The original urban homesteaders, the Dervaes family, is blessed in their ability to urban homestead full time. All of the family members work directly on the urban homestead, and while it is definitely a full time job, it is at home.
As much as I would like to jump into urban homesteading whole hog (ha ha), it just doesn’t fit with our other financial goals right now. Not to mention that there are real costs associated with building an urban homestead infrastructure. It won’t be hugely costly to maintain once it’s built, but in the meantime there are raised beds to be built, trees to be planted, water lines to be run and so on. So I have a job.
This means having to balance different responsibilities and being efficient with your time. This is part of the reason why I’m such a big fan of raised beds and the soil mixture I use. It’s extremely low maintenance. Plant, and pick. Fertilize occasionally. That’s pretty much it.
Any more labour-intensive jobs (like putting up trellises, or reconstructing the straw bale compost pile which collapsed and turned into a heap) are saved for Sunday when I have more time to work on them.
I also have an automatic watering system which will water the gardens for a predetermined amount of time on a predetermined day all by itself. Because of all the rain we’ve had recently I haven’t used it in a few weeks. But when we get a few dry weeks in a row it’s handy to just turn it on the automatic setting and not have to worry about being around to water the gardens. It’s just taken care of.
Each year I expand what we grow and build something new. This spring I built garden beds #2 and #3. They were built in early May, so I wasn’t able to get anything planted prior to then because the beds just didn’t exist (and bed #1 was filled with strawberries and garlic). Now that the beds are built I’m looking forward to making better use of the fall and spring growing season to grow cool-weather crops.
But it’s a slow, step-by-step process to turn a grassy backyard into a a food producing machine. And working full time means those small steps are primarily restricted to the weekend. Urban homesteading while working full time definitely can be done, but you have to accept that (as Charlie always says), saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else. Saying yes to having a job means saying no to a faster urban homestead building process.
We will get there eventually, but we have to accept that there will be a few years of an imperfect process before we’ve been able to dedicate enough hours to it to get it (mostly) figured out.