These 70 Gardening and Homesteading Hacks Will Blow You Away

gardening hacks featured

by Alina and Tara

Homesteading can be so rewarding, but also extremely time-consuming, which is why we have put together these 70 gardening and homesteading hacks to make your life so much easier. From homemade fertilizers using kitchen scraps to tips on increasing your harvest, these hacks will no doubt inspire you in so many ways.

#1. Use Old Wood Pallets as Raised Beds

There are so many ways in which you can turn old wood pallets into raised beds, or vertical gardens. Growing in pallets, especially vertically, is ideal for small acreage or backyard homesteaders. The space-saving gardening containers could allow you to increase the annual crop yield substantially, perhaps even doubling it! Take a look at this video for some ideas:

However, make sure that the pallets you are using have not been chemically treated, as this could be unsafe for any edible plants.

#2. Keep Birds and Squirrels Away From Your Fruit Trees

If you have been having problems with birds and squirrels getting to your fruit before you do, there is an easy way to keep them away. Simply gather up some old CDs and DVDs, and then string these up so that they are hanging throughout your trees. Birds, especially hawks, have magnified vision. The dangling discs will act as prisms and cause the birds to think an animal larger than themselves, has already staked out a claim to the area and fly away. You could also use old aluminium pots and pans.

The birds and squirrels do not like the sun being reflected in these items, and will stay away from those trees.

 #3. Grow Bigger, Bushier Herbs

 While you may be tempted to save your favorite herbs for a special occasion, pinching off the upper portions of your herb stems will actually encourage their growth. Herbs are genetically inclined to multiply, so pinching off the top stems sends a signal to dormant leaves to start growing outwards as well as upwards.

#4. Blend Up Kitchen Scraps for a Quick and Easy Fertilizer

If you do not have the space for a compost heap, or have just not gotten around to getting yours started yet, there is no reason why your kitchen scraps need to go to waste. Avoid using any scraps that contain fatty meats or extensive amounts of citrus.

Instead, throw them all into a blender and add a bit of water before blitzing it all up. You can then apply this mixture around the base of your plants. Since you have blended them, this will help to speed up the composting process.

#5. A Drop of Oil

 To prevent mosquitoes, as well as other insects, from breeding in your bird baths and water barrels, add a few drops of vegetable oil to the water. This will form a thin film over the surface of the water, which will not deter the birds, but will prevent the insects from breeding.

 #6. Turn a Milk Jug Into a Watering Can

Can’t find your watering can anywhere? Simply grab a clean, empty milk jug, and use a sharp object, such as a pen or a needle, to poke holes through the lid. Then, fill the jug with water and give your plants a drink!

#7. Dwarf Fruit Trees for Small Spaces

 Many homesteaders think that they need large amounts of land in order to grow fruit trees, but this is no longer true. There are now dwarf varieties available of just about every fruit out there, meaning that you can grow all of your favorites in a small amount of space.

Growing dwarf fruit trees also permits you to grow non-native plants outside of their native environment. I have successfully grown dwarf banana, coffee, orange, and lemon trees in southern Ohio by simply moving them indoors during the cold weather months.

 

#8. Make Your Own Garden Markers

Labeling your plants is always going to be useful, but not only do store-bought plastic labels look unsightly, they are not very environmentally-friendly either. Instead of buying your garden markers, try making your own using items that you have lying around. Here are a few ideas:

  • Paint plant names onto large stones or rocks
  • Use pieces of broken pots as markers
  • Place the empty seed packets in upside-down mason jars
  • Write on bricks with permanent marker
  • Pierce wine corks through wooden skewers, as this video will show you in more detail:

 #9. Use Your Poultry to Fertilize a Plot Before Planting

 Chicken and duck manure makes a great fertilizer, and, if you have your own chickens, there is nothing quite like getting it straight from the source. Before preparing a plot for planting, create a temporary pen for your chickens, keeping them in there for a week or two, depending on the size of the plot. Not only will they fertilize the soil with their manure, but they will also peck away any pests.

Place a tub with a little bit of dirt beneath your rabbit hutches to collect their droppings and used the mixture as a nutrient-rich seed starter soil, as well.

#10. Use Empty Mint Containers to Store Seeds

Mint containers make such great seed containers. All you need to do is clean them out, pour the seeds in, and then stick the growing instructions onto the front.

 #11. Make Your Own Rainwater Barrel System

Tap water contains chlorine, as well as other substances, that inhibit the way in which a plant is able to take in water. This is why so many homesteaders prefer to harvest rainwater to water their plants with instead.

Making your own rainwater barrel system is not difficult, and all you need is a couple of trash cans and some PVC pipe. For full instructions, take a look at this video:

#12. Start Your Seeds in Empty Toilet Paper Tubes

 Toilet paper tubes are biodegradable, and are also the perfect size for starting seeds in. Simply fold the tubes into a square shape, cutting flaps on one end so that you can properly close them off.

Check out this video for more detailed instructions:

#13. Add in Mulch to Cut Back on Weeding and Watering

 Adding a mulch around your plants is a great way to cut back on weeding, as the mulch suppresses the weeds from growing. It also reduces the need for watering, as it retains water and slowly provides this to the plants. This practice will be especially useful when faced with drought conditions during the growing season.

Here are a few ideas on what you could use as a mulch:

  • Dried leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Straw
  • Shredded bark
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Animal manure
  • Cardboard

Take a look at this video to see how to mulch a vegetable bed:

#14. Recycle Your Coffee Grounds

 Mix old coffee grounds into the soil for a rich boost of nutrients, as well as to deter aphids.

#15. Finding the Best Spot

If you are trying to work out the best spot in your garden for new plants, simply place them, in pots, in your preferred positions for a few days. This will give you the opportunity to see how it works in that spot, while giving the plant a chance to adapt to its environment before it leaves its pot.

#16. Use Old Cooking Water to Fertilize Plants

Rather than throwing out the water that you have boiled vegetables in, set this aside and leave this to cool. Then, use this water to water your plants, giving them a boost of nutrients at the same time.

#17. Use Gutters to Create a Vertical Garden

Use old gutters as planters to create your own vertical garden – perfect for those who are short on space.

#18. Use Beer Traps to Catch Slugs and Snails

 Are slugs and snails eating their way through your crops, no matter what you do to deter them? One way to catch them that never fails is by setting out beer traps. Simply fill a shallow dish with some beer, and set these out around your vegetables. The slugs are attracted to the scent of the beer, and will climb in to have a drink, but will not be able to climb back out.

#19. Plant Beds Densely

Nature does not like empty spaces, and will quickly fill them with weeds. To prevent this from happening, make sure that you plant your beds densely, so that there is no room for weeds to grow.

#20. Use Wood Ash as Fertilizer

If you use a fire to heat your home, then you should definitely be saving the wood ash to use in your garden. Wood ash is packed with calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and magnesium, and also contains iron, sodium and zinc.

Either add it straight to your soil, put it in your compost bin, turn it into a tea, or dust it over your lawn, all of which this video will explain in more detail: If you have ample wood ash, pour some into a shallow tub or inside an old tire and place it in your chicken run. The hens will go nuts over their new dust bath tub. Dust “bathing” is a social activity (boredom buster) for the hens and it helps cut down on mite infestations in both the birds and their coop.

 #21. Preserve Fresh Herbs

A quick and easy way to preserve fresh herbs is by chopping them up and placing them into ice cube trays. Top with olive oil or melted butter and then freeze. Use them on everything from roast vegetables to grilled steaks.

#22. Mix Packing Peanuts in With Potting Soil for Large Pots

Filling large pots can be expensive, but rather than filling the whole pot with potting soil, try mixing in some packing peanuts. Not only does this mean that you will use less soil, but it will also help to improve drainage, and make the pot much lighter if you need to move it.

 #23. Don’t Dig Wet Soil

You should only be digging your soil when it is relatively dry, because, if it is damp, it will become compacted, which is never good. If the soil is sticking to the soles of your boots, then this means that it is too wet, and you should save that job for a drier day.

#24. Keep Your Cut Flowers Lasting Longer

 One of the rewards of growing flowers is that you have a never-ending supply to fill vases with in your home. To keep your cut flowers lasting even longer, make sure that you cut the at a 45 degree angle, as this creates a larger surface area from which the flower can draw up water.

#25. Use Honey to Root Your Plant Cuttings

 Rather than buying rooting hormones to root your plant cuttings, give honey a go, as this antibacterial ingredient has similar properties. Honey contains certain enzymes that promote the growth of roots, making cuttings so easy to propagate.

 #26. Protect Your Tools From Rust

Fill a bucket, or a large terracotta pot, with some abrasive sand, and then mix in some mineral oil. To store your tools, simply place them into the bucket. Each time you do, the abrasive, oily mixture will clean, sharpen and lubricate them, while protecting them from rust.

 #27. Soak Seeds Before Planting

If you want your seeds to germinate faster, try soaking them overnight before planting them into soil. However, make sure that you do not soak them for more than 12 hours, as the seeds will begin to decompose after this.

#28. Help Potted Plants Retain Moisture With Diapers

This hack is especially useful if you live in a hot climate, as it will save you from having to water your plants quite so often.

Simply place a (clean!) diaper into the bottom of a pot, making sure to have the absorbent side facing up. Then, fill it with soil, as well as your plants, and water.

Alternatively, soak a diaper in water and then tear out the diaper polymer inside, before mixing this in to your soil. This video will show you how:

#29. Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Boost the Immunity of Your Animals

Whether you have chickens, goats, or anything else, apple cider vinegar is a natural way to boost the immune system of animals, humans included. This is a great supplement to include in their water or food in the winter months, as it will help to prevent illnesses and infections.

#30. Keep Seeds Consistently Moist

Some seeds, such as carrots, need to stay consistently moist in order to germinate. If you live in quite a dry environment, try sowing your seeds, watering them in, and then placing a wooden board over them.

This will help to prevent moisture from evaporating, keeping it in the soil and speeding up germination. However, make sure that you check underneath the board each day, as you will need to remove it once your seeds sprout.

#31. Cover Plots with Black Plastic to Keep Soil Warmer and Reduce Weeds

Having to wait until the soil sufficiently warms up in the spring before planting anything out can be frustrating, but, by covering your plots in black plastic sheeting over the winter, this keeps soil temperatures raised, therefore extending your growing season.

Plus, as a huge bonus, the black plastic smothers out any weeds, giving you a clear plot to work with come spring.

Check out this video to see black plastic being used for this purpose on a commercial scale:

#32. Mix Tiny Seeds with Sand

Some seeds, such as carrot seeds, are so tiny, which makes sowing them thinly quite a challenge. To make this easier, mix your seeds in with some sand before sowing them.

#33. Do Not Weed When It Is Dry

 When weeding your garden, it is always best to do this when the soil, as well as the weeds, are damp. This will help you to make sure that you are able to pull the whole weed out, from the roots, rather than having a dry and brittle weed snap halfway down in your hands.

#34. Make Use of Companion Planting

Companion planting refers to planting two or more plants together to either enhance their growth, or protect each other from pests. Here are a few companion planting combinations that you can try:

  • Tomatoes and marigolds
  • Onions or garlic chives and carrots
  • Sage and brassicas
  • Beans and nasturtiums
  • Borage and strawberries

#35. Grow Hardy Herbs in the Cracks of Your Paving Slabs

Tired of having to weed between all of your paving slabs? Try filling these gaps with a useful hardy plant instead. Creeping thyme is a great example of this, and makes for a beautifully-scented ground cover.

#36. Test Leftover Seeds Before Planting Them

If you have old or leftover seeds and you are not sure whether they are viable or not, there is a way in which you can test this out before taking the time to plant them all.

By using this paper towel method, you will be able to see whether or not your seeds will germinate, saving you from planting worthless seeds in your garden:

#37. Rake Your Pond Algae Away

If you have a small pond that is forever getting filled with weeds and algae, there is an easy way to clear this. Use a garden rake to rake the surface of the water, pulling all of the algae and weeds towards you, and then out.

If you have some extra cash to splash, you could invest in a pond rake, which will make the job even faster. I algae is a constant problem on your pond, consider learning how to use it to make your own biodiesel fuel!

 #38. Use Potato Plants to Clear Weed-Filled Ground

Potato plants have an aggressive foliage, and this was traditionally used to break in new ground. Potato crops fiercely compete with weeds for nutrients, light and water, and quickly drown them out, turning unusable land into beautiful, crumbly soil.

If you can spare the time, try planting a crop of potatoes in a weed-filled area, rather than battling with the weeds by hand.

#39. Quickly Ripen Green Tomatoes

Need to quickly ripen green tomatoes? Try placing them into a paper bag with a banana. The banana releases a gas called ethylene, which speeds up the ripening process.

#40. Invite Pollinators In

No matter what you may be growing, pollinators are important, and you should be trying to attract them into your garden as much as possible. These are a few edible plants that are great for attracting pollinators:

  • Borage
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Yarrow
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Fennel

 

 #41. Make Use of Crop Rotation

Crop rotation refers to growing specific vegetables in certain areas of your plot each year. For example, plant brassicas in soil that has previously had legumes in it, because the legumes will have added nitrogen to the soil, which will be extremely beneficial to the brassicas.

Crop rotation helps to avoid nutrient depletion within your soil, and will also reduce pests and diseases.

#42. Make Use of All Your Space

A lack of space is such a common complaint, but many people are not actually maximizing the use of the space that they already have. While growing food in a garden may be the traditional way of doing things, there is no reason as to why you cannot grow food, and other plants, in other, more unusual places.

Here are a few ideas:

  • The external walls of your house, garage, and outbuildings
  • Lining your garden walkway
  • Hanging from fences
  • Climbing up a mailbox post
  • Climbing around balconies
  • On windowsills
  • Grow edible landscaping and medicinal plants in flower beds and in hanging containers on your deck
  • Attach pallets to the exterior walls of the chicken coop to grow sprouts and medicinal herbs to feed to the flock
  • Have a barn? Grow oats and barley in containers attached to the exterior walls as a treat for the horses
  • Use containers of all shapes and sizes to grow various crops and herbs around your property. Tomatoes and potatoes make excellent large container crops
  • Use hillsides and other non-level ground to grow vine crops like pumpkins, cucumbers, and zucchini

#43. Turn Empty Soda Bottles Into Mini Greenhouses

Want to give your seedlings a bit of a head start in the spring? Cut around the base of empty, clean soda bottles, and then place these over your planted seedlings. Not only will they provide some extra warmth, but they will also keep pests away.

If you are leaving the lids on the top, do not forget to pierce some holes in the bottle so that your plants can breathe. You will still need to remove the lids each time you water the seedlings.

 #44. Let Your Compost Settle

New compost takes some time to integrate and stabilize with the existing soil. When you have added new compost into your soil, give it two to three weeks to do this before adding in any plants.

 

#45. Plant Herbs to Repel Mosquitoes

Sick and tired of getting bitten by mosquitoes every time you are working outdoors? There are certain herbs and plants that repel mosquitoes, so try planting these strategically around your garden.

A few ideas include:

  • Marigolds
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Pennyroyal

#46. Grow Rose Cuttings in Potatoes

Potatoes provide the perfect amount of moisture and nutrients for rose cuttings to quickly develop strong and healthy roots. While this may look quite wacky, this is a great way to propagate your roses. Simply push your cutting through a potato before planting it, so that the cutting is kept consistently moist.

 #47. Make the Most of Cinnamon

 Cinnamon is something that just about everyone has in their kitchen cupboard, but did you know that you can use it in your garden too? A sprinkling of cinnamon can do everything from repelling pests to preventing mold to helping cuttings take root faster.

Cinnamon has a host of medicinal properties for both humans and animals. Sprinkling a little bit of cinnamon into the flock waterers may help prevent common and often deadly, chick ailments.

#48. Border Planning

When planning a border, try to keep your early flowers towards the back. This way, you will not see them when they go over.

You should also try to repeat the same plants at different points through your border, as the human eye is drawn to repetitive shapes and colors.

#49. Grind Up Eggshells to Give Your Plants a Calcium Boost

Eggshells are full of calcium, which many of your plants would likely benefit from. Rinse the eggshells so that they are clean, before either drying them naturally or in the oven or microwave. Then, grind them up, either by hand or in a blender, and sprinkle around the base of your plants.

Feed the hens ground up eggshells during the fall and winter months to help increase their calcium intake and prevent thin shells on laid eggs during the cold weather months.

Sprinkle ground eggshells around the base of garden plants when battling a slug infestation. The shells scratch their flesh and may cause them to avoid the area entirely.

#50. Create an Indoor Garden with Shoe Organizers

Want to create your very own indoor herb or salad garden, but do not have much space? All you need is an empty shoe organizer. Line each pocket and then fill it with compost, before sowing your seeds or planting out your seedlings. Make sure that you water them regularly and that they are in a spot that receives enough sunlight.

#51. Make Your Own Chicken and Duck Feeders

Take a bite out of the time you spend doing morning barnyard chores by making a 7-day (or longer) feeder tub. There is no need to spend around $50 to buy a bulk feeder tub from your local agriculture supply store when you can make your own for just a few dollars. Simply take a plastic storage tote,  trash can, or bucket and drill a hole at least 5-inches in diameter 3-inches above the base of the tote and affix a PVC elbow joint into the space to serve as a feeding spout. Repeat these steps on all sides to add as many feeding openings as desired.

The feed stays dry inside the tote, trash can, or bucket as long as its lid is firmly attached. The individual and raised feeding spouts both cuts down on feed waste and mess inside the coop or run.

 

#52. Start A Beekeeping Colony Using Mason Jars

Beekeeping doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor and can be accomplished on even a small or backyard homestead. Making a Mason jar beehive can be accomplished quickly, even if you only have moderate “handy man” skills.

#53. Never Waste an Egg Again!

Are you blessed with great layers? Preserving the eggs you may have an over abundance of during the warm weather months is super easy! You can dehydrate the eggs or freeze them for eating, baking, and cooking all winter long – and beyond.

To dehydrate eggs, simply put half a dozen into your blender or food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds. Put a tray linger into your dehydrator and pour the mixture onto it evenly. Dehydrate for approximately 6 hours at 135 degrees. The mixture will resemble peanut brittle when it is done.

Put the dry eggs back into the food processor or dehydrator and pulse again to powder the dry eggs. Place in a Mason jar or vacuum sealed bag until ready to use. I have safely used dehydrator eggs that are five years old, but I vacuum seal the Mason jar lids. To reconstitute the eggs, mix together 3 tablespoons of eggs and 1 teaspoon of warm water and stir. They should fluff up in five minutes  – add in more water or eggs sparingly if you did not achieve the desired consistency.

Freezing eggs is an equally simple and easy task. Crack one egg over each slot in a flexible ice cube tray and place in the freezer. Once the egg squares are frozen thoroughly, release them from the tray and store in a freezer bag until ready to use.

#54. Soil Testing the Old-Fashioned Way

Prepare for the coming growing season by testing your soil like our pioneering ancestors did. All types soil is comprised of three primary layers – sand, clay, and silt. When performing the soil test, the sand should settle at the bottom, the clay should float on top, and the silt will lay in the middle of the jar.

Fill the jar halfway with a scoop of soil from your garden plot and then pour in enough water to fill the jar to within just an inch or two from the top. Shake the jar vigorously for approximately five minutes to thoroughly separate the soil components.

If the soil test reveals you have approximately 40 percent silt, 40 percent clay, sand, and 30 percent clay, it is in tip-top shape.

If you have only 10 percent clay, 20 percent sand, and 70 percent silt, adjust the silt level by adding more organic matter compost to your garden. A result showing a 20 percent silt, 15 percent clay, and 65 percent sand means the soil is too sandy and could also benefit from more organic matter.

If the soil test shows you have about 10 percent sand, 30 percent clay, and 60 percent silt, they clay content is too high and the growing area would benefit from more expose to water.

#55. Make a Natural Wound Salve

Grow some beautiful calendula flowers and use dried leave to make an all-natural wound salve. Place one cup or so of leaves into a pint Mason jar and fill the rest of the jar with olive oil. Put a firm-fitting lid on the jar and place it in a warm and dry place for at least two, but preferably four, weeks.

Shake the jar once each day. Strain out the leaves and place the calendula oil in a clean jar until ready to use. The medicinal flowers are believed to possess anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral abilities The salve can be applied to minor cuts, burns, and bruises to help them heal more quickly.

#56. Tap a Tree!

Contrary to popular belief, maples are not the only tree that can be tapped for syrup. Birch, walnut, and sycamore trees are among the non-maple tree varieties that can be tapped for syrup. Birch syrup has a sweet and delicious butterscotch taste.

#57. Make a Non-Electric Refrigerator

Making an off the grid refrigerator, also known as a zeer pot, will increase the self-reliant food preservation options on the homestead. For centuries, zeer pot have been used successfully in some of the hottest regions on the planet.

#58. Grow Your Own Apothecary – Turmeric

The spice has been heralded as having copious amounts of healing and health benefits for centuries. The only downside to turmeric I have ever found is the bright orange stains it WILL leave on your hands and clothes. Turmeric has been used as a health aid both internally and externally.

Turmeric Bombs Recipe

Combining honey and turmeric together can help alleviate the symptoms of the common cold and flu and ease the pain associated with a sore throat.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup turmeric spice
  • 1 tablespoon of quercetin powder – an optional but helpful bioflavonoid
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite natural binding agent: honey, coconut oil, or ghee are recommended
  • 1pinch of black pepper

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and don’t forget to don an apron to prevent turmeric stains.
  2. Heat the chosen binding agent in a small pot on low heat until it liquifies. Do not allow it to come to a boil. The mixture will remain more pliable if honey is chosen as the binding agent.
  3. Pour in the turmeric, black pepper, and quercetin.
  4. The mixture can be pinched out of the pot to roll into balls or “bombs” if honey is used but will need to be scooped with a spoon if using coconut oil or ghee. Pinch or scoop out a typical capsule-sized amount.
  5. Place the turmeric bombs onto the lined baking sheet and put the tray into the freezer.
  6. Remove the bombs from the freezer once they become firm.
  7. Store them in a sealed container until ready to use. They should last up to two months.

#59. Diatomaceous Earth

Add Diatomaceous earth to your natural home remedies stockpile. It has long been believed to possess the ability to enhance the immune system, bolster bone and joint health, and ward off Alhemier’s disease.

Diatomaceous earth may also be an excellent overall internal body cleanser and help remove bacteria, heavy metals, and parasites from both humans and animals.

#61. Lending Tool Library

Tools are one of the most necessary aspects of homesteading. For those of us who are not the Kilchers (Alaska the Last Frontier) we have to either borrow tools or put projects on hold until we can fit the purchase into our budget. Rest assured, many of your homesteaders and farming neighbors are sitting in the same boat – or remember vividly when they were.

Start a tool lending library by networking with other homesteaders and farmers in your area. The sharing of resources will  help everyone save both money and time – and perhaps garner some extra free help on projects too!

#61. Fence Repair

Mending fences seems like a never-ending chore on a large homestead. Rarely ever can I take a hike, 4-wheeler ride, or saddle up my Ruby and NOT pass by a sagging string of barbed wire or a leaning post somewhere on our homestead.

Work smarter not harder and use a “buddy post”to pull barbed wire, high-tensile wire, or even electric fencing line tighter and sure up a pole that is not longer standing as straight and tall as it should be. Taking the post out would cause all of the strands of wire to loosen and probably get tangled and take a significant amount of time.

Simple use a post pounder to place another post made out of whatever material you have laying around, and then use barbed wire or baling twine to cinch the two posts together firmly.

#62. Gates Fixes – Pate 1

Moving through gates on the homestead when you are on a tractor, wheeler, horse, or will simply have your hands full going both in and out of an area is extremely frustrating. Many a homesteader has done the “gate dance” using an elbow, knee, thigh – or combination of all three, trying to get in and out of a gate while their arms are full or while riding on a piece of equipment.

This video shows an amazingly simple and essentially free, way to fix gate closure problems forever!

#63. Gate Fixes – Part 2

An automatic gate opener is on my Christmas list this year – four of them in fact. These handy gadgets are not cheap and for all my fellow preppers, not sustainable once you run out of batteries during a doomsday disaster.

This guy came up with an incredible homemade gate opener that definitely will get the job done – and for a lot less money!

#64. Self-Fertilizing Compost Pile

Place a compost pile inside your chicken run. The flock will scratch at the pile while enjoying the kitchen scraps and leave their nutrient-rich droppings all over the place!

#65. Old Tires

Every farm or homestead accumulates a host of old tires in different sizes over the course of just a few years. Turn that trash into family-friendly treasure. The tires can filled with dirt and stacked into a pyramid (let the kiddos paint them with cool designs) for a climbing play area – especially fun if you can makeshift a sliding board at the top. They can also be filled with dirt and old boards screwed onto them and painted to look like a road for use as an outdoor car track. The homesteading play area options are truly limited only by your own imagination!

#66. Meal Prep

Once the growing season begins, life gets pretty hectic on the homestead until after the harvest and food preservation are finished. Plan ahead for daily meals during the late fall and winter months to save time and energy during the busiest time of the year.

Dehydrate entire meals and deserts ahead of time by making a double batch of each meal prepared and dehydrating all of the ingredients and storing them in Mason jars until ready to use.

#67. Natural Living Fencing

Begin growing natural living fencing to not just keep your livestock contained to a specific area, but to offer them a meal to munch on as they desire throughout the year.

#68. Build with Papercrete

You can never have too many outbuildings and livestock shelters on a homestead. Save major bucks by learning how to make your own papercrete blocks and build a shed or small barn for about 90 percent less than what you would have spent utilizing traditional building materials.

#69. Make Your Own Fire “Extinguisher”

A fire will rip through a barn or a log homesteading dwelling in record time. Learn how to fight fire like our ancestors did and stockpile this simple fire extinguisher recipe in sealed buckets in areas where garden hoses won’t reach and are high risk for fires.

In a bucket, dissolve a half-pound of sal-ammoniac, one pound of salt, and two quarts of water. Stir the mixture together and pour into glass or plastic bottles that have a firm fitting lid. If a fire occurs, simply throw the bottles into the flames to help curtail and stop the blaze.

#70. Root Cellar Alternative

If you have not yet been able to built a root cellar, or simply do not have space for one – use a food and beverage cooler! Place the veggies or Mason jars into a standard cooler and place it in your basement or another space that stays cool and dark.

gardening hacks pinterest

4 Comments

  1. Great post! Many of us spend a lot of each day in front of a computer. Homesteading hooks us into the natural world and the passing of the seasons, and reminds us of our place within the greater cycle of life.

  2. Marti, I enjoyed reading your list. I was surprised that I actually knew a lot of them already.
    But, I’m a bit of an English & writing snob, so I’m obsessibly compelled to ask you to please correct the multiple spelling, grammar, and math mistakes. For example in the first example of your explanation of a DIY soil composition test, the percentages you give as a good composition equal 110% (40%, 40%, and 30%).
    I apologize for my OCD-ishness (new word, perhaps? 🤔).
    Anyway, thank you for all of the helpful information. ☺️

    • Marti, Glad you liked the article and found it helpful for you and your plants! Are you having any specific problems with any type of plant or bug?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.