A Beginner’s Guide to Homesteading

a group of chickens on a lawn

Preparing for an uncertain future? Homesteading is your next big step! From farming to raising animals to preserving your own food, homesteading can set you on the path to becoming independent and self-sufficient. Learn more about what homesteading is and what it takes to get started on your homesteading journey. 

What Is Homesteading?

Today, homesteading is about self-reliance and sustainability. Being a homesteader typically means growing your own crops and raising your own livestock. You produce your own food supply and become self-sufficient.

You usually need land when homesteading. However, you can still be a homesteader without a lot of land. For instance, your HOA may not allow raising chickens, but a raised bed patio garden can provide you with more than enough essentials during the growing season. 

Before you start your journey to becoming a homesteader, decide what you hope to accomplish so you can plan the supplies you need to get started. 

If your goal is to save money at the grocery store by growing your own produce, you may only need a few gardening tools and a plot that gets some good sun. If your goal is something like meal prepping for the wintertime or even going off the grid, you’ll likely need more supplies and initial prep work. 

Why Being Self-Sufficient is Important for Emergency Preparedness

Homesteading allows you to grow and preserve your own food for later use, which makes it essential for good emergency preparedness. 

Emergency meal kits from 4Patriot have up to a 25-year shelf life* and are a great way to keep your emergency supply well-stocked. But with some proper homesteading, you can save your ready-to-eat meal supply for true emergencies while you live off your land.

The right homesteading techniques and skills can help keep you and your family prepared for any uncertainties.

How to Get Started Homesteading

Homesteading can look many different ways. This beginner’s guide is meant to provide you with suggestions on some of the best ways you can start cultivating your own food and becoming more self-sufficient. That said, here are four ways you can start homesteading like a pro in no time.

1. Start with a Garden

Of all the homesteading skills to learn, gardening may be the most valuable. Growing your own produce not only provides you with fresh fruits and vegetables through the summer months, but canning and preserving your fruits and veggies at the peak of freshness allows you to have delicious produce throughout the wintertime.

Pick Your Garden Type

There are many ways to start and maintain a garden, from raised beds to crop rotation to no-till farming. The best method for you will likely depend on how much space you have to farm.

Grow Plants for Your Zone

Once you’ve got a space set up for your garden, figure out which plants will grow best in your area. The U.S. is broken up into different zones according to average climate. Knowing what zone you’re in can help you know what plants to grow and when to start growing them, making it easier to get a good yield from your crop all the way up to the first winter frost.

Grow More Than You Need

Give yourself more space than you think you’ll need to grow your garden. That should help provide you with enough to eat during the growing season and allow you to set some aside for canning and preserving for the winter months or in the event of a natural disaster.

2. Raise Chickens and Small Animals

Small animals can make great companions — and excellent protein sources when necessary. Here are a few animals to consider when starting your homestead.


Chickens are a great animal to raise when homesteading for various reasons. A laying hen can typically lay an egg a day, though extreme heat or cold may affect her laying habits. Several chickens can help keep your fridge stocked full of eggs year-round. 

Chickens will eat almost anything, though it’s best to keep a good chicken feed consistent in their diet. They are also excellent for pest control, feasting on insects like hookworms, ticks, termites, potato beetles, and other bugs that can quickly destroy your garden.

Note that there are differences between laying hens and broiler hens (the kind you can eat). While you can technically eat both breeds, laying hens tend to be smaller and leaner, making them less ideal to eat. Broiler hens typically grow faster and fatter and lay fewer eggs, making them the better choice for eating. 

Small Animals Best for Meat Consumption

Rabbits, ducks, fish, and pigs are all good meat-providing animals that are relatively simple to maintain if you have the space.

These animals also provide additional benefits outside of meat consumption. Rabbit and duck waste makes excellent fertilizer, stocking the right kind of fish in a pond can help keep the water clean, and you can even harvest duck feathers to create down pillows and quilts or sell them for a high price.

3. Adopt a DIY Mindset

Being a homesteader isn’t just about growing and raising your own food supply. It can also include learning new DIY skills such as woodworking, hunting, cooking from scratch, sourcing safe water, sewing, pickling, drying and curing meats, starting a fire without a lighter, and more. These are essential homesteading survival skills you’ll want to learn.

Learning new skills like these can help you cut back on purchasing things like new materials and furniture for your home, food during the wintertime, clothes, and bedding. 

4. Set Realistic Goals and Work Towards Them

There can be a lot that goes into homesteading. It’s important to start small and set realistic goals based on what is accessible to you, such as land, space, the climate in your area, local laws and regulations, and more. 

Living completely off the grid can be a big goal that takes a long time to work up to. Instead, set a smaller goal, such as establishing a healthy garden with rotating summer and winter crops or building a chicken coop and raising enough hens so you no longer have to purchase eggs, especially as egg prices skyrocket.

Consider what you and your family need the most and start there. 

Start Homesteading With Help from 4Patriot

To live off the land, you have to start somewhere! Fortunately, 4Patriot stocks everything you need to get your homestead started. From gardening supplies to water filtration systems to solar-powered generators, you can easily order your homesteading supplies from one place to start preparing for your self-sufficient future.

*Your survival food is designed to last 25 years on the shelf. Storage conditions impact the shelf life of your food. For best results, always protect your food from heat, air and moisture. Avoid prolonged exposure to temps above 75 degrees F. Keep food sealed until ready to eat. Shelf life will vary based on storage conditions.