Self Sufficient Me

Royal Anbessa brings you the best items to promote food independence in today's smaller urban living spaces, by maximizing limited available square footage in innovative & creative ways

Modular Vertical Planters

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  • ZOKOP Food Dehydrator Large Drying Capacity with 6pcs Movable Trays, Temperature Time Adjustable, Height Adjustable, Fruit Dryer Meat Jerky Herbs BPA-Free
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    $79.00 USD
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  • 75" Waterproof Roof Two-tier Wooden Chicken Coop Rabbit/Poultry Cage.
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    $214.99 USD
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  • Modular Vertical Gardening Wall Mounted Fabric Planting Bags
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  • 5 - Tray Food Dehydrator
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    $100.00 USD
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    $100.00 USD
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  • Modular Vertical Gardening Wall Mounted Fabric Planting Bags
    Vertical Gardening Planter Pockets
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  • Wooden Frame Bee Hive with Non-Invasive, "Flow Hive" Automatic Honey collection.
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Start a Garden

Starting a garden is one of the most important first steps in urban homesteading. Being able to grow your own food reduces your dependence on the grocery store and helps you save money.

1. Get a bin: Compost bins now come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit small or large spaces. You can purchase one from a garden center, or you can make one using an online tutorial – compost bins can be fashioned from plastic storage tubs, wooden pallets, plastic garbage cans or even an empty wine barrel.

The natural processes active in your compost heap creates a lot of heat and can pose a slim fire risk. Avoid positioning your heap near a shed, fences or buildings, and make sure you monitor it, especially during periods of warmer weather.

2. Think green and brown: You need a mix of fresh green garden waste (think grass clippings, fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and tea leaves, vegetable plant remains and plants) and dry, brown matter (like dead leaves, dead plants and weeds, and hay) for your compost bin. The soft, green garden waste is nitrogen-rich and the dry brown waste is more carbon-rich– both are ideal for developing good compost. Place a layer of woody garden refuse on the bottom to create good airflow, and then layer green and brown matter whenever possible.

3. Think beyond green and brown: Did you know that you can compost egg shells, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, paper bags and torn-up cotton clothing? Add these items in moderation. However, don’t put any cooked food waste in your compost – it attracts vermin!

4. Just add water: If you have too much dry matter, a light watering will help it decompose more quickly. Your pile should be damp but not soaked. To help your compost retain more water, consider putting a lid on your compost bin.

5. Then add air: The final ingredient for successful compost is … air! Make sure to turn compost regularly (at least every couple of weeks) with a pitchfork or shovel, and make sure your compost bin allows air to enter. Otherwise, your compost could become anaerobic, with a slimy appearance.

6. Use compost to make your garden healthier: Compost can act as a water-retaining mulch, a liquid fertilizer (called “compost tea”) and a lawn fertilizer:

To use as a mulch, spread it in a 2- to 3-inch layer around flowers, bushes, trees and shrubs. To make compost tea, steep a shovel-full of compost in a 5-gallon bucket for two to three days, and then pour the resulting liquid on your plants. To fertilize your lawn, just add a 1- to 3-inch layer of compost to the grass, and then rake it to evenly distribute it. Over time, rain water will push the compost into the soil, feeding your lawn in the process

WHY SHOULD YOU REGROW FOOD IN WATER?

There are plenty of reasons to regrow food, but the most important ones to me are:

(1) IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE.

You already bought the vegetable. All it costs is a few tablespoons of water – but if you’re smart about it, you can  re usr water that you have already used elsewhere, like from boiling pasta or water that you collected while waiting for the shower to get hot. Then it wouldn’t cost you a dime!

(2) IT’LL TRIM YOUR GROCERY BUDGET.

small savings really do add up to bigger savings, as long as you’re diligent about using them.

Now, you won’t get a huge harvest out of any of these items, but it is still food and every little bit helps. Even if it’s a few leaves of lettuce to scoop your tuna salad with, you can regrow food you didn’t have before and won’t have to buy.

(3) IT MAKES ORGANICS MORE AFFORDABLE!

affording organic food just got easier! If you start with organic food, you’ll regrow food that’s organic… so you’ll reap the benefits of organic greens without actually paying for them!

(4) IT’S EASY.

Do I have to explain further? I mean, stick the plant in water and watch it grow. Really – it’s that easy!

BOK CHOY

Cut off the bottom of the stalk and place in a small bowl of water. New growth begins from the center in 1-2 days with significant growth in less than a week!

CABBAGE

Place the root end in a shallow bowl of water and watch it regrow from the center. Be sure to harvest on the smaller side to get the best flavor.

CARROT GREENS

You can’t regrow an actual carrot, but you can regrow the carrot tops! Place the cut-off end of a carrot in a shallow bowl of water. Harvest the greens as they grow and add to salads.

CELERY

Cut off the bottom 2″ of the stalk and place in a small bowl of water. New growth begins from the center in 3-4 days. It might take awhile for a full stalk of celery to grow, but you’ll get great growth in the center for flavoring dishes. If you don’t know what to do with the leaves, dehydrate them and make yor own dried celery pouder.

FENNEL

Cut off the bottom 1″ of the base so that the roots are intact and place in a small bowl of water.

GARLIC CHIVES

Garlic chives are the green that grows from a clove of garlic and can be added to dishes that traditionally call for green onion chives like salads and baked potatoes. Place a garlic clove in a small cup and add water to the bottom without submerging. Roots will grow in a few days and shoots will grow shortly after!

Tip: Garlic starts to lose it pungent flavor when the shoots grow, so if you find a rogue clove in your fridge or pantry starting to shoot, place it in a cup of water to grow chives instead of throwing the clove away!

GREEN ONION

Keep the white part of the onion with any roots that are in still intact. Place in a glass with water and you’ll have a never-ending supply of fresh green onion!

LEEKS

Cut off the bottom 2-3″ of the stalk and place in a cup of water. New growth will come from the center of the plant. Usually only the green part of the leek is used in cooking, but it can be used interchangeably with onions for a delicious, mellow flavor.

LEMONGRASS

Cut off 2-3″ from the bottom and place in a tall container with 1/2″ or so of water. New lemongrass shoots will grow from the center.

LETTUCE

Cut off the bottom of the head of lettuce and place it in a small bowl of water. New growth begins from the center of the trimmed plant in as little as 3 days and you’ll have a new half-head of lettuce in about 2 weeks. I’ve heard romaine re-grows best, but I’ve had success with green leaf and red leaf lettuce too.

Raise Backyard Chickens

You’ll need to look at your local bylaws before trying to raise chickens in your backyard. But a surprising number of communities allow it. Chickens are also a great animal to start with if you’re interested in raising livestock.

Making a little hutch out of scrap wood for your chickens won’t cost you very much. Baby chicks will only cost you a few dollars as well, During warmer months they can mostly get by on eating grass and bugs and kitchen scraps. So for very little time and money, you won’t need to buy eggs from the store for years to come.

Grow Your Own Mushrooms

Mushrooms bought at the grocery store are both overpriced and lacking in flavor and nutrients compared to ones that you grow at home. Even if your family isn’t eating a ton of mushrooms currently, they’re a great option to start growing & eat if you want an inexpensive and deeply nutritious protein source.

Make Your Own Bread!

If you’re like most families, you go through a lot of bread every week. Bread costs much more to buy at the store than it does to make, so it’s an excellent candidate for low-cost homesteading.

Make Your Own Alcohol

It’s no secret that your favorite adult beverage is marked way up in price at your favorite bar or grocery store, and those Friday nights out or indulging with friends add up quickly, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be saving tons of money. Plus, you can make your drink exactly to your liking.

Make Your Own Yogurt

Yogurt is one of those staple foods that you’re better off making on your own. It’s one more step toward self-sufficiency, and you’ll save some money, too. It’s simple to make and requires just a few basic supplies: milk, a stockpot and canning jars. 

Find A Community!

One of your greatest resources when you’re just starting on your homesteading journey is to find like-minded people.

If you already live in the country, that might be your neighbors and other farmers in the area. If you’re still living in the city, look for groups of gardeners and other like-minded people.

Friends are an invaluable asset to have. They might give you free seeds and vegetables, lend you a tractor or roto-tiller for the weekend, or just offer helpful advice on how to get started with your homestead. Farmers with years of experience can tell you all about the weather and climate, local laws, where you get cheap supplies and other important information.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Homesteading can be hard to do all on your own. Especially in the beginning.