You live in the city, and you LIKE your urban lifestyle. Yet you like the idea of being self-sufficient, eating organic produce, making homemade food, paying less for groceries, being more independent…
The basic tenets of homesteading and self-sufficiency definitely appeal to you.
I have good news for you! Even if you have NO balcony, rooftop or even patio space; there are still many urban homesteading ideas you can put into practice right now in your apartment. Let’s get started!
Top 4 Apartment Homesteading Ideas:
1. Grow your own vegetables.
You may not have a yard, but you can certainly start planting vegetables in pots! Otherwise known as container vegetable gardening. Even if you don’t have a balcony or patio, you can start growing veggies INDOORS. Really!
Vegetables that grow in the shade (such as lettuce, spinach, mixed greens, carrots, radishes, and certain berry varieties) are good first choices for indoor vegetable gardening.
If you have aspirations to grow larger, fruiting plants, such as peppers and tomatoes, you can use fluorescent, HID or LED grow lights to provide the necessary light for plants to grow. With a little creativity and modern technology there’s practically no limit to what you can grow indoors!
2. Plant a medicinal herb indoor garden.
Indoor herb gardens are an excellent choice for the urban homesteader. In terms of what they require vs. the benefits they bring, herbs may have the highest return on investment of any plant you could grow. Not only do they add delicious aromas and flavors to our dishes, most herbs have multiple beneficial medicinal qualities.
The best part is that it is actually easy to grow herbs indoors. They require less space, light and care than other edible plants. Any window with a few hours of sunshine is perfect for a window sill herb garden.
3. Compost your own food.
Long called “black gold” by gardeners for the invaluable nutrients it provides to plants, compost is something you can start making from what you are already throwing away. And now that you’ve decided to grow indoors (see idea #1), why not turn your discarded food scraps into the valuable resource that they really are?
You may not have enough room for a huge compost tumbler in your apartment, but I bet you could find room for a small kitchen composter. There are even composters available for smaller spaces, such as countertops and under sinks.
4. Ferment your own foods.
Ah the world of fermented foods. Do you know of their many health benefits? Do you know how easy they are to make at home?
Humans have fermented foods for thousands of years. Not only is fermentation a natural form of preservation that keeps food safe for consumption longer, it generates billions of probiotics that are highly beneficial for our intestines and digestive systems. In fact, probiotics have been proven to render dairy safe for the lactose intolerant, reduce cavities in children, protect against colon cancer, aid with IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome), and more.
A few of the most commonly fermented foods are: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, wine, vinegar, aged cheese and kombucha (a delicious Japanese fizzy drink), all of which you can learn to make at home.
So there you have 4 ideas to get you started with apartment homesteading and self-sufficient living in the city. Other ideas include canning your own food, making nut butters, sprouting, making bread, and more!
Don’t get overwhelmed – start with just one thing. Arguably the most rewarding practice of urban homesteading is to start growing your own food, whether it be in a balcony- patio- or indoor vegetable garden. With the satisfaction of eating your own delicious organic produce, you will soon be inspired to learn other self-sufficient living techniques.
Becky Sheldon – ContainerGardeningCenter