How Much Food Can You Grow on 1/4 Acre?


An Organic Mini-Farm on a Small Suburban Lot

How much food can you grow on a 1/4 acre lot? Not much, right… Maybe a small garden in the back yard… Think again!

A group of roommates in Austin decided to stretch their small suburban lot as far as they could. And you won’t believe how much food they’re producing…

In addition to replacing the lawn with garden beds, they worked in a couple of greenhouses with aquaponic systems, and a huge composting operation. They didn’t neglect the visual appeal of the yard, either. They worked in some evergreens and perennial landscaping to keep the yard looking nice for the neighbors. As you’ll see, they won their neighborhood association’s Yard of the Month award in 2014.

A Simple Solution for the Squash Vine Borer

My favorite part of the video is when Michael says, “Our way of dealing with the squash vine borer… is to just replant.” That’s awesome. We hear so much about this particular pest and various intricate attempts to control it. Some people insist on bringing in fresh soil. Others build physical barriers to keep the moths out. Still others inject Bt insecticide into their squash stems using hypodermic needles. Or, you could “just replant.” I love it when there’s a simple, natural solution for a tough problem like that.

There’s another good approach in this article: The Borer Wars – How to Outsmart the Squash Vine Borer.

Micro-Farming as a Side Income

It looks like these folks are eating very well, and they’re generating a surplus. They’re selling some of the produce they grow in a mini-CSA arrangement. And they sell their aquaponic herbs and greens directly to local restaurants.

This group had to be pretty resourceful to come up with the funds to bring this whole plan together. Between crowd-funding, grants, and partnerships with other local organizations, they were able to find all of the money they needed.

No doubt, some neighborhoods would not be as supportive as this one has been. In some places, you might attract some unwanted attention by building a farm in your front yard. But even if you have to keep your garden in the back yard, these guys might lend you a little inspiration about just how much food you can grow on a small plot of land.

You can learn more about Ten Acre Organics and co-founders Lloyd Minick and Michael Hanan here: Ten Acre Organics.


Thanks to KLRU and Central Texas Gardener for the nice video.

Michael Ford

Michael has been the resident editor at The [Grow] Network since January 2015. Michael grew up in St. Louis, where he became a lover of nature - hiking and fishing his way through the Ozark hills in Missouri. He attended Baylor University in Waco, TX, and he currently lives in Austin. Michael has background experience in small-scale farming, commercial growing, vegetable gardening, landscaping, marketing, and software development. He received his Permaculture Design Certification from the Austin Permaculture Guild in 2013.
 

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3 Comments on How Much Food Can You Grow on 1/4 Acre?

  1. Betty Montgomery

    I live just East of Dallas in Hunt county. PLEASE tell me how you got rid of the grass!! I can’t seem to keep it out of my gardens. Or rather where I’m trying to garden!

     
  2. I loved the line on squash vine borer. I interviewed a gentleman by the name of Michael Dahl of Dissident Potato and he plants enough so that at least some survive. Interesting take on it and he says it works for him.

     
  3. Hugo

    Hi,
    I am currently looking to purchase a house in Bastrop, or other Counties in Austin.
    We LOVE gardening but few places the current realtor showed us have deeds, son we cannot move there.
    Can you please help us by letting us have a reference of places we can buy a house around here, even if it is a little far away from main cities, so we can garden as well? Or if you know someone who can help us?
    We are looking for a 4 bedroom+, and about 1+ acre.
    I know that this is not what you do exactly, but I felt you could help. My mother in Law is a great fan and follower of yours.
    We would like to be in touch and exchange ideas afterwards too.
    Thank you.