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Homesteader’s Guide to Soil Improvement

Home Garden Soil Improvement Composting Homesteader’s Guide to Soil Improvement

Want to know how to improve your land’s soil quality? If you’re looking for techniques and tips for soil improvement then continue reading on. This is what every homesteader needs to make the most of their land. Get healthy soil for your crop, vegetables and even flower garden!

Homesteader’s Guide to Soil Improvement

With many techniques for improving the quality of vegetation, one has to consider that only so many can be carried out in a growing season. The best situation would be to employ the most organic techniques and do the least amount of fertilizing with no pesticides. Let’s cover the bare basics involved in creating an abundant soil to provide a solid starting path for your garden.

Landscape | Homesteader's Guide to Soil Improvement


Throughout the many experiments over decade and decades of research from farmers, to monks and scientists, we know several key things about plants.

Nutrients are the overall key to keeping plants alive and developing into the fruit-bearing providers that we know so well. Nutrients are delivered in the soil and through root structures. What has been studied immensely is that soil farmed season after season is losing important nutrients.

This concept is easy to understand when one visualizes the roots taking nutrient into the plant, then removed by harvest and into the consumer. With no replacement nutrients it is clear that soil gives way to dust and organic, nutrient-dense food is no longer produced.

Most modern day farming technology is focused on providing the plant itself with fertilizer rather than the soil. This is a losing game, whereas the scientific farmer fixes the soil foremost. Rescue chemistry will not save us from a dust bowl epidemic. There is science to back this up, and one sure-fire test is easily performed with the Brix chart.
This refractometer-aided test allows one to take color readings and see nutrient loss in produce.

Soft Soil | Homesteader's Guide to Soil Improvement

More Testing

There are a multitude of kits available to test soil PH. This is the first step before deciding where to plant a garden. If you’re looking for land to purchase then this will help determine where growing crop is possible. If you already have land access then you may find that treating the land is pertinent. Since this is usually the case, and the focus of this guide, we will start here.

Soil Ph is determined by acidity and alkalinity, which can tell us several key things about the soil. This not only influences how nutrients interact within the soil but also provides information on soil structure and toxicity. 5.5 to 7.0 is the advisable soil PH you’ll want to aim for, as it will produce healthy plants.

Soil Testing | Homesteader's Guide to Soil Improvement

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Lime or dolomite will help increase the PH, due to the calcium and magnesium present in both. However, certain bacteria will keep these factors in check however, this is determined by nutrient levels. We will want to introduce some kind of food for our soil dwelling friends.

The soil audit will tell us exactly what is needed. From here we will explore the various ways to amend the earth we plan to farm.

N, P, and K, OK?

Soil | Homesteader's Guide to Soil Improvement

image via thegardenerseden

While I intend to keep the chemistry basic, we’re going to have to delve in a little bit. There are three basic elements needed to really make soil successful.

The Primary Nutrients – or Macronutrients:

Nitrogen: You can’t farm without this; it’s the main source of color that our refractory test looks for.

Phosphorus: Scientists guess that up to 1% of actual plant mater is phosphorus. It’s the thing that makes plants physically grow in size.

Potassium: This is where plant strength comes into play. Roots, stalks and leaves owe their protection from wind and other outside forces to this element. When you see plants being to develop brown or white spots you can now know that they are in desperate need of Potassium.

Why We Compost

Compost | Homesteader's Guide to Soil Improvement

image via sheknows

By this point, you may still be asking the question ‘what will be done to save our soil?’ The answer is not in a conventional fertilizer, and the reasoning is clear. Even without the application of harsh industrial fertilizers, the topical use of N,P, and K will be washed away or leached before ever making way to the root strata below. Although foliage (stalk, leaves, and branches) can absorb nutrition, the process is lacking in efficiency and speed.

Thus, overall soil nutrition remains of the utmost importance. Finished compost delivers the whole cafeteria of nutrients. This is the natural cycle that once took place on the land, but has since changed with modern farming techniques. By properly managing disposal of plant refuse we can instill the same nutrients once lost in farming back to the soil through the practice of composting.

Read more about composting here

In Conclusion

In Conclusion | Homesteader's Guide to Soil Improvement

image via soilhealthconsortia

While certain composting practices have not yet been developed, (dealing with human bodily waste) many composting practices today deliver nutrient rich humus back to the garden. While the specifics of such practices are widely disputed and work in many different ways it is important to concern yourself, the farmer, gardener, or just plain grower, with the return of nutrient dense materials to the soil.

Growing vegetables? Get more valuable tips here from Quickcrop:

Testing is important. Knowing what kind of soil you have in the homestead is always the first step to success. Determining it will help you take the next steps to improve the quality of your soil. Try these techniques and tips and you’ll be sure to have nutrient-filled soil all the time!

Do you have any tips you personally use around your homestead? Share it in the comments! I’d love to find out. And if you ever come across clay soil, here’s how you can amend it!

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NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls

New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.

The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.

The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.

“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”

The post New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll appeared first on Daily Caller

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How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

The thing about homesteading is you get to create your own ingredient right from scratch! Cheese, yogurt, butter and now sauerkraut, a delightfully sour and crunchy ingredient you can use on your meals — or consume by itself — while on a homestead, or while facing this health crisis!

This homemade sauerkraut is a great meal because it has a long shelf life. You can either make plain sauerkraut or mix it with herbs and spices. In this tutorial let us make Lacto-fermented sauerkraut that preserves all the good probiotics in a jar, good for your guts.

So how to make sauerkraut in a mason jar?

RELATED: How To Make Buttermilk On Your Homestead

Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe Every Homesteader Should Know

Why Make Sauerkraut?


Not only does sauerkraut spoil a long time, but it is also a meal in itself, and it is also easy to make! You don’t need to be an expert cook, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

So let us get started. Here are the steps in making sauerkraut in a mason jar.


  • 1 head of cabbage or 2 1/2 lbs cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Tools Needed:

  • knife
  • bowl
  • mason jar
  • smaller jar
  • rubber band

Step 1: Wash & Clean the Tools & Ingredients

Wash all the equipment and utensils you need. Wash your hands too.

You don’t want to mix your sauerkraut with bad bacteria, anything that is going to make you sick.

Next, remove the faded leaves from your cabbage. Cut off the roots and the parts that don’t seem fresh.

Step 2: Cut the Cabbage Into Quarters & Slice Into Strips

Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then, slice it into strips.

Step 3: Place in a Bowl & Sprinkle With Salt

Put the stripped cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt.

TIP: Use canning salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will make it taste different and may not ferment the cabbage.

RELATED: Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Step 4: Massage the Cabbage

Massage the cabbage for five minutes or more to get the juice out.

TIP: You’ll know it’s ready when you see a bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl and will look similar to coleslaw.

Step 5: Press Cabbage Into the Mason Jar

Add the cabbage to the mason jar gradually. Press it in hard to allow the juice to come out. Do this every time you add about a handful of cabbage.

IMPORTANT: Food should be covered by the liquid to promote fermentation. Add any excess liquid from the bowl to the jar.

Step 6: Press a Smaller Jar Into the Mason Jar

You want to squeeze every ounce of that juice from the cabbage. To do this place the mason jar in a bowl and get a smaller jar.

Fill it with water or marble to make it heavy. Press it into the bigger mason jar. Allow any juices to rise to the surface.

Step 7: Cover the Jars With Cloth & Tie With Rubber Band

Leave the small jar on. To keep your jars clean from annoying insects and irritating debris, cover your jars with a clean cloth. Then, use a rubber band to tie the cloth and the jars together, putting them in place.

Step 8: Set Aside & Check Daily

Set it aside in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the water level daily. It should always be above the cabbage.

Step 9: Taste Your Sauerkraut & Keep at Cool Temperatures

Homemade Sauerkraut Cumin Juniper | How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

After about five days, you can taste your sauerkraut. If the taste is to your liking, tightly cover it with the lid and store in the fridge or cellar.

NOTE: If after five days it’s still not your desired taste, leave it for a few more days. This will allow the fermentation process to continue.

You can now enjoy your sauerkraut in a mason jar. Enjoy its goodness! You can use it as a side dish or mix it with your favorite sandwich.

Things to Remember in Making Sauerkraut

  • Store away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Colder weather will make the process longer. Spring is the best time to make them since the warmth helps activate the fermentation.
  • Always make sure that the cabbage is below the water level during the entire fermentation process.
  • If the water level decreases during the fermentation process, you can make a brine and add it.

Let us watch this video from Kristina Seleshanko on how to make delicious Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar!

So there you have it! Making Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar is as easy as slicing the cabbage into strips. Remember that as long it remains unopened, your sauerkraut can last for months. Best of all, you can partner this sauerkraut in many recipes.

What do you think of this homemade recipe? Share your best sauerkraut recipe in the comments section below!

Fellow homesteaders, do you want to help others learn from your journey by becoming one of our original contributors? Write for us!


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Having plants in the house will bring peace to people. Having a little garden with vegetables is even better! You can grow these vegetables in your backyard garden easily as well!

RELATED: Microgreens Growing Guide

In this article:

  1. Tomato
  2. Eggplant
  3. Beet
  4. Spinach
  5. Pea
  6. Carrot
  7. Radish
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus

Growing veggies in your garden will give you an opportunity to understand what you eat and value it more. Early spring is when most vegetables are being planted. Keep reading to learn about 9 spring vegetables that anyone can grow in their garden!


Tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in the States! There are different varieties to choose from. Tomatoes need to be planted in early spring because they won’t survive a frost.

Because tomatoes are consumed daily, try adding them to your garden! They’re not difficult to grow either.


Eggplants are known to have low-calorie, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! So why not plant them in your garden?

Eggplants shouldn’t be planted too early because they won’t be able to survive a frost. So you could consult an expert in your area before you plant your eggplants.


Beets are known to be a superfood for its various health benefits. They’re easier to grow in the garden, usually around late March or early April.

If the weather is always cool, beets will keep getting bigger and bigger. Once the weather starts to warm up, you’ll need to harvest them, or they’ll go to waste.


Spinach is a delicious early spring veggie, and it’s also very beneficial for health. And it’s not difficult to grow spinach in your garden!

Spinach needs cold weather to grow. Getting spinach to grow is easy, but keeping it growing will require some extra care.


Peas are usually planted in late April. Peas will die in freezing temperatures, but they also won’t survive the heat either. So make sure you plant your peas in early spring.

Peas are widely used in many different ways, and there are different types of peas. The soil you’ll be planting your peas should be suitable for them, so make sure you ask while buying seeds.


There are different types of carrots, but regardless of their size and color, it’s a fact that carrots are both delicious and rich in vitamins.

They’re root vegetables, so with proper sun and watering, they can be picked up as baby carrots as well.


A radish is an excellent option for beginners because it doesn’t require too much care. Radish is easy to harvest.

Radish grows fast, so it’s better to keep an eye on it after a few weeks. Radish usually is grown pest-free, but there’s always the chance of unwanted guests, so watch out for worms. Radish can be eaten raw or can be added to garnish recipes.


Cauliflower isn’t the easiest vegetable to grow at home, but it is very popular.

Cauliflower grows better in colder weather, so before you plant it, consider the climate of your garden. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is known to be very beneficial for health.


Freshly picked, tender asparagus is very delicious!

Asparagus plants get more productive with each harvest, and mature asparagus harvest can last for months! Make sure you plant them at the correct time, or else they might go to waste.

All the vegetables listed above are great for your healthy diet, and it’s fun to watch them grow. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own veggies and eat healthy this spring!

So tell us which veggies will you be growing this spring? Tell us in the comments section!




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