Thursday, September 18, 2014

The 3 Main Elements of Homesteading - Which Appeals Most to You?

While homesteading encompasses many skills and approaches, there are three common elements that most homesteaders practice. When beginning a homesteading lifestyle, it makes sense to choose one element and make it a priority.

Focus on improving your skills, systems, and practice. Integrate that element into your lifestyle and then expand on it by adding other lifestyle changes and homesteading skills. So what are these three main elements?

Ripe and unripe strawberries
Growing strawberries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Gardening – The first and perhaps most readily adopted element of homesteading is gardening. Gardening is something that you can do on a small scale or you can convert your entire back yard into a garden. Small container gardens and raised garden beds are often a good way to go if you’re not sure you’ll have the time to tend to your garden.

You can always add more containers or raised beds as you become more comfortable. The most important thing to remember about homestead gardening is to grow what you eat. If you don’t like broccoli, don’t grow it. If you love strawberries, then that’s a perfect crop to start with. Utilize sustainable gardening practices to maximize your use of space and minimize your impact on the environment.

Preserved food in Mason jars
Preserved food in Mason jars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2. Food preservation and preparation - The next component of homesteading is a natural progression from gardening. It’s the fine art of food preservation. We’re talking about canning, pickling, and making preserves. For example, let’s say that you love strawberries and your first year of gardening you had good success with your strawberry garden.

Your crop yielded a nice collection of strawberries and you enjoyed a few tasty desserts. This year you might triple your strawberry plants and instead of eating them all right away, or giving them away, you make strawberry preserves. You’ll now be able to enjoy your strawberries all year long. Learning to cook what you grow from scratch is more of an art than a science. Enjoy the process!

English: Cabbage for lunch These healthy-looki...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3. Animal husbandry – The third element of homesteading is animal husbandry, or raising animals. You might raise goats for goat milk and cheese. You could raise chickens for their eggs.

You can also venture into fish farms and aquaponics. This is a bigger step for some and you’ll have to check your local zoning ordinances to make sure it’s okay to raise livestock in your yard.

As you might suspect, when you begin homesteading there can be some significant financial benefits. In the next post next week, we’ll take a look at those benefits and provide some guidelines to help you save more money with homesteading.

self sufficient life

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