Fall is the perfect time to start your homestead projects. In fact, homesteaders will be quite busy from here on out until after the Christmas season. It’s not as hot as summer and you’ve got some time before winter hits. Plus, some homestead tasks that you finish this fall will make your life easier when spring comes. So take your tools out and start getting busy.
Build A Chicken Coop
If you want to raise your own chickens but don’t have a chicken coop yet, this is the perfect time to build one.
When you raise your own chickens, you’ll need a fence to keep the predators away. That’s when you have to do some digging. That’s another reason why building chicken coops is a great homestead project to do during fall. Foliage begins to wilt and die making it easier do some digging.
(Related: How to Breed Chickens after SHTF)
Once you’re done with the chicken coop, run and fencing, it’s time to sit back, relax (or start another fall project if there’s still time), and see if your homestead project will hold up during winter.
Don’t be confused now. Just because you’re done with the coop doesn’t mean you can start raising chickens immediately. You have to wait after winter before bringing the chicks in.
To build your chicken coop, you need a design first. You also need to decide where to put it up. You’ll need a large enough space for your chickens to move as freely as possible. Then you have to consider the materials. You’ll mainly need wood, roof material, and probably chicken wire for your fence and run.
As for the tools, your basic ones are a hammer, saw, tape measure, drill, level, and a few others. You can always use a hand saw but it would be a lot easier and faster if you have a circular saw.
The Makita XSH03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2” Circular Saw is powered by a the BL Brushless Motor that is capable of 5,000 RPM. That means you get more run time, more power, and more speed out of your circular saw.
The compact and ergonomically-design Makita circular saw weighs only 7.3 pounds. This is made possible by using die-cast magnesium base, blade guard and safety cover. Another one its many impressive features is the Star Protection Computer Controls, which keep the power tool from overloading and overheating.
Start Preparing Your Garden
If you planted your garden in the middle of summer, you should be harvesting real soon or just about the cold hits. It means it’s time to get those shovels ready and start preparing for your spring garden.
(Related: Garden Essentials Of A Homesteader)
First, check your soil to see if it needs a little TLC. As a homesteader, you should have your own compost bin so it shouldn’t be that difficult to improve your soil before planting your garden. Check out these other soil amendment tips from Morning Chores.
Another garden chores you should be doing in fall is building raised beds. That is if you plan on using them. You can also start digging mounded beds at this time since it’s not too hot and not too cold.
The planting part can be done before the cold sets in as long as you know which ones can survive winter. If you want a beautiful garden come spring, this is the time to start preparing your perennials and other flowering plants. Better Garden & Homes has come up with a list of plant types you can plant this fall.
If you prefer an edible garden, though, you should be thinking garlic, onions and shallots, asparagus, peas, and perpetual spinach. These plants can survive winter. Baby spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, pak choi or bok choy, radish, snow pea are best planted after the cold so you can enjoy the in spring.
The Prairie Homestead suggests planting 4 to 8 weeks before the first frost. This may vary depending on where you are. Check with local farmers or other homesteaders if you still don’t know when the first frost is so you’ll be ready for your fall project.
Your garden preparation will be a lot easier if you have the right tools. You’ll need a spading fork to break up the soil and dig out what needs to be dug out.
The Radius Garden 203 PRO Ergonomic Stainless Steel Digging Fork comes with the unique O-handle and English design. The advantage of the circular handle is that you can hold any way you want. It gives you more leverage whatever angle you’re digging with.
The square tines, meanwhile, are made of durable stainless steel while the carbon steel shaft is encased in resin. The forward step is elevated forward for easier and more efficient use.
Prep Your Vineyard
Similar to your vegetable garden, you should start preparing for your vineyard, if you have one. The first thing you need is to put up your trellises. To do that, you need to do some digging.
As discussed above, the soil is easier to dig up during autumn. If you wait until winter to do the task, you’ll be faced with frozen ground, which is obviously more difficult to disturb than during fall.
It’s also more ideal to have your trellises and post up before winter so you can start training your grape vines early. Simply put, if you don’t do these fall homestead projects now, you have to do them later, which will make it harder for you to start your vineyard and for the grape vine to adjust quickly.
Aside from the spading fork, another garden essential is the hoe. No, not that one. The hoe you need for your garden or vineyard is something like the Truper 33119 Tru Pro Forged Eye Hoe. The Truper hoe is made of 54 inches professional grade white ash handle and a 7-inch eye hoe head. The extras long handle allows more torque thus more efficient work.
Can Your Food
We’re going ahead and assume you grew a fall garden and that you’re about to harvest your produce. It’s a good idea to set aside some of your fruits and vegetables and can them. Canning lets you store food for later use, which is why this is popular among homesteaders and preppers alike.
(Related: Top Tasty Pickle Recipe You Should Be Making)
You need a canning kit for your canning needs. The Granite Ware Enamel-on-Steel Canning Kit includes a 21-quart canner with side loop handles and a domed lid that are made of enamel-on-steel construction. It also comes with a rack that can carry up to 7 jars, funnel, tongs, jar lifter, magnetic lid lifter, and a lid wrench.
Canning is a method of food preservation that’s pretty easy to do once you get the hang of it. First, you must prepare the ingredients. Make sure you’re using fresh produce. Clean them thoroughly and slice into pieces that easily fit in a jar, which should have been cleaned thoroughly, as well.
Fill the jars with the ingredients then wipe the rims before screwing the lids on. Boil the jars in the canner. Once done, remove the jars using the jar lifter and set aside to cool. That’s basically it. Try canning different fruits and vegetables with different herbs and spices. You can experiment on a variety of combinations if you wish. Check out this list of canning recipes from Mother Earth News for more tested ideas.
(Related: Why Should You Eat Fermented Food)
Fall is perfect for composting since you have lots of leaves, dried grass, and other foliage at your disposal. Gather all the compost materials and place them in your compost bin. To make it easier for you to gather the leaves, you’ll need a rake.
(Related: Top Compost Bins You Need At Home)
The Professional EZ Travel Collection Telescopic Folding Rake is a dream, come true for anyone who’s ever had to with a huge yard filled with leaves. The durable steel tines can be adjusted from 7.5 inches to 21.75 inches. The wider you make it, the more leaves and dried grass you can gather in one swoop. The smaller the head is, meanwhile, the better to use under hedges and other hard to reach areas. This also keeps you from accidentally raking your prized perennials.
The telescopic hand adjusts from 37 to 68 inches giving you better leverage when raking. The handle is rubberized for better grip. The rake is made of aluminum alloy so durability shouldn’t be an issue.
(Related: Cheap and Easy DIY Compost Bins)
Get Ready for the Winter Cold
A responsible homesteader knows the importance of preparing for the cold season. You don’t want to be left in the cold, so to say. To avoid any complications during winter, you should do everything that needs done before it’s too late.
Do House Repairs
Fall homestead projects should include doing repairs on your home as well as other structures you own. Check the house first. Look for holes, cracks or loose wall and roof panels where unwanted cold may seep in.
Your house is not the only thing you should be checking and doing repairs on. Evaluate your barn chicken coop, fence, and other structures. The garden also needs to be prepped for the cold.
Aside from the repairs, you also need to gather as much firewood as you can. You need some trusty tools for this must-do fall homestead project.
A chain saw is one thing you’d be glad to have in the homestead. It’s useful in getting rid of trees taken down by strong storms. The Makita XCU03Z 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14” Chain Saw also boasts of the BL Brushless Motor along with the Extreme Protection Technology (XPT), electric brake, “tool-less” chain adjustment, and other equally remarkable features.
No matter how powerful and useful your chain saw is, you still need a hand axe. Homesteaders of yore didn’t have the luxury of electric tools. You should at least have an axe so you can do some manual log cutting and muscle flexing.
The Husqvarna 26″ Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe is a traditional single-bit axe. If you’re a novice when it comes to axes, you’re better off with this one. Double–bit axes, as the name implies, have two sharpened edges and one of them is facing you.
This particular axe is comprised of a hickory shaft and a hand-forged Swedish steel head. A wooden and steel wedge keeps the parts together. It measures 26 inches which gives you more power for felling trees and cutting logs.
Build Wooden Furniture
One easy homestead project that your wife will definitely love is the DIY wooden pallet shelf. You probably have a number of wooden pallets in your homestead right now. Make the most of these pallets by turning them into hanging shelves where you can keep your books, photos, and other stuff.
This DIY bathroom shelf by makingitwithdanielle is definitely one homestead project your spouse will appreciate. All you need is to saw and nail (and glue) together a few pieces of wooden pallets in the shape of a shelf. Sand and stain the shelf to make it clean and smooth. You can also paint the shelves in your chosen color. Next, drill holes on the wall and screw the crates onto the wall. Of course, you can check out the site to see more detailed instructions.
This bookshelf by Jen Woodhouse stays true to the rustic theme. The author uses reclaimed wood to create magnificent pieces of furniture and the DIY rustic pallet bookshelf is no different.
Aside from reclaimed pallets, she purchased old crates, wooden boards, wood screws, pocket hole screws, wood glue, and brad nails. Of course, she used some hand and power tools to make her task easier. Some of the power tools she used included a power drill, circular saw, and brad nailer. Check out her website for the complete instructions.
The Grex Green Buddy pneumatic brad nailer features a powerful motor that is capable of easily driving 2-inch brad nails through wood. The tapered driver tip keeps to tool from making that large a mark thus less puttying required. The Grex Green Buddy also boasts of the Posit-Fire depth control, Posit-Lock Nose Cover, and the patented Integrated-Safety feature, among others.
Make Rustic Décor
Since you’re doing fall homestead projects, you might as well make some easy DIY decors. Choose rustic decorations to stay true to the season. Check out the many autumn décor from Homesteading.com that you can make yourself.
You probably have some wooden crates lying around. Turn them from something that carries things into something that carries things while drilled to a wall. This cluster of DIY wooden crate shelves by Mr. Kate is pretty easy and would make for a great fall homestead project for the whole family.
Mr. Kate used wooden crates she purchased from a store so they’re mostly good to go. If your crates are still a bit rough, though, you’ll need to do some sanding. You can use sandpaper with a medium to fine grit to smoothen the wood.
An orbit sander will be a lot better and faster, though. The Bosch ROS20VSC 5” Variable-Speed Random Orbit Sander features an integral dampening pad and a pad breaking system that prevents swirl marks on the surface. The microcellular pad enhances the smooth finish. It’s also capable of different speeds and is engineered for minimal vibration. Plus, it comes with a carrying bag.
Once you’re done sanding and cleaning the crate, it’s time to apply stain. You can also use paint but stain gives the crates a more rustic look. Use a brush (either bristle or foam will do) or a rag to apply the stain. Make sure you get some into the pores. Wipe off excess stain and let dry.
Now for the hanging part. Arrange the crates on the floor first to get an idea how you want them to look. Next, mark on the walls where the crates would go then drill the holes. You’ll need a hammer drill for the job.
The DEWALT DCD996 20V MAX XR Hammer Drill Kit uses a powerful brushless motor that provides 820 Units Watts Out (UWO). That’s 2.8 times faster application speed. The 3-speed hammer drill also has 57% more runtime compared to brushed motors.
The DEWALT hammer drill measures 8.4 inches and weighs 4.7 pounds and comes with nitro-carburized chucks along with comfortable grips.
You’ll need a masonry bit to drill holes on concrete. Of course, you’ll need wood drill bits if you’re hanging your fall homestead project on a wall made of wood. Once you’re done drilling, simply place the crates and screw them onto the wall.
Homestead projects for fall are important as most of them prepare you for winter and beyond. Other such projects are more for fun and having something to do on your own or with the family. Either way fall homestead projects should be a regular thing.
Feel free to share other homestead projects you think the other readers will enjoy doing. Follow Gentleman Pirate Club to get a better understanding on homesteading and other similar topics.