Updated: Jul 9, 2022
You don't need a huge property to be a little self-sufficient, even tiny spaces can produce food. I live in an apartment and grow quite a number of vegetables and herbs, plus a citrus tree. I also harvest my own seeds. Here are a some urban farmer ideas that you can do too.
Grow your own
It can be intimidating to begin growing edibles in your apartment. Before you start gardening, think about the soil type, the amount of sunlight, and the amount of space available. Gardeners who are inexperienced or new to gardening may give up after one failed attempt, but the secret is to keep trying until you succeed. As a result, we've put together a beginning kit for growing edibles in your flat.
Start easy - grow herbs
Herbs are a fantastic way to start urban farming because they take up less room and require minimal upkeep. Having an assortment in your apartment is like having a spice rack at your fingertips, which you may use for cooking, preparing your tea blends, or even for medicinal purposes. Grow some mint, coriander, parsley, and chives to begin. It is best to keep mint varieties in a separate pot when grouping herbs because they tend to choke out other plants. Try growing some herbs in a hydroponic system.
Although it may seem impossible to grow fruit in your apartment, many berries and small citrous fruits survive in these conditions. Containers and outdoor patios would be ideal growing sites for them.
When growing your citrus fruits, the most important thing to remember is to give the plants plenty of sunlight. Well-drained soil with a sandy, loamy texture is excellent for these fruits. Meyer lemons and dwarf mandarin or blood orange cultivars are ideal for indoor gardens if space is limited. It's worth noting that they might not bear fruit the first year, but the wait will be well worth it.
You can compost your food scraps using the Bokashi system. I've written about this on my other blogs, so hop on the link to find out more.
Shop with Local Producers
Today more businesses are popping up online that offer unique farm to table products. Here are a few alternative grocers in Australia that I've written about on another blog that I publish.
Another way to live an urban farmer's lifestyle is to visit the local farmers market on the weekend. I buy my jam and honey from a local producer who supplies the bakery near where I live. Please do some research on community pages to find locals that may sell jams, eggs and fruit and vegetables from their garden.
Today I needed to harvest some of my herbs and use up some tomatoes that I purchased from the local farmers market, so here are three recipes that you can start your urban farmer lifestyle.
Mint and Lemon Balm Chutney with Variation
As an urban farmer, you need to make the most of whatever you grow. Today I have an abundance of mint and lemon balm, and as the days are getting shorter and colder, it's time to harvest this lot and let the soil rest for a while before I prepare it for a new crop. I've decided to use it for a mint and lemon balm chutney that I will use on fish or samosas.
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves and
1 cup loosely packed lemon balm (or replace with 1 cup of frozen thawed frozen peas)
1 small clove garlic, peeled (optional)
1/2 – 1 medium jalapeño, deseeded and roughly chopped (optional)
2 tbl plain greek yoghurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp water (plus more as needed)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and add more liquid. Use within three days.
Great with fritters, pakoras, chickpea pancakes and samosas.
I bought a bag of beautiful tomatoes at the farmer's market, but since I have not used them all yet, I don't want any waste, so I'll whip up a quick tomato chutney.
3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes, onion, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Place saucepan over medium-low heat.Transfer to a canning jar or container. Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
This chutney will keep in an airtight closed container in the refrigerator for two weeks. Keep the chutney in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a year for more extended storage. You may put it in the fridge to defrost and then use it once it's thawed.
Pesto enhances the flavour of everything. Change up your herbs, nuts, and cheeses if you feel adventurous. Toss it into grilled fish, poultry, or even scrambled eggs for a flavour boost.
3 cups basil
2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cup dried pine nuts (toasted and be careful they don't burn)
1 clove of garlic (I use 1 tsp garlic oil)
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Directions: 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
To combine the ingredients, add them to the pitcher in the order specified, cover with the pitcher lid, then PULSE 5 times for 3 seconds each.
Tip: Reduce the amount of cheese to 1 cup for a lighter version.
Blend on LOW for 20-30 seconds, or until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Insert the tamper through the hole in the pitcher lid and stir to redistribute the ingredients if they aren't blending evenly.
Refrigerate for 4 to 7 days
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