One of the hardest things for people new to this lifestyle to learn is how to make the most out of their space. They want to be able to do it all, but are worried that their backyard space may not be enough to get it done. If you are ready to be part of the mini farm movement and want to know how to fit as much stuff as possible into a little space, here are some great tips to help you get started.
Make a plan
Make a plan right from the beginning. Draw out what your backyard looks like and then separate into the different areas you would like to have. Consider how much space you will actually need for your goals. For example, a group of twenty chickens is most likely not going to fit in the smallest corner of your backyard as they will need some room to grow and flourish. Figure out how much of each thing you will like to have and how much space each of them need and make the diagrams from there.
During the beginning stages, it is fine to experiment. You may have a lot of lines all over the place as you try to decide how much space you have, where will be the best places to put everything, and how this will all work together. You may even need to give up a few things to fit it all in, such as having ten chickens instead of twenty. But soon you will find the plans that work the best for you and your mini farm can take off!… Decide what is the most important
Before you get too far into the process of mini farming, you need to decide what is the most important to you on this adventure. Are you most interested in having a huge garden that will provide you with all the produce you will need throughout the year or would you be more interested in the fresh meat and eggs. While you may be able to fit a bit of both into your mini farm, you do need to keep space in mind. You may have to choose one over the other a little bit to make things work and if you don’t decide what is the most important from the beginning, you could end up in some trouble.
Designing the garden
The garden is often the area you are going to spend the most time on. Most of the animals that you include in your mini farm will just need a little food and roaming space and they are fine. But your garden can take up a lot of space when you’re not carful and can make it really hard to get everything that you want into the small space. Some of the ways that you can maximize your mini farm includes:
- Have walkways—this can help you to get in between the plants a little bit better. You may not want to go with the regular row style of garden because this is inefficient and won’t allow you to keep as much in the garden as before so having those walkways can help you to get to the plants and helps to separate out everything that you are growing.
- Raised garden beds—these are a convenient and easy way to harvest the food. You will find that you can fit twice as much food in one area without a lot of work, it helps to make the garden look better, and you will be able to get to the crops a little bit easier.
- Add in some trellises—there are quite a few plants that like to grow upward. In a traditional garden, they may go to the sides along the ground, but this is valuable space that you could use for other things in a mini farm. You can instead make your own trellises, or use some that are already in the garden, and teach the plants how to grow up. There is a lot of upward space you aren’t using for anything else so you can really help to add more to a small space.
- Use the fence—just like with the idea of using a trellis to grow the plants upward, you can also turn to the fence to grow plants upwards rather than on the ground. If you are sharing a fence with a neighbor, it is probably not a good idea to allow the plants to grow that way so install a few fences to make this happen.
- Garden and landscaping—if you learn how to make the garden look unique and as part of the landscaping, you will not feel like it is taking up as much space.
Most people will just get started on their garden and allow the plants to grow in any way that they please. While this may be the easiest, it is going to take up a lot of space. Rather than allowing the plants to just go whichever way they would like, consider growing them in cages. This helps to keep the plants in check and can allow for more room for other plants. Tomato cages work well for this and can be used on things such as peppers.
Different kinds of planting.
One type of planting to try out is companion planting. This is the practice of planting certain vegetables and herbs together because they are able to benefit each other in some way, such as weed control or pest control, and they can save space. For example, planning squashes, beans, and corn together can be this kind of planting or planting herbs in between rows of other plants can be a type of companion planting. Each of the plants are going to share a smaller space while helping each other out in the process, making you have more space in the garden while planting twice as much.
Another method that you can use is successive planting. With this you will grow one crop and then once that crop becomes more mature, you will plant another round in the same area. The mature plants will help to protect the younger ones as they grow, allowing you to get two crops in the same area and not having to wait as long to get that second crop.
Utilize your space
Every farm is going to be a bit different. You are going to have a backyard that is different than what others may be using. You need to look around your own space and see what you are able to do to save room without making things look to cluttered. You may find that the yard is already divided up in a way that makes gardening in one area easier than in another and some yards may just have to separate all of this out. Use what your garden has available and you will be just fine.