I decided to start this blog as a record of my attempt at backyard farming. It will, hopefully, keep track of a year in the life of my families attempt at a full fledge, however tiny, farm here on the shady side of a hill in Beavercreek.
Our backyard farm consists of a 32′ x 32′ main garden surrounded by an 8′ deer fence. The main garden has given over to mainly fruit crops as the trees on the upper side of our property have blocked more and more sun over the years. It has blueberries, red and golden raspberries, wineberries, horseradish, sun-chocks, 5 varieties of grapes, a queen anne cherry, a couple of other fruit trees that we rescued from the deer and a little room for a few vegetables.
We also have 6 raised bed in the backyard and another in the front. These are used for strawberries and vegetables.Thia year we need to figure out a way to keep the deer out of them. Last summer was really dry and the deer went crazy a couple of evenings and ruined our bean and tomato harvest.
We usually also plant some potatoes, corn pumpkins and squash the chicken yard, they didn’t do too well last year. I think we had a lot of moles that got to them. The 30-40 mole hills in the field near the chickens testify to that problem and will have to be dealt with soon. Thank goodness my father-in-law have a sure-fire method of mole eradication.
The front pasture has a variety of fruit trees we put in about five years ago: apples, pie cherries, pears and plums. Last summer was the first year that we had enough cherries to make one cobbler and apples to put up pie filling, sauce and press some cider. The hedge-row near the road has some wonderful old italian prune trees – the property was a prune orchard a long time ago. There is a huge kiwi vine over the rear trellis that started bearing a few years back and must produce 200 kiwi each year. We also have one fig tree in the backyard (my mother-in-law has one next door too) so we were able to make some really good fig and orange jam. In addition to the fruit trees, we also have a lot of invasive blackberry that we harvest every year for jelly and syrup. The nut trees have not done as well. the squirrels get all of the filberts, the butternut is a 10 year old stub (maybe three feet tall, and the dogs tore out my new walnut tree last summer for a chew toy.
That pretty much does it for the plant life; on to the animals. We currently have about 13 hens and a rooster, a sheep, three pygmy goats, three cats (Darwin, Copernicus, and Suzuki) and two maremma sheepdogs (Mishka and Bentley) all live fairly harmoniously on our 1.3 acres.