Drip irrigation provides a great method for watering one's crops. It lowers cost on utility, by providing less water at lower pressures. Vegetables tend to yield more when using drip, by providing moisture to the root system, where water uptake is most critical. Making sure plant's leaves are not wet in moist climates, will prevent mold and spread of unwanted bacteria; drip irrigation eliminates this problem.
My chickens are a huge, integral part of my overall homesteading ecosystem. These are black Marans and they provide numerous services. Food; average of 3-4 light brown eggs a day between three hens. Consumption; eat food scraps and waste from our home. Production; five gallons of pure manure per month between three hens. This manure can be used to re-fertilize crops, proving good source of nitrogen.
Water Catchment is not a necessity on my homestead, but is a important practice to learn in the future years of extreme drought. Here, I added a gutter system to an already built gazebo. This gutter runs to water barrel where it is kept for storage. This water is not potable (drinkable) and is only used for the garden. To make such water drinkable, a filtration system layered with gravel, sand, activated charcoal, then again; sand, gravel and finally a piece of cloth at the bottom, will clear most particulates, but not bacteria. Iodine tablets, extreme temperatures (boiling water) are ways to eradicate bad bacteria in water.
My composting is a three part system. Two sections involve turning the compost, so that there is aeration for the beneficial bacteria. The third part consists sifting the compost for immediate use. This composting system is built with reclaimed pallets. They must be Heat Treated (HT) pallets! Cover with tarp, for best results.
Here, is my first vermicomposting (worms!) system. The bins are covered with holes for aeration and drainage. Newspaper is added for bedding and carbon to offset the nitrogen. Greens (lettuce, spinach) are added so that the bacteria will will begin to decompose the greens, then the worms will feed off the bacteria (worms primary food source). Biochar is also added to the vermicompost to accelerate the process of decomposition. Peat moss is a great addition to hold moisture, which is the biggest necessity for the worms.
Vertical gardening is most important for peoples that have limited surface area for growing food. In these vertical growing boxes contain herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley and mint!). Herbs are easiest to grow for vertical gardening. Herbs are not only great for cooking, but serve as medicines. Teas, tinctures and rubs are some examples of these herbal medicinal properties.
Germination is the most focused and energy intensive practice that happens on my homestead. I gathered most of my seeds from the local seed exchange in Arcata. I have collected germination trays from nurseries over time, some are offered for free and some was bought with plants. The potting mix I use is my compost, potting soil and a little bit of a well balanced fertilizer (5-5-5) or (N-P-K) or (Nitrogen - Phosphorus - Potassium).
Trellises are built throughout the garden beds to provide support for certain fruits. Plants like tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers, and peas are examples of such crops needing support. This particular trellis will be used for squashes and cucumbers. All the materials used are recycled from scrap yards, either free or at a very low costs.