I was talking with a group of friends, each of whom expressing a wish to buy land to homestead on. I couldn’t figure out why my friends felt the need to wait until they had a bigger plot of land to begin their journey to self sufficiency. Why not start homesteading in your own backyard? Right now! Suburban Homesteading. It really is a ‘thing’!
Let’s face it. Not all of us are going to be able to move from suburbia into the wilds of Nowhere, USA. Postponing self sufficiency until all conditions are deemed perfect, could result in being unprepared in an emergency situation. I’m of the mindset where you do the best you can with what you have now, while following a well thought out plan of where you want to be. My in between is suburban homesteading.
I live on your average 1/3 of an acre in your average suburban neighborhood. There is a stream that runs through my back yard from April to October that provides irrigation to the farmers living further out. It used to run heavy and deep, but we’re in a dry cycle right now and it’s been much more shallow the last several years.
My neighborhood consists of about 60 homes and we are surrounded on one side by a private golf course and on another by a fairly busy road. Luckily we are tucked deeply enough into our neighborhood that we don’t see or hear the traffic.
A few of my neighbors garden. A few have a fruit tree or two. A few have chickens. My next door neighbor has lots fruit trees and also gardens with an eye to feeding his family by canning and dehydrating his bounty. Most garden for summer salad and October pumpkin kind of reasons. I’m hoping to change this mind set around here. I love the idea of lots of neighbors getting together to plan out who will grow what, and then sharing. This makes even small space gardening more profitable.
People comment on how large my garden is. But it couldn’t grow enough to keep my family in veggies or Parker in his blenderized diet. I’d love to turn my entire back yard into a year round garden, but my husband has made his thoughts clear on that one. sigh.
My Spring garden includes, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard, broccoli, beets and peas. My summer garden includes tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, beans, pumpkins, winter squash and peppers.
I was finally able to convince my husband to invest in both an apple an a cherry tree. My next door neighbor has several of both so I know we’ll be fine pollination wise. I also have raspberry bushes in diverse places and a large section for blackberries. I have a half whiskey barrel that is home to a thriving black currant bush. I have huge hopes in being able to score another dwarf fruit tree for the front yard. Maybe an apricot tree. We’ll see.
Along one side of my lot I have my herb garden. It’s also home to a few cabbage plants, lettuce, arugula and dikon radishes. Herb wise I grow sage, thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, chives, rosemary, peppermint, spearmint, anise, heal all, horseradish, horehound, comfrey, vervain, and a second half whiskey barrel of chamomile.
Does this meet all of our needs? Nope. But I’m doing the best I can with what I have on my Suburban Homestead. You know though, homesteaders are pretty creative and resourceful people. Even the ones homesteading in suburbia. As I drew up a plan of what I would need for a year’s supply of garden produce and fruit, I got to thinking. You probably were able to smell the smoke as my brain cranked up to speed. How could I increase my harvest? And before I knew it, I was planning a Fall garden to go along with both my Spring and Summer Suburban Homesteading gardens.
It’s a win-win. More time in the garden. More fresh, organic food that I don’t have to worry if there is a recall with it’s name on it down the road.
Self sufficiency. Homesteading. Food security. Part of the fun is in the journey that gets you to where you are going.
What goals have you set to become self sufficient? Is suburban homesteading something you might try?