Years ago I was on the Master Gardener’s Garden Walk. When I was asked to describe my yard, I said I have a “City Farm”. I believe in having a backyard suburban homestead, simply a yard that I can grow my own vegetables and fruit, my rabbits to help with my compost, and to have bees and chickens. Have a greenhouse, high tunnel or low tunnels to expand your season
Being able to grow your own food is very rewarding plus it can save you thousands of dollars a year. Gardens use less water than lawns and supplies you with delicious, healthy produce for you and your family. Gardening is also great exercise.
In just one self-watering container you can grow 15 pounds of tomatoes, so even if your space is small or you only have a balcony, you can provide extra food for your family. A tenth of an acre can have 8 or more raised beds, fruit trees and nuts, herbs, poultry, rabbits and bees. A quarter acre can produce enough food for a small family. In just twelve 4×8 raised beds you can produce more than 2000 lbs. of vegetables.
There are many easy to grow vegetables: radishes, lettuce, green beans, zucchini, squash, pumpkins, garlic, snap peas, kale, Swiss chard, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions.
With our soils, start with raised beds. You can control the type of soil. Put cardboard boxes down first, then a layer of straw in your raised beds and then soil.
Suburban homesteading has grown popularity but it was the norm in America before the 60’s and is still a way of life in many European countries.
Seed saving allows the suburban homesteader not to purchase as many seeds each year. Most of these gardeners grow heirloom, self-pollinating plants so the seeds they save are like the parent plant. Seeds should be stored in a cool dark place.
Other ideas for the homesteader is to consider making country wines from fruits and vegetables you grow. Cider making if you have apple trees. Vinegar can be made. Nuts can be saved, walnuts and butternuts can be grown in our area. Herbs can be added to the gardens or grown in containers. They can be dried and used through the winter. Many herbs have medical properties and can be made into teas.
Homemade breads using grains and herbs are very beneficial. Quick breads from your zucchini or pumpkins are fabulous. Consider making your own pasta. You can even grow what you need to make beer.
The Suburban Homesteader can make their own cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream. Mushrooms can be grown in your backyard also.
Consider what is better for you and your family: a lawn that you continually have to mow or a garden that produces healthy foods for your family and friends.