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Small Farm, Home Farm: Tips on Starting your own Backyard Farm

Maybe you’ve begun to take a liking to eating fresh plants and fruit you’ve grown yourself or you’ve started thinking about getting the best food for your family. Whatever your reason, starting your own backyard farm is not an easy task. Completely different from organic gardening, this requires a different type of learning and adaptation. […]

Maybe you’ve begun to take a liking to eating fresh plants and fruit you’ve grown yourself or you’ve started thinking about getting the best food for your family. Whatever your reason, starting your own backyard farm is not an easy task. Completely different from organic gardening, this requires a different type of learning and adaptation.

It can be an idea if you have a wide area in your home, but it’s something you should be prepared for if you decide to begin it.

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Study Farming/ Farming should be studied. That’s correct, because you don’t only raise plants and vegetables here—if you decide to go all the way, you’ll be dealing with dairy and poultry. The good thing is that there are a number of books on the subject you can buy or topics you can search for on the Internet. Whatever your source, you should study.

Choose your kind of Farm/ Your kind of farm falls into this category. If you’re looking to support your family by presenting fresh meals, you’ll be good with a hobby farm. Small farming businesses and homesteads do sometimes blur into the other. If you’re looking to start a small farm to support your family or the community, the latter two are great ideas.

Quick Start plants/ If you want the feeling of success, then you should choose plants according to your climate and ones that are easy to grow. Pick radishes for being a relatively stubborn grower. You should also realize root crops are pretty easy to grow. However, planting plants that you and your family will eat are more important than planting them for how easy they are to cultivate.

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Go Wild/ Don’t be afraid to experiment with a lot of plants you can grow in your garden! Variety is the spice of life and you should enable your garden to be as diverse and as different as possible. Aside from the colors and vibe they bring, they also give a substantial benefit to the soil; diverse plants promote a healthy ecosystem and is also a natural pest deterrent.

[Optional] Give Back to the Community/ Maybe your garden has started to become a full-fledged operation; maybe your crops are too irresistible to keep within only your family. Once you have this sort of arrangement, consider joining weekend farmer’s markets. You’re not only getting profit, you’re also promoting a healthier choice of food for people.

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Starting a farm is one of the most basic ideas people can have when thinking of feeding their family. It’s also a great way of making sure your money remains with you and you leave the problem of feeding expensive food to your family behind.

As the saying goes, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Health advocates will always tell you to get in your required vegetables and fruits for the day. The problem is when you simply cannot because the grocer that sells it is simply out of the way.

There are a lot of alternatives, sure, but it’s better if you grow these fruits and vegetables on your own. If not, here’s what you can do to get your fill.

Farmer’s Markets

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Farmer’s markets are your best bet at getting fresh vegetables and fruits as if you’ve picked them from the tree. Aside from that, you’re also getting the benefit of helping a farmer’s family have food on their table. The prices are also significantly lower as well as healthier.

Ask your Friends

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There are a lot of times your friends are good for asking something; this might be one of them. If you have no idea where to buy cheaper and fresher vegetables, ask your friends, they might know something that you don’t.

Be a Farmer

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Sometimes, the richer small farming communities have a scheme where you can volunteer your time and help in the harvest. Instead of asking for pay or anything, you can alternatively ask them if they’d pay you in produce. This is one way you can get your vegetables and fruits for free.

Start your own Home Farm

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Even better, you can start your own organic garden! The small home farm craze is currently beginning to sweep the nation. It’s also a better alternative to creating gardens that are purely ornamental. Consult a book or read sources from the Internet to know how to properly start your home farm.

There are still a lot of ideas or places where you can get your fill of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you haven’t started yet, there’s no better time than now to get initiated on eating healthy.

There once was a time when organic gardening got you labeled as someone who loved the environment too much or someone who was too health conscious. Being one of those two became a trend these days and everybody wanted to try out creating their own organic garden. Now, you can too, and reap the benefits of using your gardening soil for something better.

Before you start looking for the easiest crops to start growing, however, you need to understand how to start one properly.

Make the Soil your Target

One of the first mistakes of people who aim to own a garden—organic or otherwise—is paying too much attention on the plant. They begin buying plants without realizing that the soil needs checking or has to be healthy. The plants are fine; they can grow in the soil only if you make the soil healthier to support life. It is important for the soil to be checked first for nutrients.

Add in Compost

Compost is material made from mixing soil with organic waste. This means leftover fruits and vegetables that had gone to spoil are good stuff to mix into compost. There can be other stuff, but these are first and foremost what gardeners should go after. If you want to create a healthy mix of compost, the clue is to mix in dead stuff from plants.

The Right Plants to…plant

Creating a garden isn’t just picking plants and planting them into the soil. You soil can be healthy all you want, but if you plant something that doesn’t simply like the weather conditions in your area, it won’t grow no matter how green your thumb is. Remember to plant accordingly; some vegetables thrive in colder conditions while some like warmer climates. This leads to a high yield.

Choose to go completely Organic

If you start a garden, you’re going to be relying heavily on pesticides and plant ‘food’ that have been mixed in with chemicals. The very same plants in your garden that grow in the wild don’t need to rely on that kind of stuff. You should remember that, in organic gardening, it’s either you go completely organic or you don’t start a garden at all.

Choose your Vegetables

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The final—and most important—part of organic gardening is to choose which vegetables or plant-bearing plants you’ll cultivate. You may choose carrots, squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers. But just like growing them according to weather, you grow them according to the appetite your family has. Whatever your diet, though, there’s a different kind of rush eating food you’ve grown yourself.

We are all a product of what we eat and, if we eat what we’ve grown with love, then we’re all the better for it. Consider starting an organic garden to experience a different kind of accomplishment.

There are many reasons to support small town farmer markets. There are the benefits you get from eating vegetables; the support you’re giving these farmers and their families; and the different options available to buy which doesn’t include a single drop of man-made stuff. However, you do have to drive all the way out of town to buy some.

Here are a few more benefits you receive from buying from these small farmer markets, if you are still looking for a reason why you should buy from them.

Reason 1: True Flavors

Looking for something tasty and fresh? They don’t come any fresher than they do in farmer’s markets. Here, you get your pick of freshly-plucked fruit as well as newly-dug up or picked vegetables. They will look good as salads or ingredients and will taste nicely as a shake or as fruit juice. If you’re looking for healthy options with good taste, go organic and support small town markets.

Reason 2: Organically Grown

Gardeners and home-farm advocates usually take a page out of these small-scale farmers; most of their fertilizers are organically-made. When you go to a small town farmer’s market and you see a product labeled ‘organically grown’, you can be sure they’re saying the truth. The freshness of the fruit is likely a by-product of the naturally-sown seed, which is grown and produced with very little to no chemicals involved.

Reason 3: Naturally Ripe

Sometimes, mass production food is ripened out of their season for max profit. Using chemicals, these fruits and vegetables are grown forcefully. Farmer’s markets don’t feature produce like those in big commercial stores; instead, what they have are seasonally-grown fruits and crops. While these may be limited because of the way they are grown, you can be sure they’re naturally fresh.

Reason 4: Rare Finds

Being a natural market, you usually find great vegetables and food sold in farmer’s markets you don’t usually find anywhere. Examples of these are red carrots and purple cauliflowers. These are naturally-grown; they aren’t your chemically-grown variety. There are a lot of these that are normally sold there and they also are great if you want to mix up your diet.

Reason 5: Very Affordable

The best reason to go to these markets, perhaps, is the price you get for the produce you buy. Usually, these vegetables aren’t that costly and they also are healthy. What better combination can you ask for?

Taking the extra mile in going to these weekend farmer’s markets gets you the best of what nature has to offer. You get two-fold benefits here, by the way; aside from the support to families, you also get to support your health.

What’s better than eating healthy food? That’s eating healthy food you’ve grown.

City folks have it all wrong, so says our rural brothers. Whereas we’re planning gardens and having those landscaped, rural folks know how to landscape them and plan them to live. They have gardens where they grow farm produce instead of plants only used for decoration and looking pretty.

That’s the start of farm life for you. If you want to experience it even in the urban life you have, then you should try these tips out.

Prepare to Get Dirty

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Gardening is dirt; gardening is when you get your hands dirty. It’s when you dig deep into the soil. You should pay attention to the soil, as it is what you use to grow your plants. It should be healthy and rich with nutrients in order to get the most out of your crops. You should also avoid using chemical products on it; it takes away from the idea of the organic nature of things.

Create your own Fertilizer

If you’re not encouraged to use your own fertilizer, you’re going to have to create your own. One way of doing this is by composting. It’s a term most commonly heard from people who cultivate their own food and is usually a good way of keeping your soil healthy. When you create compost, you also help the environment; it’s usually made of left-over food, dead leaves, and organic garbage, so you get to recycle instead of throwing stuff away.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is a way of preserving or bringing back the health of your soil. Most local farmers use it to keep their soil’s nutrients replenished. It’s a simple chore; you usually plant something else instead of the crop that was harvested. When you’ve previously planted beets, the next time, you plant something like beans instead of the same crop. It keeps nutrients and refreshes the soil.

Combine Organic soil with Mulch

If you’re new to gardening, you’re going to have to invest in mulch and organic soil. Compost is what makes up the majority of organic soil; meanwhile, mulch is created by mixing organic soil with dead husks and straw without weed. This will help with two things—one, it prevents weed from sprouting, and two, it prevents fungi from the soil from transferring to your plants.

Keep your Garden Clean

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Cleaning your garden isn’t only for aesthetic purposes; it’s to remove plants that are long dead and use the soil for other plants. Always remember to dig up the soil too. You never know whether a diseased root or fungal matter is building up under all that dirt.

Remember to love your plants and always visit your garden! This way, you’ll be able to root out problems among your crops before they even start.

The organic lifestyle is picking up speed because people are beginning to focus more on their health. However, small organic operations usually only supply their wares; it’s the large organic operations that are reaping the benefits of that awareness.

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There are still ways to get off the ground and turn your small operation into a large one. If you or someone you know would rather remain small, then here’s what they or you can do to run with the big boys.

Sell at your Farm. This is best if you have neighbors around who can buy or if you’re a bit techie. Do note that, if you choose to do this, you’re responsible for selling your own produce. Learn to advertise or even create your own website if you decide to do this. You’re going to have to create awareness about your products. If you want a wider reach than just posting ‘for sale’ notices on lamp posts, then the Internet is the way to go.

Go for CSA. A CSA, or a Community Supported Agriculture, helps you get the community involved by offering parts of your farm as ‘shares’ or  ‘subscriptions.’ It’s also a plan where you could get volunteers by offering these schemes to volunteers. Many farms do this as a way of helping others, while others do it solely for profit. It’s a lot of work to get one started but it’s definitely worth it.

Sell Small. This is the usual situation when you’re in a small town or near several small towns: most of the small grocers/co-ops there are your best chance at selling your produce. Organically grown food is a big hit at these grocers, and recently, people have gone out of their way to buy from them. If you want to make a profit with your produce, learn to speak to some grocer owners near you.

Online Selling/CSA. Again, if you’re a bit of a techie, you can opt to sell most of your produce or, perhaps, look for volunteers or CSA partners online. This requires a quality website as well as people willing to invest or buy from you. While it may be hard to sell bigger produce online, most people would look for organic herbs and food as well as substitutes for everyday items like soap and lotions online.

We might be living in further modernized times right now, but organically-grown, natural food is still popular. They keep you healthy, rarely have chemical ingredients, and are also a cheaper option.

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