Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 51 - Urban Homesteading Blog Day

Sugar Pumpkin
Backyard Gardens

Over at Dog Island Farm a blog that helps people learn about urban homesteading, the four authors are encouraging bloggers to talk about urban homesteading and what it means to them.

Urban homesteading is a way to live sustainably and ranges from keeping chickens, bees, gardening (rooftop, patio, backyard gardens), preserving your homegrown food, composting and more. Jeff and I were completely unfamiliar with urban homesteading, except for growing basil on the window ledge of our 31st floor Toronto apartment.

South Facing Garden for Tomatoes and Peppers
When we moved to New Brunswick, we moved to a subdivision with very generous lots - almost 1/3 an acre. Faced with such a spacious backyard, we couldn't help but put in our first garden the first summer we arrived and we haven't looked back. Using various areas of the back yard, such as the side of the shed and containers on the back patio, we grow all sorts of fruits and vegetables. We try and companion plant as much as possible and follow a no-dig method of gardening to avoid weeds and pests. Still, if we're not amending our red clay, acidic soil, we're fighting daily to keep the slugs at bay. 

What we don't eat gets frozen or pressure canned for the winter, which has really come in handy during the 100 Mile Challenge. This year, we're moving away from vegetables and more towards fruit, since our CSA and farmer's markets provide us with lovely vegetables, but we lacked fruit. This year, we're putting in elderberries, black and red currants, haskap bushes, raspberries and blackberries. 

Grapes, Beans and Chives
Aside from having fresh vegetables any time you want, gardening and preserving our food has helped us have a whole new relationship with food. Growing our vegetables from seed well before the last frost, tenderly caring for them and ensuring they'll survive outdoors, watering, fertilizing, wedding, sowing, eating or preserving and then composting is a fascinating way to see the entire life process from start to finish and has given us a new found respect for our food and the effort it takes to get it on our plates.

One day, we hope to keep chickens and continue in the family tradition of keeping bees and making honey. In the meantime, we focus on growing our vegetables and fruit and continue to work with local farmers to supply our meat, dairy and grains.

Shed Garden with Grapes, Stawberries and Cukes
Honey Bear will be 2 this summer and it's exciting to think of her involvement in the gardens. At best, we hope will foster that respect and appreciation for the food that nourishes her. At worst, she plays in the dirt and has a great time!

Herb Garden by the Front Door

Container Gardening


  1. Your so lucky to have so much space to work with. It can be a bit overwhelming too LOL I have ended up with three locations to create a garden this summer and now I'm a bit overwhelmed by the thought of what to do with it all. I loved getting ideas from what you have started.

  2. Your garden looks great. So much space ~ so much sun. We have the space but not much sun which is a challenge but we are learning to work with what we've got. And, kindly many of our friends are willing to grow food for us. Bless them! Awe...I can almost feel spring in the air.


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