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The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City - Chapter1

The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City - Chapter1

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Published by permaMedia
The Urban Homestead is the essential handbook for a fast-growing new movement: urbanites are becoming gardeners and farmers. Rejecting both end-times hand wringing and dewy-eyed faith that technology will save us from ourselves, urban homesteaders choose instead to act. By growing their own food and harnessing natural energy, they are planting seeds for the future of our cities.


If you would like to harvest your own vegetables, raise city chickens, or convert to solar energy, this practical, hands-on book is full of step-by-step projects that will get you started homesteading immediately, whether you live in an apartment or a house. It is also a guidebook to the larger movement and will point you to the best books and Internet resources on self-sufficiency topics.
The Urban Homestead is the essential handbook for a fast-growing new movement: urbanites are becoming gardeners and farmers. Rejecting both end-times hand wringing and dewy-eyed faith that technology will save us from ourselves, urban homesteaders choose instead to act. By growing their own food and harnessing natural energy, they are planting seeds for the future of our cities.


If you would like to harvest your own vegetables, raise city chickens, or convert to solar energy, this practical, hands-on book is full of step-by-step projects that will get you started homesteading immediately, whether you live in an apartment or a house. It is also a guidebook to the larger movement and will point you to the best books and Internet resources on self-sufficiency topics.

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Published by: permaMedia on Mar 22, 2011
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06/26/2013

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Chapter One
Start Your Own Farm
 
Start Your Own Farm
Strategies For Growing Food In The Urban Setting
No matter where you live, there is always somewhere to grow ood. What ol-lows is an overview o our basic strategies or urban gardening. This is justto get your wheels turning. A little later we will get down to the nitty-gritty o how to grow ood.
The four general strategies are:1
Container Gardening
2
Edible Landscaping
3
Community Gardening
4
Guerilla Gardening
Urban Growing Strategy 1: Container Gardening
You might live in a high-rise, or maybe your landlord won’t let you touch thelandscaping. Whatever the case, i you have no access to soil, you can growyour ood in containers on patios, roos or balconies, or even indoors, i youhave enough light. For practical suggestions regarding container gardening,please see page 81. What ollows are ideas to help you envision dierentways you can turn your apartment into a mini-arm.
A Window Garden
I you’ve got nothing else, you’ve got a window. Or we hope you do. Grow someherbs in your window. Herbs are a great way to get started on your armingcareer. They do well indoors, and don’t need much care. Store-bought herbsare expensive and never around when you need them. Once you get used tohaving resh herbs on hand, you’ll never go back to the packaged stu. Herbsare your gateway plants to a arming addiction.First and oremost you need a sunny window, because herbs are sun lov-ers. You might nd that herbs that grow well or you in the summer die o orgo into suspended animation during the short, dark days o winter. I that isthe case you should view them as a summer crop: grow as much as you canwhile you can and preserve them the excess or winter use. Just trim o theluxuriant growth, tie the stems in bundles and hang them upside down out o the sun to dry.But given sucient light, herbs are easy to grow indoors. Try the reliablewindow herbs rst — chives, parsley, cilantro and thyme. Basil and rosemarypreer to be outside, but can be coerced into living indoors, especially i they
 
Start Your Own Farm21
get to live outside part time. Herbs don’t need plant ood or special care. Theonly trick is to not over-water them.I you have bright, south-acing window, you can go beyond herbs and trysome other plants. Try this: coerce your the cat out o that sunny spot andplop down a cherry tomato in a great big pot and see what happens. Indoorplants do better i you supplement your sunshine with articicial light in theevenings. A traditional fuorescent bulb or a compact fuorescent will workwell just position the bulb as close the plants as you can. There is no needto buy ancy grow lights.Beans can also grow in a south-acing window in a big pot. Use transpar-ent monolament to make an invisible trellis in ront o your window, then plantpole beans and let them crawl up the wire to orm a living curtain.I you are lucky enough to have a giant south-acing window, treat the entirearea in ront o it as you would a balcony or patio garden. See next section
.
The Patio/Balcony Garden
The key to patio gardens is to maximize all available space in all directions.
Use a combination of low growing plants, plants that creep up
trellises and railings and re escapes, and plants that grow inhanging pots.
You can improvise a trellis by stretching rows of string or heavy
monolament wire between two points, like between the railing o your balcony and the roo. Vines can also grow on re escapes, and
Got a head of garlic just beginning to sprout? Breakit up and plant the cloves close together, pointy sideup in a pot and cover them with about an inch of soil.Keep slightly moist, but not soggy. Shoots will startsprouting up in about a week. Cut the green, garlickyshoots with scissors and use as you would chives orscallions — in salads or in cream cheese or in eggs.These garlic shoots don’t need much light, and are an excellent win-ter crop to hold you over when your other herbs are dead or just hangingon. Don’t be shy about using them up though, because the shoots onlyhave a lifespan of a month or so — they exhaust their bulb, and eventuallypeter out. As you use the shoots, keep poking new garlic cloves in the potto keep the whole thing going.

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