ABout Us
Thank you for visiting Woodlotfarms.com

Our Mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.
We are optimists. We believe real change is possible. But only if enough well-informed, well-intentioned -- and just plain fed up and fired-up -- people demand it. We believe that
together we can attain our common dreams.

Hello Earthlings!
We are Michele & Victor married. We are the creators and editors of this website.
Born and raised in Northern New Jersey. Met working in Paramus NJ year 1997.

We do not own a farm. We get asked that pretty often. The truth is we live 17.3 miles west of the big apple. Our property is only 1/4 acre. Not very big. Average size yard for our town.

Also some of you may already know us. We had a few shops
in town over the years.
We are the owners of VixWix. We hand craft
an all natural soy candle and body product line.

We are still pumping out the product each and every day.
Give us
a call if you need anything. VixWix.com

Interview with Woodlotfarms Editor Victor Alfieri on the Urban Homesteading Movement With Host Jack From "The Survival Padcast"

How We Became Urban Homesteaders
By Victor Alfieri, editor
Revived 2/2013

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It all started after hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast when we started to see things a little different. Summer 2005. I was not there but after researching the aftermaths there was one thing that stood out to us.
The general public, local and big government, no one was prepared.

Then a year or so later, with both of us being trained in the financial business we started seeing signs of bad times ahead. We are both avid readers and visit the library 2 to 3 times a week.

I found an old book about the depression in 1930's and I started to remember the stories my grandmother would tell me about how they survived the depression.

It all became very clear. We had no
control. We were too dependent on
outside resources and we had a lot to
learn.

If you get help in a crisis that’s
absolutely wonderful, but what happens
if you don’t? We realized basing our
families survival on assuming and hoping,
someone or some organization is going
to help you in a crisis is foolish and irresponsible.


We needed to gain back some control and start taking care of ourselves. It was time to start rethinking the way we lived and started learning some of the old forgotten homesteading skills. Focus on a efficient more practical way of life.

Definition - Urban Homesteading 
Transforming a city or suburban home into a property that produces some
or all of its residents own food and other subsistence needs. Such as gardening,
raising poultry or small livestock, producing simple products minimizing consumer purchases, and seeking ways to increase self-sufficiency reducing the homes
environmental impact
in a city or suburban environment.


A friend of ours gave us a gardening book called "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in getting started with home gardens. It's my garden bible. This book is all you will ever need.


It took awhile for it to sink in. I was like, hold it a second. "Mel, you're telling me I can build a garden, turn the soil, drop some seeds in a hole and grow carrots?"  Come on!   110 days
later I was pulling thick 8 inch carrots out of my raised bed gardens.

You see it all comes down to the soil, and I don't mean the crap you buy in the store that says "rich compost" or "100% organic", I mean the stuff you make in your backyard from kitchen waste and grass clippings.  The real stuff...what I call  "Green Thumb Compost".


Click To See More Garden Pictures

Seeing is believing. Our first garden 4'x16' - 64 square feet.
We harvest about 400 lbs. of fresh produce each year from this garden.

With this research unfortunately came the reality. The food we are buying in our local supermarket is just poor in quality. 8 days after vegetables are harvested they loose over 50%
of their nutrients.

Recommend watching the following documentary's

We started paying close attention to how and where our food came from. Why is this supermarket selling a pepper the size of my head from Latin America? How on earth did it get that big? Before we would just see a big green pepper. Now we see the truth, antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals, growth hormones, and GMO's.

Genetically modified foods     More on the Evil Mansanto

Supermarket produce is harvested before it's ripe, travels thousands or miles, and than sprayed with ethylene gas to ripen it so it looks nice and pretty in the supermarket.  After realizing this, it was time to grow our own food.

The homestead bug just hit us. We did not intend for this to happen, it just did.

This is the same garden the following year. My wife is holding an out of control 6' high cherry tomato plant.
It's funny how things happen.

We were never real big on the whole "going green" movement. We did small things but really never cared much. But after researching and becoming a gardener that all changed very dramatically.

I think the best way to get people to "go green" is to encourage backyard gardening. This is why community gardens are so important. Becoming one with nature leads you to a better place.

We never set out to save the planet it all just happens when you start gardening.  Being green is kind of an after thought because the bottom line is the most important thing is our personal health and survival.  Being green is great but we would never compromise our survival for the sake of being green.

This is our second garden. Before and
after. 6' x 24' - 144 Square Feet. The high left
side gives us 120 sq. ft. of vertical gardening
space. So the total gardening space is 264
square feet. We harvest about 800 lbs per
year from this garden.

We do not use pesticides or growing
chemicals of any kind in our gardens. 

The following year, using the research we
collected over the winter, built a
few new
gardens throughout our yard and started
growing all kinds of things like broccoli,
onions, garlic, eggplant, celery, potatoes,
and beans.



   
This is our 3rd Square Foot Garden. A 3 tier

gardening box before and after. We use this
garden for our in the ground growing stuff. Like
onions, carrots, garlic, radish, and beets. The soil
heats up fast in the spring from the sun hitting the
wood. We pulled carrots from this garden right up
until mid December.

The homestead was taking shape but gardening wasn't enough. We needed a heating and
cooking source.
We started researching
alternative energies and no homestead is
complete without a wood burning stove.


Installing a wood burning stove is the
best investment we ever made. It offers
our homestead so many things.


First let me remove a myth about wood
stoves. Wood is a renewable resource.
Heating and cooking with wood is far better
for the environment than burning fossil fuels.

Using wood for heat and cooking in your
home has a positive impact on the
environment.

Cooking on the stove with a dutch oven is
the best. We always look forward to that
every year.


Also the ashes are very useful. We add our
ashes right to our gardens. It has the same
effect as adding "Holly Tone." The ashes
provide organic nutrients to the soil.

The wood burning stove provides us with a sense of security. Regardless of what happens around us we have heat and a cooking source. Every home should have a wood burning stove. We use wood to heat our home. What a huge savings. Gathering and chopping firewood keeps me strong. The stove paid for itself in the first year. 

Click Here To Learn More About Wood Burning Stoves

Remember the Oil Lamps? Laura Ingalls (half-pint) running around the homestead with her lamp? We love oil lamps. Oil lamps have been used since 1780. They are a must have for any urban homestead.

In the winter we use ours nightly. They create the perfect winter ambiance and are excellent in an emergency. One lamp can light up your entire dinning room. Oil lamps also give off heat for heating and cooking if needed.

Click For More Info On Oil Lamps

Next on the homestead was a protein source. I read about how during the depression, city dwellers were successful raising catfish in 55 gallon barrels. We looked into fish farming in a small swimming pool but it would need electricity all year long. There were better options.

We moved on to raising rabbits. Rabbits have the lowest percentage of fat over chicken, turkey, beef, and pork. Very easy to raise and Goffle Poultry Farm in Wyckoff, NJ slaughters rabbits for $3 bucks. Not bad. But there was a problem, if I was going to get the wonderful protein rabbit meat has to offer, I would have to slaughter them for the meat and I'm not ready to do that. Maybe some day.

Our research lead us right to raising chicken hens.
Chicken hens are such amazing creatures and a perfect fit for the urban homestead.

Think about this for a second. You could have 3 - 2 pound birds (pets) in your backyard that provides your family a healthy organic food source with ounce for ounce the highest percentage of protein on the planet.

Eggs purchased in the grocery stores can be up to 50 days old. The USDA considers supermarket eggs fresh as old as 45 days. Chemicals are used to clean and prolong shelf life. As these eggs age, air seeps into the naturally porous eggshell, degrading taste and nutrition. 

The fact is, eggs from backyard chickens are much healthier. Eggs from backyard chickens have 25 percent more vitamin E, 35 percent more vitamin A and 7 times more beta-carotene. They also have significantly more omega-3 fatty acids than factory farmed eggs.


As soon as you put chickens in a stress free

environment and give them the freedom to
act like chickens, eat grass, and peck for bugs,
a remarkable thing happens. The eggs the chicken produces get healthier for you.

Chicken droppings enrich our compost and improve
the soil you live on. Chicken droppings are high in
nitrogen. Added to compost, lawns, and gardens the droppings boost nitrogen and improve your soil.

It has been proven that nitrogen helps to produce larger, healthier, disease free, fruits and vegetables.



The new urban homesteading methods have removed all the old myths. Raising backyard chickens are now synonymous with health and sustainability. You can’t achieve one without the other.

Chicken hens are pets with a purpose. Hens pay for themselves in providing a
high protein food source for my family a
t a fraction of the cost of store bought organic eggs.

Our 3 hens produce about 900 eggs per year (300 per). This gives a huge measure of self-sufficiency for us and creates food security in these tough economic times. Raising backyard hens SAVES US MONEY!


We also just started raising quail for fresh organic eggs
and meat. Very easy to take care of and perfect protein source for the small homestead. Quail can be raised indoors.

Another thing we always try to do is save seed. If we
have a good year with one of our crops we harvest the
seeds for the following year. It's very easy to do and
saves us money on seed cost.

The compost bin, 2 years in the making. My design. Organic material is added every day. Turned into the soil and worked from front to back. Over time it is sifted though a large than smaller screen and added to trays for seed sowing. If veggies are on the vine too long or cracked, it goes right in the compost bin. There is no waste. Soil gets turned once a week.



This bin also doubles as a worm farm. Worms are very easy to raise and are very important on the homestead. I turn the soil over from time to time while my wife pulls the worms.
We give some to our hens for protein and the rest gets thrown in the gardens.


For more info on composting click here.


Also we have a rain catcher that holds 35 gallons of
water. It's a plastic garbage can
mounted to a down
spout. It's not going to save you much money. But it's
great for quick watering hits.


We are now at a point where 80% of our produce
is homegrown. We grow about 1,600 to 2,000 pounds per
year. We give some away to friends and family. When
we have an excess of produce, we can, pickle or food
save it so we can use it all winter long. 

So this is just a little about our urban
homestead.
Hope you enjoyed reading it.

We were very reluctant to do a page like this.
It's all a bit to personal for us. But after thinking about it. We had to.

We wanted to get the word out. Anyone can do this. You don't need acres and acres of property to live off your land. Urban homesteading can be done anywhere in any place.
Rome was not built in a day. All it takes is one garden. 
 

Hopefully we have inspired you to start
taking back some control.

Answers to questions are always free please call anytime.
Victor 201.220.4862 or Click for editor@woodlotfarms.com




Some Other Things About Our Homestead


PLANTING METHODS

Organic - no pesticides or herbicides
Square foot gardening - planting
Vertical gardening - climbers
Container gardening
Self watering containers - 5 gallon buckets very small holes in the bottom
Successive indoor seed sowing - starting from seed indoors

COMPOSTING METHODS
Composting grass clippings, food, garden and green waste
Use all garden as compost bins rotate every year
Compost turning often - keeps you in shape
Worm farming - protein for the hens - throw in gardens
Brewing compost teas - rotting organic matter in a bucket with water

FOOD PRESERVATION
Bread making from scratch with fresh garden herbs
Cheese and butter making
Pickling  - Eggs, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, beets, onions
Drying fruits and herbs
Freezing - Using food saver
Jams & Chutneys from homegrown produce
Brewing - naturally flavored teas

FOOD CHOICES
Always Buy in bulk
Organic when it's available
Local when it's available
Eating seasonally
Reducing food miles
Fair trade love the barter

ENERGY CONSERVATION
Powering down - cuts daily energy use in 1/2
Wood stove for heating and cooking
Grow most of our food less trips to the market
Rechargeable batteries
Outdoor solar oven food cooker
Line drying clothes - mostly towels
Compact fluorescent bulbs
Oil lamps for light
Homemade soy candles for light
Daylight for heat from the sun - open the shades

HEALTH & BEAUTY
Homemade body soap
Homemade body scrubs
Homemade nontoxic cleaning products
Natural health practices & home herb remedies
Take Lots of D3 & C


Cast Of Characters


The Bugs and Bees


I introduce you to Michele, the greatest
female urban homesteader in our solar system.
She also happens to be the greatest garden
weeder in the history of all garden weeders.
Michele is also a bug lover and the
editor for Woodlotfarms


Our homestead matriarch Ally Girl. Our oldest
and most loving pet. Ally drinks coffee and eats
peppers. Never in a rush, Ally is at
the top of the pet food chain in our home.
Put it this way our dog Cosmo never
makes eye contact with Ally. NEVER!


Meet Cosmo our Westie. He is very helpful on the
urban homestead. Very loyal. Keeps the Squirrel's
away from the gardens. Does perimeter
checks on the yard every few hours.
Enjoys burying food all over the house.


Mason R.I.P.  Miss You Good Boy


Ramsey, A very vocal green eyed Maine Coon cat.
Shy, insane, and easily spooked. His claim to fame
is that he was trapped in our neighbors shed for
6 days. No food or water. When we found him he
came home drank water, eat some dog food and
passed out. He lost some hair but was fine.




The Happy Girls. 3 Rhode Island Reds. 2 Plymouth
Rocks and Barnevelder.  The girls are amazing.
We take good care of them and they give us fresh
organic eggs for protein, and high nitrogen waste
for our garden soil. Pets with a purpose.
An urban homestead must. 
Thank you girls for all you do.


Our quail give us fresh organic eggs ever day for
eating and breeding. Caring for quail is very easy
  and the fresh meat is amazing. Thanks Girls.


Urban Homesteaders Victor & Michele strolling
the Laurelwood Arboretum with Cosmo.


This is GUS.
We met Gus at a garage sale for $8.
He is now head of Garden Security
on our homestead. Thanks Gus.






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Some Facts and Stats About Our Homestead

Location: Northeast NJ, USA
17.3 miles west of downtown NY city

Property Size:
10,890 Sq. Ft. (1/4 acre)

House:
Cape - 1,300 sq. ft.

Gardens:
16 Big & small, in and out of the
ground - 500 sq.ft. total garden space, only 5%
of property is used for gardening.

Soil Enhancements:
Organic kitchen compost, grass clippings, ashes from wood stove, coffee grounds, dead leafs for carbon, chicken and quail droppings for nitrogen, egg shells for calcium.

Pesticides:
NONE, We do not use any chemicals in our gardens or on our lawn.

Garden Diversity:
Over 65 different vegetables, herbs, fruits & berries.

Grown From Seed:
60%

Productivity:
1,600 to 2,000 lbs harvested annually on 1/4 acre. 80% of our produce is grown on our property.

Protein Source:
Home grown vegetables and fresh organic eggs from 5 chickens (1000 eggs per year) and around 12 Coturnix Quail (1400 eggs per year) and fresh organic meat.
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Practices Of Our
Urban Homesteading


1. Grow your own FOOD

Organically, practicing square foot gardening
on a urban lot with visually appealing landscaping.

2. Use alternative ENERGY sources.
Sun for heat, wood, solar, wind, clothes line, take measures to reduce usage.


3. FUELS & TRANSPORTATION
Stay local, use the library, bicycle, walk.

Buy in bulk less trips to the market.

4. RAISE LIVE STOCK
Raise rabbits, chicken hens, Quail or fish for protein, manure, and food. Practice
animal husbandry.

5. Practice WASTE REDUCTION
Use it up, wear it out, make it do,
do without, compost it, re-purpose it,
sell it, barter, or give it away.


6. Reclaim - Collect RAINWATER.
Practice water conservation and recovery.


7. Live PRACTICAL And SIMPLE
The way it used to be. Less TV more reading. Develop back-to-basics homemaking skills, including food preservation and preparation.
Buy
what you need not what you want.

8. Do the work YOURSELF
Learn by doing. Learn to do home repairs
and basic construction.
Learn new skills.

9. Work From HOME
Earn a living from hand work done from home. Develop a home based business.

Reinvent yourself.

10. Always BE PREPARED
Do not expect tomorrow to be just like today. Shelter, heat, food, fresh water, first aid, and backup fuels. Don't forget about the pets.


11. Be a good NEIGHBOR.
Always offer a helping hand for free.
Be conscious and considerate. Urban homesteading is about community.
Always help build community.

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What we grow
VegEtables
Broccoli - Cucumbers - Tomatoes
Eggplant - Sweet & Hot Peppers
Sugar Snap Peas - Corn - Acorn Squash
Zucchini - Carrots - Onion - Lettuce
Spinach - Asparagus - Red Cabbage
Green & Yellow String Beans - Pumpkin
Celery
- Garlic - Sweet Potatoes
Beets - Radishes - Garlic - Cauliflower
Butternut Squash - Okra - Swiss Chard
Leeks - Fennel
- Sun Flowers

Fruits
Cantaloupe - Watermelon
Honeydew Melon - Blueberries
Strawberries - Grapes - Apples - Kiwi
Lemons and Limes

Herbs
Tarragon - Basil - Parsley
Oregano - Lavender - Rosemary
Sage - Scallions - Mint - Thyme
Lemon Verbena - Cilantro

Things we make
Ratatouille
Lavender Honey Ice Cream
Mint Mojitos
Zucchini Bread
Apple Butter
Strawberry Jam
Bread & Butter Pickles
Garlic Pickles
Tomato Salsa
Fresh Pasta Sauce
Deviled Eggs
Sweet Potato Pie
Pumpkin Pie
s