If you’re living in an apartment with no land for growing food but dreaming of a homesteading life, I’m here to tell you that you can start right now!
As some of you know, my family has been apartment homesteading since we moved to Virginia last fall.
I’ve grown food without any outside space (my balcony is too dark to grow anything).
I am a firm believer that healthy food is not just for the wealthy. So, if you are in an apartment with no land, you can still homestead and grow food where you are.
Why Apartment Homesteading?
Whether you live in an apartment by choice or by circumstance, there are some benefits to starting (or continuing) your homestead in an apartment.
Many people choose to live in an apartment or urban area to be near health food stores, gyms, and beautiful parks with convenient walking paths to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
But living close to these things means that outdoor space is limited or non-existent.
Learning how to homestead in an apartment is one way to have the benefits of the city while still learning self-sufficiency skills.
Balconies, rooftops, and windowsills are excellent places to grow your own food. And you don’t need a lot of space to make herbal remedies or preserve fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, homegrown food is often healthier than store-bought (and almost always cheaper) so it makes sense to grow food to improve the quality of your diet even if you have to grow it inside.
Preparing for a Bigger Homestead
Temporarily living in an apartment can also be an excellent way to reduce debt and save money before jumping into a big land purchase.
But living in an apartment or condo doesn’t mean you have to put your homesteading dreams on hold.
Many homesteading skills—like fermenting foods or learning to sew—don’t require land or a lot of space to practice.
Developing these skills while living in an apartment will jumpstart your homesteading success before you even become a landowner.
Also, it’s just really hard to want to live a certain lifestyle, but feeling like you can’t because of your circumstances.
Finding a way to homestead wherever you are is, in my opinion, the only choice! I try to find joy in my current reality, whether it’s ideal or not because time flies while you’re having fun, right?.
Save (and Make) Money
As I mentioned, renting is a great way to save money in preparation for buying land. You can put the extra money you save toward paying off debt or saving for a down payment.
But renting is also a great time to build a business or transform a hobby into a money-making venture.
You can absolutely homestead while working a typical 9 to 5, but the flexibility of a home business can’t be beat.
Try some of these ideas for making extra money while homesteading from an apartment or condo and spend some time building a business or side hustle.
Whether you love your apartment or can’t wait to get out of it, learning to homestead wherever you are has many benefits and is easily adaptable for a variety of lifestyles.
7 Ways to Embrace Apartment Homesteading
Homesteading typically makes people think of old-fashioned log cabins, farm animals and large gardens containing every variety of tomato available. Although homesteading often involves farming and gardening, having land is not a necessity.
Here are some of the best ways you can learn to embrace apartment homesteading and live your dream life now.
1 Learn to Cook from Scratch
So much of homesteading revolves around food. Learning how to cook from scratch is a great place to begin homesteading in an apartment.
Cooking at home can help reduce the cost of meals and increase their nutritional value. Learning to cook with fresh ingredients will also help if you plan to growing lots of vegetables someday!
Cooking from scratch, especially as a beginner, might feel overwhelming at first. With a little practice, it becomes much easier.
Check out my YouTube video on how to cook from scratch for beginners if you are in need of some inspiration.
2 Grow Herbs
Homesteaders love herbs! Whether being used for cooking or to make herbal medicine, herbs play an important role on any homestead.
Growing herbs indoors is easy to do, and a valuable skill to cultivate whether you have land for a big garden or not.
With herbs growing in your kitchen, you can easily snip a few fresh sprigs of thyme or oregano to add to meals while cooking. Plus, there are countless ways to use easy-to-grow culinary herbs for medicinal purposes.
My favorite herbs are easy to grow inside or on a balcony. When I grow vegetables and herbs inside I use a grow light because our apartment is very dark.
But if you have a sunny window you can grow a lot of herbs without any supplemental light.
3 Make Homemade Herbal Remedies
Another important homesteading skill is learning to make your own natural medicine for everyday ailments and illnesses.
Dried culinary and medicinal herbs can be purchased from a reputable source like Starwest Botanicals or Pronounce Skincare. There are lots of online resources for herbal recipes, like this natural neosporin, so it’s incredibly easy to get started.
4 Grow Your Own Food
There are plenty of options for growing fruits and vegetables while living in an apartment or condo today. You can successfully grow just about any vegetables in the right container. Growing fruits and vegetables in containers have many benefits and is a great way to practice homesteading skills while living in an urban area.
Another option for apartment dwellers is to join a community garden and grow fruits and vegetables alongside your neighbors. Community gardens have grown in popularity. Many people know more about the benefits of growing food at home to avoid toxins and chemical preservatives.
Take advantage of living near a community garden as they make great places to learn about growing your own food from experienced gardeners.
I rented a community garden plot but it hadn’t been taken care of for years (there was a tree growing in it!). I decided not to continue with it since I don’t expect to be in the city next summer.
If you want to try a community garden, be aware that the plot may not have been cared for so you may need to do a lot of work before planting. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed the plot was being used the previous year. If I want to try a community garden again I will assume it needs work!
5 Learn to DIY (Everything!)
Homesteaders make everything from bathroom cleaners to beauty products at home with common, natural ingredients.
And this is something that someone living in an apartment can easily do, too. If the idea of making your own beauty products or cleaners overwhelms you, start with a few simple DIY beauty recipes like these.
Soon you will have acquired a variety of homemade cleaners and beauty products that you can feel good about using in your apartment.
Homesteaders also use DIY projects to mend broken items rather than throwing them away and buying new ones.
Learning to sew buttons back on a shirt or darn a sock is a great way to be more sustainable without needing land or a lot of space.
Learn Methods of Food Preservation
Learning various methods of preserving food is an easy homesteading practice to do in an apartment. The most popular methods of preserving food today include canning, freezing, and drying.
Even if you don’t grow your own food—but hope to have land to do so someday—learning to preserve a variety of different foods like winter squash, tomatoes and cucumbers bought at a farmer’s market is a great way to practice apartment homesteading.
When you do have land of your own someday, you’ll already have the skills you need to preserve an abundant harvest!
Find healthy food at farmer’s markets, from local farms, and even the grocery store. Buy extra when it’s on sale and preserve some for later. Freezing is a simple way to preserve most vegetables and fruits.
Homesteaders are not a wasteful bunch. One way we prevent excess waste from ending up in landfills is by composting.
Composting is a process of breaking down food scraps and organic materials into fertilizer for plants. The best part is you don’t need a big, bulky compost bin to accomplish this.
A great composting option for apartment dwellers is vermicomposting—the practice of using worms to break down food scraps and turn them into fertilizer.
Adding compost to potted fruits and vegetables in your container garden will help plants grow strong and healthy.
It might seem strange to intentionally bring worms into your home. But vermicomposting is a practical, low-maintenance indoor composting method that has worked well for me.
When done correctly, vermicomposting creates very little smell—if any at all. My worm bin doesn’t smell at all and it sits right in my dining area!
Homesteading Where You Are
Apartment homesteading offers some unique opportunities—whether you love your apartment or can’t wait to get out of the city. Apartment dwellers can adopt many homesteading principles without the overhead costs and responsibilities of owning land.
If you dream of a big homestead on lots of land someday, apartment homesteading is still beneficial.Anything you learn while living in an apartment will be one less thing to learn later. Don’t be discouraged by the fact that you don’t have your ideal plot of land now.
Instead, take this time to build the homesteading skills you need for later. One of the best parts of adopting a homesteader lifestyle is that you can take sustainable living practices with you wherever you go!
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