Attended the Williamston Homestead Festival last weekend. It was a free, family friendly event held at Mineral Spring Park in downtown Williamston. Celebrating a lifestyle of self sufficiency, the festival offered classes, vendors and a seed swap table. Homesteading can be characterized by agriculture, textiles, clothing, or craftwork. I wanted to learn more about sustainable plants and crops.
Chuck Marsh, Permaculture designer, of Useful Plant Nursery provided a very informative presentation of plants that provide benefits beyond looking pretty in your landscape. Many plants have medicinal benefits that nature has provided since our Indian, original homesteaders, lived off the land. Marsh explained his concern for the lack of teaching our youth proper horticulture skills. Marsh recommends every landscape plant to meet three benefits before you consider planting; food benefit, shade and pollination. If these three criteria are met, the plant would be a perfect homestead investment. Some plants he recommends are the following:
Visitors can tour the Useful Plant Nursery by appointment. They provide edible landscape plants, as well as design services. Chuck is very knowledgeable and can offer advice for a new homesteader. http://www.usefulplants.org/
Homesteader and proprietor of EarlyBird Farms,, Paul Coleman provided first hand experience at growing mushrooms. His farm has three cultivated acres of gardens, a greenhouse, worm farm, aquaculture, rabbits and mushrooms. He presented two options for growing mushrooms, in logs verses straw.
If growing brown oyster mushrooms in straw bags, Paul says a 10 lb weight bag, should yield 7 lbs of mushrooms, if properly planted.
Keep mushrooms warm and moist for ideal growing conditions.
Attendees were allowed to make their own mushroom straw bag to take home.
The Homestead Festival was made possible by these sponsors:
South Carolina Organization for Organic Living
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
Earthskills Wilderness Self-Reliance School
Earthwise Learning Center
If you are interested in Homesteading or nature – you should check these out.
I highly recommend this book on homesteading. Not only does it cover harvesting, handling and cooking items from your garden, but also, explains food preservation, such as canning, freezing and pickling your crops.