HOMEGROWN

Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

What skills would you want to include in a HOMEGROWN 101

It's time to create a place here on HOMEGROWN.org that is a welcoming place for newbies: people who are looking to dip their toes in the activities that we talk about here. Would you like to help?
A few of us have been discussing it, and I think it makes sense to have a library of  easy-to-follow how-tos so that people can try something out without getting discouraged by some of the more "advanced" discussions that happen here. There could also be discussions where people are free to ask ANY question - no matter how elementary. Judging by the sad state of my last tomato growing efforts, I sure could use some basic guidance.
So...where do we start? How about a list of topics? What do YOU think should be part of a HOMEGROWN 101?

As an example, some general topics that come to mind:
  • Gardening 101
    • Container gardening
    • Building a raised bed
    • How to test your soil


  • Composting 101
  • Food Preservation 101
    • Canning
    • Dehydrating
    • Lacto-fermentation


  • Cheese Making 101
What else?

Of course, the other part of this is who wants to help build it? :) Don't feel any pressure if you suggest a topic that you're not able to create a 101 for, but please consider taking on a part of the project and - together - we can make this happen! Much of the material already lives on HOMEGROWN! (Type a topic in the "search" field in the top right of the page and you'll see). All you would need to do is aggregate it into an introductory article on each topic.
Leave a comment here with your suggestions or shoot me an email if you'd like cornelia at farmaid dot org.
Thanks everyone - you're the ones who have made this such a rich resource - let's widen the circle!

Tags: 101, HOMEGROWN, beginner, how-to, newbie

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There's already such a comprehensive list here!! As a newbie gardener this year, I would love to see the following:

* Planning your vegetable garden (including suggested sites for when to start seeds & plant transplants, the moon calendar, and sample planning spreadsheets)
* Documenting your vegetable garden progress
* Other Resources for home vegetable gardening (compilation of books, websites, blogs, etc.)

Cornelia - While I didn't follow my own guidelines this year I would be willing to write up an intro article for the ones above :)

Some of the others I've seen listed that I also would love to see info on are:
* Foraging 101
* Repurposing/Frugality 101
* Pest/Disease control (organic) 101
* Crop Rotation 101 (for small gardens as well as large ones)

Looking forward to more details so we can get started. Great idea!!!
I love the cards you give away with instructions on saving tomato seeds, or building a self-watering container garden.

How about:

using worms in compost / garden
recognizing pests and organic solutions
recognizing plant fertilization issues (yellow leaves, brown edges, black-bottom tomatoes)
canning without any fancy equipment (standard kitchen stuff)
ways to tie up beans or tomatoes
building mini greenhouse boxes or potato boxes

Looking forward to the "101" info.

Thank you,

Kay
I would love to read a well done guide to starting seeds indoors or in trays. I can get stuff to grow if I go straight into the dirt, but i have a hard time doing plants that I have to start seeds indoors. I always end up buying tomato plants and that drives me nuts.
I am very new to all of this and would love to learn about having my own chickens!
Wow, you guys! I'm so overwhelmed by the response this has received - thank you!!! We've obviously got a lot of ground to cover, so give me a couple of days to wrap my head around all this, and to contact people who have expressed interest in helping to shepherd some of this content. Keep 'em coming - this is going to be awesome!!
I love this place, but would greatly appreciate more emphasis on Desert Gardening and Homesteading. There is a Desert group but not much is going on there.

Desert gardening and homesteading is WAY different from where I grew up, in Jersey. The conditions are obviously different, and harsher. More care, and different care is needed to grow and take care of animals.

I am at the very beginning stages of learning desert gardening. I bought 2 books on the subject that I am sure will be good reference. But talking to and learning from real people is so much better!
I know none of us want to be on a dozen or more different sites to get all the info we'd like, but does their gardening info on a location specific basis. It's color coded by region and you can get weekly emails about what should be planted/done for your color group. There is a section on planning out your garden, companion planting, building the boxes (I'm sure you can adapt for those who don't use the SFG method) etc.
This is a great list! I would like to see information on:

-What to look for when purchasing a homestead/farm (soil, aspect, water source, etc);

-Homestead Management (how to effeciently and sustainably manage the land with fruit, vegetables, poultry, rumens, etc)- Where to put what; why and how?

-How To do what? Compile a list or directory to read or follow links on how to do common or seemingly overwhelming projects like chicken tractors; how to butcher a chicken, rabbit, etc;

Just my .02.
Hi everyone!
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. I’ve organized the topics into three different categories – basically, levels of effort and commitment: newbie, dirt under my fingernails, and 100% HOMEGROWN. Many of these topics are discussed in the groups that already exist on HOMEGROWN, but they have now been populated with deeper discussions and adventures from their practitioners. We should probably start by combing through those groups for existing how-tos, then add from there.
There is such a rich treasure of experience here, and it shows! Stepping back for a minute, it’s no wonder people are a bit overwhelmed when they stumble in! We – as a group – are going to clean up and organize the place a bit so that newbies have a clearly-defined front door into the HOMEGROWN life. This will most likely live on a new “page” on the site.

For these purposes, I think it makes sense to write and edit the articles “off line” then publish the finished product. This will keep the 101 simple and focused for the person just starting out. The groups are then the natural next step to direct the newbies after they’ve gotten their feet wet, so we’ll link back to the corresponding group at the end of each article. I’ll serve as the shepherdess / editor for this.

Here’s the list. If your name is in parenthesis, that means that you’ve shown interest in taking on the 101 as your project:

Newbie:
Garden plans (Stacey)
Seed starting
Container gardening
Growing a specific crop (tomatoes, peas, corn, grapes, mushrooms, cherries, strawberries, etc.)
Raised bed garden design
Composting / worms
Soil testing (Rachel)
Potato boxes (Kay Whatley)
Preservation
Canning
Dehydration
Smoking / Curing
(lacto)Fermentation
Bread
Sourdough (Nika)
Cheesemaking (Nika)
Kombucha
Butter making
Home made & natural cleaning products
Home made pest control
Knitting
Sewing
Brewing and winemaking
Frugality

Dirt Under My Fingernails
Chickens (backyard, chicken tractor, meat & layers)
Beekeeping
Livestock
Foraging
Mini Greenhouses (Kay Whatley)
Medicinal Herbs / plants
Cover crops
Crop rotation
Trellis and staking ideas
Plant disease identification / treatment

100% HOMEGROWN
Buying / leasing land
Beginning farming
Butchering
Farm Management
The one-acre (or less) homestead
Natural building
Desert gardening / homesteading
Growing algae for fertilizer and more (Larry)

Stacey’s bookstore idea is a fantastic one, and I think that if everyone can identify 2-3 must-have books on their topic, we’ll be off to a good start. We did have a discussion earlier this year about gardening books. I know there is a way of setting up an online store through a consortium of independent book sellers, so I’ll look into that. Heck, we could even start paying the bills then! :)

Looking forward to your thoughts - and THANK YOU!!
Bee Keeping!! I'm especially interested in Top Bar hives.
Wait, I'm not sure what you're asking... do you need people to write for you?
Thanks Cornelia!!! I'm ready to get started. Since we are starting the articles offline, do you have a preference on what application we should use to send it to you? Do you want us to just put the text in an email or attach it in a Microsoft Word doc? I'm excited to get started!!

One more thing...on the Indie bookstore idea: IndieBound allows you to link out to their site to search independent bookstores or we can link to specific books. More info here http://www.indiebound.org/spread-word. This may have been what you were thinking, but I thought I would share :)

Stacey

Cornelia said:
Hi everyone!
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. I’ve organized the topics into three different categories – basically, levels of effort and commitment: newbie, dirt under my fingernails, and 100% HOMEGROWN. Many of these topics are discussed in the groups that already exist on HOMEGROWN, but they have now been populated with deeper discussions and adventures from their practitioners. We should probably start by combing through those groups for existing how-tos, then add from there. There is such a rich treasure of experience here, and it shows! Stepping back for a minute, it’s no wonder people are a bit overwhelmed when they stumble in! We – as a group – are going to clean up and organize the place a bit so that newbies have a clearly-defined front door into the HOMEGROWN life. This will most likely live on a new “page” on the site.
For these purposes, I think it makes sense to write and edit the articles “off line” then publish the finished product. This will keep the 101 simple and focused for the person just starting out. The groups are then the natural next step to direct the newbies after they’ve gotten their feet wet, so we’ll link back to the corresponding group at the end of each article. I’ll serve as the shepherdess / editor for this.

Here’s the list. If your name is in parenthesis, that means that you’ve shown interest in taking on the 101 as your project:

Newbie:
Garden plans (Stacey)
Seed starting
Container gardening
Growing a specific crop (tomatoes, peas, corn, grapes, mushrooms, cherries, strawberries, etc.)
Raised bed garden design
Composting / worms
Soil testing (Rachel)
Potato boxes (Kay Whatley)
Preservation
Canning
Dehydration
Smoking / Curing
(lacto)Fermentation
Bread
Sourdough (Nika)
Cheesemaking (Nika)
Kombucha
Butter making
Home made & natural cleaning products
Home made pest control
Knitting
Sewing
Brewing and winemaking
Frugality

Dirt Under My Fingernails
Chickens (backyard, chicken tractor, meat & layers)
Beekeeping
Livestock
Foraging
Mini Greenhouses (Kay Whatley)
Medicinal Herbs / plants
Cover crops
Crop rotation
Trellis and staking ideas
Plant disease identification / treatment

100% HOMEGROWN
Buying / leasing land
Beginning farming
Butchering
Farm Management
The one-acre (or less) homestead
Natural building
Desert gardening / homesteading
Growing algae for fertilizer and more (Larry)

Stacey’s bookstore idea is a fantastic one, and I think that if everyone can identify 2-3 must-have books on their topic, we’ll be off to a good start. We did have a discussion earlier this year about gardening books. I know there is a way of setting up an online store through a consortium of independent book sellers, so I’ll look into that. Heck, we could even start paying the bills then! :)

Looking forward to your thoughts - and THANK YOU!!

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