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Self Sufficiency

Kickstart Spring By Starting Your Own Straw Bale Garden

There are so many different styles and techniques to gardening out there to try. Today I want to share with you how to start a straw bale garden! There are so many pros to this style’s pro and con list that I had to try it for myself. I never really considered the possibility of growing food and flowers out of a bale of straw until I tried to plant a garden in Arkansas which I have dubbed, Rockandsaw. Long story short, there’s a lot of rocks in the ground – so raised beds were the way to go. Unfortunately, organic soil can be expensive to deliver by the load, so I opted for the Straw Bale Garden variation of a raised bed. It’s simple!

Straw Bale Garden

Before we move on I’d like to tell you a little more about the advantages to growing your garden using this method.

  1. There’s far less labor that is required growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
  2. There are virtually no stubborn weeds to have to pull.
  3. It’s ideal for limited space.
  4. No digging up any of your yard.
  5. It really is one of the simpler methods.

OK, so let’s get to it!

Choosing A Good Location

Choosing the location for your straw bale garden or gardens is pretty much the same as choosing one that’s going to be directly on the ground, with a plus that is. If this is your first garden of any sort you’ll learn that there are plants that require full sun while others only require partial sun or full shade. Using the straw bale method makes it a little easier to locate everything in just the right area. Once you pick your spot it’s best to make sure that’s really where you want it because once you start conditioning it the bale will be much heavier and more difficult to move.

If you’re going to be placing the straw bales in a grassy area it’s best to avoid putting the directly onto the grass. You can lay cardboard or a thick layer of newspapers down on the grass before the straw bale or you can go all out and build a frame for it to keep it off the ground. Either way, the direct contact with the grass allows the grass and weeds to work their way up into the bale of straw which then eliminates the weed-free gardening aspect.

Just a quick tip: If you look at the square straw bale you’ll notice one side has short strands of straw and then there will be one side that has long folded strands on it. You’ll want the short strands side facing up and the long folded ends on the ground.

Kickstart Spring By Starting Your Own Straw Bale Garden

Conditioning The Bale

You might be excited to start planting, but you can’t just throw in the soil and start planting, there’s a conditioning process that is necessary to get the straw bale ready. Once the bale of straw is exposed to moisture it heats up as it begins to decompose. Don’t worry that’s what we want to happen. The conditioning is necessary to help optimize the bale and it will allow the temperatures to decrease. Those straw bales can sometimes reach temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is too hot for the roots so the plants will just die. Conditioning takes about two weeks to complete.

Here’s the process:

  • For the first 3 days, you are simply going to saturate the straw bale with enough water to keep it damp.
  • When your 3 full days are up it’s time to add some sort of organic fertilizer to the straw bale, as well as, the water. I prefer to use a combination of bone and blood meal that you can find at some gardening supply stores and even online. The fertilizer is important to adding nitrogen to the environment, it’s the nitrogen that helps the decomposition process. There will be directions for the amounts to use on the containers, I believe it’s about a capful of the fertilizer. This process will be done daily for a full week also keeping the bale damp with water.
  • For the last four days, the amount of fertilizer is reduced to half. Continue watering the bale.
  • Now it’s time to check your temperatures. You can use an old meat thermometer or an actual compost thermometer to measure the temperatures of your straw bales. The temperatures go from high, to higher, and then by the end of the conditioning process, they begin to drop. When your straw bale is the same temperature as the temperatures outdoors you’re safe to begin planting.

Kickstart Spring By Starting Your Own Straw Bale Garden Kickstart Spring By Starting Your Own Straw Bale Garden

Planting Time

You’re going to plant your seedlings just like you would in the ground. Pull or dig out enough straw in the planting area so that the root ball fits comfortably. Dig down deeper for bigger roots and plants like tomatoes and peppers. Place your plant in the center of the hole, add some fresh top soil around and on top of the bale while you fill in the holes around the roots. Mound it up a little around the stem for added security. Water the babies really well and take care of them just like you would if they were in the ground…..minus the weed pulling!

I love this method for so many reasons and I hope that maybe I’ve sparked your interest enough to give it a shot this season. For those of you with back issues, this may be the way to go as well! The bales stand taller so there’s less bending and getting down onto the ground. The straw bale gardening method isn’t just for fruits and vegetables, they’re awesome for all sorts of flowers! Well folks, that about sums it up for the straw bale gardens, until next time!

Up Next: How To Grow Rainbow Corn | Glass Gem Corn

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Self Sufficiency

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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Self Sufficiency

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!

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Self Sufficiency


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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