Welcome back to part two of our Small Space Homesteading! To recap, our first post went over a few simple ideas to homestead, devoted to people who don’t have any outdoors space. I have a few more tips to add for you folks, and then we’re going to move right into small space homesteading for people who do have a bit of room outside to use!
Let’s get right to it!
Small Space Homesteading: Part II
“Vermiculture is the process of using worms to decompose organic food waste, turning the waste into a nutrient-rich material capable of supplying necessary nutrients to help sustain plant growth. This method is simple, effective, convenient, and noiseless. It saves water, energy, landfills, and helps rebuild the soil.”
–Vermiculture Composting, www.wormpoop.com
Vermiculture is a superb way to homestead indoors. It requires very little space, time, and attention–and the return is thriving, nutrient-rich compost! Indoors! For your windowsill garden or community garden 😉
I’ve always wanted to try vermiculture, and it is on the list for this spring. Ideally, I should’ve started this back in the beginning of winter or sooner, so as to have some compost to start the growing season with. Alas, I did not. But fear not! I shall. And pictures shall be posted. And posts shall be written. 😉
Onto the next! We’re going to now talk about ways to homestead when you do have a bit of outdoor space to spare! This could be a small yard, deck, balcony, etc.
A great way to utilize balcony or deck space is to plant a container garden! I’ll be honest–I have a decent amount of space outside to farm. Small, still, in the traditional farming sense (maybe 1/2 acre), but that is a lot compared to some! Point being–I still totally love container gardening.
Some plants, such as blueberries, have very specific soil requirements and are grown more easily in containers. But I also find container gardening to be nice because you can fit a decent amount of produce into a small space, if you’re creative and plan right! It’s also a bit cheaper, in my opinion, than traditional gardening or raised bed gardening. You have less space to fill, so you most likely won’t spend as much on compost, soil, etc. Another plus, you can buy or DIY a self-watering container that will save you time on maintenance.
I also love container gardens that are on decks or balcony for the aesthetics. What’s more beautiful than a thriving, colorful mini-jungle?! Nothing, I tell you! It just brightens up a space and gives it so much energy!
Pictured above is my Dad’s container garden he does right on his deck! Left is later in the season. Hi, Dad!
The photo from the top of the post is also a small container herb garden he plants every season, which you can see a bit of in the two pictures above. Each are on the table to the left. Throughout the season, my dad and his girlfriend harvest fresh herbs, dehydrate them in large batches, grind them down, and have homegrown, home-preserved herbs year round! Win!
I have to admit–his tomatoes did infinitely better than mine! While mine did okay grown in my main garden (around 450-500 sq ft), his thrived in their container garden. I didn’t do much soil amendment last season, so I suspect his soil was amended and primed to grow robust, delicious, gigantic tomatoes. Dad’s garden is a great example of just how productive a small area can be, and just how much produce you can harvest from it!
Similar to container gardening, vertical gardening is just that: growing UP! This is a great system for a myriad of plants. Keep in mind, you should use the highest quality soil you can get your hands on. Because the amount of soil that you use in a vertical garden is much smaller than that of a traditional garden or even a container garden, you need to be sure your plants are getting as much nutrients as possible. Also, similar to container gardens, your vertical garden will likely dry out quicker, so be vigilant about watering (but don’t over water! Find that balance). Here is a great, in-depth article (with lots of pictures!) to help you get started on your vertical gardening journey.
Consider implementing a rain water catchment system for your micro-homestead! However, do be sure to check with your local town hall about laws and ordinances before doing so. In some places, it is actually ILLEGAL to collect rainwater. Crazy, I know! But for those of you who are allowed to catch some of that falling rain, this is a great way to conserve the water you use. You can use it for a number of things, from watering your plant to washing your car. It’s a great way to ease your city or well water consumption. Check out this article for a basic run down of harvesting rainwater, or this article for a great DIY.
Well, that concludes our Small Space Homesteading mini-series! I hope it was helpful to you, or at least inspiring! There are so many great ways to be more self-sufficient, and one shouldn’t feel constrained by lack of outdoor space. Remember, make do or do without. Urban homesteading is an act of creativity, I tell ya!
Keep it real, y’all!