5 Ways to Homestead without Animals

homesteading

We are currently in the research and planning stages of preparing for chickens and dairy goats. We want to make sure that we do our homework and get it right, so we can help educate our readers with the best information possible. In the meantime, I’m feeling a little like an imposter starting a homestead blog without any animals, but I realized, there are so many things you can do to homestead that don’t involve livestock. The barriers to entry are low but the impact is huge. Check out these 5 ways to homestead without animals to get you started on your homestead adventure!

  • 1. Cook from scratch

Learning to cook from scratch is a great way to get into homesteading. It can seem intimidating at first, but the more you practice, the easier it gets. I decided to start with a food staple that I eat every day, bread. There are so many benefits to baking your own bread: it’s healthier than most store bought options, it can save you money, and it’s delicious! For a great beginner recipe check out my No-knead Crusty Loaf Bread recipe.

  • 2. Preserve your own food

One skill that every homesteader should master is preserving your own food, and it’s way easier than you might think. It doesn’t even have to be food that you grew yourself. Food preservation allows you to stock up on fruits and vegetables that are in season, and continue to use them throughout the rest of the year. Water bath canning is one of the easiest ways to preserve food. You can use this technique with high acid foods such as fruits, jams, jellies, pickles, and relish. 

  • 3. Grow some windowsill herbs

I have a confession to make: my friends and family know me as somewhat of a plant murderer. I've always loved having plants around my house and in my garden, but I am terrible at keeping them alive. I even resorted to switching to mostly fake plants. Luckily, I’ve found that indoor herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow (and keep alive). Not only do they make your windowsill look adorable, you can use them in pretty much every dish that you cook! I recommend starting with some mint, parsley, and chives. 

Mint is an easy-to-grow and fragrant option for an indoor herb garden. Any variety of mint will do well indoors. My favorite thing about mint is that it is a natural spider repellent (I might be mildly arachnophobic). Place your mint in a bright room with sunlight and be sure to keep it well watered.

Parsley is one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors. Whether curly or flat leaf, it can add decoration and flavor to almost any dish. Place pots in the brightest light possible. 

Chives will make a great addition to your windowsill garden. These herbs add a subtle onion flavor to dishes and their blossoms are absolutely beautiful. Chives like full sun but will grow almost anywhere. 

  • 4. Start a compost pile

Composting is an easy way put your food scraps to work for you. It reduces landfill waste and provides nutrient-dense soil for your garden. 

-You’ll need a bin or container to put your compost in. You can go the fast and easy route of purchasing one like this. Or you can make your own. It should be at least 1 cubic yard. Place your bin in a shady spot in your yard.

-Your compost will need carbon (think brown). This comes from leaves, shredded paper, and coffee filters. Your compost also needs nitrogen (think green). This comes from food scraps, fruits and vegetable peelings and cores, and grass clippings. Things to avoid putting in your compost bin include dairy products, meat scraps, oils, and pet waste.

-You'll need to water to your compost regularly so that it stays moist. You should also turn or mix up your compost every 1-2 weeks to promote aeration.  

-You'll know your compost is ready when it’s dark brown in color and has no more traces of food waste. This typically takes 2-3 months.

-Use that nutrient-dense soil in your garden or indoor potted plants and watch them thrive!

  • 5. Repurpose old items

Homesteaders do not like to waste things. They also don’t like to go out and buy something that they can make on their own. We have become pretty resourceful when it comes to repurposing old items around the house. Once we did some internet browsing for inspiration, we were hooked. We have repurposed old wood pallets into a coffee table and wall art. We have used old bottles and jars for flower vases, and bushel baskets for a rustic farmhouse storage solution. The possibilities are endless. So next time you’re about to throw an item in the trash, consider if it can be up-cycled into something useful or beautiful. 

So there you have it. You do not need to raise animals to be a modern day homesteader. If you are still in animal preparation mode like me, if your current living situation doesn’t allow you to have a hobby farm, or maybe you just don’t want any critters, you can still homestead with the best of them.