Friday, March 09, 2018

Preparing When Living In A City

Forest Path

I have talked many times on my blogs about prepping as part of the homesteading lifestyle. Looking back through them, I pretty much covered my ideas on how to get started. Included was information on how to prepare if living in an urban setting. What about "wanna be" preppers who live in an apartment building with no yards, decks, patios or roof top areas to grow food? Can it be done in that setting? Can your prepare and how? I set out to research that problem this morning.

Wheel Hoe 
Many cities now have those small garden plots that they rent to city dwellers for garden space. It may be inconvenient due to having to drive to it, depending on how far your home is away from it. Though if you are like me, and garden organically, the other plots around your plot may not be and most likely are not organic at all. Using fertilizers and pesticides that contain toxic chemicals would affect your plants and dirt, just by being nearby. In my own garden, I do not even use a rototiller which distributes toxic gasoline fumes onto your garden and lawn.

Saving Seeds

I myself, have never done that. One other problem with gardening this close to other gardens is that if you are a "seed saver" as I am, their plants could cause your plants to not grow true. They may cross pollinate your heirloom plants and your vegetables may come out different than you expect.

Squash Plant in Compost Pile

In 2011, I had a summer squash plant come up in the compost pile. It took over the whole area and was enormous. Kind of reminded me of the play, Little Shop Of Horrors. I believe it was a hybrid zucchini that crossed with my own heirloom yellow squash. These vegetables were huge! Probably a pound or so each. I let it grow and harvested from it for months. My canning cupboard is still stocked from this plant!

A city yard could easily be turned into a garden.

Another idea I had was that you could find a local homeowner who has a back yard and would be willing for you to make a garden plot there. By renting it and paying them in either cash or produce, you both win. Ideally it would be as close to your home as possible. Makes it convenient to go to do your weeding and watering. Time spent gardening will save you big time in the grocery store as well the health benefits of being outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

A window ledge is a good place for your plants.

Everyone knows you can grow in pots and containers inside an apartment if you have sunlight for the whole day. Plants really need a lot of light. All day if possible. But not everyone has bright windows to use for plants. Possibly using grow lights would help. I lived in a small house where I was raising house plants and had shelves with grow lights above each shelf of plants. A window ledge can be used to grow small pots of herbs. Instead of putting the planters on the window ledge, if you even have one, use a couple planter poles. If you are not familiar with planter poles, they were popular in the seventies. I had one in that same small house. I had a lot of house plants back then, no food! A planter pole looks like one of those lamp poles that has a spring on the top so you can adjust it to whatever height your ceiling is. If you need to move it for any reason, it is simple to do. Instead of lamps on it, there are hangers to hang your plants from. Some have little round shelves instead and some have both.

Home canned food

What if there is no way you can grow any plants anywhere? The next best thing is to purchase them from your local farms, produce markets or a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture). Buy in bulk whatever is in season. Then can it, dehydrate it or freeze it. Freezing is not something I do or even would do if I could, because that is how more people lose large quantities of food. Power outages, and don't even tell me the one about canning all that food if the outage goes on for a length of time!  No way in the aftermath of a storm or other emergency are you going to be setting up to do your canning. In our area there was flooding and many people were not even allowed back into their homes for three weeks and not to stay. So all that food and your hard work is ruined.

Another option of course, if you have been into prepping for any length of time, you already know about this, would be to buy from the preparedness types of stores. Buying foods that are dehydrated or freeze dried. I do not buy the meals, instead I purchase the ingredients to make the meals. I buy these by the case from Emergency Essentials. Since I eat low carbs, I do not buy baking supplies, grains, legumes, sweets or the mixes. I always purchase the dehydrated eggs, cheese, buttermilk, meats, vegetables and berries. It is all part of my prepping plan and if you make one for where you live and what is available to you and what you can afford, then you can be prepared wherever you live.

Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

All Photographs Copyright © 2018 Kathleen G. Lupole

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