There are many ways to maximize backyard garden usage, as author Carrie Zelazowski noted in her story:

“When people think of a productive homestead farm they may picture a log cabin and a pond with ducks and cattails. A sugar shack for boiling maple syrup and bee hives buzzing with activity could be in the scene. Livestock may graze happily in a pasture lined with tall apple trees. A dozen chickens may peck and scratch in front of a large red barn. And, of course, no profitable homestead would be complete without a sprawling, multiple-acre garden; anything less elaborate may seem like a hobby, rather than a homestead.

But some of us don’t have the luxury of utilizing that much space. We’re left trying to figure out how to make our little slice of land productive. My husband, Jeremy, and I have only one acre in upstate New York. The property originally belonged to Jeremy’s grandmother, and we moved there in 2010. We wish it were bigger, we’ve done our best to maximize what space we have. Jeremy puts his skills to use maintaining and improving the property, and I focus my attention on food production.

We have room for only a 1/4-acre vegetable garden on our land. Each year my goal is to grow enough produce for Jeremy and me to consume, and have some leftover to sell. It may sound pretty basic, but I’ve come to realize that it takes a bit more thought and planning to utilize space properly when you don’t have a lot of it. I simply can’t afford to dedicate part of my garden to something that may not grow well or will take up too much space.”

So for the average gardener, the New Pioneer has provided them with these useful 8 quick tips on how to max out your mini-farm:

1. For a market crop, don’t plant the same things people around you are growing. Find a niche crop.

RELATED: How to Start Your Own Quarter-Acre Mini Farm

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2. Plant varieties that do well in your location and climate.

3. Grow veggitables and fruit for home use that preserve well and have multiple uses.

4. Plant varieties that produce large, abundant fruit.

5. Don’t plant veggies like large win- ter squash that require lots of space.

5. Limit the amount of space you use experimenting with new varieties.

6. Grow vertically whenever possible. 7. Practice successive planting.

8. Use crowd planting to conserve space and control weeds.

RELATED: Do-It-Yourself Veggie Trellis For Any Vining Plant

This article was originally published in the NEW PIONEER ™ Summer 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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