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What is homesteading? It’s really a mindset—a desire to be self-sufficient. Learn more about growing in a large vegetable garden or on a small farm. 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, homesteading is about more about an attitude and lifestyle of self-sufficiency and becoming less dependent on having others provide for you; it’s about actually knowing how to grow food, preserve food, minimize waste, use less energy, and raise animals such as chickens and bees.
While a homestead garden can truly be any size, they tend to be larger because the aim is to live off the land as much as possible. However, if you’ve never gardened, we would not recommend starting with one of these larger garden plans. It’s best to start small, learn about gardening, and have room to expand later.
While raised beds are increasingly common, most crops in a homestead garden are grown in traditional in-ground rows. In addition, many vegetables grown in a homestead garden are high-yield crops that can be stored (examples, beets, onions, carrots, potatoes).
To take this further: 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!).
Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprise that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann