Friday, June 27, 2008

Homesteading is a Commitment That Requires Thought and Planning

The Decision

I made the decision some time ago to try to be more self sufficient. The only problem is, I only have a 1/4 acre lot. Still, I started planting fruit trees, and trying to picture a way to utilize the small space to grow food crops.

Research is the key to any such project, so with a back yard that is full of trees, I started researching tropical plants that can grow in shade, such as eddo, malanga, and ginger. I now have all of my fruit trees planted, and am working on my vegetable plantings. I say plantings, because I will be planting vegetables all over my yard, combining vegetables with flowers and other crop plants.

My goal is to utilize every inch of usable space in this yard for growing something useful. Being a horticulturist, I plan to convert some of the yard to growing plants for sale to be able to purchase the things I cannot grow, or that would be foolish to try to grow enough of to give me what I need.


Something I have to keep in mind and be ever mindful of is city ordinances. For instance, I can have a compost pile, but I cannot have livestock. I can however, have rabbits or doves, as they are not considered livestock. So it would be possible to raise meat in some form. However, since I don't particularly enjoy rabbit or dove meat, I don't think I'll be doing that.

There is an agricultural section in our town, and I was thinking that maybe I could get someone to barter a small section of their land for me to grow chickens in exchange for some of the birds. I'll have to look into that, but right now, I'm working on the immediate yard.


As in any project, you have to start somewhere. I will start by laying out a plot plan, with what will go where. It's very important to use every available inch of full or almost full sun for growing crops, whether they be for sale for consumption. With this, I will have to lay out a rotation plan, because certain crops cannot be planted in the same spot every year because of soil diseases.

The next step will be preparing the sites. For some, it will be as simple as planting things amongst what is already there, but for others, there will have to be removal of grass and plants, building of paths, preparation of soil, etc. Luckily, I already have prepared one site by covering it with plastic for a couple of years, so everything under it should be dead, and now I just have to remove the plastic, add organic matter, and plant the crops.

Come join me on my journey. I will be providing pictures as I go along, and I'm sure teaching and learning a few things in the process.