Whether you live in an apartment or on a 100 acre farm, everyone wants to reduce their cost of living. Making your property more sustainable is an easy first step, attainable at different levels for properties of all shapes and sizes.
Creating sustainability requires taking the resources you already have to produce something that you either can sell to make money or that you would have normally spent money on. Having a sustainable property can save you anywhere from hundreds to many thousands of dollars each year, and it reduces your dependence on outside resources you cannot control.
Below are five ways you can increase your sustainability, starting simple and moving toward complexity. Let’s dive in.
Planting an Herb Garden
Planting an herb garden is one of the easiest ways to create more sustainability by growing something that you can use in your kitchen. With fresh herbs, you can brew teas, add flavor to your food, or make your own candles, soaps, and lotions. Some of the most popular herbs to grow at home are: basil, bay, chamomile, chives, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, and rosemary.
An herb garden requires very little additional space or maintenance. Even if you don’t have a backyard, or balcony, you can place pots on your windowsill. When the herbs are ready to harvest, you can store them fresh in your refrigerator or dried in your pantry.
2. Growing a Fruit and Vegetable Garden
When your space is ready to size up from an herb garden, you can plant fruits and vegetables alongside. Any property with a backyard is suitable for a few planter boxes. With limited space, some of the best plants to grow are tomatoes, lettuce, pole beans, chard, radishes, and lemons.
A high-yielding fruit and vegetable garden can pay for your maintenance time in less than a single season. To increase sustainability, you can save the seeds from your plants to grow next-year’s garden. You can also make your own compost from discarded scraps to fertilize the soil.
Growing fresh fruits and vegetables opens the doors for many flavors in the kitchen. You can enjoy them fresh, preserve them for later recipes, or sell them at local farmer’s markets.
3. Owning Backyard Chickens, Ducks, and Turkeys
Nearly anyone with a backyard and the right regulations can raise chickens, ducks, or turkeys. For chickens and ducks, you should allow 2 to 5 square feet per bird in a coop and 8 to 12 square feet per bird in an outside run. For turkeys, you need at least 25 square feet of outdoor space in addition to the coop.
Backdoor birds serve multiple purposes. First, they can work alongside your vegetable garden to keep bugs down and provide manure for fertilizer. Additionally, they provide eggs for consumption or sale. Finally, if egg production slows, the birds can provide meat.
4. Keeping Small Animals (Goats, Sheep, Pigs)
If you have a few acres of land, then you might consider raising small animals instead. Animals like goats, sheep, and pigs require minimal acreage and can provide ample dairy production or meat for an entire year.
Furthermore, these small animals can reduce the weight of property maintenance. Their manure is a great source of fertilizer for your plants, and, as a bonus, they can graze on weeds to prevent harmful overgrowth.
5. Raising Cattle
With a bit more acreage, you can graduate from small animals to cattle ranching. Raising and finishing your own beef allows you to implement better farming, feeding, and butchering techniques than you’ll find at the supermarket.
Cows check two boxes, because they can provide dairy and meat. I’ve been raising cattle for nearly 15 years and know well that a whole steer can provide food for my entire family. Knowing the source of the food that I put on my table is of great importance to me. Plus, whatever meat we can’t eat, we can sell locally, and put the money back into our ranch.
A Final Note
A sustainable property isn’t limited to a huge ranch, but rather created by the owner using whatever methods he or she can. By themselves or in unison, the above sustainability ideas can help make your property more self-sufficient, create another source of income, and ensure you’re making the most of whatever resources you have available.
Now, when you’re hunting for properties, you can consider their sustainability potentials as a selling point too.