19 Things You Need To Do On Your Winter Homestead

Make the most of your winter homestead with this winter backyard farming ideas checklist. Plan for the next year, order new supplies, learn a new skill and don’t forget to take a break. Depending on your homestead, you may have additional tasks to complete and not everything may be relevant. Make sure you print your free winter task checklist and planner sheet.

Homesteading in the winter can feel like a combination of finger numbing and water thawing combined with a warm fire and a stack of books. Depending on where you live, this might stretch out for months or it might last just a short blip. There are lots of ways to extend your growing season such as using a greenhouse or cold frame, but there is a benefit from the forced time off during the cold season to recharge. Of course there are still animals that need extra tending and other tasks that keep us busy on the winter homestead.


Winter Homestead Task List

winter homestead task list
A very wintery NH homestead


  • Take a break over the winter months: you’ve worked hard on your backyard farm over the last few seasons. Make sure you use some of the winter months to recharge. For many people, this is the easiest time of year to take a vacation, or if that isn’t possible, consider some extra time ‘off’ at home.

Homestead Planning

  • Decide what worked and what didn’t work in the past year: Take some time to reflect on your goals from last year. What crops thrived? What systems worked? Should you invest in new equipment this coming year?
  • Set new homesteading goals: Based on what worked and didn’t last year, set new homesteading goals for the next year. Read more about Planning Your Backyard.
  • Read homesteading books for new ideas and inspiration: Winter is a great time to curl up with a book and read about backyard farming. You can see some of my favorite backyard farming books here.


  • Purchase Seeds: Purchase your seeds at you local gardening center, or order them online. It’s fun to look through the pictures of seeds or catalogs and think ahead to summer.
  • Plan Your Vegetable Garden and Rotation: Each winter I like to get out a piece of paper or even graph paper and draw out my vegetable plan. If I look back, in the years I’ve done this level of planning, my garden has done better. Consider crop rotation and companion planting.
  • Start early seeds indoors: Starting seeds inside makes it feel like spring is coming! Depending on your setup, you can start a few simple seeds or get grow mats and indoor lights to start enough for your whole garden.
  • Build garden supports like a trellis or cages: It always seems like a flurry of activity in the early spring – you can help to offset this but building some of your garden supports during the winter months.
  • Prune fruit trees: Fruits trees should be pruned when they are dormant in the winter months

Homesteading Skills

  • Use the winter months to learn a new homestead skill: Winter in the perfect time to learn a new skill. You can research and practice on your own, look online for how to videos, or take an online class.
  • Sharpen and restore your tools: Winter is a great time to to upgrade your tools or do any extra work to your existing tools.
  • Tap Your Maple Trees: Of course this depends on where you live, but tapping our maple trees at the end of each winter is a sure sign that spring is on the way.


  • Maintain your animals and keep them warm during the winter: Not all homesteading tasks get easier. If you keep animals on your backyard farm, winter means extra care to keep them warm and fed.
  • Decide on new animals for the coming year: If you haven’t already done this, winter is a good time to come up with a plan for new animals – will you bring new animals in? Breed animals?
  • Plan new animal housing and repairs for the year: The winter homestead is the perfect time to plan additional housing projects. It might be difficult to drive fence posts, but you can plan and decide repair work for the coming year.
  • Order new chicks: If you are planning to order chicks in the mail, winter is the time to place your order.
Everything you need to do on your winter homestead?

Going Green

  • Improve your home’s energy use: There are many things you can do to improve your home’s energy use to make your home more energy efficient, and winter is a great time to feel what parts of your home could use some work.
  • Schedule an energy audit: To see where your home could improve its energy use, schedule an energy audit.
  • Use smart heating systems to heat your home: Research the best heating systems for your home and make a change. Consider moving to a smart system that adjusts the heat in your home based on the time of day and activities.
  • Select environmentally friendly gifts: For the holidays, choose eco-friendly gifts for people on your list and make sure to wrap them in reusable or recycled wrapping paper.

What else do you do on your winter homestead?

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