What are some backyard homesteading tips

Urban homesteading - the trend of our ancestors

I recently brought some potatoes that were still very earthy into our office kitchen. While I was washing her for lunch, I told my boss Claudia about my plan to grow more myself. Vegetables, fresh lemons, even a chicken for the garden ran through my head. Claudia laughed, that reminded her of a new trend called "Urban homesteading“, Which was about animal husbandry, swapping and roofing and backyard gardening, but which is not that new because actually her grandparents had already started with it.

Now my curiosity was aroused. What did trendy New Yorkers who fed themselves honey, produced by a beehive on the roof, have to do with my boss's grandparents? I asked her to tell me the whole story, right from the start. And off we go with her gaze into the past and into the urban future.

My paternal grandparents come from the Memelland in Lithuania. They came to Hamburg-Harburg as refugees during the war (my grandmother, my father and his brother) or after being a prisoner of war (my grandfather). I still know how much it impressed me to spend time with mine nature-loving grandpa to spend.

He couldn't stop getting upset about "how much is thrown away here". For him it was unthinkable to throw packaging in the trash, because lots of toys and consumables could be made out of paper and plastic, which he passed on to his neighbors, among other things. Every year we went to the Harburg mountains Mushrooms and blueberries that my grandma canned or made into jam. Herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers were planted on the balcony.

Shop? Superfluous!

In view of the carp that were kept as an ornament in the ponds of the Harburg city park, he could only shake his head: "Why doesn't anyone eat them?" Played the main role. Clothes that the neighbors sorted out were reworked into new pieces by my grandma on her pedal-operated sewing machine.

When the two of them one Allotment garden increased, they barely bought anything because they grew almost everything they needed themselves, in exchange bought or won (my grandpa was a very good skat player and the main prize was often poultry).

Trendsetter "Nature Moms"

This kind of archaic exploitation thinking is called very trendy in America today "Urban Homesteading". Above all, sustainable and living mothers like Tiffany from the Nature Moms blog are reactivating this lifestyle.

It's about that making your own home productive. To see what can be grown where, what craft skills can be used to make or repair things that you would otherwise have to buy. You also like to get together with neighbors to add skills or to swap.

It goes something like this: Can you mount a solar cell on the roof? In return, your FamilieAlter will get a set of self-knitted winter sweaters from me! We share the energy gained.

Backyard gardening and animal husbandry

There is now a lot of literature on the subject in America and the social networks are full of good tips and infographics. Basically everything revolves around backyard gardening and animal husbandry, but actually “homesteading” means productivity in an even broader sense. Just like my grandparents did.

We have often reported on the fringes of “homesteading”, for example food swaps, here on the re: BLOG.

Cool "Eggonomic"

Whoever wants to start with a "Urban homesteader“To become, by the way, can be very humorous. One of my favorite infographics on the web is called “Backyard Chicken Eggonomics”. It illustrates what it costs per month to keep four chickens, on the other hand, calculates “what the chickens give us each month” and then displays an unexpectedly impressive profit. This very economically oriented approach of the “urban homesteaders” naturally also calls for critics who practice animal husbandry and plant breeding primarily out of idealism. But the “homesteaders” are not interested in profit, but rather a piece of independence from commercial operations.

And that also means calculating and knowing the value of things in giving and taking. In the end, "homesteading" is above all a networking project: Nobody knew their neighborhood as well as my grandparents.

About buzzing and composting

Here are two more nice suggestions for beginning "homesteaders". The first is about the pleasure of keeping your own bees (by the way, “Urban Beekeeping” has also recognized OTTO and made it productive).

I also think "A Beginner's Guide to Composting" is great

Composting is a topic that, as a city dweller, thinks that it is practically none of your business. But that's not true at all. This type of productivity can also be pursued on the balcony. Okay, it could lead to more conversations with your - hopefully tolerant or green-minded - neighbors. But that's part of the game too.