Tim James

The Backyard Farmer

Anyone can be a farmer!

I've worked on farms in Maine, Massachusetts, and northern California, and grow produce in my own backyard. Here are some of the essentials that I use in my day to day that you might use too.

Suggestions welcome for areas I've missed!

1. Required Footwear

This boot is the best boot for any gardening you will be doing. It is waterproof, yet low-top so it won't get too hot on warm days. The sole is sturdy and provides reliable traction on any surface. Plus, they're pretty swanky.

2. Best Socks Ever

These mid-rise socks pair well with low-top Muck Boots. They are comfortable and extremely durable. The warranty is second to none: They are guaranteed hole free for life. I wear mine hard and still haven't managed to put a hole in them!

3. Boss Pants

You'll need some pants to last you forever, and these are the ones. They are double fronted so they can take a beating, whether you're working on your hands and knees or slicing veggies against your leg with a knife. And, they're pretty comfy. Oh, and anything made by Carhart is hip right now, so you'll look awesome in your garden.

4. Stay Warm

This vest is awesome because it's a Carhart, which means it will last a really long time. It also doesn't have a collar, so it's extra comfy. Trust me, you don't want a collar.

5. Motivation

Whether you're growing for fun or to make some cash, this book offers both guidance and inspiration so you can find the sweet spot for your garden.

6. Multi-purpose Tool

The Hori Hori is an awesome tool! Anytime you're working the garden with your hands, keep this fellow nearby. It's excellent at controlling weeds, but use your imagination and it will do just about anything.

7. Ho-Mi

The HoMi is great for digging and is essential if you will be transplanting any plants that have been started in pots. The handle is perpendicular to the implement, so it's easy on the wrist.

8. Yes, you need a shovel

This shovel is expensive. But I'm not listing anything that's crap and is going to break right off. I believe in investing in your tools so they can serve you well for many years. This is a beautiful and eminently functional piece of equipment. Rub the handle down with linseed oil every fall and it will stay strong and smooth for a lifetime.

9. Turning It Over

Dito above; the up front investment will pay dividends down the road. Use this fork for turning the soil and digging your root vegetables.

10. Water

You may think I'm crazy. This watering can is real pricy but it will lay water as smooth as butter on your delicate seedlings.

11. Assuming you have dirt, now all you need are seeds

Heirloom tomatoes are beautiful and so darn tasty you will never eat one of those plastic tomatoes you bought at the store again. Let these beauties get fully ripe on the vine. They may grow in odd shapes and some will split, but just cut out any bad spots and you can make a meal of just tomatoes, they're that good.

12. More addictive than crack

These cherry tomatoes will blow your mind.

13. You must grow basil

Basil is required for every garden. Put in on your tomatoes, make pesto, rub a leaf between your fingers and revel in the essence of fresh. Basil is highly perishable once picked, so having some plants in the backyard is better than gambling on the supply at the local supermarket.

14. For the BBQ

Zucchini is a great summer veggie and you can cook in on the grill alongside those hot dogs.

15. Crunchy

You can use that expensive fork I listed above to dig these carrots out. Then, brush one off on your Carhart pants and eat it right there. True fruit of the earth.

16. Butter Lettuce

So, I might describe a great California chardonnay as buttery, but I will, every time, say that this lettuce is buttery. You've got to try it to believe it.

17. Feeding your plants

Plants need food, just like you. This all around fertilizer will keep them happy. You dilute it with water in your watering can and apply it to your plants once they're growing and they will boost up big time.
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