Get Growing: From gardening to urban farming or homesteading

Get Growing: From gardening to urban farming or homesteading
Brad Emery and a goat, which is one of his farm’s furry friends. —Photos courtesy of Brad and Susan Emery.
Chicks are one of the many animals to be found at the Emery home.

By Brad and Susan Emery

Over the past year we have become more aware of how important it is to farm and what farmers bring to the table. Also, over the past year many families have taken an interest in gardening and growing vegetables. It’s a rewarding endeavour to plant, grow, and harvest your own, although there is more to backyard farming than gardening.

Seven years ago we moved here, with no plan to farm. We started with a few chickens for eggs, then it was planting a bigger vegetable garden, next we got some ducks, and so on. Although we are not full-time farmers, every year we have added a crop and/or animal to our ‘farm’.

Ultimately, it would be very nice to be self-sustainable, although we’re dependent on having an internet connection so being off the grid is out of the question; we learn so much from YouTube.

We selected chicken, ducks, rabbits, and quail because they are easily maintained and provide us with a good source of protein. They also don’t necessarily need a lot of space or take up a lot of time. It’s the summer vegetable garden though that provides us with so much. Our cupboard was full of canned goods this fall, some are even quite popular among our friends and we are out for the season.

At the moment, our eggs are our primary farm income, but it’s not the only thing we sell. We have sold pullets and chicks, occasionally we have rabbit available, and now that we’ve added quail we’ll have that as well.

Lastly, we are also always trying to find ways to let nature help us with farm issues. Lately, we’ve seen hawks circling around so we currently have CDs/DVDs strung up in the trees as it is supposed to attract crows, which will in turn keep the sky clear of predators who are hunting for our chickens. It’s never a dull moment.

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