Urban Homesteaders

Discussion in 'DIY / Self Sufficiency' started by operationindigo, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. operationindigo

    operationindigo Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 26, 2013
    I thought I would start a forum for those of us interested in the idea of self sufficiency but live in an urban area. I live in Jacksonville, FL and live about 5 minutes from the center of downtown. I currently have chickens and a set of large raised garden beds which I have begun to use to grow vegetables and herbs. It's a slow process, but it's been really worthwhile and interesting to slowly continue to add on to our "urban" homestead project.

    Current Gardening:
    tomatoes
    peppers (bell and chili)
    kale
    beets
    carrots
    spinach
    ginger
    dill
    fennell
    cilantro
    rosemary

    Current Chicken Flock:
    (only two for right now : / )
    1 Barred Rock
    1 Brown Leghorn
    (searching for 3 more chickens! Our local ordinance allows up to 5 chickens)

    Other animals:
    1 Dog
    6 Cats

    Any other "urban" homesteaders?
     
    Diannastarr and NorthTexasWink like this.
  2. Beckie G

    Beckie G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Massachusetts
    We live in the middle of the city with a fairly large run/ garden consisting mostly of tomatos ( we learned the hard way how abusive our chickens would be to pumpkins, peppers, cucumbers, and green beans) we have 5 hens ( 1 white jersey giant, an auracana, silver laced wyndotte, black austrolorpe, silkie) and 2 (accidental)silkie roos. In addition we have 5 small dogs, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, and a squirrel my husband saved when it was a baby. We are aren't quite " homesteading" but we're close.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
    Diannastarr likes this.
  3. Plough

    Plough Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 30, 2013
    San Jose, Ca
    Sounds about the same. 3 Sex linked hybrid hens, 1 dog, 3 cats. Growing spinach, lettuce, carrots, bell and Fresno peppers, basil, rosemary, i.Meyer lemon, granny smiths, artichoke and a few other minor things. Just finished work on a small greenhouse.
     
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  4. farmerkevin

    farmerkevin Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 30, 2013
    I used to be rural. Then at least county. The city built up around us, and now we were annexed into city.

    But I have tons of fruit trees and 5 hens/1 rooster. I do garden when the gophers let me. I collect rainwater for the trees and garden.

    It's the only way I can afford to be here now. I remember growing up, our water bill was OUTRAGEOUS if it was $5. That was only 20 years ago. Now we can't get it for less than $20 a month.

    So anything I can do to be self sufficient, I do.
     
    Diannastarr likes this.
  5. brukkala

    brukkala Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 16, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
    I live outside brisbane australia. Just moved here from tucson Arizona. I had a big garden in my urban backyard there and am starting a smaller one at the rental here. I am only here for three years so we have to rent. I just got three teenager chickens, an Orpington, a barred rock and a wyandotte. They're not laying yet, but looking forward to that. I make soap, bread, cheese, and whatever else I can get the supplies to make. I just ventured into meat curing/smoking. Making my first batch of American bacon. It's really expensive to get good smoked bacon here, and I miss it. I do sewing, knitting, spinning, weaving, and all the other crafty things. It's nice to see other people who don't necessarily live out in the country who still like to provide for themselves.
     
    Diannastarr likes this.
  6. operationindigo

    operationindigo Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 26, 2013
    I rent here in Jacksonville also. I moved here about a year and a half ago from Buffalo, NY. For garden space, I used some scrap wood to build a set of 3, 8' x 4' garden beds and filled them with compost and some good garden soil. Our soil here is nearly all sand, so you have to add a bit to it to make it more garden friendly. I would actually go as far as saying its not soil here naturally, mostly just sand where I live at. My chickens aren't laying yet either - they should soon though! They're about 18-19 weeks old. How old are yours?
     
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  7. brukkala

    brukkala Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 16, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
    Mine are about twelve weeks old. The yard I had in tucson was hard sand. I added lots of compost to that yard, one bag at a time, which I loaded into my tiny car at Home Depot. Lol. It became very fertile and I was able to grow stuff nicely there in the desert. Here it's clay and rocks everywhere, but some nice dirt in areas. It just rains like crazy here. I don't have to water every day like I did in tucson, but I have my share of weeds to pull. Mostly growing tomatoes and cucumbers to preserve in various ways. It's getting on summer here. So weird. I'm originally from Minnesota. I never got used to warm winters, but they are nice. I have three cats and a two year old daughter as well. It gets kinda crazy here sometimes. I have plans to make a gardener out of my daughter. She already knows more plants by sight than many adults:) there is a guava tree in my yard here as well as a couple of mandarin orange trees. I always wanted fruit trees in my yard. I am also growing some potted plants on the huge tiled patio. I bet the climate there in Florida is very similar to here. Just opposite seasons.
     
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  8. operationindigo

    operationindigo Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 26, 2013
    It sounds pretty similar, and yes opposite seasons. Except what we're calling December winter leaves us with 80+ degree temperatures this week. It's okay though, the warm weather still feels like a novelty to me. Recently I was hiking in a nature preserve with my dog and we were 7 miles into the trail, and all of a sudden there was a giant orange tree. I thought it was a mirage, I was tired and thirsty. But it was so awesomely real.

    I find that I have to water a lot to grow any vegetables in fall/winter - as it is fairly dry here during this time. In spring and summer it rains constantly, almost daily, so it's not so much of an issue. What kind of compost did you use? I currently just keep tossing mine in old storage bins leftover from the move - mostly vegetable scraps combined with chicken waste and old pine shavings from the coop.
     
  9. brukkala

    brukkala Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 16, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
    The winter here is dry too. Wow. It really is similar. So orange trees just grow everywhere? That would be cool to see on a hiking trail. I used some organic packaged compost from Home Depot. I think I used kelloggs brand garden soil too. I used several bags of composted steer manure and when I was running low on funds or couldn't find anything better, I bought the organic miracle
    Grow soil. I also mulched with red cedar shavings. The pieces were often huge, but they kept the moisture and the temperature decently. I used a couple of inches around all my plants. It also kept the mud to a minimum when I watered it and made a clean place to walk between rows. I was unsuccessful making my own compost in tucson. I plan to try a worm farm here, as well as try a tumbling compost bin. Now I have lots of goodies I can toss in there, what with the chicken bedding and green grass clippings, etc:) Worms would be good for the garden and as chicken treats. I find them when I dig and give them to the bock-bocks and they love me after that. Kind of getting impatient to see them grow up;)
     
    Diannastarr likes this.
  10. Beckie G

    Beckie G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Massachusetts
    I live right next to a river, so all we had for soil was shale and clay. For my garden i added at least 5 bags of home depot compost, plus i added compost from my own bin. Oh, and some lobster compost from Maine. This last season my tomatos had to have grown 5 feet tall, i also grew some corn ( which did really well until i woke up one morning to a squirrel ripping the stocks to pieces) And as for pulling weeds, just let your chickens walk through the rows for a while, there will be no weeds left. What i found with compost bins is if you turn them often, and add water every so often, you can throw just about anything in there and you will get dirt. I hope your chickens start laying soon, the wait is killer but it is soo worth it. I enjoy hearing about other "city- farmers". Good luck to everybody.
     

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