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Sunday, June 6, 2010


Michael and I have been MIA (Moving Into an Apartment) which has caused us to go MIA (Missing In Action) and have neglected just about everything that didn't have to do with moving.

We sold our little backyard farm with high hopes to find a slightly larger home on a little more land where we could expand our operation. It seems like every house we are interested in just slips through our fingers like sand. We got in a bidding war over 2 houses we really like and lost out on both. Can you believe it?!?!? A bidding war in this economy and this housing market? I don't get it. This week there was a darling white house with green shutters and a wrap around porch on an acre, in my price range. We set up the appointment to see it, and got canceled on because it went under contract. I was devastated.

Bare with me as I bore you with family photos. Should I whip out the wedding pictures? Michael and I just celebrated our 12th anniversary. That would really bore you to tears!

Speaking of tears, I'm still a little bit weapy about moving. I put a lot of time, energy, and love into this little house and it no longer belongs to me. Plus, I have so many wonderful friends in this neighborhood that I really miss.  It would be one thing if I got to move into a different home and start a garden, and think about where to put bees, or dream about the possibility of a cow or some pigs.  But no, we are in an apartment.

So I've had some "ugly cries" over the last two weeks. I really don't cry....ever. But I have this week. And by ugly cry I don't mean shedding a tear or two, an ugly cry is where you are slobbering and mascara is smeared all over your face. It isn't pretty.

I decided that I needed to quit being a "princess" and to get over myself and make the best of the situation. So I'm on a quest to discover the possibilities of apartment farming. I mean, that is what this blog is all about. It isn't about going out and buying a farm, it is about taking small steps in the right direction, wherever you are and with whatever property you have! All of a sudden I feel empowered.

Apartment #268...get yourself ready baby.

Please leave a comment with any apartment farming ideas you may have for me!!! I basically have a balcony to work with. I requested a south facing patio, but they only had East facing. It is about 4 feet by 6 feet. Thanks in advance for your ideas!


Johanna said...

I have a tomato plant in my apartmentwindow. And if you have a balcony you can grow allmost anything in pots. Potatoes, tomatoes whatever. Herbs are easy to grow in your kitchenwindow.

katiegirl said...

You can make a salad wall for your balcony! I've seen some neat ideas using gutters, but I even saw some with those over-the-door type shoe holder bags. You know the plastic kind that have individual pockets for shoes? You can put small drainage holes in them, then plant different greens in each individual pocket. And it doesn't take up much space since it will hang vertically!

Hang in there, you'll find the home of your dreams soon, and you won't even miss those other houses! Good luck!

Laura at By the Bushel said...

I feel your pain. really. I'm currently 'on the road' to my homestead, renting where I have big garden beds, but it's not our home on the inside, & I want to PAINT! eEK! I miss my neighbors & friends, and I spend every waking moment looking for OUR homestead. ... may your search be QUICK & profitable! Be blessed! can't wait to see what the balcony brings forth!


I wouldn't even bother growing in your apartment. Why not get organized for your next move? Seeds. Journals. Photos. Bind your blog posts. Take advantage of not having to garden. You'll be up to your eyeballs in acreage soon.

Laura @ Getting There said...

I understand your frustration. I too have had a few cries because life didn't seem to be going the way we had planned, and because I wanted my homestead NOW. I still will probably have a few years to wait, hopefully you won't have to wait that long. :)

As for the apartment...I think I am going to agree with Maybelline that it might be more fun for you to do some planning for your gardens at your new home, than to do something at the apartment. What if your dream home shows up a week from now? Don't give up hope, you'll be there in no time. :)

Cindy said...

Some of us have to plant a garden. It is not a want, it is a need.

I am so sorry for your current situation. Keep reminding yourself that it is temporary.

When we had to move due to job loss last year, one of the hardest things, besides moving away from friends, was the loss of my veggie garden and chickens.

How about a hanging garden on the edge of your balcony? Or maybe there's a community garden in your area?

Vikki said...

I have a lot of plants in a spare bedroom ... a whole plastic kiddie pool with greens, short carrots, radishes and green onions. Even one strawberry plant! You can do it too.

I'm sure your dream home will find you soon. We just went through this and I feel your pain. Hang in there.

Vikki at http://vikkisverandah.blogspot.com and http://write-a-bit.blogspot.com

Jennifer said...

I love katiegirl's salad wall garden idea. You could do that and then move it with you in a cinch.

The house next door to me is going on the market this week. (hint, hint). Only .20 acres I'm afraid, but with apricot, yellow apple and Asian pear apple trees. Right now there is an adjoining gate to my yard. Jeff has already said that if the neighbors are right, he'd like to propose removing part of the fence to share yards. Plus, I know at least one next door neighbor would have no objections to your chickens. (Me!!)

Have you looked into any community gardens? What about offering to help friends in their gardens or asking to use some of their space? I know it's not the same as your own homestead, but it might give you a fix all the same.

I suspect that the frustration you currently feel will make you appreciate your new home even more. As for ugly cries, consider yourself lucky you have them so rarely! That's why I don't wear mascara. Good luck!

ChristyACB said...

Everyone here has posted good stuff but there are a couple of things I can pass on.

Things that make an apartment good for farming often make it a nightmare to live in.

By that I mean a nice large south facing upstair patio of good size that isn't getting shaded is great for potted tomatoes and peppers and will roast you like a thanksgiving turkey inside during the summer. Particularly since a lot of those use the slider as the window for the living room and so get full sun blast.

Many "garden apartments" focus on the shaded aspects of outdoor life or rely on tall fences that shade. Hard to find but worth it to find one with just the right light.

Try Patio Marconi Peppers and Apple Green Eggplant for pots. Both from Baker Creek. Worked fab for me.

I sure hope you find that perfect gem as soon as is possible. And that no one else knows about it!

Missy said...

Any kind of raised bed garden works on a balcony, as well as the topsy-turvy tomato plants but here's another idea: why don't you talk to a local elementary school about starting a garden there? A lot of schools have gardens for the kids to work in, mostly fueled by volunteers.

I know you blogged about homeschooling (I was homeschooled too!) but I don't think that any school in this economy would turn down a partnership gardening project! The kids at my son's elementary school can take an after-school gardening class, done by volunteer gardeners, and they get to eat what they grow -- all in the inner city.

Other ideas -- is there an elderly person you know who needs help with a garden? A local 4-H club that could use your expertise and would give you a chance to work with other families/children on gardening projects? A local university that needs weeders for research gardens?

I totally understand the need to get your hands into some rich soil, and we are in the middle of transitioning and moving right now too (I put the first tomato plant I have ever successfully grown in Tucson into a pot to take with me, where it promptly died). It's hard, but there are other options out there while you wait for your dream acre. :)

Kim said...

Know that God does indeed have a plan. I can relate to your "ugly" cry. I had several and shaking my fists at the heavens when our house took 18 months to have a first offer. It did sell, but took 3 months to close. We were so discouraged...we had leapt in faith and it didn't seem to be working. Now, looking back we see there was a plan and it was good.

From the start of our move from NC to finally settling permanently out west, we lived in 3 different rentals. I never expected so much transition and so many moves but in the end it's been good. Truly good.

Look for a community garden or a food bank garden. Those experiences will be very special for your children, and they will be happy to send you home with produce.

There's some people you are to meet along the way and some who are needing to meet you.

One last piece of advice - make your apartment your home. I didn't do that on the first two rentals, but on the third I did. It was a home for our family. It made a huge difference. Hang pictures. Move in. Laugh. Cry. Cuddle. Read.

Trust that the right property will come at the right time - just when you least expect it.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven... (Eccl. 2)

Blessings, Kim

Wendy said...

Have you heard of window farms? It might be just what you're looking for, especially if you have a south facing window.

There's also this website that sells seeds specifically suited to container gardening.

If you're interested in keeping some birds, and your apartment allows "pets", you might consider keeping quail. They don't take up a lot of space (an adult quail needs less than one square foot). The eggs are tiny, but with a dozen females, you'd get the equivalent of four laying hens in quail eggs. If you had two 4'x2' cages stacked on top of one another, you'd have more than enough space for sixteen birds (with a ratio of twelve females to four males, you'd be good).

It's not much fun being limited in your gardening space, especially after having your backyard farm, but it can be fulfilling.

Holly said...

Ok I'm a bad friend. I didn't know you were moving to an apartment. For my two cents... you might find four kids in an apartment a bit too much to take if you start growing things as well. If it were me in the same situation I'd get a community garden plot like others have mentioned. As for the house - I know I sound like a broken record but there are three awesome foreclosures in my neighborhood, all with at leas half an acre! I know how frustrating this is - we also walked through houses only to find them under contract before we'd even finished the tour. In the end I know at least one of them later got a junk yard put in just down the road.... so it all happens for a reason.

Holly said...

I had another idea too. Maybe instead of growing you can focus this summer on garden related topics like what to do with all the produce; canning, drying, decorating, etc.

Kim said...

I was going to add one more thought..that has constantly been coming back to me. I guess I should share it!

If God had moved us to our our current property when my children were young, I could not have handled it. It would have been no joy, all work, and exhaustion. God moved us last fall to our beautiful five acres in the woods, but it requires ALOT of work. Our kids are 5 and 7 and they are really able to help in the garden and around the property. But, I can leave them in the house to play quietly while I try to squeeze in some mowing! This is such a blessing to know they are obeying and safe. I could not have done that two years ago.

We could not have "held" or cared for the land well any sooner than last fall. Still, it requires tons of time. We "knew" what we were choosing, and yet we didn't. I'm so thankful that God moved us at just the right time for us to be able to manage what He's given us.

I will also add the detail that God saved us nearly $100k by waiting. We would never have had this house and land - it would not have even been on our radar (it was out of our price range) three years ago.

He cares about every detail of your life. His timing is perfect. I don't know your kids' ages, but I thought I saw something about you having four of them. You are busy!

When I think of your story and the road our family has traveled, I pray that you will rest in the right timing. It will come. It will. You will be surprised when it all happens. It will be good.

Blessings, Kim