First Steps to Backyard Farming
Kevin Felts 12.23.16
Interested in backyard farming but do not know where to start? Maybe you have questions about fruit trees, chickens, or gardening and would like to talk to someone? The Internet is good, but nothing beats face-to-face conservations.
Where can you go locally to find first hand knowledge about backyard farming (backyard homesteading)? Talk to people who know what they are doing or who are in some business related to farming. And I don’t mean the young people at big box marts.
Stay away from big box marts. Buy seeds and supplies locally and go to nearby farmers’ markets.
Big Box Mart
These are the big commercial stores. I would rather not mention names. People hired at those stores are there to make a sale and not for their knowledge of farming. There may be a couple of people at the store that have some knowledge, but for the most part they are low wage workers hired to stock shelves.
I know the family this happened to. They wanted to buy some chicks for the two young daughters. Rather than going to a locally owned farming supply store, they went to a big box mart. The family bought 6 chicks. When the parents asked about feed, the sales person handed them a bag of hen scratch.
A few days later, the parents called me and said all their chicks died. I asked the standard questions if they had a heat lamp, food, water, etc. When I asked about the chick feed, the parents said it was hen scratch. Week old chicks can not digest hen scratch. The chicks starved to death because the sales person gave the family the wrong feed.
Local Farming Supply Stores
The absolute best place to buy chicks, seeds, and other backyard farming supplies is a locally owned store. These are the family owned farm supply stores where the owner works at the store.
I do most of my business through Circle Three Feed in Jasper Texas. The owner works at the store and is available to answer all kinds of questions. We talk about chickens, guineas, gardening–just all kinds of stuff.
This is the kind of resource people interested in backyard farming need to tap into.
The absolute best place to get first hand information is a farmers market. Find out where local farmers meet to sell their goods, go there, buy locally grown produce, and talk to the farmers.
Want to learn about growing tomatoes? Talk to the local farmers about their tomatoes.
Want to know about different chicken breeds? Talk to locals who sell yard eggs.
Some people will share their knowledge while others are not so willing to share their secrets. If someone is not willing to talk about details, do not come across as pushy. Someone else will fill in the gaps.
Easier Than It Sounds
Backyard farming may sound complicated, but it is not that difficult.
Get outside, plant something, and see what happens.