Are you interested in homesteading? Maybe you’ve been thinking about it for a while, but you’re not sure where to start.
This article will give you everything you need to know about homesteading. From what it is, to the benefits, to the best practices – we’ll cover it all!
The many aspects of homesteading
Homesteading covers a wide variety of topics, from gardening to cooking to home improvement. It’s a lifestyle that is focused on self-sufficiency and sustainability. It’s about living off the land and doing things for yourself. For some, homesteading is about growing or raising your own food. Others may focus on crafting and creating items from scratch rather than buying them at a store.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s whatever you want it to be. You can aim for 100% self-sufficiency and drop completely off the grid or adopt a more hybrid approach where you share your natural lifestyle with your community.
You can try to be a jack-of-all-trades or focus on one major skill set and barter with other homesteaders to cover the rest of your needs.
It really can be whatever you want allowing for you to design your ideal way of living.
Now, on to the specifics.
The land: finding and preparing your homestead
One of the most important things you’ll need when homesteading is land. Land can be purchased or rented, but ownership always allows for more control over how you use the property. Plus, you won’t have to worry about a landlord causing you problems later down the road.
You can opt for a small place or a very large chunk of land. It all depends on the resources at your disposal and the types of activities you prefer making a priority. For example , if you want to grow a lot of food then you’re going to need more land than someone who just wants to have a few chickens. Likewise, if you want to keep cattle, or even just grow flowers, then there will be more maintenance involved.
Homesteading is possible in any climate, whether it’s cold and snowy or hot and humid. Homesteaders can live very comfortable lives in either environment. From Alaska to Texas you can find people living near self-sufficient to fully self-sufficient lifestyles.
Buildings and infrastructure: what you need to build or buy
The homesteading lifestyle doesn’t require you to have a large house on your land, but it certainly helps. If you choose to live on site which is the most common approach, you may want to build your own or buy one that’s already been constructed. This is a very big project, and it’s not something that can be done quickly unless you’re opting for very minimalist living and go with something like a prefabricated tiny home.
Other types of buildings are more readily available for purchase. These include greenhouses, storage sheds, and chicken coops. You can also consider adding onto an existing structure. If you plan on having animals, you’ll need a barn or shed to house them in.
It should go without saying but the more infrastructure you want the more land you’ll need.
Animals: keeping chickens, goats, and bees
Chickens are the most common type of farm animal, and they’re fairly easy to care for. They provide you with eggs, meat, and even entertainment.
Another popular choice is goats. They give you milk and cheese, but they also contribute to your weeding chores by eating weeds and brush. You can actually rent your goats out to help others maintain their land.
If you prefer a more traditional milk cow, you’ll need to make sure there’s enough space for her and her calf.
Bees are also useful for pollination and honey production. This can be an expensive hobby, but it is rewarding. There’s nothing more delicious than honey you harvested yourself. Plus, local honey can fetch a hefty price at local farmer’s markets and is great for barter.
Gardens: growing your own food
If you’re just starting out, you might want to consider growing some basic vegetables like beans and squash. You can pick them as needed and they don’t take up much room in your garden.
If you have the space, it’s a good idea to plant a variety of crops. Some might mature quickly, while others take longer. Planning for both the short and long terms is key here.
It’s also a good idea to include crops that can be stored for long periods of time like and ones that keep growing over the winter like broccoli, cabbage and kale.
If you have more than enough for your family, you can sell the extras at farmer’s markets, roadside stands or online.
Who is Homesteading for?
While it’s not the easiest life, it’s a very rewarding one. That being said, not all personalities are suited to go this route.
Nature lovers – Those who love being outdoors and want to live close to the land will most likely enjoy homesteading.
Do-it-yourselfers – If you’re handy and love making things, you’ll likely be drawn to this lifestyle.
Those with a green thumb – If you have a green thumb, you’ll be in heaven with homesteading! You’ll be able to grow your own fresh produce and herbs.
Entrepreneurial types – If you’re looking to start a side business, or even a new career path, homesteading could be the perfect way to do it.
Off-grid & prepper types – This lifestyle is ideal for off-grid types because it doesn’t rely on utilities. Homesteading can also be a great way to prepare for potential problems with modern society as your well-being won’t be tied to external factors as much as most other moderns way of life.
Conclusion: the benefits of homesteading
The benefits make it a worthwhile endeavor. You’ll have more control over what’s in your food, you’ll be able to save money on groceries, and you can even make some extra cash selling the extras.
But, you can’t reap the benefits unless you make the commitment to get started. Start small, and then build as your skills grow. You’ll be glad you did!