Homesteading can be both rewarding and challenging, but with some clever homestead hacks, you can make your life as a homesteader easier and more efficient. I am a firm believer that you can homestead from anywhere and on any budget. I oftentimes receive flack about this opinion from random trolls on the internet who think homesteading is only for people with large chunks of land. Well, maybe when our great-grandparents were being given land by the government, that’s what it was. In modern day, homesteading has adapted to where you live! Even if you are in the city or have a small suburban backyard, you can use these hacks.
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These creative solutions can save you time, money, and effort while improving productivity and sustainability on your homestead. Here are the top 20 farm hacks to consider:
1. DIY Rain Barrel Irrigation:
Collect rainwater in barrels and use it for irrigation during dry spells, reducing water bills and conserving resources. I think it is neat that a resource like water falls freely from the sky, so why not utilize it? Even if it is a small bucket with a filter on your patio, collect your rain water!
2. Egg Carton Seed Starters:
Repurpose empty egg cartons as seed starters. They provide individual compartments for seeds and can be planted directly in the ground. I have friends who give me their egg cartons for my abundance of eggs during the summer and I will give them back eggs. Cardboard egg cartons can also be used in a compost.
3. Automated Chicken Coop Doors:
Install automated doors on your chicken coop to let your flock out in the morning and secure them at night without manual intervention. This has been a huge life saver here on my homestead. I love my automatic chicken door so much! I spent months having to manually open the chicken run door—this hack has saved me loads of time.
4. Tractor Tire Planters:
Use old tractor tires as raised planters for vegetables or flowers. They are durable and provide excellent drainage. I have a few tires that I have repurposed. You can even use them for chicken dirt baths! Fill with dirt and let the chickens have a hay-day scratching and bathing about.
5. Homemade Compost Bins:
Build your compost bins from pallets or other repurposed materials to recycle organic waste and enrich your soil. You can even just have a pile on the ground. Composting doesn’t have to be difficult or a science. You can make it simple by DIY-ing a bin.
6. Solar-Powered Fence Chargers:
Use solar-powered electric fence chargers to keep livestock contained while saving on electricity costs. I use solar-powered electric fences and check on them a few times a month to make sure they are up and running. They are easy to setup and maintain.
7. Milk Jug Watering Cans:
Transform empty milk jugs into watering cans by poking holes in the cap for controlled watering. You can even bury the jugs in your garden beds for more efficient underground watering.
8. Homemade Pesticides:
Create natural pest repellents from household ingredients like garlic, soap, and water to protect your crops without harmful chemicals. Diluted raw milk can be used as a natural pesticide as well. I noticed that my trees that had more dirt on them from the road were more immune to pests as well—something to consider when planting.
9. Mobile Chicken Coops:
Build portable chicken coops that can be moved around your property, allowing chickens to graze different areas. This also will help enrich your soil as chicken droppings fertilize your property. I use a mobile goat pen to rotate my goats in the summer when the grass is long—similar idea.
10. Mulching with Newspapers:
Lay down newspapers between rows of crops to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. Save your newspapers to put into your compost as well.
11. Repurposed Pallet Projects:
Use old pallets to build compost bins, raised beds, or storage solutions. I am currently using old pallets for goat beds with their bedding on top of the pallets. This keeps them off of the ground in the winter.
12. Baling Twine Organization:
Keep baling twine tidy and accessible by storing it in a plastic container with a hole for easy dispensing. I have used twine to go across my chicken run to deter birds of prey from swooping into my chicken run—they don’t like enclosed spaces so twine running back and forth over the run helps keep them out.
13. Homemade Insect Traps:
Craft traps using empty plastic bottles to attract and capture insects that harm your plants. Depending on the pest, you will want to use different bait. Be sure not to lure in honeybees as they are attracted to sugar water. If you lure in honeybees, let them go!
14. Wheelbarrow Workstation:
Attach a wooden board to your wheelbarrow to create a mobile workstation for potting plants or mixing soil. When you are planting in the spring, having a workspace to mix soil makes a different especially if you don’t have to bend over to mix the soil.
15. DIY Garden Tool Rack:
Organize your tools with a homemade rack made from PVC pipes or wooden pallets. You can even use PVC pipes as chicken feeders!
16. Automatic Watering System:
Set up a drip irrigation system with timers to ensure consistent watering for your garden or crops. Drip irrigation will save you time in the garden. I learned this because I was constantly having to a move a hose around my garden in the summer. With drip irrigation, I turn it on once and everything gets watered.
17. Homemade Seed Tape:
Make your seed tape by mixing seeds with a paste of flour and water, allowing for precise seed spacing when planting. This is an easy garden DIY to help you keep organized while planting your garden in the spring.
18. Cattle Panel Trellises:
Use cattle panels to build sturdy trellises for climbing crops like tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers. Secure the panels with t-posts and t-post clips. I use this for my berries, tomatoes, and any trellising plant—so easy!
19. Epsom Salt for Soil:
Improve soil fertility by adding Epsom salt to provide essential magnesium and sulfur to plants. Run soil samples to ensure your soil is getting the proper nutrition and additives.
20. Rain Gauge for Watering:
Place a rain gauge in your garden to measure rainfall and determine when additional watering is needed. Make sure to record the rainfall and weather in a journal so you know what to expect year-to-year for your gardening.
These homestead hacks can help streamline your homestead, reduce waste, and promote sustainability while making your life as a homesteader more enjoyable and productive. Consider implementing these innovative solutions on your homestead to reap the benefits. I use these on my homestead, and I love the time I have been able to save!
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