Here are 50 tips for creating a self-sufficient backyard garden:

1. Plan out your garden carefully - Decide what you want to grow and how much space you'll need for each crop. Make a map of your planting beds.

2. Test your soil - Check the pH and nutrient levels of your soil and amend it accordingly. Most vegetables grow best in slightly acidic soil (pH 6-7).

3. Build raised beds - These allow for better drainage and prevent soil compaction. Use lumber, bricks, or rocks.

4. Improve soil quality - Mix in several inches of compost or well-rotted manure before planting. This adds nutrients and improves soil structure. 

5. Use crop rotation - Don't grow the same crops in the same spot year after year. This helps prevent disease and nutrient deficiencies.

6. Plant densely - Maximize your growing space by planting rows close together and interplanting compatible vegetables.

7. Use succession planting - Replant quick growing crops every 2-3 weeks to ensure a continuous harvest.

8. Start seeds indoors - Get a head start on the season by starting seedlings indoors 4-6 weeks before your last frost date.

9. Use season extending techniques - Try cold frames, hoop houses, and cloches to add a few weeks on either end of the growing season.

10. Choose the right crops - Focus on prolific producers like tomatoes, squash, peppers, and leafy greens. Prioritize what your family eats most.

11. Grow vertically - Use trellises, cages, poles, and fences so vining crops like beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes don't take up ground space.

12. Interplant wisely - Combine tall crops with low growing ones, and fast maturing plants with slower growing ones.

13. Save your seeds - At the end of each season, save seeds from your healthiest plants to grow again next year.

14. Plant perennials - Fruit bushes, asparagus, rhubarb, and artichokes will come back each year once established.

15. Compost heavily - Create and maintain a compost bin to recycle garden waste, leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps into rich soil amendment.

16. Mulch beds - Use shredded leaves, straw, newspapers or wood chips to retain soil moisture and control weeds.

17. Control pests naturally - Attract beneficial insects and use organic sprays like neem oil to protect plants. Hand pick larger pests.

18. Attract pollinators - Grow flowers among your vegetables and avoid pesticides that can harm bees and butterflies.

19. Adjust watering for each crop - Give tomatoes regular deep waterings while carrots and onions prefer consistent moisture.

20. Weed frequently - Pull weeds when they first appear to prevent them from spreading seeds and competing with your crops.

21. Use drip irrigation - This efficient system delivers water right to plants' roots and prevents fungus issues. Use timers to automate it.

22. Build compost bins - Recycling yard and food waste into compost cuts down on trash output and provides free fertilizer.

23. Make biochar - This special type of charcoal can radically improve soil quality and retention when mixed into beds.

24. Grow edible flowers - Nasturtiums, calendula, and pansies add color while also being edible. They help attract pollinators too.

25. Plant herbs - Many culinary herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, dill, and basil are very prolific small space plants.

26. Save space with trellises - Support vining crops like peas and beans vertically to open up valuable garden real estate.

27. Interplant with green manures - Low maintenance cover crops like clover and buckwheat suppress weeds, feed soil, and don't take much room.

28. Install drip line irrigation - Drip lines deliver water efficiently right to a plant's roots. Run them under mulch to save water.

29. Grow in containers - Use pots, troughs, and raised beds for vegetables and herbs that grow well with limited root space.

30. Choose disease resistant varieties - Plant heirloom tomato varieties with resistance to common fungal diseases like Early Blight.

31. Apply organic fertilizers - Use natural sources of nutrients like bone and blood meal, fish emulsion, and wood ash.

32. Follow crop spacing guidelines - Don't plant too densely. Leave proper space between seed rows and individual plants.

33. Rotate annual crops - Moving vegetables to a different bed each year interrupts disease cycles and replenishes soil.

34. Time crops carefully - You can grow multiple rounds of quick crops like radishes, spinach and lettuce in a season.

35. Maximize sun exposure - Most vegetables need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Arrange beds accordingly.

36. Minimize foot traffic - Design efficient garden paths between beds to prevent soil compaction. Don't step in planting beds.  

37. Stake tall plants - Keep tomatoes, beans, peas and other upright crops supported with cages, trellises and poles.

38. Use season extending devices - Cold frames, cloches and fabric row covers can add weeks on both ends of growing season.

39. Pre-sprout seeds - You can gain weeks on crops like onions, peas and broccoli by pre-sprouting indoors before planting.

40. Grow in greenhouse - A hobby greenhouse allows you to grow tender veggies year round in cold climates.

41. Plant before last frost - Use Wall O' Waters or cloches to safely plant tomatoes, peppers and other summer crops early.

42. Choose resistant varieties - Look for disease and pest resistant vegetable varieties to avoid chemical pesticides.

43. Plant living mulches - Low growing clover interplanted between beds fertilizes soil, stops weeds and doesn't compete for space.

44. Stop diseases spreading - Disinfect tools and gloves in bleach solution between working in different beds.

45. looser, richer soil.

46. Install drip irrigation - Drip systems deliver water right to plants' roots efficiently and help prevent disease. Use timers too.

47. Use organic controls - Diatomaceous earth, insecticidal soap and neem oil can control pests without harsh chemicals.

48. Hand pick pests - Inspect plants often and remove aphids, Japanese beetles, cabbage worms and other pests by hand.

49. Use row cover fabric - These fabric "blankets" protect plants from insect pests while allowing air and light through.

50. Plant marigolds - The smell deters aphids, beetles and other pests. Plant this pretty flower throughout your garden.1

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