Around the same time we were looking at buying a house, I became very interested in the concept of gardening, and specifically growing my own food, controlling my food supply and gaining a measure of self-sufficiency. I stumbled across the original Urban Homesteaders online, was immediately enamored, and so our journey towards urban homesteading began.
Here are the steps we have taken towards transforming our home and 50×150′ non-functional grassy yard into an area of intensive food production:
- Built three 16×4′ raised bed gardens, based on the Gardening Revolution system taught in southwest Missouri. Between the raised beds and several containers, we currently have around 200 square feet of raised growing space. The beds will primarily be used for growing annual fruits and vegetables; a 10×4′ space in one bed is also growing strawberries.
- Planted three blueberry bushes. I made several mistakes in planting these poor blueberries, so they are still alive but not quite thriving as I would like. I’m hoping to transplant them into a better location soon.
- Planted three grape vines (also lovingly referred to as “grape sticks” by Charlie, based on how they looked when they first arrived as bare root plants).
- Built a straw bale compost pile, based on Eliot Coleman’s method in Four Season Harvest.
- Connected a 55-gallon rain barrel to one of the house downspouts and connected the barrel’s spigot to a soaker hose so it can directly feed garden bed #1.
- Started vermicomposting. We bought a 5-tray worm condo from the Urban Homesteaders and half a pound of red wigglers online. Later I decided that half a pound just wasn’t going to cut it, so I ordered another pound. Six months later, we have an unimaginable number of worms eating our garbage.
- Set up an area in the basement for starting seeds, with lights, heat mat, soil blocks and the whole bit.