Ready for Self-Sufficient Gardening?

digitS'

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Ramble - it may all be folderol, as my mother used to say. Or, applesauce ...

I used to see so many apple trees growing in the wild that I set out a few times to sample their fruit. Terribly sour! Growing from seed, those trees weren't producing the same fruit that someone threw out of the window of a car or off the train, years before.

Bananas. No, that element in my fruit diet would have to be abandoned if I was to grow all my own food. We eat some meat and sustaining livestock is where most of those 5 acres are going. Much of our dietary proteins are from eggs and the quality feed required by 300 egg/year laying hens means that they need a diet not all that different from what humans enjoy. And, a small flock eats a surprising amount of food.

I'm lucky that DW enjoys harvesting and using potatoes. Her participation in digging them is a whole series of "Wow!" One TEG gardener a few years ago said that I must be in an ideal potato growing location. No, I'm between ideal potato growing locations. The comment prompted me to weigh every bucket of spuds that I carried out of the garden. Despite growing them in well-prepared soil, I only accomplished a "farmer's average." Not bad, lots of Wows, from DW ;).

Winter storage is a problem for potatoes. I have yet to try a "potato clamp" for storage. Setting a heated house over a root cellar results in adequate storage conditions for only about 5 months.

Mother Earth magazine has great information on "biodynamic" gardening and how to figure how much food you need with yields and serving size. Use their links to charts :).

Steve
 

ducks4you

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I am growing mine is decomposed stall waste this year, which has a LOT of straw. MIL's 2nd husband--poor woman lost 2 to them to cancer--was an avid gardener and he used to grow his IN straight straw, full sun and he always had a good harvest.
 

MinnesotaGardening

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I worry about anyone who likes milking 2X a day for the rest of their life. I call it dairy addiction worse than drug addiction. I tell my dairymen friends that I will visit them in jail for child abuse when they addict their children...
Haha! I married into the dairy, but I love all my pretty black and white ladies in the barn! But really, if worse comes to worse, everyone would be at my door trying to get milk or meat. And then they'd see my garden...
 

Cinderloowho

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I would love to be able to be self-sufficient. I could never do that in town and my age, but I am sure going to grow as much as I can. I wanted chickens and then I didn't, but now I am again considering turning my shed into a chicken coop. After all that's gone on with the virus and the food, even DS said maybe I was right about chickens. :D
I got chickens last year and I love them! When all his started with the virus I was really thankful to have my loyal egg layers! DH says he knows we won't starve as long as we can keep the chickens fed!
 

Cinderloowho

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I think if it comes to the point where folks have to eat the majority of their intake from a garden, they are going to be WAY less picky about how they preserve the food, the taste and texture of said food, etc. Food for survival is just that....preserved any way possible for the optimum storage time.

I wouldn't count on freezers if my life depended on it and it just one day be that way for a lot of folks. A freezer is dependent upon things staying at a certain level of stability and, if one is down to growing all their foods to survive, I think that level of instability will have been reached.

Very few people put in gardens large enough nowadays to grow sufficient food for a typical household....takes quite a bit of garden to do that, even if intensely managed.
I dont plan on my garden growing sufficient food to completely sustain us, but I like knowing I am acquiring skills that could make a difference if need be!
 

flowerbug

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Haha! I married into the dairy, but I love all my pretty black and white ladies in the barn! But really, if worse comes to worse, everyone would be at my door trying to get milk or meat. And then they'd see my garden...

from 4-18 i lived kitty-corner from a small dairy. had a lot of fun there and watched a lot of things happening. was too small to work but my brothers helped at times bailing hay and doing other things. that small farm is still there but not being run as a dairy from what i can tell. not sure who lives there now.
 

AMKuska

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I used to see so many apple trees growing in the wild that I set out a few times to sample their fruit. Terribly sour! Growing from seed, those trees weren't producing the same fruit that someone threw out of the window of a car or off the train, years before.
I believe most trees are clones created through using branches to start new trees, not from the seeds, so growing from a seed is probably a real shot in the dark in terms of flavor.

I've also read that the forest where apples come from is filled with unimaginable flavors, and that the flavor we associate with 'apple' is just one of many there.
 

ducks4you

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Eldest DD is a little freaked over the shortages, but, honestly, we aren't seeing that much. All we see is limits on meat purchases.
She pushed me to order a new chest freezer, which I did last week. They weren't guaranteeing a quick delivery, date is currently mid June, BUT I bet it will be here before Memorial Day.
Freezer, delivery and installation (push to spot) in my flat garage, with a flat driveway is completely paid for. DD's are PayPal'ing back to me for my Mother's Day gift.
The new one is 14 1/2 cu ft. DD's smaller freezer is 7 cu ft., my porch freezer is 7 cu ft.
I bought my small one and gave them same size 3 years ago. There was a discount chain appliance store, out of business last year, and each 7 cu ft freezer was $125.00, which I thought was a good deal.
DD's were here to work yesterday. I told my eldest that I needed to clean and defrost my small freezer, but I will leave her in charge of what meat, vegetables, etc. go where.
I will be looking into 1/2 cow, a hog and definitely I will be buying a lamb in September from the lady I bought hens from a few years ago. She has an email that she sends to her customers, and it includes an online-to-fill-out order form.
For the lamb, I order it, pay for it, and call the locker to tell them how I want the cuts.
For you livestock owners, I need to study up on how much freezer space I need for what, but I am happy for suggestions.
 

ducks4you

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DD bought a bunch of flour, sugar, rice and other supplies. I already had a full storage jar, the kind with the plastic screw on top, of rice, so I pulled out one of my 1/2 gallon jars. These make excellent dry goods storage containers. No humidity, no bugs, and with metal lids, no mice. Just some fyi...
 

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