A suburban homestead might seem like a bit of an anomaly, but it is actually quite possible to start simple practices that will help you live a more holistic, natural and self-sufficient life wherever your home is – even in the suburbs!
THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH SEVERAL OF MY BLOGGING FRIENDS WHO ARE HOMESTEADING WITH AMAZING HOMESTEADING SKILLS TO SHARE. THESE ARE ALL LINKED UNDER MY SUBURBAN HOMESTEADING TIP #8!
What is a suburban homestead?
A suburban homestead is really more of a lifestyle of living sustainably and holistically while being located in a suburban area, supporting local farmers and community and finding simple ways to be more self-sufficient. While homesteading in the suburbs may not be a full-time job, there are many practices that can offer a lot of the same benefits that full-time homesteading brings.
Suburban Homestead Tips:
1. Grow A Garden
Growing a garden is a great way to start your suburban homestead! There are several ways you can do this. You can start your gardening in the ground, in raised beds or by container gardening. If you have a spacious backyard, you can set up a square foot garden. We used a lot of the concepts from this book for our container gardens.
As a military family, we have moved several times and didn’t want to spend the money building raised beds, knowing we would be moving in the not too distant future. Container gardening has worked well for us, we even had our whole container garden on our deck at our last house to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers! For our containers, we have several of the galvanized tubs of various sizes. We drilled holes in the bottom for drainage and filled with the Square Foot Gardening soil mixture.
My husband set up an irrigation system and we were able to enjoy home-grown tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, bell peppers, jalapenos, green onions, strawberries, kale, chard and many herbs! We brought those containers with us to our current home and are getting to use them again. We were not quite prepared for the heat we experience where we live now, so some of the things did not grow as well this past year, but we are learning and will keep trying!
2. Support Local Farmers and Ranchers
In addition to growing your own vegetables, you can always support local farmers by shopping at the farmer’s market. A lot of times you can find CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes from local farmers so you can enjoy seasonal produce.
Source local raw milk by visiting Realmilk.com. I found our raw milk source from a facebook marketplace post! So many good things on FB marketplace!
If you are able, find local ranchers who are pasture-raising their animals without antibiotics or growth hormones. Consider buying a portion of an animal and stock up an additional freezer with meat for the year! We have not been able to do that yet, but we are enjoying meat boxes from Butcher Box in the meantime and have been extremely happy with it.
Our company began with a simple mission to make high-quality meat more accessible to all. We soon discovered that meant doing something not so simple at all: rethinking our food system. We’re in pursuit of a better way, one that’s focused on animal welfare, supporting farmers, treating our planet with respect.Statement from Butcher Box
3. Make from Scratch Meals
Making from scratch meals is something anyone can do and is really so simple. The best way to do this is to cook organic whole foods as much as possible. If you are gardening or purchasing produce at a farmer’s market, that makes cooking from scratch so easy! Skip the processed foods found in the grocery store. Cook with fresh ingredients and high quality meat, adding grains and rice here and there as needed.
If you are going to enjoy a special dessert, make it from scratch! I always say, if I am going to be eating sugar or sweets, I want it to be homemade and worth every bite! 😉
From scratch cooking is so rewarding and I love knowing exactly what is in the food we are eating.
4. Start Fermenting, Canning, Freezing and Sourdough in your Suburban Homestead
Fermenting foods like cabbage for sauerkraut, jalapeños, cucumbers, and so many other veggies is a great way to preserve food while adding extra gut healthy probiotics into your meals. I recently started making homemade milk kefir using our raw milk and am loving putting them in smoothies. Milk kefir is a great source of calcium, B12, potassium and other nutrients while aiding in digestion and providing tons of probiotics.
Along with fermenting your food, baking your own sourdough bread is another way to be more self-sufficient and cuts out on the unnecessary ingredients found in store-bought bread. There are so many things you can make using a sourdough starter like bagels, pancakes, sandwich bread, cinnamon rolls and more.
Canning and freezing your food is another great skill to use while homesteading in the suburbs. Batch cooking and freezing meals is a great way to prepare for when you may not have as much time to cook a wholesome from scratch meal.
5. Make your own Home & Beauty Products
This is something I have really enjoyed learning over the past few years. Making my own home cleaning products and beauty products has been so much fun. I truly prefer the homemade natural products, like my foaming hand soap, to the products I used to purchase, which were mostly non-toxic, but so expensive. DIY products use a lot of the same, simple ingredients which can be purchased in bulk so you can use them for multiple purposes.
6. Learn to Sew
I recently re-learned how to sew and I am so excited to be able to use this skill! Being able to sew and mend things is such a great skill to have. It can be done in whatever living situation you are in, so why not start now!
I bought my sewing machine for cheap at a garage sale in our neighborhood and it works really well so far. It is super basic but I have been able to make pillow cases, a dress for my daughter, and a few other small projects. I have a several free patterns saved to my pinterest board that I am excited to sew for my girls while we wait for summer!
7. Reduce Toxins in your Home
Reducing toxins in your home is so beneficial to you and your family’s health. Living in a healthy, non-toxic environment is a way to support your current health as well as your future health. Read about my top simple swaps for having a non-toxic kitchen here.
8. Research & Learn!
There is always something to learn, whether that be how to raise chickens, how to start seeds, how to care for a dairy cow, and the list goes on! Here, my friends share several skills about what they have learned on their homesteading journeys:
Wherever you live, there are always ways to grow and learn. While we don’t live on a large amount of land or have animals (other than our doggies), we are finding ways to homestead where we are. What are some of the ways you have been able to homestead in the suburbs?