Tuesday, March 1, 2011
My urban homesteading endeavors
Recently there has been much talk of urban homesteading and what it means. "To each their own" is definitely the correct phrase to use here.
So as a followup to my post about the "who" of our homestead here is the "what" of our urban homestead.
Several years ago I caught the urban farm bug. We don't have a lot of land. 50 feet x 128 feet to be exact! I started out with a vegetable garden. Growing more than I cared to eat. I love to grow but didn't know how to use nor did I desire to use much of it frankly! I love heirlooms and unique items. Some of the fun things I have grown are cotton, purple potatoes, fish peppers, dozens of varieties of tomatoes, beautiful eggplants. They were beautiful enough that consumption was just a bonus. I have flirted with the idea of being a small-scale seed grower or farmer but now am more family oriented and looking to be more self-sufficient.
When we bought our house I loved the raised sunny area calling for a garden (which the chickens now occupy) and the secluded bit of a hillside and envisioned a secret garden there. I started a veggie garden and finally was able to plant perennials like asparagus, rhubarb and chives.
For a while I got a bit off track and had a brief but intense affair with hostas. At one point I had somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 varieties. Boy those things can get expensive and while beautiful I have grown past them and envision one day they might share their space with bees.
From veggies I next endeavored to grow a bit of fruit. I started several Asian pears (remember I like different things!) to have all but one mowed over. Amazingly last year it fruited despite its bad location thanks to me. I had a small strawberry patch and rhubarb as no garden is complete without them according to my genetics I believe. For a few years this was enough for me. I was devoting a lot of gardening related energy to the youth garden program I started. After that it was devoting time to my first baby.
We have slowly evolved though in our life aspirations and quickly wanted to really kick it up a notch. I suppose a farm just isn't a farm without animals so in spring of 2010 despite having brand-new twins we got chicks. From there I started scheming for goats and bought 2 Nigerian Dwarf goats in the fall of 2010. We were a bit off track in getting them home for a while but now in 2011 seem to be on track thanks to my city councilman! 2011 has barely begun and we have ordered a fair amount of fruit trees and fruiting bushes this spring. Apples, and peaches, and plums, oh my! We have also added golden currants and grapes in the last couple of years. I hope to try out espaliering the apple trees this year. This should handle my preserves needs in a few years. Nothing like your own preserves mixed into fresh yogurt. :) The little things that make me smile. I also hope to really kick up our veggies this year. With the babies a bit older we'll see. We have a few hundred starts in the basement growing as I hope to cover the coop roof with an herb garden. Soon I will start peppers and tomatoes and the rest of the veggies. We have a lot of new things going on in the kitchen too. Hubby has started making bread regularly and I have made a decent stash of preserves all thanks to some great books for Christmas. We have a few things growing in the kitchen, too. Yogurt, kefir, kombucha to name a few. Soon we will have goats milk to play with making more cheese and soap. Iris just kidded and should be here within weeks. I really look forward to that new learning experience. The bees are in route and hives to be built this month in anticipation of their installation on a nearby property. And the chickens have just layed their first 8 egg day including a robin's egg blue that just started being layed this week. Eight eggs from eight hens, what more can you ask for! Things are looking up and spring is in the air!