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Homesteading Secrets: 5 Skills to Learn Now and Increase Self-sufficiency

No one learns self-sufficiency overnight. You start picking up skills by doing it. Whether your goal is economic independence, saving money, living a more sustainable life, or feeling self-reliant, learning these 5 homesteading skills will get you well on your way.

1. Making Your Yard Edible

Why grow a water-guzzling, high-maintenance lawn when you could have a yard filled with food? Turning your yard into a food forest increases self-sufficiency. It’s better for the environment. And it produces big colorful flowers and foliage to beautify your yard.

To avoid issues, always check your city codes and neighborhood rules first. 

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Expert gardeners may make it look easy. But you’ll probably want to start small with a bed or two and keep building your way to a more self-sufficient life. 

2. Composting

Did you know when you send compostable waste to the dump, it doesn’t break down into healthy dirt? Instead, it mixes with harmful chemicals, becoming toxic.

When you learn this vital homesteading skill, you not only save money by filling your garden beds with nutritious soil you produced.

You support the decomposition process that would happen in nature, promoting a permaculture ecosystem within your yard. 

Some examples of home compostable waste include:

  • Food scraps
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Grass clippings
  • Dried leaves and natural yard waste
  • Cardboard boxes and paper without tape, staples, labels, or shiny coatings

3. Not Wasting Food 

Self-sufficient people don’t just “try” not to waste. They strategize to avoid it. You can take this to whatever degree you’re comfortable.

Some strategies include learning to preserve food or using leftovers and perishables before they go bad.

Homesteaders often eat more of the vegetable than the rest of us.

Beet tops are delicious raw, or cooked.  Garlic leaves taste like mild garlic. Celery leaves like celery. Pea leaves like peas. Why are we throwing this stuff out?

Use the whole fruit or vegetable when safe to do so. Apple seeds, rhubarb leaves, and apricot pits are just a few examples of toxic parts of plants.

And of course, if you can’t eat it, compost it. Decomposition eliminates the toxins. 

4. Cooking from Scratch

Pro homesteaders know how to cook from scratch. They can mix and match what they have to make great meals. 

They think creatively about food rather than just following the recipe. They don’t always get it right, but they love to experiment. This also reduces food waste and slashes their grocery budgets.

You can develop this self-sufficient skill and mindset.

5. Learn to Fix It Homesteading-Style

Self-sufficient people buy quality when they can’t make it. They learn how to fix broken things — if they can get more life out of it.

Sometimes it takes a few tries to learn a new homesteading skill, so don’t give up. Most people can learn some basic mending, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and other DIY. 

Imagine how much money you can save when you don’t have to hire a professional for something basic like replacing your faucet and drain or installing a new light fixture. 

You’d be surprised how much you can do yourself when you start actively learning self-sufficiency skills.