Modern Homesteading On A Small Acre Farm

| 12/4/2017 10:52:00 AM

scooping wood chips

As our family grew I became aware of the pesticides, growth hormones, and the rising costs of the food I was feeding them. We decided to transition from our suburban home into a rural property so that we could provide our children with natural food, a connection to nature, and room to run free. We took our time finding the perfect property for our skill set, and budget. Although we had seen many families on popular television shows live completely off the grid, we took a more practical approach. We called it modern homesteading.

After a year of searching we found a one acre property that suited our style, and our family size in South West Washington. The next month we refinanced our upside down mortgage in the city, and turned our first home into a profitable rental. The new property did not have everything on our list, but we knew that we could add what it lacked as time went on. On the list of things to add were a garden area, fruit trees, a fenced yard, and backyard chickens.

feeding the hens

The very first thing we did was fully fence our entire acre. This gave us security for our children, protection from hungry deer, and allowed us to see exactly what we had to work with. Our main goal was to grow as much food as we could, given our single acre limitations. My husband made some raised garden beds the first year, and we planted two plum and two apple trees to get us started.

raised bed garden

That first year’s garden was all grown from seed, and gave us an abundance of food to eat. The problem was that we got so much of three or four things at a time, and we couldn’t possibly eat it all. We ended up giving away so much, and then found ourselves buying that same produce from the supermarket just a month later. I realized that it was time to learn how to preserve our harvest.

12/5/2017 11:04:34 AM

Congratulations - what you've accomplished is so wonderful! We've been doing something very similar on our 2 acres. Maybe you've already found this out - but to extend the season we've used row covers on various crops that are still thriving into the fall such as parsley, sage, kale, and even lettuces. My husband sets them up the night before the first deep frost (if the days are still very warm you may have to uncover during the day so they don't burn up). The plants stay warm enough to keep producing into the winter, and then jump back in the early spring. One year our leeks didn't get very big so we left them and covered them with straw. They jumped back in the spring like nothing had happened! We've also done the same thing with carrots. We've left them in the ground and covered them with straw or hay or leaves and you can continue to pull or chisel them out of the ground even when it's freezing outside - then they jump back in the early spring. Having a greenhouse is amazing too isn't it!? Over the seasons we've planted lettuces, spinach, carrots, beets, arugula, kale, etc. directly in the ground, cover with row covers, and then pick all winter. We don't have to water them hardly at all in the winter because the plants and soil stay moist under the covers. We learned this through Eliot Coleman's book Four Season Gardening. Every year is different and amazing :) Enjoy!

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters