Urban farming is my new hobby. I love reading about people that “apartment homestead” and have mini farms in the city. How fun and creative! How healthy for the spirit and balancing for all who are around this culture.
As suburban retrofitting and re-greening is becoming more popular, so is building farms in the middle of suburbia. People are wanting to get back to the land, the old days, and a time when things were slower and communities were more connected.
If you live in an apartment or home with a small yard you can still homestead. I’m really enjoying a book Homesteading From Scratch by Steven Jones, right now. According to Steven, you don’t even need land to homestead. You can do container gardening, window herbs, and string a clothes line on the balcony. You are homesteading, believe it or not. You can start as small as you want and grow out from there.
If you have a yard you can really have fun. Learning to homestead is an ongoing process and the best thing to do is just jump in! Get some books from the library or get on line and watch some Youtube and read blogs regarding this lifestyle. Get started right away and learn as you and your garden grow.
Here are some fun blogs and Youtube sites I found recently:
Off Grid with Doug and Stacy (Youtube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1FBd4ihp_c
If you have some land, even a tiny back yard you can start by building raised beds or container gardening. If you want to just dig into the soil and til it, perhaps a soil test would be wise. If the soil is fine but not very rich you can add amendments and compost.
You can make your own free compost by simply digging a hole in a corner of the yard and keep the pile of dirt to the side. You compost all the produce scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, even bread. No meat or dairy. You cover with some dirt and leaves, grass, weeds from the garden and repeat over and over. Every so often you turn the compost and with in six months to a year, you have rich and free soil. You can also cover with some tarp to really keep it warm and brewing.
The garden beds can simply be dug up in the ground and added compost and some chicken poop or horse manure if you live somewhere you can get it for free. We live in an agricultural area and horse poop is abundant and free.
If you do have space for it, get a chicken coop or build one. Youtube has videos on building a coop. Legally you can have 3 to 6 chickens in town (no roosters). Chickens will give you great fertilizer and breakfast. If you have a small chicken run, Steven Jones suggest having the compost in the run. Chickens will get rid of your snail problem quickly and eat other pesky bugs. This is called bio diverse farming. You use gardening and animals in combination to work for the farm.
You can get bees as well. I’m not so brave and this is a far off idea. Plant lots of flowers to feed the bees and keep things organic.
Fruit trees. You can do some fruit and citrus trees in containers or plant them right in your back yard. Within a few years, you will never have to buy avocados or apples again. You can get trees and seeds on food stamps. It’s an investment.
Learn to can. You would be surprised how much food you get from small spaces once you master it. One farm I read about produces 3 tons of food on 1/10th of an acre. Some canning is simple and some require some special equipment.
String that clothes line. This is so country to me, I love my outdoor clothes line so much that I even removed my dryer from my laundry room and stored it in the garage. I have a fancy umbrella clothes line that takes up less space and I can hang a few loads. All you really need is one clothes line that you can get cheap at a hardware store.
You can look into solar for the house and digging a well if you are on your own property out back. There are ways to go off grid or even partially off grid in town.
Oh, so much fun! So many ideas! I am trying all sorts of things right now to get back to the land in my own corner of town. I just picked up a free chicken coop and I’m heading out to the back yard right now to paint it. I will be getting my free chickens on craigslist as soon as their little castle and run are ready. We have planted so many fruit trees and I have 4 large beds ready for a winter garden. We moved in too late for a summer garden.
This is a photo from this spring when we first moved in and started planting and working the yard and things have changed so much since. These are some of our fruit trees and a strawberry patch. We also have avocados and pomegranates in the front yard and oranges, mandarins, and lemons in the side yards.
I will post photos as time goes on.