How were your first two years of growing your own food? Are you feeling more confident now, ready to tackle bigger projects and more challenging growing?
Maybe you’re still at the point where you haven’t dialled in everything to be perfect. To be (perfectly!) honest, perfection is going to really never happen. After all we’re dealing with nature!
The important thing here is to learn from what worked and didn’t work and to constantly improve Look at last year and this year and you’ll be amazed at the difference one year has made!
Let’s continue to focus on solutions and not dwell too much on what we call “problems”. In life there really are no “problems”. Things are only a problem when we label them that way. Mindset is still key, even this far into growing your own food.
Making homegrown food your family’s lifestyle doesn’t mean ditching your 9-5 job and living off the land. It just means making the growing of food just as important (or more important) as going to the grocery store. And looking for ways to improve the seed to table to seed lifecycle.
The third year is the transition to urban homesteading. Urban homesteading is simply that: growing food on an urban or suburban property, usually less than 1/4 acre in size. Growing food of course also requires other things such as good compost, proper irrigation and plans for what to do with your harvests so you can enjoy them in winter.
So now what? Your heading into your third year and wondering:
- how do I really utilize the space I have for supporting food production?
- how do I start saving seeds?
- how do I cut down on expenses?
- what exotic veggies and fruit could I try?
- do I need a greenhouse and what are the benefits of having one?
- how can I automate most of my maintenance so it is low-touch?
Preparing for year Three and beyond - 3 actionable steps to transition to an Urban homestead
Yes, this can be a major expense. I know, because I spent over $500 on my greenhouse and I was lucky to be able to recycle some windows from the old greenhouse that was built by the previous owner of our property.
However the benefits of a greenhouse will give you a fast ROI (return on investment) in most cases. You can start your own seedlings, overwinter plants that otherwise would die outdoors and grow some veggies like greens.
It’s such a popular way to improve your results that I’ve created a guide for you that links to other information on this website.
Check it out here: Greenhouse Guide
When we first looked at our current property when we were house hunting, we were blown away by the number of mature fruit trees in the backyard. I instantly saw the value in having trees that normally take several years to start producing fruit after they are planted.
And we’ve supplemented those existing fruit trees with a row of raspberries, strawberries in various containers and even a banana tree!
It’s never too early to start thinking about growing fruit. The harvest are prolific when you hit a good year and fruit is relatively easy to grow.
Again this is such a popular topic, that I’ve created a guide for you that links to other information on this website.
Check it out here: Fruit Growing Guide
WARNING: there are some areas that prohibit the collection of rain water that falls on your property. Usually it has to do with water rights and some other quite silly reasons. However violating these laws could results in stiff fines and even jail time, so you want to obey these laws or at least understand the risks if you decide to violate them. If in doubt, check with your local municipality about any restrictions.
There are lots of benefits to use rainwater instead of city tap water to water your food plants.
- Save money
- Right temperature for your plants
- No chemicals such as chloramine, chlorine, fluoride, etc.
- Can still use during drought and severe watering restrictions
So with all these benefits, why wouldn’t you collect rainwater? It’s not hard to setup and once setup doesn’t require much maintenance.
You can buy special water collection barrels that come with a tap/spigot to empty them into a watering can or attach a garden hose to. These tend to be expensive as they are designed to blend in with the surroundings. Below are some options on Amazon if you can’t find the right kind locally.
If you are not as worried about esthetics, you can find 55 gallon plastic food-grade drums locally through food suppliers, restaurants and bakeries as they get bulk food and ingredients delivered in these. Make sure they didn’t contain any chemicals such as cleaning products as these are almost impossible to clean enough that the rainwater you collect doesn’t get contaminated. You’re looking for food-grade barrels or drums.
If you can’t find them locally, you can also get them through Amazon.
What do I need to buy?
Now that you’re expanding with growing your own food, there are several ways to invest in your future.
If you don’t already have some basic woodworking tools, you may consider getting at least a general set as you’ll find they come in handy around the urban homestead. I have a buying guide here: 15 Woodworking Tools That You Can Use In The Garden
Expanding your knowledge with books is also a good idea. Here are some books I recommend at this stage in your journey:
- A Year On The Garden Path – A 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide By Carolyn Harriot
- The Zero-Mile Diet – A Year-Round Guide To Growing Organic Food By Carolyn Harriot
- Jamie At Home – Cook Your Way To The Good Life By Jamie Oliver
- The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How To Grow Your Own Food 365 Days A Year, No Matter Where You Live By Niki Jabbour
- The Year-Round Solar Greenhouse – How To Design And Build A Net-Zero Energy Greenhouse By Lindsey Schiller And Marc Plinke
Need More Help?
Do you need more help? Here are some additional resources that will help you stay on track and keep that motivation going in your third year and beyond! Remember YOU’VE GOT THIS!
- How to Get Started with Urban Homesteading
- Homestead Time Management: 7 Tips To Get More Done In The Garden
- Modern Homesteading Technology: How To Use Tech To Your Advantage
- How To Have An Urban Homestead And NOT Annoy Your Neighbours
- 10 Crucial Homesteading Skills You Need To Learn To Have Better Success
- Extreme Weather: Preparing The Homestead For Less Than Ideal Weather Conditions [37 Tips!]
- Why You Should Grow Roses On Your Urban Homestead
Do you learn best watching someone else?
Did you know I have a YouTube channel?
Subscribe today and learn tips and techniques from how-to videos. Also join me on regular homestead tours to get inspiration and motivation!
JOIN THE FREE FACEBOOK GROUP
Join a community of others just like you to share experiences, get answers to questions and get inspired to grow food!
Click here to answer a few simple questions and request to join the Healthy Fresh Homegrown Facebook group. You’ll usually be approved in one to two days and then you can introduce yourself and start interacting.
GET ONE-ON-ONE HELP
Transitioning to urban homesteading can be tough at times. I know because I’m in that transition myself and encountering challenges and problems that I didn’t have before. But I’m learning a lot!
So you’ll have those days where nothing seems to go right and everything seems to be stacked against you.
Generic help might not always be best. You may realize now at this stage in your homegrown food journey that you need personalized help to get you through some of the more difficult decisions and problems that are bound to crop up.
Consider getting garden coaching. What is garden coaching? These are sessions that are online, one-on-one and usually are an hour in length.
For more information and to book your first session, go to Garden Coaching for Growing Food At Home