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Homestead winterization list

Draining the rain barrelYour first frost has come, or it's due any day, and you're probably ready for winter's slowdown. But taking a few hours now to get your homestead in order will save a few days in the spring. Here are the items at the top of our winterizing list this fall:

  • Drain and put away hoses.
  • Drain rain barrels and return gutter water to the ground.
  • Run your mower and any other summer-only motorized equipment dry. This will make engines start much better come spring!
  • Pull up and put away tomato stakes and other garden supports. Discard those old, blighted tomato plants somewhere far away from the garden.
  • Wait until the leaves drop, then wrap fig trees and other plants you're trying to grow beyond their usual hardiness range.

Cover crops

  • Plant any bare ground with cover crops if you've got time. (I'll plant rye for another week or so, but only in areas that I won't want to plant into until late May 2015.) If it's too late in the year for cover crops, mulch heavily, preferably with deep bedding from the chicken coop so the manure will have time to mellow before spring.
  • Kill mulch new garden areas for next year.

Overgrazed pasture

  • Cull excess animals and move chickens off pasture. We let ours run in the woods during the down season, but others move their poultry into greenhouses. Tractored chickens can be kept on pasture over the winter, but you'll tear up the ground a bit. Four-legged livestock can be put on stockpiled pasture, or can be moved inside onto deep bedding. The photo above shows what will happen if you skip this step...and that's after the ducks were only on an overused pasture for one extra week!
  • Reward yourself for all this extra effort by ordering any new perennials you have planned for fall planting. Ah, dreams of apples and hazels....

I'm sure I'm forgetting some essential winterizing elements, but that should get you started. What else is top of the list at this time of year on your homestead?



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clean gutters turn and empty all compost bins into garden beds (this is likely implicit in your prepping of garden beds) I need empty bins going into hard winter for enough space over the whole winter so this might be specific to urban living.

buy and store bulk grain from local organic mill (barley, wheat, corn, etc.) fall is the best time to get it fresh - this only applies to those who eat grains or beans (our local mill stocks a range of organic beans also)

flush and test furnace (city house issue)

pull out window inserts and wash (aka twin wall polycarbonate sheets cut to window size)

plant bulbs

swap summer bikes for winter bikes (outside storage space is at a premium) again this is an urban thing

steal neighbor's leaves for mulching (they never seem to mind) ;)

Comment by c. Sat Oct 25 11:48:05 2014
Being in zone 4 means much of this is already done, though I did just pick what I think will be the last tomatoes to get reddish, and bring in the fig as the last leaf only just fell off. Some years we've had snow by now!
Comment by Ghislaine Sat Oct 25 22:31:36 2014

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime