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Homesteading in an Apartment, Condo or Rental

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Homesteading in an Apartment, Condo or RentalSo, you stay in the city and you like your urban lifestyle. Yet you also like the idea of being self-sufficient, growing your own food, and eating organic and local  – like you live on a farm.

What is Homesteading? It is nothing but a lifestyle of self sufficiency. It involves many things such food preservation, agriculture, raising animals for food, maintaining your own house and property yourself, sewing and making household items, and generally living off the land.

When you live in a rental, condo, or apartment though, this may be a tall order. You probably don’t have any “land” or there are strict rules governing what you can do on your property. In general your space is limited. Despite these limitations there are numerous ways in which you can embrace urban homesteading…right now in your apartment. Here’s how:

Cook your own food

Forget the processed stuff that comes in a box or can and forget the takeout place down the road. Cook healthy local foods from scratch. Fresh local food will nourish your body and minimize the chance you will have medical bills. It is also a great step towards self sufficiency.

Buy from the farm

So you probably do not have room to raise a grass fed cow or pasture a pig. You may not have room to grow pumpkin vines. You can source local organic farms in your area though and support them. They need the support and you want the farm fresh goodies. It’s a win, win. Purchase a herdshare and get a quarter cow or a half pig…maybe even some raw milk. Find a place where you can get farm fresh pastured eggs weekly. You can eat like you live off the land even if you don’t.

Have a porch garden

In your apartment or rental chances are you do have a little space to grow. The photo above is one I took in New York City of an apartment dweller who was growing a garden right on the sidewalk in front of their dwelling. You can have a nice little garden with pots and herbs and grow peppers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, garlic and strawberries. You can also have your very own compost bin on the porch so that you will be able to get fresh compost when you need it and at the same time reduce the amount of garbage you create.

Try “alternative” gardening

Okay so maybe you don’t have much of a porch and you don’t have a balcony. What can you do??? Plenty! Search your area for a community garden or a backyard sharing program. The former will rent you a small plot of land to use for your garden and the latter is an opportunity to help someone cultivate their space and you share in the bounty. There is also wild food foraging. You can find edibles like fruit trees on abandoned properties or public spaces (like parks) and scoop up the harvest when it is ready. One step further is guerrilla gardening. You find land that is not being cared for…empty lots, foreclosed homes, areas of public properties that are not well traveled, etc and you grow food stealthily. During early spring do some quick planting or throw some seed bombs and then return in a bit to see what happens. You may have a new food source!

Embrace natural remedies

Learn some of the well known natural cures for common ailments and keep and herbal medicine box at hand so that you are able to treat your yourself and your family for those little aches and pains that inevitably occur. You can treat colds, flu, fevers, tummy aches, poison ivy, cuts, eczema, head lice, etc. all from the comfort of your home.

Bonus Tip: Try Homegrown Collective!

This is a subscription box service that allows you to learn new homesteading skills each month. They send you a box with supplies, recipes, and tips and then you get to create the products and recipes in the box. It is an amazing product! Each box will reflect the season in which you receive it. One month you may receive the ingredients for a home-brewed hard cider. Another month’s box may include the items needed to make a secret Native American cold remedy just in time for flu season. Every box helps you become a little bit greener and self-sufficient.

Make your own personal care products

When you live in a homesteading environment, you will be able to minimize your shopping bill as you go about making your own natural body and skin care products. This kind of hobby is fun and the resulting products are MUCH safer than the toxic ones you buy in stores. So stop wasting money on chemical laden junk and make your own toothpaste, deodorant, moisturizer, and even makeup. The possibilities are endless.

Make your own cleaning products

It is simple and you need only a few basic affordable ingredients. Then you can stop wasting money on expensive store bought products. Purchase some baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, lemons, coconut oil, and a few essential oils and you have the makings of just about any cleaning product. Castile soap alone has a TON of household uses….see the article below for a list.

Many Ways to Use Castile Soap

Can and preserve food

When you live in a homesteading environment you typically store seasonal foods for use later in the year when they are not available. Canning, dehydrating, fermenting, and otherwise preserving foods when they are local and in season is something you can do just about anywhere as long as you have the space. If you are new to this concept then start with canning. Get some supplies and can one or two crops to start. Increase what you do each year until you have  steady supply of foods to tide you over when the weather is cold.

These are some simple homesteading practices that will help you will learn the art of self sufficiency…even if you live in the city and you have no land to speak of.

  • Daniel Weaver

    Don’t overlook having a garden inside your home or apartment. You can grow a surprising amount of veggies, especially leafy greens in an indoor aquaponic system. I’ve had my indoor system for over a year!

  • Brooke

    Awesome list! Even though I have some land to work with, I still have plenty of room for improvement in all of these areas.

  • Samantha K

    These are great tips! We are planting veggies this year and I hope to start canning too.

  • What great tips. We aren’t in an apartment and need to do a much better job of taking advantage of these ideas!

  • Tammi Roy

    Great tips, I’d like to start some of these in our home, starting with our own garden Perhaps this is the year I turn that into reality!

  • WhispersInspire

    Awesome tips, we try to do all of these at home. :) We started with the birth of our second daughter.

  • Heather HippyHomesteader

    great tips for someone living in a small space…you don’t have to have tons of land to learn to do for yourself!!

  • Leandrea

    I love all these tips! Learning to garden…and doing it well…is among the things I want to conquer this year. Homesteading is so awesome!

  • Herbal Academy of NE

    Thanks for the fantastic tips! Pinning for later :)

  • Wonderful tips and ideas for those who think they can’t because they don’t have their own home and land!

  • Annie

    This is such a great list of ideas! It is amazing all the things you can do to homestead in small spaces!

  • I wish I had a garden but I don’t yet, so I try to buy as much as I can directly from farms, which I figure is the next best thing.

  • These are really great ideas for people who don’t have the space/land to be able to do as much as they would like!

  • paigewolf

    Love this!

  • I live in the burbs and I still can’t raise chickens…against my town ordinance. But I do all the above. Great post.

  • green diva meg

    excellent post. thanks for the great ideas. i still have chicken envy . . .

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  • njdawn

    I am new to many of these ideas but looking to change my footprint on the earth. Can anyone help me with a website/resource to learn about making personal care products and/or cleaning products? Thank you so much for any guidance.

  • tsoniki

    I’ve been paying more attention to things like this because we are living in an apartment for the first time with kids. I need to practice more natural remedies, we’ve all been sick for the past two weeks and I’m not interested in that happening again. The only thing I would say is there isn’t a secret Native American remedy for colds, it’s probably something a new age-r came up with to sell a product. LOL

  • Christopher Fowler

    I would urge anyone growing an in-ground garden in an urban environment to have the soil tested for lead and arsenic.

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  • RUptain

    I was wondering if anyone has a concern with the apartment staff using chemicals on their grass etc and it spraying over on to their veggies on the patio…this is the one thing that has kept me from growing at my apartment. When living in the country, I always grow Organic.