A homestead is an isolated plot of land that a homeowner lives off of with animals, plants, and a lot of hard work. But if starting a homestead has always been your dream, there’s a lot that you need to know before getting started.
This article should help you with that. It covers eight pieces of advice to take you from beginner to competent as you work to set up your homestead.
Start With a Plan
It’s important to begin your homestead with a solid plan covering:
- How you’re going to layout the homestead (including the placement of animal pens, buildings, and gardens)
- What will you be doing specifically on the homestead (raising animals? Growing crops?)
- How you’re going to finance your homestead
- Where your utilities are going to come from, including electric, water, and gas
If you don’t have all of this before you move onto your homestead and begin working it, you will make things much more complicated for yourself. Taking the time to figure this out upfront will save you a ton of time.
Get to Know Your Soil and Climate
It’s also important to know that the best crops to grow on your homestead will depend on the soil it has and the climate where it’s located.
For example, collards, kale, and spinach are best for cold climates. But if you’ve got dry soil, you may want to grow crops like corn, lima beans, and okra instead.
Understand Your Skill Set
You might be a very handy, capable person. But if you’re just starting your homestead, you likely won’t have the expertise you need to tackle every project that comes to mind – at least not right away.
That’s why it’s essential to know what you can do and what you won’t be able to tackle on your own as you build up your homestead. This self-awareness will save you a lot of time and money as you work to bring your vision for the property to life.
Start Small and Grow Gradually Over Time
Starting a homestead is a huge undertaking – especially if you plan on both raising animals and growing your own crops. You may have visions of lush produce fields with a hundred head of cattle grazing the land. But it’s not practical to bring all of this to life immediately.
Instead, start with several small goals and work from there. You want to make sure that you can truly accomplish something before you try taking it to the next level.
Use What You Have
Most homesteads are full of tools, byproducts, and other items that might be leftover from previous tasks. Many of these things can be repurposed to accomplish something new.
For example, you can use sawdust to help your plants. Or you could use old newspapers for cleaning grills and ovens. Just because you’ve already used something doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use it again someday. This is especially valuable on the homestead, where people typically want to be more independent.
If you’re going to raise animals on your homestead, then chickens should definitely be on your list. They’re small animals that don’t cost as much to feed as cattle. Plus, you get eggs from them, which are an excellent source of protein.
To raise chickens effectively, you’re going to need a chicken coop. But you don’t necessarily need to spend all the time and money it takes to build a permanent one.
An option like a mobile range coop could be a better fit because they tend to cost less and are easier to install. Plus, they allow you to move your chickens around your homestead whenever you want.
Look for Opportunities to Earn an Income
Finances can be complicated when you’re running a homestead because so much of your time is spent tending to animals and crops and looking after the land. But you may be able to turn some of that work into an income to help your family get by.
For example, you could sell extra chicken eggs at a farmer’s market. Or you might partner with local restaurants looking for fresh, locally-grown ingredients.
Try Before You Buy
If you can, try the homestead life out for a little bit before you commit to purchasing one for your family. Homesteads take time, work, and money to run correctly, so having your own will completely change your life.
There’s a lot to love about owning a homestead. You get to spend more time in nature, become more self-sufficient, and enjoy a unique experience with your family. But it’s a big financial commitment. And it’s one that you shouldn’t make without having some firsthand experience of homestead life first.
- About the Author
Alex Grigoryan is a Professional Home Improvement and Lifestyle Writer. He has been in the industry for over 6 years and has been writing for Chique Home Living since 2019. His work has been featured in prestigious blogs such as Spruce Home, Better Homes & Garden, and more.