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Today I welcome Katharina to this space
I'm Katharina, new to blogging (visit me at thisonegoodlife.blogspot.com), and not even sure I'm a backyard farmer just yet. With a flock of 6-11 chickens around for the past 4 years, and two brand new beehives, along with an expanding vegetable garden and more fruit trees every year, I hope to get there. Inch by inch, row by row... Outside of growing food, our family of five loves making things - sewing, woodworking, repurposing, and we love exploring nature. My greatest motivation for living this one good life is to raise good stewards of this one precious planet.
How long have you been backyard farming? What got you started?
It's hard to say - it's creeping up slowly. We've been in our house for close to ten years. The first years involved mostly clearing the lot of excess pine trees, overgrown brush and old horse sheds. In 2009, I put the first vegetable plot in the back and started keeping laying hens. This year I doubled my production garden space and added 2 beehives and a few fruit trees. As far as awareness, I've always been a treehugger, but I grew up in Europe where things are a bit different in this area. After moving to the US, I had to re-think how I could be 'green'. I still try to bike a lot!
What does your backyard farm look like? Where is it?
In a posh suburb in the Northeast, we raise laying hens, bees, vegetables and berries. And a family, of course! With just under an acre, we've been able to cut some hardwood trees for woodworking and heating, too. We still have plenty of lawn, there's room for future expansion!
What has been your biggest success and biggest mistake?
Biggest mistake was to plan my first vegetable garden in the shadiest spot. I tried to make the backyard look 'nicer' by hiding the production garden in the back, where it's never quite sunny and takes a long time to dry in spring. I have finally learned what I can grow here (potatoes and beans) and what I need to move to the new vegetable garden in the sun (tomatoes, squash).
Biggest success overall probably the chicken coop, although this spring has been a challenging chicken season and I've been learning way more about chicken illnesses and predators than I really wished to. We're on our fifth spring of chick raising and, though tough, it has been such a wonderful experience for the kids.
Learn more about beekeeping, and get the fruit trees and berries to produce. We will hopefully grow, make and preserve more of our own winter foods. This year we stepped up the physical projects a bit, next year will have to be a level year of learning and simply getting better at what we already do.