Homesteading in Maine 101- tips please!

annabananaandfamily(5)May 24, 2011

Hello everyone!

I have just recently started toying with the idea of homesteading and helping my family become more self sufficient. What I have found has truly been an overload of info! I'm hoping everyone here can help me wade through the info and get a better idea of where to start.

A bit about us and our situation- we are a family of 6 and after a recent involuntary change in our economical status (lol, hows that for saying it politely?!), I realized how dependant we are on the likes of walmart, hanaford, etc to survive. I really want to start making a push to become less dependent and more independent! We are not in a position to go out and buy land or livestock etc. But I am trying smaller things- working on a small vegetable garden, we have recently added 4 chickens to our family for eggs... We are doing what we can, and I would love to hear ideas and suggestions on what else we can do!



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The "grandparents" of the entire back-to-the-land movement lived in Maine. Read what you can about Scott and Helen Nearing. Elliot Coleman lives on part of their homestead now, but you can learn a lot from reading the Nearing's works or Coleman's books.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 3:29PM
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Extend your growing season.

For starters I'd start cold crop seed NOW. Broccoli, Spinach, beets, celery, carrots all did fantastic in my greenhouse. Start them in the house, it may be too hot for germination right now. Plant plenty-even if you don't see a harvest before it's cold, they will wilt but will start up again in mid-march for an early harvest. We do not heat our greenhouse here in CT. Plant onions & garlic bulbs now. Buy heritage seeds (Not F! hybrids) and save the seed.

Put up a greenhouse - metal pipe, pipe bender, plastic sheeting. Don't go cheap on the pipe - use at least an inch dia thick guage and an appropriate span width or the snow will collapse it even if you clean it off during the storm.

Not sure if you were indicating you wanted to raise your own meat, but both chickens & rabbits are good choices and inexpensive to get started in. Be sure your pens are SECURE or you will lose them to predators.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 6:40PM
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That should read 2 inch metal pipe. 1 inch will fold under the snow load.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 7:03PM
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Take it slow. Get one thing going at a time, and then move on to others. Obviously, in your situation, you want to get some things up and running that pay off, food producers. Get the greenhouse up so you maximize your seasons. Or, if that can't be done immediately, look into tunnels that will extend the season and can be made from PVC and plastic.

Complete self-sufficiency is very hard, and few can achieve it. For one thing, you tend to trade dependence on WalMart for dependence on the hardware store. And there's a vast difference between self-sufficiently producing all you need yourself and becoming independent in the sense of not worrying about being laid off on account of a poor sales year. Many others have done that, and the growing desire to eat locally grown food makes it not a bad time. And others have done it without having much seed money.

Consider Chino's in California.

Japanese couple began before WWII. Were interned and their property stolen while they were being held. Got out and began sharecropping and eventually bought land. (Having a bunch of kids helped, even if some of them didn't farm.) You can read many stories of the Chino family on the 'Net, but remember that this isn't some corporate megafarm It's 47 acres, and they're known to every food writer and all the chefs in their area. They are consummate professionals and weren't born that way. And when you achieve what they did, you can charge two and three times grocery store prices and nationally famous selling out of a 30-foot shed.

It doesn't happen overnight, but once you see just how much a single acre of land can produce, you see the potential.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 2:03PM
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