New Homestead Plans

Planning a New Homestead
A new homestead is so exciting!

We were so excited when we moved to our new homestead. We finally had some flat land and built a year-round greenhouse for growing.

Soil without GIANT rocks in it. The forest not growing into our home and garden and bears not showing up every evening which meant it extreme challenges to keep chickens. We loved living in a forest for so many reasons, but to a homesteader, as beautiful as it was, it was too much biodiversity for our liking and goals.

Renovations in our new home kept us busy for months which meant no land development.

The kitchen, floors, bathroom were all gutted and redone. New paint on all the walls. Sticky things scrapped off of places and smells to get rid of. Living in our home today you wouldn’t of guessed what it looks like before. The exterior was mostly re-painted. My heart wanted to be putting in the garden right away as we were days away from the fall crop sowing deadline. But when you don’t have a kitchen sink with running water for dishes and no shower for 9 days you have other priorities. That being said…We began dreaming up big homestead backyard farm plans for the future.

Homestead Planning Tips

The first question is your budget. What can you afford to do?

Most of the time our goals and dreams cost far more than reality allows. It’s important to write a list of your goals then write out roughly what each will cost. Then you can re-prioritize for the year with what you can afford to do and build over time. I like to keep track of my gardening habits with a habit tracker to actually achieve my goals.

Our 10 year anniversary is this spring and we’ve been trying to figure out how to celebrate. Do we go on a trip? Do we spend money doing something romantic? Or do we build a nice chicken coop and get some chickens berry bushes and plant our herb and perennials? Can you tell what we’re leaning towards 😉 Our life priorities are to build up our land slowly in the coming years, doing a little here and there as money allows.

Next is available time.

Do you have little kids and babies interrupting everything all the time!? We do. Most of us have part time or full time jobs needed for income and limited time to invest into a new acreage. For those that don’t have time constraints it’s still often a good idea not to take on too much at once. Starting your acreage with a garden, and chickens and milk goats or a cow will start to wear you down if it’s your first time doing it.

Because we’ve been growing and preserving food for 7 years now we have a decent rhythm of it, we’ve also kept chickens on and off the past 3 years so we’re tackling the things we’re already comfortable with rather than diving into getting milk goats right away (even though my homestead heart wants to, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea!).

Realistic Short and Long-term Homestead Goals

It helps to write down your plans and goals over a period of time, something like 1, 3, 5 & 10 year plan for example. Even if you don’t accomplish things in the time or way that you wanted, it still helps to write things down and set goals. Then you can budget and organize your time accordingly.

Our Homestead Goals

  • Put in elk fencing because we get a huge herd of elk going through every week (or more). Luckily we already have some from our last homestead so we don’t need to purchase any.
  • Build a new chicken coop that has 3 different rotating grazing areas: One in the garden, one in the orchard and one as the ‘main one’. The idea is to reduce feeding costs and to allow the chickens to keep weeds and bugs down, have full access to the compost area so they do a lot of work for us.
  • Build ta few of the raised garden beds (maybe just start with 4 4’x8′ beds which are perfect for permanent pvc pipes for hoop tunnels) and a large ‘ground level’ garden about 20 x 40 feet.
  • Build the girls their own little garden area with a cool tunnel to run through (vertical gardening above).
  • Plant berry bushes and fruit trees, do some this year and expand over the years as money allows.
  • Buy & start indoors: medicinal and culinary herbs and asparagus from seed to reduce cost in establishing perennials. The asparagus won’t be ready for 3 years but it will be SO worth it. I’d also like to plant beneficial flowers (many also medicinal) to attract pollinators and butterflies.
  • Prune existing fruit trees and give them a boost to help perk them back up and produce more.
  • *Maybe* build some permanent archways to grow perennials up for beauty.
  • Make sure to incorporate permaculture principles in almost everything we do.

Future Homestead Goals

  • Milk goats, likely Nigerian Dwarf. Maybe some ducks. Who knows what the future holds! Likely berry bushes and fruit trees will be planted slowly over time, nut trees too.
  • Build more raised beds.

12 thoughts on “New Homestead Plans”

  1. Elk!!! All we have are rabbits… and a few deer. :0 You have some awesome goals here, and beautiful scenery. We just added 3 milk goats this fall… hoping the milking learning curve isn’t too steep! 😀 Happy New Year!

    • Happy New Year Amy!
      I’m dreaming of milk goats. We have another baby on the way though so I have to *sigh* wait another year or two 😉
      Happy goat learning!

  2. I also set garden/homestead goals. I find it helpful and practical. I break mine down into the seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter, and include a budget for each as well as the tasks i hope to accomplish.. I make sure the budget doesn’t exceed the value of the produce I expect to get, and that helps keep me in check in several ways. A friend of mine bought a lot of fruit trees and berry bushes last year, but most of it didn’t get into the ground, and the strawberries were eaten by deer before he got up the fence. Since most berries and trees take time to produce, often we want to get them as soon as we can. We have to be careful though, that we have the time and money to care for our investment. I enjoyed your post. Good luck with your homestead!

    • I love the seasonal goals, makes it seem easier to maintain too. Fruit is definitely a long term investment, our kids LOVE fruit though and it’s costing more and more at the store so for us we’re excited to be able to plant lots 🙂

      • When planting fruit and nut trees remember that some take longer than others to produce. I would either plant the nut trees first or at least make sure to plant one nut and one fruit. Most fruit trees will produce fruit within just a couple of years. Some the same year you buy but nut trees often take a decade before producing any nuts and are not considered to be in production for 15or so years. So plan which trees mean the most to you but know that some are going to take a long time to produce any benefit.

  3. “Planning a New Homestead (without getting carried away!)”?
    Sorry, but that is impossible! (hehe) After many years, I pretty much expect it…all the time. You can study and plan and organize with the best of intentions and firm resolve…and you are going to get carried away because there is so much that you want/need to do. And every project expands, and expands, and diverges and continues expanding. Prime example: Building a little 1-1/2 story storage barn from recycled materials. Get it framed up, look hard at it…and realize it really should be bigger. So add on the same square footage to one side. Then, since we had some material left over, might as well frame a future addition on the south side, that could be wrapped with plastic for now to be an unheated greenhouse. I don’t think its possible for a barn to be big enough…that must be how we ended up with 4 storage barns, a large chicken coop, a small chicken coop, a chicken tractor and a goat barn…and a couple cattle panel Quonsets for goats. And I still look at my neighbor’s huge old barn with a serious case of envy…
    Fruit is especially dangerous – really. We started with 4 mature apple trees and 5 just starting to bear, along with 5 tart cherries and two plums. Then I found an old Amish cider press and crusher at an auction at an amazing price…and now we have 30+ fruit trees with 8 more on order. That “only” leaves room for 5 more in the “new orchard” next year…those I will choose when I visit an orchard this summer that has over 1,400 varieties of apples. Sigh…pretty much resigned that there will be a “newer orchard” in our future after that visit. After all, I don’t even have any cider-specific varieties yet (hehe). Here in the US, our Soil Conservation Service district offices have annual tree sales that make it just too easy to get “just a couple more trees”. You can get $30 size trees for $15 each or 5/$70.
    And berries are worse. Five years ago I started with one fall yellow raspberry, one summer red raspberry, one fall red raspberry, one black raspberry and one blackberry. This spring’s first project is to move them and their progeny to their new area prepared this fall…three beds 100 feet long (with two more beds to be added this summer). And I am looking to give away the 30-40 extra raspberry plants I won’t have room for! Won’t have room because I need to save space for the grapes, blueberries, honeyberries, goji berries, sea buckthorns, hazelnut, asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries. And maybe a couple kiwi and cornelian cherries if I can wedge them in. You would really think an area 226’x40′ would be large enough, wouldn’t you?
    And somehow the new garden that grew to 6,000 sq. ft. in three years doesn’t have any room for vine crops – pumpkins, melons, etc., so those grow in the aisles of the “new” orchard.
    Then what do you do with all this food…so you get some canners (sure, kid yourself that you only need one!) and tens of dozens of jars and lids…and a dehydrator, a Squeezo strainer, 8 gallon pots, stainless bowls big enough to bathe toddlers in, scales, vacuum sealers, grain mills, meat grinders and sausage stuffers, pasta machines, stainless steel prep tables…the list is pretty much endless. Then you have to turn the master bedroom (the only room big enough) into a storeroom to store all this equipment and the preserved bounty of your harvest.
    Yep, its impossible not to get carried away when you attempt to homestead. You pretty much have to get carried away, because you have so much to do, especially in the beginning. The passion that “carries you away” is what drives you to do everything you can, whenever you can, and before long you will find yourself able to do far more than you ever dreamed possible and reaping the benefits of your hard work. When I started the new garden three years ago, after 6 years of elder care, never dreamed I would be a market gardener today. I just wanted to grow enough food for my extended family and friends. And everyone knows that to make sure you have “enough” you always have to plant extra…and now I am a market gardener…because you can’t let food go to waste, and your family and friends and neighbors and goats and chickens can only eat so much. I really need some hogs…

    • Your homestead sounds AMAZING!! I feel like this year we’ll get carried away with the chicken coop & garden, I’m hoping to get a decent amount of fruit planted too. The rising cost of food is REALLY the incentive (other than loving the lifestyle) so it’s a great investment, worse case scenario is that you have too much but then you can trade or make someones day with a free box 🙂

      Our big ‘constraints’ are time and money. We have 3 kids 7 & under and another on the way. My first thought of excitement is that my belly will be out of the way by the crazy August preserving month 😉 Our kids are blessed to be a part of it all, know where their food comes from and get hands on life and science education for homeschooling.

      All the best and thanks so much for sharing your homestead life!

      • Oh, you are blessed to have a herd of little ones! I grew up as the eldest of 6, with the youngest 19 years younger than myself. And yours are just the right age group to be “inoculated” into the lifestyle and gardening habit. I applaud your decision to homeschool.
        Our little homestead is getting there, bit by bit. One quick tip I would like to pass along is to build some variety of movable chicken housing (chicken tractors) rather than a stationary coop. They work so much better in so many ways than a stationary coop. Most importantly, a chicken tractor is a whole lot easier to move as your plans change over the years. We have had to move our 8’x12′ coop twice on a hay wagon…1/4 mile one time, from one end of the property to the other. Absolutely and totally terrifying with improvised equipment and trying to figure out how to do it while doing it. The chickens didn’t like it either!
        Chicken tractors are great because you don’t have to clean out a coop…you just move the tractor every day or two. This allows you to put the tractor where it can be of most use at that time…enriching the soil where needed, rotating it through an orchard or under single trees when pest pressures are high, moving it around the perimeter of your garden areas to significantly lower pest populations, or use it to create your new garden areas for you. You just keep the tractor in one position until the chickens have scratched up all the sod, eaten all the insects and weed seeds in the soil, put their manure right where you want it and work it into the soil with their scratching. It works even better if you put your compost ingredients on the area first, then the chickens eat some then break it down the remainder and work it into the soil for you. Lots easier than having to dig out and haul manure/bedding from a stationary coop to a compost pile, turning the compost pile regularly, then hauling the compost to the garden, then digging out sod by hand or with a tiller, then working the compost into the soil. Let the chickens do the work for you while they harvest a large part of their own feed while doing so. And at the end of the season you can move a tractor through your garden, with the chickens eating the residues of plants, produce and insects, fertilizing the soil and working everything into the soil with their scratching…which also prevents weeds growing. Amazing how such a simple tool – the chicken tractor, and the planned use of it, can save you countless hours of heavy labor. I have one and will be making 5 more this spring. I made it 4’x12′ with a PVC frame covered in 1″x2″ welded wire with a heavy tarp over one end, and keep one rooster and four hens in it. Don’t use chicken wire – that is only to keep chickens in, it won’t keep predators out! I can easily slightly lift one end and move it over 4′, then move the other end over 4′, by myself, for the daily small moves. But do have my husband help when I move it any distance. If you build them too big they are hard to move and you need motorized equipment…and it turns into a big chore.

    • hello, I read your post and am envious! I am 45 and have a husband grandchildren and 110 acre farm. We have over 100 pigs now, chickens, rabbits, two beef cows and of course dogs and cats. I want to get milk goats and maybe a milk cow. I have applied to start selling at farmers market but am trying to draw up a master plan. Do you have any advice for me Ihave a 10 acre flat area my husband says i can use for new garden since mine is so small now. I want to grow everything, I have had a greenhouse for about 10 years and I love to stary from seed and propigate.

      • Hello Cynthia,

        Your farm and life sound AMAZING!!

        As for advice, we only just moved to flat land. If you’ve had a greenhouse for 10 years I’m guessing you’ve had decent growing experience? I’m not sure what zone you’re in, I only have experience with zone 5. I know one main thing often overlooked with seed starting and propagating is making sure there’s adequate air flow. I know in our new greenhouse there’s going to be pests and things like mould to deal with as it’s ben sitting empty for 2 years and the weeds were 5 feet tall! I’ve had lots of experience growing a ton of food for our family but no market farming experience yet, I wish I had more to offer you for advice!

        Best of luck with your farm this year 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing this article… I have fallen completely in love with the idea of being self sufficient. So much so that I am also completely overwhelmed! My husband and I bought 10 acres in southeast central Ohio last year and my mind just started goin’. The first garden was a total ‘fail’. So my goals for 2018 are simple.
    1. Put in a successful garden
    2. Learn some preserving techniques

    I should be able to handle that, right? We shall see. Thanks for the ‘grounder’. Much appreciated!

    • That’s a great way to start, grow food and preserve some if you have extra. It really does take years to learn new skills. Best of luck with everything!


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