Cincinnati Backyard Farms

I mentioned my new start-up business venture in my last post and I just wanted to expand on the it.  Earlier this year I was trying to come up with a way to make landscaping a career.  I studied landscape design as a student at The University of Cincinnati and worked as a gardener out in Boulder, Colorado for a short while.  However, landscaping and mowing companies are abundant around here, so I wanted to find a niche that could be filled.  So I thought about focusing on food production.  The next step was to figure out how to make it happen.  For a couple months I have been going through ideas, thinking about all the issues, trying to come up with a good name, etc.  When it started to get warm outside is when I knew I had to get serious if I wanted to do something this year.

When I saw an article on Grit about a company doing the same thing I want to do in Seattle, I knew this could be a good opportunity for me.  I did more research about the business model, coming across a couple other companies, one of which was in Boulder, to get an idea of what I should charge and what services they offer.  So about a month ago I hopped on the fast-track, pouring whatever free time I had into brainstorming, sketching, writing.  A flyer was born, business cards have been ordered, a website is up and running (although still undergoing tweaking).  I even had my first email a few days ago inquiring about the services.  But as soon as I told the lady the prices, I never heard back from her.  I wasn’t surprised.  I think my prices are good for what I’m offering.  To some it probably seems like a lot of money though.

Anyways, I’m sure you all would like to hear more about the business…  The main purpose of Cincinnati Backyard Farms is to help people get started growing their own vegetables in their backyard.  In addition to vegetables, I want to help people grow their own fruit trees, grapes, and perennial edibles.  If the client would like to raise chickens for eggs (or meat), I want to help them get started doing so.  I’m also offering landscape design and installation for non-edibles, maintenance, and chicken sitting for when people go on vacation.

For the vegetables, I am offering two standard sizes of raised beds- 4’x4′ and 4’x8′.  They will be built on the site, filled with soil mixture, and fully planted for $275 and $450, respectively.  All seeds and plant starts will be organic or heirloom varieties and use square foot gardening.  I am also offering maintenance packages from vacation care, where I take care of the garden while clients are away, up to full-care, where I do everything and the client only has to eat the harvest.

If all goes well, I may try to add more services down the road, like beekeeping, greenhouse construction, fence building and larger animals for those with room.

One thing I am trying to decide is if I should raise more chickens to sell laying hens to clients?  Any other thoughts or suggestions?

Chuck From the Rural Side and now Cincinnati Backyard Farms!

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Wednesday Update

Just a quick update on the goings on around the ‘stead.  I’ve been busy doing spring cleaning around the property.  The trees I cut down over the winter left a lot of branches that need hauled away or burned.  I prefer hauling them away but some junk wood needed burned, so I burned some branches as well.  Mowing is a never ending chore that I continually put off.  Some of my grass is waist high because I put it off so long.  I could bale it if I had a tractor and baler!  But I only have a push mower, so that makes it more fun…

About half of the garden is in.  I’m falling behind in my schedule because of rainy days and other chores.  Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cauliflower, cabbage, were some of the latest plantings.  They all seem to be going through a bit of transplant shock or I didn’t harden them off enough before planting.  Some tomatoes had new growth so I think they will pull through.  I need to plant beans, pumpkins, corn, popcorn, whatever other seeds I have at the house, along with a second round of greens and radishes for staggered harvests.  I did finally get new cherry trees and grape vines from Lowes after losing some over the winter.  They still need to go in the ground, though.  Potatoes, blueberries, raspberries, and the seeds I planted a couple weeks ago all seem to be doing good.

This past weekend I traded the black rabbit buck I got as part of the three “does” I bought for a New Zealand white doe and bought one of her sisters as well.  They are only about two months old so it will be a few months before they can be bred.  When they are ready I will breed them to the red NZ buck.  I still haven’t decided what to do with the only doe of the three.  Maybe I should ask the person I got the two new does from if we can breed her to one of their bucks?  They live close so it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

A busy week and weekend lie ahead…  Work at the CSA tonight and Thursday.  Friday will be a travel evening after work back to my parent’s house in NW Ohio.  Saturday is a good friend’s wedding.  Sunday I will be coming back to the Rural Side, hopefully getting some work done around the house.  Monday is Memorial Day so I don’t have to work, which as a contractor means I won’t be getting paid at all, but the day will most likely be spent working around the house again.

In other news, I have launched my first business.  Still working on getting the name out and getting my first customer.  I’ll post more about it soon.  For now, check out the website for Cincinnati Backyard Farms (still a work in progress)