There are many trials and tribulations when living on a small scale mini farm. Micro homesteading is challenging, but the joys and rewards are far-reaching indeed. I owned what I would call a ‘micro-homestead’ while living in rural Australia between 2005 – 2010. 4 1/2 acres of rich, loamy soil in a beautiful valley that reminded us of the rolling hills of England.
That ‘old country’ vista is probably what drove us to buy the place, whether subliminally or not, there was something about that spot that drew us to it. The old farmhouse was timber-framed, somewhat run down, but we made the best of it. Those cold Armidale nights in winter left us with icicles on the bathroom taps and olive oil that couldn’t be poured from the bottle until after 11 am.
But we loved that place. What was a blank canvas when we moved in, became a thriving micro-homestead with chickens, ducks, 3 sheep and a cow called Celia. We planted over 30 fruit trees and had a magnificently productive vegetable garden that gave us plentiful supplies during the growing season, and enough tomatoes to preserve into tomato sauce for use over the winter.
Homesteading On A Small Scale Takes Time And Patience
Homesteading farming, even on a small scale teaches you to be patient. It takes time to see plants grow, fruit appear, gardens to flourish. Patience was always a virtue that I didn’t possess in abundance, but taking the journey into a more self sufficient lifestyle teaches many lessons for life that are invaluable. Nature is never in a rush, even if we humans are!
Here’s a really inspirational video on micro homesteading, I think you’ll get some great ideas from this one.
Micro Homesteading Tips
Start Small And Enjoy The Journey – We are by nature, creatures that want it all NOW, the idea of waiting irritates us. In the 21st century, the ‘must have it yesterday’ mentality is growing. This causes a lot of problems with procrastination, depression, lack of drive and determination. We just don’t want to wait it out and see the fruits of our labor a year or two down the line.
The cool thing about starting small is that you get quick successes. As you read this article, I assume that you are looking for a way to become more self-sufficient and self-reliant. You can start that journey right now. The traditional view that homesteading requires hundreds of acres of land and huge cash injections is wrong. Start where you are right now and build from there, it really is that simple.
As an example. Learning how to ferment vegetables is something you could learn in the next 30 minutes. A quick trip to the local organic grocery store to pick up some cabbage and some salt, a couple of large jars, and you could be making your own healthy sauerkraut in a couple of hours. Sure, you didn’t grow the cabbage, but you are taking a step towards preserving food and eating a healthier diet. Win!
A homesteading lifestyle really is much more about a lifestyle and a philosophy, not about where you do it. Micro-homesteading is gaining a lot of traction as people begin to reject the traditions and norms that society has deemed appropriate for us.
Making a start is the important thing, earmark an area of your backyard to turn over to vegetables. Some used timber could be ideal for creating a raised bed, sheet mulching is a low cost and easy way to create a highly fertile vegetable bed over the existing lawn or a weedy area. A couple of hours work and you’ll have an asset that is going to provide you with food for years into the future.
Plant Perennials Now – Providing you’re not contemplating moving home anytime soon, getting a fruit tree or two planted THIS WEEK, an a few berry bushes is something you should get started on. Fruits and berries usually take a year or two to produce good crops, get them in the ground now and start reaping the harvest, perhaps even next year.
It’s super easy to put these things off, but if you buy one plant a week, get it in the ground, you are successfully moving in the direction of a wonderful micro homesteading lifestyle. It really is that simple and easy.
Join A Community Garden Scheme – If you live in a small property or are apartment homesteading, then you may have somewhat limited space to grow a lot of food (you’ll be surprised just how much you can grow on a balcony), and at the start, that quantity will be small.
Many towns and cities have community vegetable gardens, where you offer your labor for free, a few hours per month, and share the produce that is grown there. It’s a wonderful way to meet like-minded people too, you can build some incredible friendships as well as learning a lot about growing your own food.
Many community schemes also have an orchard too, so there are great opportunities to get some free fruit while your home fruit and berry plants are maturing.
These are just a handful of ways you can make a start. Check out my article on homesteading from scratch, it’s also full of many gems to inspire you.
I hope that my enthusiasm for micro homesteading has rubbed off on you a little? I am even more micro now, having returned to England from Australia at the end of 2010, and set up a wonderfully productive fruit and vegetable garden in a smaller property in a beautiful village in Dorset. The countryside is amazing, reminds me of the valley we lived in Australia 🙂
But my real advice is…. GET TO IT!!! There is never a better time to start than now, today, this very minute. Put it off and you’ll never great the lifestyle that you yearn. Trust me, procrastination is my biggest flaw, I struggle with it daily. But the homesteading life that I strive to live keeps me excited and moving forward.
Happy Micro Homesteading!