I have always been drawn to the farmhouse lifestyle. It’s just something amazing about making everything from scratch, living the southern charm kind of simple life. I don’t know if it’s because of my family’s Alabama/Mississippi roots or if it could be my slight obsession with Reese Witherspoon and Ree Drummond. But I am starting an urban homestead in my backyard.
Whatever it may be… I just know in the end all I want is the Farmhouse lifestyle, but on our budget, all we can afford is an Urban Homestead. This is our journey to being self-sufficient when it comes to growing our own food. Starting from the ground up… Literally!!
Urban Homesteading is a thing?
First of all, we did not know Urban Homesteading was a thing… I feel like with each one of these posts I write and publish, I am realizing more and more that I am REALLY behind on the times… I am literally living under a rock.
You mean to tell me I could grow my own fruits, vegetables, and herbs in my own backyard… well not my own, but my landlord’s backyard! Y’all know what I mean! Who would have thunk it? lol
Second of all, I have told Mike before that I wanted to grow my own food, but it wasn’t something he was into. Although I could have done it on my own, I wanted my future hubby to be on board.
In the midst of discussing the idea of growing our own food, we thought like most people you had to have farmland to be able to do it. All things considered, finding out about an Urban Homestead was a game-changer. Starting an Urban Homestead was going to be an adventure.
What prompted our homesteading journey
How this all came happened was how most things happen in our life… For Instance, Mike believes that he can do anything anyone else does or he will make some lame dad joke like “Haha, I taught them how to do that!”… I cringe every time I hear him say it… which happens often. LOL
When Mike makes that joke, you know he has already decided he must do said thing… Just like when I showed him a couple of the Spicy Noodle Challenge videos on YouTube. Resulting in us joining the bandwagon and doing the challenge, as well as posting a video. I can’t complain though, if it wasn’t for Mike, we would probably be living a very boring life.
However, that video ended up changing our life. It showed us how much we like spicy food. Of course, the noodles were 9,000 on the Scoville. It definitely sparked Mike’s curiosity to find something hotter.
Meanwhile, I found a YouTube video by Brian Ambs who was invited by the Pepper Palace in Sevierville, Tennessee to make a hot sauce using the Carolina Reaper. I found it fascinating and had to have Mike watch it. That was a HUGE mistake…
And that’s the end of Mike and I…
That’s it guys, this is the end of the post… Our relationship was over… because I was replaced by a pepper…named Sweet Caroline…
Just kidding! I wanted to make sure you guys were still reading! In reality, though, that pepper does get more hugs and kisses than I do! Haha
Mike being Mike… he made his lame dad joke while watching Brian’s video and after a brief conversation, Mike was on the prowl for the ingredients to make his first hot sauce. However, Mike had to work overnight so he had to sleep. Before he went to bed though he challenged me to make a hot sauce. Challenge accepted, Buddy!!
If you follow us on Instagram you can see the hot sauces we did make.
How does Hot Sauce Lead to an Urban Homestead?
While making the hot sauce I found it rather therapeutic and relaxing. It made me ecstatic to know that I had just made this with my own two hands and it tasted amazing! I couldn’t wait for Mike to get up from his nap to try it.
When he got up he agreed it was really good too. So the next weekend Mike made his own hot sauce hotter than mine. In mine, I used two Habaneros and he used 5-6. His tasted great too.
So, guys, I guess you can say we picked up the hobby of making hot sauce. We became so obsessed with this… Mike said he wanted to create a business making hot sauce. As we discussed the possibility of making it a business I suggested if we were to do this, we needed a way to keep costs down.
Suggesting we grow our own veggies to put in the sauce. All because of the Youtube video he is all on board. This makes me so happy! He gets his hot peppers and I get my food garden. Best of both worlds. (we will also have a post and video going up soon in M&M’s Kitchen about making the hot sauce)
Buying plants before having a homestead plan…
Clearly, we leaped before we could crawl. We were all gung-ho about it and couldn’t wait…If you follow our posts you know a couple of weekends ago we went to Cedar Key/Rosewood and on our way back Mike said something about the Home Depot’s website saying they sell Carolina Reaper plants.
With that in mind, we HAD to stop at a Home Depot. Well well well Home Depot you did not fail us. In other words, we bought not only a Carolina Reaper plant, but a Habanero and a Jalapeno plant as well.
Not to mention, I kinda, may have, slightly, already had Green Onions and garlic chilling in the water on my window sill. Instead of throwing away our unused Green Onions or Garlic, I saved them. They have been growing up in a storm. I eventually moved them to pots. Our front porch was becoming a little Veggie/Pepper Palace…
Especially since going to Pinellas Park Pepper Fest where we bought the large version of Sweet Caroline, this is the plant that stole my fiance away from me! We also bought Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper seeds from an amazing guy named Tom Broome from Seriously Hot Peppers. Shout out to Tom! We just noticed a couple of days ago one green pepper turned red.
Better late than never… having a homestead plan
Since our family was growing Mike and I knew we had to sit down and come up with a plan. We spend our nights binge-watching Homesteading and Gardening videos on YouTube learning everything we can because we want this to last a long, long time.
On weekends you may find us at Lowe’s and Home Depot where we end up buying the Banana Pepper plants. Shortly after, Mike got one more seed purchase from Pucker Butt. The creator of the Carolina Reaper. Mike order more Carolina Reaper, Moruga Scorpion, and Ghost Pepper seeds. However, for those he paid with Amazon Credits from the surveys/apps he uses. No money came out of our pockets.
After that purchase, we decided to hold off on plant or seed buying for now, because we need to come up with a plan. We started by making a list of everything we wanted to grow and what we would need to hold all of our babies. We planned out how we wanted our backyard garden to look.
Also, keep in mind this is not our land… it’s our landlord’s which right now she doesn’t seem to mind all the plants, but is actually quite fascinated by them. Our neighbor also told us she allowed them to have a garden in the backyard that she shared with the previous tenant before us. However, she was the only one who was taking care of it and gave up.
Building Raised Beds for our Urban Homestead
With that in mind, Mike and I decided to figure out how to keep our costs down. If we had it our way we would just pack everything up and move out to the country. For the most part, watching all of these videos, we found we love the look of raised beds.
We knew we could build it for cheaper compared to buying a raised bed. They were 50 bucks for the cheapest one at Wal-Mart. Knowing that we are still working on our financial situation that if we were going to have raised beds, it had to be done on a budget. Meaning very cheap or free.
We ultimately decided making raised beds out of pallets would be best. Loving the rustic wood look and knowing we could get pallets for free somewhere… but finding out where we could get them was a different story.
A few days later, I decided to walk to the store I discovered along my way that a company across the street from my house sets its unused pallets out at the end of their entrance for people to take.
I told Mike and right then and there we were off to get some. Within a week we went twice and got about 4 pallets each time. We decided to use them to make some beds and a grow/prep table.
We sketched out a rough… I mean a rough drawing of what we wanted the backyard to look like. Please don’t judge my drawing skills LOL
Starting an Urban homestead without tools, not gonna work
Again, still trying to keep our costs down we were on the hunt for tools. We didn’t have the basic tools to do anything. We hit our local thrift stores. At one store we found a hand saw and a little baby shovel, hoe, and some other rake/shovel-looking thing. Mike said he needed it, so we got them.
It could have run us about 10 bucks which isn’t bad, but on this day everything was 50 percent off. 5 Bucks what a SCORE!! At the same thrift store the next weekend we ended up finding a circular saw for 7 dollars. That was amazing. We couldn’t pass that up.
We also ended up buying a Crowbar for the pallets at Harbor Freight for 4 bucks and nails from Home Depot for less than 3 bucks as well.
Freebies to starting an Urban Homestead
To recap we got the pallets for free and spent roughly 20 bucks on some basic tools, and now we were on a mission to find some other things on our list. While at work Mike found at a job site the construction guys were going to just throw away the plastic they use to block off the area they are working at. Mike thinking outside of the box thought that would make a great for lining the raised beds. He ended up grabbing 3 or 4 rolls from them.
We did, however already build one raised bed so far. There is a little clip of it in our Pinellas Park Pepper Fest video. Mike did say he will be switching to screws rather than nails.
So now we’re on the hunt for a cheap cordless drill. Let us know if you know anywhere we could find one on the cheap. We are going to do a separate post and video on how we built the beds as well as when we set them up for planting.
What have we spent so far on starting an Urban Homestead
I have been keeping a spreadsheet of the things we need and what it has cost us. I have been slowly going through prices with you guys throughout this post. Looking at the sheet it shows we have only been doing this for a month and we have spent 103 dollars. I don’t think that’s bad at all. Roughly 26 bucks a week.
Admittedly, this also includes us being reckless at the beginning because we bought all the plants we wanted. Going forward it will be better and at the same time, our goal is to do this as cheaply as possible. We want to inspire you guys to do the same! So please follow along on our journey by subscribing to our newsletter to follow along, this might be a regular series on here.
I hope you guys enjoyed this week’s post and if you don’t yet, please join our Facebook Group for our behind-the-scenes look at this journey and comment down below letting us know if you have or if you plan on starting an Urban Homestead. Let’s share some tips!
Until Next Time, Have a Good Day!
45 thoughts on “Starting an urban homestead to be self-sufficient”
I totally love that you recycled the kitty liter bucket as started beds we always have a ton of those around here too.
I like using them too. The only thing i am worried about is if there is chenicals in the plastic left from the litter being in there.
How great is to create an urban homestead! We have tried with just little plants at the beginning but not having a proper plan and place. But we still have this idea in mind and organize much better this time. Thanks for the post!
Yeah we started way to quick. Thats why we slowed down to make a plan. Take care of the plants we have. Finish building the beds and then plant more. What is your plan this time?
I love the idea of starting an urban homestead! Unfortunately I don’t have the space right now, but would love to revisit this idea when I do! Thanks for sharing!
-madi xo | http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com
You dont have to have a lot of space. We had stuff growing where ever there was sun in our house. We just decided we wanted to make a business out of it. So we could make our hot sauce.
Love this idea! I have been getting a green thumb lately, with just house plants, but this makes me want to go plant some fruits and vegetables now! When I get home from traveling the country I will have to give this a shot!
I didnt think I could do it either. Sometimes I still think I cant do it, but I will work through it. Lol Its going to be amazing. Growing our own food to share with people who need it and making our own hot sauce to start a business. It brings me joy.
I enjoyed reading your story! haha who knew that hot sauce could lead to a urban homestead. I think you’ve done a great job. Everyday is truly a learning opportunity and you never know what you’ll discover.
Thank you! I didnt know hot sauce could turn into starting an urban homestead either… Lol I do agree though everyday is a new adventure just waiting to happen.
They worked out perfectly we had 6 and used 4 so far.
Thank you for sharing information about homesteading. I have just moved to the country and I am ready to start my garden this summer.
Thank you for commenting. I appreciate it a lot. I never thought we could do this because we lived in the “city”. I’m so happy I found out about urban homesteading. Let me know when you start I would love to see it!
I like how you broke it up into several actionable tips that are in easy terms for us to understand!
Thank you, I appreciate the comment. I wanted to make it easy for everyone especially when first starting out. All I see or posts of people who are already doing it and have amazing crops, then give tips on what beginners can do. However, I don’t see people posting while they are doing it. I am going to show everything the good, the bad and the ugly in hope to help beginners.
What an inspirational journey…! Great article!
replaced by a pepper! haha
this sounds like it was perfect for you!!! So happy to read about it
Sometimes thats how it feels… Lol like yesterday it was storming here in Florida and Mike texts me I think it him seeing if I was ok and instead he asked if his pepper was getting rained on. Lol
My step-dad does this and my kids love to help out with it. If the dirt in my yard wasn’t such crap I would do it at our home too, I think it is a wonderful idea.
Honestly our dirt sucks too. Thats why we are doomg raised beds. You are growing in the soil in the bednot in the dirt. There will be a video and a step by step post on how to build andcfill the raised beds if you are interested.
Great post! We have a little garden but nothing quite as extensive. It’s fun to grow your own foods in the backyard.
Thank you! I feel a sense of pride when growing my own food. Plus I am saving money grocery shoppping. Lol
Hey love! I loved reading your story! I really have no idea about urban homesteads but I’m learning a lot here and you’ve got me kinda wanting to do more too
Hey Hun! Thanks for the comment. Aww, I’m glad. Stay tuned there will be more posts once it stops raining in Florida. Next is filling the raised beds and planting.
Never thought about this. I love the idea! Your font makes us read the whole post <3 Yeah you chose everything great in your blog.Thanks for sharing well-written posts with us every time. Very few people got a talent like that 🙂 <3 Happy blogging!
Thank you I appreciate your comment a lot!
This is really cool. Nowadays, it is a smart move to have this in every home to minimize the food costs, and helps the environment.
Exactly, saves you money on the long run and helps the environment. However, its not only going to be for us. We are going to share with our local neighbors.
I love gardening. This post was interesting for me , it has given me more information about tools and urban homestead. I can’t do typical homestead but yes it will enhance my gardening skills.
I hear ya. I couldnt do traditional homesteading. However, growing food it right up my alley.
Recycling things are good. However, I until now had no idea about about urban homestead. This was an informative post.
I didn’t know about it either till looking up gardening tips for Mike’s hot peppers. This fits perefectly with where we live now and we have decent land. I love that our landlord is not upset by this.
Thanks for sharing your story and suggestions! Urban homestead is something new to me.
Thanks for commenting. We are going to be going through all the steps to starting an urban homestead. Check back if you are interested.
I hadn’t heard about urban homestead. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it!
How awful would it have been if your relationship was over just like that lol. I think that I’d love to do what you all are doing. It seems to have so many benefits for me personally. Maybe someday.
I agree it would have been horrible. I can see the headline now “Florida Man chokes on new fiance’, a carolina reaper pepper plant” lol. I cant wait to get started planting everything. Florida weather has not been agreeing with us lately.
I love this idea and I wish so bad that I could do it, buy with being a military family we move so often, and sometimes from one extremel climate to another. Can’t wait until we get a permanent home in about ten years or so. Lol
Some foods can be grown inside. I have garlic, green onions and lettuce growing inside on my window sill.
It agree, very good message
Absolutely indited articles, appreciate it for selective information. “Necessity is the mother of taking chances.” by Mark Twain.
This is amazing! I admire your drive to put so much work into an Urban Homestead – when everything you need can be obtained at the supermarket around the corner. However, it’s so much better having a more natural approach to produce – which starts by shopping at farmers markets and ends on your verandah 😉 I also try to cook everything from scratch – for the taste and the benefit to our health.
I love that if I want a salad, we don’t have to go to the store or buy from a restaurant. I can literally walk into my backyard and pick put lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, and whatever else I need from my yard.
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