Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Urban homesteading

The physiological needs as described by Maslow include food, water, clothing, and shelter. Since these are the basic needs one must meet in order to survive they are the focus of my goal towards Independence. Now these may be met in numerous of ways. Some do it through employed work, investments, or by selling a product. A method that has always impressed me since I started reading about Mahatma Gandhi was self sufficiency. This is the method through which I would like to achieve my financial independence.

I do not think I will achieve the degree of self sufficiency that Gandhi has. For instance I will not be spinning my own cotton to make cloth. It is by far easier to live off societies waste. For example I can pick up a t shirt for 10¢ at the local thrift store and find a bottle to recycle on the way making the shirt free. I will however focus on growing as much food as possible on my land and paying off my house as quickly as possible. These goals will be more difficult to achieve considering the fact I life in an area that is rated a zone 3. Giving me only 3 months of growing time without frost. However, I plan to use season extenders to achieve a 4 to 6 month growing season. I also hope to do this with as little cost as possible.

Some books I have found helpful to this point include

How to Grow More Vegetables and Lazy bed gardening by John Jeavons

Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen

Four Season Harvest and The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman

Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.

As for paying off the house. Once the Student Loan is finished (Aug or Oct 2009) I plan on making double payments towards the mortgage. This will be done with the extra money I have from the student loan payment as well as having an exchange student rent a room off of us. I figure since the house is my biggest financial investment this far it better start paying a return. It will do this by the food it produces and the rent I will make.

As of present my yard is producing the following goods: 2 crab apple trees ( I am planning on taking one out but am waiting for the younger tree to produce enough before taking the older tree out.) 2 apple trees different varieties and a plum tree. In the green house I have tomatoes and water melon. In the garden I have lettuce, peas, cabbage, carrots, onion, potatoes, corn, broccoli, spinach, collards, beets, pumpkin, squash, zucchini, buck wheat, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, sunflowers, and beans. I am currently working on building a root cellar for storage of the goods over the winter. Items that don't store well will be canned or ate this summer. I will write more on my achievements as time passes.