Thursday, February 27, 2014

The 4 foot garden and the 4 person family....

And other assorted fairytales....

I love reading the prepper blogs that show you how you can take four feet of dirt and raise enough food to feed a family for, like, forever.

I don't care if both of your thumbs are green and you have a carrot for a dick, it ain't gonna happen. I have gardened all my life, and even though my health no longer allows for a big garden out back, I still grow my own herbs and a few small vegetable plants in containers. And even that takes quite a bit of effort. The herbs are plentiful, it only takes one plant to actually produce the amount of flavoring I use in a year, but the the tomatoes and such, not even close. They add fresh veggies for a time, but hardly enough to make it through a year, even if I bothered to can them, and I usually just eat them as they ripen.

Of course, you can always go with hydroponics, and let the fish fertilize the plants and the plants attract bugs to feed the fish I guess. I have played with different small scale experiments in this area. Its hard to balance, and generally needs some type of power source to transition the water.

I know! Permaculture! Throw out a bunch of annuals and eat whatever pops up! And if you want a crop of deer and rabbit poop, than this is the way to go!

Its mostly crap. Where I grew up, we did live on the veggies and fruits we grew ourselves. But there were six kids and a home maker Mom involved. We raised our own meat animals too. And it took constant vigilance and HARD work by all of us, while Dad made a living at a job away from the farm.

Can it be done. Sure. I doubt one person in a thousand could do enough just to feed themselves, and none who could feed a family of four if the little ones are too young to do hard work all day!

So, having ranted for a bit, let me direct your attention to an article I came across where a person actually did their homework. There are some interesting figures here. I won't claim they are 100% accurate, but from growing up on a self sustaining farm, I think they are pretty close:

Ideally, our family would need 100 pounds of pole green beans, 120 pounds of beet roots (and that would give them about 20 pounds of greens to eat fresh), 120 pounds of cabbage, 120 pounds of sweet corn, 60 pounds of cucumbers (although you’ll likely get a LOT more), 80 pounds of garlic, 80 pounds of leaf lettuce, 120 pounds of onions, 80 pounds of garden peas, 60 pounds of peppers, 20 pounds of radish, 80 pounds of summer squash (although since this is zucchini – it’ll likely be more), and 160 pounds of tomatoes (likely more, but …). For this, you’ll need 560 (9 ounces) pole green bean seeds, 4400 (2 ounces) beet seeds, 5200 (three quarters of an ounce or so) cabbage seeds, 2400 (2 pounds) sweet corn seed, 320 (half an ounce or so) cucumber seeds, 4 pounds of garlic, 12,400 (half an ounce) leaf lettuce seeds, 21,200 (3 ounces) onion seeds, 9200 (84 ounces or 5.25 pounds) garden peas, 400 (tenth of an ounce) peppers, 1320 (half an ounce) radish seeds, 120 (half an ounce) summer squash seeds, and 240 (under a tenth of an ounce) tomato seeds.

Read  the whole article. This lady did her homework! Then go out and buy some real seeds! Maybe from Jebediah Seed? (and yes, that is a shameless blurt out to my sponsor! Go there too.)

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