Top 5 YouTube Channels

YouTube is a fantastic resource for homesteaders.  I can honestly say we never would’ve made it without some of the fantastic people on YouTube.  The videos there can serve as inspiration or as a tutorial.  It’s one of the reasons that I want to start a blog and, hopefully soon, start a YouTube channel.  I’d like to give back in the same way that helped us so immensely.

So, to start, here are my top 5 YouTube Channels:

Rob Bob’s Backyard Farming & Aquaponics

This channel is my go-to.  He has a little bit everything: traditional soil beds, container gardening, wicking beds and aquaponics.  His videos are straightforward and lighthearted, regardless of whether he’s delving deep into a topic or giving a regular tour of what’s going on around his property.  A pleasant bonus for folks in the USA: Rob’s based in Australia.  So when we’re in the middle of winter, dreaming of gardening, his property is in full swing.  On a cold winter’s day, I truly enjoy watching him putter in his garden.  An extra-extra bonus: despite being in Australia, and firmly being in the land of metric measurements, he will often provide measurement and temperature conversions in his video so you don’t have to.

One Yard Revolution

Patrick’s videos are excellent for beginner gardeners and anyone looking to understate how to move away from chemical fertilizers and more towards natural gardening.  One of my favorite things about his channel is he’s really into fact-based gardening.  Many of his videos disprove common garden myths or popular new techniques.  He discusses techniques that work based on his own, or other people’s, trials and tests.

An American Homestead

This is another channel with a bit of everything: gardening, livestock, food preservation and off-grid living.  In the past they stuck to a seasonal format but lately they’ve done more individual vlog-type videos.  The production value is very high and the information is always solid.  They do things at a larger scale than I ever will but it’s still quite inspirational and there’s a ton to learn from.

Self-Sufficient Me

I only recently stumbled onto this fellow’s channel but it’s become a fast favorite.  He raises all kinds of poultry (including quail), has gardens and an orchard.  He also seems to dabble in alternate energy although I don’t know how often he talks about it on the channel.  I really enjoy his channel because it’s the same type of small-scale homestead that I’m aiming for.  I imagine, and hope, that my property will look very similar to his in a few more years.

Edible Acres

This is another recent find.  This channel has a mix of permaculture, gardening and chicken videos.  The underlying theme for a lot of it is frugal living or self-sufficiency.  I gather they run a farm/nursery and that’s where the bulk of their income comes from so they tend to try and make do with bartering or salvaged supplies.  I’ve gotten a lot of good frugal ideas from them and ways to build up our homestead for cheap.

There are lots of other great YouTube channels but I really think these are my favorites at this point in time.  I highly encourage anyone interested in gardening, homesteading or animal husbandry to checkout YouTube!

Laundry Grow Room

Last year we started seeds in our dining room.  We had a single shelf, under a four foot shop lamp.  But we’ve got a relatively small house and you could see it from all of the main living space.  It lit up the house for 14 – 16 hours a day and was unsightly when we had guests.

So, one of the key projects this spring was to get our laundry/mud room reconfigured to use it as a seed starting area.  I wish I had taken a “before” picture but there were cheap cabinets lining the walls originally.  I pulled those down and put up some Closet Maid wiring shelving.  I didn’t trust the weight of the shop lamp hanging directly on the wire so I also put a 1-inch piece of wood on the wire to hang the lamps from.  This should distribute the weight a little more evenly across the wire shelves.

We’ve got eight feet of seed starting space to work with this year and room to expand a little further if we need too.  Thankfully, it’s no longer lighting up our living space and is quietly tucked away in a quiet corner of the house.

2017 Goals

I’ll always try to keep the About page up to date with our current setup.  That said, I think a great first post would be to describe our goals for the homestead in 2017:

Expand the Chicken Yard

A few years ago, we lived in a rented farm house on 200+ acres and our flock would wander the property and just come home at night.  It was an idyllic situation.  When we finally bought our homestead, we knew that living on two acres would require a different lifestyle for our chickens.  We had neighbors who valued their lawn and flower beds.  We couldn’t just let the chickens wander unsecured.  So, we built a secure run and that’s where they spend most of their days.

We’d like to give them more space so one of the big goals in 2017 is to expand their run.  We’ll keep the secure run for when we’re on vacation or if we need to temporarily secure them due to some new predator.  But surrounding the supermax run, we’ll be putting up 5.5 ft fencing.  Initially we’ll expand the run to 2000 sq ft.  Later, we’ll run a corridor down the back of our property and into a larger wooded section and give them access to a half acre or so.

Ducks

I stumbled onto raising ducks via YouTube and they struck me as an ideal animal for our property.  We shouldn’t have a rooster here, they’re simply too loud for our small property and it would be incredibly inconsiderate to our neighbors.  Ducks seem quieter based on the videos I’ve seen.  We could keep a male and have fertilized eggs, hatching our own on the property or letting the females go broody.

I really like the idea of being able to have a closed loop on the property, raising and hatching our own.  We do that with the quail but without a rooster we can’t do it for any larger poultry at the moment.  The ducks would be for both eggs and meat.

Expand the Garden

Last year we had six raised beds in the back yard and a single aquaponic bed.  They did well but I’m hoping to expand it further.  We’ve already added a few wicking barrels and other raised beds.  I’d like to double our soil growing space and add another two smaller aquaponic barrels.  The ultimate goal to grow at least 50 – 60% of our vegetables during the growing season.  I’m not sure we’ll get there this year but we’re heading towards it.

Aquaponics

Late last year we started our first aquaponic bed.  We used goldfish as an inexpensive starter fish for a variety of reasons.  Mainly, I wanted to make sure we could overwinter the tank and not have the fish freeze/die without supplemental heat.  It was a mild winter but we had enough nights where it got down to 10F that I know we can do it.  I setup a redneck greenhouse (a dog kennel wrapped in plastic) to just prove it out the concept.  Since it worked, I’d like to switch from goldfish to a native edible fish like catfish or bluegill.  We’ll also be adding two smaller barrel tanks and hopefully get a real greenhouse.