Home Harvest: How to Start a Backyard Farm

hands holding berries

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to stay at home indefinitely. This gives you all the time in the world to pick up a hobby or work on backlogged errands like clearing out your yard. Why not do both by doing some backyard farming? It comes with a wide variety of benefits like:

  • Healthier Meals, Better Savings – Having a backyard farm encourages you to eat more fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. You get a healthy and delicious meal for a fraction of what you pay for in restaurants.
  • Your Food, Your Choice – You control every aspect of your food’s growth, from the soil to the fertiliser you’ll use. Harvest time is all up to you, too. This way, your food gets to ripen in nutrient-rich soil instead of your kitchen table or fridge.

Now that you know the benefits of growing your own food, it’s time to start your sustainable garden.

Lay Your Garden Out

Before you buy seeds and equipment for the job, create a layout of your backyard farm first. Start with pathways you’ll use to gain access to your different crops. This way, you don’t end up walking on or jumping over your plant beds.

Then, move on to planning where you want to put your trees and perennial crops. These go first because they’ll be permanent parts of your garden. Trees are hard to move, and perennial plants automatically grow back after you harvest them.

Next, plant the annual crops. Thes grow for only one season and do not grow back once they’re harvested. As such, it’s fine to be a bit lenient as to where you’ll put them.

Get Your Supplies

Once you’re done with your layout, it’s time to get the equipment you need for the job. You only need basic gardening tools like:

  • Gloves
  • Hand trowel
  • Spade
  • Gardening forks
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Hose
  • Watering can
  • Pruning shears
  • Fertiliser
  • Pesticide
  • Compost

You also need to buy seeds, buds and more for your crops. Carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and spring onions are all nutritious and easy to grow. If you’re looking to have a supply of fruits, you may need the help of a tree planting expert. Consult with them about the best tree for the size of your garden and type of soil.

Prepare Your Soil

Before planting your crops, you’ll need to prepare your soil. Grab a handful of it and observe its texture. If it’s crumbly when you ball it up, then you’ve good ground to work on. If it’s sandy, you may need to add shredded leaves to it for a few weeks to loosen it up. If it’s clay-like, add compost to it for a couple of weeks. Once you’ve incorporated the organic matter, use your hoe to till the soil until it’s crumbly but not too powdery.

Plant Your Crops

Man watering plant

Now that you have the ideal soil, it’s time to plant your seeds. Here are some guidelines.

  • Planting Depth – A quarter of an inch should be enough to grow your crops. Read the seed pack as well to see if it recommends an ideal depth.
  • Distance – Seeds should be five centimetres apart, with rows being 60 centimetres apart. This way, they don’t bump into each other as they grow.
  • Maintenance – Once you’ve planted your seeds, all you need to do is provide maintenance. Every crop has different needs when it comes to watering. Carrots, for example, need frequent shallow watering. As such, it’s best to consult resources like The Old Farmer’s Almanac to find the best maintenance method for your crops.

Growing crops in your yard takes a lot of patience and effort to do, and that’s what makes it satisfying! Not only are you getting a constant supply of healthy and organic ingredients, but you’re also learning new skills. The elbow grease you put into this activity will be worth it once you get your first harvest.

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