Have you ever thought about starting your own small hobby farm? In today’s era of increased sustainability, hobby farming is a growing trend. But what’s the difference between hobby farming and commercial farming?
Hobby farms aren’t necessarily for making a profit, although it’s possible to make a few bucks from your farm if you want to sell some vegetables to local restaurants or markets. You can also opt to sell livestock or fresh eggs from your chickens, for example. However, hobby farms are typically passion projects that people do for the pure joy of growing and sustaining the food they eat. Hobby farms are also therapeutic.
Most people who decide to start a hobby farm have another income source, and they’re starting a hobby farm to provide food for their own families. The tips below will help you get farming equipment and get started with your own hobby farm.
1. Do Your Research
Before starting your hobby farm, do plenty of solid research. Have an idea of what you would like to grow and whether you want to include farm animals. The time commitment varies widely depending on what you want from your hobby farm.
For example, if you want to raise chickens so that you can enjoy fresh eggs, you’ll need a chicken coop, which will require up-front expenses for materials. You’ll also need some handyman skills or have the money to hire someone to build your coop for you.
2. Start Small
When you first start your hobby farm, you may have big dreams. However, it’s best to start small so that you don’t risk overwhelming yourself. If you’re new to gardening, for example, consider starting with container vegetables or a small plot of land. If you want to jump into livestock and have no experience in this area, consider starting with just a few laying hens.
If you start to feel overwhelmed, it may be tempting to quit altogether. Remember, a hobby farm should be enjoyable.
3. Plant Your Garden
Part of your research process should include a survey of your land to decide how large you want your garden to be. Do a good analysis of where the sunlight hits the ground at different times of the day. Most vegetables require full sun, although some can grow well in partial shade.
Another consideration is whether or not you want to grow enough produce to preserve for the winter months or just grow food to eat as you harvest.
4. Make Decisions About Livestock
If you’re going to include livestock on your hobby farm, you’ll need to know what you want from your farm animals. For example, you may want hens so that you can have fresh eggs, or it may be your goal to go all in and raise chickens for meat.
When it comes to larger animals like cattle, you’ll need the land to support these animals. Be sure you have the correct ratio of land per head of cattle, or you may find yourself with some hefty feed bills.
5. Work Out a Budget
The larger your operation, the more it will cost you financially. If you’re only growing vegetables, your financial investment will be less. However, even with just gardening, there are costs involved, especially when you’re first starting. You’ll need seeds, plants and supplies. Also, if you have a large garden, investing in the correct equipment will save you time and money.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that a hobby farm is meant to be enjoyable. Keep your farm as simple as needed to keep this goal front and center.