Clear all

Big list of WINNING homesteading stuff/concepts.

Member Admin

Throughout our homesteading adventures, we've run across a number of tools, concepts, tricks, realizations  and techniques that have proven to be extremely effective.  Here they are, stream of consciousness style. 


- Back to Eden Gardening.  If you want a drought/weed resistant crop, productive year one, this is the answer.

- Natural irrigation.  Rainwater harvesting.  Gutters/barrels.  Don't waste the rain.

- The Hori Hori style knife.  Awesome knife/spade/serrated edge.  THE gardening tool.

- Rocket stove technology.  Cheap, ultra efficient wood heating.

- 5 Gallon Buckets. Transport.  Storage.  Organization.

- Reliability over gadgetry, ALWAYS.  

- Primitive fall back equipment:  Snowblower -> Shovels, Chainsaw -> Axe/saws. Furnace -> Wood Stove.  Have an answer for when the engine dies.

- Backup equipment for critical devices:  pumps, wood stove fans, etc.  Buy spares while you can.

- Hugelkultur beds.  How about hugelkultur combined with back to eden gardening?

- Perennials; you cannot plant enough.

- The Foxfire series of books, IF you can find them.

- Raised beds made from large stones, instead of wood.  Get digging.

- You can never have enough screws.  And you can never ...

- A cordless impact drill (hammers and drills at the same time) means never having to drill a pilot hole.  I haven't used a drill in years.

- Rake up the forest floor; you have mulch.

- Tarps and paracord; always handy.  Never run out of storage space again! How about a mother in law suite?!

- Yarrow .. is a good herb to know about.  As is St. John's Wort.

- Calendula is easy to grow and prodigious -- same wit hops!  Same with Jerusalem artichoke (but yeeechhh!!)

- Pine needles + spruce needles + dandelion root:  a tea to know.  Look it up, allegedly a poor man's fluvoxamine.

- Country wines; often not the greatest tasting, but always face plantingly potent.  Carrot!  

- Linux/BSDs:  NEVER pay for software!  All Government I.T. people should be fired for not doing this a decade ago.

- Never plant raspberries or blackberries near your garden.  Put them fifty or 100 yards away from anything else.

- If you have animals on the farm, you will deal with blood and death; sometimes, by your hand.  Know what you're getting into.

- Pigs are quite fun to raise and feed .. and very hard to harvest.  They have personalities .. almost like dogs.  It is not easy to feed something for the better part of a year, and then kill it.  I did it once, with four pigs, and that harvest day ranks as one of the worst of my life; never again.  I don't even eat bacon anymore.  It was significantly more difficult than hunting a wild animal, which I also find difficult, but bearable.  Raising and harvesting pigs .. NOT for everyone.  I guess if you outsource the difficult bits, it wouldn't be AS bad .. but that's sort of cheating, isn't it?

- Chickens, on the other hand, in my experience, are vicious little nasties.  They will try to never show weakness .. because if they do, the rest of the flock will peck them to death.  They can be quite murderous.  If I were to ever open an eatery, which I never would, it would heavily feature chicken.

- Drainage.  If, after a big rain, you have pools of water in your garden .. you have drainage problems.  We lost an entire crop of garlic because we did not take this seriously enough.  Dig a trench.. remove the water.

- For most people, trying to harvest your own firewood is not gonna work.  If you are "one of those guys", then sure.  But if not .. no.  It's a lot of work, takes a lot of gas, it's a lot of moving wood .. it's relatively dangerous, and unless you have the right gear, it's totally inefficient.  Personally, I cut a cord or two per year, and buy the rest.  I burn my stuff (lower grade wood, deadfall wood, etc) in the fall and spring, saving the purchased hardwood for colder winter months.  My heating costs for the year, in Canada, are between $1200.00 and $1500.00 .. and using this "cut 1/3, buy 2/3" method, I don't have to break my back harvesting wood on a big scale, yet I DO get the exercise, and woods experience, of cutting a decent chunk of it.

- If you are burning wood in a large outdoor boiler .. burn BIG wood .. basically as big as will fit in the door.  It will burn for a LONG time.  I get a good base of coals going, jam a "can barely lift it" size of wood through the door .. stack a couple logs around it .. and forget about my fire for many hours.  The bigger the wood your burn, the better.  There is a bit of a learning curve .. you'll end up with 1/2 burned logs .. but you'll figure it out eventually.

- Wet wood is not all bad; in fact, it can be very useful if you want a slower burning fire.  Just make sure you have dry stuff to get the fire going in the first place!  A roaring blaze will easily consume a fairly wet piece of wood.  

- Plant 30% more than you think you'll need.

- Leather work gloves are extremely useful; have several (many) pairs.  You can often combine two ripped gloves to give you life out of them.

- Dust kale with diatomaceous earth to keep pests off.  Works wonders.

- If you need big quantities of soil or mulch .. have it delivered by the truckload.  If you are buying it in bags, in any serious quantity, you are doing it wrong.

- Wood ash... is NOT good for blueberries.  Unless you want small, crappy plants.  In which case it works perfectly.

- You can make your own lye with wood ash; add some fat, and you have soap.

- Dandelion .. is NOT a weed.  It can keep you alive.  Know it.

- The Broadfork; a manual, miniature tractor.  For ripping up turf, turning over soil, preparing beds.



Alright then.  Good luck out there.

This topic was modified 3 months ago by originalry
Topic starter Posted : 09/07/2022 9:12 am