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Day 2: Bedding Down for the Winter

When I think self-sufficiency, obviously the first thing that pops into my head is food. Considering our summer garden is winding down swiftly, I'd better start planning.

I've always had a vegetable garden every summer, the last four of which were considerable in size. But I’ve never planted any cool season crops.

So, determined to take full advantage of our California climate and keep fresh produce on the table year-round, I decided to jump in with a fairly extensive winter planting.

We have plenty of room for a large winter bed, but the soil is of questionable quality. To be more precise: it's hard as rock. Shovels break before the topsoil does.

Thankfully, the boys were to the rescue. My husband and son spent the last two weekends building a raised bed out of landscaping timber. We're ready to plant!

Homesteading Tip: Although our bed is massive (4 feet wide by 48 feet long), a large space isn't needed. Unlike summer crops like corn and zucchini, winter veggies don't take up much room at all. A small, sunny corner of the yard is sufficient. Some, like radishes, carrots and lettuce, can even be grown in pots.

So, look around your yard. Where could you squeeze in a small bed or a few pots?

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