How does it feel to wake up on a Saturday morning and what you want for breakfast is a bowl of salad, but then you realize you would have to get up and drive all the way to the market to get the vegetables? Stressful I bet. How about waking up and having the same desire but instead of driving all the way downtown, you walk to your farm at the back of your house and get the vegetables you need?
Amazing! That defines the essence of Backyard farming.
Backyard farming as used here refers to farming on a mini or micro landscape, mostly within a person’s neighborhood or backyard just for personal consumption.
It is taking an active approach to growing crops organically within your environment as opposed to buying crops that must have been preserved with chemicals or harvested too early just for a long-lasting shelf life. It is taking a deliberate action to growing your own fruits, vegetables and developing your personal food cycle.
To start, you would need to take some things into consideration. This includes the location, soil texture, availability of sunlight, direct access to rainfall, the amount of time you can dedicate to this and crop type.
Easy Crops/Vegetables to Grow in your Backyard
While some crops might not do so well because of the soil texture, it’s incredible how much more you can grow right from your backyard. Note that it’s not just about growing any kind of vegetables and fruits, but growing what you love to eat. Don’t let the lack of a yard stop you, these crops can be grown in containers as well. They include:
- Green Leafy Vegetables
- Tomatoes: Nothing compares to eating a perfectly ripe home-grown tomato fresh within minutes of harvest. Tomatoes are a good source of iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, B6, and C as well as fiber. With a good healthy soil and adequate water supply and sunlight, you can grow tomatoes in any kind of soil. They can be grown in containers too. Containers used to grow tomatoes must be 18 inches deep and you need to be extremely careful when planting as its appropriate to plant just one tomato plant per pot.
- Red Bell Pepper: Have you noticed the little plant sprouting up from the same spot where you unconsciously throw the water with pepper seeds? That’s because red bell pepper grows very fast in any kind of soil. They are rich in potassium, riboflavin, vitamins A, B6 and C. They also do well in 8-12 inch deep containers.
- Maize: Maize is easier to plant because all it requires is a small space and a few maize seeds depending on the size of the farm. It works best with adequate sunlight and good water supply. So you just might need to irrigate your maize plants regularly (mostly in the morning and before bedtime).
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Nothing beats fresh green leafy vegetables. They are a good source of calcium, vitamins A, B6 and C, potassium and iron. Vegetables grow very fast in loamy soil or humus soil as they contain high amounts of nutrients needed for quick growth. Although, not all of them can be planted inside a pot – especially pumpkin leaves, because the stems are long and clingy. They would require building a bamboo shade so the stem can spread and grow really well. However, watch out for green worms.
Other food crops you might want to consider include peas, yam, carrot, cucumber, okro, melon, sweet potatoes, cassava e.t.c.
7 Reasons Why You Need To Grow Your Own Food
- Saves Cost: It reduces the amount of cash spent on purchasing food items as you get to grow your own food right from the comfort of your home. How cool does that sound? It provides the privilege of channeling your resources into other things you really need knowing the bulk of feeding has been sorted out. This means you can enjoy a fresh salad every day without the fear of the pesticides or contamination that may have occurred at the farm or transportation process. Growing your own food is one of the most important things you can invest at an early stage of your life.
- Nutritional Value: You get to eat fruits and veggies fresh from your farm. Most products purchased from the shelves are less nutritious because of its form of preservation and harvest schedule which reduces the vitamins that are meant to be derived from them. Veggies start losing their nutrients and quality in bits right from when harvested. Nothing absolutely beats growing your own crops right from your garden.
- Yearlong Harvest: You are less likely to be in lack with or without an inflation in the prices of crops as you can produce diverse kinds of food crops all year long depending on the soil texture in your environment.
- Safety: Your farmland would most likely be just in your backyard which gives you the opportunity to keep an eye on it. Moreover, it is less stressful to maintain a smaller farm just in your backyard than a large one.
- You save yourself the risk of buying products not organically grown. Most processed foods or vegetables found on the shelves contain ingredients derived from genetically engineered crops. According to whfoods, “it is believed that the altered genetic and protein composition of GE foods may present problems for various regulatory systems in the body – including the immune and inflammatory system – and may cause disruption in cell signaling or in digestive tract function”. To save yourself the risk, grow your own crops.
- Educational Value: Starting a backyard farm can be really fun, exciting and a means of education for your kids. With this, you get to instill a lifestyle of farming right at a very tender age. There is a high chance you might just be grooming the next generation who would most likely choose to grow their own food over buying from the shelves.
- A Brilliant Means of Outdoor Exercise: Having your own garden could really go a long way to help you detox your mind as well as enjoy some fresh air while weeding your farm or harvesting your crops. It’s a good bonding session especially when you get to do it with someone else, family or your kids.
Please note that the nutritional value of these crops degrades with time if not eaten within seven days of harvest, so it is a good reminder to eat them fresh or preserve inside a refrigerator.
No matter the kind of crop you choose to cultivate, you need to create the time to continuously weed and when necessary, water them to ensure the steady growth of these crops. Read 5 more ways to care about your farm here.
Backyard farming is a lifelong investment which you and your family would be grateful for in the long run. It is not too late to start, you can start now.