I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with author Scott Meyer about everything from his childhood, to his particular shade of green, to his most recent book: “The City Homesteader: Self-Sufficiency on Any Square Footage.”
The book covers subjects including, but not limited to, growing, foraging, raising small livestock and home management—and believe it or not, is meant for those in a variety of different living scenarios, from rural to urban and everything in between. As a previous editor of Organic Gardening magazine, Meyer has learned a lot about living off the earth over the years. Now, with a growing trend of homesteading sweeping the nation, Meyer says he wanted to share his wealth of knowledge on the subject to help others “discover how easy it is to take control of their own food supply, live more lightly on the planet and make their own corners of the world safer and cleaner.”
The section on gardening gives tips on everything from growing spices on a windowsill to constructing raised beds throughout a garden to keep your crops controlled and separate. When asked about his own homesteading habits at his suburban Philadelphia residence, Meyer said “I’m blessed with the chance to eat something that I’ve grown from my garden for about nine months out of the year. Right now I’m growing tomatoes, first and foremost—if you grow nothing else, you grow tomatoes—as well as peppers, some beets, potatoes and I have some garlic in the house that’s harvested and ready to eat.” He points out that these crops may not cover an entire meal, but they create plenty of ways to add just a little homegrown food to meals every day.
Other tips that Meyer suggests for beginning homesteaders include hanging laundry to dry instead of throwing it in a machine and looking for opportunities to do something without purchasing anything. “Ask yourself ‘How can I use my resources instead of my debit card,’” he said.
Here is an excerpt from “The City Homesteader.” You can purchase it for yourself in bookstores or on Amazon.com.
Small Space Project: Hanging Gardens
These days you see a lot of advertisements for kits to plant tomatoes in a hanging basket and grow them down instead of up. It’s a fun idea that many gardeners (and maybe even more non-gardeners) are trying. It’s a nifty solution for growing your own tomatoes where there is no space to plant in the ground. Cherry tomatoes and bush-type larger tomatoes are best for this use.
To try this yourself, simply cut a hole big enough for a tomato stem in the bottom of any hanging flowerpot, then thread the tomato through the hole so that the vine hangs down and the roots are inside the pot. While holding the tomato vine in place, fill the pot with soil, then tamp it down firmly to be sure the plant is in securely. You can plant short-stemmed herbs and flowers, such as thyme or sweet alyssum, on top of the planter.