“Urban homesteading” is the lifestyle of relying on one’s resources while living in a city.
It’s a way of life that emphasizes self-sufficiency, sustainability, and reconnection with nature even when you are living in an urban area.
To achieve this goal, one may engage in such activities as gardening, livestock keeping, and the adoption of other eco-friendly lifestyle choices. It may seem impossible to develop a self-sufficient urban farmhouse in a metropolis.
However, doing so will help you save money on groceries, connect with your food and the environment in meaningful ways, and lessen your carbon impact.
In today’s post, we have provided a beginner’s guide with everything you need to know to get started with your urban homestead.
What is Urban Homesteading?
Urban homesteading is the act of cultivating food, keeping animals, and living a sustainable lifestyle in a city. It entails making use of limited space, whether it is a large piece of land or even just a balcony or windowsill.
This limited space is used to produce food and raise animals such as hens, bees, and goats. Composting, rainwater collection, and trash reduction are all part of urban homesteading.
Also, the production of one’s cleaning supplies, personal care goods, and food is a part of it. The point of urban homesteading is to live sustainably in a way that’s good for the planet and for society.
Planning Your Urban Homestead
The first step in developing an efficient and long-lasting urban farm is careful planning. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:
1. Assess your space
It is crucial to begin the process of developing your urban farm by taking a survey of the available land. Find out the dimensions of your house and any exterior spaces such as patios, decks, and roofs. There will be negative effects on plant growth and animal health if your farm becomes too crowded.
Find a place that gets plenty of water and sunshine. If possible, choose a location that is adjacent to a water supply and receives at least six hours of sunshine daily.
Before starting a farm or garden, you should research the zoning rules and restrictions in your region to make sure it is legal to do so. Certain municipalities require special permissions or licenses to engage in urban homesteading.
2. Choose the right plants and animals
Find out which kinds of plants and animals can survive in your surrounding by considering space and environmental conditions.
Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, herbs, and berries are all excellent choices for urban homesteading. If you’re limited on square footage, try some vertical gardening with trellises or hanging plants.
Think about what kinds of animals would do well in your urban homestead’s setting before deciding to bring any of them into your house. As they provide both eggs and meat with little effort, chickens are a popular option for urban homesteaders. Depending on the rules in your area, you might even keep bees for honey production, quail, bunnies, or even goats.
Chickens are a common option for urban homesteading since they produce both eggs and meat while taking up a little amount of room. Depending on the rules in your area, you might even raise quail, rabbits, or goats for their meat or milk.
One way to make the most of available space and encourage the development of your plants is to put different kinds of plants together. Planting tomatoes and basil together alongside your produce to repel pests is an example of companion planting.
3. Create a layout plan
To get started, draw a floor plan of your home and any external features, such as balconies, roofs, and backyards. Think about how your home’s layout could be affected by the amount of sunshine, water, and wind exposure your area gets.
Plan the layout of your garden by calculating the square footage needed for each of the plant species you want to cultivate. If you want to grow more plants in less area, try employing vertical gardening or raised beds.
You should also think about starting a compost pile to dispose of your organic waste. Doing so may aid in recycling efforts while also giving your plants some much-needed nutrients.
If you want to keep animals on your urban homestead, you’ll need to construct enclosures that are suitable for their size and requirements. While bees need a hive, chickens need a coop and a run.
Lastly, make a walkway that leads to various parts of your urban homestead for easy access.
4. Determine your budget
Get started on your urban farm by preparing a list of everything you’ll need to get started, such as garden beds, soil, plants, seeds, animal cages, and equipment. Find the best possible deal on anything on your shopping list by doing some research.
Remember to include the cost of shipping and handling for any online purchases you make. Budgeting for your urban homestead can help you set priorities and make choices regarding your homestead’s costs.
Growing Food in Your Urban Homestead
If you want to be self-sufficient, growing your food on your urban farm is a must. It may help you save money on groceries while also providing you with healthy, locally-grown vegetables. Here are some suggestions for cultivating a productive garden in an urban setting:
1. Preparing Your Soil
Before planting anything, you should check the soil’s pH and nutritional levels. You can either pick up a soil test kit at your local garden store or have a sample sent off to a lab for a more in-depth study.
The kind of amendments needed would be determined by testing the soil’s PH and nutrient levels. When you understand what your soil lacks, you can fix it by adding organic material like compost, manure, or other soil amendments.
Soil structure, drainage, and fertility may all benefit from the incorporation of organic matter.
Make sure the amendments are evenly distributed throughout the topsoil. You can try out raised beds and container gardening if you don’t have a spacious place.
Raised beds let you regulate the moisture and drainage of your soil, while container gardening lets you cultivate plants in a fraction of the area.
2. Choosing the Right Plants
When deciding what plants to grow, it’s important to take into account the weather and the kind of soil you have. Choose plants that are adapted to your climate and soil type for the best results.
If you’re just getting started in gardening, it’s smart to pick simple species. Plants such as tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, and beans are among the easiest to cultivate.
Vertical gardens and trellises are great options for those with restricted outdoor space. Planting in pots is a great alternative for those who are restricted by a lack of outside space.
Additionally, cultivate the foods you most enjoy eating. Gardening will be more pleasurable if you focus on growing the foods you most love eating and using in cooking.
3. Maintaining Your Garden
Keeping up with your urban homestead garden’s maintenance is crucial to promoting robust plant development and a good harvest.
Watering your plants regularly is essential to their health and development. Overwatering can cause root rot, so be careful not to give your plants too much water.
Even though insects and viruses can wreak havoc on your garden, you can combat them with more organic means. Pests and diseases can be effectively combated by the use of companion planting, neem oil, and insecticidal soap.
Avoid having weeds in your garden as they steal water and nutrients from your plants. Weeding regularly will also assist stop the spread of diseases and pests.
Urban homesteading also involves raising livestock. If you’re thinking of establishing a small farm, here are some things to think about:
1. Types of livestock suitable for urban homesteading
Homesteaders in urban areas typically raise chickens more than any other animal. They lay eggs, give meat, and even act as fertilizer, and they require nothing in the way of upkeep. In addition to being beneficial as a means of controlling pests, they are also useful as a source of food.
For urban homesteaders, bees are another popular alternative. Bees are useful because of their ability to produce honey and pollinate plants, and they may be housed in relatively tiny areas such as a rooftop or a balcony. They don’t need a lot of upkeep, but you’ll need some specific gear and skills to care for them.
If you’re an urban homesteader looking for ways to produce your meat, rabbits are a great option. They are low-key and simple, yet they need your constant care to thrive.
Goats are a fantastic option for urban homesteaders with more room who wish to raise animals for milk, cheese, or meat production.
Miniature pigs are becoming in popularity as a viable livestock option for city dwellers. They require less area due to their little size compared to typical pigs. They’re pleasant and bright but need to be looked after consistently.
2. Basic care and feeding requirements
Depending on the species, livestock kept in an urban setting may have different dietary and housing needs. There should be enough fresh water and species-appropriate food available for all animals. Always have clean water available and feed your animals a healthy diet to ensure they thrive.
Providing shelter is important for animals because it keeps them secure from the weather and allows them to live in peace. A coop, hutch, or stable may be required, depending on the type of animal.
It’s not necessary to provide a large area for animals like chickens and rabbits to go about it, but goats need more space. Remember to give your animals enough room to run about in.
Maintaining the health of your animals requires constant attention and visits to the vet. Possible examples of this are parasite prevention, vaccines, and grooming.
Ensure the safety of your animals by keeping them away from potential dangers such as predators. Fencing or netting may be necessary, as well as bringing them indoors at night or implementing other safety measures.
3. Legal considerations
Make sure you are authorized to keep cattle on your land by checking the zoning rules and restrictions. There may be limits on the kinds and/or numbers of animals you may have in your region.
Depending on where you reside, you may need to acquire a license or permission to keep animals. Find out what regulations exist from the appropriate authorities in your area.
You must observe all state and municipal laws on the welfare of animals. This may involve necessities like a safe place to live, enough to eat and drink, and access to a veterinarian.
In certain cases, neighbors may complain about the noise or smell that comes from having animals in an urban setting. Take care to limit these disturbances out of consideration for your neighbors.
Your liability exposure increases if your livestock is responsible for someone else’s property damage or injuries. Get yourself and your possessions fully covered with insurance.
Composting and Waste Reduction
An integral part of an urban homestead is a waste reduction and composting system. Composting is the transformation of organic matter into a soil that is rich in nutrients.
Building a compost bin or pile in your yard is the first step in getting started with composting. All sorts of organic waste, including kitchen leftovers and yard trimmings, can be composted. Composting successfully requires a combination of “green” and “brown” ingredients.
Once your compost has matured, you may use it to feed your plants. Compost is a great way to boost your soil’s health, fertility, and water retention.
There is a lot of trash from packaging materials that end up in dumps. Avoiding single-use plastics and shopping in bulk can help you cut down on packaging waste.
It is feasible to significantly minimize garbage by reusing and recycling as much as possible. Before you think you’re recycling appropriately, verify the rules in your area.
The garbage produced by your urban homestead may be greatly reduced by composting and other waste-minimization practices.
Homesteading in the city can improve your quality of life while also helping the planet. Growing your food, keeping your animals, and adopting other sustainable lifestyle choices may help you save money and decrease your environmental impact.
Anyone can start their urban homestead in their garden or on their balcony with a little forethought, hard work, and dedication to sustainable living. With this beginner’s guide to homesteading, we hope you can get started with planning today.