When I became an urban homesteader, I was left to figure out a lot of things on my own. We have grown a garden in the ground and containers. I have learned more about all-natural pest control. And don’t get me started on my chickens. We have learned so much about raising eggs and butchering chickens for meat!
So when I hear another person get excited about wanting to grow their food, I find myself feeling overwhelmed with everything I could tell them. Methods we love, resources we don’t love, and most importantly – the products that make this all possible.
From our urban homestead to yours, I hope that this list educates you. And if this isn’t going to your homestead, let me just say thank you. Thank you for investing in something bigger than yourself. Thank you for investing in your friends and family who are making a difference. Know that with your support and prayers, you’re making a difference, too.
Ultimate Gift Guide for the Homesteader in Your Life – 2023
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is full of reliable, tried-and-true resources that have worked for our urban homestead and other urban homesteads we know of. I hope that you consider this a practical gift guide.
Canning Supplies – In my opinion, water bath canning is easier to learn than pressure canning. It’s less involved, too. Water bath canning submerges your cans for a set amount of time, depending on your altitude. Pressure canning, when done traditionally, is putting your cans under a certain pressure for a certain amount of time but you have to listen to your canner and make sure it’s performing properly. I highly recommend water bath canning if you’re just starting.
And while this isn’t the exact canner I have, it has some of the necessary supplies you’ll need. A great bundle for the beginner homesteader!
Stainless Steel Pot – Every homesteader should have a stainless steel pot in their kitchen. They’re great for those large batches of soups and sauces, boiling whole chickens, or water bath canning. The one I recommend is even dishwasher-safe!
Cast Iron – The two, easiest kitchen swaps you can do are changing all your cookware to glass and cast iron. And when cared for properly, both will last you a very long time! Cast iron is great because it has so many uses. It transfers easily from the stovetop to the oven, and it’s durable. A great feature to have when you cook three meals a day like I do!
I use the Lodge brand because it’s what I can find. I have smaller pieces I’ve been able to pick up from thrift stores. But for the sake of beginning, I recommend Lodge brand and perusing your local thrift stores for classic cast iron.
Mason Jar – Mason jars are a staple in my kitchen because they’re so versatile. I love that I’m able to preserve food long-term and short-term in these jars. They also never go out of style. You can never have too many mason jars!
Food Dehydrator – Dehydrating food is just one of the many ways you can preserve food. If you choose a dehydrator, I have had great luck with this as an affordable, entry-level option. Again – this is a great thrift store find if you’re able to find one that is in good working condition with the trays that you need! I know of several homesteaders who have dehydrators that last them for years. Great long-term investment for any preserving pantry!
Wooden Spoons – I love wooden spoons. And I can never have enough! Wooden spoons are another versatile kitchen tool that will last you years if you take care of them properly. They make great stocking stuffers, too!
Glass Bread Pan – This is the exact loaf pan I use to make our homemade bread!
Other kitchen supplies I don’t currently use but have heard great reviews about – fermenting kits, the instant pot, pressure canners, dough whisk, and stainless steel cookware.
Work gloves – These work gloves are great for catching chickens or tearing something stubborn out of the garden. If you’re handling split firewood, they do a decent job at that, too.
I have found that when working on my urban homestead, there are times when I need something heavy-duty that will protect my hands. And for an affordable $11 per pair, these work gloves are great! I highly recommend investing in work gloves over garden gloves if you plan on wrangling chickens or handling heavier equipment.
You can also consider something that’s water resistant. I’m not one to leave my work gloves out in the open or any sort of weather, so I know that they’re going to hold up. And they will for years with proper care!
Frequently asked questions
Can I turn my backyard into a homestead?
You can absolutely turn your backyard into a homestead! My husband and I are creating an urban homestead with the hopes of growing all of our food one day. But until then, we’re utilizing what we have! And you would be surprised about how much food we can grow on our little plot of land!
How do you homestead without a farm?
You homestead without a farm by fostering your independence. Can you get away from a grocery store by shopping at a mom-and-pop store? Can you grow your herbs? Can you source your meat from a local farmer? Can you make all of your beauty products? There are so many things you can do to foster your independence!
This is also the key to what modern homesteaders have mastered. We’re able to continue living the life we love on a small plot of land. Make what you have work for you!
Heirloom seeds – In my opinion, seeds are going to depend on where you’re growing your food. I know trusted companies have sold something like a flower mix, and the seeds ended up being something different than what was advertised.
On our homestead, we aren’t picky. We have Burpee brand seeds available to us, and we have had great luck with them. I choose organic where I can because I know the yield I get with organic seeds is produced without any manufactured steroids. Organic plants are also quicker to adapt to my growing climate, meaning the seeds I save will perform better year after year.
Harvest Basket – If you’re looking for a quick way to get a harvest basket, Amazon is a great way to fulfill that need. Here’s an affiliate link to an affordable harvest basket that could easily double as an egg basket. Because let’s be real – you know there’s always going to be more than what fits in an apron in the garden! This harvest basket is small and makes a great introduction to any basket collection. Like cast iron, be on the lookout for sturdy harvest baskets when visiting thrift stores.
Diatomaceous Earth – Food grade DE is such a versatile product. I use DE with chickens (read how in this blog post) and in the garden. I’m all about utility! I encourage you to invest in food-grade DE, though. That is safe and can be trusted for use around chickens or garden produce that may not get clean.
Garden Tools – Obviously, every gardener may have their preference when it comes to what tools they use. If you’re talking to a beginning gardener, this hand tool set is a great place to start. For something a little more heavy-duty, consider a pair of pruning shears.
Natural Pest Control Measures – This is a controversial topic. There is so much that goes into pest control – the ingredients, the duration of protection, the impact on surrounding areas of your property, the impact on your health, and so much more. So know that there’s a lot to discuss, but I want to remind you that you need to do your research, as I have done mine.
We like to lean toward more natural ways of dealing with pests in the garden for two reasons. Number one – my children are my little shadows. Where I go, they go. I have to be mindful of what I’m exposing them to. Thus, more natural remedies usually require a bath with a mild soap to remove from skin and clothes. Second, I’m using this directly on my food. And it will stay in my soil. I want to be sure what I’m using will not affect my produce or cause lasting damage to future crops!
For insect pests like squash bugs, vine borers, etc., I use neem oil. For ants, I’ve had great luck with a sugar water borax solution. In other cases, I’ve had great luck using diatomaceous earth to deter things that fly or that may not be at the root of a plant. And finally. I always try to keep on top of pests by mulching around my plants or even plucking bugs off my plants into warm, soapy water in a cup. For that, I use castile soap.
This is a long list, so buckle up!
If you don’t know much about our story, you can always check out my About Page. For the short story, you need to know my husband was raised on an industrial turkey farm. The knowledge he gleaned from his time there has been very valuable as we continue to raise our flock. Primarily because we knew the right tools we would need to raise chickens! These have all made a great addition to our urban homestead. I hope that these products and tips help you, too!
Vitamins – My chickens struggle when temperatures swing too high or drop drastically. To combat the physical stress they’re under, I started giving them vitamins and electrolytes. These have been a game changer for my chickens!
I also don’t use this year-round. So I usually buy 6 packets per year. When I know that we have a heat wave or a cold snap coming, I will mix up a gallon’s worth of electrolytes and add it to my chicken’s water 3 or so days out from impending weather. That way, I know that my chickens have time to get what they need in their system. It always helps them!
Brooder Lamp – If you’re raising your chicks, a brooder lamp is a must. Chicks will die without warmth. The younger a chicken is, the hotter it needs to be! We’re talking around 90 degrees Fahrenheit! Obviously, as your chicken ages and begins to regulate its systems, it will age out of needing a lamp. But in those beginning days, especially if you don’t have a mama hen, a brooder lamp is a must.
Brooder Bulb – What’s a lamp without the bulb? We buy a red bulb because some science suggests red bulbs keep chicks calmer than white bulbs. Since we raise our birds indoors before moving them outdoors, we do like to keep their stimulation to a minimum in those beginning weeks.
Chick Feeder and Chick Waterer – I have been through my fair share of ways to feed chickens. And these are the methods I love the most for chicks. This feeder is a quart-size feeder, a precise measurement that will help you take note of how much feed your chicks are consuming. It has several access points to accommodate multiple birds. It’s also cost effective – I bought 4 and I rotate them through my baby chicks so I always have clean feed on hand.
This waterer is the simplest waterer I have ever used for baby chicks, hands down. I don’t recommend another waterer to anyone.
Pullet/Hen/Rooster Feeder and Waterer – Again, these products are the only products I recommend for feeding and watering mature chickens. This double wall, metal chicken waterer was incredible with my meat birds. Should I ever need to replace my water setup for my egg birds, this is exactly what I will choose.
For mature chickens, this is the only style feeder I recommend. I prefer one with a lid, but the option to hang it up may deter chickens from falling inside. Other designs tend to be top-heavy. Since chickens are notorious for knocking things over, they don’t need any help when it comes to their feed. This style feeder is bottom-heavy. Perfect for older birds!
Dog Carrier – If you are transporting birds in any capacity, I recommend looking into safe transportation solutions. This dog carrier is a great solution. If you’re transporting larger quantities of birds, get a larger dog carrier. Chickens can safely ride in the bed of a pickup truck, so long as they’re strapped down properly.
For more tips and tricks on transporting birds, check out this blog post.
Poultry Care Spray – If you are keeping chickens, I highly recommend creating a poultry care kit. Just like humans have first aid kits, chickens need one, too! I keep a poultry care spray like this one in my kit. I used it on my rooster when he lost a toenail. And I have used it on hens who have peck injuries, either from roosters or other hens. I am a huge fan of the jet spray because my chickens are very hesitant when it comes around.
Chicken Health Handbook – This book has been such a great resource for us! The amount of information is overwhelming, but as you begin to learn more about how to truly improve the health of your flock, you gain confidence that makes learning easier. This book covers everything from common illnesses to autopsies and broody hens. A great addition to any homesteaders library!
A Dust Mask – I have talked about using a mask to clean chicken coops on more than one occasion (are you following me on Instagram? Check out my content on wearing a mask here or here). It’s so important to protect your respiratory health when dealing with chicken shavings! This dust mask comes in a multi-pack and will last you quite a while. Another great thing to add to your poultry care kit!
A Tote to Store It All – We like to keep our homestead organized. Because what’s the point in having all of this if we can’t find it? We use simple, industrial totes like these. For things like dust masks and poultry care sprays, I keep a wicker basket on the top shelf of my pantry for easy and quick access. Those are the products I’m going to need in an emergency so I like to keep them close by.
Tools for other animals
I don’t have other animals on my homestead, so I can’t speak to them. But you don’t need a lot of land to support animals. Which means you need more equipment! Here are a few things you may need.
Higher ticket items
If you are a homesteader looking to build your homestead, these are products you may want to consider.
Prefabricated chicken coop
Heavy equipment, like a zero-turn mower or brush hog
Are these good gifts for the holiday season?
I stand by all of these products as a Christmas gift. Any of them make amazing gifts! If you’re not sure about how your recipient would feel about them, you can always opt for a gift card to their favorite home goods store, or something like a salon experience. Modern homesteaders need massages, too!
If you are considering any of these for your holiday shopping, keep your eyes peeled for Black Friday deals. There are also some deals offered during the growing season, so keep checking in with your favorite manufacturers for deals around birthdays, too.
If you love essential oils as I do, I have a whole section of my blog dedicated to healthy living! I also have independent blog posts for things you will need to get started with your essential oils journey. Be sure to check out that blog post for more information!
As for the perfect gift for the healthy living lover in your house, here are a few products we use and love in our home.
Essential oils carry case – There are two options for essential oil carry cases – hard shell and soft shell. This hard shell EO carry case comes with a few gadgets that will help you open oil bottles. It works great for fitting in suitcase during travel. This soft shell EO carry case doesn’t carry as many oils, but it fits great in an overnight bag or even your purse.
Dry Brush – Dry brushing is great for your lymphatic system! Also great for winter as we aren’t moving around as much and want to make sure our lymphatic system is draining as it should.
Jojoba Oil – Jojoba oil makes a great carrier oil because it isn’t overly potent!
Amber roller bottles – Amber glass prohibits sunlight from passing through too much. That’s what I love about amber. Just remember to label your bottles!
Gentle Babies – This is an incredible resource book for essential oil users with children! It will give you a better understanding of what’s best for those little ones.
Other healthy living products – amber glass bottles, castile soap, sal suds, Libman mop to make your mop solution, steam mop, diffuser, soap-making supplies.
Emergency preparedness is going to depend on where you live and what your needs are (I touch a little bit more on that in this blog post). But everyone, at the bare minimum, should keep these few things on hand. Please note that this isn’t a comprehensive list. And you should make sure that the products you are purchasing are the quality you need them to be to perform to the conditions of where you live.
The number of items you stock in your emergency preparedness will also be influenced by your region. Again, read this blog post for more info on those things.
Battery flashlight – great for a power outage
Warm socks and clothing – this is a must during winter where we live. I seasonally rotate out our clothes in our emergency kits and I encourage you to do the same.
First aid kit – this is a MUST! Buy two and keep one in your car.
Basic tools – think of things like a wrench, hammer, maybe some nails. A simple tool kit intended for college students is better than nothing.
Essential oils and other natural remedies – My husband and I have used Young Living Essential Oils and Cliganic Essential Oils with no issues. I recommend both.
Matches and lighters
Propane bottles for camp stove
How will I ever build my homestead?
Urban homesteading is great because you don’t need heavy equipment to grow your food. You can even start what you want and supplement what you need from hobby farmers in your area! So consider starting with your favorite things to grow and look into other parts of farm life from there.
In the coming year, what do you think you will use? I would love to know! Comment on this blog post and let me know what products I’m missing. Maybe I should create a whole section dedicated to homestead kids!