The Backyard Farmer
Green thumb or not, one Edmond man has you covered. Known as the Backyard Farmer, Galt Ormiston has made it his life’s mission to educate others and give back to his community through sustainable gardening.
Growing up in Edmond, Galt refers to himself as just a “local boy” who graduated from Memorial High School in 1995 and went on to Oklahoma State University where he majored in landscape architecture. But it wasn’t until 2010 when he attended OSU again to focus on horticulture with an emphasis on plant biology and greenhouse management that he developed the skills needed to educate and help others in his community. “I went back to school in an effort to learn the science behind growing,“ Galt recalled. “I stumbled across the fruit and vegetable gardening aspect and I thought it was something I could do.” And so began his adventures as the Backyard Farmer.
With the self-reliant food movement on the rise, Galt’s Backyard Farmer services provide Oklahomans with the opportunity to personally design raised-bed planters and greenhouses suited for their individual needs and lifestyles.
Galt originally opened a plant and produce stand at The Shoppes at Northpark in the spring of 2013. The stand provided services to gardening enthusiasts and do-it-yourselfers, along with providing donations of unused harvested items to food pantries within the community. For 2014, the Backyard Farmer is shifting focus toward educating and assisting clients with the production and maintenance of their sustainable gardens. “Many people really like the idea of fruit and vegetable gardening but don’t know how to do it or have had bad experiences,” Galt shared.
The Backyard Farmer’s typical package includes customized design, installation of planters, automatic irrigation, plant materials and instructions for proper planting and maintenance. Galt and his team also offer maintenance contracts for clients more interested in reaping what others sow. Planters include vegetable, fruit and herb plants all grown and tailored by Galt to supply his typical clientele of apartment dwellers and suburban and rural homeowners with supplemental produce.
In addition, Galt recently began working with an Edmond based non-profit, Wings. Created in 2002, it is a special needs adult community that strives to enhance the lives of adults with developmental disabilities through social, vocational and residential programs. Currently, they are working directly with Galt to design and create a greenhouse suitable for their organization’s ever-evolving needs. “Wings wanted to grow their own annuals and perennials, whether it’s fruits and vegetables or seasonal color plants. And they wanted their patients to be able to work in the greenhouse as a means of therapy,” Galt explained. “They will also use the items in a retail setting to help fund the organization.”
All the vegetation used for the greenhouses and raised-bed planters are grown and fostered at Galt’s Edmond-based greenhouse. With an array of perennials and orchard rows 100 feet long, Galt isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Plans to expand the greenhouse location and the recent construction of an on-site office will offer clients a more hands-on approach when designing their own sustainable gardens. “A typical raised-bed for a single-family dwelling is 4 feet wide and 20 feet long—large enough to see a reduction in the monthly grocery bill,” Galt explains.
In addition to the planter design and gardening education Galt does on a daily basis, you can expect to see him continuing to create awareness and changing people’s concepts of normal planting seasons.
For the future of the Backyard Farmer, Galt hopes to help put an end to the long-standing myth of not being able to successfully plant and grow during the coldest and hottest times of the year. Galt says, “You can do this 12 months out of the year!”