Homesteading in the Burbs – Can You Homestead on 1/4 Acre? - Are You Prepared, Mama? (2024)

Homesteading in the Burbs – Can You Homestead on 1/4 Acre? - Are You Prepared, Mama? (1)Spring decided to tease us for a couple of weeks. It sprung and then said, “Fooled ya!!” And then came back and went away again. BUT I think it’s finally back for good and perfect timing! We’re taking our suburban ‘homestead’ to the next level!

So we decided to take stock of what we have – not much. We put up a clothesline last year – win for the budget! We also planted two apple trees, one blackberry bush, and one raspberry bush, a few onions and heads of garlic. And then we asked ourselves where we want to go from here.

Hint – you should be asking yourself the same thing.

Homesteading in the Burbs – Can You Homestead on 1/4 Acre? - Are You Prepared, Mama? (2)Homestead Priority #1 – Get a garden up and running!

Last year, we used a raised bed that was built into our back deck. The problem was that you walked in on the level of the raised bed and stepped down twice. This meant that the rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels had full run of the raised bed. Because of that, this year we have opted to plant everything off the ground – or ground level.

Raised Garden Spaces Homesteading in the Burbs – Can You Homestead on 1/4 Acre? - Are You Prepared, Mama? (3)

Last fall I had purchased a bunch of large flower pots on Facebook Marketplace for $2 a piece – WOOHOO!

Besides the flower pots, we also decided to start with 3 – 8’x4’x1′ raised beds. We’ve read that you can do raised beds out of either untreated cedar or untreated pine. Pine is SO MUCH CHEAPER, but the problem is that you’ll have to replace it by the time you’ve had it for five years because pine isn’t rot resistant, so after much deliberation, we decided to go with untreated rough-hewn cedar. It was, cough cough, very expensive, cough cough. I mean not just expensive but exorbitant, but we figured if we can keep them three times or more as long as pine, we’re coming out ahead in the long run.

The other downside of cedar is that it has to be ordered. We don’t live in a tiny town, but NO ONE carried cedar in stock. They all had to order it from their supplier, so we ordered it and hoped that we’d be able to keep the plants that arrived last Wednesday alive until we could get them in the ground. The cedar arrived on Friday. My wonderful husband built raised beds on Saturday. We had topsoil delivered and amended the soil with compost today. So today we got our starts into the raised beds! It is so exciting to see everything starting to come together.

Eventually, we would like to produce 1/4-1/2 of our vegetables and then can or dehydrate what we don’t use when it’s fresh.

Homesteading in the Burbs – Can You Homestead on 1/4 Acre? - Are You Prepared, Mama? (4)Fruits

Now, even though I see us only being able to produce up to 1/2 of our veggies, on the other hand, I think eventually we could produce almost all of our own fruit. These were perfect for the strawberry plants that we purchased also off of Facebook Marketplace. The strawberries are thriving right now!

This year we’ve added 10 strawberry plants, 7 raspberry bushes, and 4 gooseberry bushes. Our plans for later this year are to plant 2 peach trees, 2 plum trees, and 2 elderberry bushes. Knowing my family, we’ll still want Clementines from time to time. Once our fruit trees and bushes start producing, we should be able to take care of the vast majority of our own fruit. That is very exciting!

Homestead Priority #2 – Water Catchment System

While water is a higher priority than food in terms of how long we can live without it, we can only start planting some foods in the spring. Since we didn’t want to miss our window, that came first. Now, we are starting to research our options when it comes to a water catchment system. We already have four water barrels, so it’s a matter of diverting the rain off the back half of our roof and into the barrels and connecting our four barrels together. More on this as we get into it. Eventually, I’d like to put more water barrels behind our garage as well. It will give better access to our raised garden beds.

Homestead Priority #3 Compost Bins Homesteading in the Burbs – Can You Homestead on 1/4 Acre? - Are You Prepared, Mama? (5)

We’ve wanted to get a compost bin up and running, but I don’t want to spend $150 on a compost bin or ask my husband to build yet another thing, so I read about another type of compost bin. It’s so low tech, it’s awesome! You use wire mesh cylinders.

I had been given three wire mesh cylinders last fall. Also, we discovered that there’s no yard waste pickup where we live, so we still had four bags of leaves in our garage. Yes, I know you need green and brown to make compost, but this is a start. And for the moment, as I have time to learn, I’m starting where I am. So I now have three wire mesh cylinders with leaves in them.

The “composters” work this way. You add your green and brown to the cylinder, wet it down slightly. As the matter composts at the bottom, you simply turn the cylinder on its side, pull the compost out and then stand it back up and add more matter to the top and wet it down.

Homestead Priority #4 – Fix the Clothesline

So again, my wonderful husband, who does all the building and installing of things around here, installed our clothesline last year. The problem is that despite installing it properly, we put so many clothes on it, that one side started pulling toward the other side. I purchased two bits to fix part of it. The rest we can get in town, so hopefully, that will get done soon!

Homestead Priority #5 Privacy Fence

For some reason, the people who owned this house before us put privacy fences on three sides of the backyard, but not the 4th. We don’t really want prying eyes seeing everything we’re doing in our backyard, so we’re going to put up a privacy fence. We have someone coming over to do that in a week and a half! So that’s coming shortly. It has the added bonus of not having to walk our dog if the yard is completely fenced – if we can keep him out of the garden that is.

Future Aspirations

Meat and Eggs

As we work toward our goal of being as self-sufficient as possible on our “Homestead in the Burbs” I do have hopes for the future. Here in Illinois, you can’t have chickens in a lot of locations if you are near a city. We have decided to have quail because they are meat birds which also give eggs. But that hope is for a future year.

I’d also love to breed rabbits for meat, but in Illinois, that’s a no-no. Then again, sometimes it feels like most everything ISN’T allowed. Moving right at the moment isn’t an option.

Elderberry and Hazelnut bushes

We are wanting to get rid of some of the bushes in our backyard and to plant 2 elderberry and 2 hazelnut bushes. The only real nut tree that we could consider planting – a walnut tree tends to poison the ground around it. So we decided to go with a hazelnut bush. This will give us a nut-bearing plant that can grow in the north and not take up our entire yard.


After we get our new privacy fence put up, I’d love to see us grow a whole row of grapevines next to the fence. This would give us yet another fruit in our arsenal, and since they dry out into raisins, it’s even better. Raisins can last 6 months to a year, giving us plenty of time to consume them even if we don’t eat the grapes fresh. Maybe someday we’ll get bold enough to make our own wine!

What About You?

This post isn’t just about me and what I’m doing. What would you love to see on your plot of land – no matter the size? Share your dreams and hopes in the comments – this way we can all be better prepared!

Don’t think you can do anything where you are? Check out this article on how anyone can homestead.

Together let’s Love, Learn, Practice, and Overcome

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Homesteading in the Burbs – Can You Homestead on 1/4 Acre? - Are You Prepared, Mama? (2024)


Is 1 acre enough for a homestead? ›

The truth is you can be self-sustaining on a 1-acre property but it takes work, education, dedication, and time. So, if you have an oversized lot or small acreage and want to be as sustainable as possible, here are some ideas and suggestions on how to get started creating a self-sufficient homestead.

What size is a 1 4 acre lot? ›

1/4 acre is 10890 ft^2 (square feet). That is a square approximately 104.36 feet on a side. But, just using whole numbers, there are 18 other possibilities for the shape of a 1/4 acre plot.

How much land do you need to be self-sufficient? ›

For the average family of four, you can expect to grow a year's worth of food on three to five acres. We really do think that five acres is the sweet spot because it allows you to stack your animals and really utilize permaculture practices. One acre for gardens, perennials and fruit trees.

What can you grow on a quarter acre? ›

Here's a starting point for planning the quantities to grow, assuming you start with 100 beds:
  • Vining crops (cukes, summer squash) – 20 beds.
  • Tomatoes (cherry and slicing types) – 15 beds.
  • Carrots, turnip, beets – 10 beds.
  • The cole crops (broccoli, cabbage) – 10 beds.
  • Lettuce and salad greens – 10 beds.

How to homestead on one acre? ›

For myself, on a 1-acre farm of good, well-drained land, I would keep a cow and a goat, a few pigs and maybe a dozen hens. The goat would provide me with milk when the cow was dry. I might keep two or more goats, in fact. I would have the dairy cow (a Jersey) to provide the pigs and me with milk.

How much land is a good amount? ›

Typically, 1-3 acres of land are sufficient for homesteading or recreational use, whereas larger rural land parcels are better suited for commercial endeavors like farming and raising livestock.

What is a quarter of an acre look like? ›

A quarter acre is 10890 square feet. So, if the 1/4 acre was a square plot, it would be about 104.36 feet square, so perimeter would be 417.42 feet. But, that 1/4 acre could have been a rectangle with dimensions (whole numbers only) of 1′ x 10890′ (perimeter = 21,782 feet) TO 99′ x 110′ (perimeter = 418 feet).

Is 1/4 acre enough for a house? ›

¼ acre: Typically can accommodate one single-family home. 0.3 acres: Usually suitable for one or two single-family homes, depending on local regulations. Half an acre: Can often fit two to three single-family homes. 1 acre: Can generally accommodate four or more single-family homes, depending on zoning regulations.

What is a quarter of an acre called? ›

Rood is an English unit of area equal to one quarter of an acre or 10,890 square feet, exactly 1,011.7141056 m2. A rectangle that is one furlong (i.e., 10 chains, or 40 rods) in length and one rod in width is one rood in area, as is any space comprising 40 perches (a perch being one square rod).

How much land do you need to live off grid? ›

While the amount of land you'll need will depend on your personal preferences as well as how many people are in your family, it should be no less than a quarter of an acre. Before purchasing the perfect location to suit your off-the-grid lifestyle, brush up on all local laws and zoning regulations in that area.

How much land do you need to farm to make a living? ›

In some cases, a decent income can be realized from as little as half an acre of land if you are doing something like greenhouse plant production. Other enterprises, such as pine straw production, beef cattle, or Christmas trees will take considerably more acreage.

How many acres does one human need to survive? ›

The Minimum You Need to Be Self-Sufficient

According to this handy infographic, you only need 0.44 acres per person to meet all of your food needs. This works out to about 77,000 square foot for a family of four, assuming that each person maintains a vegetarian diet of 2300 calories a day.

Can you raise a cow on a quarter acre? ›

A typical 1 AU, 1,000 lb, cow might require as much as 8 acres (3.2 ha) on poor quality pasture with low precipitation or as little as about 0.27 acres (0.11 ha) on an irrigated pasture in excellent condition.

Can 1 acre feed a family? ›

This reminds me of a question I have been asked numerous times, i.e., “How much land does it take to feed somebody for a year?” To rid you of any suspense, I usually give the answer as about one acre when referring to the U.S. today.

How many acres of land is livable? ›

The total land surface area of Earth is about 57,308,738 square miles, of which about 33% is desert and about 24% is mountainous. Subtracting this uninhabitable 57% (32,665,981 mi2) from the total land area leaves 24,642,757 square miles or 15.77 billion acres of habitable land.

How big should a homestead garden be? ›

How much space do I need? I would suggest that 1,000 square is the minimum size to produce a worthwhile quantity of food. The garden pictured up top is 35' x 35'; about 1,200 square feet in all.

Does homesteading save you money? ›

Overall, with plenty of care and planning, you can cut hundreds of dollars out of your yearly expenses. And this money saved can help you get your dream homestead and get you further along the path to self-reliance when you get there.


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