HOMEGROWN

Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Landless, but living HOMEGROWN? Looking for ways to start?

I, for one, have NO land and NO sun, and live in an apartment building surrounded by asphalt. I cook like a fiend, I have tried making cheese, I have a worm bin that receives a bit of the food scraps we produce, and I pine for a day when I can actually work a little patch of dirt of my own.
What are some of the apartment-dwelling city slickers here doing to get "back to the land"? Feeling like a newbie? Let's trade some ideas here!

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I've tried to grow some stuff out on the incredibly small patio that I have to no avail. Either the people upstairs sweep their ash all over my previously beautiful azaleas, or something get stolen, or there is not enough sun. I gave up outside gardening since I was just getting so depressed. I now only do stuff inside. I have spider plants and orchids right now. I can't wait until I can have a house one day, so I can actually grow things in my yard without worrying about what the neighbors are getting all over them.

Other than that, I do little things here and there. I make my own laundry soap, cook organic, and obsess over my orchids.
I've (finally!) got a little spot of land for myself, but even with that, here are some of the things I do & have done:
- I keep some grow lights in my least-lit rooms to start seeds, keep indoor plants (dwarf fruiting trees, herbs, and yummy-smelling flowers, mostly), and make me feel a little less sun-starved. I bought industrial cases for t8 fluorescents, and hung them over a dingy, dark window, then hung glass shelves over the window to support all my greenery; the total project cost about $150 & has made a huge difference in how I feel and eat.
-I keep (sporadically) a sourdough starter in my fridge made with local wild yeast, and when I'm down it makes such a huge difference to me to eat something so quintessentially existential.
-I use my CSA membership to go work on the farm when I can so that I can get a little bit less urban for a minute or two (same with PYO farms, though they're a wee bit less rewarding).
-I visit local parks and go for walks as often as possible, nothing gets my spirits up like wandering the reservoir, finding a fruiting tree hanging over the sidewalk, sniffing every patch of honeysuckle I can find, or keeping tabs on a stranger's pumpkin patch.
-I compost, recycle, and reuse. I brew beer, I cook tons, I host and attend potlucks, I plan for seedbombings that I never actually complete.
-I find friends who've got projects going on & I find ways to "help," so that I can learn what they're doing. I've stalked bee-keepers, chicken-keepers, gardeners, soap-makers, house-builders, and more in a quest to learn about all the things I hope I'll some day be able to do.
Jackpot for wanna be urban growers who don't have any land. The American Community Gardeners Association has a database of all community gardens - search by zip code and then zoom in. There's even contact information for applying!
http://acga.localharvest.org/
HELP!!!! i cannot keep a plant alive to save my life! i love plants and think they are super important for ones spirits during the winter. along with my apparent "black thumb" i also live in an apartment downtown surrounded by concrete & asphalt. anyone have any helpful tips or ideas?
I haven't lived in the city in a while, but we don't have the climate to grow a lot of vegetables that we like: hot weather veggies. We live on the foggy coast. But every year we buy a share in a farm- our CSA. It's about a half hour away, so we can visit, volunteer to harvest, or weed, and enjoy "our" little piece of heaven. It is a good way for someone who lives in the city to get their hands dirty, meet some experienced farmers and other folks who are into good, sustainable food, and learn about growing things. Plus our family gets to experience the seasonal swings of the harvest, rotating through six months of the year eating our vegetables that come in our box.
I hear you! I live on the top floor of an Apartment building and my small deck is mostly shaded. I container garden in the space I have. You're a step ahead of me with the worm bin which will only add to the richness of container soil. Farmer's markets are great for fresh food if you can't grow your own and you end up supporting the locals which is also important. I have gotten involved in forward thinking friends gardens and get a bit of fresh produce for my time and labor. I also pirated my boyfriend's deck to grow tomatoes and basil because he gets more sun than I do. I'm using my apartment living time to do research and plan for the future urban homestead that will include an actual patch of Earth.
I am like you, I live in an apartment. We have a front porch that has become our "farm" We are utilizing the Square Foot Gardening method to grow as much as we can in the little bit of room we have. If you have a porch a raised bed may be the way to go. If not I would agree maybe hydroponics, indoor container gardening with artificial light or some other indoor method.

Hope that helps
Here's a cool way to grow alot of potatoes without alot of space...take a 55 galllon plastic drum. Make drainage holes. Fill with only about 10 gallons of soil. Plant taters in drum. As the plant grows and reaches for the best sunlight at the top of the barrel, fill it in with hay, up to the growing shoots. continue on until the plant reaches over the top of the rim. The hay will cause the plant to set root. Let it get as big as it can, then at the end of the season the drum will be filled with potatoes.
Sometmes I think the folks living in apartments may have smaller carbon footprints than most modern homeowners. With today's 3000+sqft homes and rolling gardenless yards the average homeowner is using up a lot of resourses while producing nothing but waste. So take heart, you may already be more green than you think! One of your advantages is that you have more time to spend looking for homegrown stuff than the homeowner that has to mow & maintain his home. Keep looking for oportunities/folks like Cornelia to network with and potentially work with. If you lived here in Pensacola I'd be happy to allow you to work with me on my land and I'm sure there are others that would welcome the oportunity to have a like-minded friend to work the land with. You are already working towards your goal by being involved in this website.

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