Updated: Apr 6
Perfecting your homestead is not something that should be done in the beginning. Some low maintainance plants can make it easy to start being more self sufficient.
Whether you are new to homestead, gardening, prepping, or just being more self sufficient, or even a seasoned pro, there is always room for improvement or new ideas. With COVID-19 in full swing, families and individuals may have to become more self sufficient than ever before. For more information on how to protect yourself from COVID-19 check out this post The Pandemic Checklist
Homesteading is all about utilizing resources and time effectively, so grow what you will use or eat.
When it comes to being self sufficient a garden is simply a must have, it is important to remember to only grow what you will eat or use though. Otherwise, it is time, effort, and resources down the drain that could have been used for something else.
Aloe vera has many different uses that can be capitalized on. Perfect for self sufficient gardens because of these multiple uses. First of, if you are pale like myself than aloe vera is a god send #sunburn. this is definitely its most common use however there are multiple other uses. Aloe can help with dry skin, acne, weight loss as well. Although in most of these some other material may be needed as well.
Spinach has been found to help prevent some types of cancer in recent studies. It is good for weight loss, really any green vegetables are good for weight loss just an FYI. Additionally it helps build muscle and muscle development overall. It helps infants grow and is a perfect protein source for them as well. FInally, it pares quite well with a big steak and some sweet tea.
I know for myself there are multiple ways I eat spinach. I put it on deli sandwiches, in salads, next to steaks of course, and in protein smoothies for after workouts.
Here is my typical smoothie recipe. i am not completely self sufficient so I admit some of these items are from a store and I do not use measuring cups so it is pretty much to taste or an eye guess.
Yogurt from goats milk
Protein powder (chocolate)
Pinch of Sugar
My favorite post workout/garden session smoothie and or meal replacement depending on your goals as an individual
I am from Indiana so I grew up on corn and tomatoes as a tradition in the family. Fried green tomatoes, tomato mixed with cheese and ranch for an unhealthy snack or dinner side, tomatoes in salad, or simply cutting one up and sprinkling it with some salt as a snack. This is one of the foods that can be used for many different types of foods. Also good for tomato paste or sauce for stews, pastas, or pretty much anything else you may want.
Sometimes you see people going all out on supplies and the most expensive soil for tomatoes and it is simply not needed. I tried the fancy stuff in the beginning and I was broke one year and so I did not. There was no difference honestly. Since then I have not and have saved a ton of money while still getting nice tomatoes. You do not need the best soil or one of those circular devices to help support the plant. A sturdy stick and a bread tie work just as well folks.
Pretty much in the same category here as spinach. There are so many different types of lettuce and purposes behind them. It is best for you to look up the specific types on your own or maybe that will be a future blow post and I will dive into the different types of lettuce and what they can do for your homestead or self sufficient garden.
I do not know about you guys but I love some green bean casserole and yes I am the type to put cheese in it as well. Sorry but it taste better that way! Don't knock it till you try it! These bad boys can help reduce heart disease and can help keep diabities in check as well. Beyond easy to grow and could very well be the easiest to grow.
Some people definitely do not like the taste of carrots and that is quite alright I completely understand. However, they are easy to grow and can be used for a wide variety of things in and out of the kitchen. Soups, stews, marmalade, as a side dish itself, baby food puree, juice, and the ends or shavings can be used as compost (use a compost, if you do not have one get one!)
Lavender can sometimes be tricky to grow depending on what zone you are located in so it is best to do some research into that as well. However, there are SO many different types of things you can do or make with some lavender. Soaps, bath salts, lavender oil, lotion, vinegar, and even decorations with the dried out stems.
Later I will post a more in-depth look at how you can make some of this stuff and some other things that can be made with lavender as well.
I do not kow about you guys but I like some herbs and seasoning on my food and that is why the next couple plants are listed as well.
Same thing folks this goes great with meats, soups, stews, and salads. I am not super into cilantro so I do not grow it but it is definitely one of the better and easiest herbs to grow. Additionally, this plays back to the beginning of the post, if you wilill not eat it, do not grow it. I do not eat cilantro much so I focus on growing something I definitely will eat.
When it comes to animals and what types are best for self sufficiency feel free to check out another writer in 6 Animals for Better Self Sufficiency