Urban Homesteading

We no longer live on ten, fifty, one hundred or three hundred acres—all past situations. We now live in a duplex with a very small yard. But that situation hasn’t stopped us from growing some of our own food.

After determining that the east side of our house received at least six hours of sun per day, we drove to Bailey, North Carolina and purchased several three-year old blueberry plants of three different varieties (needed for pollination). We took out overgrown nandinas and other shrubs and replaced them with blueberries. They bloom in the spring, are green all summer and turn red in the fall.

 We have been able to pick, eat and freeze blueberries for the past four years. We pull weeds occasionally, but the plants and their mulch pretty well shade them out. We net them as the berries become ripe and enjoy picking daily from late June to mid-July.

This spring we added to our future berry production by planting a serviceberry tree. It is a native Virginia tree which blooms early in the spring and eventually will produce an edible berry, similar to a blueberry.

Sage, rosemary and oregano grow beside the blueberries as do daylilies and a huge Annabelle hydrangea; overall, a nice landscaping feature.

Total effort was one day’s drive, one day taking out shrubs, one day planting, thirty minutes netting the plants each year and during the season, fifteen minutes a day picking. Freezing involves washing and drying, placing on a cookie sheet to freeze and then filling containers. No chemicals, no transportation and fresh, yummy berries. While blueberry pie and my concoction of blueberry delight (a trifle sort of dessert made with pieces of a simple yellow cake, vanilla pudding, whipped cream and blueberries) are family favorites, our usual enjoyment are healthier options: topping sugar-free cereal or mixed with yogurt and granola. And one added benefit, reaching under the net to pick creates all sorts of interesting yoga positions—free.