Living off the grid is an attractive way of life for many people. It offers the opportunity to create a more self-sufficient and sustainable life with less dependence from modern day conveniences. Ultimately, this can allow for more freedom and fewer burdens. With a small piece of land or even just a front porch, you can fulfill your passion of becoming a self-sustainable homesteader. Below are 10 tips for micro homesteading to get you started.
Growing your own food
If you’re interested in a homesteading lifestyle, then growing your own food is probably at the top of your wish list. Although it can be very rewarding, it can also be challenging, especially if you don’t understand the gardening zone you’re located in. Do some research or ask your local garden center or farmer about what will grow in your zone during each growing season. You don’t need to have acres of land to reap the benefits of planting your own food. You can grow savory herbs on your windowsill, tomatoes on your front porch, and even cucumbers on a hanging trellis. Depending on your space restraints, you may also want to consider a compact stackable garden such as this one from Green Stalk Garden. These allow for a large variety of plants within a minimal space but will also limit your yield per plant. To determine what works best for you and your space, keep a record journal to track your harvest’s growth and note what worked well and what didn’t. If you are not yielding enough produce, you can always consider taking part in a local CSA.
Raising Backyard Birds
Chickens and quail are easy to raise and don’t require a lot of space, but they can also be a big responsibility. If you’re up for it, you can reap the rewards with fresh eggs year-round. And if you let them roam freely in your yard to eat the bugs, they’ll also be free-range. A small moveable chicken house on wheels works great for a micro homestead. Check out the Bayer Wheeled Tractor Hen House on Wayfair.com, or get creative and design your own. Before you build or buy a coop and get started, however, you’ll need to do some research to make sure your zoning laws allow backyard birds in your area. If chickens are not allowed near your tiny house, consider buying your eggs from local farmers.
A rain collection barrel is a great way to water your micro garden and backyard birds. Many counties offer bait to place into the rain collection barrels to help eliminate mosquitos that spread pathogens. Here’s an example of a 50-gallon rain barrel from Tractor Supply.
Supporting local farms
When you cannot yield enough crops or meat, supporting your local farmers is the way to go. Not only are you supporting local businesses, but you can ask questions and learn from the most knowledgeable people in your community.
Making kitchen staples from scratch
Learn the kitchen staples all pioneer families had to learn when they were homesteading. Sourdough bread starters, granola, kefir, ferments, pizza doughs, and pie crusts are all good staples.
Learning to preserve food
Learning how to preserve your own food by canning can save you time and money. Many counties have canning facilities that you can use for free. Check out the Homesteading Family on YouTube for canning ideas and tutorials.
Cooking meals at home
Cooking healthy and flavorful dishes at home can save you money and allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor by utilizing plants from your garden. Learning new styles of cooking and getting creative with your compost items make this challenge fun and rewarding! Check out The Well-Kept Kitchen by Gervase Markham (a manual from the 1600’s), browse Pinterest, or host a cooking class on zoom with other like-minded homesteaders to get ideas and inspiration.
Creating a compost bin
You can easily set up a compost bin on your patio or front porch. Pinterest has tons of fun ideas for DIY projects that can be completed in a weekend. Also, check out this mini compost bin you can place under your kitchen cabinet on Pela Earth’s Website.
Cleaning under your kitchen sink
If you want to go green (or more green), clear out the old bottles of cleaning supplies and create your own DIY versions. A good place to start is a multi-purpose spray made with vinegar, non-toxic laundry soaps, and non-toxic dish soap. If DIY is not your thing, check out the EWG’s Healthy Living Home Guide to learn about which green products to place under your sink instead.
Line drying your clothes
Use less electricity by line drying your clothing instead. Placing a small line between columns on your back porch or buying a drying rack is an excellent alternative to a standard dryer. Not only are you saving money and energy, but your clothing will smell amazing from the fresh outside air.