiest plants to replant next year (assuming you chose open-pollinated or heirloom seeds, right?).

Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide. Beans, peas, tomatoes and lettuce seeds are some of the easiest seeds to save. Just let the plant go to seed (if it’s a lettuce or kale plant, for example, it will bolt and grow flowers which will eventually dry out and produce seeds), take the seeds from inside the tomatoes, wash and allow them to dry out or allow the bean or pea pods to dry out completely on the vine and then open them up and take out the seeds.

It’s always a good idea to save seeds from your best, highest-yielding plants so that you can grow them again the following year, save money on buying seeds and create your own little seed bank at home to increase your self-reliance that extra step. And the longer you save your seeds, the more likely they are to eventually be passed down through the generations. Maybe you’ll even create an heirloom seed!

 

Putting Your Garden to Bed for the Winter

While you may or may not decide to grow a fall crop (remember the basics of crop rotation if you do), at some point you will need to put your garden to bed for the winter. 

  • Be sure to pull all plants out of the garden, mulch and compost the healthy ones and discard any diseased plants (do not compost). 
  • Add some compost or fertilizer to your soil in the fall so it has time to seep into the soil and add nutrients back in.
  • Decide whether to grow a cover crop. Cover crops help to manage soil erosion, control weeds and pests and even aerate and fertilize the soil. You might choose something like alfalfa or clover to sprinkle over your garden over the fall and winter.
  • Consider using hoop houses to keep your soil warm (this can allow for early planting in the spring), help keep weeds at bay and possibly even grow a few cold-hardy plants throughout the winter months. Check out the following link for full instructions on How to Build a Quick & Easy DIY Hoop House
  • And remember to put your tools away! Don’t let your garden tools rust or your watering cans break if they fill with water in the rainy season and then freeze and burst in the winter (can you tell this has happened to me?)
Whether you’re a budding green thumb with a bit of experience under your belt or you’ve never grown a garden before in your life, there are a few gardening basics that are helpful to know when you’re just getting started. Here is everything you need to know about organic gardening for beginners in one handy guide.

Using hoop houses helps to keep soil warmer and keeps some weeds out in the early spring. You might even grow a few cold-hardy plants throughout the winter months if your gardening zone is warm enough!

Put everything away in your shed, garage or greenhouse and button it up for winter. Then crack a jar of home preserved goodness and eat it with a spoon as you take a well-earned break and dream of garden seasons to come.

After all, once you start dreaming about gardening or get giddy at the arrival of a seed catalogue, that is the true marker that you’ve officially earned your status as a home gardener. All the rest will come with time:)

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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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The world is changing faster than ever.

We’ve barely had time to adapt to the “new normal” and still things are continuing to shift, change, and in some cases spiral more each day.

From rising inflation and persistent supply chain issues, to a looming recession and food shortages that are expected to get worse after a very tough farming year, to a war on European soil and the threat of cyber attacks and (God forbid) a nuclear attack, to the future of digital IDs and increasingly pervasive government control over every aspect of our lives, it’s no wonder more people are looking for ways to escape the matrix and “opt out” of the system.

I consider myself an optimistic realist: I hope for the best and I live fully and freely in the moment, but I prepare for the future accordingly based on what I can see unfolding in our world. And honestly, I find this “sweet spot” to be incredibly empowering.

This is why I do what I do and why I share it with you on a regular basis; I WANT TO EMPOWER YOU TOO!

That’s why I created The Society of Self-Reliance: A private membership that connects you with the resources, support and community you need to reclaim your independence and become more self-reliant in every aspect of your life.

From growing and preserving your own food to crafting and using herbal medicine to life skills like how to manage it all and stay calm in stressful situations, how to prepare for emergency situations and much more, if you’re ready to learn invaluable skills that will help you take control of your family’s food security, health and wellbeing, time, finances, and ultimately over your own future, The Society of Self-Reliance was created for you!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be reopening the Society doors for a limited time starting next week, and wanted to give you the heads up NOW so that you can get on the waitlist and make sure you don’t miss out when enrollment opens.

To learn more or get on the waitlist, click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

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Bring everything to a boil and then simmer and reduce. Strain into a bottle or Mason jar and store in the fridge for up to a week or so.

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Whether you’re looking to purchase your first homestead or trying to sell an existing homestead and upgrade to a bigger property, Ann had some great insights to share that can save you time, stress and money when you’re ready to make your move.

Check out the full interview in the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine: link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe, login to the library (if you’re already a subscriber) or view a sample of the current issue!

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This is why people don’t trust our medical system!!!

I very rarely go on a rant about current events but this has me feeling really fired up…

My husband and I each got an Amber Alert on our phones the other night along with millions of other British Columbians, informing us of a child abduction in Vancouver. It made the suspect sound like a dangerous kidnapper and said “do not approach. Call 911.”

As it turns out, it was the mother of the child (a 3-year-old boy), who had refused medical treatment without getting a second opinion and follow up blood tests, so the Ministry of Child and Family Services was called, she was arrested and her son was taken from her and was administered medical treatment in the hospital without consent and without a guardian present.

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Doctors are not gods and as mothers we do not co-parent with the government!!!

This hits close to home for me because I too have been through the medical system and had my concerns dismissed, was misdiagnosed and given wrong information, and was treated with obvious contempt when I got a second opinion.

In this day and age of rampant medical coercion and the erosion of bodily autonomy over our own bodies and over those of our children, this story highlights the dangers of the very slippery slope we’re on.

As parents who only have the best interests of our children at heart, this could happen to any one of us. We can’t let this be normalized. Remember “first they came for (fill in the blank), and I said nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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I’ve hesitated about posting this reel over and over because I know I’ll probably get backlash, hate and vitriol from some people in return. But I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I didn’t speak the truth that’s on my heart and mind…

If you haven’t noticed, there are currently thousands of Canadians sharing their stories and using the hashtag #trudeaumustgo on their social media posts right now in response to the divisive rhetoric and actions of our prime minister over the past few months. But our media has downplayed the issue and has attributed most of the hashtags to “bot” accounts and foreigners trying to influence our politics.

In response, real Canadians are making videos and sharing their stories to show that we are not bots, but real people who have been negatively affected by the words and actions of our leaders, particularly our leader at the top.

I used to consider myself a lifelong leftist and have supported the liberal government and Trudeau over the years, but after what I’ve witnessed over the past few months; After how he has spoken about Canadians who have made a different medical choice or who have protested mandates (which have done nothing to stop the spread of you-know-what anyway); After the hate and division that has trickled down from the top and infiltrated our communities, I can no longer stand silently by.

While I am 💉, a few months ago when I voiced my support for those who stood up against mandates and against the division being pushed on us by our leadership, I suddenly found myself among what our prime minister called the “small fringe minority” of citizens with “unacceptable views.”

I lost followers, friends and even a couple family members. I was told I’d been “radicalized,” although my views have never changed.

So today I’m adding my voice to the chorus of real, everyday Canadians who are taking a stand against tyranny and division in this country. As the saying goes, if we do not stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. I stand for freedom & autonomy, and against division & tyranny.

#trudeaumustgo

(Special thanks to fellow 🇨🇦 homesteader @meggarlandd for inspiring me & giving me the courage to post this:)
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What would you do if the grid went down?

Imagine not just the lights going out, but all power, all digital communication and information. Would you be prepared?

A lot of us THINK we’re prepared for a grid down situation, but unless you’re already living off grid, you might not realize how dependent on technology we really are!

In the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, contributor Ashley Constance of @dirtypawshomestead and @alittleselfreliant shares her experience voluntarily going without power for the day, and what she and her husband, Shawn learned from their grid down experiment.

You might be surprised at the things they discovered and missed on their prep list, and it might prompt you to reevaluate whether you’re ready in case the grid goes down, or even just Google 😱

Check out the full story in the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine!

Link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

#modernhomesteadingmagazine #homesteadersofinstagram #homesteading #modernhomesteading #prepping #nationalpreparednessmonth
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The other day when I had a few minutes to spare, I was out in the garden doing a little work when my neighbour said hi over the fence.

I lamented to her about how busy we’ve been and how hard it’s been to keep on top of this year. Very sincerely, she replied “wait until you have another one,” referring to our baby on the way.

“You’ll be moving back to the suburbs so quick, mark my words,” she said.

Now, I don’t for a second think there was any ill intent behind her statement, but still, it took me aback.

“We’ll never move back to the city or the suburbs,” I replied with a laugh. “This may be hard work but we love it.”

She then repeated her statement and followed it up with “just you wait and see.”

I decided not to continue the back and forth. After all, I told myself, it doesn’t matter if she or anyone else knows what’s truly in your heart. It doesn’t matter if she understands that there’s no amount of difficulty that would make me run back to the suburbs and leave this life behind. In fact, our dream is to upgrade to a bigger property someday where we can grow an even bigger garden and add more livestock to our homestead!

Likewise, I visited the city last weekend for a family event and as always, I had at least a couple people ask me “so when are you moving back to the city?”

Seven years later, and still we have friends and family members who think this is just a phase we’re going through, and eventually we’ll come to our senses and move back.

I used to get offended by these questions because I felt unseen; I felt like nobody took this life that I’m so passionate about seriously, and thought it was “cute” that I was “playing farmer” for a bit, but eventually I had to grow up and become part of the “real world” once again.

Now I just smile and reply “never:)”

Can you relate? How do you (politely) respond when someone questions your lifestyle choices or implies that you’ll eventually come to your senses and come back to “reality”?

Let me know below 👇
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The fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine just dropped!

In this issue you’ll find:

• Preparedness tips, tricks and advice to help you be ready for anything on the homestead (and in life!)
•The ultimate guide to growing garlic at home and it as both food and medicine
• Drool-worthy recipes that feature garlic as the star!
• Expert advice from A Farmgirl in the Making’s Ann Accetta-Scott on what to look for (and look out for) when buying or selling a homestead property
• Advice on how to learn and grow from perceived homesteading “failures”

And more!!!

Go to modernhomesteadingmagazine.com or click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or login to the library and read the latest issue if you’re already subscribed!
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When I first started homesteading, I had a burning desire to become more self-sufficient and live a more sustainable life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a rebel at heart, and learning how to homestead and become more self-reliant was a way for me to “throw a proverbial middle finger to the system” and live life on my own terms.

As a teenager, I was the girl who drove around town with punk rock music blaring from my car, Misfits sticker on the back and studs around my wrists. I felt misunderstood and angsty and like I desperately didn’t fit in with the world I grew up in.

I always knew in my soul that I wanted something different; Something more.

Today I’m the mama with stretch marks on my belly and battle scars on my heart. I’m the woman who gardens and cans food and makes her own tinctures and believes in something greater than herself and fights every day to stay free in a world that feels increasingly engineered to keep us hopelessly dependent.

Today I feel whole and at peace, and connected to a higher power and a higher purpose. I feel like I’ve finally found the place where I belong.

This journey has been about so much more than homesteading for me, and I've learned, lost, gained and loved so much more than I ever could have imagined.

Because, as I've said before, homesteading doesn't happen in a vacuum. Life is always happening at the same time.

This is the full, raw and unfiltered story of my homesteading journey, and how I've gained so much more than a pantry full of food along the way.

Click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky to read more or check it out here >> https://thehouseandhomestead.com/how-it-started-how-its-going
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The news we’ve all been waiting for…

IT’S A BOY!!!

After so many years and too many losses, our hearts are so full and it feels like we are inching closer to our family finally being complete.

I’ve always known in my heart and soul that we were meant to have a girl and a boy. I know, it sounds cliché and very “nuclear family,” but years ago I saw a psychic who told me I would have a girl who loved to be centre stage and had a personality larger than life, very much how our daughter has turned out!

She also said I would have a boy who would be much more introverted and in tune with nature and with his own intuition. That’s yet to be seen, but I’ve always had this unwavering vision of a son and a daughter that fit these descriptions, and my heart has been set on a son ever since we had Evelyn.

Of course, things went sideways for a few years. Shortly after Evelyn was born, I became pregnant again, but we made the heartbreaking decision to terminate that pregnancy at 24 weeks due to a severe medical diagnosis. We lost our son, Phoenix Rain on June 15, 2018. Our hearts were shattered and have never fully healed.

Over the next few years, I had 3 more early miscarriages. None of the doctors knew what was causing them as most didn’t seem to have any sort of genetic explanation. We were told it was “something environmental,” but weren’t given any clues as to what that could be.

After pushing to see several specialists last year (after our most recent loss), and being told once again that there was “nothing wrong with me,” I finally got another opinion and found out I had something called Chronic Endometritis: A low-grade infection in my uterus that I believe in my heart was caused by my c-section with our daughter; A c-section I didn’t want and probably didn’t need, but felt I needed because I was under pressure to make a decision before the surgeon went off duty.

I’ll never know for sure, but when I pushed for more testing and finally got a simple round of antibiotics, the endometritis cleared up. I got pregnant again almost immediately and so far we now have a healthy baby boy on the way.

(Continued in comments…)
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We’re living through interesting times. Many people have even used the term “unprecedented times,” and while that may be true in that there has perhaps never been another time in history when we’ve faced so many existential threats all at once (ie. a global pandemic, climate change, political divisions, AI advancing at an incredible rate, cyber attacks, nuclear threats, globalization, food shortages, supply chain issues, hyperinflation, social media and the age of information/misinformation, etc. etc. all converging at once). But despite all of this, we are not the first generation(s) of humans to face hardships and threats of great magnitude, and in fact we’ve had it better than any other previous generations for most of our lives, especially here in the west.

The fact is, there are lots of things we can do to ensure we’re not sitting ducks when these threats come knocking at our door. But it takes action on our part, not waiting around for someone else to fix things or take care of us.

In the Summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with The Grow Network’s Marjory Wildcraft to talk all about the realities of our current climate, including worsening inflation and looming global food shortages, as well as what every day people like you and I can actually DO to improve our food security, become more self-sufficient, care for our families and communities and ensure our own survival and wellbeing even in difficult and uncertain times like these.

While I don’t believe in fear mongering, I do believe in acknowledging hard truths and not burying your head in the sand. That being said, things may very well get worse before they get better, and we would all do well to start learning the necessary skills, stocking up on essential resources and preparing now while there’s still time.

Check out the full interview in the summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. Link in bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe or login and read the current issue.

#foodshortages #selfsufficiency #selfreliance #foodsecurity #foodsecurityisfreedom #homesteading #growyourownfood #fightinflation #stayfree
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