The deliberate, calculated approach of re-purposing a backyard into a clean food production center using the concepts of water conservation techniques, backup and redundancy, and the integration of different food growing systems where everything works together for maximum yield and food security. TransFarming is about Transforming your Backyard into a Farmyard.
Some Components of a TransFarmed Yard
Traditional Raised Bed Gardens
Wicking beds have proven to be a viable solution to the Texas heat and water conservation. These simple structures, based on a raised bed garden, incorporate a reservoir underneath the bed to store water. The garden is watered through an exposed pipe which then wicks water upward through the soil to the roots where water is needed the most. There is minimal evaporation.
Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (soil-less plant production). With Aquaponics, the nutrient-rich water that results from raising fish provides a source of natural fertilizer for the growing plants. As the plants consume the nutrients, they help to purify the water in which the fish live. A natural microbial process keeps both the fish and plants healthy, and helps sustain an environment where all can thrive. Both the plants and fish are harvested.
A HugelKultur is a type of raised bed garden that allows one to use organic materials that are too big to go in the compost. Over time, that is 3- 5 years, the materials in the bed decompose, and provide a slow release of nutrients for garden plants.
Because of its three-dimensionality, a HugelKultur raised bed garden combines the multiple functions of rainwater harvesting, catchment, and irrigation using no cistern, pumps, or pvc pipes. Done properly, there may be no need to water all summer!
A keyhole garden uses the same principle as a HugelKultur in that decomposing matter is used to absorb and retain water in the soil. Large amounts of “rotting” wood and kitchen scraps are used in the soil which is stacked within layers of cardboard and paper. Kitchen scraps are also added to the bed via a foot-wide tube which nourishes the entire system. A wedge is cut in the circular bed to access the tube, which makes the garden look like a keyhole when viewed from above.
Hoop House/Monkey Huts
One of the major concerns with growing food (and fish) in the winter is the cold. The wind does not help much either. Greenhouses are expensive, and any constructed structures tend to be somewhat permanent. Enter the simple Monkey Hut. These structures are by their very nature flexible, and designed to withstand strong wind and rain (dust too). Built correctly, they are easily dis-assembled in the Spring, or used to support a shade cloth in the Summer.
By integrating different food growing components as part of an overall food growing system, everything in a TransFarmed yard works together resulting in a more sustainable food supply. While this concept is not new, many of the food growing components are.
Some primary components of a TransFarmed yard may include Wicking Beds, Aquaponic Systems, HugelKulturs, Tank Gardens, Keyhole Gardens, as well as conventional Raised Bed Gardens. Other ancillary supporting components may include vermiculture (worms), chickens, rabbits, composting, and water capture. These all support the primary components. Given a deliberate, calculated integration of these specific components, a much higher “rate of return” is realized beyond each component by itself. NOTE: Not all of these components need to be used. Any one component will produce greatly on its own, but will increase in conjunction with any of the others.