What is a homestead?
A quick online search will reveal that “homesteading” is a a way of living where individuals strive to be self-sufficient. One source indicated that a homestead was a place to raise a family, produce food, and flourish. Most people would describe a homestead as an area of land where food is grown, animals are raised, and individuals live a life-style geared more to producing rather than consuming. However not everyone can or even desires to relocate to some remote location, purchase forty acres and a tractor to set up a place to flourish. Does this mean they aren’t “homesteading”? Some want to flourish right where they have already starting “putting down roots”. Is it possible? Can they raise a family, produce food, and flourish, can they homestead where they are right now? They sure can. Keep reading for some interesting tips on how to be a producer and less of a consumer no matter where you are living.
There is a catchy phrase being bantered about these days, books discuss the subject in length, and podcasts devote hours to discussing the ins and outs and benefits of becoming an “urban homesteader” if one lives in a less than rural environment. Some individuals have even become wealthy “urban homesteaders” by writing books and giving seminars about how to live the life they live. Don’t get me wrong, many of them have a lot of great information to pass on to others. And I am not knocking any of them. Ron Finley, the Gangsta Gardener, in South Central LA is one who immediately comes to mind. I don’t know if he has gotten rich by his efforts, but he sure seems to be flourishing and I know he is producing food. To me, he might very well be a homesteader.
I love watching Ron. He has so much energy and he encourages and empowers people to take control of their food system. His idea of taking an old dresser drawer to make a small raised bed, is perfect for growing things like leaf lettuce, radish, maybe some short carrots like Danver’s Half-longs, kale, and even some small varieties of potatoes. Dressers can be found cheap, if not free in most places. Going one step further, after pulling the drawers out and turning them into raised beds, the dresser can be repurposed into a shelving system for storing canned goods.
Grow Towers are becoming the trend now for apartment growing. Also known as vertical growing, containers are stacked to form a self-watering system for growing all sorts of vegetables in a very small space. Many of the systems available even come with optional lighting systems. One doesn’t even need a sunny window to grow food, although personally I think the sun adds a bit of flavor that LED lighting can’t provide. If one is doing it on the cheap, the Dollar Store used to sell stackable growing containers. Do a search on “vertical growing systems” and you will see several options. Some utilize soil, others are designed to be a hydroponic system.
Not able to actually “garden” in the house, why not try sprouting and regrowing. Did you know that you can regrow things like celery, spring onions, lettuce, cabbages, etc. Ron Findley even has a MasterClass to teach you about 14 different vegetables you can regrow from scraps. Sprouting can put a lot of nutrition in a very tiny space, canning jar space. Places like Johnny’s Seed offer Ecoli free sprout seeds. Soak the seeds, rinse, and allow to sprout, rinsing each day with fresh cool water, once sprouted, place near a sunny window to green up. All sorts of seeds lend themselves to sprouting and there is very minimal equipment needed. A jar or container, strainer, seeds, and water.
Check out Jaag, one of my favorite YouTubers, telling you how to grow sprouts.
Finally, one can culture things like kefir or yogurt very easily with just a few ingredients. Actually, culturing and fermenting can produce all sorts of foods such as: yogurt, kefir, sour cream, sour dough starter, lactobacillus pickles and sauerkraut, fermented fruit, etc.
With some planning and a few resources, one can go from being a complete consumer to a producer flourishing in no time. Resources abound on the internet and there are lots of people who are willing to show you how to do all of the things I mentioned for free. YouTube is my favorite resource for all things “homesteading” and producing. I actually have a post I am working on where I talk about the YT channels that have really helped me expand my gardening knowledge. I have been a gardener for over 30 years, and I learn new tips and tricks all of the time. YouTube has become my go-to source for instant “on-the-fly” information. Check it out, it can help you become more of a “homesteader”, one who flourishes in no time at all.
Thank you for stopping by the farm today. I hope you will check back to see my upcoming post on my favorite YouTube channels. If you are “homesteading” in a more urban environment, please let me know about some of the things you are doing to be a producer of your food. As always, have a great day.
P.s. I forgot to add growing Mushrooms. Check out my friends at Ridge Haven Homestead. Great photos of how to grow Oyster Mushrooms indoors.