Total Garden Makeover: Farm Edition
Are you yearning for a lifestyle that is more self-sufficient? The solution to this may very well be right in your backyard. It doesn’t matter if you have a tiny lot or a huge block; you can still create an efficient yard. You might just have a deck or verandah – but it would be enough. Just make sure you protect it from water, by applying a layer of decking oil.
The key here is to treat your backyard like a micro-farm. One that needs to have enrichment and investment, where you can do your harvesting and replenishment.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can turn your backyard into a mini-farm:
Reducing your lawn area: A lawn requires regular feeding, weeding, watering and mowing. If you have pavers around the grass, they too need some care, and you should treat them with paver sealer to make them last longer. With the different water restrictions and environmental concerns over chemical fertilisers – not to mention the emission from the fuel-powered lawnmowers – it makes sense to eliminate all or most of your backyard lawn to create a more eco-friendly and sustainable yard.
A good alternative is to remove the grass and plant things like drought resistant “ground covers” – if you still want some greenery to enjoy.
Converting your lawn area to a vegetable patch means you are no longer sucking up the earth’s resources, but you are generating food. Growing your own food will require time and effort, but the best thing is you get paid back in produce that is fresh and delicious.
Landscape with plants you can eat: Many plants can do double duty in the garden, like providing colour and foliage and – at the same time – be something beautiful to look at. If you add something like fruit trees, for example, you can have a nice green garden, and fresh fruit to eat too. Fruit trees also offer shade to sit under in the summer months. If you have a small yard, you can consider going with a dwarf variety that is smaller, but will still produce fruit.
Fruit-bearing bushes are great to fill out your garden and bare patches. These have the ability to add structure to your garden. Option such as raspberry, blackberries and currants. Edible plants offer a colourful yet practical way to enjoy your garden instead of flowers. If you want something fast-growing, then scarlet runner beans are a good choice. These have red flowers with a pod that you can eat. Rhubarb has big leaves and bright red stalks that can add colour to the garden, along with red cherry tomatoes.
Grapevines and passionfruit vines have beautiful flowers, and they can be trained to grow practically anywhere, from along trellis to up fences and trees.
Grow what is good for your family: Think about what your family eats and doesn’t eat, and plant accordingly. If you like smoothies, then kale and strawberries are a good choice. If you use a lot of lettuce and spinach for salads, then they are well suited for you to plant. If you like making your own beer, you can even think about growing your very own hops.
If you want to convert your garden into a farm to save costs, then you need to weigh the cost of a nice garden – produce, growing the seedlings, water and so on – against what you would normally pay for food. If you have plants that require too much water or need expensive care such as frost coverings, then you should get rid of them and consider something else.
Consider incorporating bees or small farm animals
If you have a yard with a sturdy fence, then you could consider getting some chooks to have fresh eggs on hand. Chickens also eat scraps, so you’re getting free eggs without having to pay too much to feed them.
You can also consider making your own honey and selling it to people in your local area. Everyone loves fresh honey. Beeswax can be used by people who make their own soap and moisturisers; this could be another option too. Obviously, you will need to check with your local council as to what animals you can, and can’t have.