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    30 Homesteading Tips for Beginners

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    30 Homesteading Tips for Beginners

    Are you interested in homesteading , but not sure where to start? If so, this post is for you. From finding the right land to choosing the right animals, we’ve got you covered with our list of the 30 best homesteading tips for beginners

    No two homesteading experiences will be exactly alike. However, these homesteading tips for beginners should give you the confidence you need to start your journey off on the right foot.

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    1. Start Small – and Slow

    The first – and most important – homesteading tip to follow is that you need to take things slow. 

    Chances are, if you’re like most beginning homesteaders, you’re probably chomping at the bit to try everything out for yourself. Cattle! Dozens of raised beds! A massive compost pile! An off-the-grid cabin that runs on solar power!

    However, if you try to do everything at once, you’re not only going to run out of money pretty fast but you’re also going to get overwhelmed. And when you get overwhelmed, most of those projects are going to fail. Take it easy and do just one thing at a time. 

    2. Get Up Close and Personal With Your Soil 

    No homestead can be a great homestead if it doesn’t have good soil. Take a close look at your soil. It will support not only you, but all plant and animal life that exists on the homestead. Take the time to evaluate its composition, pH, and nutrient content – and strive to improve it as effectively and naturally as you can.

    Compost, which we’ll discuss later in this post, is your best friend!  

    3. Pay Attention to the Climate 

    Also, take a close look at the climate and weather patterns where you live. What is your USDA growing zone? Without knowing this information, it will be hard to plan ahead for the rest of the year. 

    4. Cut Expenses

    Before embarking on the homesteading lifestyle, take a close look at your budget and see if there are any unnecessary expenses that can be slashed. Paying for cable? Get rid of it. Buying new clothes every few weeks? Stop doing that. Wherever you can trim some of the fat, do it. 

    5. Plan for Some Income 

    At the same time as you cut some expenses, you should also think carefully about how you can bring some extra money into your homestead coffers. If you’re working a second job outside of the home, then you might not need this income – but it’s a good idea to plan for a source just in case.

    Can you sell eggs? Tutor local children? Start a blog? Think about your skills and what you like to do – then consider whether you might be able to monetize those skills.

    Holding Basket of Eggs

    6. Forget About Aesthetics 

    We all want our house and garden to look good. However, if your main goal is self-sufficiency, you need to let go of the vanity and stop caring about how things look. If they’re functional, that’s all that matters. 

    7. Keep a Good Perspective 

    As a homesteader, you are going to fail. It is not a matter of if, but of when. To be successful, you need to find a way to roll with the punches and learn from your failures and mistakes – not be defeated by them. 

    8. Consider the Layout 

    Planning is everything when it comes to a successful homestead. Before you start a single project, take the time to plan the layout of your homestead. Where will the barns go? Your gardens? Where will you be getting water and electricity from?

    9. Focus on “Calorie” Crops 

    In your garden, focus on growing high-calorie crops that store through the winter months.

    Some of the most calorie-and nutrient-dense crops you can grow to give you more “bang for your buck” include:

    • Barley
    • Beans
    • Carrots
    • Corn
    • Oats
    • Peas
    • Potatoes
    • Winter squash
    • Winter wheat

    10. Research Before You Buy 

    Don’t buy anything before you take the time to research it. Whether it’s a new type of livestock or a new appliance for the kitchen, make sure you put the time into doing some research so you can make sure it’s necessary in the first place – and a good fit for your homestead

    11. Start a Kitchen Compost 

    A kitchen compost will give you a place to discard all of your kitchen scraps – from veggie scraps to coffee grounds – and turn it into nutrient-rich soil. Compost can be used to fertilize your plants and improve the soil composition in your garden.

    12. Diversity is Key 

    No strong homestead ever relied on just a single crop. For you to be self-sufficient, take a look at what your family currently eats and then come up with a list of plants to grow and animals to raise that will help meet those dietary needs. 

    13. Start Your Own Seeds 

    To save money on nursery plants, start your own seeds indoors. You can sell the extras to friends and neighbors!

    14. Learn Plant Identification 

    As a homesteader, you need to be able to identify the plants that are growing in your garden. That’s pretty obvious! However, you also need to be able to identify things like weeds, toxic plants, and mushrooms, too. 

    15. Store Things Wisely 

    Store your tools and other equipment properly. Be obsessive about cleaning and maintaining your gear. Otherwise, you're going to find that you have to replace them – something that is incredibly costly. 

    16. Invest in a Greenhouse or Hoop House 

    For year-round gardening and self-sufficiency, consider investing in a hoop house or greenhouse. 

    17. Enlist the Kids 

    If you have kids, encourage them to get involved in the homestead. Come up with a list of age-appropriate chores so that they can pull their weight. 

    18. Rethink Your Grocery List 

    What items on your grocery list do you actually need to be? If you’re buying any store-bought, processed snacks, you can probably make those yourself at home. Bake your own bread. Grow your own vegetables. Raise your own meat. You can produce just about everything for yourself at home. 

    19. Get Good at Food Preservation 

    Whether you’re interested in canning, fermenting, or freezing the goods you harvest, make sure you have multiple methods of food preservation under your belt so that you can produce and store enough food to last you through the winter. 

    20. Build Strong Fences 

    Don’t waste time chasing pigs all over the county. Make sure your fences are strong and sturdy, regardless of the type of animals you have. Even if you have to pay a bit extra to make sure the fences are secure, it’s worth it. 

    21. Learn to Butcher Your Own Animals 

    It might be unpleasant, but if you eat meat, you can’t have a self-sufficient homestead until you learn how to slaughter and process your own livestock. 

    22. Make the Most of Weeds 

    Weeds are the nemesis of most gardeners, but they don’t have to be. 

    Quit mowing your lawn and see if there are ways you can convert more of your unused lawn into an edible growing space. And consider harvesting some of those weeds or use in your cooking!

    Collection of Wild Edibles

    23. Stock Up on the Essentials 

    Make sure your homestead is well-supplied with everything you need, from medical supplies to toiletries, dry goods to emergency gear (like batteries and flashlights). 

    24. Grow Indoors 

    Even if you live in the city, homesteading is still possible. Start by growing some vegetables and herbs indoors in containers

    25. Produce Your Own Animal Feed 

    Can you grow your own animal feed? Although it takes a bit more space to do this, it’s a great way to be self-sufficient and reduce your reliance on the outside world. You can even grow a simple tray of microgreens in your basement to feed your chickens! Every little bit helps.

    26. Prepare for Emergencies 

    Prepare for the worst – and hope for the best. Make sure you have systems in place so that you’re cared for in an emergency. From backup power sources to snow removal plans, make sure you know what to do in a crisis.

    27. Set Up Automated Systems 

    What tasks on your homestead end up taking the most amount of work? Once you get rolling, consider these tasks and see if you can find ways to automate them.

    Are you sick of feeding the pigs morning and night? Build an automated feeder or automated waterer so they can help themselves. Don’t want to lock the chickens into the coop at night and let them out in the morning? You can install an automatic coop door opener.

    Get creative! You’ll save a ton of time. 

    28. Learn to Forage 

    Foraging is a great way to fill in gaps in your diet without taking up more space for a garden or livestock. Hunting is technically a type of foraging, too, but you can also look in the wild for things like flowers, weeds, and even mushrooms (make sure you know how to identify these, though). 

    29. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

    Try not to throw anything away. Reduce what you buy, but for what you already own, think about whether it can be reused or recycled (or “upcycled”) on the homestead. The pallet craze of late gives a nod to just how easy it is to reuse the items around your home!

    30. Ask for Help 

    Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Whether You're part of a larger homesteading community in your area or you join a few homesteading groups online, take the time to learn and ask for help when it’s needed. Just because you’re asking for help, it doesn't mean that you aren’t self-sufficient!

    How Do I Prepare for Homesteading?

    Learning as much as you can before you set off on your own is the best thing you can do if you want to be self-sufficient.

    If you’re thinking of homesteading, there are a few things to take into consideration before getting started. The tips we shared should help get you started on the right foot. Now it’s up to you to put in the work and make your dream of self-reliance a reality!

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