Due to working full time, renovating La Casita and family obligations I neglected Backyard Food Production...but now I am back in the game. I left my job to work full time on my guest house La Casita, Redbay Farm (my tree farm) and Back Yard Food Production.
My first major project is to build good housing form my animals. I am currently working on my chicken and goat combo house. My experience shows me how important animals are to backyard food production. My chickens produce eggs and my wether goats help keep brush down and clear land. Both animals produce fertilizer.
Anyone who has animals knows that protecting those animals is a full time job...this is why I am working to construct a strong, predator resistant house this fall and winter before I fully concentrate on rebuilding my fruit, nut and vegetable production....check my diary entries and this page for updates
Having vegetables and animals in the backyard is a venture almost any suburban homeowner can enjoy. If you live in an apartment, condo with restrictive rules or live in a subdivision with a restrictive overly energetic homeowners association then backyard food production may be a future goal. The ideas, links and references found on this page are oriented toward the suburban home owner with a quarter acre or larger lot. If your homeowners association allows vegetable gardens then keep reading. If not don't give up your dream...keep saving, learning and dreaming and one day you can start that garden and raise those animals you always dreamed about so that you can have fresh, nutritious and high quality food.
Backyard Food Production Components
Water - You can use city water or put in your own well (shallow or deep). Visit the Water page to learn how to install your own well.
Temperature- plants and animals thrive in a narrow temperature range which is between 60 and 80 degrees Farenheit. Temperature modification for cooler regions of the world requires the use of cold frames or greenhouses. I use a homemade greenhouse for my system.
Vegetables- easy to grow vegetables that your family likes to eat...don't grow squash if you don't eat squash.
Soil - healthy living soil is a foundational element of a food production. Garden soils are enhanced using manures, worms and compost.
Animals - for protein and fertilizer. Chickens and rabbits seem to be the most handy animals for the backyard farmer. My thoughts on fish are they are very technologically dependent based on my experiences.
Trees - for shade, nuts, fruit and wood. Careful selection, planting and management of trees can enhance food production. I like to think that planting trees is a truly selfless act because even a child won't likly see the full majesty of a mature some trees that grew from a nut or seed they planted. Planting trees is not for the timid...it is an admittance of our own mortality).
Energy - try solar power and wind power. Doing so will give you a bit of independence in a suburban or urban area.
Micro Livestock: Little known livestock with a promising future...just click on the book to read the FREE ebook
Backyard Food ProductionRequirements
Simple - complexity is not good. Food production should be the focus of of backyard food production not technology...think Model T not Prius.
Inexpensive - not cheap...strive for durability, longevity and repairability. Example; greenhouse plastic versus glass; or build a greenhouse using recycled windows rather than spending a considerable sum on a manufactured greenhouse.
Efficiency - small size forces efficiency and makes the homeowner think carefully about how an addition to your food production system will affect other components. Smallness is a great efficiency forcer...enjoy finding efficiencies in backyard food production to save time.
Multiple uses - each component should have multiple potential uses. For example, a fish tank stores water, stores heat, stores cold, produces condensation, produces fertilizer, produces food etc etc. Each potential use of a component should be considered before integration into your backyard.
Plan - have a plan...don't just let your backyard garden/food production happen. Think about traffic flow (that means you toting stuff, pushing a wheel barrow). Think about sun light. Your plants will need at least six hours a day of sunlight to do well...don't put the garden shed on the south side of the garden unless you want more shade. There is a lot more to think about...plan, plan and then plan some more.