I’m not going to say that it’s Haley Stewart’s fault because it’s not. I know that Haley and her family grow veggies, and I think that they grow a few kinds of fruit as well. But that’s not my big takeaway from the Stewarts’ urban homesteading because mostly I know that they have chickens. I know this because chickens are cute. I can’t currently have chickens because I’m about to move into an apartment and that’s not a good place for chickens. However, chickens are awesome, and someday, I want to own some. All that Haley contributed to this was giving me a positive association for the phrase “urban homesteading.”
This all started with a mint plant at the grocery store. They had a mint plant that cost $4. I like mint. I like mojitos. Buying fresh mint usually runs me about $4 a pop, so I grabbed the plant. I took it home and started working with it. My dining room window is enormous and faces east, so I put the plant on the dining room table. It liked that. I liked the mint.
The next week, I went back to the store and they had various potted herbs on sale for $2. I wanted to buy rosemary, parsley, and basil, but I could only find healthy rosemary. I bought two plants. I took them and put them in the dining room window sill. One of them likes that window sill; the other prefers sitting in the backyard. Weirdo.
I went to Trader Joe’s seeking basil and parsley plants. They didn’t have any that day, but they had little herb gardens with oregano, thyme, and rosemary. I bought one, and I put it in the dining room window sill. It likes its life there.
I still wanted basil and parsley plants, so I went to a local farm market that I knew carried plants. The goal was one basil plant and one parsley plant. My roommate told me when I came home that the funniest part of this story that I actually believed at any point in my life that I could only buy two plants.
I now own two pots that each contain four basil plants, two parsley plants, a chard plant, a kale plant, and a tomato plant. The parsley went in the kitchen window, which they love. Everything else went on the kitchen table. I’m not sure that the kale and the chard love it there. It might be too sunny for them there, so they might move to the front porch soon. We’ll see. But the basil loves it there. Loves it. The tomato plant is also happy there, and it might get a friend soon. We’ll see.
Why am I growing all of these plants? There are a few reasons. One of them is that I grew up in a family of gardeners. My mom, her siblings, my grandparents…they garden. I’ve grown up around their produce, and it just feels normal and natural to me. It’s also less expensive than going out and buying new tomatoes or new basil or new whatever every week. It’s also about being a responsible steward of the earth and about knowing where my food comes from. (The grocery store is not always a good enough answer for me.)
I’m also doing this to build a habit in myself. This is something that I want to continue beyond this summer. I’d like to continue to add plants (lettuce and cilantro are coming to mind) to this as time goes on. I’d like to add more vegetables-peas, carrots, beans, cucumbers. If I ever own a house, I might want to throw in some berries or maybe a fruit tree. I want to create a habit or tradition for myself. I want to create something that I can continue if I ever have children.