Starting your own backyard farm or suburban homestead can be fun and rewarding. You can have fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables that come straight from your own backyard, raise bees, and develop your own personal food oasis.
If you want a backyard farm you may have put it on the back burner for a number of reasons. You may feel it’s not possible where you live or that buying all the supplies and gear necessary will break the bank. You may just feel that you don’t have enough room. These backyard farming ideas will ease your mind!
Really, Your Backyard Is Fine
One of the larger concerns most people have about backyard farming is the size of their yard. They wonder if it’s actually possible to grow enough food to make back yard farming worth the effort. The answer is, “Yes!” More and more people are becoming creative about how to grow a huge amount of food in a small space. Planning an edible landscape is doable for most people, as detailed in this article.
Finding space to farm a larger crop could be as simple as putting your fences to work for you. Rather than growing a decorative ivy, choose a fruit bearing vine. There are many types of vine plants that produce food and could use your fence to grow on. Grapes vines are a good example of this. They also look decorative.
Grow strawberries in raised planters that look similar to gutters. Then grow a plant that thrives in shade beneath them. This increases the amount of food you can grow as well as your variety in produce. Also consider using hanging planters for plants such as tomatoes or peppers.
There are many vertical planters on the market, and some of them are quite budget-friendly, like this one. The Garden Tower is an innovative planter that also provides an area for composting, but it’s quite a bit more expensive, and, of course, there are many other designs between these two options.
Indoor Plants/ Outdoor Plants
Backyard homesteading isn’t just confined to the great outdoors. You can also grow indoor plants for homesteading purposes. Choose miniature fruit trees, herbs or edible flowers for indoors. Even something like a tabletop grow kit, like this one, can allow anyone to grow herbs, lettuce and other greens, and small vegetables and is suitable for apartment life.
Save outdoor garden space for larger plants, such as pumpkin or watermelon.
Compost And Neighbors
The sweet smell of compost does not need to drive your neighbors insane. Make sure that during the summer you water your compost down. This will help in the break down process of your compost and helps keep the smell where it belongs.
You can even ask your neighbors to contribute to the compost heap. Grass clippings and raked up leaves are a welcome addition to your decomposing plant pile. Offer to take your neighbors leave and clipping off their hands. As an added bonus you could even offer to rake up the leaves yourself.
By the way, the tumbler style of composter is one that I do not recommend. Go for something simple and inexpensive like this one. It’s small enough to fit just about anywhere.
Backyard Farming Ideas with Animals
When you think of a farm you don’t just think of plants. You think of chickens, cows, pigs and other livestock. While some of these animals won’t be ideal for being raised in a back yard, other will fit in just fine.
What Animal And Where
You may be thinking that while a garden is possible, animals just aren’t. You live too close to or in a city and they don’t allow animal husbandry. If you feel this way but haven’t check with your local government, you may want to make sure. Read through your town and/or neighborhood Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).
Some cities allow raising chickens, and more and more are jumping on the backyard chickens movement. Others allow you to raise other types of animals as well. Check to see what you local government allows as well as what type of permits and living conditions ( for the animals ) are required.
Bees are a very simple way to expand your backyard farm, and, once established, a hive or two are very easy to care for. In my neighborhood’s HOA documents, bees are not specified in their list of restrictions.
Mini May Not Stay Mini
There are many animals that, if normal size you would never try to cram into your back yard. A breeder putting mini in front of the name of an animal doesn’t always change that. You still need to check to see what an adult mini animal will grow into.
Miniature goats and pigs may start out small, but could grow to still be too big to fit in your backyard.
You don’t need a rooster to have chickens. The only reason to have a rooster would be to fertilize your eggs to produce more chickens. If you are just trying to produce your own eggs, all you need are the chickens.
Roosters are noisy, and while some people like the idea of waking up to the crow of a rooster, other people loathe the idea. Chickens are about as noisy as a barking dog. Geese and ducks are another option some suburban farmers choose — just spend some time around them to determine if the noise will cause problems with the neighbors.
Things You Don’t Need To Buy
Like many projects, there are new and improved tools, shelters and planting boxes that advertisers will insist are a must. Most of them are not. Some of them may save a little time and effort, but you could save plenty of money making your own.
While you can buy a chicken coop online, you can also make one. It would be less expensive. You could also build pens for your goats and other livestock. There are plenty of free plans online to guide you through the process. Here are a few places to look.
Extra Special Gardening Tools
People were growing crops thousands of years ago. They did it without the new and improved plow. They walked around with a stick poking holes in the ground, putting seeds into them, and covering them up. While it’s nice to have some of the newer items to farm ( weed eater and edgers are our friends), you don’t need much more than what they used thousand of years ago.
To avoid spending an excess of money on tools and supplies you may end up not using, make a list of so-called “must haves”, ask gardening and farming friends for their opinions, and then just wait to see if these are things that you, personally, will find useful. If the tool doesn’t save you time and/or money, then it’s likely not worth the investment.