If you’ve been trying to eat more healthily and do better by the environment, growing your own food is a very satisfying solution. You also don’t need to have some sort of massive farmland to make this possible.
Backyard farming is a fantastic movement that lets people be farmers with the simplest of setups. Some farms are more significant than others, but the principles always remain the same. Treat your soil and your crops right and adjust as necessary, and you can be rewarded with fantastic food and a real sense of accomplishment.
While you could just go to the grocery store for your produce, there are many more advantages to growing your own food. For instance, it’s much more affordable compared to dealing with grocery store markups. Secondly, you can trust the food you’ve grown far more than store-bought produce that could be teeming with all sorts of pesticides or other problematic chemicals.
This guide will give you backyard farming ideas, show you how it works, and help you see how you can start a whole new lifestyle for you and your family.
What is a Backyard Farm?
Backyard farming involves people on non-farms or in non-rural areas starting up farms on their land.
You may be wondering why we don’t just call this “gardening.” There are definitely similarities between the two pursuits. However, gardening is more of a hobby. Farming is about sustainability, and as such, it requires a more rigorous approach.
Remember, you don’t need to quit your job to plow your backyard full-time to qualify as a farmer. Calling this “farming” is more about the amount of work compared to gardening. You could be raising in every season or just at certain times of the year, and it’d be farming either way.
The “backyard” aspect has to do with the setting. You could be a backyard farmer and have your operation in your garage. This is a domestic operation, where great food is grown on one’s homestead.
The food you grow will be great because of how organic it is. There are other tricks you can learn to make your backyard farm stronger by the day.
We’re so accustomed to going to the grocery store for food that we put up with many inconveniences. We have to trust that the store will have our desired items in stock and that they’re safe to consume. If we don’t like the price, we might grumble but just accept it. What are we supposed to do, grow our own food?
Yes, that is indeed a solution, and it’s one many people turning to. Take a look at your backyard and think about what mileage you’re really getting out of it. The grass might look green as ever, and it may be free from weeds, but there’s so much you’re not trying or likely didn’t even know you could try.
Starting a backyard farm is a way to make a difference with one simple but essential step. This can make food more available as well as lower the price. It’s easy to get the pieces together. The hardest part is gathering the motivation to put it all together initially.
It indeed takes some work to make a farm out of a backyard. However, it’s not for nothing. These are some things you can look forward to:
Reduced grocery bills
Buying fresh produce regularly can really add up. When you have your own farm, you’ll be spending far less. You’ll also be reducing carbon emissions by taking fewer trips to the store.
More physical activity
A backyard farm can benefit your body before you’ve eaten anything from your harvest. Being outside and moving your body lets you work off calories and enrich yourself with vitamin D. You may notice yourself getting the infamous “farmer’s tan” as well.
Those potato chips in the pantry may start to gather dust when you have a bunch of fresh vegetables to pick. Fresh produce from your garden can also taste a lot better than fresh produce at the grocery store. This kind won’t have pesticides sullying it, and there are more minerals and vitamins present.
Just think about how good the sun will feel against your skin and how happy you’ll feel tending to your crops. Can’t you see how much this can help with stress?
A big part of why we get so anxious is that we think we’re completely helpless, relying only on the people in charge. Some devastating things can indeed happen through powerful institutions. It’s also true that we have more control than we realize. Your farm can keep you going when unpredictable things like food scarcity occur.
What Can You Grow?
When getting started growing, don’t grow just for the sake of it. Write down what kind of produce you consume the most and figure out how you’ll be able to grow it.
Keep your sights on things most suitable for your climate. There are greenhouse strategies for growing more stubborn plants. However, in the beginning, it’s better to go with the more comfortable options.
All vegetables are not made the same. Some are annuals, which require new planting every year. Then, there are perennials, which always return, regardless of replanting. There are a lot of excellent perennials available, such as artichokes, strawberries, and asparagus.
A mix of annuals and perennials can be nice as well. You just need to know which is which, whether through an intelligent labeling system or an organized filing system.
Think of the many options you’ll have with your produce, such as:
- Items for dinner salads
- Regular asparagus available
- All sorts of fruit you can grow
- Organic berries from your garden
- Growing many varieties of vegetables
- Getting eggs, via chickens
Know what you want from your produce but not sure of what provides it? We’ll help you with that here.
Macronutrients - Fats, proteins, and carbs
You need to know both your home’s climates and your body’s needs when starting. It should be a source not only of survival but of thriving as well. You’ll need to get plenty of macronutrients, such as healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
This is an excellent reason to raise chickens. Their eggs can go a long way in terms of feeding potential. We know you might not be craving eggs all the time, but it’s still good to know that this option is available. That’s not the end of the protein or other macronutrients your backyard farm animals can provide you with.
Another grocery store item that’s rather expensive is nuts. However, you can grow these yourself with a nut tree. It’s definitely a little challenging to grow nuts, but they’re such important staples of many cuisines. They’re also very nutritious and taste great.
You can also get plenty of macronutrients from potatoes. A great thing about these root vegetables is how versatile they are in terms of growing location. You can also preserve them for as long as a year. They can also be prepared in so many ways, from roasted to mashed to fried and even more.
Macronutrients are also in different grains, sweet potatoes, corn, and squash. If you’re raising animals, you can find macronutrients in their meat. However, you shouldn’t let macronutrients solely dictate what you grow. Find produce you can grow that’s full of macronutrients that you love to eat. Also, be sure to start at a reasonable level, not taking on too many at first.
Lucrative fruits and vegetables
Some produce items are available pretty cheap. However, others can make a grocery cart feel like a luxury vehicle just by association.
These may not be enough to break the bank, but have you ever noticed how much different melons cost? Other fruits, such as berries, apricots, pears, and peaches, can come with fairly steep price tags as well.
Then, there’s the stuff so gourmet, you’ve never seen it in a store. However, you could try this for the first time in the finest fashion: right from your own garden. Tell others about your successes, and offer to sell to or trade with them. Don’t expect to turn your backyard into a new business location. It takes a lot more planning to make it into a successful operation.
Micronutrients - Herbs, mushrooms, and more
Micronutrients are in foods with more vitamins but fewer calories. A lot of these are widespread, such as the vegetables in a typical salad. Their name is pretty misleading, as these items provide some maximal benefit. You can keep your calories in check as you bring more vitamins into your diet. These also include herbs and edible mushrooms, which are very nutritious and low-calorie.
Your body needs micronutrients to function. It aids with everything from staying healthy to properly digesting food. When you’ve been eating healthily and realize how much better you’ve been feeling in the past few weeks, you can thanks micronutrients for all they’ve done for you. Some farms might concentrate more on macronutrients, but micronutrients should never be left out of the concentration.
Once you’ve decided to get into backyard farming, you need to figure out how to make it happen. This isn’t a one-step undertaking. You’ll need to make a plan for at least a few years, up to five, if not more.
In your initial year, concentrate on perennials. Trees are great perennials, especially for how they help add to your yard’s overall look. You can also add visual appeal with orchards, vines, and shrubs. As they grow and produce things with fruit, you can get even more from them. Don’t wait too long to plant them, because every minute without them is a minute without their value.
Be wise about where you put these items. They need to be in places where they can get plenty of nutrition and grow with enough room. It can take between three and five years for them actually to produce fruit. You’ll have to be patient and give your plants plenty of tools to succeed, such as great mulch and a healthy compost mix.
Perennials aren’t the only things worth growing, of course. Annuals are awesome, but they can be a bit less rewarding since you have to do more to get yields from them. Also, perennials produce more. This all depends on you setting things up properly. Essentially, annuals are a great supplement, but they shouldn’t be your primary source of sustenance.
In year two, you can accent your trees with annuals as well as herbs and shrubs. This is also when you should bring in animals if you’re planning to. Start with a small number of one species and add more when you’ve determined it’s right to.
Hens are ideal for their versatility. You can get them for eggs as well as their meat. Additionally, their meat can be used as fertilizer, and they can get rid of pests that might threaten your crops. It’s also not very difficult to raise chickens. Some primary care in exchange for some fantastic protein and farm help is a very fair trade.
In year three, you should finally see your hard work start paying off. You’ll know what it takes to run a farm during all time of years. Bigger animals can be introduced, mainly grazing species like cows. Be vigilant about your trees, as you don’t want an animal’s appetite to get the best of them.
Introducing animals to your farm can be a pretty big test of your skills. However, if you do things carefully, there’s hardly any limit to how far your farm could go. Besides chickens, these are some species you can raise.
These all have different costs and benefits, as well as space needs. It doesn’t require a lot of room to raise fish or rabbits. However, goats and cattle need a lot more space. If you’re raising ducks, they would need a pond. Your swimming pool certainly isn’t going to be right for them.
An excellent animal for your farm is one you might find a little scary, despite how small it is. Honeybees can give your plants a boost through their pollination. This means they can bear fruit earlier and in greater quantity. Also, honey and beeswax have an abundance of usage.
We can’t go utterly in-depth about planning your farm, but it’s best to do it in phases. Don’t try to do everything in one instance. It’s just not realistic and would only cause your more stress, which you definitely shouldn’t welcome. Promise yourself that you’ll spend at least three years focused on your farm, doing all you can to make it a success, even if you need to adjust some things along the way.
Learn from other farmers
Pride may cause you to think you have to do this all on your own. Well, we’re doing what we can to help you get started, and it doesn’t have to stop there.
Talk to other people, and learn about their methods. Many will be thrilled to share their wisdom. A great thing about this hobby is that you can find people from all demographics enjoying it.
If there aren’t any farmers in your immediate area, don't worry. Luckily there are places where you can learn from others online. There are of course Youtube videos and other sources where you can learn for free.
However, there are also more systematic, step by step guides out there that can help you really fast track your success.
One of our favorites is the Backyard Miracle Farm system.
In a nutshell, it shows you an easy method to build an automated farm for self-sustainability where you can have food and water access for long term purposes.
The creators of the system show you the number one method for creating a farm in the most cost-effective manner. And it even comes with 3 bonus guides: Emergency Preparation, Emergency Guide for Drinking Water, and Survival Guide for Preserving and Canning.
Your farm is your creation, but all great artists use outside influences.
A backyard farm design requires a lot of steps and careful planning to implement correctly. Some people have no problem doing this, but if you are the type of person who isn't particularly crafty or creative then you might consider another option.
There are companies who create done-for-you systems that you can implement right away. No headaches, trial and error experiments or failure involved.
Companies like Click and Grow have great options for systems like this. Perfect for people who don't want to grow produce to sell, and rather just want to provide some fresh food for themselves and family. Here are two of Click and Grow's most popular options to consider:
Click and Grow Smart Garden 27
Grow organic, fresh, and nutritious food 365 days of the year with this automatic smart garden.
This system does everything for you by providing the optimal amount of lighting, nutrients, and water to your garden.
You can think of this system as like a Keurig cup machine for coffee.
Except this machine is for plants and provides "pods for plants" that have the nutrients and seeds already inside!
Click and Grow Wall Farm
The Click and Grow Wall Farm is a vertical indoor garden that produces fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and greens 365 days per year.
This systems unique technology allows growth at home extremely simple and reliable.
With three full shelves equipped with light and watering systems, you don't have to worry about being creative or crafty to do it yourself.
Simply setup, plugin, follow instructions, and watch your produce come to life right in front of your eyes!