What is Backyard Farming?
Backyard Farming or Urban Farming is a movement where regular people who live in typical houses in typical neighborhoods are turning part of their property into mini or micro farms.
Personally, I use the term farming in order to make a distinction between ordinary gardening where one throws up the same tomatoes in the same spot of the yard every year and hopes for the best, as opposed to a smarter, more deliberate approach to maximizing the harvest.
This approach uses a concept known as permaculture. Permaculture is a style of organic gardening which uses nature as a tool to encourage the growth of fruits, flowers, and vegetables as opposed to always fighting against nature.
There are many articles on this site devoted to this concept. Take a look at the “Growing” section of the menu.
The term farming as used here is not to imply that one needs to grow things on a large scale, or to sell their crops to the public, but rather to emphasize the idea of taking an active approach to organic gardening at home in order to dramatically improve the results regardless of however much one wants to produce.
Having said that, using these techniques, the following things are able to be accomplished, if one were so inclined, on a typical suburban property.
- Growing all of the salad ingredients for your family
- Growing 25 pounds of potatoes on a tiny patio
- Raising a couple of chickens for eggs (more and more municipalities are changing laws and city ordinances on this)
- Raising Tilapia fish to eat in small ponds or large aquariums
- Raising rabbits or quail for meat
- Converting lawns into mini farms that can produce fruits, vegetables, and even staple crops like corn and wheat
- Using things like fences, walls, posts and garages to trellis things like grapes, squash, beans, and melons
- Growing 25 pounds of garlic
- Raising bees for honey
- Making Beer, Wine, Mead, Cider, or Brandy
- Making health and beauty products
- producing fresh cut flowers
- making teas, tinctures, and salves
What’s with the name
We use the term backyard farming because it gets closer to the mindset of what our goal is. “Backyard” meaning that we are doing this at home and “farming” because we are applying a more systematic or purposeful approach to growing food.
It is gardening. More specifically, it is organic gardening. We incorporate permaculture and other natural concepts in order to take our organic gardening to the next level.
The Goal of Backyard Farming
The goal with backyard farming for us is to do these the types of things mentioned in the above list on our property without anyone really noticing or caring. Many of the above examples can be incorporated beautifully into a suburban landscape and actually improve the overall aesthetic of one’s property.
Driving through a nice suburban neighborhood, one immediately sees very well maintained, beautiful landscaped properties. Yet none of the plants in these suburban scapes can be used by the families that live there. This does not have to be the case.
Why not replace that ornamental plum tree with an actual plum tree…Kale instead of hosta. Blueberry shrubs… you get the point.
With a well designed backyard farming project up and running, neighbors will compliment how well your property looks as you bring them goodies from the garden all year long.