Author Archives: Homesteader's Supply

Homestead Happening: Seedlings

Something’s always happening on a homestead. Homesteader’s Supply wants to share your life. No homestead is too big or small to share what’s happening with us. Let’s make this a Friday tradition.

Share a photo on your blog of something that happened on your homestead this week. Copy this into the top of the blog to join in. Leave a link to your blog in the comments below and we’ll visit to see your Homestead Happening.

Tomato seedlings under the grow lights.

Tomato seedlings under the grow lights.

Getting Started with Container Gardening

Our food supply becomes a little less stable and more expensive each day because of drought and flooding, transportation costs and world issues. Everyone can grow at least a little bit of their own food. It’s simple to do, doesn’t cost a lot of money, takes little time, and can take up little space. Let’s get started.

Containers can be small clay pots, large wooden planters, plastic saved from your kitchen, and everything in between. Short term, we like to start with recycled containers. Any plastic container you can poke drainage holes in should work.

Container Gardening, salad container

Salad container used for leaf lettuce.

This is a container from mixed greens purchased in the grocery store. A few inches of seed starting medium mixed with a cup of worm castings is all it takes to support this cut-and-come-again salad mix. Notice the tomato seedling in the left corner? It will be transplanted into its own pot.

Container Gardening, Coral Shell Pea

Coral Shell Pea

This is a Coral shell pea. It’s a small plant that with vines only two feet long, perfect for a six inch clay pot. It will stand up straight until it’s seven or eight inches tall then lean over and hang over the edge. Choose a short vine variety for small containers.

Do you have extra coffee mugs cluttering your cupboard? As long as you avoid over watering or can drill a hole through the bottom they make great containers. This mug holds store bought celery. It will develop roots and continue to grow.

Container Gardening, Coffee Mug

This coffee mug holds celery.

Transplant seedlings into containers with the same guidelines as if you were planting them into the garden. Each plant must have enough room for its roots to spread. The container should be heavy enough with soil and plants to keep it from tipping over if you move it outside.

Look in your seed catalogs for a note or other indication marking varieties suitable for containers. It’s become such a popular way to grow vegetables now that many companies point these out to us. These are some of our favorites:

  • Cucumber – Salad Bush, Space Master. Two plants per one gallon container. Look for words like Bush and Space in their name.
  • Bush Beans – Tendercrop, Derby. Three plants per one gallon container.
  • Tomatoes – Determinate varieties stop growing when they reach their maximum height. A five gallon container will hold one tomato plant. Super Bush is an excellent choice. It maxes out at three feet tall, is very frost hardy, and has three inch tomatoes. The stem is dense and keeps the plant upright with little or no staking. Tomatoes love the additional warmth containers offer.
  • Peppers – Probably the least picky plants we’ve grown in containers. Provide a minimum of a two gallon container. Pepper plants have large roots when they have enough roots and might be more than four feet tall in good soil. Jalepeno and Ace bell varieties do very well.
  • Swiss chard – Peppermint and Bright Lights are tasty and attractive. Two plants fit well in a one gallon container. You can choose a container that is wider than it is deep. Avoid over heating these cool weather plants.
  • Tatsoi and Boc Choi do well in containers. Choose a “baby” variety of Boc Choi such as Purple or Shuko. You can combine tatsoi and boc choi together in one container to add a variety of color and make the container attractive. Avoid over heating.
  • Cabbage – Little Jade or other Napa varieties do well in container gardens. Be sure to place them toward the back or in a partly shady area so their roots don’t over heat.
  • Zucchini – who knew! Astia zucchini has performed well in an 18″ container every year for us. Hand pollinating is recommended for good production.
  • Leaf Lettuce does well in containers. For variety, choose different colors and leaf textures. Leaf lettuce can be cut and left to grow again for another harvest. Salad Bowl, Red Sails, and Black Seeded Simpson do well with container gardening.
Leaf lettuce in a hanging basket

Leaf lettuce in a hanging basket

Container gardening outdoors requires some attention. Soil can dry out quickly in the heat and wind, or become flooded in heavy rain. Check them now and then to be sure roots haven’t grown out of or soil hasn’t blocked drainage holes.

Use a soilless mix or part soil mix for your containers. Avoid using 100% garden soil as it will compact over time, blocking good drainage and make it difficult for roots to spread. Your garden center will be able to show you what they offer and explain which brand might be best for your particular containers. It will contain vermiculite or perlite, and have a fertilizer such as composted cow manure in its mix. If you live in a hot and/or windy area you’ll want a mix with soil because it retains moisture better than soilless mixes.

Pole beans in a container garden

Pole beans need a trellis to attach themselves to.

Carrots are a great vegetable for kids. Seeds placed around the outer edge of the container will be able to be seen before they reach maturity and are pulled. Choose a container at least 12 inches deep, or grow a miniature variety.

You can avoid poor soil and space issues and still grow a lot of food by grouping containers together. Keep like plants together, such as tomatoes or peppers, to aid in pollination. Place containers wherever you have room. They don’t have all have to be together. Is there room for pots at the base of your mailbox? How about on your steps?

Do you have questions? Suggestions? Something to add? Comments are open!


Cool Weather Gardening

What a winter. It seems like it might never end in many areas. It’s nice to day dream about cool weather gardening while the garden is still covered in snow and weeks away from thawing.

Cool Weather Gardening

Homesteader Supply has a long list of cool weather gardening seeds. You can wait until the ground is ready to plant, and you can start some of your seeds indoors to get a jump start on the growing season. Seeds started six to eight weeks before the soil is ready for transplants gives you plenty of time for germination, transplanting into containers, and growth. You want your seedlings to be well developed without being root bound. Transplant shock is minimized when the roots aren’t too heavily disturbed.

Detroit Dark Red Beet, cool weather gardening

Beets are a good choice for cool weather gardening.

Beets can be seeded a few weeks before your average last frost date. There are multiple seeds in each cluster so be sure to plant them at least two inches apart, and be ready to thin when the time comes.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Pac Choi, kale, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach and turnip are cool weather plants. If a seed package says “sow as soon as the ground can be worked,” take that to heart. The ground can be worked when you squeeze a fistful of soil and it crumbles when you let go. If water drips from the soil or it forms a mud ball rather than crumbling it needs a bit more time to drain. Planting in soil that’s too wet can cause a loss of seeds by rotting in the cold soil, and by crusting. If the soil crusts as it dries the cotyledons will have a hard time breaking through. Better to wait a bit longer than lose seeds and have to replant.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Pac Choi and kale are great seeds to start indoors to have ready for transplanting. Cauliflower isn’t quite as cold hardy as the others in this list and should be started indoors for early spring transplanting. Start cauliflower seeds two to three weeks later than the others to give the ground more time to warm. When plants are stressed by cold or heat the heads might take on a pink to purple tinge.

Snow Crown cauliflower seedling, cool weather gardening

Snow Crown cauliflower seedling

Cool weather plants don’t have to be grown only in cool weather. When your peas are spent you can toss the plants into a compost bin, amend the soil, and plant again. You’ll want to time this so that plants blossom after the hottest part of summer. Most cool hardy plants won’t be affected by a light frost, and for some, like peas, a day under the late fall snow will be just fine.

Tis’ the Season for Homesteading and Giving Gifts

Homesteading Supplies make the best gifts for everyone!

The holidays are just around the corner and traditionally are a time for reflection and gratitude.  But it’s also a time when we have to figure out what gifts we will need to give.  We at Homesteader’s Supply appreciate your business especially knowing that many of you have experienced hard times this past year.

thanksgiving web pictureHomesteader’s Supply is a home-grown venture, offering friendly customer service just like an old-fashioned store. You deserve to be treated well when you spend your money!  We were just selected as a 2013 winner of the Talk of the Town Customer Service Awards with their top rating!

Our store always tries to provide the best prices on our quality products, all year round, not just Black Friday or Cyber Monday, so keep checking in for our special sales!

So read on and get an idea of some of our homesteading supply products and best sellers.  Because of what is happening in our economy today, it’s a great time to buy functional gifts for your family and friends… gifts that can actually used for a self-sustaining endeavor, no matter how big or how small. And best of all, this is a good time to pick up a good offer for your own homesteading venture.


  • Encouraging self sufficient, self sustainable living and homesteading of all varieties… family farm, urban homestead, country homestead, or even in NYC!
  • Environmentally friendly products, U.S.A. made and manufactured whenever possible
  • Dairy Milking equipment and supplies!
  • Livestock care.
  • Poultry, equine, bovine and even pet supplies!
  • Canning / Preserving / Processing of Fruit, Veggies and Meat!
  • Heirloom Gardening
  • Cultures and supplies for Cheese Making! Even our own kits!
  • Variety of items for the homestead kitchen and so much more!

Check out some of our current best sellers:

Our own in house designed and manufactured Ultimate Cheese Press, almost two years in the making and go strong with overwhelming great feedback. cheese press

Very easy to use, ergonomically designed, presses your cheese the same every time!


And we also carry all the cheesemaking supplies you need to make just about any favorite cheese.   You will find only our HS Cheese Kits such as our best selling  Best Basic Cheesemaking Kit  and our Supreme Cheesemaking Kit which are flying out the door!   We designed all of our kits to contain the same supplies professionals use, and only the supplies you will actually use.  supreme_kit_2







Interested in fermenting supplies?  We offer our own designed and manufactured Pickle-Pro Lids to fit both wide mouth and regular mouth sized canning jars.  Lacto-Ferment all your veggies and fruits into delicious foods which are better for your health.  We even offer fermenting cultures and the Polish Crocks!   PP05

4gal fermenting crock






What a great time to get a good deal on Meat Processing Supplies!  All of our smokers are on sale.  Homesteading folks and others just love the Country Smoker… smoker inside







And then another best seller is our Stainless Steel Manual Meat Grinder

10 SS meat grinder


And we have everything else you might need like jerky and sausage making supplies, meat tenderizers, meat mixers and patty makers, and more.  Don’t see what you are looking for, give us a call.. We carry the three main suppliers products… Weston Products, TSM, and LEM…  and we can probably get what you need.  Want to bargain for a better price or better shipping charge… you know website software is not always accurate and we want you to pay exactly what is charged to your home. So give us a call if you have any questions about a product you want.

Here is a great peek at some of our other best sellers for your homestead.  We have used many of these products on the HS homestead and put our stamp of approval on them.  How about the Squeezo Strainer and Sauce Maker  which we believe is the best strainer out there and will last a lifetime… hs squeezo4sm





The WonderMill Electric Grain mill wondermill






WonderMill Junior Manual Grain Mill  … the delux model has both burrs and stones and so it can do just about anything.  Dry and Wet grains… even your coffee beans!wondermill_junior_deluxe





Now would be the perfect time pea sheller newto get the Electric Mr Pea Sheller!  Most folks wait until their crop of beans come in and then need a sheller yesterday, Get prepared and be ready! This unit will last you a very long time.


And a few of our other best sellers….

wine press stainless Stainless Steel Wine Press… these go very fast!


Everyone needs a Stainless Steel Dehydrator! It’s the way to dry and preserve a good part of your bounty… veggies, fruit, jerky etc.  ss dehydrator






Not everyone needs one of these, cherry stonerbut it sure comes in handy if you have a large crop of cherries to pit.  This Cherry Stoner is all Stainless Steel and at a great value. Will last a lifetime!






And of course, let’s not forget our furry friends!  Eco-Naps-w-Dog luxury_cat_beds_greta Organic-Bumper-w-Dog-OttoWe now carry Pet Beds made here in the United States with natural materials.  We decided to carry these products because of the company standards in providing a great natural product to ensure our pets will be healthy and happy! And of course, a great way to support another American Small Business!








Well folks, we hope you have enjoyed our presentation of suggestions for gift giving this holiday season.  We wish everyone a time full of peace and happiness!

Have questions or concerns, or just want to say hey… give us a call.

From all of us at Homesteaders Supply, we wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday season! jerri HS_logoNewSm

Beyond Sustainable – Advice on Homesteading and Chickens

Beyond Sustainable … a weekly blog from Homesteaders Supply Here we will highlight articles from homesteaders and related helping organizations blogging about their experience and insights for creating a sustainable lifestyle. Many of these articles will demonstrate their creative ingenuity for income, insights into the care of the land and their animals, and how to effectively grow, preserve, and prepare the foods we need for a healthy lifestyle.  We will also highlight articles from organizations that are helping us in our efforts toward a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Homemade Non-GMO and Organic Chicken Feed Mix

By   on the website blog for

Homemade-Chicken-FeedHomesteading starts usually with having a couple chickens and enjoying the bounty of their wonderful eggs.  But what about what we feed them?  Read Tracey’s store and the recipe she shares for making organic and Non-GMO chicken feed!

“After plunging into backyard chickens to rid our yard of chemical laden pesticides, we began enjoying the great benefit of having chickens: the eggs! That was until we read what we were feeding them. Handfuls of words we couldn’t pronounce, nor did we have the faintest clue what they could be. Certainly, I thought, our eggs were better than ones in the store, yet in my mind remained a nagging doubt. Were they really?”  Read more for her homemade NON-GMO recipe for chicken feed…

Homesteading advice from the master… an interview with Joel Salatin

by Carol J. Alexander, photographs by Amber Karnes, originally published in the June/July 2013 From Scratch Magazine


“FS: Living a sustainable lifestyle is a trend. Never in my life have I seen a more powerful thrust to provide for one’s own family, live off the land, reduce one’s carbon footprint, eschew chemicals, cook whole foods, etc. And everyone wants a front-row seat on the green bus. But is everyone cut out to grow their own food? Share with us the traits the successful, modern homesteader possesses.

JS: Everyone can’t grow their own food, but everyone can live as if they were. And everyone can do something, even if it’s just a vermicomposting bin under the kitchen sink and using cloth diapers instead of disposables. The point is that every single act should be a physical manifestation of our thought process, a conscious decision. Mindless acts have no place in our lives. Even wanting to do something mindless like watch a silly movie should be for a reason: “I need a break from the 120 percent I’ve been giving all day to such-and-such an activity.”   While I appreciate the desire for self-reliance, I’m much more in favor of mutual inter-dependence. Sometimes we can become so independent we do things we’re not good at or deplore, and then burn out or fail miserably. Part of self-reliance is building a resilient community of hard goods and soft goods (spiritual, emotional, educational) around us, proximate, and relationally-oriented. All that said, here are some traits to think about:   ”  Read more…


Get Joel Salatin’s newly published book Fields of Farmers






Chicken Treat Chart The Best Treats For Backyard Chickens

by Buff Hooligans  posted on

chicken and lobster

“This is a list of everything you can feed a chicken. However, everybody’s chickens have their own tiny brains full of likes and dislikes, so while one person’s chickens may come running for grapes or watermelon, another person’s chickens may turn up their pointy little beaks at it. Anything on this list is worth a try. AND …  Don’t feed the following things to your chickens:”  Read More for both lists….

Is there a best time to harvest and consume your vegetables?

Is there a best time to harvest and consume your vegetables?

Is there a best time to harvest and consume your vegetables?


Is there a best time to harvest and consume your vegetables? The concept makes sense if you remember that vegetables are living entity. But what about after they are harvested… are they still able to change their nutritive dependent upon the time of the day, lighting, darkness, and other factors?

I decided to search for more information on the topic of the timing of when to harvest and eat vegetables based on the best nutritive value and found there really is limited information.  And this most likely is because the research is really just beginning.  Here is what I found on recent research by Janet Braam.    If you know of more information, please comment and share with us.

Is there a best time to harvest and consume your vegetables?

Is there a best time to harvest and consume your vegetables?

Vegetables Respond to a Daily Clock, Even After Harvest

Interview by Ira Flatow on NPR  June 21, 2013

“Vegetables plucked from grocery store shelves can be made to respond to patterns of light and darkness, according to a report in the journal Current Biology. Janet Braam and colleagues found that cabbages change their levels of phytonutrients throughout a daily cycle.  Read More…