Starting a Backyard Farm

Once upon a time, we used to visit a semi-local U-Pick farm… We’d go every other week and pick what felt like thousands of vegetables. We’d leave with $8 worth of picked fresh veggies and have to share it widely with family because it was far more than we could consume in two weeks. We lived in a townhouse on a reserve, so we weren’t allowed to grow edible plants outside our home. We were limited in what we could grow to what could survive indoors, which was only herbs.

And then, this year I decided to start my own backyard farm! Although, I do hope to get to the U-Pick farm for some strawberries in June.

I started with a seed starter greenhouse kit. It came with fertilized dirt pods and I just had to bring my own seeds.

From there, the greenhouses stayed in my garden window (favorite part of our new house!) to sprout into little seedlings for transplant. I gave them about 3 weeks to get started and they popped the lid!

This is the little piece of land I started with. A slab of concrete that holds bountiful opportunity. I’ve created a raised bed garden from items we already have hanging around the house like kiddie pools, old planters, and pots I found for free elsewhere.

The first items I chose to use for raised beds were two kiddie pools that were cracked from last year. I drilled holes in the sides every foot about 2 inches up from the bottom for drainage.

Then I lined each pool with mulch to help keep the bottom soil moist but not soaking wet.

The next additive was gardening soil that includes nutrients for the plants. Next year, this layer will include my new organic matter. Once my plants are in place, I put top soil and another layer of mulch to keep them growing and healthy.

I put in all the seedlings and have been checking for water needs the past few days. My Monkey already ripped out one of my tomato plants… he might be worse than the wild animals. I gave him the opportunity to grow seeds in the little pots underneath the table, which he filled with dirt and hundreds of seeds. We’ll see what grows!

I had some potatoes and onions that were going to seed, so I dug up some fresh earth and put them in with some hostas in a shadier part of the backyard. I don’t really care what grows, this is more of an experiment in this space than anything.

In our landscaping DIY, I removed broken concrete blocks around the border and made my own slate garden bed border. Not too shabby, taken from the front garden bed we ripped out. I then topped the area with top soil and mulch to finish it off. The potatoes have the potential to grow 10 fold. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos on planting potatoes and they seem to be pretty easy and hearty plants, so we’ll see what grows!

I may not own acres of land, but I can sure start a mini farm right in my backyard. I chose to do raised garden beds because I can control the weeds, nature of the soil, and location related to the sun and water available better than if I were limited to the ground alone. Who knows, maybe next year my backyard will look like this…

When we used to visit the farm, we’d make and jar our own pasta and pizza sauce from the tons of tomatoes we’d pick. I hope to grow an abundant amount of tomatoes this year to make it right from our own backyard!

In addition, we ordered several fruit trees (apple and peach) plus a raspberry bush for the backyard as well. The trees will potentially produce fruit next year, and the raspberry bush is supposed to produce it this coming season. We should receive those shortly from the National Arbor Day Foundation and we’ve already mapped out locations for planting for good pollination for all.

I’m super excited to offer more areas in my yard for the birds, and bees to visit. I love seeing the birds who visit my front trees (why I am hesitant to get rid of them) and I can’t wait to see their joy with the fruit trees in the back.

Your turn… if you could grow a garden, what would you include? Fruits? Vegetables? Flowers?

I love using land for edibles that also help the local ecosystem.