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How to start a Homestead with nothing.

Updated on June 20, 2013

Where do you start?

I've recently started researching homesteading. I've become enthralled in the prospect of living off the land. Gardening, raising animals, and building my own home in the middle of nowhere. But like most people, I was dumbfounded on how to get started. I've spent many a night researching this topic. Where to start, what to do, how to garden etc etc.... There is so much information out there that I've decided it's going to be combined into a number of hubs. This hub is going to tell you what you need to get started with your homestead when you have nothing to start with. So hang on :)

Essential needs of the homestead

Land/Water

Shelter

Food


I'm going to help you get started on this journey.......Let you know how to find the land, what to look for on the land. Knowing if it has water sources. How to get your food source. And what kind of home you might need.

Land/Water

Well of course you will need land in order to start your homestead. But where do you find it? Obtain it? Well you have a few options when looking for the right land to begin your journey into homesteading

  • Family

Some people are lucky enough to have family that own plots of land. And when those family members pass on some people have land inherited to them. If you are one of those lucky people, GREAT. If not, SORRY :( Or you could be lucky enough to have land given to you via family or friends.

  • Local Newspaper

You can always check your local paper to see if there are any plots of land out there for sale for cheap.

  • Online

Believe it or not you CAN find land online. There are auction sites such as E-bay that usually have some land for auction. And if you are lucky, at times you can find land as little as $400 to $1,000 an acre.


Now you have to ask yourself, How much land do I need? I'd guess that anywhere from 1/2 an acre up to 5 acres are sufficient enough. It really depends on the size of your family and the size of the farm that you are going to want. You have to keep in mind that you will need room for animal pins, gardening, and other resources.

Don't jump into the first piece of land that becomes available to you. Do your research. First and foremost make sure that the land:

  • Is Habitable
  • Can produce crops (you do want to be able to eat right?)
  • Is in a non-flood zone
  • Is there a water source?

These are very important things to be thinking of when looking for land. Especially when it comes to your water source! Running, sufficient water is a must. Ask these questions when researching your land:

  • Does it have a ready well?
  • Can you drill a well?
  • Is there a decent running stream nearby?

(*A decent running stream can also provide you with free electricity as well)

This is the finished cabin for under $2,000
This is the finished cabin for under $2,000

How he built for under $2,000

The building of a cob house.
The building of a cob house.

Home/Shelter

OK, so you have purchased your land. You stand back, you survey your surroundings and are probably thinking.... "I need a place to live"

Of course, most people who think of home building think expensive, expansive, cost of materials etc etc....

But would you believe me if I told you, you can actually build a working, sustainable cabin for less than $2,000? Well if you are a starting out couple then it is very obtainable. The picture to the right and video can prove that to you. Also, you can add on at a later date if you choose to. Of course I'd be here forever if I told you step by step how to build a cabin. So I included the video I found. But what I will tell you is how to obtain a few materials for cheap or even free.

You can salvage materials for your new home on the homestead by going to the junk yard, harvesting parts from old RV's, campers or even run down mobile homes.

The parts that you can salvage are sinks, toilets, stove, fridge, windows, doors and possibly other appliances that you may need.

Of course if that seems to much to do for you, then you could always get back to your roots and build your own home with your own two hands from the earth. Yup, I'm talking about a Cob House.

Food

Of course food is an essential part of any homestead. Well, food is essential period. But when owning and operating your own homestead, food is vital. But, if you are anything like me.....You are use to the grocery store life. Never had to worry where the food was coming from. Jump in the car and go.

Well when maintaing and operating a homestead it's a little bit different.

Gardening will become a part of your everyday life. Growing and harvesting a garden is not that easy. I personally have no green thumb. I've never grown or taken care of plants a day in my life. So, needless to say, I've done extensive research on the subject. And I still feel at a loss when it comes to gardening. But my advice, and the advice of all the blogs and articles I've read is : START SMALL. Starting small will save you and your sanity extensive trouble in the future. Most homesteaders swear by greenhouses as well. You can build and maintain a very sustainable and inexpensive green house.

(I will cover the different types of greenhouses in my next articles on homesteading)

Gardening will become part of your everyday life once you get the hang of it I'm sure. In upcoming articles I will cover the different types of food you should plant, when to plant them, how much to plant per person and so on. No fear, I will not leave you in the dark on this one. Because I'm still learning myself.

But of course, you are not going to want to live primarily off fruits, veggies and nuts and berries. You are probably gonna want some meat and milk as well right? Well here is where we talk about what types of animals are good for your homestead.

Personally, my choice of animals for a small sustainable homestead would be the following:

  • Chickens (free roaming)
  • Pigs
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Ducks
  • Cows


You are probably wondering why I chose those particular animals right? Well all of these animals generally replenish themselves and are primarily very low maintenance. Which is a good thing when operating a homestead. Also these animals provide you with:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Wool
  • Feathers
  • Lanolin


(I wasn't really sure what Lanolin was so I had to do a little research. But if you just CLICK HERE you can learn all about it)

These, of course, are just the basics when it comes to the food you will need for your homestead to maintain. You will need to know what foods you will want to grow and so fourth and what animals you will want to have. But I think you have the jist of it now.

When and if you do decide to start your own homestead, my personal advice would be to learn the following skills:

  • Learn how to garden
  • Learn how to can foods
  • Obtain a pressure cooker
  • Obtain a drying rack (or build your own)
  • Learn how to compost
  • Learn how to hunt for your own food (if you are into that kind of thing)
  • Learn how to preserve your meats for the long haul



Finally the end

Thank you so much for your time in reading this hub. I hope that I have taught you something about the basic needs and essentials of homesteading. Please look for future hubs that will talk more in depth about other topics of homesteading.

What to look for hubs about:

  • Gardening
  • Composting
  • Canning
  • Making your own cheeses (and how to wax them)
  • How to use a decent running stream for free electricity.
  • How to have no utility bills
  • How to cure meat
  • How to build your own solar panels

And the list will and can go on. But for now I'll leave you with this. I welcome your feedback in the comments! Can't wait to know what you think and if you have any tips to add!!!!

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      Natacha Yearwood 9 months ago

      Thank you so much for this article! I am currently living in big city New York and, while I love it, I am dealing with some health issues that are going to require a lifestyle and health change. I used to have a horse when I was little and mentioned to my sister that I would LOVE to find land where I could just have one or two and relax. The rest of our siblings apparently had the same idea and it slowly evolved into a family homestead dream! I have been researching for the past year and I just found a deal to purchase a plot of land for payments instead of a lump sum (better for my finances right now) while I continue to plan. It is a desert location and i am worried about water but I have been doing research on the local water tables, wells, and aquafiers. Thank you for the information here it is so nice to read kindred spirits in the same phase of our journey! Good Luck all!!