Once you’ve been bitten by the urban homesteading bug, there’s no cure. For real. When John and I started our teeny, tiny little garden and first documented it on The Sustainable Couple, we had no idea what we were doing.
Fast forward 5 years and we’ve gotten ourselves together. We also have backyard chickens, 6 raised garden beds, edible landscaping, and 14 rain barrels.
Urban homesteading opened us up to new people, and a new (more simple) way of life. Instead of focusing on all of the things we do as urban homesteaders, let’s take a look at the things we won’t be doing anymore now that we’ve claimed this title.
1. You won’t complain about a lack of space.
You’ll get creative with the limited space you have. Take, for instance, our potatoes. Last year we planted them in 5 gallon buckets so they could be portable.
We placed those buckets of potatoes on a patch of concrete next to John’s workshop, which was a perfectly sunny location. Even with that big concrete driveway, we’re still able to produce food.
2. You won’t pay for putting extra trash on the curb.
One thing we’ve noticed since becoming urban homesteaders, is the amount of trash we produce has gone down significantly. How much trash do we produce in a week? Sometimes one 13-gallon (tall kitchen) bag. Sometimes we won’t fill a trash bag until the end of 2 weeks.
We compost every bit of organic matter; it either goes to the chickens or to the compost bin. We also recycle and reuse as much as possible. One luxury of living in the city, is a weekly recycling pickup right at our curb. Country dwellers don’t have that luxury.
3. You won’t buy eggs.
4. You won’t pay for city water.
Well, wait. You’ll pay for a bit of water, but it won’t be water for your garden. Building a fleet of rain barrels will be a dual-purpose task that will make a huge impact on your homestead.
Not only are you saving money on your water bill, but you’re harvesting rain water and containing it until you need it. Also, treated city water is hard on plants. It’s best to use collected rainwater on your garden when watering. Here’s our tutorial on how to make your own rain barrel. Now get to building and do a rain dance!
5. You won’t buy cheap, conventional produce.
You’ll know the value and the work that goes behind each vegetable, so you’ll be willing to pay more for quality, organic food.
6. You won’t buy pasta sauce or salsa.
Or anything tomato-based, for that matter.
Your urban garden is going to flourish, and it’s likely you’ll have zucchini and tomatoes coming out your ears by late summer. Preserve the fruits of your labors! Make tomato sauce. Can whole tomatoes. Make jellies and jams. You’ll eat like royalty all winter long.
7. You won’t be isolated.
You live in the city or the suburbs, which makes you highly visible to your neighbors and passersby. Naturally, they’ll ask questions and want to see your ‘operation’. They might also ask you to help them get started on a garden or with backyard chickens. The next thing you know, you’ll be teaching workshops and seminars on growing food in the city. Isolation isn’t a word in an urban homesteader’s vocabulary.
8. You won’t buy toxic cleaners or detergents.
One thing urban homesteaders learn quickly is that this lifestyle is dirty, and cleaning up can be expensive.
After a bit of research, John and I realized all of the toxic chemicals that were in the cleaning products under our sink. We listed them on Freecycle and bought a few essential oils. We make our own cleaning supplies, which feature baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils.
They’re inexpensive and non-toxic. The end.
9. You won’t have a ton of free time.
There’s always something to plant, prep for, build, weed, or harvest. The rewards will be great, but your free time won’t be.
One of my favorite things to do after a long day at work is to spend at least an hour in the garden. Every.Single.Night. Not only is this is great way to unwind, but it saves me time on the weekends. I look at it this way, I could easily spend an hour on Facebook, or I could spend an hour in the dirt.
10. You won’t take the beauty of your surroundings for granted, even if that means being in the middle of a city or the suburbs.
You don’t need to live on a huge acreage to be surrounded by natural beauty. Your urban homestead will help you look at your surroundings through a different perspective.
What’s your favorite thing about homesteading in the city? Tell us about it and leave a comment!