If your answer is no – you probably don’t belong a homestead. Growing your own food – mobile food or not is the center of a homestead. Do you have experience raising food? If not, you should get started BEFORE you buy your homestead.
Unless you live in a hole in the ground with zero access to sunlight, you read that right. Start growing your food now. Why? Because it’s hard! Really, really hard. Very rarely can you just toss a seed in the ground, walk away, and a few months later have something edible. You might luck out, but your chances are pretty slim. Just some herbs in the window will teach you so very much, and you are growing something yourself!
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… ” ~Theodore Roosevelt
Do you want to garden?
Yes. You want to garden. You need to garden. Planting a garden is growing your own money; however, as I pointed out before, it isn’t always easy. There are a lot of factors to consider when thinking about what you will grow one day. I recommend referencing my earlier post on what experience you have. It plays a huge part in what your first year, second year and tenth-year garden will look like. Sit down with your team and ask and answer questions honestly. These questions are just the jumping off point. Write down your answers in your notebook. A notebook? Did you start one yet? Might be a good idea. Homesteading is about learning and improving from year to year, and unfortunately, our memories rarely improve year to year.
- Have you ever planted a garden before?
- How big of a garden did you plant?
- What have you planted before?
- What do you like to eat?
- What do you hate to eat?
- What’s the soil like where you live or will live?
- What’s the weather like?
- How will you protect your food?
- What will you do with your food after you harvest it?
New to gardening?
Plan to start small and work your way up. There’s nothing more tempting once you sign the deed to your homestead then to start tilling up land to garden. We did that. Nearly half an acre and our first garden and second were gigantic failures, and I wasn’t a complete novice at gardening. Going in, the best I had managed was a 20×20 community garden plot and helped my parents in their small garden in our back yard growing up. So we had to shrink back and build up – slowly. We spent a lot of time in the garden.
If you haven’t already bought your homestead, invest in some books and spend a lot of time on the internet searching. If you already have your homestead – winter is around the corner. I highly suggest you start reading up on gardens. There are a lot of schools of thought when it comes to gardening – read a few and see what resonates most with you. Below are the three I use that have yielded quite a bit of success
- Square Foot Gardening
- Back to Eden Organic Gardening – watch for free online! Legally!!!
- Gardening by the Moon
Also, consider where you live or will be living. I live in Northern New England and without a lot of input and infrastructure, I’m not going to grow pineapple anytime soon outdoors. Look at the USDA hardiness zones and determine the length of your growing season.
Next Lessons Learned series post: Will you raise livestock?