Part of living more simply is self sufficiency – Growing and hunting your own food, composting, recycling, reusing, etc. When most people think of self sufficiency, glamorous images of farmhouses on acres and acres of land drift into their minds. The exact opposite of city living. But, most people don’t realize that there are steps one can take to start a more self sufficient lifestyle, even if they live somewhere as small as an apartment.
I have lived in Wilmington about a year now, and while it’s not my favorite place in the world, I have done more to increase my self sufficiency here than anywhere else I’ve lived. I live in a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment and have already started making the steps and learning skills I’m going to need when I finally do get my dream farmhouse on acres and acres of land!
So what can you do to start a more self sufficient lifestyle today? Here are six simple changes to make:
1. Porch or windowsill garden. I got lucky and my apartment came with a sizable porch. So I have cherokee purple tomatoes, cayenne peppers, strawberries, thyme, basil, rosemary, lavender, and dill growing a couple feet from my front door! Even if you don’t have a large porch, many plants can still grow wonderfully in pots. My neighbors are even garnering and small orange tree, right in a pot! If you only have a windowsill, herbs are so easy to grow, and will save you money. Fresh herbs from the grocery store can be very expensive! They’re almost $5 here at the local grocery store.
2. Composting. This one may be a bit tricky for an apartment, but it’s not impossible! In a well ventilated receptacle, begin composting eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, and fruit and veggie scraps. This will help your garden, too.
3. Rain bucket. Summers in Wilmington mean brutal storms, so I have a bucket set up on the edge of my porch to collect rainwater. I use it to water my plants!
4. Canning. This is a skill I have not learned yet, but canning in your apartment is totally doable! Research the best way for your living situation, and start preserving your porch harvests!
5. Utilizing local farms and farmer’s markets. Even in cities, sometimes farmland is just a drive away, and farms sometimes sell their goods right from their land! And if not, most cities have a farmers market where you can get fresh, organic produce, eggs, dairy honey, and meat, and you’ll also be supporting local farmers! It’s a win win!
6. Recycling. In my apartment, bottled water is a no-no. But on a recent trip to a farther away beach, I forgot my water bottle and was dying, so I had to buy some at the one gas station during the long drive. While I initially felt bad, I realized I could continue using the bottle afterward. I poked multiple holes in the lid and now I use it as a watering can! Reuse and recycle constantly. I have three bins for plastic, aluminum, and glass that I regularly take to the recycling center.
Here are some shots from my porch:
Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, and Spearmint
Basil, Goji Berry, Dill and Peppers
Closeup of my peppers
Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
Eggshells are really good for tomato plants!
This is my recycling area. It’s a bit cluttered right now but we have aluminum, plastic and glass.
And my rain collector. It’s empty now, we have a heatwave going on and I’m keeping my plants hydrated, but a storm is probably on it’s way! They usually are.
I hope everyone is having a great weekend! If you’re in my neck of the woods, please stay hydrated and don’t stay out in the sun too long. Be safe!