Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Green and Frugal: The Urban Homestead

My sweet husband sent me a website today to check out -- The Urban Homestead. It's about a family in California that's become as self-sufficient as possible by gardening, utilizing livestock and recycling. The most interesting aspect is that their on 1/5 of an acre! Over the last 20 years they've perfected their edible landscape while reducing their carbon footprint.

Here are some of the things they're doing, which are impressive, to say the least:

Urban Homestead at a Glance
  • Location: Northwest Pasadena, one mile from downtown Pasadena
  • Property Size: 66’ x 132’ = 8,712 sq.ft. (1/5 acre)
  • House: Simple, wood frame craftsman bungalow. Circa 1917.
  • House Size: 1,500 sq. ft.
  • Garden Size: ~ 1/10 acre (3,900 sq.ft. / ~ 66' x 66') 
  • Garden Diversity: Over 350 different vegetables, herbs, fruits & berries
  • Productivity: Up to 6,000 lbs harvest annually on 1/10 acre
Food / Garden
  • Growing 99% of produce
  • 6,000lbs on 1/10 acre Garden
  • Saving seeds
  • Companion planting
Healthy Soil / Planting Methods
  • Remineralization
  • Self watering containers
  • Integral pest management
  • Square inch plantings
  • Polyculture
  • Successive sowing
Composting Methods
  • Making / Using EM Bokashi
  • Vermicomposting
  • Composting food, garden and green waste
  • Brewing compost teas
Food Preservation/Storage
  • Canning
  • Drying
  • Freezing
  • Fermenting

Food Choices
  • Buying in bulk
  • Organic
  • Local
  • Eating seasonally
  • Reducing "food miles"
  • Fair trade
  • Vegetarian (since 1992)
Raising Smallstock
  • Chickens (eggs/manure)
  • Ducks (eggs/manure)
  • Dwarf rabbits (manure)
  • Dwarf/pygmy goats (milk/manure)

We keep contemplating getting some chickens and possibly a goat or two. But we wonder if we would be getting in over our head. A garden is one thing, livestck is another.  
So this is just the short list. They do so much to be green and environmentally friendly!

Do you have a homestead or are contemplating one? I want to hear all about it.


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  1. I'm so glad I found them couple years ago. They are great pioneers in this movement and a huge inspiration. I'm glad you found them and I hope you get as much from their site as I have. Love the blog by the way!

  2. Thanks so much! Yes, the Urban Homestead website is loaded with great info. Who knows, maybe one of these days we'll get to this point!