16 Fall Homesteading Projectskmorris
Fall is such a gorgeous season here in the Midwest, it’s truly my favorite season. So, while I’m crunching colorful leaves beneath my boots and breathing in the crisp autumn air, I am reminded that there are plenty of fall homesteading projects that will need to be done, before the snow starts to fly. Here’s a list of my “16 Fall Homesteading Projects” that I’ll be working on!
Canning and Preserving
Canning and preserving food is one of the most important fall homesteading projects that I do around here!
Homesteading is all about being self-sustaining, is it not?
Getting serious about having enough food put away until the next harvest takes time and planning, but it’s so fulfilling!
By harvesting our home-grown fruits and vegetables, as well as making sure that the meat we raised is processed and safely tucked away in our freezer, we can keep the family fed for at least a year at a time.
In addition to canning, I’m also making use of my Excalibur dehydrator by drying excess produce while it’s at it’s peak of freshness!
Don’t forget to make jams and jellies!
I make extra for teacher gifts, hostess gifts, Christmas baskets and to just share with friends and neighbors!
Unique home-canned foods make for wonderful and interesting Christmas gifts! Set aside time to make these extra special goodies while you have all of your canning equipment out!
Spreading compost is another one of my important fall homesteading projects!
Fall is the best time to prepare your soil for next year.
Allowing compost to sit on your garden’s soil all winter long, allows nutrients to seep down (by manner of wind, rain and snow) to result in microorganism-rich soil by the next Spring.
If you have enough compost, be sure to spread some around your fruit trees, even your wild trees and plants i.e. mulberry, black raspberry, etc. It really makes a difference when it comes to harvest time.
Repair Fences and Gates
One of the most wise things you’ll do in the fall is to inspect all of your fences and gates!
There’s nothing more miserable than to be forced to repair a fence in below zero temperatures.
Walk all the way around your property and look for places in your fences and gates that need reinforcement and attention.
Split and Plant Perennials
Edible perennials are a homesteader’s best friend!
Perennials are usually easy to grow and split, and they are also prolific!
So, before winter brings in a period of dormancy, why not expand your perennial garden?
I’m a habitual “splitter”.
There, I admitted it.
I take every opportunity to:
-Split perennials that I already own and spread them around the property or offer them to other people. (So that everyone can share in my “splitting” addiction!)
-Ask for starters from friends and family!
-Buy one amazing perennial and come home to split it in as many sections as I can!
Once the bearing cycle for a plant is complete, there’s no reason why you can’t split the plant.
So, if your perennial garden doesn’t yet have rhubarb, for example, check/ask around for a starter!
Starters from an established plant will produce much more quickly than a packaged root that you might buy!
Once Spring arrives, you’ll be thrilled to see all of your new perennials (that you’ve forgotten about by now!) popping up out of the garden!
There’s nothing more comforting than the smell of wood heat in the wintertime.
If you depend on wood to heat your home, then securing firewood is of paramount importance! Collecting wood in different places is a fun fall homesteading project!
Look for inexpensive sources of firewood:
-Facebook, Free-cycle, Buy Nothing or Craigslist pages can offer lots of free firewood options!
-Offer to help clean up after a storm, and bring your chainsaw!
Clean Fireplace Flue
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that fireplaces, chimneys and flues be inspected annually, to avoid fire-related accidents.
Make sure this important fall appointment gets made!
Insulate Doors and Windows
It seems that I always forget about that drafty door or window, until the snow starts to fly.
Can anyone relate?
Chances are that you already know where your home is a bit “thin” of insulation.
Before it gets cold, walk around your home and check for doors and windows that need caulked or sealed.
Climb up in your attic and take a look at your insulation levels.
Stay warmer this winter by attending to this important fall homesteading project!
Inventory Winter Gear
I’m hoping that one day, when the children are all grown and have their own homes, that I’ll be able to locate my favorite gloves on a regular basis.
Why is it that they are never where I left them???
But don’t wait until the snow is flying before you start to look for your favorite coat, hat and gloves.
Good winter farm wear is critical to the homesteader!
Having the right covering can make all the difference in the world when managing your homestead during the winter months.
The advantage of taking inventory of your winter gear early in the season is that you’ll find a better selection and price at the stores.
Shopping before the “rush” will help you to find what you want at the cheapest price!
Don’t forget to check out the thrift stores for great deals on winter gear!
Cull and Stock the Freezer
One of the hardest parts of having livestock is deciding which ones are pets and which ones become food.
While my chickens are “free-range” during the summer months, with some supplemental feed, that is not the case during the winter.
I must feed all of my birds a full schedule of feed, each and every day, which can get expensive.
The bottom line is that some of the older chickens will need to be culled.
Winter is also the month that most beef goes to the processor.
Make sure that your freezer is stocked from the livestock you raise, but also the garden vegetables that you’ve harvested all summer!
Having a well-maintained generator is critical during winter months, when a power-outage could make you truly miserable.
If you don’t have a generator, may I suggest that you save up and shop around for one?
Here’s the one we have and I love it!
Candles/Lights/Flashlights for Power Outage
Most homesteaders keep a good supply of candles and flashlights in case of a power outage.
However, it’s always good to take a quick look and inventory of what you really have on hand.
Batteries have a way of expiring, flashlights seem to find their way into children’s toy boxes and candles get used up more than we expect them to.
Every 6 months is a good time to check up on your emergency supplies, right along with the time that you change your smoke alarm batteries.
Plant Cover Crops
If you’re not familiar with cover crops, they’re a great way to improve your garden soil when it’s not in use.
Cover crops are planting in your garden once your primary crops are finished.
So, instead of leaving the ground dormant, you plant cover crops.
Cover crops improve soil several different ways:
- Cover crops keep weeds at bay when the soil isn’t being used.
- Cover crops reduce the erosion of precious top soil.
- Certain cover crops, like legumes, can add a boost of nitrogen to the soil, making next year’s garden even more productive!
- Planting cover crops can attract beneficial insects to your ground, thereby keeping it healthier.
For more information about cover crops, read here.
Stock and Rotate Pantry
As canning season approaches, it’s important to rotate your pantry.
Rotating means to organize your jars in such a way that the ones with the earliest expiration date are first in line to be used.
Always place your newly canned foods behind pre-existing jars.
You wouldn’t want to have food go bad just because you didn’t rotate your jars on a regular basis.
Make Soap and Stuff
Soap-making is one of my favorite fall homesteading projects!
The temperatures are cooler, so it’s convenient to open the windows for needed ventilation.
It’s not difficult to make a year’s worth of soap, plus enough for Christmas gifts!
I learned how to make soap here, so check it out!
Brambleberry also has tutorials for making your own make-up, soap bombs, lotions, candles and personal care products!
Have a couple of friends over and make some stuff!
Plant Greens Near Your Backdoor
Although garden season will be just about over, I find that I can still grow a small bed of greens until the snow starts to fall.
Whether you plant in a pot, or just a corner near your back door, don’t let go of fresh salad everyday until you’re forced to!