gardening

Gardening is a cornerstone of both homesteading and sustainability. Nothing is quite as local as growing your food in your own backyard! Gardeners can come in all sorts of shapes and forms, from the apartment-dwelling indoor gardener to the 20-acre owning permaculturist. Whether you have a few plant containers to maintain or entire fields of crops, there are core values that all gardeners can implement, regardless of what they’re growing!

At Insteading, we provide you with all the gardening tips you need to grow a beautiful spread of flowering plants, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and more! Learn more about how to grow specific plants, companion planting, maintaining gardens, how to build healthy soil, and more!

Gardening is our bread and butter here at Insteading. Browse the entries below to find our gardening guides on companion planting, planting zones, plant growing guides, and more.

Recent Gardening Posts

  • Gardening Gifts

    ‘Tis the season of gift-giving. Since colder weather has many of us stuck inside instead of in the dirt, we figured this holiday season is the perfect time to find the best in gardening gifts including gear, decor, reading – and of course, don’t forget some of those extra homesteading specialties. We’ve compiled over 70 of […] More

  • pickled peppers

    Canning Peppers

    Whether you overplanted peppers in your garden this year — or stockpiled a bunch that were on sale at the store — don’t let them go to waste! After you’ve made your red pepper soup and spicy jalapeno salsa, consider canning the rest of those peppers to store through the fall and winter. If you […] More

  • lady fern

    How To Grow And Forage For Lady Fern

    I am in love with lady ferns and tuck every variety into shaded crevices, niches, nooks, and crannies in my homestead rockery. Apple-green in the spring and a glorious golden-yellow in autumn, lady fern is one of the easiest plants to grow in moist, shaded locations. With hundreds of species of lady fern and dozens […] More

  • person planting in straw

    12 Best Plants For Straw Bale Gardening

    Straw bale gardening is an ideal way to overcome nutrient-limited soil. Like other forms of raised-bed gardening, straw bale gardening lets you control the nutrients in your soil. Straw bale gardening utilizes straw bales in place of other types of containers and is a low-maintenance, eco-friendly way to grow plants. Straw bale gardens consist of […] More

  • man collecting basil from underwater herb garden

    Are Underwater Herb Gardens The Future? [Video]

    If sea levels keep rising, where will we grow our food? Researchers in Italy are exploring one option: Underwater gardens. Nemo’s Garden in Noli, Italy is an agricultural project that’s attempting to grow herbs and other lettuce greens in a place where no one thought you could: underwater, in the middle of the ocean. They […] More

  • person holding peas

    Growing Peas

    Every vegetable that bursts out of the ground is a gift to me. The wispy little feathers of emerging carrots, the blink-and-they’re-there sprouts of lightning-quick radishes, and the first true leaves of a tomato plant — heralding the impatient wait for it to grow and produce the fresh tomatoes of summer. Peas, however, are extra-special. […] More

  • radishes

    Growing Radishes

    Every garden has its challenges: Florence fennel that refuses to make a sizeable bulb, spinach that bolts immediately, corn that’s full of tunneling, or kernel-wrecking worms. But every once in awhile, there comes a plant that gives and gives and doesn’t ask much more than a space to give it. Like radishes. I see these […] More

  • pumpkins

    20 Pumpkins You Should Have Planted This Year

    In September you’ll start to see bins full of orange pumpkins at the grocery store. Why settle such a monochrome display? More than 30 different varieties of squash are grown in the U.S. These specialty pumpkins are for decorating, soup, even cutting slices off at eating raw. Find one to grow next year. Black Futsu […] More

  • lettuce varieties in garden

    7 Of The Easiest Vegetables To Grow

    Do you wish to practice self-sufficiency and grow and preserve your own vegetables — but are concerned that you have little time to tend a garden? No worries! There are lots of easy-to-grow vegetables that won’t take too much time and effort to grow successfully. Many homesteaders new to vegetable gardening are intimidated by the […] More

  • nasturtium flowers

    Homestead Stories: A Colorful Mosaic Of Nasturtiums

    “I love my nasturtiums,” Mom declared years ago as she led me on a walk through her extensive garden. The nasturtiums were everywhere. Every color imaginable — from solids pinks, reds, yellows, and oranges, to multicolored mixes. The long stems wove through and around the other plants, cushioned by the large umbrella leaves that served […] More

  • driveway and mailbox

    12 Driveway Ideas to Transform Your Home’s Exterior

    After months of planning, house hunting, and endless emails to your very patient realtor, you’ve finally found the house of your dreams — but the driveway is showing every crack and oil spill from the previous owners, and maybe even the owners before them. Your home’s exterior is the first thing your family, friends, (and […] More

  • vegetable garden beds

    What Size Is Best For A Vegetable Garden?

    So you’ve taken a long, hard look at the sunny space in the back yard, and you’ve decided it’s time to grow more than useless grass. Maybe you’ve just moved to a new property that is full of potential and devoid of a garden, and your green thumb’s itching something fierce. Or, perhaps, you are […] More

  • fennel plant

    How To Grow, Harvest, And Use The Fennel Plant

    We didn’t go to farmers’ markets often when I was a kid. When we did, my dad always purchased a fennel bulb with the huge spray of feathery leaves that make it so attractive. I think he liked how it looked sticking out of the bag he carried. He would rip off a few leaves, […] More

  • black truffles in basket

    How To Grow Truffles

    If you’ve ever heard of truffles or been lucky enough to taste them, it’s probably been in the context of gourmet dining. A truffle is a type of edible fungi that’s much more difficult to cultivate than other types. Like other crops requiring patience, truffles are considered a delicacy and fetch a high price because […] More

  • purple passionflower

    Homestead Stories: The Purple Passionflower

    “Did you know there are hundreds of varieties of passionflowers?” I thought I was talking to my husband, but he had wandered off to another part of the nursery while I studied the array of color in front of me. Glancing around, I realized I’d been talking to myself with others giving me wary looks. […] More

  • rhubarb plants

    Growing Rhubarb

    Rhubarb pie does eternal battle with apple in my heart — each of them vying to reign as favorite. But I have to admit, there’s something about the tart-sweet of rhubarb that demands attention, and piques longing when it’s not there. I can’t be alone in this appreciation for rhubarb dessert. It wasn’t called “pie […] More

  • snowdrop flowers covered in frost

    10 Winter Flowers To Add Color To Gray Winter Days

    It can be rather sad to see the blooms of summer fade. As your summer flowers die back and prepare for winter, plant some of these winter-blooming varieties to create color for otherwise dreary landscaping. You can fill containers with winter-blooming annuals like pansies and violas, and plant perennials in the landscape for color that […] More

  • lettuce up close

    How To Grow Lettuce Indoors

    Can you grow lettuce indoors? Absolutely! In fact, lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow both outside and indoors. When the temperatures drop below zero, it’s possible to grow delicious, tender, leaves of lettuce inside the comfort of your own home. Sun Requirements All plants need some degree of sunlight (lettuce included). However, […] More

  • eggplant in field

    Growing Eggplant

    “What’s in your sandwich? It looks gross.” It’s a weird moment realizing you are THAT KID at school lunch. Surrounded by bologna, pb&j, and ham and cheese, the shiny, black skin poking out of my eggplant parmesan sandwich did look a bit unusual, I guess. With my Sicilian father often puttering at the stove, eggplant had been […] More

  • basil

    12 Types Of Basil To Grow In Your Garden

    It may be hard to believe, but there was a time when I hated basil. I found it overly pungent, and it always seemed to overpower any dish. Thinking back on it, I might have been tasting bad quality basil — either basil that was past its prime or grown in stressed conditions. Today, I […] More

  • Growing Gourds

    To those unfamiliar, there may not seem to be much difference between a gourd and squash. Fruit-wise, they share a lot of similar attributes — cool shapes, hard rind, seeds hidden inside, and beautiful colors. But once you try to grow one, you will quickly notice the enormously long, trailing vines, the beautiful, night-blooming flowers, […] More

  • succulent terrarium

    19 Terrarium Plants For Your Miniature Garden

    A terrarium garden is much like an aquarium, but a habitat for plants rather than aquatic life. A terrarium can be constructed in a diverse array of glass containers. When planted, it should look like a miniature forest or fairy garden; its own unique little world. Terrariums are fun to craft for home decor or […] More

  • harvesting squash

    Growing Squash

    Take a glance at anyone’s backyard garden. No matter where you go, you’ll likely find a squash plant growing. There’s something about these easy-to-grow and generous plants that demand a place in your garden bed — wherever you can manage to fit it in. So whether you grow succulent zucchinis and crookneck varieties for summer […] More

  • brazilian grape tree

    The Brazilian Grape Tree

    I had spent another morning doing battle with the proliferous wild grape that grew across my rock wall border. I had nothing against grapevines, especially when they bore fruit (which these vines did), and I’d collected bunches to make into jelly. But once they climbed my rock wall, took aim at my lush tree line, […] More

  • mulch

    How To Mulch For A Beautiful, Weed-Free Garden

    I don’t like to describe anything as a miracle when it comes to gardening, but honestly, mulch comes close. Before I discovered this wonderful tool, I was plagued with problems. While my square-foot garden did a good job of choking out weeds on its own (due to close spacing), my garden soil still seemed to […] More

  • hummingbird and flower

    20 Eye-Catching Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds

    If you’re wondering how you can attract hummingbirds to your garden oasis, look no further. Here are 20 flowers you can plant that have bright colors, high-quality nectar, tubular-shaped flowers, and other features that will entice the charming flappers to your yard. Bee Balm USDA Zone: 4-9 Bloom time: Midsummer to September Useful for attracting […] More

  • straw and garden

    The Basics Of Straw Bale Gardening

    An ancient gardening technique dating back to the Romans, straw bale gardening is a simple concept. As a straw bale starts to decompose or break down, it turns into a raised, compostable, 40-gallon planter that’s ideal for growing vegetables. Straw bale gardens are inexpensive, easy to set up, easy to maintain, and biodegradable. Straw bale […] More

  • pepper plant

    Growing Peppers

    Peter Piper may have picked an inexplicably pickled peck of peppers (were they fermenting on the plants or something?) but in order to pick a peck, they first needed to be planted. Thankfully, the process of cultivating and harvesting peppers is a good deal simpler than the tongue-twisters they inspire! Considering that store-bought peppers of […] More

  • rodgers flower on pond edge

    Rodgers Flower: A Shady Perennial

    “What is that huge plant in your shade garden?” The large, leafy plant with tall spiky flowers (extremely tall — almost my height of 5 feet) really caught my attention. I was visiting a nursery that specialized in perennials, and they had a wide selection of shade garden plants from all over the world. I […] More