In these times that we are living in, homesteading skills are becoming more and more valuable. There are so many easy skills to help you start homesteading that are so easy to get started with. I’m sure most of us have asked ourselves throughout the last few years, “Are there food shortages?”, “What if the supermarket or department stores close?”. Learning more and more homesteading skills will give us all the ability to become more and more self-sufficient to alleviate these worries. These skills are not only important for survival, they are fun and rewarding too!
A few days ago, I proceeded to water a few plants in one of our indoor grow areas. I had re-potted some very pot-bound plants that were not looking good three days prior. Instead of tossing them, I spent a couple of hours pruning and re-potting them. In just three days they were glorious looking, all green again and fully recovered. Just seeing those plants and the fruits of my labor was well worth the effort that I had put into them!
What Is Homesteading?
Homesteading does not have to be living on a large acreage with tons of animals or a large pasture. Homesteading is a lifestyle that can be made up of a number of skills that will save you money, provide self-sufficiency and security, and give you a sense of accomplishment in your life. Simple homesteading skills can be included in anyone’s life whether you live in an apartment, an urban setting, an acre lot in the country like I do, or a large property.
Why Do People Give Up On The Idea Of Homesteading?
There are many different reasons why people give us homesteading and walk away from their dream of being as self-sufficient as possible. Here is a list of just three examples of why people give up.
- Goals & Commitment – When deciding to try your hand at homesteading you must be aware that you need to set goals and be committed to what you are trying to accomplish. You may have many other hobbies and commitments already in your life. If the homesteading life is important to you, be prepared to give up some of these other hobbies and commitments. It is important to me to make sure that my daughters have a home-made lunch every day for school…no pre-packaged foods. This takes an enormous amount of time, but this homesteading skill out-ways the importance of other things I may want to do during this time. Make your goal(s) and commit!!
- Hard Work – Homesteading takes hard work… and lots of it! When you first start out adding these skills to your daily, weekly, or monthly routine, you may not be prepared for all the back-breaking work that goes into it. For example, the first hot Saturday afternoon you decide to spend hoeing up those garden rows to prepare for planting you will be extremely sore come bedtime. Just remember, when the job is done YOU DID IT! Yes, all that hard work has paid off.
- Failure – When you are homesteading, especially when you are first adding a new skill, you must be prepared for failure or things not to turn out as planned. Let’s face it, no one wants to fail, but you have to be content in all things and embrace the failure and learn from it. If your first bean crop is a failure, don’t throw in the towel and never growing another thing in your life again. You need to learn from this failure, do more research, and find out what went wrong.
9 Best Skills To Help You Start Homesteading
Here are the top 9 skills to help you start homesteading. Most of these skills can be practiced in a very small homestead without the need for an acerage.
Skill #1 – Gardening
Gardening is one of the number one things we think of when we think of starting our homestead. While it isn’t as easy as putting a seed in the ground and watching it grow, you have to start somewhere. Even if you don’t have space for a big in-ground garden, try your hand at a small raised bed or an indoor windowsill garden. You can even start growing sprouts in your kitchen that take very little care and you don’t even need that much light. The possibilities are endless!
Skill #2 – Preserving Food
Preserving food for long-term storage is a very important homesteading skill! Whether it is that delicious food you just harvested from the garden or a load of meat you just scored on sale, it is time to find ways to enjoy it through the long winter months. There are many different ways to preserve food – water bath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, drying, fermentation, but the easiest way is freezing. Grab yourself a good old book filled with a wealth of information to keep on hand in the kitchen. Everything has a different life span and method to follow for proper food safety.
Skill #3 – Canning
While Canning fits in with the Preserving Food Tip above, it deserves its own place in this skills list. It is an essential skill every homesteader that is starting out needs to know. It is also my personal favorite!
You can learn this skill by asking someone to mentor you and show you how, but if you don’t know anyone with the time to do this you can always read articles and watch video tutorials. I started with the Very Informative Bernardin Website. They have a number of basic recipes that are perfect for a beginner!
I also recommend starting out with hot water bath canning before moving onto pressure canning. Most non-acidic foods like green beans, meat, and stews, can not be canned using the hot water bath method, so be sure to do your research before getting started.
Skill #4 – Chicken Keeping
While two of my girls are allergic to eating eggs plain (they can have them in baked goods), we go through a ton of eggs! With all our weekly baking, breakfast sandwiches, and potato salad, our eleven best friends come in handy.
I’m sure keeping chickens comes to mind when thinking of homesteading, right? Chickens give us eggs and meat along with all kinds of entertainment. You will need to provide shelter, food, water, cleaning maintenance, and some first aid care, but chickens are an ideal place to start when homesteading!
Skill #5 – Drying Herbs
Now that you have grown those amazing herbs that you have enjoyed fresh from the garden all summer, it is time to preserve them for later use. Not only is it more cost-effective than buying them at the supermarket, but your own herbs that you raised are also delicious! Drying herbs is the ideal way to preserve the flavor to use in all your homemade dishes. There are also many ways to dry herbs. Dried herbs provide almost as many nutritional benefits as eating herbs fresh from the garden if done properly. Add herbs to all your homemade dinners to add excellent flavor, and to provide a nutritional benefit!
Skill #6 – Making Bread
Baking your own daily bread is an amazing homesteading skill that can be practiced no matter where you live! It seems to be a skill that all our mothers and grandmothers did but has become a thing of the past. However, it seemed like everyone was going to try their hand at making bread during the recent lockdowns. I don’t know about you, but I had a terrible time finding yeast at the supermarket.
There are so many benefits to making your own fresh bread. Here are just a few:
- It is Fresh
- You can control what goes into your bread
- It is so yummy warm out of the oven
- It is a work of art!!
Skill #7 – Composting
If you have any type of garden, you will quickly discover that composting would be an excellent addition to your homesteading skills. Not only will it save you money in bags of soil, but composting will also save you money in fertilizers. Who doesn’t want to grow as organically as possible? Right? Composting is one of the best investments that you will make for your garden. It doesn’t have to cost you anything at all and it SAVES you tons of waste! Don’t forget better nutrients mean larger, tastier, and healthier plants.
There are many different ways to compost. The best way for you depends on how much space you have. To be honest, I just started composting within the last year. Wow! What was I waiting for? When we added chickens to our homestead last spring, I started by adding all the excess chicken poop and spent bedding. Since this time, I’ve been adding more and more items and am excited to learn and share more about my methods as I go along.
Skill #8 – Planting and Caring For Fruit Trees
One exciting homesteading skill is planting and caring for fruit trees! This skill will potentially feed your family fresh fruit for a number of generations. How rewarding is that? I started four several fruit trees and bushes over the last few years and boy has it been fun watching them get bigger and bigger with each year that passes!
While there is no need to re-plant these perennials every year, they do need care. It is important to learn how and when to prune them to ensure they stay disease-free and continue to grow. If you plan to start an orchard, do your research on care to gain maximum yields.
Skill #9 – Cooking From Scratch
Learning to cook from scratch is one of the best skills you need to learn in order to become more self-sufficient. It is also an important one that we should be teaching our daughters and sons.
Cooking from scratch helps us all eat healthier. Let’s face it, we really don’t know what is in all those processed foods at the supermarket. The skill of cooking from scratch helps us save our money and be as frugal as possible.
To attain cooking from scatch, try finding some great recipes that you know you and your family will enjoy. Whether it is your grandmother, the lady down the street, Youtube, or an old recipe book, grab it and get started. Once you start, you will never look back.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about these 9 Skills To Start Homesteading
These are 9 of many homesteading skills to help you start homesteading and to start you on a path to living a more self-sufficient lifestyle! This homesteading dream can go as far as you want it to.
Have you found or taught yourself a homesteading skill that you feel should be on this list? If so, I would love to hear about it! Please comment below and tell us about your skill that will benefit someone starting to homestead.