In our society, growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can–and will–overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world–we change ourselves. ~ Jules Dervaes ~

Here on the urban homestead we are celebrating true freedom and independence by growing our own food.

This month is certainly special as we celebrate another milestone this July.    We’ve been blogging here on the internet about our  self-sufficiency adventures for a decade now.   Every year forging new tracks, sowing the seeds of change and defining a new chapter in modern urban sustainability.  Since  the first journal entry on July 16, 2001 , little did we know what impact this pioneering site would have on people — and ourselves.    We pushed the limits and proved that you didn’t have to move to the country to homestead.

Over the years the site has gone through constant upgrades (thanks to sis’s hard work)  and she tells me more upgrades are in store.  Also, we’ll be celebrating all month long with a bunch surprises, stay tuned!

10 years, wow!    What  remarkable journey this has been!  Our family is extremely blessed, grateful and humbled that we’ve been able to share so much with so many.

Thanks to our loyal readers making us the oldest, largest and most comprehensive urban homesteading website on the internet.

And now the harvest numbers for June!

June 2011

610 lbs produce (vegetables, fruits and herbs)

Eggs 112 (duck) 48 (chicken)

2011 Year to Date

2,076 lbs produce (vegetables, fruits and herbs)

Eggs 722 (duck)  314 (chicken)

How’s your garden growing?

Have a wonderful, safe and fun weekend everyone.


  1. angie says:

    My garden is growing well – thanks for asking! 🙂 I am happy that you decided to bring your little homestead online so the rest of us could come along for the ride! Every time I get frustrated/impatient with the things I haven’t done yet, or the space I want more of, I can take heart because you all have done such wonderful things with your little place. Happy 10th anniversary – thanks for being here!

  2. Ginger says:

    Congratulations on your milestone. Your garden is my inspiration.

    • Anais says:

      @Ginger: Thank you, hope you are having a lovely summer!

  3. nikki says:

    Are you guys still getting money from “i give”? I still use it.

    • Anais says:

      @nikki: Yes, a few cents here and there – every bit helps. Thank you!

  4. Seth Schmidt says:

    Hi there,

    My wife and I are inspired by what you guys are doing thanks. I hope to get up there and meet you guys. Anyways we have returned from 2 years away in New Zealand and Oregon learning about homesteading and farming during our first two yrs of marriage. We are from Orange County, and left this place given the fast, cheap, and easy values that seem to drive this culture. Our hearts began to ache for this place and we felt called to return and begin to rethink the the current template for living here in this place.

    Having said that. I have a question about getting a late start on our garden and the lack of water that is in the ground because of that late start. 1.5 yrs ago we double dug our garden beds at my mom’s house and now that we are renting her house we resurrected the beds, but due to our arrival of our first daughter in early April. We are just getting our seedlings in the garden, and I have become discouraged by the lack of moisture in our beds. It is bone dry for the first 1.5 feet down. I have spent the last four nights really watering the beds hoping they would regain their moisture content, but each day i find that the beds are so dry that the water has only permeated about and 2 inches or so, and I my higher value to reduce water consumption is tempting me to throw in the towel until winter.

    On a positive note have learned gardening in So. Cal is very different from the water rich areas of New Zealand and Oregon, and yes you can grow year round, but you also have to learn how to use water appropriately? I guess we have started our learning process…

    So i guess i am wondering what my options are?

    1.Throw in the town and wait for the rain, and then start again with early planting and ground cover to keep the moisture in as long as possible. Then maintain moisture levels with harvested rain water/hose.

    2. Spend the money and water resources on a watering fan attached to the hose, and leave it on for a couple of hrs to really saturate the ground.

    3. Or look into those terra cotta watering barrels that you bury in the ground to disperse water, but those might only maintain current moisture, not re-establish the lost moisture

    Any thoughts?

  5. Megan says:

    I notice that you guys collect a lot more duck eggs then chicken. How many chickens do you have vs ducks and which eggs do you prefer more? Love your site and all the information that you guys share!

    • Anais says:

      @Megan: We have 7 chickens and 6 ducks. The chickens are now about 5 years old and go broody a bit more than the ducks. Out of the 6 ducks, 4 of the ducks are much younger (going on two) so they are laying more. We like both; however, the duck eggs are amazing to bake with!

  6. elaine nieves says:

    Happy 10th and many more! Thanks for sharing your experiences and photos with us for all these years. They are so inspiring. In my garden, since the weather has finally become sunny and hot, everything is growing! Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, tomatillos, strawberries, collards, kale and garlic. Have a great summer!

    • Anais says:

      @elaine nieves: Sounds like you have a wonderful garden full. Happy growing!

  7. Nebraska Dave says:

    Anais, The garden is growing good. I have harvested anything other than leaf lettuce. I have a few green tomatoes and some green pepper buds but nothing ready to harvest for probably another month. You are so fortunate to be able to grow things earlier than here in the midwest. The wild mulberries are small and not so tasty this year. I was going to try to make mulberry jam but the way they taste I think I’ll wait another year. I do believe they are way late this year as the weather was so moody. I’ll have to be satisfied with roadside stands and farmer’s markets for a while. The somewhat local southern midwest states are starting to harvest their produce so it’s starting to show up on street corners. Sweet corn OH YEAH and WATERMELLON. It’s a treat to get some real tomatoes for a change.

    My harvest total would most like be only a pound or two because lettuce just doesn’t weigh much.

    Have a great California harvest day.

    • Anais says:

      @Nebraska Dave: Glad to hear. Our tomatoes are slow this year for some reason. Still hoping for the bumper harvest to kick in. MMMM, mulberries. That’s too bad. Man, I would LOVE some sweet corn. Had a hankering for sweet corn the other day. Happy summer! 🙂

  8. Heather :) :) :) says:

    Congrats on the 10 year anniversary of your blog 🙂 🙂 It’s a fun place to visit and hear about all the adventures 🙂 🙂 Oh, and surprises…surprises are always good. Can’t wait to see what they are 🙂 🙂 Have a great 4th of July weekend. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂

  9. Sharon Wilson says:

    Came in this afternoon to rest these ol’ 61 year old bones, from hours in the garden, so I grabbed an old Mother Earth and chanced upon your article(2009). I’ve always gardened, more intensively when my husband was alive, but back at it again and more so now that it’s imperative with food costs and pollution. I have 6 acres in Iowa and every year I expand my gardens, but I’m really going to take this seriously now.

    I’ve always been a tree hugger, recycling and organic gardening and my blog is showing my change of heart, from more business oriented(antique dealer)to more homesteading…you guys are an inspiration, so I’ll be following closely, just wish I could get my consumer daughter to move away from the dark side and into the light, your kids should be commended and something to be proud of dad!!!

    Now back to digging into your site…thank you so much for caring and journaling your progress!


  10. Janice says:

    Congrats on your 10th Anniversary! Your produce always looks so amazing! You have figs coming in already? Ours are still green they usually start ripening near Aug.

    Green figs

    We had a 2 over-wintered figs that were giant!

    Giant fig

    Happy 4th of July! Keep the Freedom!

  11. Susan says:

    Congratulations on your anniversary! This month you celebrate our country’s Independence Day, then your own “independence” from the grocery store! =)

  12. V Schoenwald says:

    My garden is doing very well despite the wet, cold, rainy spring we had. I left the greenhouse plastic up until the first week of June and it paid off.
    Most of our area is not going to show tomatoes or cucumbers until about the middle of July or end of July, very late.
    Congratulation on 10 years, thank you for sharing your knowledge, and abilities.

  13. Stuart M. says:

    I’m glad to see the Urban Homestead is still going strong. Yesterday, I showed the educational clip on the Dervaes family urban farm in my English class (it came with the Pearson/Longman Northstar textbook). It’s always a real conversations starter, although most of my college students think you’re crazy! Only I and one student, a 32 year old mother, stuck up for you. We did a “benefit, hardship” analysis on the blackboard. The benefit list was very long. The only hardship the students could come up with was that they would cry if one of their animals died!

    Did anyone hear about Julie Ball in Oak Park, Michigan? She decided to grow a vegetable garden in her front yard and is now being harassed by the city. I won’t put any URL here, but any search engine should find the story. Maybe an email campaign is in order.

  14. Grace says:

    Congrats with your decadeversery! Very Cool!!! I started te grow some veggies in the back yard this year (very small city back yard). Since most of it is for the birds, bugs and amphibians I don’t have much space and I just try to put everything in pots, some things do fine others not… it’s a fun learning process! I’m real proud of my Scallions. They grow in a hanging thingy on our garden wall. Our Dutch weather isn’t that ideal to grow bellpeppers and other more warmblooded veggies but lettuce does just fine 🙂 Next year we’re planning on growing potatos vertical style. Still looking around for an ideal way, and some beans. Probably the beans will grow acros the street where there is a big fence. 😛 Can’t wait!

    Keep up the good work!


  15. Mary says:

    Congrats on being the oldest urban homestead website! I know we have followed your for 6 or 7 of those years. [o=


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