Modern Homesteading: How to Live Better on Less

Gardening and DIY projects can yield surprising savings--and ease your conscience to boot.

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Homesteading for gastronomes. For many people who grow their own vegetables, make their own jam, and brew their own beer, enjoying a higher quality of food (and drink) is a big motivator. "You can get a better product," says Johnson-Mitchel, who makes many of her own condiments, butter, and sausage, among other things. "I like herb butter; I like fancy mustards ... if you're trying to cook higher-end meals and don't want to spend the money for higher-end stuff, it's a way to dress up your food without spending lot money."

Home gardeners can also browse seed catalogues and choose among an astonishing array of vegetables to grow, including heirloom varieties that aren't found in stores. And above all, says Knutzen, "there's nothing like having that freshed-picked vegetable that you can rush from garden to kitchen."