One of the biggest hurdles some people face when it comes to homesteading is time. They don’t have enough of it to spare, they don’t know how much it will take and they are unsure how to manage it in a way that will allow them to engage in a homesteading lifestyle. On today’s podcast I will discuss a few ways you can homestead when you don’t have enough time to homestead.
Plant things with high output and low input.
Fruit Trees – Planting fruit trees may take a little work in the beginning until they get established but in the long run will provide you with years of large harvests with very little work. Occasional organic fertilization and once or twice a year pruning is all it will take to maintain your fruit trees.
Berries – Having a lot of berry bushes on your homestead is another excellent idea for high yields with very little work. Just like fruit trees, berry bushes only require a little occasional soil amendments and pruning and you’re enjoying years of delicious food. Check out this article on How To Build A Berry Abundant Homestead.
Edible Perennial Plants – Planting a garden with many perennial plants can save you a lot of time especially in the spring when it’s time to plant. Perennials like asparagus and jerusalem artichoke and many herbs can provide you with years of food with just a little upfront work to get them going.
Use time saving gardening methods.
Use mulch in the garden to fight weeds – You can use a heavy mulch layer right in the garden to help suppress weeds and save you lots of time when it comes to the unpleasant chore of spending hours hunched over a garden yanking out unwanted plants.
Using mulch also helps to retain moisture – Watering can be another time consuming chore so anything you can do to help maintain moisture in your soil will possibly save you some time, mulch in the garden does a great job of this.
Companion planting for bug control – Intertwining good companion plants within your garden is a great practice. This can help with pollination and soil health but the biggest benefit I think is that you can take advantage of the bug repelling qualities of some plants.
Release beneficial insects in your garden – Releasing insects in your garden such as praying mantis and ladybugs can save you a lot of work because they will do the work for you. These beneficial insects will feed on many of the unwanted garden damaging pests that you would need to spend time taking care of later.
Replace time consuming tasks with automation.
Automatic Irrigation – Depending on where you live this could be the most important time saving option available. Gardens need water and if it’s not coming from the sky then you will have to do it regularly and this can be very time consuming. Automatic irrigation systems take a little money and a little work upfront but can save you many hours of tedious labor throughout the growing season.
Timers for lights – Sometimes you need a light on but you don’t need to be there to turn it on. You may want to extend growing seasons or egg laying production with a light so why not set that up to do it on its own. This doesn’t sound like a big deal but it’s one less thing you have to do and a few one less things start to add up. Urban Farmer Weekly 7 Day Programmable Dual Outlet Digital Timer
Automatic coop door opener/closer – Coop doors have to be opened in the morning and closed at night, that’s just the way it is. This however is an easy job to replace with automation and again can be just one more thing you don’t have to do everyday when you install an automatic coop door.
Feed and water livestock in bulk or automatically – Feeding and watering livestock on the homestead is another one of those time consuming tasks that just has to be done everyday. Setting up an automatic waterer and automatic feeder can save a bunch of work. These systems can be set up for large or small livestock and some systems even have built in thermostat controlled heaters to keep water thawed in the winter.
Schedule big jobs on your days off.
Canning – I find canning to be a pretty time consuming homestead task so I try to have canning days where I do most of my canning at once. Granted the kitchen is a complete disaster for a few hours while I’m doing this but when it’s done I have a lot to show for my labor and I don’t have to do it again for a few more days.
Coop, cage and pen cleaning – An unpleasant and time consuming task to be sure but one that just has to be done occasionally. Doing jobs like this can be scheduled in for when you have time to do it rather than trying to squeeze it in at the end of an already long and busy day.
Planting – When it comes to planting the garden there really is no substitute to replace this hard and time consuming task, you just have to find the time to do it. This is a perfect job for a weekend off work.
Building Projects – I’m a builder, I love to take on new projects and continually add to my homestead but these projects can take quite a bit of time. So I find I am mostly a weekend builder, using my days off work to do those bigger building projects.
Get Some Help.
Ask a neighbor – There is no shame in getting a little help. I find my neighbors are always willing to help me if I need to borrow them for a few minutes if I need a hand with something big.
Kids make great helpers – Recruiting some local kids to lend a hand with the smaller easy chores is a helpful idea, they are usually affordable and they get a little homestead education as well.
Sometimes you have to pay a professional – It’s ok, we know you can do it yourself you just don’t have the time. Go ahead and from time to time pay someone to do the job you just can’t get to.
Don’t take on too much
Only Do what you can do and don’t do anymore. So often we just try to take on too much, you don’t have to. If having livestock is too much to take on right now it’s ok, you don’t have to, noone is going to take away your “I’m a homesteader membership card.” Do what you can to be as self-sufficient as you can in the time you have available and work towards making more time available in the future. It’s OK! Happy Homesteading!