Monday, February 21, 2011

My 2011 Urban Homestead Plan

Since my yard is again buried under a layer of ice and snow, I'm again dreaming of spring and my urban homestead to be.
A quick peek out of my front door as the snow started.  We ended up with about 7 inches.

I've been wavering on whether I should consider my little piece of the word an actual urban homestead, not because some pompous people in Pasadena foolishly decided to trademark a phrase that has been part of the lexicon for many years, but since it is in the country, at least 16 miles from anything that actually would be considered truly urban.  I've decided it does qualify, since it is in a trailer park, so it is still an area where people and properties are practically piled on each other, just like a true urban area.  Despite this, I engage in a number of homesteading activities, so it is a real urban homestead.

This year is the first year I've been able to have free-range on what I can do with my yard with a few minor caveats (like filing a form at the park office) and just one major one (no livestock *sigh*), so I'll be turning almost the whole yard into a garden, just reserving a few paved or otherwise unsuitable for gardening places for the kids to play.  My husband still thinks I should run my plans by the park office, just to be safe, but I don't anticipate any problems, since I asked lots of questions before we even signed a lease.  He's mostly concerned about the Three Sisters up front, but if they don't like it, I'll move it more to back of the lot.  I haven't decided where to put a lot of my other crops yet, so I still have some wiggle room on where to put things.  I know for sure that I will have a variety of berry bushes in containers around the front and side of the house, and a number of mounds around the yard mostly filled with vining plants, like watermelon, cantaloupe, and zucchini.  I also plan on building a box to grow potatoes toward the backside of the lot.  I'm thinking of using some rhubarb as a border on the outside of the potato box, since by the time the potatoes are ready, the rhubarb won't care about being disturbed. A lot of the not-so-cute plants, like carrots, onions, leaf lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and some of my peas will be tucked into the back raised bed.  The plants that I'll want quick access to, like some tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli (got to keep a close eye on them so the caterpillars don't eat 'em up!), basil, green peppers, spinach, and leaf lettuce will be in the raised bed right outside the front door, so I can pop out and pick something right before dinner.  I'll also have sugar snap peas right outside the front door, growing in buckets, for quick snacking or grabbing as a last minute addition to a stir fry.  I'm not sure where to put the ground cherries, since I haven't figured out yet what the plant likes or even what it looks like, which makes it harder to plan.  I'm thinking of putting the sunflowers toward the back of the lot as well, in the area that I can't count on sun for the whole summer, since that's something I wouldn't be as upset about losing if a trailer did move into the next lot.  Last fall, I tucked away the beginning of a compost pile (euphemistically called a "dirt pile" when within neighbors' hearing range, just to be safe) behind the house, so I plan on continuing that as I go.  Jeez, looking at it like this, I may have more room than I thought!  Hopefully one of these days, when I can see my yard again, I can get a better feel of how much room I have left to play with!

I'll also be continuing my urban homesteading journey of doing things indoors, like of learning how to make things from even more basic sources (vinegar?  Maybe!), learning more about preserving my harvest, making yogurts, baked goods, and maybe even cheeses!  I'm also hoping that, as I meet more people in the area, I'll be able to find a good local source for pastured chickens and some nice milk so I can make my own butter as well.


  1. Sounds like a great plan! I think peas are pretty, even bush peas! I wouldn't hide them at all. To create a nice screen if you'd like, sweet peas do great on some sort of fence, they're perfect climbers and are so pretty.

  2. I need to figure out which plants/foods would grow well on my balcony. First though, I need to figure out how much sun hits different areas of my balcony. Can't wait until we get a house where I have plenty of room to garden!

  3. I just mapped out my property using graph paper and a tape measure. It was a really helpful exercise in seeing it all in front of me and rethinking spaces. Best of luck and I hope the bureaucrats don't give you any trouble.

  4. Ordered my fruit trees yesterday,would like to order a couple more(peach)but don't know if the finances will allow this month.

    I love to experiment with plants,and love to grow the unusual or unexpected,so I ordered three trees that are all 5 on one or 6 on one(several types grafted to one root stock)....if they grow and produce anything,it will make people stop and ask what the heck I've got going on here. :)

  5. I just stumbled across your blog. I am also an "URBAN HOMESTEADER" in Michigan. I just wanted to say i love your blog. I admire the fact that you are homesteading in a trailer park.( with all the rules and regulations that some of these trailer parks have! ) It takes determination to do this. I am looking forward in following you in your journey.

  6. Fortunately, this trailer park doesn't have nearly as many restrictions as the last one we were in. This one, it sounds like they are going to let me plant whatever I want, even if it takes up the whole yard. I just can't keep livestock. Bummer. Hopefully, by the time my husband is done with school, we'll be able to buy our own land and have some real freedom!