This is a tough financial time for many of us. Tighter budgets don’t always allow us to shop the organic section at the grocery store, or take those yearly family vacations we so love. Instead, we are spending more time at home, going out to eat less, and watching movies in our living rooms instead of at the theater. But, a lot of us are also realizing that our backyards have far more potential than we had previously realized. We are beginning to see that our spaces can be transformed into our own private retreat, our source for cheap or free organic food, a wonderful place to spend time with family, and our favorite hobby, all in one! In fact, the more time we spend in our yards, the more they will provide, both in tangible goods, healthy exercise, and emotional wellbeing.
Grow Your Own Food
Home gardens of any size are worthwhile to have. Planting and growing your own food is extremely rewarding and convenient. Need some carrots or thyme for that stew? Go get some from your garden! Since seeds are so inexpensive, gardens are also a great way to save on your grocery bill. In addition, because you are in complete control over how your vegetables are grown, you no longer need to worry about what questionable chemicals may be residing on your dinner.
Gardens are also a great place to spend family time. Give your kiddos a small space to grow some veggies. They will have so much fun watching it grow. Talk about a genius way to get picky eaters to love vegetables!
Creating Natural Fertilizer
A great way to save money, reduce waste, and benefit your garden is to create a home composting system. Organic material, kitchen scraps, and yard clippings can all be turned into rich plant food that you can spread under shrubs, use as potting soil, and mix in your garden beds to give everything an extra umph!
Use scrap wood to build a box, or an old garbage can as a compost receptacle. To get started layer dead leaves, branches and twigs with grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds. Be sure to burry fruit and veggies under at least 10” of compost to keep pests at bay. The key to a successful composting system is to make sure the contents stay moist, this will allow decomposition. If your compost is in a sunny area, you can place black plastic or a tarp over the top to keep in moisture.
Things you should not compost:
∙ Meat, fat, grease, oils, bones
∙ Dairy products
∙ Weeds with seeds
∙ Cat/Dog waste
∙ Non-biodegradable material
Did you know that urban hen keeping is one of the fastest growing hobbies in America? True story! Chickens are low maintenance, require little space, and well worth their weight in gold, and by gold I mean eggs and organic bug control! A little known fact is that chickens are also very affectionate, often flocking to their keepers in hopes of a petting session.
I’ve kept chickens in my small backyard in the city for a little over a year now. They have been such a wonderful addition that I couldn’t imagine not having them. Their hilarious antics are a great source of entertainment and their continuous supply of delicious fresh eggs keep me from having to make as many emergency trips to the grocery store.
Although chickens are fairly low maintenance, they do require some basic things to survive:
Keeping chickens is also a great way to teach children how to care for animals. For further information, visit this great website dedicated to chicken keeping.
Creating a Relaxation Station
A key element to a happy life is taking time to enjoy yourself and reflect on the great things in your life. Your backyard can be therapeutically valuable, especially if you have comfortable seating or even a hot tub to enjoy it in. After all, what better way is there to admire the results of your hard work, than in a tub of pulsing warm water? Soothing aching muscles, stiff joints, and providing a message, spas are an unbeatable way to create your family’s very own retreat, right in your backyard.
With these 4 easy tips you can convert your yard space into a fresh organic food source, an exciting learning experience for your kids, and a place to relax while spending quality time with family and friends.
What about you? Comment below and let us know how you make the most out of your backyard space!
Meet Kaisa Williams. When she is not working on her garden she can be found fulfilling one of her many many talents as the Media Manager at The Spa Depot. She’s also a photographer, author and world traveller.