Follow

So im looking to write up a short guide for people wanting to live a more solarpunk life whilst living in city apartments (so very limited access to garden/green spaces)

I'd really appreciate ideas or things people have already done.

And I'm trying to avoid "buy an x" recommendations

@solarbear Community gardens are definitely an option in many cities.

A (brilliant) friend had access to her roof and wired up her apartment to run off solar plus batteries, drawing from the grid only when needed to top up.

Guerrilla gardening, even just broadcasting seeds into inaccessible green spaces is a way to green abandoned places.

Here there is a city fund to support window and sidewalk container gardens.

@solarbear no ideas here, but can't wait to read that guide!

@solarbear You already have potatobucket?

Basically, turn a window with sunlight into a potato garden by filling a very large container with dirt, and planting a potato in it.

Often dirt, container and sprouting potatoes are all findable with little to no money.

@solarbear Germinate the seed potatoes by holding the potatoes indoors for a couple of weeks in a bright place until the germs are about an inch long. The light strengthens the sprouts and does not break when planted. Spray the germinated tubers occasionally.
Make holes in the bottom of the bucket to allow excess water to drain away.
Provide drainage for the bucket by placing a layer of gravel on the bottom of the pan. Add 20 centimeters of soil.
1/x

@solarbear ...Put a couple of potatoes on the soil and cover with a 10 cm multilayer. Dampen the soil with water.
Make sure the culture does not dry out. No fertilizer is needed if the soil is new and directly from the bag. If you dig out the soil from the yard, it may be smart to use fertilizer. However, avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers that encourage potato growth.
Move the bucket to a light and warm place at the latest when the first seedlings rise. Keep away from frost.
2/3

@solarbear
Add more soil when the stems have grown to about 10 cm. It is enough that only the tops remain visible. Repeat the soil adding process each time the stems have grown a new 10 centimeters until the pan is full. This will prevent the potatoes from turning green.
After a couple of months, you can harvest the crop. Turn the bucket and pick up the spuds straight into the pot. You can also harvest the crop one stem at a time. 3/3

@solarbear Of course, since the bucket has holes in the bottom, it's important to have a way to deal with seepage of excess water.

@solarbear
In literally solar,
- Solar yard lamps work fine in windowsills. My daughter used to strongly prefer nightlights. Moving "fairy lamps" in from the windowsill when their batteries filled worked great.

Gardening,
- Low flower boxes in front of full-depth crates/rubbermaids/whatever allow growing veggies on the porch without annoying management.
- Small hanging plant containers can be made as a net, in front of a window, for herbs. (I used soda bottle bases.)

@solarbear
General living lightly,
- Daily routines with windows and drapes make a huge difference in heating/cooling.
- So do wall tapestries. (Which are really just a blanket sideways, with bonus sound suppression.)
- The easiest greywater system is a bucket. Pair it with a short hose to siphon from sinks or tubs.
- Fruit fly traps: a paper funnel (I used tea bag wrappers) on a small jar.
- Bring a bag; I'm amazed how many suitable fruits and nuts are in a city. And seeds for flowers.

@solarbear Skim the archive of https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/ They got articles on how to do private photovoltaic on the balcony, besides the more general topics of no tech / low tech.

cc @andrej

@simsa03 @andrej @solarbear (Right now, it's recharging and it may not be able to handle a large load, but it is the lowest-footprint version of the site and besides the large dithered images look cool AF)

@Reinderdijkhuis Thank you for this correction. I always assumed the address I gave was the solar powered website.

@andrej @solarbear

@solarbear sprouting seeds is so cheap and easy and is a great source of greens in wintertime for poor folks.

Many bulk food areas have seeds or legumes you can sprout. This guy has a good video for other cheap seed sources youtu.be/GXsWOD4YvVQ

@solarbear If you want high yield gardening in a small above-ground area you need to go with hydroponic systems. I've started to put together some stuff inspired by some really nice, often simple designs in this book (in German, translated from French): voebb.de/aDISWeb/app?service=d

@KnowPresent @solarbear a tarpaper roof/unfinished porch* has a maximum weight limit, but it's pretty high: imagine the roof full of people standing shoulder to shoulder and then some. Wet dirt is about as dense/heavy as people square foot for square foot. You can fill it up with pots without even getting near the weight limit.

Put down a light colored sheet to keep the tarpaper surface cool, otherwise it sucks up a LOT of heat and makes your plants dry out faster/hurts your feet if you stand on it

*a upper flat might have this, if the downstairs has a porch, and you have a smaller porch or a fire escape or space outside your windows on the roof of their porch

@KnowPresent @solarbear clear plastic drawers make good containers. Poke holes in the bottom/lower sides for drainage, and fill them with lettuce mix, radishes, or herbs. Garlic is good if you have more than 1 year on your lease, they can keep growing over winter. Kale, collards, tomato unfortunately need a lot more root space

@solarbear
* create a dinner group with friends (potlucks, take turns hosting) to speak about how to go offgrid and share knowledge

* join a local yacht club and help out on sailboats as a way to prepare for a life on a boat

* go vegan, turn off your fridge and use it for storage

* start picking fruits from around the city (most of it just goes to waste on the ground), dumpster dive

* look into how you can cofinance the purchase of a larger house together with likeminded people

@solarbear How about cooking and eating at home _with friends_ to maximize the efficiency of food purchases...? Maybe something about a preference for devices and appliances that can be turned completely off, rather than relying on standby mode.

@solarbear I let an organic sweet potato sprout. I have it in dirt now, and I'm breaking off the slips, putting them in water till they grow roots, and putting them in plastic cups with dirt. The solarpunk thing might be to pot them in cheap pots and give them to my neighbors, which I'll have to do if they keep doing so well...

@solarbear
This isn't directly related to apartment living, but if they are in a populated area, look into freecycling (for reducing and reusing).

For greens bought at the store such as scallions or romaine, some say that you can regrow with only water. Not sure how true that is, but they're real easy to sprout and dirt can be snatched from a shopping plaza.

@solarbear container gardening. There's a book, The Bountiful Container, that I recommend as a foundation for anybody interested. Grow your own salads in your kitchen window, potatoes on your balcony.

@solarbear Some vegetables will self-pollinate if you help them along, I know it works with tomatoes and peppers. The flowers release pollen in response to vibrations from pollinators (bees) but you can mimic the vibrations with an electric toothbrush. I grew tomatoes a few years on a windowsill in Toronto.

@solarbear I'm looking into what you can do with salvaged motors/gears/electronics. I got a couple of stepper motors and other things out of and old printer. I'm going to try and make a mini wind generator or bike powered generator out of one as a proof of concept (from some youtube vids I've been watching.) Pic has 2 stepper motors, a small motor I don't know what is, pile of plastic gears, a drive shaft, some photosensors that control the x/y axis of the printer & power block.

@solarbear More than ideas, I have to ask you to ping me when you write it. I'm **really** interested on this.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Sunbeam City 🌻

Sunbeam City is a Libertarian Socialist solarpunk instance. It is ran democratically by a cooperative of like-minded individuals.