Ten Things That Make a Survival Homestead

1.  Start with a list

Plan everything that the homestead will need to have to work. Think about how much land will be needed so the homestead thrives. Consider your main priorities for the homestead and how you will achieve them.  In a homestead environment, everything must be used and reused. Think about how much money will be needed to begin this life change and how much money will be needed to keep it going. Make sure the homestead has adequate resources that will be needed to live off of, and is defensible if it has to be.

2.  Heat Source

If you live up North or in the East, and winter time is a force to recon with, make sure the homestead has a heating source. Having heat to warm the body is a very important aspect of survival. Keep this in mind when you are looking for a homestead.

3.  Water Source

A good survival homestead will have it’s own (if not multiple) water sources.  Speaking strictly survival talk, water is the most important aspect of surviving.  Without water, you cannot feed your crops, feed your animals, reheat any type of food (including the extra stash of Mountain House dehydrated foods and survival food staple items).  Water is a top priority, and when searching for a home stead, this should be kept in mind.  Water sources such as ponds and rivers can also provide other food sources.

4.  Tools

It is suggested that people purchase tools and equipment that can operate in a non-technological environment.  These tools and equipment should be of the “traditional sense.”   Tools such as gardening tools, mechanic tools, tools and equipment for canning and farming equipment.

5.  Survival Garden

The survival garden is a major undertaking.  In order to live off of the food that is grown, lots food must be grown and stored away in the form of canned jars, or dried goods.  Food must be grown for any livestock that a person would be caring for as well.  Caring for a garden on a homestead is a more labor intensive effort than if one was gardening as a hobby.  Furthermore, reading and acquiring knowledge on gardening zones, rotation crops, and companion plants will help to keep the garden thriving.

6.  Fruit and Nuts

Some fruit trees such as orange trees, grape vines, apples and some nut trees can take years before they mature enough to grow their fruit. Do proper research on the fruit that you intend to have on the survival homestead, as well as setting money aside to purchase these plants will help to ensure that one has plenty of food to live off of.  Location is everything to a fruit tree.  If you plant the wrong fruit tree or in the wrong direction, it will more than likely not bear fruit and take a long time before that mistake goes away.

7.  Medicine

Medicinal herbs and plants must be used to provide support when illness or injuries are present.  If a person has a pre-existing condition, research and find certain herbs, roots or medicinal plants that may be able to alleviate the symptoms.

8.  Livestock

Raising animals is a large aspect of having a homestead.  Not only are they used for their meat, but also for their fur, feathers, eggs, manure, etc.  Animals, such as dogs can also be used for hunting and protecting the homestead. Small livestock such as goats, angora rabbits, or pigeons are good choices of homestead livestock.  If the homestead is a smaller acreage, then micro livestock is a good choice as they will not take up as much space or consume as much food compared to larger livestock such as cows.

9.  Develop a Variety of Homesteading Skills

Before you move to a homestead, develop skills that will be needed to maintain the type of life you want as well as being able to keep up with the survival homestead.   Engaging in tasks that will bring about necessary homestead skills development is the key to being more self sufficient.  Start trying to fix things yourself  before calling a plumber or an electrician, or create a substantial garden to develope advanced gardening skill, and to see how much work it will be.  Practicing also will give you an idea of how much food will be needed to live off of.  Try organic gardening to sync up with the homesteading conditions.  Take any extra vegetables and can them to preserve for the winter months.  Or, try your hand at soap making.

10.  Be Confident In Your Abilities

Without a firm dedication to learning the necessary skills, a homestead will fail.  Believing in your abilities and having the determination to see this through will drive you further to achieve your goals.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published January 20th, 2010
Ready Nutrition - Fall Garden Specials From Ready Gardens
If you found this article useful, please Vote for Ready Nutrition as a top prepper web site.
share this article with others
related reading
featured today

Leave A Comment...
Ready Nutrition Home Page

14 Responses to Ten Things That Make a Survival Homestead

  1. Rahim says:

    Me being the overprotective safety junkie that I am, I love this list.  Question:  How can you have and/or maintain livestock if you’re living situation is urban (apartment)?

    • Tess says:


      Often times, cities do not allow livestock on property unless a person has 10 or more acres. I would check on the city website that you live in to see if they have any livestock guidelines.

      Tess Pennington
      Ready Nutrition

    • Yep says:

      Get a cat. Feed the squirrels.

  2. Penna says:

    In our small town you can have livestock as pets but not for consumption.

    If I were to do something secretive it would be guinea pigs, they are Peru’s national Christmas dinner and they breed rapidly.

  3. ARTHUR BELGE says:

    There are a number of items we are used to having that will disappear rather quickly and be slow to be replaced – good trading items.
    Flour, Sugar, salt, milk, guns & ammo, tobacco and alcohol. Having these items to trade will be worth more than gold. Being able to produce them even more valuable for the long haul.
    A friend of mine had 5 acres out in the country, not for survival but because he liked the country. He had a stream that cut across the back corner of his property.  A natural gully and path way had been there for obviously generations. With lots of berry bearing bushes adding good cover he discovered he had a herd of his own – wild deer. He added a deer lick to encourage them to come there and would spend a lot of time with them so they would get used to him and his hunting bow and also he would keep a log of each deer so he could track his herd – as he called them. Then when primitive hunting season came (S.C.) he would remove the deer lick the required number of days ahead, and would then take 3 or 4 deer he had already determined would be big enough but not to old. Not a bad survival technique either. Your own herd without a lot of work.
    Streams can be dammed up for ponds (water irrigation and fish source) as well as a power source. Not a bad combination.
     Reader Digest put out a book called “Back to Basics “on traditional skills that had all this and more. It even had simple methods for surveying and determining flow of a stream for power purposes and determining if a site is adequate for power production. YOU COULD MAKE IT ON THIS BOOK ALONE, BUT I have about 5 books that cover NEARLY everything. 10 books that cover other areas that are really helpful ALSO. I’ll make a list.

  4. Tess says:

    Great comment Arthur!  The strategy your friend has is a great way to keep track on what is on the homestead property.  There are also berry bushes and trees that a person could put on their property to attract wild game and wild foul.  These essential berries and trees can provide food for humans as well. 

    You mentioned items that one could use for bartering items for a longer term disaster.  I would also like to add seeds to your list.  Nutritious food is going to be harder to come by if a long term disaster.  Without the proper nutrition that certain foods can provide, the body will lose it’s stregnth, mental clarity, as well as become vitamin deficient.  Having a wide variety of seeds for a homestead will also be valuable commodity.

    I admire your homesteading library.  I have a nice collection as well, but we can always use more homesteading and survival books.  Thanks for the suggestion of the Readers Digest book.  I will definately look into it. 

    There is another Back to Basics book that I own.  It is by James Talmage Stevens and is an amazing homesteading reference.  The author, who also has a radio show, has put everything a person needs to know about homesteading and self reliance in this book.  It’s definately worth the investment.

  5. Maxine says:

    Reading all  of this info. it brings back to mind 2 book subscriptions I had about 40 years ago. “Mother Earth” and “Organic Gardening”. All of the info in these monthly books was the best way to do everything. I remember the making of a compost bin. Not just an ordinary compost bin but a “fantastic” compost bin for production of the best garden around. Also, this is where I found out that horse manure was all you needed to grow the biggest and best earth worms with “super” castings for enriching your gardening.
    I havent looked yet but I am hoping these books are still in print or maybe on a magazine rack in the libary. If you find them you will have hit  a jackpot of wonderful info. 

    • Tess says:


      Great book suggestions,thanks for letting us know! A lot of gardeners swear by horse manure. In fact, look around for an equestrian facility around the area you live. You can typically get manure there for free if you hall if off. Talk about a great deal!

      I’ve been doing a lot of research on earthworms lately. My son is loving it! I just ordered some earthworms and I’m waiting on them to show up. I can’t wait to see what kind of work they can do!

      Thanks for commenting,

  6. larry says:

    Tess and Maxine, horse manure, if the supplier of hay for winter feeding is using Grazon or an equivalent broadleaf herbicide, is no good for composting or use with earthworms.   Take care.

  7. Kat says:

    Mother Earth News has a DVD set that covers the past 40 or so years.  Not too expensive, and full of all the homesteading information you could want.  It might be easier than trying to find old issues – which are very hard to come by.  It would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s survival library!  Backwoods Home is another magazine dedicated to homesteading and survival, and they have a DVD set as well.  They cover everything from getting started, arms and ammo, gardening, home building – you name it!  Both are awesome magazines with much info.  The Foxfire books might also be a good set to have – the cover so much of the old-time skills from the Appalachia region.  Thanks for all the wonderful advice Tess!!  You are a bright star in the survival universe – succinct and to the point.  You make one want to dig further! 

  8. Aunt Jane says:

    Backwoods Home Magazine is a great resource for homesteading. I much prefer it to Mother Earth News. They also have a great website. They cover everything from Animals to preserving your food to cooking.

  9. Ron Lake says:

    always have a few masonry tools, a trowel, jointer, hoe, wheelbarrow. If worse comes to worse, you can get limestone, smash it into powder, at sand and water and walah! you have masonry mix for fireplace, just like the old homesteaders used.

  10. WhereEaglesDare says:

    I’m making a list and checking it twice………Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I don’t have a good water source, but I’m building some water catchment. Good article, it has me focused again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ready Nutrition Articles By Category
Looking for something specific on our site? Start your search in our list of articles by main category topic.