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Homesteading

Homesteading Part Two

What is Homesteading?

In our Homesteading Part One we discussed the definition of Homesteading as any dwelling place, with land and buildings where a group of people settled. By today’s standards however, Homesteading is described as living in a self sufficient way.

A plot of land is typically utilised for subsistence farming, whereby vegetables, herbs, fruit and sometimes poultry and other livestock are kept and grown. The produce that comes from the land is traded for goods not grown on the land, for example beef may be exchanged for eggs or sheeps milk from a neighbour or trader.

The plant jungle you crave is a concrete jungle- now what?

In Part two we discuss how to utilise a typical apartment or flat to homestead. A small sectional title garden is not a limitation- see it as a way to think innovatively and embrace the challenge of dealing with less space.

Indeed Suburbia may not seem the ideal location for roosting hens and rambling crops. But as explained in Grow Network; Homesteading is living through self-sufficiency. Subsistence agriculture and home preservation of foodstuffs is commonplace… as well as the use of renewable energy options such as solar power. Heirloom vegetables are a popular choice to grow. Livestock, space permitting, can be reared. To quote – “Homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.”

The importance is the realisation that its not where you live, but how you live, that matters!

The following philosophies will guide you…

  • Education. Teach yourself and continue to learn about how to grow as much food as you can.
  • Survival 101. Make lists of the things you will need to survive, and try to do as much of these things for yourself as possible. Grow and preserve your own food.
  • Investigate like-minded farmers, growers and others in your area. Like-minded people help your cause.
  • Only buy from companies who run ethical and sustainable businesses- where possible.
  • Save water and electricity, utilising gas where possible, or induction plates to cook.
  • Cleaning products can be made, in most instances, from lemon, vinegar and baking soda. Find tried and tested cleaning solution recipes |HERE|
  • Clothes can be mended or re-purposed- make a decision to avoid fast fashion. By supporting slow fashion, you actually help our economy grow.
  • Build an existence for yourself that is less reliant on technology and fast moving consumer goods.

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Find those who think like you do:

Your status as “apartment dweller” may seem limiting in the sense of production- you cannot grow all of your crops and rear all of the meat and eggs you use. You may still rely on outside sources for water, milk, meat and other consumables. But connecting with like-minded individuals in your area who are willing to trade and barter is a good way forward.

The space you have within your home and possibly on your balcony, small garden or rooftop lends itself to growing as much herbs and veg as possible. You may forge the way for a hen coop, even in an outdoor balcony space- providing eggs and very little noise. Make space for a windowsill herb garden and plant veggies in pots, placing them in areas of bright light. Remember grass is a luxury- plant food instead!

What are some practical steps I can take to maximise my space, and reduce my impact on the environment?

  1. Plant little herb gardens in mason jars.
  2. Create a herb or crop wall. Pick a space that will work and that gets enough light. Hang planters made of upcycled plastic drinks bottles and plant your greens and shallow-rooted veg.
  3. Live as Unplugged as possible. Unplug everything that you are not currently using.
  4. DIY your cleaning products. Make candles and soap. Click |HERE| to find out how. The same channel explores soap and candles.
  5. Pot up veggie seedlings to grow indoors. You may need to place near the brightest light you can and use grow lights if need be.
  6. Install a green house into your balcony or rooftop area, allowing you to grow food for a longer duration in the year.
  7. Can and bottle food. Learn how to by clicking |HERE|.
  8. Re-use glass bottles for storage. All dry goods can be stored in glass.
  9. Volunteer in community gardens nearby.
  10. Cook from scratch, and learn how to make bread, pasta and yogurt.
  11. Learn to sew, and how to make cold remedies. This amazing brew is called Fire Cider and is so simple!
  12. Understand CPR. Hang out your own laundry! Live simply.

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What are some suggestions for my pot garden?

What is seasonal right now in South Africa? Click |HERE| to read about what vegetables to plant in Autumn, and |HERE| to get clued up on container gardening.

Plant herbs and seasonal veggie seedlings in planter boxes, upcycled tins and glassware, old wooden veg boxes, crates and wall planters.

Embrace your space

The space you have may vary from the ideal or the norm- but that does not mean that you can’t pursue the homestead dream. Take every bit of advice you can and condense it, and shape it to help you make your journey as achievable as possible.

According to Jessica Lane from the 104 Homestead, “Homesteading is a way of life, a way in which we can all live off the land that we have available to us, relying less on living beyond our means. As we all move into the future, we are relying less on our skills and abilities and more on buying everything we need. Homesteading teaches us to get back to the traditional ways of life, growing your own vegetables, raising your own animals, baking your own goods, but that doesn’t mean you have to move out into the countryside and run a large farm.”  |HERE|

Click |HERE| to read the fascinating and inspiring blog Joyful Homesteading, another homestead run by a family who was desperate to go off-grid and lead a life of independence from societies

Share your experiences with us! Email us at marketing@lifestyle.co.za or find us on social media on the following handles:

Instagram at @lifestylehomegarden

Facebook @LifestyleHomeGarden

Tag us on Instagram using the hashtag  #lifestylehomegarden

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