Urban homesteaders?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by kesoaps, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Washington State
    I read a post by someone not long ago stating that they didn't feel they were really homesteaders since they didn't have a large parcel of ground...just an acre, I think is what they said. But you can grow quite a bit on an acre, and raise a few animals as well (if the code in your area allows.)

    For those of you with smaller acreage, less than two acres, or better yet under one; what do you grow yourself? How do you work at creating a self sustaining lifestyle in suburbia?

    I found this link, which I think is great inspiration:
  2. Burbsteader

    Burbsteader Well-Known Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Western WA
    That is one of my favorite links and one of my inspirations when I am feeling claustrophobic.

    I think our entire lot is a quarter acre. Then you factor in the house (1260 sq. ft. rambler), attached garage, driveway, graveled play area, DH's 10x12 workshop, my 10x12 shed, the chicken coop and run-approx. 96 sq. ft, and there just isn't a whole lot of room left.

    I can raise meat (rabbits) and eggs (laying hens). Thanks to allergies the rabbits are gone, but still have 8 hens. But I was raising enough rabbit for 1-2 rabbit meals a week. Very easy, very quiet animals. Great for the city.

    I have mature fruit and nut trees, fruit bushes, berry bushes, herbs and edible and ornamental flowers.
    I have a fertile raised vegetable garden bed for my seasonal veggies. I also have beds for perennial edibles such as rhubarb.

    I try to grow a new variety of something every year. I consider my garden a Victory Garden. While it is more of a hobby and something I love to do, it is possible that we may have to rely on it much more someday. So I want to expermiment now, not during a food shortage.

    Some things I have learned.
    Think ahead. A little planning saves a lot of grief.

    Check details. Just how tall is that tree going to get? Do I have all of my fruits ripening at the same time? Do I want that or should I choose varieties that ripen at different times?

    Think about water. How are you going to water? Do you have drainage problems?

    Think about scale. Unless you are serious about raising 30 chickens, don't build a coop that holds 30! My coop holds 8 comfortably and is only about 4x4'. Was inspired by 'Henspa' designs.

    Be flexible. Your pain in the neck neighbor planted trees a couple feet from the property line and they are now nearly 30' tall. (Living that now). Learn what edibles can handle shade.

    Think UP. Trellis, lattice, fencing. Pole beans, squash, cukes can all grow up rather than sprawl. Saves a huge amount of space.

  3. katlupe

    katlupe Off-The-Grid Homesteader Supporter

    Nov 15, 2004
    Upstate NY
    We have 4.5 acres, but 3.5 is all woods. So we basically live on one acre. Part of it is our horses' paddock. Dh had to clear the paddock area, as it was thick woods also. The woods came almost up to the house when we moved here. So he had a lot of clearing to do.

    But there is plenty of room for our raised beds, fruit trees, berry bushes, our chicken coop (when we get it built) and we have 3 horses too. You can do a lot of planting and raising smaller animals in a small area. I love using raised beds and they can hold alot of plants.

    We now have a big 2 story log barn that dh built. The main thing is that we do not have neighbors, as we are surrounded by thousands of acres of state forest. So a small piece of property such as this, doesn't seem so small. I think if we had next door neighbors right on top of us, we wouldn't be here.

    My father has only 2 acres and he has always had a huge garden, has pear & apple trees, chestnut trees, a beautiful grape arbor and various berry bushes.

    I think you can do anything you have a mind to do. Even in the city, you can grow food and homestead to a point. I think it is a state of mind.

  4. Wildwood Flower

    Wildwood Flower Halfway, OR & Wagoner, OK

    Aug 26, 2006
    I live in Oregon part time, and Oklahoma part time
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Homesteading is a state of mind, not some amount of acreage. You can be living in a rented apartment and still be homesteading if you really put your mind to it.

    A terrible lot of us had to do this for a long time before we were able to finally come up with our places in the country. Some never will but they can still be homesteaders just the same.

  6. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Feb 23, 2005
    Southwestern PA
    Yup--I'm "urban homesteading" in 1/8 of an acre. It's not enough, of course, but you can get a surprising amount from it if you try. I've gotten rid of most of the lawn, and I've grown about every herb, veggie, and berry you can think of--using only natural fertilizers, etc. I grow enough here to supply two people with veggies all summer and fall, and to supplement our winter and spring diets. Next spring I'm going to colonize the garage roof with garden plants, and then--watch out! We're hoping to move out of here, but if it looks like we're going to be in this house for another few years, I'm going to rig up an area for a few laying hens, similar to what they did on the path to freedom site.

    Beyond the garden, there's plenty one can do in the city--living frugally, conserving resources, doing for yourself, cooking and baking from scratch, preserving harvests (if not yours, then the in-season harvests from the local farmers' markets), practical crafts (woodworking, sewing, knitting, etc.), and learning for the future! We're doing all of these things here, and it keeps us busy enough until we are in a position to move out to land.
  7. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Central Ohio
    Homesteading is a state of mind, not some amount of acreage

    Thanks for that. I guess i AM a homesteader!

    I bought my house not quite two years ago. It's not quite half an acre. (first time homeowner!)

    I'm working on converting more grass each year to something useful. I put in a dozen different kind of fruit trees, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and a huge garden.

    I'm planning on getting rainbarrels for my downspouts. I installed a woodburning stove, which does quite well, considering the house is not insullated (that's WAY down the line, because of the expense). I had to replace the roof. It had no venting in the attic (so it was baking), and I installed a solar attic fan when they did the new roof.

    I want to get a few chickens for eggs.

    I'm a homesteader at heart - so I guess I can call myself one -despite the fact I'm in a city of over a million people?