Canning/gardening...how much land/supplies per person? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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emt1581
05-01-2011, 17:13
If living totally off the grid food-wise...and looking at the amount of fruits and veggies the average adult needs to survive during a SHTF society...

How much land is needed to grow that amount of vegitation per person? And what plants are the most nutricious and easiest to grow climate/care-wise? Canning-wise...how many jars would be needed?

Again this is per person. I'm not sure if there's an equation for it or if someone else has already figured that out...so I figured I'd ask.

-Emt1581

Bushflyr
05-06-2011, 00:28
Look around the aquaponics and gardening sites. If you're growing aquaponically one person can be supplied off of 100 square feet. If you're dirt farming it's about 200.

I don't believe that includes a major source of carbs such as wheat or corn.

Some good things to grow are cabbage, beets, okinawan sweet potato, collards, and kabocha

SFCSMITH(RET)
05-06-2011, 06:39
We are on 12 acres, mostly wooded.

We have about 7000sqft of garden. With two people. In a SHTF scenario, I would try to double or triple the amount of land I was using, for crop rotation and rest for the dirt. Currently, crop production rates are artificially increased through heavy fertilization and GMO seeds, neither of which will be available post SHTF. Look up crop yeilds by acre for modern farming, then compare to what the averages where 200 years ago.. Lot's of starvation in the future..

Hydroponics is a neat experiment, but requires a lot of resources. Not what you want when electricity for pumps and lighting isn't coming out of the wall, water isn't running out of the taps, and your local garden center doesn't exist, let alone have fertilizer on the shelf.

As far as what to grow.. depends on the local climate and environment. I can grow lots of stuff my brothers in TX and MN can't. But they can grow some stuff I can't.

If you are trying to go off the grid, and truly sustenance farm, you need more garden/livestock than most people think. You have to try for and or achieve an "abundance" so you can store the bounty, because there WILL be crop failure in your future. Last year, sweet corn did for crap. But we have corn from 3 years ago when it went crazy..

You also need to think chickens and or rabbits, chickens mature faster, and lay eggs, rabbits taste better and provide more meat "per unit". We do rabbits, and trade for eggs and stewers with a neighbor.

We are able to raise about 80% of what we need, we have *about* 12-1300 canning jars. Need more. We only use wide mouth. I know no one who actually cans and doesn't use wide mouth jars. Buy lids in bulk.

Starting just a couple weeks ago, we put out 2 bee hives.. Need a "dairy" solution next..

R_W
05-06-2011, 07:03
More than you can work without the right tools.

Lowdown3
05-06-2011, 08:27
TIME. All this takes time. 2 years will show you a little bit. 4 years will show you a lot. By about 6 years and a lot of work it will begin to get easier. By about 8 years you'll have an idea "how much" and what you need to grow.

Trial and error really is about your best teacher in this- aka EXPERIENCE.

Books are great, reading others posts about this is helpful. I have hundreds of books, read and asked a lot of people about their experience. What helped me more was the day to day work, the year to year progression. Failing helps you learn. But we want to fail NOW, when their IS a learning curve. Not later when it's "on the job training" and our life may depend on the outcome.

You can learn some things in your backyard in suburbia before you move, I spent 5 years raising a pile of rabbits, chickens and a small garden in suburbia before we moved to our retreat. Their IS a great difference however between having 4 tomato plants you bought at the store in a cute little raised bed you spent $100. to build and having an acre in gardens. It does get progressively harder. It's also hard to keep up with as you'll be working as well. Most of us will never been able to "make money" homesteading. Then again, that's not the damn point of it!!! However any money you don't have to put out for food grown in your gardens, orchards or raised on the homestead or money you don't have to put out for electricity you are producing yourself, is money you can spend on preps, save or just not have to work as much for! And THAT my friends is the real reason you homestead. You'll likely never get 100% according to Hoyle "self sufficient." That's not the point.

However you will be LIGHT YEARS ahead when bad times come with the experience you'll get year to year on the land.

The experience factor is one of the reasons it's critical to move to your retreat ahead of time versus blowing in 2 minutes before the apocolypse type planning.

We have been on the land for 12 years and love it. Every year we learn more. Every year we fail at something and learn from that. Every year we do more right and learn from that.

Lowdown3

Kegs
05-06-2011, 15:19
1/4 acre (about 10k square feet) can feed 4 adults if it is managed correctly - and that is 100% organic in a 10 month growing climate with minimal to moderate waste resources.

Sustainable agriculture is not a simpleton farmer approach - it requires a great deal of research and knowledge (experience above = right). The good thing is there are lots of qualified people out there teaching people how to do it.

PA is going to have a 7 month growing climate, therefore you will need to either go with a larger piece of ground or invest in an energy efficient greenhouse to supplement the lack of sun for that period.

When I state"energy efficient", I mean it! - No conventional heating system. Conventional heating systems will become obsolete in the near future.

I live in a 6 month growing period and we are planning on dumping our house this year (10 years ago we built with geothermal and extra insulation - it has proved to be insufficient) and right now we are in the process of designing a house to build either this or next year and the house will be built using an unconventional heating system.

If you haven't heard of permaculture, get used to it - you are going to hear a LOT about it in the future.

It will prove to be sole method of sustainability for our species. This might sound like horse hockey to the urban dwellers - but urban dwellers have a tendency to take for granted that the food will always be there - it won't, food prices are on the rise and you can expect shortages in the U.S. this year as an absolute.

Manolito1
05-06-2011, 15:47
I have spent a lifetime learning farming. I still have failures as stated above. You must have a way to store some of your grain for seed next year and the year after if you have a bad crop. Moisture content in your seed storage is critical and if not low enough bugs will develop and ruin your seed.
Last year the best in the business in my area didn't get an apple. Controlling pests is a full time job. How are you going to water large crop areas? Without pressure irrigation it is very hard to irrigate large crop areas. It is just my belief but I feel a single family unit will be hard pressed to survive it will take cooperation and some kind of communal order.
Just my thoughts I live in a snow area so my growing season is very short. Get the small animals you want to raise that will supply one to two meals per carcas. Without refrigeration and a plentiful supply of salt preserving meat is very difficult. The guinney pig was raised in europe as a single serving animal.
Good luck and enjoy the reading and learning ahead.
Bill

shotgunred
05-06-2011, 18:55
When my dad was a kid they lived off their property. They had 10 acres but didn't use all of it. They were using more than 1 acre per person but less than 2. I also know that at least in the end of winter and spring they lived off chicken and eggs and potatoes. As they used up the food that they canned that was it until next year. They traded chickens and eggs for milk and sometimes beef when they could. To this day he still doesn't like to eat chicken.

They had several hundred chickens. Several acres of potatoes for people and several acres of corn for the chickens. But they still had to buy flower, sugar , spices and other baking stuff. Not to mention clothes, gas, coal, ect. But you get the idea.

Kaceyx73
05-07-2011, 00:29
Great question, emt.

The answer will depend on a lot of factors, such as your local climate, growing season, number and ages of people to feed, special dietary needs, like and dislikes in food, and even what additional equipment and storage space you are working into the project.

As for me, I'm in the upstate of SC between Atlanta and Charlotte, and its a USDA zone 7. If I plan and execute properly, I have 3 distinct growing seasons: early spring, summer, and fall. There's enough rain usually for cool season crops with little irrigation, but by June they have had it. SOme cool season crops have to be started indoors for fall because August, and our wonderful Indian summers are so dang hot.

These are all things to be considered. Our local AG school for SC is Clemson University. Many great heirlooms have come from that beautiful campus over the years. But specific to your question is a nice little gem from one of their publications.

For MY area, it takes 2500sqft of garden to supply 1 person with enough VEGETABLES to live for an entire year. That includes storage of root crops, canning, and or freezing as well as fresh eating. That is a 50x50 garden per person. That does not include grains or meat, neither does it include fruits or additional crops to make syrup for sweeteners, flax to make linen, or others for medicinal purposes. ITs just veggies.

IT also does not take into account the largest piece of land most of us will need, penned area for livestock. As with all garden plants, they will deplete the soil of nutrients that must be replenished from time to time. The simplest way to do that is with manure from your own livestock, whether chickens, rabbits, goats, hogs, or cattle. Leaf litter and river silt are other ways. Also, make sure you think of the crops you grow holistically. If you can keep fuel for a tiller, corn and such can be tilled back in or the stalks can be fed to livestock. Sorghum produces a healthy grain, but also produces a juicy stalk that can be boiled down for syrup. Call it pancakes in one plant. Use the straw from your wheat for bedding for livestock or fodder.

Also, learn proper crop rotations. Here is a simple one:
Potatoes
Root crops
Soil builders
Heavy feeders

These can follow each other, or be done year to year, depending on your climate. Plant the potatoes where you have just amended the soil with fresh manure, compost, etc. The root crops, like carrots, turnips, rutabagas, etc, will do well since the manure should be well composted by now. Soil builders, like beans and other legumes, will add nitrogen to the soil in preparation for the heavy feeders like squash, tomatoes, peppers, okra, and such.

Also, learn what plant combinations actually work well. Potatoes are deep, so plant some early beans in the middle of the potato bed. Bush beans can be pulled up as soon as you are ready to dig the potatoes. Each will repel the others pests without hurting each other. Cabbage planted in a grid with several onions in between workss the same way. Cabbage moths don't like onions. Basil grows well around tomatoes, and so does garlic. All are long season once planted, so harvesting one wont get in the way of the other.

Grains need plastic drums or small silos to store, plus you will need a manual grain mill, if the power isnt on. Potatoes and other root crops need a cool dry place to store, and plenty of space if planning for the apocalypse.

My suggestions on crops that produce and store well:
Potatoes of varieties that work well in your soil. Plant late winter and again in late summer for winter storage.
Turnips produce well and store, and will even overwinter in the ground in many areas, though up north maybe not. Spring and fall.
Carrots are great once you know that your soil will produce them. Plant spring and fall if possible.
Sweet potatoes are a great summer crop and will last in storage well into winter, if your area is warm enough for them.
Winter squashes like butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and pumpkin also store well. Grown in the summer.
Beans, whether snap or dry, have many uses and can be stored in a variety of ways. Dry beans need a lot of space in the garden if you intend to put a lot back for storage, whereas snap beans can produce a lot in much smaller spaces.

I left off much of the summer crops because while many do store well canned or frozen, that list is very long. Tomatoes for sauces, summer squash for fresh eating, and don't forget your favorite melons, and not your wifey.

I would recommend calling your local AG school and asking how much space would be necessary. My recommendation is use 2500sqft as a bare minimum for veggies, double it for staples like potatoes, add another 2500 sqft for grains, and at least that much more for small livestock. You may not need that much, and you can always cut back when you get good at it, and have plenty of storage built up. That's 10000 sqft, or 1/4 of an acre, per person. It will be much less with better climate, efficient harvesting, well tended soil, etc. If you have lots of fat juicy worms and pill bugs galore, you are well on your way.

Oh, and as for writing a book, yeah, I have been planning on doing just that. N one seems to have written one with all the info we need in one place, so maybe I'll get that proverbial "round tuit" and do it soon. LOL

JKDGabe
05-07-2011, 05:44
Plant the potatoes where you have just amended the soil with fresh manure, compost, etc. The root crops, like carrots, turnips, rutabagas, etc, will do well since the manure should be well composted by now.

Fresh manure will cause scab on potatoes. The nitrogen in it can also cause hollow heart in potatoes and hairy forked carrots. Compost is great though. If all you have is fresh stuff, put it in the corn patch.

Kaceyx73
05-07-2011, 20:19
Sorry, you are right Gabe. I used a bad phrase.

My intent was that most of us in a survival situation would probably keep manure and other refuse in a pile that would get bigger throughout the year, like most folks do with horses and other livestock. At the beginning of the season, much of this pile would be added directly to the bed where potatoes would be planted.

It would not be "fresh" in the sense of still smelling like poo, but would be freshly added to the soil. After a season of potatoes, much of it would be well composted into the soil, leaving an ideal bed for root crops. "Fresh" compost on the other hand is great for adding as a side dressing around heavy feeders, but having a compost pile big enough for a whole garden is as much if not more work that the garden is. Keep the easy rotting greens and such for compost and large quantity manure and harvest leftovers for the manure pile to till or turn back into the soil as needed.

Thanks again Gabe for catching that.

Kaceyx73
05-07-2011, 20:34
I caught myself again. Sorry.

Fresh manure is ****e, and looks and smells the part. Compost, by definition, has already been broken down into a very rich soil, but is still a bit strong to use straight. Aged compost may be a bit acidic still, but most crops would probably grow well in it.

You can buy "mushroom compost" in bags at HD and Lowes. It is a bit strong, but will grow a lot of stuff. Great to use as an amendment for individual plants like tomatoes and peppers. It has been well composted. At many mulch places, you can also find "bulk" mushroom compost, which hasn't been composted very well yet, and WILL BURN just about anything you plant in it. ITs great for covering a whole garden that you don't plan on planting in until the following year.

I use those as an example so in case anyone is still confused. If you are still confused, there are plenty of gardeners on the forum, so just ask me or any of the others.

If it still smells like poo, it is still a bit strong to use much of it. If you have ever dumped too much fertilizer on your grass and it looks like its been 110 degrees and no rain for weeks, thats what using any manure or compost that is too strong will do. Your nose is a great tool. Aged compost will have a deep earthy smell, maybe even a slight decaying smell. Fresh manure smells like, well I hope you know that one.

cowboy1964
05-07-2011, 22:21
Hope you have chickens, goats, etc, too. A 100% fruit and veggy diet isn't going to get the job done long-term.

Kaceyx73
05-08-2011, 01:33
Hope you have chickens, goats, etc, too. A 100% fruit and veggy diet isn't going to get the job done long-term.

I agree. Chickens provide meat, eggs, and manure. Goats provide meat, dairy products, manure, and possibly fiber. Skins are thin, but workable from what I hear.

I got a garden and chickens for now. Working on knowing where to get goats if it gets bad too quick.

emt1581
05-08-2011, 10:02
I agree. Chickens provide meat, eggs, and manure. Goats provide meat, dairy products, manure, and possibly fiber. Skins are thin, but workable from what I hear.

I got a garden and chickens for now. Working on knowing where to get goats if it gets bad too quick.

If that's when you'll want then...get them NOW.

Don't wait until things get bad to go shopping.

-Emt1581

emt1581
05-08-2011, 10:08
Hope you have chickens, goats, etc, too. A 100% fruit and veggy diet isn't going to get the job done long-term.

We actually already have bunny coupes, if that's the right label, on our property. Right now they are filled with gardening supplies. But I think it's somewhat cruel to keep bunnies out there year round with no heat and walking around on a grate.

In terms of meat it'll be bunnies and tree rats with a deer or two from year to year.

But looking at overall nutrition, plenty of people are vegetarians and vegans. But you need LOTS of proteins and grains to supplement, which would be a royal PITA during a SHTF if you ask me.

But in a residential neighborhood, rabbit houses are fine, chickens would be frowned upon, and I think goats/sheep would be an issue. Although, seeing how much grass they consume, putting a pair of sheep on our property would save me time and money when it comes to mowing...but the land mines would be a deal breaker...

-Emt1581

Kaceyx73
05-08-2011, 10:14
That's the problem with living in the suburbs. The neighbors are cool with the chickens, but they are pretty much tucked away out of sight. Goats are a different story. I want them now, thats for sure. Zoning could get me in trouble though. When things get bad, zoning be damned. My neighbors already know my chickens will be free ranged anytime I'm gonna be home and outside. My immediate neighbors are all retired, and most grew up on farms, so I get plenty of advice.

What I have been looking for in goats is someone with plenty, that I can gain repoire with now, and know that when the time comes I can get a couple, or at least be able to help them raise them.

emt1581
05-08-2011, 10:40
That's the problem with living in the suburbs. The neighbors are cool with the chickens, but they are pretty much tucked away out of sight. Goats are a different story. I want them now, thats for sure. Zoning could get me in trouble though. When things get bad, zoning be damned. My neighbors already know my chickens will be free ranged anytime I'm gonna be home and outside. My immediate neighbors are all retired, and most grew up on farms, so I get plenty of advice.

What I have been looking for in goats is someone with plenty, that I can gain repoire with now, and know that when the time comes I can get a couple, or at least be able to help them raise them.

Same advice though. Unless the people you make friends with are relatively seclusive, what says a dozen other people haven't done the same thing?

The way I feel, if it's not on my property, I don't own it and may never be able to get it when I need it. Only exception to that would be rain water and some game animals.

-Emt1581

JKDGabe
05-08-2011, 11:14
Kacey, I figured you knew it but also figured most people didn't.

There is a very simple, low labor way to improve the soil, starting now. Grow a cover crop! If you have enough space that it would be hard labor to have enough compost for, it's worth growing things like buckwheat (not true wheat, no gluten), clover, etc. Alternatively, repeatedly applied thin layers of aged manure can do great things. I don't have the time or energy to go into detail on something that Google has already covered, so dyodd. :tongueout:

emt, don't count on wild game. As you mentioned to Kacey about the goat acquisition problem, it'll be far worse with animals that no one owns. As an animal owner, I'd happily agree to barter for things I simply don't have. We can't all be prepared in all areas. I don't even have any desire to prep in some areas and if I knew that I could get it from someone who had it in trade for what I have an excess of... why shouldn't I? ymmv

Bunny coupes. Heh, I just had a mental image of a rabbit driving a convertible. :rofl: I believe you're looking for the word "coop".

emt1581
05-08-2011, 11:27
Kacey, I figured you knew it but also figured most people didn't.

There is a very simple, low labor way to improve the soil, starting now. Grow a cover crop! If you have enough space that it would be hard labor to have enough compost for, it's worth growing things like buckwheat (not true wheat, no gluten), clover, etc. Alternatively, repeatedly applied thin layers of aged manure can do great things. I don't have the time or energy to go into detail on something that Google has already covered, so dyodd. :tongueout:

emt, don't count on wild game. As you mentioned to Kacey about the goat acquisition problem, it'll be far worse with animals that no one owns. As an animal owner, I'd happily agree to barter for things I simply don't have. We can't all be prepared in all areas. I don't even have any desire to prep in some areas and if I knew that I could get it from someone who had it in trade for what I have an excess of... why shouldn't I? ymmv

Bunny coupes. Heh, I just had a mental image of a rabbit driving a convertible. :rofl: I believe you're looking for the word "coop".

You are correct about the game. I think I'm going to work on my wife about getting a chicken COOP going this year. They sell chicks at Tractor Supply near me...cheap to. But I would want a setup that would allow for continual re-production...which would mean a Rooster or two...which again wouldn't fly in my neighborhood. But maybe there is a way around the crowing somehow??

-Emt1581

G29Reload
05-08-2011, 11:40
I guess it will depend on what you're planning for.

If its a TOTAL TEOTWAWKI, then you're gonna need a lot more.

If its a year or so, say due to an EMP issue, natural sun event, gamma burst, or a manmade thing, then you can probably get by on a lot less assuming theres a recovery at the end of that period.

Depending on your support group, if you have folks you can barter with, then you might get by on nothing. If you have no appreciable land on which to garden, a hall closet stocked with cases of SPAM or DAK gives you meat to barter with those who have veggies. Trade ya!

shotgunred
05-08-2011, 12:08
There is a very simple, low labor way to improve the soil, starting now. Grow a cover crop! If you have enough space that it would be hard labor to have enough compost for, it's worth growing things like buckwheat (not true wheat, no gluten), clover, etc. Alternatively, repeatedly applied thin layers of aged manure can do great things. I don't have the time or energy to go into detail on something that Google has already covered, so dyodd. :tongueout:



All those guys that bought their daughters horses and ponies have more horse poop than they can deal with. Around here there are always adds on cregslist for free horse manure. Horse manure is great because it generally has a lot of shavings with it from their stalls. Get a bunch in the fall and put it on your garden and by spring you will be ready to go. Just remember it is going to break down to about 1/4 of the size it is fresh when it is done. Stack it high and pump a lot of water in it as you compost. You can make it into compost in as little as 90 days if you know how. Mainly injecting air and water into the pile. A buddy of mine make topsoil for sale. He runs air from his air compressor in the pile 24/7 and water at least once a week.
I have 10 horses so lots of compost. I turn the pile once a month and water it at the same time. Of course I have a tractor to use.

Kaceyx73
05-08-2011, 18:35
I added about 4-5 inches of horse manure/sawdust (with very little smell) last August. For bulk amendments, its hard to beat. Most of the "greens" from the garden get compost by those amazing little yard piranha I have, otherwise known as chickens. That I compost in old 55g barrels that I made into compost tumblers. Nothing Fancy, I just roll them on the ground a time or two. Still takes several months, but the strong stuff can be added around heavy feeders after they're well established.

I have found a few people that I am getting to know that raise goats. They know what I am looking for already, and 2 haven't been put off by the idea. If I get goats now, I may lose chickens and all. If it gets to the point where its do what ever you can where you are, those 2 are mulling over the possible scenarios where I might buy a few goats, or leave them on their land and help them with the chores in exchange for meat. Still discussion at this point.

As for gardens, try this on for size. A neighbor, 2 houses away, died around the first of the year. I grew up cutting her grass, as did my older brothers. I stopped cutting it while she only paid $6 for just under an acre. She went up to $12. for an old lady, I have been doing it for $25 the last many years. Anywho, her son, a pastor in TN, has the house and has still been paying me to cut it. I made an offer, seeing that the market is not going anywhere anytime soon, to let me till a large garden in the back in lieu of paying for grass cutting, which I will continue to do. He jumped at such a deal.

Now the neighbor beside her, with a nearly identical yard, is going to let me do another large garden in her back yard, so long as I leave space for them. I jumped at that deal. Fresh stuff in my garden, dry corn in one, and probably sorghum in the other if I can find someone nearby with a press that wont rip me a new one for doing a truckload or 2. Moral of the story, such times breed interesting deals. It isn't always about the money to buy stuff, I save a bunch by using my own labor, and by experimenting over the last few years with crops I didn't really have the space for.

I'm getting good with tobacco, which has many uses for any gardener. Grow a few plants, grind up the leaves, make a tea, and spray your plants. Its probably the best all around natural pesticide there is. Grow enough, and you will never lack barter material. I use it as an example because starting it from seed takes a lot of practice. The seeds look like coffee grounds, no joke. It can take quite a bit of time to get them big enough to go in the ground, without the leaves sticking to the soil and rotting off.

It has been said many times on here... practice now, even if it means working a little on someone elses garden or ranch if you don't have the room, and be open to oddball deals presenting themselves to you.

Now as soon as I get that rice figured out, I'll be set...lol

shotgunred
05-08-2011, 18:55
I have never heard the term yard piranha before.:rofl:
But I think everyone should have 2 to 4 chickens. They eat food scraps, keep the bug and fly population down. They will kill mice, rats, moles and voles. Not to mention they will provide you with fresh eggs.

They don't need much space and I figure they eat about $3 worth of food a month each.

Kaceyx73
05-08-2011, 19:31
Yeppers, thats my name for them. Walk into the run with breadand you will quickly see what I mean. They even get fussy and mean with each other over bread.

Gotta love them little yard piranhas!! Just make sure you get breed that will go broody, or get another breed like cochins or silkies as pets that go broody if you look at them wrong... Otherwise, your chickens won't set on eggs, meaning if you eat them you can't replace them. An incubator will work but I don't want to rely on electricity so much for my food supply. Most breeds that lay the best don't go broody, including most typical backyard breeds. If you can find marans at a decent price, they make a good meat bird, lay 3-4 eggs a week, and will go broody from time to time. Most people know them as chocolate egg layers, but they are a great backyard/ survival stead breed. Good temperament too. My 10 production reds (Rhode Island Reds from a hatchery, bred mainly for xl brown eggs and high production) lay on average 5 dz a week, more than I will ever need. But they don't go broody. For those unfamiliar with the term broody, think of a female mammal going in heat. They will lay eggs, but they have to "WANT" to set on the eggs and incubate them.

Here again, that infamous exhortation rears its ugly head to quash and dash all your best laid plans... PRACTICE NOW, and learn this stuff, even if its helping someone else. They can take your life, but not your knowledge.

shotgunred
05-08-2011, 19:58
I like the Buff Orpington the best of any of our birds. The wife has a couple of silkies but they are for the cute factor not for eggs. We don't even try to hatch our own. No roosters just the girls. We have enough birds for our own egg supply and give some away. Next year I am going to stuff some day olds under a silkie and see what happens. I am tired of baby chickens in the house.

JKDGabe
05-08-2011, 20:42
I don't know about tobacco, although I had heard that it's good for a foliar spray to repel bugs. I do know for a fact though, that molasses works great. I let it soak overnight, add it to my pump up sprayer along with some concentrated organic fertilizer and voila, pests are nowhere to be found while ladybugs still abound. So far this year it's worked on potato bugs, bean beetles and flea beetles. I swear, without it I couldn't be an organic grower.

Good score on the land, Kacey!

Kaceyx73
05-08-2011, 20:59
Shotgun, get you a roo and put the eggs under the silkie. Alls you gotta do, man, is look at her wrong!!! She will go broody like clockwork, so I hear. They're supposed to be about as broody as they come. Just keep her away from any Chinese in the neighborhood... silkie meat is a delicacy they say. Supposed to be good, but most Americans on the SAD diet (standard American diet) find the purple tinted meat a major turn off...lol

Gabe, this year, I haven't had many issues with aphids. Must have something to do with all those lady bugs everywhere. No issues with cabbage moths, since my cabbage is inter-planted with onions. That one works, apparently. My only pest issue is something is munching on everything, but only lower growth near the ground. As I am still working on a good tobacco harvest, can't do that. I haven't spied any slugs, but its possible. I never see anything in the daytime, so I will probably try a flash light tonight and see I I catch the culprit. BTW, small areas being nibbled, so gotta be something small.

Cajunmudman
05-08-2011, 21:37
TIME. All this takes time. 2 years will show you a little bit. 4 years will show you a lot. By about 6 years and a lot of work it will begin to get easier. By about 8 years you'll have an idea "how much" and what you need to grow.

Trial and error really is about your best teacher in this- aka EXPERIENCE.

Books are great, reading others posts about this is helpful. I have hundreds of books, read and asked a lot of people about their experience. What helped me more was the day to day work, the year to year progression. Failing helps you learn. But we want to fail NOW, when their IS a learning curve. Not later when it's "on the job training" and our life may depend on the outcome.

You can learn some things in your backyard in suburbia before you move, I spent 5 years raising a pile of rabbits, chickens and a small garden in suburbia before we moved to our retreat. Their IS a great difference however between having 4 tomato plants you bought at the store in a cute little raised bed you spent $100. to build and having an acre in gardens. It does get progressively harder. It's also hard to keep up with as you'll be working as well. Most of us will never been able to "make money" homesteading. Then again, that's not the damn point of it!!! However any money you don't have to put out for food grown in your gardens, orchards or raised on the homestead or money you don't have to put out for electricity you are producing yourself, is money you can spend on preps, save or just not have to work as much for! And THAT my friends is the real reason you homestead. You'll likely never get 100% according to Hoyle "self sufficient." That's not the point.

However you will be LIGHT YEARS ahead when bad times come with the experience you'll get year to year on the land.

The experience factor is one of the reasons it's critical to move to your retreat ahead of time versus blowing in 2 minutes before the apocolypse type planning.

We have been on the land for 12 years and love it. Every year we learn more. Every year we fail at something and learn from that. Every year we do more right and learn from that.

Lowdown3

Excellents points, bro...
HUGE difference between a pretty nice expensive box with 4 store bought tomatoe plants filled with Miracle Grow soil and Miracle grow fertalizer. My first try at starting from seed was a disater. But, you get better over time, and learn what NOT to do. Books help, but nothing replaces expeience.

Kaceyx73
05-08-2011, 22:53
My first trip with maters involved starting what I thought I would need, plus a few extra. Needless to say, I wound up buying tomato plants. The second year, I planted probably 50 seeds,and still had to buy a few. This year, I got 34 tomato plants of 8 different varieties, all nice and stocky, all nice and healthy with the exception of a couple of romas that were put in too deep. Not that the depth was the issue, the bottom leaves were close enough to the soil that with me in a hurry and using a wand the leaves drooped to the soil and got covered in mud. Still alive, and being nursed back to health.

I have concentrated this year on growing the crops that I know will produce on my soil and produce abundantly. I finally got a good potato crop last year, so I have 2 whole beds full of taters. Come fall, this new found crop that actually grows now called carrots will be planted heavy, along with turnips, rutabagas, beets, and other root crops that store well. 2 full rows of sweet potatoes might have me sick of them by spring, and should have plenty of cabbage for slaw all summer and come fall. I still leave room for experimenting with rice, tobacco, and such, but they will be planted heavy as soon as I know I can do it.

With the 2 new plots, it opens up dry corn that can be stored in a barrel or sealed buckets, and since my small wheat patch was a success I plant heavy on hard red winter wheat. Need a scythe, or at least a sickle now. Having room to grow some grains makes a huge difference, especially with having a manual grain mill. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I am confident that I am at least headed in the right direction.

JKDGabe
05-09-2011, 04:42
I have concentrated this year on growing the crops that I know will produce on my soil and produce abundantly. I finally got a good potato crop last year, so I have 2 whole beds full of taters. Come fall, this new found crop that actually grows now called carrots will be planted heavy, along with turnips, rutabagas, beets, and other root crops that store well. 2 full rows of sweet potatoes might have me sick of them by spring, and should have plenty of cabbage for slaw all summer and come fall. I still leave room for experimenting with rice, tobacco, and such, but they will be planted heavy as soon as I know I can do it.

With the 2 new plots, it opens up dry corn that can be stored in a barrel or sealed buckets, and since my small wheat patch was a success I plant heavy on hard red winter wheat. Need a scythe, or at least a sickle now. Having room to grow some grains makes a huge difference, especially with having a manual grain mill. I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I am confident that I am at least headed in the right direction.

How long are your rows? I love sweet potatoes, they're also quite versatile. I feel like Bubba from Forrest Gump - SP pie, SP casserole, SP fries, baked SP's... :supergrin: This is the first year I grew some of my own slips.

If you come up with a scythe you like, let me know. I'm growing oats this year (for me this time, not just the animals) and I'm still not sure how I'll go about harvesting them. I know I can borrow a sickle bar for the tractor, but would like a hand tool backup.

Kaceyx73
05-09-2011, 09:31
My SP are in a 30 ft row and a 40 ft row. Strange, most web sources say 12-18" apart for the slips, Clemson says 8-10". 30 ft row is about 14", 40 ft row is spaced about 10-12". Its a total of 64 slips, if I get 5 SP/vine, thats over 300 for 2 people. If they love the soil and the space is right and I get 10, well doggie, I'll be trading SP for something else. I don't even know where I'd store 600 SP over the winter....lol. That's a 1/4 ton!! And to think I actually wanted 3 rows....

We'll see what experience tells us this fall...

I did let a few oats grow along the edge of the garden. I guess it depends on how much you grow. The one plant I left growing is full of oats now, guess its like wheat and wait till golden? Individual clumps wouldn't be hard even with a a sickle, until you are talking acres. My 2 recent acquisitions total about 4000 sqft. Enough for me to grow and put back, not enough for a tractor, but something I'll be doing by hand. For long term, I'd like to find a scythe with the basket attached. I wont explain that one, but if you have seen one you know what I'm talking about. They say an average farmer could harvest an acre of wheat per day with one, and someone to tie the sheaths and stand them.

Big Bird
05-09-2011, 12:20
You are correct about the game. I think I'm going to work on my wife about getting a chicken COOP going this year. They sell chicks at Tractor Supply near me...cheap to. But I would want a setup that would allow for continual re-production...which would mean a Rooster or two...which again wouldn't fly in my neighborhood. But maybe there is a way around the crowing somehow??

-Emt1581

Cheap? Around here Tractor Supply sells chicks. For $1.99 to $3.99 depending.

That's cheap? I can buy a whole, dressed, cleaned, chicken from the grocery store for $3.99... I can buy 2 dozen eggs for $2.50.... It will take you 20 weeks +/- to get a chicken big enough to eat. It will take you 6 months or more to get it big enough to lay eggs. Probably cost $5-10 per in feed to get you there too! (corn is no over $7 a bushel). That doesn't take into account the cost of housing, energy (baby chicks need a brooder with an electric light to keep warm).

So $1.99=3.99 chicks aren't "cheap".

Commercial chicken farms produce cheap chickens and eggs. Hobby farming doesn't have the economies of scale required to do it on the cheap. Like solar electricity makes very expensive electrcity. Keeping a few chickens around for eggs etc is NOT cheap to do unless you hatch your own eggs, make your own chicken feed, etc....even then THAT requires energy and time. And I promise if the SHTF both energy and time will be in short supply if you intend on doing this and all the other food growing things.canning etc you plan on doing.

mpol777
05-09-2011, 15:10
I grow all of my own vegetables, except for some things that just don't grow well in my location (rice for example). I have a long growing season and with cold boxes and green house can grow some vegetables year round. For those I can't I can, or dry them for yearly use. I don't buy vegetables or meat from a store. It's all farmed or hunted.

It took several years to get to the point where I was completely self sufficient for meat and vegetables. I don't think there could be a hard and fast rule on square footage per person. Maybe there is, but with different climates, growing season, types of plants/animals, there are too many variables to have a hard and fast rule. The only way to really find out is to do it. You'll know if you've made it when you don't have to go to the store any more and you're still eating well.

I plant vegetables that I like to eat. I also plant feed for the various creatures I keep (horses, mules, cattle, goats and chickens). The easiest way is to put in a garden and see what happens. Then you can scale up and scale down as necessary.

Tomoatoes are always a good choice. I go crazy with those, since they're the base for 3 things I eat a lot of. Mexican food, Italian food and stews. And they grow like weeds so anyone can make them happen.

For canning jars, buy in bulk. I don't know how many jars I have, but it's a lot. Maybe 500-600 quart jars, 100 pint jars and 50 half gallon jars. I put sauces and meals (carnitas, stews, chili) in the quart jars, canned veggies (corn, peas, beans, etc) in the pint jars and use the big jars for pickling. It's really the same as if you're buying it from the store, so however many jars of pasta sauce you buy each year is the same amount as you need to make.

Comment on the chickens.
Buying chicks is only economical if you're selling the eggs. I bought a few batches when I started, and they are genetically "programmed" at the chicken factory. When I started the husbandry, using just chicken factory chickens didn't work so well. Too much inbreeding. So now I have my egg layer/roaster hens separate from my breeding stock and I swap roosters each breeding. I get most of my roosters from Old Mexico because they've had lines dating way back without human meddling. With several generations I now have some variation of a barred rock mixed with who knows what. Makes for a nice chicken for eating and laying.

I'm still a chicken novice, but the folks I know that have been doing it for a long time recommended the barred rock and they were right. They're hearty, make good eggs, taste good and are easy keepers. Mixing in blood from various roosters just helps the breeding stay natural. It's not hard to find good roosters. Most everyone I've talked to that has mirco-farm chickens is more than happy to swap one rooster for another for the same reason. And finding those folks is as easy as going to a farmer's market and finding the guy selling eggs.

Big Bird
05-09-2011, 20:47
The whole economy of raising your own food to the point of self sufficiency is an interesting exercise in the study of the concept of division of labor.

In order to be truly self sufficient I would suspect you would require a good size root cellar for storing cured meats, potatoes, turnips, etc. Because, unless we are talking a walk in cooler you will simply not have enough cool/dark storage space to keep that much food stored well for a period of 6 months or more. So the first thing you'll need is a cool, dark humidity controlled environment enough to store a dozen bushel size baskets of produce and hand a few hams and sides of bacon. Might as well store you 1200 jars of canned food there as well. So the first thing you have to think about BEFORE you grow a bunch of food is the food storage business.

Then, you need to think in terms of storage items that you cannot produce yourself (as in you must buy) Plastic wrap, vaccum sealer, mason jars and lids, butcher wrap, etc etc. Buckets, barrels, crocks etc Because these are things you cannot make yourself and need to have on hand BEFORE you harvest your food. (there goes a degree of self sufficiency)

Then you need to think of the special tools and food prep equipment to really do the job right. Meat grinder? Sausage tools? Garden Tiller? Soil prep equipment? Pitch forks, rakes, shovels, hoes, etc etc etc. Again, most of this stuff you can't make yourself.

Then you need to think of the things you will need to care for your garden and animals: Fencing? Water? Barrels? Hoses? Shade? Veterinarian supplies? Insect control supplies? Fertilizer? Weed control?

Thats a short list of all the things you have to have a plan for before you even think about surviving off a garden and farm. Those things are intuitive to people in the business of working a farm and producing food. But to people who have never done it its barely a starting point.

How many of you have ever plucked a dead chicken before? Do you understand the time and energy (and mess) involved in that process?

sebecman
05-10-2011, 07:38
The whole economy of raising your own food to the point of self sufficiency is an interesting exercise in the study of the concept of division of labor.

In order to be truly self sufficient I would suspect you would require a good size root cellar for storing cured meats, potatoes, turnips, etc. Because, unless we are talking a walk in cooler you will simply not have enough cool/dark storage space to keep that much food stored well for a period of 6 months or more. So the first thing you'll need is a cool, dark humidity controlled environment enough to store a dozen bushel size baskets of produce and hand a few hams and sides of bacon. Might as well store you 1200 jars of canned food there as well. So the first thing you have to think about BEFORE you grow a bunch of food is the food storage business.

Then, you need to think in terms of storage items that you cannot produce yourself (as in you must buy) Plastic wrap, vaccum sealer, mason jars and lids, butcher wrap, etc etc. Buckets, barrels, crocks etc Because these are things you cannot make yourself and need to have on hand BEFORE you harvest your food. (there goes a degree of self sufficiency)

Then you need to think of the special tools and food prep equipment to really do the job right. Meat grinder? Sausage tools? Garden Tiller? Soil prep equipment? Pitch forks, rakes, shovels, hoes, etc etc etc. Again, most of this stuff you can't make yourself.

Then you need to think of the things you will need to care for your garden and animals: Fencing? Water? Barrels? Hoses? Shade? Veterinarian supplies? Insect control supplies? Fertilizer? Weed control?

Thats a short list of all the things you have to have a plan for before you even think about surviving off a garden and farm. Those things are intuitive to people in the business of working a farm and producing food. But to people who have never done it its barely a starting point.

How many of you have ever plucked a dead chicken before? Do you understand the time and energy (and mess) involved in that process?

2 observations Big Bird;

You state the obvious as though it were news.

You are quite cynical.

I wonder why?

Big Bird
05-10-2011, 09:20
2 observations Big Bird;

You state the obvious as though it were news.

You are quite cynical.

I wonder why?

I'm actually quite optimistic. But I'm also realistic and I have a great deal of experience working on a farm and growing food and animals. Still do it to some extent. People in the S&P world tend to approach this with no real concept what is required in terms of time, capital, and knowledge.

Real subsistence farming is HARD, Backbreaking Work! To tell anyone otherwise is doing them a disservice and leaves them less prepared.

Farmer's specialize because they can do better being a specialist. Pig farmers grow pigs because they can achieve economies of scale that a farmer that keeps a few hogs cannot. Butchers specialize because they have the tools, facilities and equipment to accomplish the task of killing and butchering an animal that the individual can not economically possess.

I speak in terms of economics because the whole exercise of Survival and Preparedness is a inherently an exercise in micro-economics.

As a prepper you have three basic resources you can use to your benefit: Time, Capital, and Knowledge. The most precious resource is time because its finite. You can generate more capital or gain more knowledge. But time is the MOST precious. Subsistence farming consumes a LOT of time and is an ineffecient use of a lot of capital resources. The fact that there are no rich subsistence farmers should speaks to that obvious fact.

Personally, I think you will be WAY better off to think of ways to produce something that allows you to profit from it. You will achieve economies of scale and your excess can be applied to barter or sold for money. Otherwise you will be saddled with the burdon of trying to accomplish everything and doing very little well.

Most of the food production I have done over the years requires a fair investment in equipment and is dependant on things like electricity, gasoline, and things you need to store and preserve it--like prodigous amunts of salt!--how you gonna get THAT if all you can produce is enough for you and your family to just get by? Try tilling a garden without a gasoline tiller? Can it be done? Certainly--at a huge investment in time--your most precious resource!

So to say I'm cynical is wrong. I think there is tremendous opportunity for planning here. I just think it has to be grounded in some realism.

How much wheat and corn per person will you need each year? How many acres? How you gonna harvest and STORE all those bulk grains? How are you going to process those grains? How will you turn them into flour and meal? How much capital do you need to tie up in land and equipment to accomplish this for a family of four? Multiply the Resources required just for wheat and corn and apply the same logic to meat production/storage. Apply it to vegetable production/storage. Apply it to any other food you are considering...At some point in time you have to say--I don't have the time, capital, or knowledge to do this any longer... At that point you are no longer self sufficent and need to supplement your internal food production with outside stores. You will need sugar...you gonna grow sugar beets and process them into syrup and boil the syrup into crystals? Doubt it... You will need salt? Got your own salt mine? You will need new mason jar lids...you gonna stamp out your own lids? At some point in time you will need to reach outside your own productive capacity. You'll need to grow enough of something to have enough to sell/trade.

That's all I saying...

shotgunred
05-10-2011, 10:34
Again you are over stating the obvious.

We are humans not bears. We do not live in vacuum and no one is completely self sufficient.

Big Bird
05-10-2011, 10:51
I'll give you an example of why self sufficiency is so difficult. About 14 years ago I decided to try bee keeping. At one point in time I had over 20 hives going. Now hives aren't cheap. You have to make supers and yeah you can do that out of scrap wood if you have a source and a table saw. (There's a capital expense). Even if you make the supers out of scrap you will still need to buy frames and foundation. Figure $15 per super and you will need at least four and probably fiove supers per hive. If you buy the supers too you can expect to pay another $150 plus your time to assemble, paint etc. (More time and capital) But you also need a source of bees to start and that's gonna cost around $35-40 or more per hive for a package of bees and a queen if you include postage. And guess what...you need to buy a new queen every year. You let the bees make their own you will loose half the population that year (the will swarm) and you will end up with a queen of unknown breeding that will mate with drones from who knows where and could end up with really aggressive bees or bees with other genetic problems. So you end up re-queening every year and that will run $14 or so from a mail order Apiary.

Then you have the problem of mites and disease. I generally lost half my hives every year to problems from the Varora mite and other problems. These losses were not unigue to me. Today, there is simply no way of getting around using various commecial treatments to manage these maladies. This was not true of beekeeping 20 years ago. These new diseases and parasites are very pervasive and difficult to treat effectively. The treatments are also expensive and not something you can cook up at night on your stove. More capital.... If you figure $15 per hive per year for vet supplies you would be on the cheap side of it...more like $20-25 (again--more capital investment)

Then you cannot predict the weather or honey flow. There have been years when I was lucky to get 10 lbs out of a hive and there have been years where I got 80lbs of honey out of a hive. It depends on the weather and flowers. The spring nectar flow in my area generally lasts about 8 weeks. Usually by the middle of June its over and you need to remove your excess supers from the hives and harvest the honey. The fall nectar flow here doesn't generally produce enough to allow harvesting and leave enough for the bees to survive the winter. Also, the fall nectar here is from things like goldenrod and ragweed which produces a very dark strong honey that's not highly regarded.

Now that you have the honey you have to be able to extract it. There are two ways...a honey extractor and cut the comb. Now cut comb requires little in the way of tools. But it also destroys the comb that you could save by extracting it. Cutting the comb from the frames means the bees will have to use time and energy re-building their comb next year. Which means they will have less workers gathering honey and you will produce SIGNIFICANTLY less than if you simply re-installed the supers with the cut comb from the previous year. A hand cranked extractor for honey frames will run over $400. (More capital) You MIGHT be able to find a used one for less...maybe. But still.

Then you need to feed the bees in the spring! Wait, what? Yep--you need to food your bees sugar syrup in March to stimulate brood production. This gets the population big enough so that when the flowers start in May and the nector flow begins you will have a head start on having a big enough hive left over from the winter to go out and produce surplus honey... So guess what--you spend even MORE money on sugar feeding bees....Figure $8-10 worth of sugar per hive...More capital.

So lets say you average 50 lbs of honey per hive (you won't your first few years). And honey has a market value of between $2.50-3.00 per pound. That means your per hive gross is about $125-150. And the capital outlay if you have two hives is WAY more than you have covered. Granted the cost goes down some as you write down the cost of the extractor. Still...

Then you need storage space for the hive supers you take off. You need to moth proof the supers for winter storage. You need to buy storage capability for the honey (jars/buckets?)
You need to pay for nails and paint to maintain your hives. You need to be prepared to feed the bees again in the fall if the fall nectar flow fails and they don't make enough food to last the winter.

And you need to be able to have the knowledge to understand what is happening in your hives, when, and what you should be doing.

If you do this right its a LOT of work and takes a LOT of capital.

Big Bird
05-10-2011, 11:07
Again you are over stating the obvious.

We are humans not bears. We do not live in vacuum and no one is completely self sufficient.



Here's the Opening Statement of this thread:

"If living totally off the grid food-wise...and looking at the amount of fruits and veggies the average adult needs to survive during a SHTF society..."

Doesn't seem too obvious to the OP

shotgunred
05-10-2011, 18:54
Here's the Opening Statement of this thread:

"If living totally off the grid food-wise...and looking at the amount of fruits and veggies the average adult needs to survive during a SHTF society..."

Doesn't seem too obvious to the OP

If you are willing to live off fruit and veggies with rabbits and poultry you could live 80% off the grid (food wise easily enough),

I made money when I was raising bees. But you are not going to do that with 20 hives. You need enough that big farms will pay you for pollination. You also have to be willing to move them. My friends who are still in the business travel 4 states with their bees.

Make a Tetracycline paste and stick it in each hive. that will do wonders for your hives health.

R_W
05-10-2011, 19:31
Again you are over stating the obvious.

We are humans not bears. We do not live in vacuum and no one is completely self sufficient.

I wish he was. Most people are so far removed from the reality of what it takes to make things, that this is still a gross over-simplification.

Working sun up to sun down was not just a saying.

Kaceyx73
05-10-2011, 20:28
Big Bird,

Are you a bee keeper, chicken man, or lawyer? Do sharks in the ocean not eat you out of professional courtesy, or has your skin turned green already like a troll?

Personally, I think you are succumbing to zombi-ism. You come in here proclaiming that because you failed at something then everyone else will inevitable fail as well. Guess what... we will all fail. That's how we learn and grow. Please be polite enough to share your failures with all so that we don't make the same mistakes. That way we all learn and grow. Simply telling everyone not to try is like zombies trying to convince you that we all will die because there is no food, while carrying around boxes of SPAM and DAK hams...

I surely am not the greatest prepper, farmer, or rancher on these posts. I am here to learn from those that know more and help those that know less. What are the chances that any of will become fully self-sufficient post SHTF? Where there is hope, and a will to survive, the odds go up. No hope, then the only chance is someone dragging you along kicking and screaming. No will? Same deal. All the preps in the world wont help if you get in the way of a F5, or sit atop the epicenter of a 10.0. We are here to learn how to increase our odds.

If a man and his family can survive the first year, the long term odds go up drastically. Communities of survivors would have begun to form by then, and that wonderful terminology you banter around with, division of labor, would have begun as well. For example, here is something that is alien to most Americans. Over in Indonesia and the Philippines, experts are trying to teach subsistence farmers how to use a horse drawn plow so they can be more efficient at growing rice. How do they do it now? With nothing but a hoe. You try planting acres of upland rice with nothing more than a crude hoe to dig the soil!!! Where there is a will, there is a way.

I learned a few years ago the ease of small scale farming with raised beds. By using RBs, you designate planting areas that you do not walk on at all. I plow a furrow as deep as I can with my Troybilt every 5 feet, and pull the dirt from the furrow up into the raised part, smotthing it into a flat bed. I can reach the middle from the furrow (walkway), and in so doing the soil in the bed stays relatively loose and friable. Just to show myself that I can do it, I have turned a few of those beds the following year with nothing but a shovel, a short hoe to pulverize the big clods, and a wide rake to smooth it out. I prefer doing it with the tiller, but I know I can do it by hand. I really don't want to have to break new ground (in a heavy clay soil, especially) by hand, but I can if necessary.

In a SHTF world, we likely wont be working jobs like we do now. We will all suddenly have much more time on our hands. Our fancy power tools won't last forever, so finding the most efficient uses for each will become paramount. Having a well tilled garden with 3-6 inches of horse manure now will go a long way towards surviving. Knowing the full life cycle of all the plants I might grow, from seed to seed, will also help. Knowing, like Gabe and others, that you can survive , even of only producing 50% of your total calories on your own property. If you live near me and grow something that I don't, I will gladly barter with you. If you can fix my garden tools I will gladly trade potatoes and such for your services, so long as I know you, and trust you.

Big bird, I don't know you, but we've gone here before. I{ don't know what else to say. You aren't the first I've disagreed with, and you wont be the last. Even some of the folks here on GT that have really gotten under my skin the worst would be welcome at my table for no other reason than us having that certain group of core beliefs that bring us to these forums. If you lost all your preps, you know how to get more. You have at least thought about these questions, and know that nothing comes free. I don't think there are many on here that would question doing a little work for someone else in order to have a meal. I know I wouldn't. I'd gladly pull weeds or dig taters for any of you guys if it meant having a meal, or even if just to get you started as a help.

If being called a zombie hurts your feelings, I cant help that. I mean it to bust your balls and make a point. I still think your being here isn't all bad, I just think you need to be a little more constructive instead of pessimistic.

RWBlue
05-10-2011, 21:14
I have asked the same question multiple times on multiple forums and seed distributor and .... I have received answers of everything from 1 acre to 50 or more. I think it really depends on how hard you work the land and the land it's self.

Mitch figured it could be done on 5 acres. He was thinking of pure farming. Chickens, rabbits, garden.

Another person I trusted said at least 50. He was thinking goats, chickens, garden, and firewood.

Kaceyx73
05-11-2011, 01:48
RW,

Correct. IT depends on what all you include in self sufficiency. On good soil, good weather, and hard work down south you can raise crops to feed a person on a 50x50 plot. That includes canning, freezing, etc, but doesn't include grains, nor does it include any meat. An acre is roughly 40,000 sqft, or 200x200, give or take. If you planned a full acre of veggies, a full acre of grains, and put chickens, goats, and maybe a couple of hogs on another acre of free range, 5 acres makes sense. If you have plenty of woods nearby, you are good to go. If you had to plan on only using your own land, I'd say 20-40 acres would be ideal.

That should be plenty, with more than enough overage, plenty of room for firewood, even enough room for an orchard. As long as you take care of it, you should always have enough to sell or trade. I'm also sure you would waste tons the first couple of years just learning what you actually need.

sebecman
05-11-2011, 07:36
Here's the Opening Statement of this thread:

"If living totally off the grid food-wise...and looking at the amount of fruits and veggies the average adult needs to survive during a SHTF society..."

Doesn't seem too obvious to the OP

He's talking food wise not everything else. Your talking about capital expense on table saws and paint for bee hives...?

BTW - The current system of grocery stores and 24/7 supermarts is a relatively new development in our society...it wasn't too long ago that our ancestors largely raised and packaged their own food. The knoledge and tools needed are still around for us to use.

RE: Honey production, if you want to be relevant to the thread you need to think in terms of providing enough for your family not a commercial business. The old timers would use hollowed out logs for their hives, not build.

Your posts in this thread remind me of your chicken coop posts. You spent so much money buying the stuff you needed that economically the eggs weren't worth it. Insstead of doing it on the cheap with scrap lumber and free wire like I did...

Big Bird
05-11-2011, 08:11
He's talking food wise not everything else. Your talking about capital expense on table saws and paint for bee hives...?

BTW - The current system of grocery stores and 24/7 supermarts is a relatively new development in our society...it wasn't too long ago that our ancestors largely raised and packaged their own food. The knoledge and tools needed are still around for us to use.

RE: Honey production, if you want to be relevant to the thread you need to think in terms of providing enough for your family not a commercial business. The old timers would use hollowed out logs for their hives, not build.

Your posts in this thread remind me of your chicken coop posts. You spent so much money buying the stuff you needed that economically the eggs weren't worth it. Insstead of doing it on the cheap with scrap lumber and free wire like I did...

Point taken. But my point remains. Food production--whether for a family of four or for money is still an exercise in micro-economics. There are things you can do that are beneficial for yourself and things that are counterproductive even though they may not seem so at the time.

What I'm saying is there has to be a some thought, planning and purpose that goes into this endeavor rather than simplistic broad strokes with no grounding in reality.

Big Bird
05-11-2011, 08:41
Big Bird,

Are you a bee keeper, chicken man, or lawyer? Do sharks in the ocean not eat you out of professional courtesy, or has your skin turned green already like a troll?

Personally, I think you are succumbing to zombi-ism. You come in here proclaiming that because you failed at something then everyone else will inevitable fail as well. Guess what... we will all fail. That's how we learn and grow. Please be polite enough to share your failures with all so that we don't make the same mistakes. That way we all learn and grow. Simply telling everyone not to try is like zombies trying to convince you that we all will die because there is no food, while carrying around boxes of SPAM and DAK hams...

I surely am not the greatest prepper, farmer, or rancher on these posts. I am here to learn from those that know more and help those that know less. What are the chances that any of will become fully self-sufficient post SHTF? Where there is hope, and a will to survive, the odds go up. No hope, then the only chance is someone dragging you along kicking and screaming. No will? Same deal. All the preps in the world wont help if you get in the way of a F5, or sit atop the epicenter of a 10.0. We are here to learn how to increase our odds.

If a man and his family can survive the first year, the long term odds go up drastically. Communities of survivors would have begun to form by then, and that wonderful terminology you banter around with, division of labor, would have begun as well. For example, here is something that is alien to most Americans. Over in Indonesia and the Philippines, experts are trying to teach subsistence farmers how to use a horse drawn plow so they can be more efficient at growing rice. How do they do it now? With nothing but a hoe. You try planting acres of upland rice with nothing more than a crude hoe to dig the soil!!! Where there is a will, there is a way.

I learned a few years ago the ease of small scale farming with raised beds. By using RBs, you designate planting areas that you do not walk on at all. I plow a furrow as deep as I can with my Troybilt every 5 feet, and pull the dirt from the furrow up into the raised part, smotthing it into a flat bed. I can reach the middle from the furrow (walkway), and in so doing the soil in the bed stays relatively loose and friable. Just to show myself that I can do it, I have turned a few of those beds the following year with nothing but a shovel, a short hoe to pulverize the big clods, and a wide rake to smooth it out. I prefer doing it with the tiller, but I know I can do it by hand. I really don't want to have to break new ground (in a heavy clay soil, especially) by hand, but I can if necessary.

In a SHTF world, we likely wont be working jobs like we do now. We will all suddenly have much more time on our hands. Our fancy power tools won't last forever, so finding the most efficient uses for each will become paramount. Having a well tilled garden with 3-6 inches of horse manure now will go a long way towards surviving. Knowing the full life cycle of all the plants I might grow, from seed to seed, will also help. Knowing, like Gabe and others, that you can survive , even of only producing 50% of your total calories on your own property. If you live near me and grow something that I don't, I will gladly barter with you. If you can fix my garden tools I will gladly trade potatoes and such for your services, so long as I know you, and trust you.

Big bird, I don't know you, but we've gone here before. I{ don't know what else to say. You aren't the first I've disagreed with, and you wont be the last. Even some of the folks here on GT that have really gotten under my skin the worst would be welcome at my table for no other reason than us having that certain group of core beliefs that bring us to these forums. If you lost all your preps, you know how to get more. You have at least thought about these questions, and know that nothing comes free. I don't think there are many on here that would question doing a little work for someone else in order to have a meal. I know I wouldn't. I'd gladly pull weeds or dig taters for any of you guys if it meant having a meal, or even if just to get you started as a help.

If being called a zombie hurts your feelings, I cant help that. I mean it to bust your balls and make a point. I still think your being here isn't all bad, I just think you need to be a little more constructive instead of pessimistic.

I'm not clear where you disagree with me and I never, ever, anywhere told anyone not to try.

I shared my beekeeping experience as a way of illustrating what was involved with beekeeping. I speak in terms of capital (money, land, buildings, equipment) because beekeeping requires a capital outlay. If you completely disregard the capital requirements of ANY S&P problem you are truly not engaged in planning--but in hoping. Can you do it cheaper? Sure...the trade off is in terms of time and knowledge (your other S&P resources)

I don't know any other way to start bees than to buy a package and a queen. Now you might luck into a swarm. But swarms present their own set of problems as well. I don't know any other way to stimulate the population of the hive to grow big enough to produce enough honey surplus honey to harvest it for consumption than by feeding the bees in Feb and March. I'm sure you could let nature work and the population will increase and decrease with the nectar flow. But then the probability of the hive producing enough surplus honey to harvest is questionable. I suppose you could rob the bees of their stores and let them starve as the nectar flow dries up in July/August. But then you need to buy a whole new package of bees in the Spring...

So instead of telling me I'm a troll. How about you tell us how to solve those beekeeping problems. Because I related practical experience and costs. And that's information people can use to decide whether the want to mess with bees. Or just buy their sugar/honey. I told people about costs, about how much time you must commit, and gave them some knowledge about beekeeping. What's the problem?

I also related that I gave it up because the diesease/parasite problems became so difficult to deal with. The man I learned beekeeping from did it on a commercial basis and ran over 300 hives. He also quit the business for the same reasons. Google the current problems facing commercial beekeepers now. They are having HUGE problems. Someone mentioned tetracyline paste...that's an antibiotic that has no impact on parasites nor on the the other major maladies facing honey bees right now. Its good for things like foul brood diesease and other bacterial problems. But has no affect on Varorra Mites etc. I'd love to do it again. But economically its not feasible. The losses are too high and even the pros are in bad shape.

So if that's telling people not to try...then you mis-interpret me. I'm simply telling people MY experience of several years. Is it the only way to do it--obviously not. Is the information useful? I hope so...

Again, your only S&P resources are capital, time and knowledge.

I also disagree vehemently with your statement that we will have all kinds of time on our hands when the SHTF.... But that's another topic.

Big Bird
05-11-2011, 09:36
Let's do a simple planning exercise. Let's figure out how much capital, time and knowledge it takes to grow, can and store enough tomatos for a year.

Now my mom did all the canning when I was a kid. I helped some. But I didn't really pay attention.

So the first thing we need to figure out is how many quart jars of canned tomatoes we want for the coming year. Me? I use tomatoes a lot. Maybe every other day in some way shape form etc. Whether in stews, chili, pasta etc. There are 365 days in a year so lets say 1 quart a day every other day for a family of four. That's 183 quarts of tomatoes or about 15 cases of Mason Jars.

So the first thing we need to figure out is how many tomatos are required per jar and then figure out how many plants we will need to plant to meet our goal. Lets try and do this all in not more than four staggered canning sessions because otherwise its a pain in the butt timewise to can 4 or 6 jars at a time.

So how many tomatoes are needed for (Lets say Romas as they are meaty and can well)

How many tomato plants will be required to produce this amount?

How much garden space required for these plants?

What kinds of fertilizer and pest control?

What kinds of tools? Stakes?

How much will the jars/lids cost

How much space is required to store 15 cases of mason jars?

What kinds of things should be added to the jars (salt? lemon juice?)

This is easy right? So lets plan out this basic simple food item that most people use and lets learn from the exercise what kind of planning/capital and time is involved. We will use our existing knowledge...

sebecman
05-11-2011, 10:22
So how many tomatoes are needed for (Lets say Romas as they are meaty and can well)

How many tomato plants will be required to produce this amount? 40-45

How much garden space required for these plants? 250 square feet

What kinds of fertilizer and pest control? This will vary on location. Here in Maine the biggest threat to tomato plants are cutworms, so I place coffee can with each end removed over my seedlings and push into the soil about 2 inches. I get these free at the dump. The fertilizer I use is cow manure I get for free from my neighbor.

What kinds of tools? Stakes? I use cut saplings and twine. The twine needed for this crop costs me $5.00

How much will the jars/lids cost - assuming I don't already have them, here I can by a case of 12 for $12.99 with lids and rings. so assuming you need 16 cases you will spend $207 on jars/lids.

How much space is required to store 15 cases of mason jars? about 4 square feet.

What kinds of things should be added to the jars (salt? lemon juice?) you don't need either but most people do it with both. About 2 tbl sppons of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of salt per quart. Thats one or two bottles of lemon juice, at say $2.99/ea. The salt is not even worth mentioning but let's say its 25 cents.

This is easy right? So lets plan out this basic simple food item that most people use and lets learn from the exercise what kind of planning/capital and time is involved. We will use our existing knowledge...

You didn't mention the cost of the seeds or seedlings, the cost of water (if you are on municipal), the cost of a pressure canner or a water bath canner, the cost of the electricity/gas for the stove, or the cost of the sharpie marker to mark the date on the lids.

When doing these types of exercises it is important to bear in mind that items like the canning jars and canners are going to be reusable so you really need to depreciate the expense over the years, not all up front.

sebecman
05-11-2011, 10:26
Point taken. But my point remains. Food production--whether for a family of four or for money is still an exercise in micro-economics. There are things you can do that are beneficial for yourself and things that are counterproductive even though they may not seem so at the time.
Agreed.

What I'm saying is there has to be a some thought, planning and purpose that goes into this endeavor rather than simplistic broad strokes with no grounding in reality. Reality? Please remember where we are. :supergrin:


......

Big Bird
05-11-2011, 10:48
You didn't mention the cost of the seeds or seedlings, the cost of water (if you are on municipal), the cost of a pressure canner or a water bath canner, the cost of the electricity/gas for the stove, or the cost of the sharpie marker to mark the date on the lids.

When doing these types of exercises it is important to bear in mind that items like the canning jars and canners are going to be reusable so you really need to depreciate the expense over the years, not all up front.

Excellent response and about what I figured.

I looked at a couple of websites and the consensus seems to be a Quart jar will hold about 7 Roma tomatoes. According to the University of PA a Roma Tomato plant will average about 9.8 lbs of tomatoes and there's about 3.6 tomatoes per pound. For our target of 183 quarts that comes out to about 40 tomato plants in rough rounded up numbers.

Now I like to keep my tomato plants planted in a hill of three plants and support the vertical growth of the vines with a cage made from concrete reinforcing mesh about 36 inches in diameter which is held in place with a couple of metal T-stakes. I do very little to the plants to keep them tied up. They just naturally grow up into the cage. I got the mesh from a left over floor I poured in my shed. The t-posts I scrounged from the neighbors horse fencing pile of used stuff. If you bought all the stuff I guess it might cost $35-40 for 40-45 tomato plants but if I were to grow that many tomatos I wouldn't stake or cage them anyhow unless space was at a premium. When I was a kid we planted way more tomatoes than we could ever use and the vines just grew on the ground. Sure we lost some fruit to rot and critters from touching the ground. But we always had way more than we could use. As I said--space was not the concern.

The only thing I do in terms of feeding is I use some year or two year old composted horse manure. I dig a big hole where I plant my tomatoes and put about a bushell of the manure in the hole. Mix in a little soil but its mostly compost and plant the 'maters right there. That's what we did when I was a kid too.

I try not to use pesticides but sometimes you have to. Every now and then we get a couple of really big nasty caterpillars than can destroy the leaves/fruit.

I think the estimate of 250 square feet is probably a minimum if you really tie up you plants and take expectional care of them.

I also think a lot of folks now understand what I'm trying to do... How many would seriously think they need to dedicate 250 square feet of a garden to canning tomatoes? and 40-45 tomato plants! We haven't even talked about fresh tomatos!

One item in your pantry requires 250 square feet of garden...
40-45 tomato plants
Four square feet of storage
Couple hundred in canning supplies (For the first time anyhow)
Doesn't account for many other costs/tools/supplies.

Now go through this whole exercise for your entire food growing plan.

Then you will begin to see what I'm saying... This is a major execise in resource planning and logistics. You can go broke doing this stuff really fast. So your plan needs some thought as to how you will allocate your capital, time and knowledge... Lets just do an exponential expansion of the tomatos and say you intend to grow and can 9 other fruits/veggies with simliar logistics. Now we are talking a total garden of 2500 square feet of growing space (which is unrealistic as most vegetables are'nt as productive as tomato plants), a couple of grand $$$ in canning jars (again--we know you can reuse them--you still have to buy them).

mpol777
05-11-2011, 11:22
Let's do a simple planning exercise. Let's figure out how much capital, time and knowledge it takes to grow, can and store enough tomatos for a year.

It doesn't work that way IMHO. There are no hard and fast rules that can be applied. Well, maybe there are and after several years studying all of the variables and calculating the cost difference between growing food and buying food, you have an answer, but still haven't done anything.

Since I've done a lot of this I can say my costs have been in the tens of thousands. Of course some of the mouths I'm feeding eat 20lbs of grass a day so that makes for a lot of it. Ignoring feed for critters and just thinking of food for people it's still in the thousands. But each year I spend less since work has been accomplished and durable goods last from year to year. Most of the costs help with my tax liability, but my accountant knows more about that than I do.

The reality is that everyone will have their own formula. Everyone is in a specific location with a certain amount of resources. The goal shouldn't be to try and force that location or set of resources to do something it isn't designed to do. Instead, the goal should be to get the most out of the resources you have.

Small is typically cheap. You can put in a small garden and some chickens in most any suburban area. You can even grow food on a balcony in a big city apartment. Enough to grow a year's worth of food? No, but it's something and it's not a big investment. That small start will help to narrow down the variables to figure out how much food your personal environment can support until it becomes more trouble than it's worth.

There is no formula, nor amount of money, that will allow you to successfully make one big step to being "off the grid". You can't just buy it and you can't plan for everything that will happen. There is no substitute for putting sweat on the saddle blanket. You just have to do it. It doesn't matter if it's electricity, food, shelter, water, security or anything else. Which are all things you need regardless of how close you think the feces is to the breeze maker. And you'll need those things for the rest of your life. Personally I don't care about SHTF. For me it's more of a retirement plan. This is how I live. Not how I'm going to live based on some event.

The question isn't "How many carrots do I need to plant for a year?", but rather "How many carrots can I support?". There's something to be said for gathering information from the internet, but in the end, no man's wisdom can exceed his experience. So instead of talking about it, go buy some seeds, stick them in the ground and see what happens. Then improve on it until you reach the capacity of your environment. Sustainable living is really the only way. Who thinks, "Hey. I'm going to live an unsustainable lifestyle"? Nobody, but people do by simply not thinking about it.

Every year I rely on "the grid" less and less. My trips to town become less frequent. My cost of living drops because I'm investing in myself and my quality of life goes up. When will I get to the point when I no longer need to go to town. Maybe next year, maybe never, maybe only when town no longer exists.

Big Bird
05-11-2011, 11:46
MPOL,
Your point is spot on. But keep in mind you have already made the capital investment over a long time and paid the price to gain that experience!

Like you said, if your plan when the SHTF involves tilling up the back yard and planting a survival garden big enough to support the family you have a long hard road ahead. If its September or October when the SHTF you are probably lost. Unless you live in Florida you plant your tomatoes in May and the harvest peaks in August/September. So if you don't already have them in the ground now you'll have to wait until next year before you see any tomatoes in your diet.

You have to be doing it right now. And there certainly is nothing wrong with starting small. Build from there.

RWBlue
03-03-2012, 20:09
bump........

Glock30Eric
03-03-2012, 22:33
Do I need to have pressure cooker for low-acid food storage such as veggie and meat? Is there a different way to canning veggie and meat other than pressure cooker?


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kirgi08
03-04-2012, 02:03
Ya there is,do a search.'08.

Glock30Eric
03-04-2012, 07:19
Ya there is,do a search.'08.

Yeah I just want to hear from some of you with the experience with the pressure cooker/boiling canning. I don't know if it's worth to get pressure cooker.


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SFCSMITH(RET)
03-04-2012, 08:59
Yeah I just want to hear from some of you with the experience with the pressure cooker/boiling canning. I don't know if it's worth to get pressure cooker.


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Meats and low acid foods need high heat to can, 240F or so.

This cannot be done in a water bath canner. Some people use the "oven canning" method. I personally don't believe in it, but some do, and as far as I know, there has been no outbreaks of deadly bacteria poisoning caused by that method. using it you are entirely on your own. But no canner needed.

Could be bad, could be OK, on you to decide.

With a pressure canner, you have the advantage of using known proven recipes/formulas.

I doubt the cost of a canner or jars and lids are significant when amortized into years of use. I am still using jars my grandma had. As far as cost etc of canning.. I canned nearly a whole deer this year. 70 pints. If I had bought canned meats at that volume, it's about $4.50 a can. And I know EXACTLY what is in those jars, and how they where handled and processed.

I bought a "All American 925" about 10 years ago. Was expensive, but I would guess, divided into everything it has canned over the years, it has cost less than a penny a jar.

RWBlue
03-04-2012, 10:12
I canned nearly a whole deer this year. 70 pints. If I had bought canned meats at that volume, it's about $4.50 a can. And I know EXACTLY what is in those jars, and how they where handled and processed.


Assuming you didn't eat the canned deer, how long would it still be eatable and good to eat?

I assume it is like other canned items which lose nutritional value over time. Then it starts getting less than appetizing.

SFCSMITH(RET)
03-04-2012, 11:20
Assuming you didn't eat the canned deer, how long would it still be eatable and good to eat?

I assume it is like other canned items which lose nutritional value over time. Then it starts getting less than appetizing.

I can only give some ancedotal evidence..

I have eaten home canned meats that were "more than" 10 years old. And commercial canned meats "more than" 35 years old. None of mine has ever lasted that long. Some jars of an elk, taken in '88, did make it all the way to '93, because I was deployed for most of that period.

There is no reason to believe my home canned meat is any less "safe" than factory canned meat.. dead bugs are dead bugs.

Armour foods has a link in it's FAQ's stating plainly that if the package is intact, their meats are fine. period.

Food life, regardless of type, is way more dependent on the conditions in which it is kept, rather than time.

I personally know a man who in 1992, ate peaches, that were canned in 1856. He stated that he really could not tell them from newly canned. Loss of nutritional value was not evaluated.

I don't know of any study that has been done to determine the rate of loss, since, again storage conditions have so much more effect then time.

AimZeroed
03-04-2012, 15:11
This is a good thread and something I think we have all thought about. I have been playing with a small garden going on two years now.

#1 thing I would suggest is raised beds. raised beds allow you to grow crops closer together than in a field situation. They also allow a smaller footprint for you and a better oportunity to wall your garden for protection. A lot of people will suggest wood for the beds but I have had luck with concrete bricks. I bought some at lowes for $0.34 a piece two years ago. I chose the bricks over wood because the nature of my being in a town home requires I plant my bed close to the house and I did not want to attract termites. If your area allows you to collect natural stone that's even better (conditionally). You can plant corn and beans as field crops in most places with out too much trouble. Better to find drought resistant corn as you never know what the weather will be like in the future.

#2 Learn how to save seed and store food. This is one of my two experiments this year. If you can't save seed you will be a one shot johnny. And if you can't store your crop you'll be in a feast and famine situation.

#3 Intercropping. The second of my experiments this year. Some native americans had a technique where they planted corn , pole beans to climb up the corn, and squash or gourds on the ground with broad leaves to shade the roots of the corn and beans. This is more labor intensive but more of a safe bet as you don't risk losing all of your crop to one type of blight or insect. Also, gourds are great water containers when plastic is no longer available.

#4 some kind of greenhouse for seedlings. as you will want to spread your planting out over several weeks so everything doesnt come in at once and protect your seedlings from wildlife and weather.

#5 Use and learn to use every part of the plant. As far as animal manure goes of course its great but you dont want to plant your root crops (Carrots for example)in anything like fresh manure. They will end up tasting like . . . well manure :)

#6 don't forget flowers. Ornamental wildflowers planted around your beds or near the garden are excellent for attracting pollinating insects. A good place to plant those in a bed on land is over your septic system if you have one. There is some research that you can plant non-leafy veggies on a septic and not have e.coli problems but I would rather not risk it and use it as flower bed.


As far as animals where I have less experience.

A medium to small dog (A working type dog like a blue healer might be preferred)
Perhaps a cat
Chickens for manure, eggs, and meat. ( i saw one guy who had a large garden and he had a movable coop so he could move the chickens around his garden periodically for manure and so they could eat the insects in a certain area.)
Goats for milk, meat, and lawn mowers?

Glock30Eric
03-04-2012, 15:36
Meats and low acid foods need high heat to can, 240F or so.

This cannot be done in a water bath canner. Some people use the "oven canning" method. I personally don't believe in it, but some do, and as far as I know, there has been no outbreaks of deadly bacteria poisoning caused by that method. using it you are entirely on your own. But no canner needed.

Could be bad, could be OK, on you to decide.

With a pressure canner, you have the advantage of using known proven recipes/formulas.

I doubt the cost of a canner or jars and lids are significant when amortized into years of use. I am still using jars my grandma had. As far as cost etc of canning.. I canned nearly a whole deer this year. 70 pints. If I had bought canned meats at that volume, it's about $4.50 a can. And I know EXACTLY what is in those jars, and how they where handled and processed.

I bought a "All American 925" about 10 years ago. Was expensive, but I would guess, divided into everything it has canned over the years, it has cost less than a penny a jar.

Thank you for sharing with us. I agree with what you are saying. I just want to be a smart shopper.

I am going to order a pressure cooker, Amazon has a good deal on this product:

All-American 30-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry
$294.34

It could cook 14 QTs at a time.

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RWBlue
03-04-2012, 16:02
#4 some kind of greenhouse for seedlings. as you will want to spread your planting out over several weeks so everything doesnt come in at once and protect your seedlings from wildlife and weather.


Hot house or cold house?

SFCSMITH(RET)
03-04-2012, 16:35
Thank you for sharing with us. I agree with what you are saying. I just want to be a smart shopper.

I am going to order a pressure cooker, Amazon has a good deal on this product:

All-American 30-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry
$294.34

It could cook 14 QTs at a time.

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Be aware, if you have a flat top (glass) cook top or range, it may or may not support the heat and weight of a large canner.

If you have a standard coil top range or cook top, you may still have problems, many people report having the coil/burner collapse when the canner is full and it's a large one.. like the one you are looking at...

Meat takes, where I live, 75-90 (pints vs quarts) minutes at 10psi of steam that can put a lot of heat into a cook top or burner.. I have not had a problem, but my brothers cook top shattered last year while doing a large batch of quarts water bath.

AimZeroed
03-04-2012, 17:27
Hot house or cold house?

In order to grow the largest variety I think its best to shoot for the middle about 70 to 80 degrees with some ability to alter by 5 degrees + or -. A type of pit greenhouse, (half sunk into the earth can be good for this) Its the design i'm looking into. The idea is to have a structure that uses the least amount of energy possible to maintain its temp.

Big Bird
03-04-2012, 17:50
Ain't nobody gonna live for a year off 200 square feet.

Like all Survival and Prep questions your answer is determined with backward planning. How many servings of canned or otherwise preserved homegrown fruit and veg and what kind of fruit/veg are you going to use. From there its simple math and reading crop yields on the seed packets. How many jars are you going to use and what size? Read the ball canning guide and it will tell you how much of a given product you can stuff in a jar. Once you know the quantities and kinds of food you want to grow its pretty simple to figure out how much land it takes (again, read the seedpacket for plant spacing).

How big a garden you need is also a function of the climate and soil. If you have a short growing season you'll need a bigger garden than if you have long growing seasons. Then you also have to plan for crop failures, varmints, insects, etc.

But 200 square feet? Hell, you can't grow enough potatoes on 200 square feet to last a year.

SFCSMITH(RET)
03-04-2012, 17:55
For two people, putting up some surplus, our garden runs 3600sqft.

EDIT: two things.. chickens for eggs, RABBITS for meat.

Oh and depending on how far north you are, or aren't, cold frames may do fine for you. We have had pretty good luck with them, and ours were built for ext to nothing.

Glock30Eric
03-04-2012, 19:07
Be aware, if you have a flat top (glass) cook top or range, it may or may not support the heat and weight of a large canner.

If you have a standard coil top range or cook top, you may still have problems, many people report having the coil/burner collapse when the canner is full and it's a large one.. like the one you are looking at...

Meat takes, where I live, 75-90 minutes at 10psi of steam that can put a lot of heat into a cook top or burner.. I have not had a problem, but my brothers cook top shattered last year while doing a large batch of quarts water bath.

Alright we have a coil stove, so I think I'll need a propane to do the job. Is that do-able?


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Carry16
03-04-2012, 19:20
Seems I recall years ago an article in Mother Earth years back claiming you could feed a family of 4 on 1 acre of land. My wife and I have a small 25 x 25 garden in which we grow primarily tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers and cucumbers. I also have a raspberry patch in another part of the yard. We have 5 acres. I have a compact tractor and a 2-bottom plow and I figure I can always turn a bigger patch if circumstances demand it. I keep some heirloom seeds and regular seeds in the emergency supplies. We have enough canned and dehydrated stuff to get us by for a year, and by then we'll either start growing seriously or kiss off. I'm turning 69 this summer and I've grown tired of starting my own vegetable plants so we just buy them at the farmer's market. For just two of us it doesn't seem worth it to have chickens, goats, rabbits, etc. I've had some of them before and they are all work. I prefer having fun my last few years :supergrin:

RWBlue
03-04-2012, 22:43
In order to grow the largest variety I think its best to shoot for the middle about 70 to 80 degrees with some ability to alter by 5 degrees + or -. A type of pit greenhouse, (half sunk into the earth can be good for this) Its the design i'm looking into. The idea is to have a structure that uses the least amount of energy possible to maintain its temp.

That sounds like a brilliant idea.

Do you have any links to research or ..... on the subject?

RWBlue
03-04-2012, 22:49
Like all Survival and Prep questions your answer is determined with backward planning. How many servings of canned or otherwise preserved homegrown fruit and veg and what kind of fruit/veg are you going to use. From there its simple math and reading crop yields on the seed packets. How many jars are you going to use and what size? Read the ball canning guide and it will tell you how much of a given product you can stuff in a jar. Once you know the quantities and kinds of food you want to grow its pretty simple to figure out how much land it takes (again, read the seedpacket for plant spacing).

How big a garden you need is also a function of the climate and soil. If you have a short growing season you'll need a bigger garden than if you have long growing seasons. Then you also have to plan for crop failures, varmints, insects, etc.


I like you idea, but it is anything but simple.

I produced more zucchini and tomatoes than expected on the packets. I got a good bit less sweetpea pods and never got very many peas.

Big Bird
03-04-2012, 23:41
I like you idea, but it is anything but simple.

I produced more zucchini and tomatoes than expected on the packets. I got a good bit less sweetpea pods and never got very many peas.

You gotta start somewhere. If you have experience like you now do then you know what to expect. But that may be anecdotal and you may find that next year your tomatoes and zukes suck and your peas make bushels. In my experience its always easier to overplant if you have the room. Worst case you get to give away some of your crop that you can't store.

But if you've never done it you have to base your plan on something...hell, call your country extension office. They keep all kinds of crop yield data... Really! They can tell you the historic yield of corn or beans on most farms to the acre..

RWBlue
03-04-2012, 23:44
In my experience its always easier to overplant if you have the room.

So very true.

zucchini, are the one thing that always over produced. At the beginning of the year, I could never wait on the first ones to fry. By the end of the season, I swore I would never grow zucchini again. Funny how that works.