What is homesteading? It’s really a mind-set—a desire to be self-sufficient. Learn more about homestead gardening—plus, here are three sample garden layouts to get you started.
What is Homesteading?
The word “homesteading” comes from The Homesteading Act of 1862 which encouraged settlement of the Great West by giving away free land to be farmed.
Today, the word homesteading simply refers to a lifestyle of self-sufficiency—whether you live in an urban apartment, in a suburban neighborhood, or on a rural farm. It’s about growing wholesome food, using less energy, preserving and canning, and more. The idea is simply to become a little more self-sufficient and a little less dependent on society and others.
While you can homestead in an apartment with a container garden, we’re going to focus here on a typical homestead garden which is usually larger than a typical backyard garden. Homestead gardens are grown as either a self–sufficient lifestyle choice or a market garden where excess produce can be swapped, bartered or sold.
While raised beds are increasingly common, most crops in a homestead garden are grown in traditional in-ground rows. Homestead gardeners may keep a few chickens for fresh eggs or keep bees within the garden, too.
Thrift is often a theme of homestead gardens, with gardeners keeping expenses as low as possible and growing a variety of high-value crops to minimize grocery bills. Many homesteaders preserve food with techniques such as canning and drying to provide homegrown food during the colder winter months.
By having a dedicated area or greenhouse for raising seedlings, follow-on crops can be readied to plant into areas after the first crop has been harvested, making an area doubly productive.
Learn more about the principals of homesteading (wherever you live from rural farm to urban apartment!).
Below are three free garden layouts created by Almanac readers with the Almanac Garden Planner!
1. Baldwin Homestead
Garden Size: 39’ 11” x 29’ 11”
Garden Location: Keysville, VA
Sun or Shade: Sunny
Garden Soil Type: Good Soil
2. Square-Foot Garden for a Homestead
“This is a my “chef’s garden” with lots of different veggies and fruit that we like to eat.”
Garden Size: 50’ 0” x 50’ 0”
Garden Location: North Kikos, Texas
Sun or Shade: Sunny
Garden Soil Type: Heavy, Clay Soil
3. Homestead Garden Layout
Garden Size: 50’ 0” x 92’ 11”
Garden Location: Alto, MI
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