Backyard Veggies for Fun and Profit (The Farmer’s Garden Story)

This is a guest post by  Maureen Farmer.

 

Five years ago, I tried vegetable gardening in one 3 by 6 raised bed to save money, eat healthier and become more self-sufficient. I was so thrilled with the outcome that the next year I enrolled in the Connecticut Master Gardener program. I discovered that I had a passion for growing vegetables and wanted to learn more about gardening. To become a master gardener, one of the requirements is that you need to volunteer a minimum of thirty hours on a garden related community outreach project of your choice. I volunteered more than thirty hours of my time on an urban nonprofit organic farm in my city, and for the past three years have been a member of their board of directors.

Since then, every year I have expanded my garden by building an additional raised bed. I grow more varieties of vegetables every year and even built a cold frame so that I can extend my growing season.  I usually harvest more produce than I can eat, freeze and give away. I soon realized that I really enjoy giving my extra vegetables and herbs away to my family, friends, and neighbors. People seem genuinely happy to receive a bag of mixed greens or a zucchini and the recipient’s happiness reflects back onto me.

Home gardening is growing more popular every year and everyone enjoys just harvested homegrown produce. I had the idea to combine my profession and passion to create a web tool to help everyone have access to locally grown food. Last spring, I taught myself the PHP programming language to supplement my existing programming skills and launched The Farmer’s Garden.

The Farmer’s Garden is the place to post free classified ads to sell, trade or give away your excess backyard produce. Individuals and food pantries can also register to post wanted classifieds. If you’re looking for fresh locally grown seasonal produce, visit The Farmer’s Garden website. Simply enter your US zip code, select the radius that you are willing to travel and see what people in your area have to offer. Share your surplus harvest with your neighbors. You’ll be surprised how wonderful a small act of kindness will make you feel.

Many backyard gardeners also grow varieties of produce not found in your local grocery store. This is a terrific opportunity to taste new foods. If you don’t know how to prepare something, ask the grower. He or she will probably offer you several tasty recipes to try. You might even make a new friend in the process.

The Farmer’s Garden is relatively new, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for today, try again next week. We have registered users in almost every state and the number of visitors to the website has been steadily increasing every month. We’re growing every day.

Maureen Farmer is a master gardener and has loved plants all her life. She hopes to have a greenhouse someday so that she can grow vegetables year round.

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  • Christel

    Excellent!
    I love to see this type of thing encouraged.
    Gardening and exposure to the process of growing is a really excellent way for a consumer to appreciate veg/fruit and all the beautiful nutrients and flavours they offer us!

  • http://www.littlestomaks.com TwinToddlersDad

    This is pretty cool! We are going to have a small 3X5 ft raised bed in the backyard soon. I think it will be great to get our 4 yo twins excited about growing vegetables. What do you recommend as the best veggies to plant for a beginner?

  • http://www.fooducate.com/blog Editorial Staff

    @TwinToddlerDad – Two parameters: 1)easy to grow 2)kids will eat. From our personal experience:
    Different types of tomatoes work well. Cucumbers. Peas – really cool to eat them off the pod. Best to ask around in your neighborhood or local nursery. Sometimes it’s easier to start with plants rather than seeds. Good Luck!

  • http://www.greenthumbgardeningproducts.com Gifts for Gardeners

    Hi Maureen
    Great information in your blog. This is especially challenging for you living in a cloder climate, It is not always easy to get those fresh veggies like we can in the summer.