Want to live a simpler, more self-reliant lifestyle while remaining in the city or suburbs? You don’t have to move to a farm to grow some of your own food, cut your reliance on the grid, reduce your waste output dramatically and save a whole lot of money. Urban (or suburban) homesteading is all about re-learning basic skills that most of us have exchanged for ‘convenience,’ and feeling more connected to the items and processes that sustain us, bringing those things from faraway factories back into our own hands. Here are 14 ways to get started.
The single most important step you can take is to produce even a small amount of your own food by starting a garden. You can do this even if you don’t have a yard, with planters in windows or on a balcony. Whether you just have herbs and a few tomato plants or you rip out your entire lawn and replace it with food, there are few things in life that are more rewarding than eating homegrown produce right off the plant.
Plant Fruit Trees
If you want to ease into the process of growing your own food, and can’t commit to a lot of upkeep right away, plant some fruit trees. They take a few years to get established and start producing fruit, and require almost no maintenance. Pears, apples, cherries, figs, avocado, plum and pomegranate are just a few options available depending on your local climate. Consult a plant nursery in your area to find out what varieties would be most likely to flourish.
All of the banana peels, coffee grounds, egg shells and grass clippings you’re currently just tossing in the trash could be an ideal source of free, high-quality, plant-nourishing garden soil free of chemical fertilizers. Composting is a basic component of growing your own food, turning waste into something valuable. It’s also easier than you might think. Your compost pile could be as simple as a circle of chicken wire, though some people prefer to purchase self-contained units. Starting a simple compost pile on bare earth allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate and fertilize the compost. Get the fundamentals at EarthEasy.com.