6 Strategies on Urban Homesteading for Beginners

urban homesteading for beginnersThough we don't miss the city with all of the traffic, lousy schools and crime, you can bet that we miss our little urban homestead. Over the course of four years we built up a quart-acre plot to be an oasis from the messiness right outside our door. We had a decent kitchen garden for what direct sunlight we got, with climbing grape vines, blackberries and raspberries, as well as a raised bed for potatoes and carrots. We had done a great deal of research on urban homesteading for beginners, and were able to make a good life for ourselves within the backyard fence.

Our last project was to design and put in a gorgeous shade garden, with low-light hardy plantings and a pleasant gravel path leading to a hidden reading nook and chiminea. We used it for one season before moving, and if we were to replicate anything from that old homestead, the shade garden would be it. 

Our lessons were learned through trial and error. It seems obvious now, but we discovered that tomatoes and peppers don't do well in shade beds. We learned that peregrine falcons will perch just above a chicken run waiting for some little lady to lose her focus and that bird netting was a great fix for city predators. We learned that urban homesteading for beginners wasn't so complicated as long as we took our time and were mindful of our approach.

Urban Homesteading for Beginners

urban homesteading for beginnersWhen laying out the potentials of urban homesteading for beginners, our first bit of advice is to take things one step at a time. Having a four-season greenhouse installed at the same time you might be learning to compost and raise leafy greens with backyard aquaculture might make your experience a little overwhelming. Make a list of your major improvements and go through them one at a time. Once you have mastered one, move on to the next. Just don't be in such a rush.

Small projects on the other hand, ones that can be accomplished in a relatively short time, should be a constant. Starting seeds and reading the farmers almanac, enjoying a trip to the local Agway for plants and planting solutions, weeding, harvesting, mulching, composting and fence repairs. All of these are constant tasks that should be seen to as soon as you can do them. Putting something off only crowds out other tasks, and when you are working a smaller plot like an urban homestead, these projects can pile up pretty fast.

Urban Homesteading

urban homesteading
With an urban homesteading environment, you will want to know a little about your town's ordinances on such things as livestock keeping. It sounds insane, but towns sometimes have rules on whether you can keep certain types of livestock on your property, even if you actually have the space and infrastructure to keep them. On our old city farm, we had rules on how many chickens we could have based on our acreage. We wanted more, so that was a big motivator for moving out to the country. Nowadays, our backyard chickens are happy as can be outside the restrictions of city ordinances and we're getting more eggs than ever. I suppose that goes hand in hand with living in an agricultural community with rational people.

Urban homesteading should be comprised of what you feel comfortable incorporating into your life. The following is a short list of possible considerations to begin making a difference:

Apartment Homesteading

apartment homesteading
The great thing about urban homesteading is that you don't necessarily need to have a plot of land or yard to begin your journey. Apartment homesteading is just as rewarding as small acreage farming as your results make an even bigger impact on your life. Try growing a windowsill aquafarm for fresh leafy greens and herbs. Try black bag composting to supplement your houseplant potting soil. Get into container gardening on your deck or balcony for tomatoes, peppers and even potatoes. Shop at your local organic grocery store and frequent thrift shops for up-cycling potential. Join the urban foraging movement. There is plenty you can do with apartment homesteading to help learn the ropes for an inevitable move to a rural setting.

As long as there is good sunlight, apartment homesteading can be a great opportunity to explore micro-gardening. Urban homesteading communities are sprouting up from Detroit to Dallas, Brooklyn to San Fransisco Bay. A little bit of ingenuity and some handy DIY skills can convert a third-floor walk up into an organic garden of paradise with vertical plantings and utilizing small spaces. All you need is the motivation to make a difference and a few basic skills.

Urban Homesteading Ideas

urban homesteading ideasThere is no shortage of possibilities when discovering new urban homesteading ideas. The best thing you can do is remain open minded and flexible as resources and your situation changes. Urban homesteading for beginners is all about making a commitment to bettering your life and doing what you can to reduce consumption, debt and impacts on the planet.

Our family approach to each and every day is to be open to new experiences and spend quality time together. Maybe it's helping each other with our homestead chores or taking a walk in the woods between snow storms. Whatever is coming around the corner, we plan on being mindful of it and discovering new ways to make our family homestead stronger.

We really enjoy sharing our experiences with you all and would love to hear your ideas on urban homesteading for beginners. Urban homesteading is a movement that is only getting more popular, and the more we can share our knowledge as a community the stronger our community will become. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!