If you’ve ever had a vegetable garden, you know the rewards of having farm-to-table goodness outside your door. As the seasons progress, the continual watering, weeding, mulching, and pruning may demand more time than you have available. And then there are the deer that can level your garden to stubby shoots overnight.
Ridgefield-based Homefront Farmers (homefrontfarmers.com) may be the solution. Owner John Carlson and his staff will help you design an organic raised bed vegetable garden to suit your needs, aesthetics and budget. Together you’ll decide what to grow and in what quantities. This information will be fed into a computerized program that allocates space by crop and configures plants for maximum overall productivity, taking into account sunlight needs, growing heights, companion planting, and a succession plan to keep the garden producing for as many months as possible.
“Our main goal for your garden is that it be both functional and beautiful,” Carlson explains, noting that the company services all of Fairfield, Westchester, Litchfield, and New Haven counties. “We will build it five feet off the ground with non-pressurized wood, and install sturdy perimeter fencing and a three-foot gate for easy access.”
Your garden will be filled with healthy soil; a drip irrigation system can be installed. Then planting from your crop plan will begin. A bounty of choices await you — vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, fruit trees, and bushes — there will always be something flowering, ripening and ready to pick.
The Homefront Farmers team will pay weekly visits to your garden to keep it at peak productivity; if you choose, they’ll harvest all that is ready and leave it at your doorstep.
Lessons for people who want to be more involved or partial services for those who want to maintain the garden themselves but may need a “safety net” due to inexperience or occasional time crunches are available.
Homefront Farmers has been designing and maintaining custom at-home gardens since 2011, according to Carlson. “Our goal is to help people grow food with no chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or other synthetic applications,” he says, “and strict model practices established by the Northeastern Organic Farming Association (NOFA) are followed.”
Many kids today lack a realistic understanding of where their food comes from or the time and distance it takes to get to your table. They love to see things grow — the virtual fruits of their labors, so to speak — so getting them involved is easy.
Recipes such as carrot cake with beet-dyed frosting or tangy vegetable slaw, as well as gardening tips and crafty ideas for kids, can be accessed through the Homefront Farmers blog.
One Fairfield County resident who has worked with this company notes, “Nothing tastes better than fresh produce picked minutes before serving. We wish we’d done this sooner,” while another reports, “We no longer have to worry about our vegetable garden when we go on vacation for a few weeks; we know it’s being taken care of.”
Tangy Root Vegetable Slaw
(Recipe courtesy of Homefrontfarmers.com)
Ingredients from the garden:
5 salad turnips, washed, and greens stored for another day
3 golden or red beets, washed, and greens stored for another day
5 carrots, washed and chopped
5 large leaves kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
4 scallions, peeled and chopped
Ingredients from the pantry:
2 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ cup champagne vinegar
½ cup walnut oil
½ cup raisins
kosher salt to taste
- In a food processor, shred turnips, beets, carrots, apple, and kale.
- In a serving bowl combine all ingredients and enjoy!