A Beginner’s Guide to Backyard Homesteading





 Backyard Homesteading Guide

I’ve been wanting to share our family’s backyard homesteading stories for awhile, and am so glad I’m finally getting to write this series! My immediate family and I live in our local town’s borough, so we have various restrictions on animals. This is why we help homestead at my mom’s house in her back yard. My father-in-law is sort of the “head honcho,” and has always lived very “green.”

He has inspired all of us to live off the grid as much as possible, and we continue to strive as a family to make our lifestyle more green. However, I do have to give him most of the credit for coming up with the ideas and plans for our family’s homestead.  He has many ways in which he has helped us incorporate living “green” into our lifestyle, and this will be the topics in our series.

Obviously, we will be writing this post about the basic guide of backyard homesteading. However, this involves many topics which we will discuss in future posts:

Composting

Composting is one of the easiest ways to get started on your own homestead. It’s also the first step in recycling, which is great for the environment as well.  Our family composts all grass, leaves, and food byproducts (excluding meat products).  When you compost, it can eventually be turned into fertilizer for your garden.  Green and brown are the two best colors for your compost pile- leaves and grass.  However, the nutrients from your food byproducts will help enrich the fertilizer as well. Read more about learning how to compost!

Compost Pile

Using a water barrel to conserve water

We also try to conserve water by using a water barrel to conserve water via our down spouting.  This water is then used to water the garden.  This is a simple and easy way to conserve water and they can be purchased used in our local area for $3-$5. This is a very inexpensive way to live simple and green! Read more about how we use water conservation barrels.

water barrel

 

Gardening & canning crops

preserving and canning

Canning and preserving the crops from your homestead is one of the most rewarding aspects of having a homestead! There is nothing like opening up a can of vegetables in the middle of winter that can give you a feeling of accomplishment and self-sufficiency.  I love looking over seedling magazines and helping design the garden each year.

We discuss plants that failed and ones that did well. We look at each previous year’s crop to determine what we will plant in the upcoming year.  For example, starting tomatoes outdoors yielded a much larger crop than when we started them indoors.  So, there is a high level of planning that goes into your garden, and then harvesting and preserving.  However, there are so many wonderful resources to help you know growing seasons. It also helps to talk with local neighbors about what grows well in your soil. Two of our neighbors have backyard gardens, and we consulted them first about what to plant, which really helped! Read more about Gardening, Canning, and Preserving (Coming Soon).

Raising backyard chickens

Backyard Chickens

This is by far my favorite part of backyard homesteading.  There is nothing like the taste of fresh, brown free-range eggs. For three years our family had eight hens on our homestead which produced eggs for our family which we used in all of our recipes and we also sold those eggs to friends and family.

We currently do not have any hens, because after awhile they stop laying. However, we plan on getting more as chicks, but please note that if you purchase chicks, it takes awhile before they start laying eggs.  Read more about our experience with raising backyard chickens!

We will continue to add topics to this series as we complete projects on our own homestead! Again, these four areas are just a starting point for those who want to venture into their own backyard homestead! Make sure to check back each week, or sign-up for our email list (at the top of this page) to get post updates! We will also be including some resources that helped us get started as well, such as the Kindle ebook on homesteading below:

The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!


The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series)

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Such a lot of great information…. thank you for sharing it. We call our city 1/4 acre our “homestead wannabe” :). It really is amazing how much can be done on a city lot…. although we are restricted in many ways also…. Thank you for sharing. :)

  2. says

    This is a great post with lots of wonderful suggestions! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Miz Helen

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