Your Guide to Urban Homesteading for Beginners
Recent world events have made a lot of people want to live a more self-sufficient life. That’s why more and more people are looking into urban homesteading.
If you’re interested in learning more about urban homesteading, you’re in the right place. This helpful guide to urban homesteading for beginners will take a look at what is urban homesteading and how to start an urban homestead.
What Is Urban Homesteading?
Like a lot of people, my husband and I dream of leaving behind the city and moving to a large plot of land where we can be completely self-sufficient. However, we have jobs, a son in school, and aging parents who need our help. Traditional homesteading just isn’t in the cards for us right now.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t live out a variation of our dream. That’s because we practice urban homesteading.
Urban homesteading is a sustainable living technique where you try to live in an eco-conscious manner. It includes growing and preserving your own food, raising animals, and practicing a more self-sufficient life.
Not only does urban homesteading make you more self-reliant and help you save money, but it can also help you practice the skills you need to eventually leave the city and have your own traditional homestead.
If you’re wondering how to start an urban homestead, these 8 simple tips can get you going in the right direction.
1. Start a Garden
Starting a garden is one of the most important first steps in urban homesteading. Being able to grow your own food reduces your dependence on the grocery store and helps you save money.
Fortunately, it’s a lot easier than you think to start a garden. If you haven’t done a day of gardening in your life, check out this guide on how to start a garden for beginners to discover how to get started. You’ll also want to learn more about these best plants for beginner gardeners.
Don’t assume you can’t have a garden just because you have a small outdoor space. These plants are perfect for container gardens. No matter what your outdoor space is like, you can have a garden with these best plants for full-sun gardens and these best plants that grow in the shade.
If you have absolutely no outdoor space for a garden, don’t give up hope. Instead, see if your local area has any community gardens where you can rent a few garden beds to grow your own food.
2. Begin Composting
Once you have your garden going, you’ll want to create a compost pile so you can supplement and fertilize your soil. Composting might seem difficult, but once again, it’s unbelievably simple to do once you get started.
If you have the space, you can simply repurpose some wood pallets or old fencing into a compost pile. I personally use this rotating compost tumbler, which makes turning the compost incredibly easy.
You can compost everything from food scraps and paper to grass clippings and leaves to create a mineral-rich soil supplement that will help your garden and your houseplants thrive.
3. Learn How to Preserve Food
Once your garden starts growing, you’ll be shocked at how much food you can produce. Chances are really good you’ll end up with more fresh food than you can eat. That’s why it’s important to start learning the different ways you can preserve your food.
There are so many ways to preserve food, you might not know where you should even begin. Freezing your food is a simple and straightforward method to consider.
I also highly recommend checking out this book on dehydrating and canning food. It offers over 100 recipes that can help you safely preserve fruits, vegetables, and meats.
4. Research Livestock Options
Once you get the hang of gardening, you’ll likely want to expand your urban homestead to include some backyard livestock.
While you obviously won’t be housing any cows in your yard, chickens are very common. Quail are also becoming more popular because they require less space than chickens, yet they provide more eggs for the amount of food they need to eat.
Additionally, some urban homesteaders look into keeping rabbits, goats, and pigs. Bees are another great choice because they don’t take up much space and are relatively self-maintaining.
As you’re deciding which livestock you want for your urban homestead, it’s absolutely crucial to check with your municipality to find out what’s allowed in your area.
As an example, in my city, you’re allowed to have a certain number of chickens, no roosters, and you must have the approval of your neighbors. Additionally, my state requires that you register your beehives and have them available for yearly inspections.
5. DIY as Much as Possible
As an urban homesteader, you have to reduce your reliance on the services you’re used to. This means figuring out how to make as many homemade products as possible.
Making your own cleaning products is a great place to start because it’s super easy and it has the added benefit of removing toxic chemicals from your home. If you don’t know where to start, check out this list of over 25 DIY cleaning products for every part of your home.
When you feel comfortable making your own cleaning products, you can move on to different health and beauty items. Here are a few options to get you started:
- Lavender Loofah Soap
- Massaging Shampoo Bar
- Exfoliating Coffee Scrub
- Moisturizing Shave Gel
- After-Sun Spray
6. Learn New Skills
The DIY mentality isn’t just for making things; it’s also for fixing things and learning new skills that will help you become even more self-reliant.
If something breaks around your house, don’t immediately pick up the phone to call someone else to repair it. Instead, look for tutorials online to see if you can fix it yourself.
Learning how to manage simple haircuts can help you become more independent, and learning how to sew can help you save money and extend the life of your clothes.
As time goes on, look into what other skills you can start to learn. Options include everything from quilting and spinning yarn to brewing beer and carving wood.
Many homesteaders use these skills to start making extra money on the side. Eventually, they’re able to leave the traditional workforce altogether and use their skills to make money on their homestead.
7. Produce Your Own Natural Resources
One goal of urban homesteading is to live off-grid as much as possible. If you’re in the city, it might be difficult to go completely off-grid, but you can get pretty close.
Installing solar panels can help you generate your own clean, renewable electricity. Admittedly, solar panels are expensive. If you can’t afford to power your entire house with solar panels, consider something smaller.
This solar starter kit is ideal for cabins, sheds, RVs, trailers, and boats. You can go even smaller by getting solar panels designed specifically for certain items around your home, such as this Ring camera solar panel.
You can also make your laundry routine more sustainable by drying your clothes outside instead of using a dryer.
In addition to electricity, you can reduce your dependence on city water by installing rain barrels around your home. Not only can you save money by collecting rainwater, but rainwater is also better for your garden because it contains more minerals and nutrients than tap water.
8. Build Your Community
Yes, urban homesteading is about having more independence, but it’s not about doing things completely alone. Even homesteaders who don’t live in urban environments get help from their neighbors and other homesteaders.
Start by researching urban homesteading groups in your own community. You can also reach out to your neighbors to see about swapping skills or products.
For example, we have neighbors who have a backyard big enough to house chickens, but no space left for a garden. We have room for a garden, but not for chickens. So I grow plants that chickens can eat and exchange them for fresh eggs from the chickens.
This is a win-win for both of us. My neighbor doesn’t have to spend as much money on chicken feed, and I don’t have to buy eggs from the grocery store.
How to Start Urban Homesteading
If more independence and self-reliance are goals in your life, then urban homesteading is for you. With these helpful tips, you now know how to start urban homesteading and living a more sustainable and self-sufficient life.
More Eco-Friendly Living Tips
Now that you know how easy it is to start urban homesteading, are you interested in even more simple tips that can help you live an eco-friendly life? Then be sure to check out some of our other popular posts:
- How to Go Zero Waste on a Budget
- Easy Ways to Immediately Reduce Waste
- How to Make DIY Beeswax Food Wrap
- How to Soften Clothes Without Dryer Sheets