Our Homesteading Essentials

Getting Ready for Winter

We homestead in an area with monsoon weather. That means we go without rain for months on end, then have torrential rains for a few months, then back to hot and dry. We call it feast or famine. To be honest, I’m envious of homesteaders who can rely on gentle weekly rains to water their gardens and fields. I feel like we are constantly thinking about water here; we either don’t have enough, or we have way too much.

The heavy rains we get in winter turn our clay soil into a knee-deep pudding very quickly. The garden becomes impassable and unusable. This year, we’re trying something different, we’re putting gravel in our garden.

Most people don’t want rocks in their garden and work very hard to remove them, so dumping yards of gravel in a garden seems crazy. For us, it may be the only way we can have a winter garden. I’m hoping the gravel will help the rainwater drain away before it gets a chance to turn the soil to mud.

We use very high raised beds, so the gravel shouldn’t interfere with our planting beds…at least in theory.

Homesteading is about trial and error, homesteaders have to be willing to experiment with solutions to a problem until they find something that works. There’s a very real possibility this gravel won’t be the solution we need for our mud problem, and we’ll have to rake it all out again. We’ve made mistakes before and had to start from scratch, the important thing is to keep trying.

Fingers crossed!