Apartment Homesteading for Beginners: Grow Your Own Food and More

Homesteading conjures up visions of large pastures, crops planted in row gardens, fruit trees and chickens clucking around the yard. But how do you homestead if you don’t live on a large property?

Apartment homesteading is the perfect way to embrace homesteading with limited space. From growing food and cooking from scratch, to learning DIY skills and creating systems for sustainability, there are many ways to become an apartment homesteader.

Today, our family backyard farms on 5 acres in NH but we’ve been practicing homesteading for many years in apartments and small homes before moving to our current property. In this article, we will share some of the best ways to homestead in an apartment as well as general information to get you started urban homesteading for beginners.

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What is Apartment Homesteading?

Apartment homesteading is practicing traditional or modern homesteading all within the confines of an apartment or small house in an urban or sometime suburban setting. This means that you are limited on space for things like animals and a garden. Don’t let this stop you! There are so many ways you can practice homesteading is a small space. With a little creativity, you can create a homestead apartment full of fresh food, sustainable practices and a homestead mindset.

Welcome to the Backyard Farming Connection! I'm Gretchen, and I have dedicated the past 15 years of my life to homesteading and backyard farming. Our platform, established over a decade ago, serves as a valuable hub of knowledge, providing insightful tips and practical guidance. Through our shared journey, we delve into the realms of growing food, raising animals, promoting sustainability, and honing essential homestead skills. 

Before You Get Started Apartment Homesteading

In the next section we will share some of the best ideas for homesteading in an apartment, but before we jump in, it’s worth pausing and coming up with your own idea of what you want to accomplish in your homestead apartment. Exactly how you begin apartment homesteading depends on a number of factors. Consider the following questions to help you decide what to do.

  • How long do you plan to homestead in apartment? Are you setting up something permanent or do you plan to move to a larger space at some point?
  • What draws you to homestead? Knowing why you want to homestead will help you prioritize. For example, if your primary reason for homesteading is to be more sustainable, focus on the ideas below that bring you closer to that goal.
  • Are there any restrictions where you live?
  • Do you have the time and resources to support your apartment homestead? Do you have space in your apartment?
  • Do you have roommates? How do they feel about you starting to urban homestead

Looking for more planning resources? Check out:

Learn more about Urban Homesteading

10 Ways to Homestead in an Apartment

Below you can find some of the best urban homesteading ideas to get you started in your own apartment.

Grow Your Own Food

Even in an apartment it is still possible to grow a lot of food. Take advantage of every windowsill, balcony, or even consider grow lights as places to grow your own food. The amount of light in your apartment will dictate how much you can grow. In general plant food that is compact, provides a large harvest and is something you enjoy eating.

A few ideas for the best food to grow in an apartment include:

The Top 10 Plants to Grow When Homesteading in an Apartment: Easy to Grow, Nutritious, and Delicious

Herbs: most herbs make great apartment plants and it is wonderful to have herbs on hand when you are cooking a meal. Even with a larger homestead, we always grow herbs in our kitchen. Consider basil, parsley, chives, mint, and thyme. Keep your plants in containers and make complete use of windowsills and any outdoor spaces.

Microgreens: microgreens are easy and fast to grow and provide a wonderful addition to many dishes. Grow your microgreens right in your kitchen and harvest them when the first leaves develop. If you keep microgreens growing at all times you will always have a ready supply of home grown food.

Small crops: Especially if you have a small outdoor space like a patio, balcony or even just stairs, consider growing some small potted plants. Choose plants that stay compact. Good options include: cherry tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, strawberries, bush beans and peppers.


Vermicomposting, or composting with worms, can be done indoors in a small container. It’s a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your plants. We’ve kept a worm bin both under our kitchen sink and in a small basement room that we had access too. If you can’t compost in your own home, many cities have a composting service that will pick up food waste or you can drop food waste off. Search locally for a composting service.

Make your own Cleaning Supplies

Making your own cleaning supplies isn’t just easy, but is generally more cost effective and environmentally effective. Most household cleaners can be replicated with simple ingredients that you can buy at your local store. Vinegar alone makes a great cleaner for a variety of purposes.

If you don’t want to make your own cleaning supplies, you can consider buying environmentally friendly cleaning products.

See more about how to make homemade cleaning supplies.

Apartment Homesteading: Learn to knit

Reduce Consumption, Reuse then Recycle

Homesteading is about growing your own food, but it also focuses on consumption. Just like homesteading from centuries ago, using everything you have and reducing waste are key elements in reducing our reliance on large stores and consumer culture. Start by being very selective about what comes into your apartment and consider getting clothes and other goods second hand.

Another good way to reduce is to use a hang dryer instead of a clothes dryer – this not only save energy but money!

In addition to reducing consumption, look for ways to reuse items and if that isn’t enough, make sure to recycle. Below are a few ideas of how to reuse or repurpose items:

  • Use food packaging to grow seeds such as bottles cut in half
  • Compost your food scraps into healthy soil
  • Use door knobs as wall hooks
  • Use magazines as wrapping paper

Choose Renewable Energy

If you can’t put in your own renewable energy, many power companies give you the option to choose to get your energy from a renewable energy source. This usually costs a small additional fee but it is a way to choose you own power source.

You can also work to reduce your energy usage and try to use your energy-intense machines when the power demand is low (usually midday and in the middle of the night).

Cook and Preserve your own Food

Cooking from scratch and preserving your own food are cornerstones of homesteading. Just because you don’t have a garden overflowing with food, doesn’t mean you can preserve and cook with fresh food. You can use food purchased in bulk at a grocery store, visit a farm, or stop at the farmer’s market.

Dehydrate your Food: If you are limited on storage space, dehydrating your own food is a great option. Choose easy to dehydrate food like fruit or tomato paste. Dehydrating food is relatively easy!

Freeze your Food: If you have e a big enough freezer, freezing food can be a great option. We like to make homemade pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays that can be defrosted quickly and easily. You can also freeze high value food like berries.

Can your Food: if you have enough space in your apartment to can food, than canning is a great apartment homesteading skill. Learn more about canning your own food and always follow all rules completely to avoid issues with safety.

Cook from Scratch: Cooking from scratch can be as simple as making a fresh dinner every night or as complicated as making all your own food from scratch. Some easy ways to start cooking from scratch include:

  • Making your own granola
  • Making bread from scratch
  • Making your own cheese
  • Making your own ice cream

Join a CSA

A CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is a farm that provides food either as a delivery or pick up service. Most CSA’s offer weekly food during all or part of the year. Getting your food directly from a farm helps support that farm and often gives you the perfect food for cooking and preserving.

In addition to a traditional vegetable CSA, you can sometimes find a CSA that specialized in: bread, fish, meat, fruit, or dairy.

Shop Smart

One of the best ways to support local and encourage homesteading principles is to put your money where your principles are! This means be thoughtful for where and what you purchase. Whenever possible buy local and support other people who are also homesteading.

Learn Homesteading Skills

Become a DIY pro! There are so many homesteading skills you can practice in an apartment beyond growing your own food. Here is a list of some of the skills to consider:

  • Knitting and crochet
  • Sewing
  • Woodworking
  • Make soap
  • Make Candles
  • Learn to carve

Read up on Homesteading

Especially if you plan to homestead on a larger property, use the time when you are living in an apartment to read up and learn about homesteading. You can watch Youtube, read articles online, or get a few homesteading books.

Apartment Homesteading: Read homesteading books
Apartment Homesteading: Read homesteading books

Homestead OUTSIDE Your Apartment

Depending on your exact situation, the easiest way to embrace apartment homesteading is to look for opportunities outside your apartment. There is a strong community aspect to homesteading so looking for homesteading opportunities in the community has benefits for everyone.

The exact opportunities for homesteading if your community will depend on your community. Below are some ideas of how to engage in apartment homesteading without land.

  • Look for a garden plot in your community to grow your own food.
  • Join a nearby gardening or permaculture group
  • Take a course – you can find online courses or in person courses on gardening, raising animals and homesteading skills.

General Tips for Apartment Homesteading

Just like on a large property, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of possibilities for apartment homesteading. Below are a few tips for how to get started homesteading without land.

Start Small

  • Focus on a few plants or projects at first
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much to manage at once
  • Choose a few new skills to learn each year

Make the Most of Your Space

  • Get creative with vertical gardening and windowsill gardening
  • Dehydrate food to save food in a small space

Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

  • Make sure that you enjoy your hard work – grow food you love or sew yourself something beautiful
  • Celebrate your successes and learn from your failures

Next Steps: Apartment Homesteading and Dreaming of the Future

If you are currently homesteading in an apartment but plan to build a large homestead on some land in the future, you may see this as a step towards you future backyard farming dreams. This means you should think of this time as the opportunity to start building skills and practices you can use in the future on your backyard farm.

In addition to the apartment homesteading ideas listed above, you can also use this time to start looking for your perfect homestead. Decide how much land you need and what criteria to look for and spend time researching. Do you plan to farm and make money on your land? Do you want to fully support your family? Are you looking for a small garden space?

Use your time in the apartment to plan as much as you can in the future. You can see more about planning your homestead or backyard farm.

Summary of Apartment Homesteading

While homesteading in an apartment may seem limiting, there are many things you can do to homestead without land. Embrace the urban homesteading ideas in the article above to start living your homesteading dream today.

Apartment Homesteading
Apartment Homesteading
Apartment Homesteading

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