Tag Archives: organic gardening

Backyard Farming

Backyard Farming for Fun and Food

 

Do you feel uneasy about the quality of the fruits and vegetables available in the supermarkets these days?  – The distinct lack of flavor – the increasingly unfamiliar texture?

Unfortunately it seems that our society has lost a large degree of control over the standards and monitoring of our commercially available produce. More and more “fresh” produce is imported from countries where standards are vastly different from our own.

The quantity and nature of the chemicals, the fertilizers and pesticides used in the production of these fruits and vegetable are not fully known. Additionally these items can actually be months and even years old when available on the supermarket shelves, as they have been in cold storage for long periods.

Little wonder that growing numbers of people are taking matters into their own hands and joining the backyard farming contingent. People want to have more influence in the quality of their food and are enjoying the sense of satisfaction and achievement that comes with making a step toward self sufficiency.

Now, I know that the term ‘farming’ may sound way too large scale for you to get interested – but bear with me – you will be surprised. Don’t be discouraged because you think you don’t have the space. In fact backyard farming can come in any size and depends entirely on your own ideas and definition!

You can get started with your little patch of suburbia. With a bit of smart planning a large space is not required and you can get into growing your own fresh produce by utilizing your available area wisely.

Maybe your aim is to produce enough vegetables to feed your family. This can be readily achievable and can be done by simply using containers in a very small area and by spending only the minimum amount of time.

On the other hand you may aspire to producing more than you need and perhaps selling any excess produce. This may take a little more time but does not require a larger space to achieve.

You don’t need a whole lot of time either!  You can begin to enjoy a little of nature in your own backyard, step back from the hectic lifestyle and make your patch productive. Spending a couple of hours a week escaping from everyday life stresses with the bonus of picking your own fresh ingredients for healthy and nutritious food.

Here’s a thought! Why not avoid those dreaded mowing the grass chores every weekend and turn that area into a productive bed of garden plants. Become more self-sufficient and heck, start to actually enjoy your backyard.

What are some of the options for your backyard farm?

Raised Bed Garden

Our Backyard Garden

Of course the size of your available area will determine what you produce and you won’t be able to have everything. Start out by choosing a simple option, for instance a vegetable garden is possible on the tiniest plot. Then there are also opportunities for fruit trees or herb patches.  By using organic gardening techniques you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping out the environment as well.

Getting into a little more serious involvement you can consider beehives, chickens and goats as possibilities for backyard farms. You will need to consult local authorities about the regulations and gain clearance for some of these alternatives.

How amazing to be able to learn about beekeeping and have your very own hive. Beekeeping and gardening go hand in hand and bees are quite beneficial in helping flowers and gardens plants thrive. There’s also the delicious advantage of the honey! Not to mention that you’d be doing the environment a great favor and helping out with the world honeybee crisis.

A backyard hen coop takes up a very small space and most area regulations allow at least 3 chickens to be kept in backyards. The freshness of the eggs will be amazing and you will find that there is no comparison to store bought eggs that are at least three weeks old. Your backyard eggs will have nice hard shells full of calcium, rich yellow yolks and full bodied whites.

Miniature goats can double as great pets and also produce some milk and cheese. Maybe an idea for a small neighborhood enterprise – what about goat dairy products?

Backyard Garden

Our first harvest from our first backyard garden.

Perhaps the easiest choice of course is vegetable gardening. How comforting to know exactly what has gone into the growing of those fresh veggies and how delicious they taste because they are crammed full of nutrients and picked in their prime. They have travelled only as far as from your garden to the kitchen bench – not halfway around the world!

Ultimately – we all have some degree of choice. We can continue to grumble about the situation and accept the sub-standard produce together with the high costs and we can feel powerless about the state of our environment. Or – we can start making some small changes in our very own backyards and begin to enjoy the fruits of our labors.

It’s so easy to make the beginning steps and start discovering the rewards of a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Have a try at one of the ideas discussed for growing in your backyard and before you know it you will want more – more delicious fresh produce, more time connecting with nature and more savings on food bills. You’ll be well on the way to getting started with your own backyard farm!

Organic Gardening

Organic Gardening

You may wonder just what organic gardening means. The simplest explanation is that it is growing without the use of chemicals. Organic gardeners use fertilizers that are animal or vegetable based and control pests with natural methods instead of using industrial insecticides.

In the wider sense it also includes the view of working in harmony with nature to take care of the natural health of the soil. When you really think about it the traditional and long accepted way of gardening has been rather at odds with nature.

Usually to get started with a garden the process has been that you clear some ground and kill off the weeds with chemicals, and then follow right along by adding some additional chemicals to kick start the growing process. This is all very difficult for Mother Nature to contend with and not a viable method that can be sustained for the long term.

Popularity of Organic Gardening

Lately there has been increased interest and awareness about growing garden plants naturally and producing some of our own food. If you’ve been disappointed with the taste and quality of store- bought fruit and vegetables you’re not alone. People are realizing that they can grow much better quality produce at home.

If you would like to enjoy the taste of superior home grown fruit and vegetables and be confident that no pesticides have been used and goodness knows what chemicals and growth hormones were added during the growing process, then organic gardening is your answer. You will also discover the added benefit of exercise and relaxation that goes along with gardening. It can renew your mind-set and provide a little mental “therapy”.

So How Do You Start Out? What are the Basics?

Start at the Bottom – It’s about the Soil

Soil is the basic concept and building healthy soil is the first requirement. Having wholesome soil produces strong plants that are more likely to resist diseases and pests. You can test your soil with an inexpensive testing kit to find out exactly what you’re starting with. Finding your soil’s pH and what nutrients it may lack are the first essentials.

Building Healthy Soil

Organic matter such as compost and natural additives need to be mixed into your soil. Bone meal, rock sulfate and greensand are all good for adding nutrients and assisting the organic structure of your soil.

The pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of the soil and ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. A level below 7 shows acidity and levels above 7 show alkalinity. Garden veggies prefer a slightly acidic pH level of around 6. You can adjust the pH of your soil by adding extra alkaline material – usually limestone or acid material such as elemental sulfur.

Once the soil is right you are ready to get started with planting your heart’s desire. There is an endless choice of wonderful fruit and vegetables and selecting some that are right for your garden is an easy and exciting task.

Control Pests and Diseases without Chemicals

You need to learn to accept a few pests in your organic garden. Make regular inspections and remove pests as quickly as possible. By keeping a careful eye on your garden plants, you’ll soon notice any potential problems while they’re minor and easily managed or avoided.

By having a diverse mix of plants your garden it will attract more beneficial insects and this will also stop any problems spreading throughout the whole garden.

Catching the Organic Gardening ‘Bug’

Believe me, once you get started with organic gardening you will be hooked and will not want to stop continually learning and discovering new ways of growing your own produce the natural and healthy way. The personal rewards of organic gardening are numerous but there is also the additional benefit of knowing that you are assisting nature and working in harmony with the environment.