This simple guide will help you get ideas for what to have on a homestead to have a prepared productive home.
Here on our homestead, the summer garden plan is in full swing. We have already torn out the winter garden, planted our onions, garlic, and are preparing for summer crops. Even though we are still in February, the plans for upcoming peak production time are already in motion. We have FOUR main areas that we employ to make our home a place of production instead of consumption. We have always produced a good amount of food but are finding it more important than ever since food prices keep rising. Not to mention the limited selection of food at the grocery stores. Our goal is to help you on your journey towards living a more sustainable lifestyle through these four pillars. The first area to consider adding to your home is annual gardening.
Annual gardening is the first of the 4 ideas of what to have on your homestead. Having a garden at home boosts preparedness food security. If you have never had a garden, it is crucial to start getting one established. Even one or two raised beds is more food security than none. Before you go out and purchase a bunch of seeds and starts you need to first know what and how much you are getting.
MAKE A PLAN
Knowing ahead of time what you want to grow helps you avoid wasting money at the local nursery or online seed bank. It also ensures that you will have the space for your newly started plants. It is essential to know what area of your property is going to be ideal for growing the varieties of fruit and vegetables you intend on producing. Having a plan greatly improves the efficiency of the season. Some questions you should ask during the planning process might include:
- How much do we need or want to grow?
- Where are we going to grow a garden?
- What varieties of produce will we grow? Will we use in-ground or raised beds?
- Are we going to start our own seeds or seek out seedlings?
- What is the goal come harvesting time?
Be sure if you are growing a garden for the first time to only plant what you like to eat. It doesn’t make any sense to grow only what you THINK should go into a garden if you aren’t going to eat it. Some of our staples to grow are:
for the warm weather months
- Butternut Squash
for the cold weather months
- Swiss Chard
If you are a seasoned gardener, now is the time to expand your garden. Plan what you will need for the upcoming season and get it NOW. Get supplies like fencing, irrigation, weed fabric, trellises, mulch, etc. now. Don’t wait until April when everyone is thinking about gardening because you risk not being able to get what you need. I remember when Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company’s website was shut down because they could not keep up with the demand. You can ensure you have everything you need by planning and stocking up before the season gets started.
The next pillar of having a productive homestead is eggs.
Eggs are a no brainer for the homesteader. Many people call a flock of chickens the gateway animal for the beginning backyard farmer (I know we found this to be true!) Eggs are an easy protein that every home should consider if they are able. The first type of egg that most people consider is a chicken egg, but there are also other types of eggs that make a good source of protein like duck eggs or quail eggs.
Quail is an especially good option if you are not permitted to keep a flock of chickens where you live. Quail can be kept in a garage and provide a renewable source of protein. To help closes the loop in your egg production system, consider getting a rooster and an incubator. This really ensures that at the very least you will have eggs.
The price of meat is skyrocketing! More and more people are switching to cheaper proteins and going meatless which is a good option to cut costs and boost the sustainability of any system. For those of us that do not want to give up meat, then raising meat at home or locally is the best option. Inflation and limited availability make partnering with a local farmer to purchase meat in bulk or raising your own appealing.
It is important to look ahead towards the upcoming year and plan where you want to get your meat. The sooner the better! When the stores start to run out the small farmers will also run out, and small farmers do not have the availability to replenish their supply. If you have a small amount of growing space, consider raising rabbits and poultry for meat. Also, as a homesteader, consider raising meat for the people around you that don’t have the means or ability to raise their own.
Types of Meat for Small Farms
Types of Meat for Larger Farms
- Any animals listed in “meat for small farms”
Another overlooked area of providing meat for your family is hunting and fishing. Grey goes hunting for venison every Fall during bow and rifle season in order to fill our freezer with venison for the year. One of our favorite recipes during the Fall and Winter months is our rustic venison stew! We have found that just having lamb and venison is all the red meat we need to fulfill our household requirements for the year. Fish is an especially high-quality protein to consider adding to your meal rotation.
Perennials and Fruit Trees
Our homesteading level stepped up a notch once we started growing perennials. There is nothing more efficient than planting and caring for a plant that comes back year after year. We now have over 100 fruit trees, grapes, and berries sprinkled throughout the property…and it feels great! Though this is the last point I mentioned on this list, I highly recommend that this is the place that you start because some of these plants take a few years to start producing. Most of our trees and vines are still young and not producing at their maximum level. Perennials that make a wonderful addition to the homestead include:
- Fruit and Nut Trees
- Berry Vines
- Culinary and Medicinal Herbs