Saturday, July 31, 2021
Enjoy a glimpse into the backyards of inspiring Northern Colorado homesteads during our eighth annual NoCo Urban Homestead Tour, a fundraising event benefiting the Gardens on Spring Creek and Loveland Youth Gardeners.
The mission of this event is to educate the public about a self-sustaining lifestyle that includes growing your own produce, raising bees and backyard animals, season extension, food preservation, re-purposing materials and much more. The tour will feature local homesteads across Fort Collins and Loveland that demonstrate how these rewarding practices can be achieved in urban backyard settings.
The 2021 NoCo Urban Homestead Tour will feature six homesteads - click the drop down menus below for descriptions. Addresses will be sent to ticket holders prior to the event. The tour is self-guided.
Tickets: Adults $20 | Kids 12 and Under $5
Neither owners of Lake Hollow Homestead grew up with a farming background, but both have been bitten by the gardening bug. In 2015, they opened their homestead in an effort to expand their love of vegetable gardening to their local community. For four years, they ran Lake Hollow as a mixed vegetable farm and CSA but have since trimmed their focus down to their primary commercial crop of garlic. In addition to growing between 4,000 to 8,000 heads of garlic each year, they also keep a flock of laying hens, raise meat birds, incorporate cover crops and experiment with heirloom grains on their property. On their homestead, you’ll see hail hoops created from necessity to protect the tender leaves of garlic, which are intercropped with onions and potatoes. Along with the chicken coop, their property also includes a hoop house and a homemade cold room.
After spending 10 years hauling trash, eliminating noxious weeds, and repairing hazardous fencing, Seven Meadows is now reminiscent of the small farms in the rural Midwest where the owners grew up. Here you will see organic gardening practices in their eight vegetable gardens and orchard. They also maintain a flock of 30 free range chickens, an apiary that produces upwards of 30 pounds of honey annually and a worm farm to break down compost. At this homestead you’ll also see upcycled pallets forming trellises for hops, grapes and other vine plants, as well as a sand-bed nursery and greenhouse for early plantings. The owners share the bounty of their homestead through a weekly produce market in the summer and fall.
The 0.6 acre site was recently transformed from an abandoned BMX site into a horticulture oasis which is nestled up to a lush riparian area and overlooks beautiful and scenic rolling hills. The garden features 27 raised beds, in-ground farm rows, a small potager garden and a tea and herbal medicine garden. The garden also includes lavender rows, cut flower planted troughs and pollinator zones, fruit trees, and a small potting shed and nursery. Along with a active composting, you will see vermiculture, a rehab / propagation area and weekly produce sales in the up-cycled farm stand. The entire garden is planted and maintained by teens.
As you’ll see from the children’s garden in the front, Schafer Farms is a kid-friendly place to learn, play and explore. As a lifelong environmental educator, the homeowner knows the benefits of connecting young people to the land, and their children are helpful with their homestead. The raised beds at this homestead utilize drip irrigation to feed heirloom varieties of vegetables and some fruits. They also rely on composted yard and food waste. The homesteaders removed a section of shrubs to install the greenhouse – both to save water and because they grow most of their veggies from seed. Windows were repurposed from the house to construct the greenhouse. They also upcycled an old deck to build the chicken coop, which houses their flock.
When the homesteaders purchased this property in 2017, they were eager to set roots and get to planning. Both the front and back yards were a blank slate that they immediately started transforming. In the front yard, you’ll find raised beds as well as grass and flowers that engage the neighborhood. In the back you’ll find a 400+ square foot garden, a small herb and flower garden with fruit shrubs and trees scattered around the greenhouse and moveable chicken coop. To keep their gardens thriving, they utilize drip irrigation, compost, cover crops and minimum tillage. Tomatoes are a favorite at this homestead, but the owners also ferment, homebrew, and make kombucha and sourdough bread.
This wild homestead is a fun, do-it-yourself, resourceful / low-budget, experimental space that is always evolving. From their first makeshift compost bin at their first home 15 years ago, these owners have sought to develop relationships among plants, pollinators, and humans. Additionally, they have a “no dig” philosophy of not using a motorized tiller or deep soil turning in established beds. Among their vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees you’ll find beehives, a bat house, a rain barrel and many repurposed materials, including a greenhouse made from a dresser and old windows. This homestead also features companion planting, trellising and an emphasis on using compost to prepare soil.
Nominate a Homestead!
Do you know someone who grows fruits or vegetables? Has chickens, goats, or bees? Is interested in composting or season extension? Preserves their own food? Maybe that someone is you!
Nominate yourself, your neighbor or anyone else you know to be featured on a future tour! Homesteads will need to be located in Fort Collins, Loveland or neighboring areas. Featured homesteads enjoy special perks and are critical to the success of this event