Backyard Homestead Ideas
The world is growing increasingly more complicated and interconnected, making it difficult to unplug and sit back to enjoy life. That sensation of always being on the go leads some people to yearn for a simpler life (or at least one that’s more hands-on). That’s a noble goal! It’s more attainable than you think, too. When you think of homesteading, you likely have visions of sprawling farms and a lot of space to work with. Living in an urban or suburban area makes that seem out of reach, even impossible, but there are ways to reap the benefits of a backyard homestead without all the space.
Do you yearn to grow herbs and vegetables so you can make a hardy homemade meal? Do you want to supplement your groceries with fresh additions of your own? You can do either, both, or more with backyard homesteading. You don’t need a ton of land or a wide-open farm to begin. It’s possible in practically any living situation, and there are many ways to incorporate backyard homesteading into your life. Below are some excellent tips for getting started on your homesteading journey.
Grow a Garden
Creating a garden to grow fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs is one of the biggest draws of a backyard homestead. With grocery prices constantly rising, it’s understandable that so many people get pulled into the idea of planting, growing, and harvesting their own food.
Fortunately, gardening is easy to break into! While there are a few crops that need room to spread out, many don’t need much space at all. You can grow them in the comfort of your backyard or even the smallest spaces like a balcony as long as you have an available area getting at least eight hours of full sun per day.
Patio Container Gardens
Container gardens make it very easy to get started with gardening and a multitude of compatible crops to choose from. Choose a container with good drainage, such as a large pot or barrel. Most plants need at least a five-gallon container, although there are a few (like lettuce) that can grow in only two gallons.
No matter the size of your container, it’s important to remember that they limit the amount of root growth plants have. Compact varieties of plants do better in containers, and luckily popular (and delicious) vegetables, herbs, and fruits qualify. Here are just a few of the plants well-suited for patio container gardens:
- Citrus trees
That’s only the beginning. Dedicate a well-lit space to your container garden, ensuring it gets the much-needed eight hours of sun per day, and you’ll feast on your freshly grown produce soon enough!
Vertical Garden on a Fence or a Wall
If you’re limited on space or want to fit in some extra grow room, vertical gardening is an excellent option. If you can’t grow out, you can grow up instead. Many vining plants are perfect for crawling up a trellis, stakes, or cage. Vertical gardening occasionally takes some extra work, especially if you have to train your vines to climb up the structure in place, but it’s well worth the effort. This space-saving gardening technique yields healthy harvests of:
- Summer Squash
- Various Melons
- Green Beans & Pole Beans
In addition to vertical gardens with trellis, stakes, or similar structures, try vertical pallet gardens. They’re fun to look at and are capable of growing herbs and a few varieties of vegetables alongside different types of flowers.
Establish a Water Source
Water is incredibly important to backyard homesteading. Many people interested in the practice want to minimize their footprint and live more sustainably, so whipping out the hose or filling up bottles at the faucet every time your carrots need water goes against the idea. If you live in an area where water is scarce, finding a sustainable water source becomes more critical.
There are a few different ways to source water, and you can mix and match or combine different methods to get the most water available.
- Collect – If there’s a spring, river, or another source of moving water near you, collect it to water your garden and sustain your backyard homestead. If the water source is on your property, look into safe redirecting options (if possible). Standing water, like a lake or a pond, is another option for collection.
- Wells – Digging a well isn’t an option for everyone and it requires upkeep. If it is possible, it’s a reliable source of water.
- Rainwater – Rainwater collection is a tried-and-true water source, and the method has been around since long before the concept of “homesteading” existed. The collection is as simple as putting out a barrel to catch rain as it falls or as complex as rigging up a whole system that feeds into itself. Use rainwater for watering plants, and it’s drinkable when filtered.
- Greywater – Greywater is the leftover water from washing dishes, bathwater, doing laundry, and so on. That water typically gets flushed away into the sewer, but diverting it is an inexpensive way to water your garden.
Composting is the backbone of any homesteading effort. Fortunately, like gardening itself, there are many ways to make it fit the area you have. If you have adequate outdoor space, start a compost heap. If you’re pressed for space, though, compost tumblers and worm composters are available in smaller, easy-to-manage sizes. Those methods also keep odors contained – no neighbors will notice the smell.
Compost is an unbeatable fertilizer. When you make your own, you know exactly what goes into it, where it comes from, and how your food is grown!
Backyard Homesteading is for Everyone
Homesteading isn’t intimidating. All it takes is putting that first foot forward and knowing you can do it. If you’re interested in backyard homesteading and are local to the Stoney Farm area, take things one step further and check out the garden plot rentals offered by Stoney Farms. Here is a video to help you see what our gardeners receive when they rent at our farm! Get your plot, Gardening 101 class, and even coaching to help you reach all your homesteading goals. There are three size options available and each rental runs from April through to October. Happy planting!