Apartment Homesteading

Apartment homesteading is a growing trend that allows you to embrace the homesteading lifestyle right from the comfort of your own apartment.

Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of city life? Do you long for a simpler, more self-sufficient lifestyle, but feel limited by your apartment living situation?

With apartment homesteading, you can learn valuable skills like composting, baking your own bread, and even growing herbs indoors on a windowsill.

You don’t need a big plot of land to start growing your own food either. If you have a balcony or terrace, or even just a few sunny windows, you can have a container garden and grow your own fresh produce.

Plus, cooking and preserving are just a couple of valuable homesteading skills that you can learn in an apartment, all while reducing your environmental impact.

What Is Homesteading Today?

Homesteading is often associated with rural living and even off-the-grid lifestyles. And there is no denying the historical roots of the modern movement.

But today homesteaders come from all walks of life, including suburban and urban areas. You don’t have to have a lot of land, or any land, to be a homesteader!

The lifestyle embraces self-sufficiency and sustainability. Many modern homesteaders weren’t raised with the lifestyle, and a big part of it is learning skills that we weren’t taught by our parents and grandparents.

Cooking from scratch, growing plants for food, and mending and making do are all things that you can learn to do. Even if you live in an apartment in the city, you can be a homesteader right where you are!

Ways to Start Apartment Homesteading

Because homesteading is a lifestyle that embraces learning and growth, it is absolutely possible to be a homesteader while living in an apartment!

No two homesteads are exactly the same, anyways, so embrace the challenge of incorporating the core principles into your apartment life.

Cooking

person holding black frying pan with cooked food

Cooking from scratch, and learning to eat seasonally are two big parts of homesteading. They may be old-fashioned, but these skills would serve anyone well, even if you’re not growing your own food yet!

It’s ok to take your time if you are used to a lot of processed food. Start where you are and challenge yourself. Cook one more meal from scratch than you usually would, or try making some homemade bread!

The possibilities in the kitchen are endless! And eating with the seasons means using produce at its peak flavor and nutrition.

Find a farmers market and get to know your local food producers. You may even get some new recipes and growing tips from the expert farmers!

Preserving

Once you’ve got some confidence with your cooking skills, learning to preserve your harvest for later use is a natural next step!

You don’t have to invest in a canner to start preserving. Try canning some berry jam. High acidic foods don’t need a pressure canner, and you can use a large stock pot. 

You could also try dehydrating, freezing, and fermenting. All are good ways of preserving food for future use!

Growing Your Own Food

You don’t have to have a lot of space! There are plenty of ways to grow food in a small space. If all you have is a windowsill, try growing some herbs or micro greens.

If you have room for a grow light, you could try leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale. Or get adventurous and grow some mushrooms!

tomatoes hanging on tomato plant

With a large sunny window, or a balcony, you could grow a container garden. Peppers and tomatoes are great options for balcony gardens. Especially look for patio or determinate type tomatoes.

If your building has a rooftop garden, you have access not only to an outdoor space to grow food, but a source of community with your fellow gardeners as well.

And a community garden is also an option. Your city may have a community garden association or network that can help connect you with a garden in your area. 

Garden clubs, neighborhood associations, local parks, and recreation departments could also be a source of information for you.

Composting

Apartment homesteaders have more options than you might think to deal with vegetable scraps and other food waste.

bokeh photography of person carrying soil

The first thing you will need, regardless of method, is a way to collect your organic waste until you’re ready to take care of it. This can be as simple as a small bucket with a lid that you keep in the kitchen.

To make compost on your own, you can get a kitchen composter, or make your own with 5 gallon buckets. You will need to evaluate the space you have available and how smells from the different types of composting may affect you and your neighbors.

If your apartment has a rooftop garden, it may have a designated area for residents to dispose of their organic waste. And they may partner with a local composting company or program to help educate and provide resources for your community.

Community composting is also a growing movement in urban areas. Get in touch with your local government or waste management to find out if its available in your area. You can also check with local community organizations, garden clubs, or environmental groups to connect with services in your area.

Beekeeping

Are you interested in producing your own honey? Small scale beekeeping can be done, as long as you have access to a rooftop or large balcony.

You do need to invest in equipment such as the beehive and protective gear. 

Make sure you follow local laws and guidelines regarding beekeeping. Especially since your bees will be in close quarters with your neighbors.

Start by talking with your building management or homeowners association to see if they will allow beekeeping for residents. Many apartment buildings work with a professional beekeeper or beekeeping company to help manage the hives, educate the residents, and help keep the bees healthy.

Aquaponics

You can absolutely raise your own meat as an apartment dweller! How? Aquaponics!

This method combines hydroponic gardening with fish farming to create a closed loop system. And it’s something you can do on a small scale if you have limited space.

You do need enough space for the fish tank, grow bed, water pump, and other equipment, but a balcony space or equivalent will do just fine. 

black cat fish

Choose your fish species carefully based on your set up, space, and personal tastes. Don’t raise fish you don’t like to eat unless you plan to sell them! Tilapia, catfish, and perch are popular choices for aquaponics.

For the vegetables, you can grow herbs, leafy greens, or other small vegetables. Just make sure they get enough light. If your system is indoors, you will need a grow light for your plants.

DIY Projects

As an apartment homesteader, there are many things you can learn how to make for yourself. This includes things like soap, candles, and cleaning supplies.

Start where you’re comfortable. Don’t feel like you have to commit to making it all! Pick something that interests you and give it a try.

Many of these DIY projects are available as kits that let you “get your feet well.” This will let you try making something before committing the money and space to equipment you end up not using.

A soap base is a premixed combination of soap, glycerin, and other ingredients like fragrance and plant oils. This lets you try making soap without over complicating things. You can purchase a soap base online or at a craft store to make your own soap.

Once you’ve gained some confidence, you can experiment with adding different scents and ingredients to make your own custom soap, or try making soap without a soap base using the cold process method.

Candle making kits can also be found online or at a local craft store. These kits come with almost everything you need to make candles for the first time. 

If your kit doesn’t include them, you may need a double boiler (or microwave safe bowl), a thermometer, and a mixing spoon for stirring.

And once you have the experience, you can start experimenting with different waxes and scents, try making your own molds, or use decorative add ins like dried flowers. Or try more advanced techniques like marbling and layering to create unique designs!

Conclusion

Apartment homesteading is a practical and sustainable way to embrace the homesteading lifestyle, regardless of your living situation.

With just a few simple adjustments to your daily routine, you can learn valuable skills, reduce your environmental impact, and grow your own fresh produce right from the comfort of your own apartment.

Whether you have a balcony or just a few sunny windows, apartment homesteading is a growing trend that offers a simpler, more self-sufficient way of life for those who are tired of the hustle and bustle of city living.

So why not give it a try and see how apartment homesteading can improve your quality of life?

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