Before you start your homestead you need to consider a lot of things. You also need to have some homesteading skills mastered to help set your homestead up for success.
Homesteading is not for the faint of heart and it is not for those that plan to dive in with no skills in their personal to get started. The more kills you learn before starting your homestead the more likely you will have the skill set to be successful in your homesteading adventure.
These skills are great for learning before you homestead to make starting your homestead easier and to give you an idea of homesteading is really the right path for you.
Homesteading Skills You Need to Learn
Learning to garden is an essential skill for homesteaders. Before you start your homestead with a large garden it is a good idea to start learning how to grow your favorite foods on a smaller scale. This will allow you to grow a green thumb through learning without losing a crop that was essential to your homestead survival plan.
Container gardening is a great way to get started if you are limited in space but want to learn how to care for and grow your own food. This can be done in nearly any home, even a city apartment as long as you have a south-facing window or by using a grow light.
If you have a backyard you can give your first square foot garden a try. This is a great way to get a large crop from your backyard and once you market square foot gardening you can easily add more beds to your homestead garden to produce enough food for your family.
Making your own compost
To make your homestead garden thrive and save money on fertilizer you will need to have a compost pile. Compost helps turn your waste into food for your garden. This is important for your garden as well as general waste management. Most homesteads are not in an area with trash pick up and you do not want your trash to build up and get out of control. A small compost tumbler is a great place to start.
Once you have mastered gardening you need to start thinking about how you will save that extra food to make the most of it in your home. A popular way to preserve food and keep its texture for the long term is canning. Caning allows you to fill your pantry with everything from jams and jellies to soups and stews.
To start out you will want to give water bath canning a try. This simple canning method allows you to can high sugar and high acid foods like jelly, pickles, and tomato products and is fairly easy to learn for beginners. A water bath canner and some jars are a frugal investment for those getting started.
When you get comfortable with canning you can take it a step further and learn to use a pressure canner. This opens you up to canning more vegetables, meats, and even meals without risk to your family.
Additional Resource: Quick Start Guide to Pressure Canning
Another way to preserve food from your garden for the long term is to dehydrate it. This can allow you to have more space in your pantry by preserving food in a smaller state. There are several great dehydrators on the market and a standard inexpensive one is perfect for learning how to dehydrate and getting your stock built up before investing in a nice one like an Excalibur dehydrator.
Baking your own bread
Making bread from scratch may not have been something you thought about before but for many, this skill became important for helping feed their families. Our diets are often high in bread but when you live on a homestead going to the store just for a loaf of bread or some puns to pop in the oven isn’t practical. Many homesteaders purchase quality whole wheat berries to grind for themselves, for storage in their stockpile for the long term.
While most homesteads have more than chickens most people that do not have their homestead yet do not have the option of having a goat in their backyards but backyard chickens are growing in popularity and for good reason, many areas allow them. Chickens are easy livestock to raise that can provide you with a highly nutritious protein source for your family making learning how to raise backyard chickens is a great way to learn a new valuable skill for your homestead.
Even if you can’t have chickens most people have no problem keeping a rabbit in a cage in their home. While the idea of raising meat rabbits is not on many people’s list of things they want to try on the homestead it is an option but rabbits have another value on the homestead. Rabbit poop is actually an amazing fertilizer for your garden. Rabbit poop doesn’t need to be composted before use in the garden and can even be sold to gardeners as fertilizer.
While everyone thinks about gardening when they are planning their homestead many don’t think about the value of learning how to forage. Get yourself a good regional foraging handbook for your area or visit FallingFruit.org for a local foraging map. This is a great way to provide your family with many great foods ranging from berries to morel mushrooms.