Living in the City,What can I raise for food?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Arlod2, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. Arlod2

    Arlod2 Well-Known Member

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    Looking for ideas on what I can raise to help my family with food. my city doesn't even allow guinea pigs from what I've heard. {ps local pet store here sells a license for the darn things.} I know poultry,pigs,goats and such arean't allowed. and we've got pretty close neighbors so can't really sneak chickens. thu I wish. Looking for ideas. Thanks Arlod in Bluefield,WV 24701
     
  2. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    Rabbits are quiet and clean. With a male and 2-3 does you can have plenty of tender young rabbits in no time. You could even keep them inside your house. You don't say wether you live in a house or an aprtment. Do you have a yard? Plenty veggies and fruits can be grown around the house (tomatos, cucumber and squashes, beans....) With the squashes and beans, grow them on trellises.
     

  3. Arlod2

    Arlod2 Well-Known Member

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    it's got a small and very hilly yard. {under 1 area total.} we looked into rabbits. and around here the dwarf bunnies are pretty comman the bigger meat types are hard to find. and the local pet store {sigh} is pretty nuts. a meat bunny they sell for $45.00 a piece unsexed.


    Arlod
     
  4. njmama

    njmama Well-Known Member

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    I posted in the rabbit forum and someone recommended a rabbitry 2 hours from me and made the day trip. It was worth it for us.
     
  5. hmsteader71

    hmsteader71 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Where is your location? We are raising rabbits for meat if you were close to us.
     
  6. Arlod2

    Arlod2 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that's close thu. Arlod
     
  7. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    You can make raised beds in small and hilly yards that will grow a lot of food. It will take effort but it's time well spent. Container gardening is easy.

    Have you talked with farmers in Bluefield? I'm sure they'd be a wealth of information. I found this farm:
    website: http://www.cspringsfarm.com/
    email: csprings@stargate.net
    address: 8343 New Hope Road
    Bluefield,WV 24701-9713

    They might be able to tell you where to find meat rabbits. $45 for a meat rabbit you know nothing about is pricey but probably worth it. A pair will produce a lot of meat in a short amount of time. You can learn to sex them. You could ask the pet store where they get their meat rabbits from so that you can talk to the person to learn more about rabbits. They might not tell you but you have nothing to lose by asking. Unless there's a reason for city officials to be in your house or yard you should be able to have rabbits and even guinea pigs without anyone knowing. And for all anyone has to know, they're pets. Rabbits are quiet. The manure is excellent for the garden.

    http://pathtofreedom.com/ This family should be very inspiring. You'll be amazed at what they do on one-fifth of an acre.

    Good luck!
     
  8. suzyhomemaker09

    suzyhomemaker09 Well-Known Member

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    Wehn we were still in the Miami / Ft. Lauderdale area we had quail in a walk in closet....we never got much into breeding them there but it could be done.
     
  9. shar

    shar Well-Known Member

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    When Dh And I Were First Married We Lived In A Apartment. Money Was Tight And I Knew How To Can And Freeze. We Bought A Med. Size Freezer
    (had To Put It In The Bedroom) I Knew That Some Families On Our Way To Church Sold Produce From Their Homes. I Stopped And Introduced Myself And Let Them Know That I Would Be Interested In Buying Their Extra's.
    Some Of The Older People Where Thrilled As Gardening Was Such A Part Of Their Lives And They Always Had More Than They Needed. I Was Offered
    Rhubarb (they Thought No One Would Be Interested In It) Apples, Pears,and
    Grapes They Weren't All Perfect But I Used Whatever Was Good. My Husband Became Friends With A Neighbor And His Family Lived On The Edge Of Town And Together They Raised Some Chickens For Eggs And Meat. We Went Fishing And Filled The Freezer With Fish, Rhubard, Apple Sauce, We
    Picked Asparagus From The Roadside, Wild Blackberries. Soon Our Freezer Was Filled And Our Grocery Bill Was Low, Which Allowed Us To Stock Up
    On Sale Items And By Using Coupons With The Sales We Often Got Items For Next To Nothing. People Saved Me Any Coupons They Didn't Use And I Would
    Go Through Them And Then Pass Them On To Other Neighbors. Looking Back
    It Was Hard Work But Still One Of The Best Memories, So Now We Are Able To Pass On Vegetables And Produce To Others. Stop And Look Around You
    You Will Be Surprised All That You Can Do While In The City.

    Shar
     
  10. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Rabbits is a good idea. You can get them cheap if you're willing to drive a bit. Up in central WV we have a Traders Guide and folks advertise rabbits in it from time to time. We just picked up three New Zealand White does for $10 each. If you don't get the Traders Guide where you live and would like a copy, PM me with your mailing address and I'll send one your way when one comes out with rabbits in it.

    A garden is a great option for you. In addition to a traditional vegetable garden, you can incorporate herbs into your landscaping. Also you can consider fruit trees and berry bushes as part of your landscaping.
     
  11. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    Here in central WV we have the Trader's Guide (local sales paper) that comes out every week. They have several listings this week for rabbits $10 and under. Also find a local live stock auction. Last week at the auction in Spencer rabbits were going dirt cheap. With a little looking, you should easily be able to find some for $10 or so. Check at Tractor Supply. The one in Weston has had rabbits a time or two.
     
  12. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Vicker, I couldn't have said it better myself :D
     
  13. ladyrua

    ladyrua Well-Known Member

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    I'm also a city liver/future homesteader and although I can't raise animals (city ordinances are *strict* on that except rabbits and I haven't put my mind around eating "bunnies" yet), I've got a good garden on a hilly lot. It took a lot of backbreaking work to make the beds, terrace the hillside, and remove old house debris, but totally worth it! Best of luck!

    Here's a few pics of my efforts:
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a4/ladyrua/Garden/DSCF0160.jpg
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a4/ladyrua/Garden/DSCF0158.jpg
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a4/ladyrua/Garden/DSCF0159.jpg
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a4/ladyrua/Garden/DSCF0148.jpg
     
  14. MaryNY

    MaryNY Well-Known Member

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    Check to see if you have any "community gardens" in your area. These are large pieces of land that are broken down into "family plots" for the members of a group. You could raise quite a bit there. I think you could used raised beds and containers and many creative ways to grow veggies and berries, etc. on "almost an acre". Good luck.

    MaryNY
     
  15. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    Container garden on your balconey, window box or porch. You can do tomatoes in hanging baskets and let them grow downward. Bunny cages can be stacked if you have trays between their cages. You can grow salad ingredients and feed outer leaves and ends to the bunnies.

    Also, you could have bantam hens in a large indoor birdcage. If anyone questions you, tell them they are canaries on steroids. It takes several bantam eggs to equal a regular egg, so you would have to hoard them in the fridge until you have enough for a recipe.
     
  16. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    HEY! It was you!! I wanted those rabbits!! :D
     
  17. Lady_Jet

    Lady_Jet Fiber artist & Instructor

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    Hi... You can raise patio tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. in containers as well as lettuce and herbs.


    You can also harvest things in vacant lots, old building lots, along country roads, etc, or even in the city. Just remember to wash well before you use them. You can also go into areas (vacant lots, for instance) and harvest plants to use in your salads, like lambs' quarters, purslane, clover (can also be used for teas), sheperd's purse, dandelions, etc. You can harvest dandelion roots to roast, then grind for a coffee substitute. There's also chicory growing wild along some country roads (tall with nice beautiful blue flowers on a high stalk) that you can harvest when they're young for salads, use the flowers in salads as they get older, and dig up the roots for another coffee substitute. There used to be an instant coffee on the market that had chicory in it to "stretch" out the cofeee, but it was more expensive than regular instant coffee. Also, lots of herbs can be harvested wild from the roadsides (if the roads are not too busy. Always be sure to wash the pickings and spin it in the salad spinner to make sure it's clean. Some of the parks even have watercress growing along the banks, but be sure to pick it if it's in running water or it could pick up bad things and you don't want to eat it then...If it's in running water, it has no chance of picking up toxins.

    You used to be able to harvest lots of things from forests, but you can no longer do that in State or Federal forests. Many things have been picked to the point they're almost extinct, so you have to be very careful about what you pick and how much you pick. Check with books about harvesting in the wild to find out how to do it correctly so you'll always have some to go back to. For instance, like mushrooms: if you pick all the mushrooms in one area, you've left no spoor for new mushrooms to grow from and they go away from that spot, never to return. Or what about ferns: if you pick all the fiddle heads from the ferns, they are no new leaves and they'll stop growing and producing seeds to start new plants. Only harvest one fiddle head from a plant so that there will always be more seeds growing on the leaves.

    So, you can grow pation types of container veggies, or you can harvest from the wild if you understand what you're doing. You can even grow herbs and other lealfy plants as long as you follow the directions... If you grow cukes, peas, or squash--even tomatoes, you need to have a network of trellis, rope, string or some other way for the plants to hook onto and grow up (you need less room if they don't spread all over and you increase your harvest).

    Good luck and let us know how it works out.

    Jet :angel:
     
  18. Lady_Jet

    Lady_Jet Fiber artist & Instructor

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    If you raise chickens or other meat animals in the city, be sure to check for city rulings. In Walla Walla, WA, you can have up to 4 hens, but no rooster. In other cities the laws vary so you have to make sure you follow the laws. I'm sure you can squeak by, but if anyone realizes what you're doing and turns you in, the fines could outway the savings and organic eggs/meat you're trying to grow.

    For instance, there was a rabbit meat seller in the Wedgewood part of Seattle, but the health department shut them down because they butchered the rabbits themselves and it was against the law to raise meat animals in the city limits. They got a huge fine and wound up loosing a lot.

    I learned from others problems what I can do and not do, so just check what you need to be doing to keep it "kosher."

    Jet
     
  19. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Guinea pigs are eaten, in Peru. How about tilapia? Pigeons? The edible doormouse? My vote goes to rabbits.
     
  20. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    Rabbits can be very good. Once you get a few they breed like, well, like rabbits. Rabbits are good eats too. Pretty darn good table fare. I have to admit though when I start eating them several times a weeks for a couple of months it gets tedious. As others have said look into chicken just for kicks. If you don't get roosters you might be able to get away with it. Sometimes you might be able buy a good bunch of live birds to bring home and butcher. I ran across 20 chickens for free once when I lived in town and couldn't keep chickens. I took them and went home and butchered them. The neighbors power defecated and the mass chicken slaughter in the back yard and the cops were called but nothing came of it because I was dragging them one at a time out of the back of the truck.

    You can also grow a surprisingly large and productive garden in town. For a short time growing up we lived town. My parents grew enough vegetables so that we not only never bought produce at the store in the summer but my mother canned enough so that we ate things from the garden all winter. In fact, we never ran out. We had a problem of not using stuff up fast enough. Canning too much stuff. I was amazed that people actually bought canned vegetables at a store. I thought everyone's mother did that at home.

    Like others have said use containers, use raised beds and even look into renting a garden plot if you have to. I think if you used raised beds and containers and plant intensively and intelligently you will surprised at how much you can produce.