Is Fancy Equipment Needed on a Homestead?
If you’re working to live more sustainably on your urban or suburban homestead, growing as much of your own food as possible is likely one of your top goals. If you’re just starting out, though, the idea of buying lots of new equipment can be daunting — after all, many homesteaders are working to live as simply as possible, not to go into debt for lots of fancy new machines and gadgets.
Luckily, the smaller your homestead is, the more you can do by hand. As you expand, you might consider upgrading to tools and equipment that save you labor. Here are some pieces of essential equipment for your urban homestead.
Essential Garden Tools for Homesteads
Growing your own food is easier with the right tools. If you have a small garden plot for a few salads and maybe some ingredients for fresh salsa, you can probably get your work done with a few simple hand tools:
- Hand trowel or spade
- Garden fork
- A garden shovel or spade
- A garden rake
- A galvanized watering can
- Leather work gloves
If your garden is bigger than just a few raised beds, you’ll also need some way to transport garden debris as well as your harvest. Consider adding these to your homestead if you can afford to — they’ll ease your burden when you’re dealing with planting and harvesting year round:
- A wheelbarrow or hand cart
- A portable, padded kneeler
- Several large baskets for carrying fruits and vegetables
- A long garden hose with adjustable spray nozzles
Other Indispensable Hand Tools
Whether you’re building raised beds for your garden or making repairs around the house, a basic tool kit is a must-have for homesteaders of all abilities and experience levels. Here’s what you should stock in yours:
- A hammer
- Several sizes and varieties of screwdrivers
- A cordless drill
- An awl
- A wrench
- A needle-nose and regular plier
- Wire cutters
- A ratchet
- A tape measure
- A putty knife
- A saw
- An orbital sander
- A collections of nails, screws, nuts, bolts and washers
Adding Power to Your Homestead Tools
The tools listed above are the basics you need to get started growing your own food. Committed homesteaders will likely outgrow hand tools in a few years and be ready for some more powerful tools that make a day’s work of prepping, weeding and harvesting go a little easier. Here are three tools you should consider investing in as your operation grows:
- A Rotary Tiller: A good tiller makes short work of breaking sod and preparing soil for new garden beds. You can also use it each spring and fall to turn you soil and break up the roots of the previous year’s plantings before amending with compost and fertilizer. This is a must-have machine for saving time — and your back — in the garden.
- A Riding Mower: A small riding mower or tractor will help you take care of all your mowing without breaking a sweat. This is an especially useful piece of equipment if you get your hands on a piece of land with pasture or are tending a lot that’s been overseeded with a cover crop like clover or timothy. You can shop for used agricultural equipment to get what you need for a great price.
- An Air Compressor: An air compressor and basic tool kit with a hydraulic nailer, tire pump and spray gun will be indispensible around the homestead as you clean and repair things over the years. It will also allow you to beef up your collection of tools to ones with more power than just your own arm to make construction projects go more quickly.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the things you need to live more sustainably and independently. Try shopping sales and for used items that are still in good condition to get most important homesteading tools squared away first. After you have the basics, you can slowly add to your collection as your needs — and your skills — grow. Starting with a small garden and working your way up to homestead with livestock and other side projects is a slow process, and you don’t need to invest in fancy equipment to make it happen.
This is a guest post by Bobbi Peterson. She loves writing and regularly posts on her blog Living Life Green. She’s also a freelance writer, green living advocate and environmentalist. You can find more from Bobbi on Twitter.
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