Homesteaders reconnect with the land by living as self-sufficiently as possible. But growing fruits, vegetables and raising livestock on these mini-farms is not always simple while off the grid. Like the pioneers who settled the West, modern-day homesteaders need to use their wits to reduce physical labor, stress, and the need to spend money. These are 5 somewhat odd homesteading hacks that can make everyday life easier.
1: Use Duct Tape Instead of Pesticides
When people say you can do almost anything with duct tape, that’s no myth. Beyond its construction trade applications, duct tape has emerged as a strategic bug killer. Homesteaders deploy duct tape by wrapping it around the base of fruit trees and vegetable stalks with the sticky side out. Crawling pests either get stuck or turn around. While that use isn’t all that weird, some homesteaders take a piece in hand and touch it to bugs gnawing on garden leaves and remove them.
2: Make Your Own Flea Spray
Homesteaders learn that many of the expensive chemicals sold in pet stores are easily replaceable. A mixture of two tablespoons of baking soda, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and one teaspoon of Borax mixed with water acts as a flea spray for pets. Keep it away from the eyes and ears when spraying it on your pet. Also, prevent the animal from licking it. After 25 minutes, wash and rinse your four-legged friend and their scratching should cease.
3: DVDs are the New Scarecrow
It’s amazing how the innovative CD and DVD have effectively been phased out of laptops. New car stereos are now Bluetooth-ready and there’s little use for those shiny discs. Homesteaders have a knack for repurposing defunct products and CDs and DVDs are a deterrent to invasive birds.
Gather a pile of discs and tie a string through the center hole. Then hang them like ornaments from the branches of fruit and berry trees. The size and sunlight flashes make birds and squirrels believe a larger creature has staked out the tree. Hanging discs may look a little odd, but some passersby will think you’re artsy.
4: Conveniently Store Gardening Tools in Sand
It may seem counterintuitive to leave your shovel, hoe, and small garden hand tools in the sand. That’s largely because people expect them to rust faster in any type of soil. But dry sand with a few additives leaves them standing handle up for easier access and sparkly clean.
Take an adequately large bucket and place it in a convenient and dry space. Fill it with fully dry abrasive sand and mix in some mineral oil. The oily sand will passively lubricate the tools and prevent rust from accumulating. The setup is also easier in terms of retrieving tools.
5: Repurpose Plastic Beverage Bottle as Greenhouses
Gardeners who worry about an unexpected killing frost can repurpose soda bottles as protection before sending them to be recycled. Carefully cut the tops of the bottles off and place them over your starter plants. This effectively creates a mini greenhouse that helps accelerate growth and could save plants should a late frost take you by surprise. Having clear plastic bubbles across the garden may look weird, but the strategy gets an extra use out of a product that requires recycling.