How to Start Homesteading Today

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Given the climate in recent years, many people are interested in figuring out their local food web. Some people want to trade skills with neighbors while others have a decent patch of land and want to farm it. Where do you start? Where do you look to start homesteading today?

Projects for Beginners With Land

BUILD A RAISED PLANTING BED

Raised bed planting beds help you start with growing your own food. They don’t have to cost a lot and the easiest start I had was buying and cutting to size some cheap cedar fencing from one of the big box stores. I then nailed a little box and they worked okay for a couple of seasons.

Having a raised bed helps with planning, controlling weeds, the entire farming process from planting to weeding, and all around is just useful.

Another favorite benefit of my current garden will be covering it to have a hoop house and I can extend my growing time.

GROW MORE PERENNIALS

Perennial plants are the backbone of my gardening because the general idea is to plant them, get them established, then mostly ignore them other than basic fertilizing or pest control. The end is a harvest with far less work than most annuals.

My gardening style is usually plant it once then ignore it so the bulk of what I buy are perennials.

Common perennial vegetables and fruit include:

  • fruit trees (even with small space they can be tucked away or kept in containers)
  • berries (grapes, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  • asparagus
  • kale
  • rhubarb
  • artichokes
  • walking onions
  • specialty herbs (ramps, plantain)

Otherwise, many herbs and flowers are perennial you just need to check the plants before buying.

SET UP A WORM BIN

Collecting worm castings and converting more food waste into compost helps grow better plants. You don’t need to buy to buy much of anything special and my farm is some simple upcycled biscotti buckets.

Worm bins allow you to collect a lot of free castings to fertilize your plants and garden.

They also keep your kitchen more efficient as any food stuffs not suitable for any consumption can go to nourish a garden.

CONVERT PART OF YOUR YARD TO THINGS OTHER THAN GRASS

Part of my lawn is being converted to be a food growing space and a medicinal herbs space mostly full of plantain.

After inspecting the plants around me I found I have an herbalist dream location so more and more yard is stuff other than grass.

Don’t be afraid to experiment a little or look for good lawn designs.

PROVIDE A FOOD AND WATER SOURCE FOR BIRDS AND OTHER WILDLIFE

Small ponds are often a visual pleasure added to make a garden design pop. Ponds also help establish a small habitat for variety of wildlife such as birds, frogs, turtles, bees, butterflies.

Not only does a small pond or birdbath provide a nice visual touch in the garden, it is also a water source and habitat for birds, frogs and toads, butterflies, and bees.

This helps add a little biodiversity to the yard and the birds and frogs kindly eat the bugs.

IF YOU HAVE LITTLE SPACE

GROW HERBS AND FLOWERS

This is an addition more for if you have no yard or a tiny growing space. Herbs and flowers are often small and can be worked in basically anywhere. Often they just ask for water and a decent windowsill with light.

Herbs are also often very good for beginners to play to learn as many aren’t too fussy.

The culinary herbs like parsley, thyme, oregano, sage, basil, and such are easy to grow and a lot of bang for your buck as they get costly to buy from the store. Everyone loves fresh herbs as well.

With flowers a couple staples I’ve grown is always calendula and echinacea. Many like to grow tea gardens like lavender or chamomile.

XOXO, Mel