A Back Yard Farm



Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q. Why is "eating locally" becoming so popular? 

A. Most produce in the U.S. is shipped an average of 1500 miles before being sold. While it takes this adventurous journey, it looses a significant amount of its freshness and nutrients. In addition, this journey ends up using 1.4 times the energy than is actually in the food. You can't get more "local" than your own backyard and you'll know you don't have to worry about salmonella or other contaminants.

Q. Why organic? 

A. Organic farming uses no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. By creating a healthy soil that contains a wide variety of nutrients, the vegetables themselves are be healthier and contain more nutrients. Organic does not kill the "good" bugs i.e. butterflies and ladybugs, along with the "bad" bugs.

Q. Why is A Backyard Farm like having your own personal CSA? And what is a CSA anyway? 

A. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Customers buy a share of the produce grown by a local farmer thereby also sharing in the growing risks provided by Mother Nature, such as a cold wet year, hail, drought. Each week the customer either picks up their basket of vegetables from the farm or the produce is brought to a central location in the city for pick up. The customer can often receive items in their basket they are unfamiliar with or they simply do not like.  With a Back Yard Farm you get to select the vegetables you want to grow.  Your "share" is delivered right to your doorstep (or is eaten right from the garden).  Yes, you still share in the challenges mother nature provides but you will come to feel more connected to nature as you watch your vegetables grow.

Q. Why does A Backyard Farm use raised beds? 

A. Our bed system is especially designed for the urban setting. The urban yard is often contaminated by lead and arsenic. By using a raised bed system and bringing in our organic specially mixed soil, we can eliminate this danger.  A raised bed and our intensive planting method uses much less space than needed for a traditional garden.

Q. What size farm will I need? 

A.The size of your farm will depend on your space available and eating preferences. We'll discuss this more during our free consultation and design session. But a general rule of thumb is that you will want between 1-3 4'x8' beds. One bed will provide a daily salad for one person during the growing season. Two beds will provide salad and supper, and three will provide some extra to share with friends or to preserve for winter.

Q. What is "succession" planting? 

A. Many people think of the Minnesota growing season as starting after the last frost date -May 10th-15th, and ending in September. But with modifications and plant selection, the season can be extended in the spring and fall. This will give you a "succession" of plantings and harvests from April through October and sometimes even into November. By planting every couple of weeks through out the season, you will have a continuous supply of fresh vegetables all season rather than too much of one item at a time. A typical personalized farm keep a family happy with 20 different crops from May or June to October. You will receive a variety of about 8 different vegetables each week in the spring, and 10 or more in the summer and fall.

Q. Why does A Backyard Farm grow things vertically? 

A. In the city, space is at a premium so this is a efficient way to save space. In addition it is an excellent way to increase air flow and reduce exposure to fungus that can increase the chance of plant disease. Tomatoes especially love to grow vertically as do peas, beans, cucumber, and squash. Growing up also gives your garden a third design dimension to provide interest to your yard.

Q. How often does the farmer come to my home to care for my farm? 

A. We come to your home on a weekly basis. During our visit we will weed, fertilize check for pests, plant and harvest. We will leave your basket of fresh vegetables ready for you to enjoy.  No time wasted shopping and one less errand to do!   We also offer a monthly consultation service to keep your garden on track throughout the summer.

Q. Why is composting important for a healthy backyard farm? 

A. Your farm's soil will be amended regularly - at each succession planting - with fresh rich compost to keep the nutrient base rich and production at its highest. The very best compost comes from the diverse mixture of vegetable waste from your kitchen, mixed with organic yard waste and leaves. While we do not require that you compost, we encourage it and make it very easy for you by setting up your compost system on site or picking up your compost to process at our business location.

Q. What is the right time to start a backyard farm? 

A. While early spring (April 1st) is ideal so you can capture the full growing season, we can extend the growing season to October so you can start your backyard farm as late as June 1st.If you miss this timing, don't worry.  We also install farms in the fall so you are ready to go first thing next season.

Q. What if I want to learn how to take care of my farm myself? 

A. That is great. We can either set up your bed system and you can take it from there or we can provide monthly consultation from April through October to help you learn the secrets to farming in an urban setting. We'll come to your home each month to guide you through the steps of choosing plants and seeds, planting, maintaining and harvesting.

Q. So your own backyard farm sounds great. What's the next step? 

A. Call or email us to set up a free consultation.