Urban Homesteading: How to Get Started
Every year we hear about the damage that humanity is doing to the planet. Global warming and pollution are constant topics of debate and featured in the news. The world is heating up and landfills are overflowing, and because of this more and more people are starting to take notice of the impact they have on the environment and are trying to do their part by reducing their dependence on natural resources. Many people are moving back to the countryside and homesteading, growing their own food, raising their own livestock, and DIYing around the house. While that may be great for people that live in the country, over fifty percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. Luckily living in a city or town doesn’t mean you can’t still be a homesteader. In fact, it’s easier than ever to be an urban homesteader. Getting started is easy and there are a few simple steps anyone can take to start on the path to urban homesteading.
Grow Your Own Produce/Spices
You don’t have to own endless acres of land to start growing your own food. A small porch with good sunlight is more than enough to get started. Planting in pots or vertical planters are the two easiest ways to grow a decent amount of produce in a small area. Fruits and vegetable like tomatoes, strawberries, and green beans are perfect for people who don’t have a lot of room to grow. But, if you don’t have a porch you can still grow your own spices in window boxes. If you have any area that receives sunlight during the day, you can grow your own produce.
If you don’t have anywhere that receives sunlight, however, you can always see if your town has a community garden available. Many towns now have small planters or boxes of land open to the community for all of their growing needs. You get to share the space with the rest of the town to grow all of your fruits or vegetables.
Since you are going to start growing your own produce you will need something to fertilize it, and nothing is better than natural compost. You can start a simple compost can be started with a five-gallon bucket tucked under your sink. All of your biodegradable waste, such as coffee grounds, can be added to your compost and turned into nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden. A compost heap also has the added benefit of keeping more of your garbage material out of the ever growing landfills.
You will be surprised about how much produce you grow in such a small area. If you don’t learn to preserve the fruits of your labor you will lose a lot of the fruits and veggies you worked so hard to grow. Canning is an invaluable skill that every homesteader needs to learn. Canning, using mason jars, lets you store all of your produce. You could simply can them as they are or make delicious jams and jellies. When the growing season is over and you aren’t able to pick your produce right off the vine, canning allows you to enjoy your harvest year round.
Connect With Your Neighbors
When most people first start planning and fantasizing about homesteading they picture being completely independent. Relying on only themselves to provide for all of their needs. But that is a big misconception, homesteaders rely on other homesteaders and their neighbors to fill in the gaps in their life, even a homesteader can’t do it all. That’s why it’s important to connect with other people who have skills that you are lacking in, or resources that you don’t have available to you. Do you have a friend that grows a type of fruit or vegetable that you don’t have room for in your garden? See if they are willing to make a trade. Or maybe you know someone that has a canner, and you haven’t got yours yet, you could offer half of your crop for the year to them if they can all of it for you. Do you lack the skills necessary to hem your own clothes? See if you know a seamstress that would be willing to trade a bag of your compost or vegetables to fix some old clothes. As a homestead building solid connections is important, but as an urban homesteader, those connections can be invaluable.
Embrace the DIY Mentality
Being a homesteader means reducing your reliance on the goods and services that you have become so used to. That’s why getting into the DIY mindset is so important. Rather than going to the store and buying cleaning products try making your own. One part vinegar and two parts warm water, for instance, make an effective cleaner. Or, instead of buying toothpaste you can make your own using baking soda, coconut oil, hydrogen peroxide, and your favorite essential oil. And, when it comes to fixing things around the house you can forget about calling the repairman, a homesteader does it themselves. Are you not much of a handyman? Don’t worry the internet is full of tutorials to help you learn any skill you may need.
Just because you don’t live in the country don’t let that stop you from enjoying the independence that comes with homesteading. Homesteading isn’t about where you live, it’s about how you live. It’s a way of life that lets you be more independent and reduce your impact on the environment. Use these tips to start your own urban homestead and start living a simpler more fulfilling life.