One thing I love about homesteading is that you can do it on any scale. It does not matter if you have many acres or a small apartment; you can do something to increase your self-sufficiency. In this specific post, I’m going to share how to homestead on a small property, because I think it is important to know how to cultivate a self-sufficient lifestyle regardless of circumstances.
When I first became interested in homesteading, we lived on two acres. I could have done a lot more than I did, but I did not realize it until we moved to a larger property.
So I thought it would be fun to provide some ideas of what I wish I would have done on that property to utilize it best for homesteading.
Side note: I’ve updated this post and added an upgrade to help you take action, which is in the ‘Take Action!’ section near the bottom of this post!
How to homestead on a small property
First, I want to point out is that two acres are not the smallest property you can homestead on. You will be able to take any of my ideas and scale them to your property size, even a small apartment.
The most important thing is to plan out what you have space for and what you actually care to do. Here is some food for thought before we get into how to incorporate homesteading onto your small property.
Things to consider before you start your homestead
1 // What homesteading activities do you enjoy? Do you enjoy gardening, caring for animals, preserving goods, etc.?
Regardless of how beneficial something is, if you do not enjoy doing it, you probably will not do it to its full potential.
You want to do more of what you enjoy because that will keep you focused on why you are doing this.
2 // Why are you homesteading?
If you know WHY you are homesteading, it does not always matter how much/little you enjoy something. You will do it because of your why.
3 // What are your zoning ordinances for where you live?
If you live in the city, be sure you check your zoning ordinances for what animals you can or cannot have. Also, your zone may have some crazy law/rule about something you may not expect.
It is not better to ask for forgiveness versus permission in this case.
4 // How much of your yard are you willing to devote to homesteading?
Do you have a small area in your backyard that you want to dedicate to homesteading?
Do you want to use every inch possible to dedicate to homesteading?
Answering these questions will help you determine which of the ideas shared is most beneficial for space you decide to dedicate.
5 // Will you grow vegetables, animals, or both?
One of the most important things for a small property is whether you want to grow just vegetables, just animals, or both.
Each needs their dedicated space, so be sure you consider that before bringing plants and animals home with no idea of what to do next.
Both can exist in a small space, and I will get to that a little further into this post.
Note that with a small property, you won’t be able to have several cows or horses.
These animals need a lot more space than a small property can provide, and I am not for putting a cow in a small 1/4 acre or smaller pen to be fed feed.
I think animals deserve more than that, but that is just me.
Related Post: Homesteading Books: My Current Collection & Wish List
Landscape ideas for homesteading on a small property
Small scale gardening
- Pick a space that gets 6+ hours of sunlight. This is what most vegetables/fruits/herbs need to grow and produce to their full potential.
- Make a list of vegetables, fruits, and herbs you eat [very important to only list what you eat], then plan accordingly.
- Be sure you give each plant proper spacing, or it will not grow as well due to root bound.
- Training vine plants to grow up a trellis or arched structure provides shade for plants that do not like the summertime heat versus letting the vines grow on the ground to take up unnecessary space. For example, cucumber is a vine plant that can provide shade for different lettuces, kale, or spinach. This also utilizes the small amount of space you have to grow as much as possible.
- Be sure to pick pots with enough space for the plant’s root system to grow well.
- These containers can be used as a patio boarder, mixed in with the landscape, or in a window sill [depending on the plant].
- Animals are completely possible for homesteading on almost any scale. Think rabbits, chickens, quail, pigs [stretching it, but definitely possible], goats, and any other smaller animals that does not need an entire acre to forage.
- Keep their use/purpose as priority. For example – if you want to enjoy fresh eggs, but also would like meat, a dual purpose bird maybe a good option. If you just want the meat with quick turn around and little space required, rabbits may be a better option.
Plant an edible garden landscape
- Mix in your herbs, edible flowers, vegetables, and fruits with your flower beds. The flowers help attract pollinators, which improves the harvest significantly.
- Planting your vine plants on a trellis adds appeal to your landscape, but also provides room for cucumbers, gourds, melons, and other vine plants.
Learn how to succession plant
- With having a small homestead, you want to get the best bang for your effort. With succession planting, you have the opportunity to have an ever changing landscape and make every plant count.
- When one plant has produced all it will produce, you plant something new in its place.
- This helps keep your soil healthy, too!
Plant dwarf size trees
- Small trees still produce, but they do not shade the yard like large trees do.
- Plant them in containers or within the landscape.
- You can plant fertilizing plants like comfrey around them as a dual purpose plant.
Window sill boxes
- Not only is it convenient to prune herbs for cooking, it creates a lovely aroma and adds curb appeal near eye level.
- These boxes can be used to grow edible flowers, herbs, or vine plants (depending on how much you want them to grow).
- It provides a second level of gardening that is wasted space without it.
- This allows you to grow vine plants into patio decking to provide shade for not only yourself, but also for plants that need less sunlight.
- Plant shade vegetables in containers and place under pergola to help extend growing season for these plants.
- Use hanging baskets as well for strawberries, herbs, or any other plant that does not require a lot root space to thrive.
How to make money on a small homestead
The last thing I want to cover in this post is how to make money on a small homestead. Believe it or not, it is possible to create an income from a small homestead.
These ideas aren’t the most common, but that’s part of the fun! There are hundreds of ways to make money on a homestead, but on smaller homesteads, you have to get creative.
1 // Sell extra produce
Have something growing in abundance that you aren’t sure what to do with and don’t have the space to preserve and store it?
Sell it! Don’t let it go to waste.
2 // Sell canned and/or baked goods at the Farmers’ Market
If you love canning, preserving, baking, or anything to do with making yummy goods, sell it at your local Farmers’ Market!
My neighbor is incredibly skilled and makes the most delicious jellies, jams, salsa, and more!
3 // Sell homemade goods
Enjoy making salves, candles, serums, soaps, etc.? This is something you can absolutely sell to make money on a small homestead.
4 // Sell medicinal herbs and recipes
Medicinal herbs like lavender, peppermint, rosemary, and more can be dried, oil-infused, or sold fresh.
There are many uses for these herbs and the things you can make with them.
5 // Sell eggs [for food or hatching]
If you choose to have chickens, sell their eggs! You can sell them as fresh or hatching eggs.
I’ve personally sold fresh eggs for a while, and had the best customers!
6 // Plant nursery
Skilled at propagating plants? Sell nursery size plants to sell. You could do this, even if you’re in an apartment.
7 // Start a fresh bait shop
Don’t mind earthworms? Consider starting a fresh bait shop.
You’re already attracting them when you plant a garden and tend to the quality of the soil, so use that to your advantage.
I know I’ve given you a lot to think about when it comes to learning how to homestead on a small property, but don’t worry! I have a workbook to help you answer the most important questions about getting started with a homestead.
You can download a copy of this workbook in the Resource Library! [If you don’t have access to the Resource Library yet, click the below photo to get access.]
There are many other resources in the library you can take advantage of using, too!
Hopefully, these ideas give you enough to get started on your homestead. Growing your own food is unlike anything else.
If I had realized I could have had a homestead on my previous property, I know I would have enjoyed it more.
There is no such thing as having too small of a homestead. Everyone can do something to live more sustainable.
Besides, trying something is always better than doing nothing, so never give up trying to live simpler.
If you have any questions about how to homestead on a small property that I didn’t cover or would like to contribute to the ideas shared, be sure to leave a comment!
Learning how to homestead on a small property comes in many forms, so if you have a unique perspective, I would love for you to share it!