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How big a back yard to live off the land? Toplef10How big a back yard to live off the land? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

How big a back yard to live off the land? I22gcj10How big a back yard to live off the land? 14dhcg10

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How big a back yard to live off the land?

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Post  sanderson 7/31/2014, 1:42 am

I saw this article and thought it interesting.

http://pureenergies.com/us/blog/live-off-the-land
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Post  Denese 7/31/2014, 8:32 am

Very interesting.  Thanks.
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Post  Marc Iverson 7/31/2014, 7:55 pm

Some thoughts:

1. I've seen other versions of this idea, one noting that something always needed is cooking oil. To cook in, as an ingredient in recipes itself, etc. The most common cooking oils, like canola and corn oil, are both cheap and not a very efficient thing for the small householder or homesteader to produce. So the version I'm recalling said that the writer simply decided to buy his own oil rather than allotting land to its production. Seems wise to me. If you have any money at all, you can probably afford cooking oil.

2. The graphics for the vegetables are a bit cryptic. I'm not sure what's being recommended.

3. It would be interesting if there were some detail as to how the square footage for meat was calculated. Additionally, while chickens fit into the protein calculations as far as providing eggs, they didn't as far as providing meat. What if you're not into pork, but like eating chickens? Also, on a side note, what about rabbits? Or tilapia? I talked to a clerk at Home Depot who is raising tilapia in his apartment! A little bit more exotic, but honestly I'd rather eat fish than pork, most of the time. Especially with my family's history of heart problems.

4. The local supermarkets carry bread for a dollar a loaf, and I think 1.5 pounds of wheat a week may be a little high if you're going to grow your own wheat. Like cooking oil and probably corn, wheat is taking up the vast majority of allotted space, and as they are commodity products, it seems to me to be far more efficient to buy them. Repurpose the land allotted to those three land gobblers and then sell off your extra vegetables (or chickens, eggs, rabbits, or tilapia) and you'll have more wheat, corn, and oil than you'll know what to do with, plus extra money in your pocket and less reliance and what will probably be monocultures.

I realize this last item, #4, may be against the ethos or thought exercise of growing it all yourself, but then again, in not mentioning oils, or veterinary care, whoever made the chart isn't really following through completely either. So if he can pick and choose, so can I!

5. Not sure how much it might matter, but there is also no mention of crop rotation or cover cropping. Are we to assume all land is always productive?



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Post  sanderson 8/1/2014, 2:31 am

Since the article promotes solar energy, I didn't take it overly seriously. It was just for fun.

1. Olive trees and nut trees would work in my area. Fats are calories which may needed for energy for full time gardening and husbandry.
2. Each climate zone would be limited to certain crops or varieties.
3. Protein source would be an individual choice. It seems chickens and goats for milk would be family staples. Fish would require electric equipment for filtering and oxygenating.
4. I think this is why communities are a good idea. I'm grabbing Camp as my neighbor for her bees! Wheat or potatoes were European staples. Rice, taro, depends on where you live. People start to barter what they are successful at for something they don't have the ability or room for.
5. Homemade compost! No need for cover crops.  Very Happy 
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Post  Vash_the_Stampede 9/4/2014, 11:14 pm

Hello,

The graphic could be useful for those who have no idea even where to begin as far as self-sufficient living. I'm taking it at face value as I've already done some research on what my family will require when we get to that stage. 

It is encouraging, however, to know that a fair amount can be done on a relatively small piece of land (2 acres). This is especially true since my family plans to co-op.

thanks
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Post  TCgardening 9/5/2014, 4:43 pm

Check out this website; http://urbanhomestead.org/
A family of 4 on a city sized lot.
 Mother Earth News has some interesting articles on Homesteading & Urban Homesteading also. There is a guy on youtube that also maximizes his urban yard, https://www.youtube.com/user/growingyourgreens
John is very passionate about growing his own food.
 I can't give up my entire yard for a food plot but I do keep expanding the backyard gardens. No reason the shade tree can't produce some fruit too!
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Post  Marc Iverson 9/5/2014, 5:32 pm

There's a terrific film on youtube about the family referred to in the first link. Maybe 20 minutes or so long. Really fascinating. Not only are they self-sustaining, but it appears the father and three adult children all manage to make a living off their small, very tightly crammed garden space. They even have a car converted to run on biodiesel, I think it is. Very inspirational watch even if a person would want to do only 1/20th as much as these folks do.
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Post  TCgardening 9/5/2014, 6:49 pm

Ya,
 They really squeeze every inch out of the land they have.
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Post  camprn 9/5/2014, 7:28 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:There's a terrific film on youtube about the family referred to in the first link.  Maybe 20 minutes or so long.  Really fascinating.  Not only are they self-sustaining, but it appears the father and three adult children all manage to make a living off their small, very tightly crammed garden space.  They even have a car converted to run on biodiesel, I think it is.  Very inspirational watch even if a person would want to do only 1/20th as much as these folks do.
this would be the Dervaes family in LA area. http://urbanhomestead.org/about

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Post  AtlantaMarie 9/5/2014, 8:43 pm

There are some really good homesteading books on the market that talk about 1/4 acres homesites that do fine for a family of 4 or so.

I'd check your local library in the gardening area.
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Post  sanderson 9/5/2014, 11:26 pm

Fascinating photos of their spread.

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