Now We're Farmers!

We'll, not really. But we do have a garden started in our yard, thanks to A Backyard Farm, which I wrote about in an earlier Simple, Good, and Tasty post. A Backyard Farm, in its first season, is the brainchild of Joan and Coleen, two terrific women whose quest to grow local, sustainable foods in Minneapolis and St. Paul now now extends to other people's home gardens. We had Joan and Coleen out to our house a couple of weeks ago, and we discussed an approach that would work for us. Not having had much success in the past with our own gardens, we decided to start relatively small, picking a 3X8 plot of yard that's likely to get lots of sunshine. A Backyard Farm provided a full list of vegetables and herbs to grow, ranging from tomatoes and cucumbers to kale and potatoes and everything in between (just the stuff that grows in Minnesota, obviously).

A Backyard Farm is priced with the understanding that Joan and Coleen will be doing all of the work (this option seems really good for us), and they offer a wide variety of garden options, with different sizes and materials. Laura and I settled on one of the least expensive choices: a pine box that will frame our garden ($220), along with a couple of trellis' ($50 each) and a drip irrigation system ($100). Total cost, parts and labor: $420. A bit spendy, but well worth the fresh foods we'll be getting all summer and the education that will come with it. The weekly maintenance cost is $35.

Our idea is that we'll have A Backyard Farm get us started on the right path and teach us what to do. Eventually, we'll take over. So today, when the women came to install our pine box and get the soil started, I was excited to learn from them. Mostly, that meant asking them questions while they tried to get work done with my kids screaming at them from the dining room window. I'm hopeful my family will be able to provide some actual help in the near future.

For people in our situation - a desire to garden, learn, and eat well, coupled with a (mostly) failed gardening history (entirely my fault, not Laura's), and a lack of time - A Backyard Farm is the perfect solution. I cannot say enough about Joan and Coleen - they are hardworking, smart, fun, and a total joy to get to know. UPDATE: Please check out Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday's, a great list of food posts like this one. The blog is consistently terrific, well worth checking out. foodrenegadefist_150