Top beginner homesteading mistakes you can avoid…quite a mouthful, right? But seriously there are some homesteading mistakes that you can avoid from the get-go and have a better experience. There are too many homesteaders, backyard farmers and the like giving up because they simply get overwhelmed or frustrated with the process.
Top Beginner Homesteading Mistakes You Can Avoid
Homesteading Mistakes – Over Estimating Your Skills
As homesteading mistakes go, this can be a killer for you, your space, your animals and your garden. If you’re reading blogs and books and you feel like you’re ready for the full homestead experience…you better reevaluate. Homesteading is a lifestyle not a cutesy picture in a gardening or homesteading magazine. You need to know what you’re doing before you jump in half-cocked. Passion is important but knowledge is power folks. Find yourself a hands-on mentor to help you learn the arts of homesteading; you may need more than one. There is a lot more to be learned by doing and reading than just reading alone. Take it from one who has learned some of this the hard way…
Homesteading Mistakes – Trying to Do It All at Once
Along the same lines of over estimating our skills, you can over estimate your time. Don’t try to feed your family off your garden the first year; there is a learning curve! If you put a lot of money into a big garden but then realize you don’t have the time to maintain it you’re going to lose money and you’re going to need to figure out how to feed everyone now that the garden isn’t paying off. Start small, and grow a little with each season or year. I started with 1 4×4 raised bed and I can tell you I learned a lot from that little garden.
Homesteading Mistakes – Not Being Reasonable With Your Space
If you live in a standard neighborhood you’re not getting a milk cow, ok? Honestly I know the pain of wanting to take on projects, livestock and expanding my garden but not having the space for it. Be reasonable with your homestead’s land – whether than is a couple acres or a patio outside your apartment. You need to know the required space for animals too. If you’re urban or suburban consider smaller animals that work better than larger livestock. You can do a lot with a small space, but not everything. If you try to put too much in that is legal or healthy, someone or something will end up paying the price. Either you’ll be overrun with pests in your garden and flies in your coops or you’ll be turned in to your city for code violations. Be reasonable.
Homesteading Mistakes – No Planning
This really should have been the first of the homesteading mistakes because it could save you from all the others. Planning is key to success. From planning out your garden, knowing the vegetables that grow best in your area and when to grow them; to mapping out your homestead for convenience to getting to livestock. What about planning who is going to take care of what on your homestead? Planning time is important too – everyone should know what their job is! What about tools? Do you have the right tools to tend to your animals and garden? What about your kitchen tools?
What’s the saying? Failing to plan is planning to fail. It is so true for homesteaders. You can avoid so many obstacles but planning it out first.
Homesteading Mistakes – Buying Land Too Soon
Yes, you can buy land too soon and cost yourself dearly. If you’re just starting out the best thing you can do is to make the best with what you have already. Even if you’re in an apartment you can learned container gardening, kitchen composting, and small livestock raising (I know people in apartments raising a few rabbits and quail). If you start out thinking you want land from the beginning you may end up biting off more than you’re ready to chew, or buying too little; heck you might even figure out this isn’t the life for you! Give yourself AT LEAST a year of making due with whatever space you already have; two years is probably better. Then give yourself time to research areas, are you considering a move? There is so much to think about when you’re going to buy a property.
Homesteading Mistakes – Budgeting
Budgeting, sounds like a dirty word to some people but it is essential to avoiding mistakes. You’ll need to decide how much money can you a lot to your new homestead venture for seeds, soil, feed, pots, canning equipment and so much more. Don’t forget to consider your water and electric may go up depending on your garden, livestock, etc.
You DO NOT want to get in debt because you didn’t budget properly. This sort of goes back to the whole planning concept. Don’t take on new animals, gardening space or projects until you know that you can afford them without using a credit card. Sure homesteading can help you live a more frugal life but that will take some time to implement, it won’t happen the first month and maybe not the first year that you’re doing it.
Set aside a monthly homestead stipend and stick to it. Reevaluate from time to time and adjust it accordingly.
Quinn at Reformation Acres has some printables that can help with budgeting and planning.
This post is not meant to discourage you; in fact I hope that it will save your a lot of frustration, time and money. I hope you can avoid the beginner homesteading mistakes that so many of us (including me) have made.