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?
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?
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!