On March 19, we’ll be hosting a class at the farm called “Homesteading Fundamentals” through the Columbia Area Career Center; registration here. If you aspire to increase your level of self-sufficiency, this course is for you, whether you are an urban apartment dweller or someone who already has calluses from working the back 40. Structured as an extended farm tour that will range from fields to kitchen to orchard to woods to bookshelf, our goal is to provide inspiration and a multitude of ideas such that everyone will head home excited to try something new as spring begins.
We’ll draw on our decade of experience growing vegetables in Missouri, as well as knowledge we’ve gained through experience with composting, starting an orchard, woodlot management, forest farming, and permaculture. Raising animals for meat, milk, and eggs is another part of our homesteading repertoire. In the kitchen, we ferment, freeze, dry, and can a multitude of homegrown or locally produced ingredients so that our diet is rich in local foods year-round, including homemade cheese, sauerkraut, wine, pickles, sausage, canned tomatoes, an abundance of produce in season, and much more.
We intend to focus our time on the topics of most interest to participants. Here’s a laundry list of possibilities:
• starting seeds • easy/reliable crops • when and what to plant • homemade potting mix • soil blocks • favorite varieties • trellising options • mulching • irrigation • fencing/protection from critters • seed saving • record keeping • favorite hand tools
• importance of soil biology • organic matter • hot composting • hugelkultur • biochar • soil tests • history of erosion in Boone County • swales and water management
• log-grown shiitakes • wild harvest of morels/chanterelles
Perennials & permaculture
• super-easy perennials (for example, walking onions) • herb gardening • starting an orchard: challenges and successes • sourcing trees • plant propagation
Animals and pasture management
• pastured poultry • egg incubation and chick rearing • mobile chicken coops • dairy/meat goats • rotational grazing • portable fences/shelters • homestead dairy barn • butchering
• firewood • wood chip mulch • uses for cedar trees • lumber • equipment/tools
Cooking and kitchen management
• strategies for kitchen efficiency • fermentation (food and beverage) • dehydration • canning • grain/meat grinding • tools and equipment
• encouraging biodiversity, pollinators • monitoring • invasives management • controlled burns • deer management
• essential homesteading books • favorite cookbooks • periodicals • online resources