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Urban Homesteading (Small Spaces)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hey all!

Right now, my husband and i are planning a move from PA to CA. CUrrently, we live in a condo and all of my pots are filled with flowers. Most of those flowers will be going to new homes when we go to move; we will be taking the pots with us.

From the looks of our income and whatever, it looks like we'll be moving into a condo setting. Many of the condos that we've seen (online) have small balcony or patio areas and sometimes small garden areas around the front doors and back patios (if they're ground foor).

I would like to grow herbs (cooking and medicinal), vegetables, and dwarf fruit trees. I want to start with those things that we eat the most of: apples and oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and beets, lettuce greens, and my little groups of herbs (italian, thai, french, and general). I think that all of these could be grown in pots, but i'm having trouble finding information about that.

Do any of you have web sites, books, or experience that you can offer me pointers on how to get started?

post #2 of 15
Just google container gardens. LOTS of stuff comes up. I posted a couple of sites for you to look at. Good luck!


post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 15
This is my absolute favorite website about urban homesteading:


I get totally inspired when I see how much they've been able to do in such a small space. You could do something like this--obviously scaled down--if you're lucky enough to get a ground floor condo or townhome.
post #5 of 15
We've done something similar to the PTF family. We live in a townhouse that we own in a historic city. We have a small front yard and a small backyard that are "ours" and they are FULL of stuff.

I would love to be able to move off-grid and have acreage but for the time being that just isn't in the cards so we do the best with what we have!
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
i love path to freedom.

i was looking for a more direct "how to" in pots. WE may only get a balcony and front porch to work with. but, even that will be something and I'd be happy with it.

i love PTF!
post #7 of 15
We do a LOT of container gardening on our small deck in the 'burbs. My absolutely favorite resource is _The Bountiful Container_ by Rose McGee and Maggie Stuckey. We grow lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, peppers, and tons of herbs on our deck. We have some other garden beds in our yard also, but you can grow an awful lot of food on a small deck or patio if you have good sun, etc. there. I've had great luck with "The Cook's Garden" seed company (out of Vermont) which has a lot of good suggestions for what to grow in containers. (I don't have any connection with them, just like their catalog.) The Bountiful Container book has an appendix with lots of mail-order sources for container gardening.

We use window boxes on the railing of our deck, some huge oval shaped containers for tomatoes and cukes, and some medium flower-pot-type containers for hot peppers and herbs. We also use an auto (set on a timer) watering system because in containers you need to really watch the water because plant roots can't go looking for water the way they can in a regular garden bed.

Good luck!
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

have you heard of this little bit of advice?

utilizing plastic water bottles, cut off the bottom of the bottle. bury the top of the bottle (without the cap) into the soil of the pot and then fill the water bottle with water (it iwll also catch rain). this way, the plants can get enough moisture without having to 'overworry' about watering.
post #9 of 15
I love Path to Freedom too! What part of CA are you moving to? If you are down south, you can visit PTF My family lives in the bay area, and they have lots of community gardens there. My aunts both have condos and they have small "yards" out back that would be a nice size for an intensive garden. Good luck with your cross country move Zoebird!
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
we're moving to So Cal. i do plan on visiting them in pasadena when we get there, but we won't be living in pasadena ourselves.

the job is in woodland hills (near sherman oaks and calabasas), but we want to live a bit further south closer to santa monica.

good to know that some condos have little yards for intensive farming. it's really what i'm looking for to start with.
post #11 of 15
post #12 of 15
zoebird, what kinds of plants are you giving away when you leave? I know you're near me, I might be able to help you out with some of them
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
uhm, couple of butterfly bushes, and some water plants.
post #14 of 15
oooh, we just built a pond. I'd love some of the water plants, if they're not claimed yet
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
my MIL claimed them. i was going to give them to my friend, but as i was telling my MIL what i planned to do with the plants, she blurted "I want the water plants!"

and when i said "well, ipromised them to a friend" she freaked out. so, i'm giving them to her. Sorry!
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