A lot of my time during this time of the year is spent outdoors. By taking a quick glance at my instagram feed, you’ll notice that I post many pictures of what’s growing and “chirping” in my urban homestead. After posting these types of pictures, I usually get some interest from others that they’d like to start their own urban homestead but aren’t sure where to start… where to begin. Many people are on a tight budget as well, so I’ve had even more people ask me how to start an urban homestead with limited funds.
Today, I want to let you all know that I get where you are all coming from. Wanting to live a self sufficient lifestyle and do so on a limited budget. Here’s the good news, it can be done! With a lot of patience, right timing, and hard work, you can have the urban homestead of your dreams. Now, before I share a post on how to start an urban homestead on a limited budget (post coming this Thursday), I want to first give you a tour of my own homestead to give you an idea of what I’ve done to create my own piece of the country within city limits.
Welcome To My Urban Homestead
As you can tell, I live a simple life. I have a small home that’s filled with everything I could possibly need. The only negative side to this home is that we live in a neighborhood filled with mature trees so good sunny locations, which gardens need to thrive, are hard to come by. When my next door neighbor had his giant maple tree removed from his front yard, Gabe surprised me with 3 new raised beds in my front yard. He then trucked in loads of dirt from grandpa’s farm which I then amended with our backyard compost.
As an urban homesteader, I’m constantly thinking of the aesthetic when I’m planning my garden for the year. Since it’s an area that’s visible to the street, I think about what my garden beds are going to look like when fully grown. I take care to think about what plants to grow together in one box and then integrate them with flowering annuals and herbs. The annuals and herbs not only serves as companion plants, but also serve as spot color to give the area a vibrant look. So far, my annuals are not yet fully grown or flowering, but just give them another month… it’s going to be like, whoa!
It may seem out of the ordinary, but having a front yard garden has been a great way to get to know my neighbors. People on walks and even cars have stopped to just look at what’s growing and chat with me about it. Over the years, I’ve also noticed many more front yard gardens in my neighborhood. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
Do you see the nakedness in this garden bed above. Yeah, well, it should be overgrown with beets. Unfortunately, city bunnies are not leaving this bed alone. I’m doing the best I can with cayenne pepper spray but we’ve had tremendous rains that keeps running the spray off the leaves. I could put a fence around the bed but since it’s in my front yard, I want to keep it as aesthetically pleasing as possible. At least my carrots are still going strong.
As an urban homesteader, it’s imperative to think about incorporating edibles into your landscaping to take full advantage of whatever sunny locations you may have. I take advantage of the south side of my home where I have an established raspberry patch and an extra gardening bed which I rotate vegetables in.
This year behind our air conditioner, I am growing 10 tomato plants.
One of the first things my husband and brother in law built for my home when we moved in was a front yard patio made of bricks and limestone.
This is where I container garden and grow fresh herbs.
I love this area of my home. It’s not rare to find me sitting down in my front yard bistro table drinking a warm cup of coffee in the morning while taking in His creation.
If you’ll walk with me to the backyard from the side of my home where my tomato plants are growing, I’ll show you my backyard where it’s not as tidy as the front. But hey, it’s an urban farm as well!
This is what I call my pasture…. for children and sometimes chickens.
If you notice, our grass is not at all filled in. Instead, it’s mixed in with a variety of weeds and I like it that way. What we have mostly on this side of the house is plantain. Yes, it’s taking over, but I don’t mind it at all since my chickens will pasture on this and adore to eat it. Also, when the plantain goes to seed, I purposely let the chickens out to eat them. They love plantain seeds and it’s in the seed where most of the nutrients lie.
Seeding plantain – I think it’s lovely. We not only use the plantain for the chickens but it’s our life saver during the summer as well. We use it to stop itches, rashes, and burns all summer long.
In the back corner of the lot is where I have my compost piles. The pile below is the one I’m using from this year.
In the far back of my lot is where I have my backyard garden that doesn’t see as much sunshine as the front. It was fenced in with free pallets but this year Gabe had to put up a temporary fence around that to keep a dog out that we had for a short while. That’s a whole other story but let’s just say our dog didn’t work out for us just then and she’s since found a great home on a 10 acre homestead
Instead of having Gabe take it down, I decided to have him leave it up to trellis cucumbers on for the year. Not a bad idea, right?!
This is the backyard garden filled with kale, zuchinni, beans, potatoes, and cucumbers. I’ve also started zinnias in this area.
cucumbers that will trellis up the fence….
Beans that were being devoured by a sneaky little rabbit that we since patched up the hole it was getting through….
and some baby potatoes that I harvested yesterday.
Coming around to the north side of the deck is where my chickens live. I currently have 7 laying hens and 19 chicks. The new girls are about 7 weeks old.
I know what you’re thinking… 19 new chicks? Well, soon, my family is going to be making the transition from urban homesteaders to rural homesteaders (more on that soon). So, these girls are going to be my new flock on the new homestead. For now, they’re growing in this small area and hopefully soon will have many acres in pasture to forage on. Oh you lucky girls, you have no idea!!
Gabe divided the run in order to grow grass and weeds in. I intentionally bought pasture seed to grow in this area that my laying hens will have access to. I only allow my older hens out about 1x per week. I do this to cut down on the poop around the homestead since the “pasture” is for my children to play in. Trust me, kids coming in with poopy bare feet is not cute at all.
Let me out! Soon enough girls, soon enough.
The chicken coop.
One thing I like to do is to bring the new chicks table scraps and weeds since they aren’t on grass often. It’s good for now and hopefully they’ll be on a true pasture before they start laying.
Hopefully that will be soon since these girls are learning how to fly the coop!
Behind the coop is where I have my rain barrels.
I love them, but it never seems to be enough especially in the heat of the summer. I’d love a well, lol!!
My favorite part of my backyard urban homestead is the deck Gabe built for me. It’s where we eat many summer meals and talk into the late hours of the night. With children running here and there and chickens bawking, it’s my little piece of country living.
I also grow more herbs in containers on my deck.
By the fall, they’ll have grown quite large which allows me to dry enough of them to preserve for the winter.
Around my deck, I have also sown basil and more tomato plants. We’ll see if the squinnies, squirrels, and children allow them to grow
Well, thanks for taking a tour of my urban homestead. Let me tell you, this didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken a lot of time, patience, and compromises. Stop on by this week where I’ll share with you how you can start your own urban homestead on a limited budget!
Do you urban homestead? Do you have any advice you’d care to share with others on how to start theirs? Maybe you have questions about starting your own homestead. Let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to address them in my coming post.