Homesteading in the city or suburbs

We discussed how you can become a homesteader in an apartment last Wednesday. Many of you have already implemented many of these ideas in your own apartment homes from the comments and feedback I received

How about defining our fill-in-the-blank homesteads next? A suburban or urban homestead.

How would a suburban or urban farmer look like? Regardless of why you live in the city (or suburbs), you probably aren’t planning to move to the country any time soon. Although you may enjoy the benefits of city living, you still possess a strong sense of homesteading.

What’s the good news? It’s possible to have your cake and eat it too!

You can easily incorporate any of the ideas for the apartment homestead if you wish to create your own suburban or urban farm. However, a small yard can give you some extra options as well.

Suburban (or Urban) Homesteading Ideas:

  1. Plant a garden – You can usually find at least a small spot to plant vegetables regardless of how big or small your yard is. Grow heirloom varieties that aren’t in your local stores (this year we grew Yukon Gold potatoes, instead of the usual Russets. It was delicious!). Learn which vegetables thrive in shade and sun. Even a small garden plot can be maximized with a bit of creativity. You can always grow a variety of edibles in containers and pots, like the apartment homesteader.
  2. A compost pile – of course, the second thing on my list is composting. This is an excellent way for you to reduce waste and give your garden the fertility boost it needs. Creating your compost pile means that you need to keep the food scraps after every meal. If you want to try a homesteading project, then keep this in mind – the pile shouldn’t attract animals or stink, and it should be made from equal amounts of greens and browns.
  3. Get poultry – but have in mind it doesn’t have to be all kinds of poultry. You can start simply and get some chickens! The first point in my homesteading guide includes dedicating some time to try something new. You can start small – get a couple or more chickens and see how you can handle them. They are incredibly easy to take care of, and you will be so happy once they start laying eggs. In terms of being self-sufficient, this is quite a big step that you can take.
  4. Start cooking – true green living begins from within, from the part where you know you want to take care of yourself and your body. It doesn’t have to be a comprehensive project- you can simply begin cooking meals every day. Whether it is Kombucha or homemade bread, cooking is a rewarding hobby that will put a smile on your face the minute you’re done with it. There are many starting points here, all you need to do is make sure you are ready to take on a challenge. Plus, imagine what it is like to surprise your loved ones with freshly prepared food on the table!
  5. Start preserving food – whether you’re trying to start producing and preserving your food in the city or the suburbs, there is one thing that you should focus on – food preservation. This might already be something that has been in the back of your mind for a longer time, so now, I am encouraging you to try it! The reality is that when you grow your own food, you usually end up with a lot more than you can consume. In these cases, the smartest thing is to preserve the food for later. Some of the ways you can do that are by freezing, dehydrating, canning, pickling, fermenting, or drying it.
  6. Find a creative outlet – what is the first thing that comes to your mind when I mention homesteading? It is probably knitting! Add crochet and sewing into the equation, and you have a lovely little skill set that you get to use all the time. This is an important green living aspect since you can create things the entire family can use. Quilts, blankets, and everything else you can imagine can now become a reality. It’s one of the best indoor creative skills you can obtain, so start today and work your way through a piece step by step.
  7. Cleaning products – other than trying to grow your own food, you should also try to make your own cleaning products. As ingredient awareness has increased over the past several years, many people have now turned to making their own cleaning products at home. So why don’t you do that, too?  Using something that contains no chemicals is great, and it may even save you some money. Also, you might be more at ease when you know what is included in your home products.
  8. Be the fixer – the homesteading guide would not be complete if I failed to include this. As I already mentioned, being self-sufficient starts from within, so you should learn how to fix things yourself around the house. Practice and start small – with things like changing a lightbulb or driving screws. You can continue to fix and polish furniture, and before you know it, you have a wide palette of skills to show off around the home! But remember that homesteading isn’t about doing absolutely everything yourself. It is okay to call a professional to get the job done in specific situations.
  9. The art of foraging – this is a specific skill that you might need some honing to get things right, but it is incredibly worth it. Green living is all about finding creative ways to be more sufficient. You can start with whatever you have in your yard – wild strawberries for jam or some herbs for specific ointments. There are many plants you can forage, so this would make a great addition to your new lifestyle. Homesteading allows you to get as creative as you can. You can even use some plants and do some organic fabric dying.

It might feel like your skill set is at a minimum at the moment, but fear not! I have faith in you that, in due time, you will be able to try and obtain all the skills on this list. Even if you live in an apartment, you can still do quite a few things. Homesteading is an excellent way to strengthen your skills and connect with nature. Start today and see how it feels – you might just be amazed!

I would love to hear your thoughts about this, so feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below.

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