The place stands majestically and the only sound to hear is from the homestead habitats. There are the sounds of some clucks as the fowl runabout, and the goats are bleating. The air filled with the fresh aroma of recently sprouted flowers and the hummingbirds gather at their favorite watering hole. Welcome to the homestead that sustains itself with the locally available material, hard work and much gratification of the results
There is no place more peaceful where most people enjoy visiting or making their home such a family that homesteads. The children have ample land to run and play that city life does not offer. Even the chores are fun in the natural environment that the homestead life provides. However, there are many things to learn about how to start homesteading on a budget.
How Much Land Do I need to Homestead?
Before starting to make plans and getting ahead of yourself, you need to decide on where you will live and how much land you will need. You should invest in property that you can gain many benefits from such as farms, animals, and flower gardens.
Suitable land for homesteading should have good, healthy soil that will produce prosperous gardens and supply your livestock with plenty of enriched grasses for nutrition. You also need to be sure there is plenty of a water supply especially if you live in regions where the heat of the summer is scorching.
Many new homesteaders find land that is undeveloped to clear what the farm needs and sale any remaining timber for income. Depending on how undeveloped the property is and your intentions, renovations can be costly if not conducted with expense in mind.
Before you invest in land, be sure to do your homework. You will not only want to check the soil but also any areas that may flood, or trouble with boundaries and neighbors. Many times farmers buy land only to find the neighbors are not too keen on a farm with pigs, goats, and chickens. There is also the noise of farm equipment others frown upon in the early morning hours.
Many perks come with undeveloped land. However, there can be pitfalls that can easily bankrupt your hopes and dreams. Investigating the pros and cons is the wisest move you will make to get your homestead adventures off and running.
Starting Small and on a Budget
As with most new adventures in life, with homesteading, you need to start small and grow with time. The most important thing to remember is that if you invest in more than you can handle at one time, there will be some areas neglected, and you will have wasted time and money.
The only way to succeed with a new homestead adventure is to start small and grow big a little at a time. No matter what your goals are, you should be patient and avoid taking on projects that you will not be able to manage.
To live a happy life as a homesteader on a budget takes time and much patience. You will need to watch every expense and be sure it is something you must have or if you can hold off one more month. Homesteading is not by far cheap to get going. However, your hard work and determination are what will make it successful.
One perk that comes with buying land is you have so much that your land provides that in the end pays for itself. For example, hidden under some thick bushes could be a few fruit trees just needing a little breathing room to prosper.
Your fields give hay for your animals that all you need is the equipment to harvest what the land offers. You could very well have a pond on your property filled with fish that will make some delicious, healthy meals. Your land will be like a best friend offering many things, but you need to nurture that friendship as well.
Water for your Farm and Animals
Everything needs water to survive. Without water, life is impossible for plants and animals. One of the first details you should make sure of when establishing your homestead is the amount of available water and that there is little to no chance of running out.
Chances are you are outside city limits where water wells are the mode of the supply of water. Everything around you needs water. If you are building a new home on farmland, you will need water before the first nail enters a board.
If you are buying some land that already has a home on the property, chances are there is a survey of the property. If not, before you complete the sale, you need a full survey of the land and the information of the age and details on the water supply.
Many homesteads, depending on the size, often drill for multiple water wells. If you are farming as well as producing livestock, you may consider drilling a separate well where your livestock is going to be. It cuts down on the amount of water use associated with your home and minimizes the chances of draining a single well.
Homesteading on a budget can often run into problems if there are no wells tapped on the property. At least with one, you have a source to start off with for your garden and home. However, if you must drill, consider taking advantage of any pond, lakes, or dams as a water source for livestock until you can invest in drilling an added well.
Keep in mind, even though well water cost nothing, you must keep it operative in working order always. For that safety of humans and animals, be sure the area where the well is on your land remains covered at all times. That also prevents animals and insects from finding their way into your water source, tainting it for human consumption.
According to the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the average American family uses over 300 gallons of water each day. With much of that water going to gardens and animals. Without water, both can dry up and die.
Gardening and Homesteading on a Budget
Growing a garden is one of the first projects homesteaders do. These gardens can be a large farm type or a family size garden to meet the family’s needs. When the season is right, start by planting small patches if this is your first attempt at gardening. Then, you can add a little as you go.
You need to make your home garden-size manageable to ensure you can keep up with the production to prevent your food from rotting or animals destroying your crops. When you start plowing, you will get a feel for the soil type of your land and determine what foods will prosper.
Knowing the soil type and its quality is vital so that you will not waste time, money, and the seeds you buy to plant. Most new homesteaders use seeds as well as transplanting a variety of garden vegetables and fruits.
You can also consider having your own herb garden as well. Herbs are easy to grow and cheap to start. Vegetables are the most common produce a homesteader begins with to produce their source of food and because it is organic.
Growing your own vegetables will benefit you and your family in many ways. The most important is your health and nutrition. Buying organic produce in the supermarkets are costly, and you do not know if it is 100 percent natural.
Gardening is one the main reasons why individuals choose to homestead. Next, they decide to raise their own livestock and chickens. More on that later. The news lately is about foods making people sick due to a contracted virus.
Do you notice that not one single time was these sicknesses linked to produce raised on a homestead farm? For this reason, more and more families are moving, buying land, and growing their food. The food in America is harming our lives, and it continues to get worse.
Plan Before You Buy
Before you get to your garden to plant your veggies, plan. Do you have a clear understanding of what foods you and your family want to grow? Do your homework before you go shopping for seeds so that you know what will grow in your area and the soil of your land.
It is simple to get caught up in wanting to plant one of everything. However, plants grow best in specific regions, and you can waste much money going shopping blinded or what you need to buy instead of what you want to buy.
Herbs are beneficial to plant as well. They heal injuries, relieve pains, and are used with cooking. Growing some herbs will alleviate having to buy specific medicines. There are many types of herbs that are not expensive and easy to grow which includes garlic, Aloe Vera, peppermint and many more
Planting at the Right Time
Every time you plant your harvest you hope for a successful outcome. However, you need to know what type of plants to grow for each season. It is also essential to understand the right time for producing a particular plant suitable to your weather condition.
Like tomatoes, for instance, they would not survive the winter frost, so it is not cost effective to plant these during the winter season. Plants should benefit from appropriate temperatures. Planting at the wrong time of the year may cause stunted growth of your plants or poor germination. It is vital that you wait for the right time to plant your garden.
Composting is a Vital Element for Homesteading on a Budget
The best thing about compost is that it is free and simple to do. Using a fresh compost in your garden is the best way to turn sappy dirt into a luscious garden. It is a simple process that improves the health of your plants.
There are various items that you can use for composting like manure and fruit peels and eggshells just to name a few. You can also do composting during the fall where there are lots of microbe-rich leaves.
By starting composting, the fertility of your soil will improve immensely. This method will make your plants grow strong and aid in resisting pests. Composting is a free fertilizer that is like the gift that keeps giving.
Composting will save you money while supplying a natural solution to enhance your fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Moreover, it is organic and will not affect your plants negatively.
The Animals on Your Farm
The Goat is the best animal to have on your homestead. There is no need for high cost associated with the rearing of goats. Children easily even manage them. Goat’s feeding cost is quite low, and they can be quite useful.
They are so good to have on your homestead because they look for food themselves. Goats are a very self-sufficient animal, and they know the right type of leaves to eat. It’s rare to find a goat trying to eat grass or leaves that will be harmful to them.
Goats have an excellent sense of smell and taste. That often gets pet goats in trouble thanks to its naughty side wanting to chew on items of texture such as cushions from patio furniture. There are many benefits of raising goats on your homestead.
Goats are multiple purpose animals that provide meat, milk, and manure. Its milk is used to make yogurts and cheese. Many homesteaders drink goats milk rather than buying milk from a store. Homesteading makes life easier once you get the hang of things.
There is nothing of a goat that you cannot use. Goat’s manure is also a rich fertilizer that can help your plants to grow well. Goats need very little, if any, medical attention. The animal rarely suffers from ailments or disease compared to other farm animals.
Homesteading Would be Boring Without Raising Chickens
With the sound of clucking coming from the roosters, hens and all the baby chicks there is a bit of happiness around your homestead. Chickens are much like goats; they keep themselves busy scratching the ground looking for food.
With chickens on the land, you can look forward to having a basket full of fresh eggs. If you have never tasted fresh eggs, you have no idea what you are missing. There is a distinct difference between fresh eggs from a farm and store-bought eggs.
Also, if you have plenty of hens that produce many eggs, you can sale them and add income to the family. Maintaining your chicks with a healthy diet as they grow is the best way as they can produce a multitude of delicious eggs later.
There are many types of laying chickens. You can look for the ideal kind of chicken that are producing more eggs. As with any animal it is best to choose the type of chicken that is less susceptible to diseases.
If your chicken starts to hatch, you can then decide how to use those eggs. You can either sell them or use them for cooking as mentioned above. However, you will likely need to buy an incubator and a few other pieces of equipment. Remember not to throw your empty egg shells away. You can feed those to your chickens which helps to supplement their calcium intake.
Keeping a Cat Around is Good Advice
It is a lovely animal to have living on the homestead. Cats are cute, sweet and can be funny, but, on a farm, they play several different roles. Cats are great hunters and are excellent for killing unwanted prey around the land.
Cats are fantastic mice eating machines which you surely do not want to have those in and around your home or in your barns. Other rodents that like living off the goods of your land cats are great at keeping them at bay. Many insects destroy plants and flowers that your little herd of felines will be happy to get rid of on your homestead as well.
A cat does not get the praise that it should. If you are at a homestead or another type of farm that has barns and produce about, pay attention to how few unwanted guests are around if cats are living on the land.
A feline is one of the few animals that you can trust indoors as well as out. They will keep both areas free from snakes, rodents, and other animals that like to prey on farms. Cats are low maintenance, easy to take care of not expensive to feed.
Keeping Dogs Around Your Place
Can you imagine the money that most people are spending per year paying their security guards? Amazingly dogs can offer that job for guarding your homestead with no cost. They are such amazing partners. Dogs can protect you in various ways. If a thief is trying to steal something from you, your dog will be the first reporters by barking. They can also let that thief know it is not smart to come back a second time.
Dogs do more than act as the farm security. They offer protection in various ways that you may not consider. When the dogs see a snake or scorpion, they alert you by barking. Sometimes they fight back to save your life. For sure we can call them lifesavers. Some wild animals, like jackals, eat livestock.
However, by having a good shepherd that will herd your livestock it also keeps wild animals away. Some homesteads that are near mountains is a favorite hangout for animals that eat plants in the garden. Dogs can play a significant role to reduce the population of those pests.
Dogs perform great task in various ways. They are home protectors, pest controls, and livestock guardians. Dogs play the role at times as the cats on the land do. They can hunt and kill rodents that may destroy property.
Taking good care of your family dog is essential. There are some wild herbs that you can give your dogs to boost their bodies. Those herbs also help you to treat your dogs if they get injured or swallow poisonous substances.
Numerous types of snakes live around farms and homes in the country. Some spit venom at dogs. If the poison gets into the eyes of your dogs, certain plants and herbs will ease the damage quickly. The good news here is, it’s the snake that usually loses the battle.
Every home needs an abundance of flowers. Flowers do more than just enhance the appearance of a yard. They feed birds and supply the honeybee its nectar to produce honey. Every place that has flowers is so attractive, and most people make sure that they plant many flowers around their homestead.
Flowers are attractive to many animals other than the birds and the bees. Besides being beautiful, they act as medication in your goats, chickens, dogs, and your entire family. They are instrumental. One of the best flowers you can plant on your homestead is the sunflower.
When you have sunflowers in abundance, you have a doctor right at home. They are excellent food for bees to collect from and go back to make the healthiest medicine around, honey. That honey produced by bees can save you the cost of store bought medicine.
When you are coughing, you can just use your honey to make a home remedy for coughing. Sunflower seeds can also benefit you from improving the health of your skin and reduce the risk for heart disease. The seeds from sunflowers are also great for feeding chickens.
Preserving Your Food
Learning how to preserve your own food is something that every family should implement. We should learn from our grandparents because long ago there was no fridge for preserving. However, generations long ago survived, and they were healthier, and they lived longer than the generations of today. Building your food storage in your homestead is essential.
Knowing how to preserve your own food is priceless. Dehydrating is the most useful method of preserving your food. You can dehydrate your meat by hanging it on the branches of a tree. When drying your meat, the key is to cover it with salt so that no bacteria will grow.
Vegetables also dehydrate when cooked or uncooked. When you are preparing for dehydrating your food, you should slice it into smaller pieces with an enlarged surface area. However, you can wash herbs and hang them on the branches of a tree in indirect sunlight.
When people are preserving the food they tend to forget what humans cannot eat, their livestock can. Preserving food for your livestock may save you money for buying some expensive livestock feed. When you are removing grass from your garden, you can dry and store it for your goats to eat during the dry season. Also, maize stalks you can dry and preserve for cattle and your goats.
Cultural Pest Control
In your garden, you will be planting a variety of plants that you will be eating. The pests can feed easily and multiply from one plant to other. We mentioned above pests control like composting, cats, and dogs. However, there is some pests control that you can prepare without costing you any penny.
Cultural pest control is not dangerous to human beings and cannot pollute the environment. It is priceless and safer to use. Spreading of firewood ash is a common way that most people use to control pests. Insects cannot cross onto a plant that has a covering of ashes.
You can also practice crop rotation to control pests. By doing that the pests cycle destroys the pest to prevent plant destruction.
Keeping Horses on the Land
Horses are the animal every farm, every homestead, and many horse trainers love to show. Some people are spending a big sum of money feeding horses. Many homesteaders who are raising their own food tend to have healthier, more workable horses.
Horses are not proud animals as we think. They are happy eating grass from the fields and hay. They do not need expensive foods although a good corn feed is not costly and horses do love their corn.
Keeping horses on a farm and homestead can help you in different ways. They are good for plowing and as transport. If you are looking for a horse to saddle up and use as a means of getting around the farm, you will want to go for hardier breeds.
Hardier breeds do not need much grain, and they can withstand cold winters. Like any other animals, horses need daily care besides water and hay. Their stalls need to have bedding throughout the year. They should remain clean to avoid ticks.
On a good note, some birds have one job, and that is to pick ticks from livestock. However, it does not mean that you should not clean your livestock. The bird is just a bonus to help you with reducing ticks on your horses.
Horses are easy to train, and they are controllable animals. You can use them to transport some things that are not too heavy. Again, you can use them to ride, and you don’t need to buy fuel for transport. They can travel long distances. Nothing is more peaceful than a horseback ride across fields and meadows.
A Place Without Competition
Homesteading is such a fantastic way to live life with your family. You discover some hidden secrets of land and have serenity while living life on a homestead. The air is free of pollution and toxins like carbon monoxide from cars.
You get the comfort from birds that are singing their songs early in the morning. You become stress-free on thinking about how you will get the money to buy eggs, milk, and meat. It is cheaper to grow your own food and produce your own meat and fresh vegetable salads.
You can learn a lot from the land if you just listen and pay attention. Everything you need to live is all right there, underneath your feet. All you need to do is to follow the steps of homesteading on a budget. The work may be harder, but the benefits are far more in abundance.