So many of us are working our way toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle. With that in mind we wanted to share some general guidelines of what to plan for on a monthly basis. Whether you’re a gardener, a beekeeper, a forager, or you keep animals, hopefully our monthly guides will help you plan ahead for the month. Depending on your exact climate you may find you need to adjust your schedule plus or minus two weeks or more.
August brings on the Dog Days for many of us: Harvesting and preserving is at full-speed; Some of us are still foraging (elderberries anyone?); And many of us are wishing for cooler weather. Are you on track with what you should be doing?
- Since you’re busy filling up your freezer with all those goodies to get you through the winter, be sure to pull your units out and vacuum the condenser coils and airways. Doing so will give your freezer/fridge a longer life and reduce your energy bills because of energy efficiency and therefore be better for the environment.
- Clean up ceiling fans. If you’re like me you have your fans on as often as possible to help keep air flowing throughout the house. Be sure to clean off those blades and get rid of those bunnies forming. I’d hate to see one of them get flung in someone’s drink.
- If you preserve and can any of your food you need to pay special attention to your drip pans, heating elements, back splash and exhaust. Remove electrical elements and/or drip pans. Soak the drip pans in hot, soapy water and scrub well. While you’re at it, pull out the fridge and give the sides a good cleaning, sweep underneath, and remove any grunge from the exhaust hood.
- When’s the last time you checked your smoke alarms?
- Check window and doors for drafts while it’s warm. You don’t want to be adding insulation or sealant while it’s cold outside.
- Does your compost pile need to be aerated and/or watered?
- Remove budding and flowering weeds and any sick plants.
- Start planning for a late season garden with cabbages, broccoli, and kales. If you’re a northerner consider your onions and garlic for next year’s harvests.
- Remove thatch and heavy clippings, but allow your perennials to go to seed. Collect any seeds you’ll want to start indoors next year.
- During these hot days make sure to keep birdbaths and water dishes filled up.
- Do you need to think about softwood cuttings of shrubs?
- Think about a coldframe design. First frosts will be upon a majority of us within about two months!
- Spring chicks are becoming mature. Consider your nesting designs and build one now if you’re not prepared. You may want to put out some fake eggs in your nests to fool hens into laying in nest boxes.
- Allow natives to seed without deadheading. They’re a good source of food for critters.
- Do you need to consider cold weather housing for any of your animals? Cool nights will be here sooner than you think.
- It’s honey time for many beekeepers. It’s time to put in your orders for honey. If you’re a beekeeper do you need to start feeding to get hives built up for winter? Many of you are busy slinging honey, be sure to have enough supplies on hand.