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"One Circle" book by Dave Duhon: discuss garden plan  RSS feed

 
Paul Overton
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Introduction: The book One Circle: How to Grow a Complete Diet in Less Than 1000 Square Feet promises to provide a complete diet in 1,000 square feet or less, which caught my eye because I want to spend as little as necessary on both the purchase of land and its ongoing tax expenses, which will only rise in time. The book is a supplement to Jeavons' "Grow More Vegetables". An older version of "Grow More Vegetables" is free and legal to download at CD3WD.com.

But "One Circle" is a pricey book (for my budget) and I didn't want to purchase it and only get the garden plan; I figured there'd be little else I would learn. Also I'd read somewhere (can't find it now) that a college student tried this garden/diet and grew thin, and felt he was constantly working his garden. So I didn't want to risk thirty dollars on something that might not be a good fit for me.

I sought out to learn what I could about the book through Google, in order to do a nutritional analysis based on a realistic calorie consumption, as well as nutrient intake for the long haul. Also, I wanted to see if it could be tweaked for gluten-free.

The process: I found a slightly modified version of the diet here, and used that as a base. (See also this.) No quantities were listed in that presentation, so I went to nutritiondata.self.com and chose what appeared to be a standard serving size for each item. That website includes exhaustive analysis on each item, from glycemic load to amino acid count to obscure micronutrients.

At the nutritiondata website, they have a calorie needs calculator. I input numbers for myself, a 35 year old man, at my ideal weight, 170lbs, and chose the "very active" lifestyle level, which is walking more than more than 10 miles/day, which is the hardest demands on calorie input possible. (If we have a severe national crisis I expect to be walking this much anyway.) The calorie needs are 3627 per day. Carbs should be between 45% and 65% of my calories, fat 20-35% and protein 10-35%.

I began with the presupposition that it might be impossible to reach my goals without consuming some animal flesh. So I added in squirrel meat, as it's one of the easiest-to-trap and most plentiful wild games in my region. Trapping ensures I don't need to spend all day hunting; traps hunt for me 24/7. In your area you may seek to get a permit to snare deer; they're a garden pest anyway.

If you eat a vegetarian diet, I'll share the link to my spreadsheet below so that you can play with the numbers in order to make it work for you. I once ate a vegan diet for five years, so I know it's possible to be sustained on plants alone; I'm just not as confident it can fit under 1,000 square feet without some sort of nutritional compromise. Feel free to prove me wrong

Next I went to the charts in the back of "Grow More Vegetables" which discusses yields of various vegetables by area, and shows yields for beginners, intermediate gardeners and advanced gardeners.

The results: I discovered that it is possible to meet all nutritional goals with a 1000 square foot garden and trapping three squirrels per day -- IF -- you are an expert gardener. 2291 square feet for intermediate gardeners and 4743 square feet for beginner gardeners.

The only thing this garden/diet lacks is vitamin D, but your body produces that with enough sunshine. Or buy cheap bottles of it in bulk at Sam's Club/Cosco/BJ's. I got a year's supply at BJ's for $4.00. Or milk some animals; though that will likely drive up your land requirements. I expect that in an extended national crisis I'm going to be spending hours outside anyway, so I'll likely get all the D I need straight from the sun.

You'd get most of your calories from 6 medium sweet potatoes, 6 medium white potatoes and 3 squirrels. Two/two/one every meal. The rest of the foods fill in the necessary extras. You might develop appetite fatigue but foraging for wild fruits/nuts/greens/flowers could add variety. And there may be additional varieties of plants you could mix in without changing space requirements. I'd like to explore that.

Caveat: These figures do not include cover crops but perhaps this could be substituted by gathering inputs from a local forest? Maybe hugelkultur from downed trees, compost from leaves, etc. If you do decide to grow cover crops, I have seen figures of approximately 1500 square feet required per person for cover crops, walkways, composting areas, etc. Probably 500 square feet without cover crops. There is an economy of scale when you have more people, so that number drops the larger the group.

Also I haven't analyzed fermenting/sprouting for things such as enzymes and necessary gut bacteria.

And keep in mind I didn't add any space for medicine herbs, spice herbs, cooking fuel, transportation fuel, heating fuel, clothing manufacture (wool/cotton/flax), produce sales (pay tax bills), extra to feed other hungry mouths, buffer room for crop failure, bamboo for building supplies, none of that. Just the basic food needs. So do expect to need more than 1000 square feet for your homestead For my planning though, I will use the intermediate-level output (2291 square feet) with the hopes that as I improve I'll be able to more than double output. I also will throw in at least 25% more buffer for crop failures and other unexpected spacial needs.

How much do I need: Let me share my plan so that you can use it as a template to anticipating your needs. Keep in mind this is just a back-of-the-envelope plan but it should give you a good start.

I am anticipating joining my wife and three kids (who eat as much as two adult males) with other two adults and another family of four (equivalent of three males). That's 20619 square feet for food crops, at the intermediate level (2291 square feet per person). We live in North Florida, which does have bitter but short winters, so heating fuel is minimal, and could be scavanged from nearby forests if using a rocket stove, super-insulated sleeping quarters and good sleeping bags. Cooking would be done with biogas/methane from a digester (compost the output), rocket stoves, solar ovens and hayboxes for a maximization of flexibility and a minimization of fuel required. I estimate needing no more than 4000 square feet of housing and ungardenable space. 1000 square foot pond/rainwater cachement. I want to do greywater/wetland recycling but am unsure how much space that requires, so let's say 1000 square feet. Growing medicines, spices, bamboo and other miscellaney is an unknown right now, so let's say 15000 square feet. I am planning for cover crops at 1000 square foot per person (9000 total), composting and miscellaneous gardening areas at 200 square feet per person (economy of scale), so that's 1800 square feet. I want to grow extra crops for Christian generosity and produce sales, so let's say 20000 square feet.

Add in that 25% buffer and the total comes to 90524 square feet, which is a fraction over two acres. That's compact for nine people!! An average of 4.5 people per acre, with almost all of our major needs met.

I have not estimated any space for growing transportation fuel or clothing. For colder/drier regions you'd need to space things out and/or have more wood.

Room for improvement: Next I would like to switch in perennial plants for a more permaculture-like solution. Perennials save effort in the future; no seasonal planting. It's going to be tricky to see what replaces potatoes, broccoli, etc., while keeping the same nutrient levels. Can anyone recommend a good resource for that?

I want to see about switching in "weeds" (a.k.a. wild edibles), because they're already local so they grow well in my climate, haven't been bred through years of N-P-K farming so they tend to be very hardy and they wouldn't easily be recognized by someone who might wish to steal my crops. I could scatter them at random and they'd just think I haven't mowed. The hard part is going to be finding nutritional analysis for wild edibles.

As mentioned earlier, I'd like to explore adding different varieties to keep from getting appetite burnout. I'm looking for plants with the same nutrient profile and space requirements.

The more you do permaculture with this, the more non-food plants you'd need to bring in for support. Flowers, nitrogen-fixing plants, etc. And having more plants means you need more space. But as we all know, permaculture saves work down the road. And you can use permaculture's "stacking," which to my knowledge Jeavons does not use, to insert vertical layers (e.g. ground cover, low bush, tall tree) and tighten the space up once again. I can't obtain hard figures on the net result in space required after using stacking, so it's best to plan for some buffer.

Finally: Humanure, urine recycling and 100% composting closes your nutrient loop. I know that no matter what, you're going to lose nutrients over time due to rainfall/erosion, so I've considered using an inexpensive product called "Sea-90" to bring in minerals. I've hypothesized that many nutrients had been rinsed down off the land into the ocean after Noah's flood, so sea products (kelp, fish emulsion, Sea-90) will bring it back.


So without further ado, here's my spreadsheet. Feedback is appreciated.

Hope this helps someone, and God bless!
 
Brandon Greer
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Wow you've really done some analysis here. It's very interesting and I fully intend to investigate your data further. I'll take some time to analyze the spreadsheet and see how I can apply those figures to my project.

As for me, I'm incorporating quite a bit of meat into my plan. I want to have chickens for eggs and meat. And I'll have 3 small sheep and will eat their lambs. I'll also have a 1 acre pond stocked with large mouth bass. They multiply like crazy and will provide a lot of meat and provide water for my animals. On top of that I'm leaning towards about a 10,000 sq ft garden although I've not yet fully decided on that, but I do want wheat because I like bread. I know some of my choices aren't the most efficient use of land but I'd like a balance of eating what I like and self-sufficiency. If things get really bad, then I might readjust my plan to accommodate a survival scenario rather than pleasure, but until then I like meat and bread!
 
Paul Overton
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You definitely can integrate animals and all kinds of great things. My goal was to find the bare minimum necessary for indefinite survival of a tallish, extremely active thirty-five-year-old (which I believe is the worst-case scenario). Anything beyond that is just variety, which is the spice of life

Oh by the way I know you like bread. I included millet, which is a grain. I know I know, not the same, but maybe it'll help cut grain cravings. You can alter my spreadsheet and add wheat back in; use the nutritiondata website.
 
Marc Troyka
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1)From what I hear heirloom varieties of grain don't produce the same gluten irritants or amounts of gluten that modern grains do.

2)1000-5000 sq ft for one person is less than 1/10th of an acre, which is in the same ballpark as the figures fukuoka gave. That's definitely nice to know.

3)I think people here sometimes obsess over perennials a bit too much. They're certainly nice, but they only fit in a niche amongst other things that make up a well balanced diet. Technically potatoes and sweet potatoes are perennials if you don't harvest all the tubers. Perennials also don't require as much maintenance as annuals, so you can put them farther away and use them as "extra" food. Grains and things that can be stored easily are probably more important if you're talking about survival.

4)Herbs/spices etc don't need space of their own. If you plant them amongst your vegetables and things they repel pests so you get 2 for 1.

5)Mushrooms, if exposed to sunlight (ie grown outdoors) are generally very high in vitamin D, although if you work outside a lot you'll get enough one way or the other. If you're serious about growing your own food they can add a lot of productive density to your space though, and don't interfere with or crowd out plants (much).
 
Paul Overton
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Good comments.

Re: Perennials yes, another goal is low maintenance. I didn't know that about potatoes. Did you know tomatoes are also technically perennial? We just use them as annuals because they die every frost

Re: Grains, they are indeed good for storage but in this particular scenario I'm considering, I need looking at long-term growth for minimal land costs... so land size wins here. Grains are extremely bulky. As long as I can grow what I need to meet my vitamin needs, I'm cool.

Re: Mushrooms: GREAT! And the book (which I haven't read) Mycelium Running, which is so widely recommended, teaches that mushrooms assist plant growth. So I ought to mix in lots of shrooms. And as you mentioned, herbs and spices. I should have a nice, busy garden.

More info on vitamin D in shrooms at Wikipedia.
 
Marc Troyka
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Yup with potatoes, that's the way fukuoka did it, just leave one of the potatoes in the ground and the plant will grow back from it (that's what the plant uses them for). You can also cut up some potatoes around the "eyes" and plant them, and each will grow into a plant (that's how most farmers do it). I prefer seed potatoes, which can be propagated the same ways, but also retain the capability to breed.

That makes sense with tomatoes. One year we had two in pots that we brought inside when it started to get cold. They got light through the back sliding glass door and the kitchen light, and continued to flower and produce tomatoes practically till christmas. The vines kept looking closer and closer to dead, but they just kept on truckin.

As for plants and mushrooms, there are special kinds that form symbiotic relationships with plant roots, called mycorhiza (truffles belong to this group). Mycorhiza form a film around plant roots, with a "fur" of tendrils which extend out into the growing medium to increase the surface area of the plant roots and enhance absorption of nutrients. They also increase disease and drought resistance of plants. All land plants form symbiotic relationships with mycorhiza, usually with a mixture of species growing on the roots of one plant, and the fungi along with a few types of bacteria are necessary for plants to obtain nutrients from things like rock dust and rock phosphorous.

Fungi.com sells a product called "mycogrow soluble" which is not very expensive and contains 19 strains of mycorhiza and 18 strains of beneficial bacteria. I add it to virtually anything that I care about growing. The only thing it doesn't have is nodulizing bacteria that legumes need, but you can buy that on amazon (search "rhizobia", there are separate strains for clovers/alfalfa, beans/peas, and soy has its own). Highly recommended without exception.

As for grains, if you've got extra space so that you could double your garden you could grow enough grain. Grain in terms of maintenance is between trees and vegetables, although harvest can be a bit involved. I would probably put in everything else first, and then if you have leftover space you might grow grain or forage for animals, but I can definitely understand not having enough space for them. I only have 140sq ft . If I grow grains at all it'll be birdfood lol.
 
Kay Bee
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Nice research and the spreadsheet looks well done - thank you for sharing it!

"One Circle" is a book that is worth reading, IMO. It looks like you've already tackled the big questions from your own approach, but there is a lot of other background info and details that are interesting and may be useful for you in the book. May be worth looking into interlibrary loan as an option to read it and see if purchasing a copy would be something you want to do. also, the more recent version of Jeavons book has additional examples of plantings/layouts that may also be helpful. Again, the library may be the way to go.

The big challenge that I took away from their thoughts and research was the challenge to design a diet with a small physical footprint that could be eaten on a daily basis from a fatigue standpoint as well as a total number of pounds of food a day perspective. I think in a "real-world" setting, supplementation would play a key role for the fatigue. Finding a way to get more fats/oils would help the second issue (# lbs/day). The hazelnuts, peanuts, soybeans can help with that, but may be something to look into further.

One other take-away was how much work is involved in establishing the beds from a bio-intensive perspective... I think a great deal of labor could be saved by using time/nature to do the loosening of the soil for you. A lot depends on your particular piece of land, but any digging that I've had to do on our properties has been helped if I could place a thick mulch/compost on top of the area for at least a season (preferably a year), and do the digging at a good time of year... particularly with regard to soil moisture content. It can mean the difference between needing a pickaxe vs easy shovel-work.
 
Paul Overton
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Fatigue would likely be helped by foraging while out exploring, bartering extra yield for something else. I think this could make sense for my goals.

Inter-library loan had occurred to me. What sorts of background info and details would I see? Can you flip through your copy and give a few ideas?
 
Nicole Castle
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This is really good research.

I would, at minimum, double the land you think you need for crop growing space, not just add 25%. You can be the most expert gardener on the planet and there are going to be years that, for whatever reason, you have extended crop failures, and you may have two or more years in a row. I would grow way more than you need and preserve it for the lean years. Worse case scenario is you give it away before it goes bad, feed it to the livestock or compost it.

 
Kay Bee
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Christopher de Vidal wrote:Fatigue would likely be helped by foraging while out exploring, bartering extra yield for something else. I think this could make sense for my goals.

Inter-library loan had occurred to me. What sorts of background info and details would I see? Can you flip through your copy and give a few ideas?

My copy is in storage at the moment, but additional details on individual nutritional elements and example diets based on their numbers are some of the parts that I found interesting and useful.

If i recall, their diet examples were not aimed towards providing anywhere near the calories that you are seeking (2000/day or less, i think). Even with that, some of the diets had really high lbs/day of foods such as potatoes...
 
Tyler Ludens
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The One Circle diets are really minimal, especially for men. It's extremely difficult for men to get sufficient calories from a vegan diet unless it contains nuts.

The man's prototype diet ( using about 700 square feet) contains filberts, potatoes, collards, parsnips and garlic. In this diet, the man consumers 5 lbs, 11 oz of potatoes per day (18 - 19 potatoes). Total calories 2702. A more diverse man's diet plan (using 1610 sq ft) contains wheat, garlic, sunflower seeds, potatoes, onions, parsley, turnips, collards, parsnips and filberts. In this diet the potato amount has gone down to 3 lbs, 5 1/4 oz potatoes per day (about 11 medium potatoes). The diet plans are not meant to be followed to the letter but are meant as a planning tool for one's own diet. Each has a detailed nutritional analysis.
 
Marc Troyka
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I agree with Nicole, but I would add that using cover crops is probably less efficient than choosing main edible crops that also improve soil. You can find legumes for every season, and under corn guild type plantings you can grow red and white clover as a perennial cover crop. For tomato guild plants (tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, alliums, carrots, lettuce and other greens) you might use urine to keep up the nitrogen content. It's preferable to fertilize those during the winter crop cycle, since winter greens like more nitrogen than summer crops like tomatoes.
 
Paul Overton
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So you have to either consume massive amounts of potatoes and nuts (watch those protein/fat/carb ratios) or use more space. I like the balance of only needing 1.5lbs/meat a day; it means I won't have to obtain LOTS of meat to stay alive.
 
Paul Overton
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Nicole Castle wrote:This is really good research.

I would, at minimum, double the land you think you need for crop growing space, not just add 25%. You can be the most expert gardener on the planet and there are going to be years that, for whatever reason, you have extended crop failures, and you may have two or more years in a row. I would grow way more than you need and preserve it for the lean years. Worse case scenario is you give it away before it goes bad, feed it to the livestock or compost it.



I did already double the land needed (remember, I chose the "Intermediate" level at 2291 square feet) and also I did include quite a bit for generosity, which could be a buffer. But if I double the crop growing space again for myself, others and sales, the new total is 137,038 square feet, or 3.15 acres. STILL COMPACT

Anyone know good figures for acres/gallon on transportation fuel? How about sheep for clothes?
 
Paul Overton
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Found an interesting review of this book. Speaks of crop rotation, which again gives room for improvement with perennials. (Don't you agree?)
==========================
Contrary to the claim on the front cover, it will not tell you how to grow a sustainable and healthy diet in under 1000 square feet. The methods are just not there yet. However, I don't think that makes the book useless by any means; rather, it's a very helpful but still crude set of concepts - mental tools, if you will - that need to be further developed and refined by people in different areas.

The basic idea is... (Read more)
==========================
 
Marc Troyka
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Hmm, that's interesting, but not really useful. Garlic does produce a lot perennially from its potato-like habit, but who on earth could make up a significant portion of their diet from garlic (potato onions would be a good substitute)? Or parsnips (what's a parsnip anyway?)? Also, his usage of no beans besides soy is.. strange. Soy isn't the only healthy bean, and beans in every season help keep soil N high.

Personally, I like guild planting for maximizing productivity. In the same space you can get a full harvest of corn, equal of beans, squashes and/or melons, and some sunflowers too. Compared to using the same space for just one crop you can literally multiply the productivity, and the plants interact in synergistic ways. Perennials also fit well in guilds; strawberries and rhubarb with tomato friendly crops, and planting perennial herbs like rosemary, lavender and tarragon around other crops are both valuable for trade and kitchen use and repel pests from other crops, attract pollenators and so on. Another thing you get by planting in guilds (well, at least the way I do it) is copious ground cover under all your crops, which helps maintain soil mosture and prevents erosion. Ground cover is also a major deterrent for pest insects, especially if the plants are pest repellent aromatic species, although even a non-repellent ground cover will confuse pests considerably compared to brown dirt which they know not to be food.
 
Nicole Castle
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@M Troyka - A parsnip is a root vegetable related to carrots. They have to be frozen in the ground for at least a couple of weeks to form any sugars. (And, IMO, parsnips are quite possibly the nastiest tasting vegetable on the planet.)

I haven't read "One Circle" but I am very familiar with Jeavon's work. Based on the comments here, I have a few concerns based on the OP's suggestion he was preparing for a severe national crisis.

One, as other have said, the diet is extremely limited. Even if it's a healthy diet, relying on so few plants really opens you up to the risk of a major catastrophe in the event of disease or pest problems, problems which are more likely to occur without space for crop rotation and when crops like potatoes are repeatedly cloned. The Irish Potato famine is the one Americans tend to think of, but Russia, China and many other regions have had massive crop failures this century. There is safety in diversity.

Two, most of the southeast is very deficient in many micronutrients, many of which are essential to health. When a laboratory analyzes a particular fruit for nutritional data, that does not mean every fruit has that amount of nutrients. For example, if your soil doesn't have any chromium or selenium, that nutrient isn't going to be in your crops at all, and closing the loop doesn't maintain something that isn't there. The plants don't care; it's not essential to them. I would get the soil tested for micronutrients on any property one expected to live off of as if your life depended on it, and act accordingly. This also has the benefit of testing for level which are too high for things like lead. I use a micro fertilizer once a year since my soil is depleted.

Three, the OP refers to preparing for a severe national crisis but includes buying vitamin D from Costco, a packaged fertilizer product and foraging. Forage on who's land, and how do you get there? Is Costco still around? I hope none of us ever really have to live off our own land without help when needed, but if the plan is to prepared for that, I think it's better not to include any assumptions about external inputs.

For comparison, here is a compiled list of winter food storage from Gillum's "Life of a Farm Boy in the Great Depression" for one adult male, one adult female, and a young child and sometimes visitors or work hands. Based on the food they stored, I think the adult male was eating a lot more than 3700 calories doing hard farm labor, and he's skinny as a rail. This list doesn't include their fresh eating during the spring and summer, or the quantity or mutton, chickens, eggs and dairy that he says they had. However, some things, like the pork and jams and maple syrup, would be eaten all year.

50 quarts raspberries
50 quarts blackberries
unk qty canned apples, cherries and plums
"many quarts of tomatoes, several half gallons of tomato juice, pints and pints of pickles and chow chow"
red, white and yellow sweet potatoes wrapped in newspaper and packed in cardboard boxes
500 quarts green beans, peas, beets, peaches, pears and various varieties of jams and jellies
10 gallon stone jar of sauerkraut
10 gallon stones jar of pickled beans
at least 25 lbs. soup beans
"there were also the beans we planted in the corn when it was about knee high... cut shorts and valley beans" -- of these, they dried beans in the pods for leather britches
dried apples, stored apples, apple butter
"when both apple and beans were thoroughly dry, they were suspended in the cellar loft in 25 pound cloth sugar sacks"
2 fat hogs butchered each fall -- "Mom... wasn't satisfied unless she had, at least, two 50 pounds cans full of lard"
corn, cut and shocked -- they don't give a quantity but elsewhere he mentions they ate corn with nearly every meal
2 gallons maple syrup

In addition to the above, they traded for flour, sugar, salt, coffee and such, and in addition to corn products also had fresh bread or biscuits with every meal. The only items they mention trading are eggs, so I guess they had quite a few chickens. Also they sold pick-your-own cherries on season, wool and lambs.
 
Paul Overton
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Nicole,
Thanks for your detailed feedback. I believe there are some misunderstandings. I did pack a lot into the first post so perhaps some points got overlooked? Let's walk through your concerns one by one to see if I should make any adjustments to my plans.


Nicole Castle wrote:One, as other have said, the diet is extremely limited. Even if it's a healthy diet, relying on so few plants really opens you up to the risk of a major catastrophe in the event of disease or pest problems, problems which are more likely to occur without space for crop rotation and when crops like potatoes are repeatedly cloned. The Irish Potato famine is the one Americans tend to think of, but Russia, China and many other regions have had massive crop failures this century. There is safety in diversity.


I'd covered these concerns under the "Room for improvement" section. The need for variety (provided through polycultures) is one reason I posted this in the "Permaculture" forum. We all agree variety is right and good for the reasons you listed. My attitude toward the "One Circle" diet is that it's a good base to build upon; what is the bare minimum needed? And then go from there.

My gut feel is there are many additional plants I can swap in without changing the land size or nutritional profile. After all, I was able to swap his wheat for millet So for example, where I list "parsnips" in the formulas, perhaps that could be replaced with parsnips and carrots and beets?


Nicole Castle wrote:Two, most of the southeast is very deficient in many micronutrients, many of which are essential to health. When a laboratory analyzes a particular fruit for nutritional data, that does not mean every fruit has that amount of nutrients. For example, if your soil doesn't have any chromium or selenium, that nutrient isn't going to be in your crops at all, and closing the loop doesn't maintain something that isn't there. The plants don't care; it's not essential to them. I would get the soil tested for micronutrients on any property one expected to live off of as if your life depended on it, and act accordingly. This also has the benefit of testing for level which are too high for things like lead. I use a micro fertilizer once a year since my soil is depleted.


Yes, have a look at Sea-90. It is a type of micro fertilizer. It has 90+ micronutrients, and kelp and fish emulsion likely have the same, because "Sea-90" is basically just raw, unpolluted sea salt (not what you'd buy in a shaker). In the sea there are many such nutrients, and gardeners buy kelp/fish for the micronutrients. I like "Sea-90" because it skips the middle man and is much, much cheaper.

I did some trial tests with Sea-90 a few years back but sadly, I could not finish the tests. However, the tomatoes I grew all tasted just fine and produced just as well as those without the Sea-90. They didn't burn up, as you would expect with a salt product; probably because it was diluted. I'm just not entirely sure the Sea-90 was doing anything, so I'd like more information, more testing.

If Sea-90 fails to deliver, I'll have to do what you do: Use a standard micro fertilizer. No matter how you slice it, I believe all farms in this region require mineral supplementation.


Nicole Castle wrote:Three, the OP refers to preparing for a severe national crisis but includes buying vitamin D from Costco (..) Is Costco still around?


Have another look at the section called "The results." You'll see that I listed three different ways of obtaining vitamin D. And in the comments above, a fourth way was discussed. Two of them (sunshine and mushrooms) don't require significantly greater space. Bartering for milk could supply D while still keeping your space compact. The only limit is your creativity.

But let's consider the Vitamin D from Costco for a moment, to see if it really is invalid for a severe national crisis. If it costs $4.00 per year, $20 buys a sufficient quantity to last through five whole years of crisis. $180 for my whole farm. This is why people who start survival-minded farms stockpile food; they know it's not going to last them forever, they just need enough to get them through the crisis, when they can do something different.

So considering my goals, Coscto D pills make a lot of sense as a backup to getting sufficient D through sunlight and mushrooms. Your goals may differ.


Nicole Castle wrote:a packaged fertilizer product


I should have been clearer on this point. When I spoke of "Sea-90" I had in mind an initial application, not an ongoing dependency on mineral supplements. When the loop is as closed as possible, I should be able to retain enough minerals to last me until I can obtain more fish emulsion or kelp, which shouldn't be hard as we're close to the ocean.

It sounds like you also use a packaged fertilizer product. You said, "I use a micro fertilizer once a year since my soil is depleted." So I don't believe we can get away from this.

It should also be noted that I wasn't saying that the farm size depends on Sea-90. I don't believe a farm of any size in our region doesn't require mineral supplementation.


Nicole Castle wrote:and foraging. Forage on who's land, and how do you get there?


I should have mentioned that in our region we have an abundance of forests within walking distance. Those that do not would need to pursue other methods of variety. However, after doing the nutritional analysis I feel confident that variety isn't strictly necessary. A really, really, really good idea, but not strictly necessary.


Nicole Castle wrote:I hope none of us ever really have to live off our own land without help when needed, but if the plan is to prepared for that, I think it's better not to include any assumptions about external inputs.


Wise advice. I don't think it applies to our situation, but please take it into consideration for yourselves.


Nicole Castle wrote:Based on the food they stored, I think the adult male was eating a lot more than 3700 calories doing hard farm labor, and he's skinny as a rail.


Well, I did begin with setting the calculator to the highest activity level possible, which was the worst-case scenario for that calculator. Perhaps managing sheep/chickens/cows/pigs requires significantly more calories?

Even if we double the calorie requirements to an unbelievable 7,254 calories per day, and assume that everyone on the farm is an adult male, that's still only three acres.


Good feedback!

To clarify, I'm not trying to build an island. I intend on significantly reducing my need for outside inputs, and what outside inputs I do require, I am seeking to be able to obtain by myself (squirrels, forage, etc.). And barring a nuclear disaster or something like that, I should be able to. I'm planning for "Great Depression 2," not apocalypse. In this, I want to minimize my dependence upon the supply chains, which I believe is feasible in my location with less than three acres. I am also learning medical and mechanical skills for the same reasons, though I anticipate requiring a true doctor and mechanic occasionally, as they sometimes did during the first Great Depression. Doctors and mechanics are welcome to join us

Your mileage may vary, so I'm hoping my notes and formulas can be used as a template for what you're doing.
 
Marc Troyka
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I didn't figure parsnips would be any good lol. I agree with most of your points, but the "commercial fertilizer" he's planning to use is a sea-mineral extract that provides micros. I can understand why he might want to use that instead of rock dust (us southeasters got nothin but granite underneath, so rock dust has to be shipped from farther away) but in the case of sea minerals they would wash out much more quickly, so in a TSHTF scenario it would definitely be a disadvantage.

I couldn't imagine living on a diet that high in potatoes. Just one time I tried making shepherd's pie (or something similar) but without cheese or anything to balance it out, and that alone made me feel so sick and empty that I never even considered eating it again. I think I would die trying to get my 4000+ calories per day from that diet.
 
Paul Overton
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Yeah, rock dust sounds like a good option. Whatever it takes. Sea minerals might wash out unless they are captured into the compost loop, then we should be good.

Don't like a white potato-heavy diet? Maybe increase sweet potatoes, or another calorie crop, and/or more trapping. Should be able to find some creative way to keep space low. It is important to emphasize space-efficient calories in my situation; I don't have mega bucks for a large farm.

We don't do dairy but last week my wife made an exceptional shepherd's pie with rice cheese. Perhaps there's another space-compact choice.

The review on "One Circle" (posted before) gave this good advice: Try the new diet first. Work out the kinks before you commit to buying land. That's smart.
 
Tyler Ludens
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M Troyka wrote:
I couldn't imagine living on a diet that high in potatoes.


I think most people would do poorly, at least psychologically, on the boring One Circle diets! The Irish prior to the Potato Famine ate such a boring diet, eating several pounds of potatoes a day. They also had milk, if I'm remembering right, but possibly not all of them or all the time. Anyone needing more calories could not live on the One Circle diets, and I don't know if it's been established that a person doing the labor to grow the diet using Biointensive practices (double-digging, making compost) would be able to live on the One Circle diet. I think it's an interesting theoretical place to start, that needs more on the ground, real life research. I'm going to try to grow more staple foods in my garden in the coming growing season, and see if I can base more of my diet on them. But it's hard because my husband likes pasta, pizza, and other grain-based foods.....
 
Paul Overton
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I think I agree with that. My next step, aside from other research, is to actually try the diet.
 
Kay Bee
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just a quick note to balance out the reviews on parsnips... my family and I find them to be quite tasty

Roasted or in soups, they are a nice addition to a meal. Quite different from carrots or other root crops. The main drawback to them is that they generally require a longer growing time-frame to size up, in my experience. When living in North Carolina, I could get 3 succession crops of carrots a year, while parsnips took the whole season. They do store very well and get better with the cold, though. Others may have better luck growing them in a shorter timeframe.
 
Marc Troyka
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3 crops of carrots a year?! I thought they usually took a whole growing season, and although NC towards the coast is in the same hardiness zone I'm in, the solar growing season is still shorter. I'm confused, how exactly does that work?
 
Nicole Castle
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Christopher de Vidal wrote:We all agree variety is right and good for the reasons you listed. My attitude toward the "One Circle" diet is that it's a good base to build upon; what is the bare minimum needed? And then go from there.

My gut feel is there are many additional plants I can swap in without changing the land size or nutritional profile. After all, I was able to swap his wheat for millet So for example, where I list "parsnips" in the formulas, perhaps that could be replaced with parsnips and carrots and beets?


Agreed, but in terms of diversity, I would also diversify more in form. For example, parsnips and carrots and beets are all still root crops, and susceptible to similar kinds of rodent and pest damage. Root crops are awesome for providing storable calories (plus eating the tops), but they have similar vulnerabilities.

Since my potato crop this year is a melted blob of blighted plants, I'm rather glad I can just pick some up at the grocery store!

Yes, have a look at Sea-90. It is a type of micro fertilizer. It has 90+ micronutrients, and kelp and fish emulsion likely have the same, because "Sea-90" is basically just raw, unpolluted sea salt (not what you'd buy in a shaker). In the sea there are many such nutrients, and gardeners buy kelp/fish for the micronutrients. I like "Sea-90" because it skips the middle man and is much, much cheaper.


I did look at Sea-90. I did not want to add that much salt to my soil, because once it's in there it's hard to get out. I went with Azomite instead.

Nicole Castle wrote:Based on the food they stored, I think the adult male was eating a lot more than 3700 calories doing hard farm labor, and he's skinny as a rail.


Well, I did begin with setting the calculator to the highest activity level possible, which was the worst-case scenario for that calculator. Perhaps managing sheep/chickens/cows/pigs requires significantly more calories?

Even if we double the calorie requirements to an unbelievable 7,254 calories per day, and assume that everyone on the farm is an adult male, that's still only three acres.


Not that unbelievable. Many body builders consume well in excess of 6000 calories a day and they don't work out all day. Of course that's maintaining a much high quantity of lean body mass than the average person.

I've been trying to remember the source for one bit of trivia but I can't; nonetheless I distinctly recall a figure cited that the average farm laborer in pre-industrialized America was estimated to consume about 6500 calories per day. It seems outrageous, but a Big Mac meal with one soda contains 1350 calories, and many people go back for soda refills. A vanilla shake can be as many calories as the whole meal. (And people wonder why we're fat.)


To clarify, I'm not trying to build an island. I intend on significantly reducing my need for outside inputs, and what outside inputs I do require, I am seeking to be able to obtain by myself (squirrels, forage, etc.).


That's good. I'm not preparing for TEOTWAWKI myself, but some folks are, or just desire to be totally self-sufficient. It seems like you were, so my comments were geared toward that goal.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Quite the intense analysis. I would strongly suggest not cutting it so fine. This is how cultures implode. Not every year will be a good year. Some years will be bad and you won't be able to produce enough on so little land. Sometimes strings of bad years follow. Read about the various famines in history and the emigrations that resulted.

Instead I would suggest having more like five acres. That is enough to easily support you and even a family. On five acres you can easily produce something for sale as well to pay the taxes and earn an income. You can have chickens, pigs, sheep, etc on a bit of land and not have to just subside on squirrels.

Buying in bulk, e.g., more acres, is a lot cheaper than buying small acres. For example, 1 acre may sell for $25,000 but 25 acres may be only $50,000. You can do a lot more on 25 acres than 1 and with 25 you can be a farmer or forester getting the lower tax rate in many locations. Often there is a minimum size as well as a requirement that >50% of your income be from the land. Easy to do if you're frugal and just don't earn much.

Buy a place with no house or with a terrible house. Tear it down and build a tiny, highly energy efficient low cost home. Our cottage is only 252 sq-ft, self heating and cooling, virtually zero maintenance and only cost $7K and two months to build by and for our family of five. http://SugarMtnFarm.com/cottage

Do not purchase land in the high cost locations. Instead be further out, off the beaten track. This dramatically drops the per acre cost and lowers the tax rate.

Be sure you have water, mineral rights and farming rights. Watch out for zoning and other regulations. Buy with eyes wide open. Go to the town, county and state offices and read.
 
Paul Overton
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Walter Jeffries wrote:Quite the intense analysis. I would strongly suggest not cutting it so fine.


You don't think a 450% buffer is enough? I've planned in the intermediate level (2291 per person) at 20619 square feet and also have 20000 for charity/sales, which could be used as a buffer. Even the cover crops could be buffer room if bringing in woody material from nearby forests (as mentioned in the first post). If I didn't do that, I'd have only 9000 square feet for nine people.


Walter Jeffries wrote:On five acres you can easily produce something for sale as well to pay the taxes and earn an income.


Yep crop sales are included. Though I quickly threw that in without much thought, so that value could go up. Or down


Walter Jeffries wrote:You can have chickens, pigs, sheep, etc on a bit of land and not have to just subside on squirrels.


Also mentioned snaring deer in the original post. They're attracted to our gardens anyway, might as well integrate them into our diets, which is a permaculture-ish solution

Or rabbits, or groundhogs, or armadillo, or... trapping is plentiful here, as well as in other regions, like my parent's Southern Illinois/Indiana/Kentucky area.

I do believe a few chickens make sense as garden helpers. Bug patrol, fertilizer, etc. geoff lawton doesn't believe he can farm without any animals! Am not clear how that changes the farm size. I just wanted a baseline for today and knew I could build on it later if necessary.


Walter Jeffries wrote:Buying in bulk, e.g., more acres, is a lot cheaper than buying small acres. For example, 1 acre may sell for $25,000 but 25 acres may be only $50,000.


Unfortunately, this is not true in our location.


Walter Jeffries wrote:You can do a lot more on 25 acres than 1 and with 25 you can be a farmer or forester getting the lower tax rate in many locations. Often there is a minimum size as well as a requirement that >50% of your income be from the land. Easy to do if you're frugal and just don't earn much.


Good to know!


Walter Jeffries wrote:Buy a place with no house or with a terrible house. Tear it down and build a tiny, highly energy efficient low cost home. Our cottage is only 252 sq-ft, self heating and cooling, virtually zero maintenance and only cost $7K and two months to build by and for our family of five. http://SugarMtnFarm.com/cottage

Do not purchase land in the high cost locations. Instead be further out, off the beaten track. This dramatically drops the per acre cost and lowers the tax rate.

Be sure you have water, mineral rights and farming rights. Watch out for zoning and other regulations. Buy with eyes wide open. Go to the town, county and state offices and read.


GREAT advice. I've seen your cottage before and love it. Honored to have your comments here. May I soon join you in the ranks of farmers.
 
Paul Overton
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Nicole Castle wrote:Not that unbelievable. Many body builders consume well in excess of 6000 calories a day and they don't work out all day. Of course that's maintaining a much high quantity of lean body mass than the average person. I've been trying to remember the source for one bit of trivia but I can't; nonetheless I distinctly recall a figure cited that the average farm laborer in pre-industrialized America was estimated to consume about 6500 calories per day.


I can see that for someone managing animals and large cash crops on dozens of acres. This farm is more scaled down and trapping has low energy requirements. Do you think the stated energy output -- more than 10 miles of walking per day -- is the expected exercise level for this situation?


Nicole Castle wrote:That's good. I'm not preparing for TEOTWAWKI myself, but some folks are, or just desire to be totally self-sufficient. It seems like you were, so my comments were geared toward that goal.


Total TEOTWAWKI, I'd expect to be overrun by tyrants or peasants, no matter where I lived, so all bets are off at that point
 
Paul Overton
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I've had more questions about buffer room than anything else, thought I believe I'd inserted sufficient space (450% buffer, or more if no cover crops). Perhaps I should have been more clear.

I didn't know, before doing this, what a baseline should look like. Now I know. I formed a back-of-the-envelope plan and can tweak it as necessary.

Another goal of this analysis, which I did not state, was to develop something which is repeatable to teach to other people I care about. A poor family of four should have little difficulty obtaining the bare-minimum one acre required, if they're careful how they manage it. Or use half an acre and a part-time job. They can forage or barter work at larger farms for more variety, yet have this bare minimum to fall back upon.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Christopher de Vidal wrote:You don't think a 450% buffer is enough?


It depends on how dependent you are on the land. If you can go to the store, can get seed elsewhere then the margin can be smaller. If you're very dependent on what you can produce then you want a very large margin. Some times crop failures go on for two, three or even more years. Hunting and wild forage then sustains one but the seed bank gets depleted and stored seed loses fertility. I've kept seed as long as eight years but lost fertility.

Christopher de Vidal wrote:Yep crop sales are included. Though I quickly threw that in without much thought, so that value could go up. Or down


Along that line of thought think about higher value things rather than competing in the commodity markets. For example, I can produce milk but get very little money for a lot of work. Or I can feed milk to pigs, which is less work than milking for humans, and then sell that pastured/dairy fed pig for a higher price than either the milk or regular pork because it is tastier and more in demand. This gets me away from competing on the massively government controlled milk market or the commodity pork market where the margins are razor thin to non-existent.

Christopher de Vidal wrote:Also mentioned snaring deer in the original post. They're attracted to our gardens anyway, might as well integrate them into our diets, which is a permaculture-ish solution


Careful of government laws on deer in particular but some other animals. They consider the animals to be theirs and don't like people hunting them without paying for the privilege and then only during the sporting season. This varies by state and by species. In some places you can hunt in season without a license on your own land. In some places you can kill deer who are hurting your crops if you're farming but you are generally required to report the animals to the government. More minor animals generally are allowed more leniently. Seems to be related to how much the government thinks it can earn off of sports hunters. Eyes open.

Christopher de Vidal wrote:
Walter Jeffries wrote:Buying in bulk, e.g., more acres, is a lot cheaper than buying small acres. For example, 1 acre may sell for $25,000 but 25 acres may be only $50,000.


Unfortunately, this is not true in our location.


Interesting. Unusual.

Christopher de Vidal wrote:
Walter Jeffries wrote:You can do a lot more on 25 acres than 1 and with 25 you can be a farmer or forester getting the lower tax rate in many locations. Often there is a minimum size as well as a requirement that >50% of your income be from the land. Easy to do if you're frugal and just don't earn much.


Good to know!


Check out the state definitions for farm vs residential, etc. In many states they recognize that farms and forest land do not put a big burden on the state or town so they do not tax them as high as they tax homes and businesses which do place a large burden on the towns for services. It would be a shame to buy 1 acre under the threshold and then have to pay the higher tax rate even though you really are farming and foresting. Sometimes they also require that you actually earn your income from the land.

Most of all, enjoy the journey.

Cheers,

-Walter
 
Paul Overton
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Walter Jeffries wrote:It depends on how dependent you are on the land. If you can go to the store, can get seed elsewhere then the margin can be smaller. If you're very dependent on what you can produce then you want a very large margin. Some times crop failures go on for two, three or even more years. Hunting and wild forage then sustains one but the seed bank gets depleted and stored seed loses fertility. I've kept seed as long as eight years but lost fertility.


OK, wise advice.


Walter Jeffries wrote:Along that line of thought think about higher value things rather than competing in the commodity markets.


Oh yes definitely, value adding is the way to go.


Walter Jeffries wrote:Careful of government laws on deer in particular but some other animals.


Yep! In the original post I suggested obtaining a permit for trapping. I don't know if that's possible though; I've searched around the web and had not gotten adequate answers, so I will have to call the local game commission as I move forward.


Walter Jeffries wrote:Interesting. Unusual.


Sorry, I wasn't clear: I have not yet seen a land sale where the exponential increase was that high. 1 acre to 25 acres, only double in price? Wow, what a bargain! Around here, land is consistently $5k/acre for small plots down to $3k/acre for ~25 acres.

HOWEVER, I've seen some creative and perfectly legal strategies for hunting out willing sellers and making offers which might would be significantly less. I can link you if interested.


Walter Jeffries wrote:Check out the state definitions for farm vs residential, etc. In many states they recognize that farms and forest land do not put a big burden on the state or town so they do not tax them as high as they tax homes and businesses which do place a large burden on the towns for services. It would be a shame to buy 1 acre under the threshold and then have to pay the higher tax rate even though you really are farming and foresting. Sometimes they also require that you actually earn your income from the land.


Groovy Walter. Thanks.
 
Paul Overton
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More I think about it, the more I get concerned about appetite fatigue, even with foraging. I have gotten burned out from too many green smoothies or lima beans. Lots of potatoes every day... hmm. So the next step will be to tweak for significantly more variety while keeping space compact, and then actually trying to live on it.

I'll look in Jeavons' tables for items similar to potatoes and see how that impacts necessary space.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Christopher de Vidal wrote:I can see that for someone managing animals and large cash crops on dozens of acres. This farm is more scaled down and trapping has low energy requirements. Do you think the stated energy output -- more than 10 miles of walking per day -- is the expected exercise level for this situation?


Well, as an interesting side note I easily walk 10 miles a day, often several times that and so does the rest of my family. I was very surprised to discover this. It happened to come to light because I got a GPS for doing some mapping and realized it had a distance log feature which turned out to be pretty accurate. So we would stick it in our pocket and get this fun little map that showed where we had walked all over the farm as well as the distance. My six year old daughter walked 19 miles one day. That shocked me. So I did a bunch of accuracy testing across known distances and it turned out to be right.

As to calories burned, I think we burn a lot more here on the farm than if we were sedentary. In addition to pure distance there is the fact that we live on the side of a mountain so there is a lot of up and down. Calories burned are probably more for us than on flat land. We are lean despite eating a hearty diet with plenty of eggs and meat. We have to be careful to eat enough or we get too skinny.

Your note on variety is true. Sometimes we've ended up with less variety and I have to admit I certainly eat less. When there is less variety we eat purely for the hunger and less for entertainment. We tend to eat a lot of meat, potatoes, pumpkins, turnips, beets, garlic, onions and such that are easy to grow. One thing that we eat a lot of that we don't produce is dairy. Gotta get a cow. Or 20.
 
Paul Overton
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North Florida is super flat, and we'd be keeping everything so small I'd think we'd be OK.

Ever done a nutritional analysis? Track a typical day and plop it into nutritiondata.self.com, see what you get.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Excellent research Christopher!

The "One Circle" diet is somewhat restrictive. You will get thin and also bored of eating too much potato. It's a survival diet (a very good one for that purpose), but not a living diet.

First, you need to be careful eating a balanced protein (eggs, amaranth, chia, soy or a combination pulses + cereals), also enough calories, and finally also vitamin B12. Once I tried to be a vegan and lost way too weight and had some health problems, even with careful plan. I am more confortable with ocasional milk, eggs and fish.

However, the choice of the 14 crops is a clever one. Most crops are high yielding, easy growing, occupy little space, to max calories.

But it lacks other types of beans (easier to grow and eat, than soy). I understand potatoes, but it is dangerous to rely solely on them (think Irish famine): there are other interesting roots to try, sweet potatoes, arrowhead, yams, taro, tiger nuts, groundnut. For cereals likewise, you can consider millet, rye, sorghum, amaranth, even corn, as alternatives to wheat.

For highest calories I have ranked the following food crops:

1º nuts, pecan, chia, sesame, sunflower, peanuts, oils (average 600 calories per 100g)
2º wheat, rye, buckwheat, amaranth, carob (average 300 calories per 100 g)
3º dates, avocado, olives, taro (average 150 calories per 100 g)
4º potatoes, arrowhead, sweet potatoes, dioscorea yams, parsnips, bananas, jujube (average 100 calories per 100 g)

Turnips, carrots, most soft fruit are relatively low calory (average 50 calories per 100 g).

Maybe someone else can suggest something to this calory ranking.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Also, Christopher, it looks like you have been reading my mind

Please have a look at the thread I started last week http://www.permies.com/t/17161/permaculture/Plan-staple-self-sufficiency

Basically I haven't updated yet the thread with an improved version for a complete diet garden, but I came to similar sizes as yours.
(Well, in my conclusion a bit more space is necessary, but it is still a rather small space, for full food needs)

I reached the figure of 400 m2 for full food self-sufficiency, for an year (about 20 x 20m).
That is: 4096 square feet. Something like a square 64 x 64 feet.

This area is adapted to my vegetarian diet (but I haven't included the milk, eggs and ocasional fish I eat). I eat mostly cereals and pulses rather than potatoes and parsnips.

Basically you try a four plot rotation that includes most of your staples, plenty of pulses (which fixate nitrogen) and you grow both winter and summer cereals and pulses. You can grow rye or barley in winter, and corn, millet or amaranth in summer, even upland rice. You can grow broad beans and peas in winter, all other beans, soy, cowpeas and lentils in summer. You can grow not only sunflower but also sesame, chia and even olive trees. And of course nutrient packed greens like carrots and collards. And potatoes, sweet potatoes and other high calory roots.

But you still miss fruit trees, berries, nuts (one tree and you will never starve), herbs, and some compost crops (very important if you don't want to deplete your soil, long-term). And perhaps some space for fodder crops to raise chicken. For a more complete food garden you can aim for a comfortable 1000m2 (30 x 30 m) or 10.000 square feet (100x100 feet).

Consider planting also easy perennial vegetables, self-seeding and resistant ones. I think elaeagnus, bamboos, walking onions... I have been thinking of honey locust or mesquite as possible sources of easy protein and flour, or enset for plenty of starch in warm climates.

This is 1/10 to 1/5th of an acre, for full self-sufficiency (without counting on wood for fuel)
 
Paul Overton
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Paulo, hope to read and respond soon.

There's a free Kindle ebook for today only called Living on the Wild Side: Crisis Gardening and Survival Scavenging in the South looks like right up my alley. Get it now because it's likely will go back up in price tomorrow.

By the way, you don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books, they have free readers for computers and smartphones.

Found it at Pam's Pride Recommendations which is a free Kindle book blog aimed at homesteading and survivalism.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Yes, it's a very fair concern.

One does want to assure that it eats enough diversity, nutrition and calories. With enough diversity also to cover potencial failures of some crops.

You must assure there is enough starches and protein. Cereals and roots provide first, pulses the second. Nuts and seeds complement that and most nuts are also perennial and high yielding. Definitively worth to consider.

Amaranth for example has calories and has also near complete protein. It is a resistant crop and easy to harvest, but it is not very high yielding and needs warmer climate. Quinoa can do better in colder climate but needs removal of saponins after harvest.

Chia is extremely nutritious and filling, but slighty tricky to grow and warm-loving. Also tiny seeds are not the easiest to harvest.

Sesame is nutritious, calory rich and extremely resistant plant. But not very high yielding. But it's a survival crop.

Sweet potatoes are nutritious, filling and resistant crop, but needs warm climate.

Millet grows where itś too dry for corn. Sorghum might too, as well as teff (but that is too tiny grain)

Potatoes and rye can grow in climates cold where no other crop can (like the Iceland where I live). Sunchokes too, but they have little calories.

Yams and enset produce a lot of edible starch in tropical climates. You can try them if you have mild winters.

Avocado are calory rich and another good addition to diet. But not the most resistant plant.

Cowpeas are one of my favourites. Easy to grow, resistant to drought and even partial shade, produce a lot, and feed you well. Lima beans are similar and a perennial. Lentills are good food, extremely resistant to drought, cold or hot, but tedious to harvest.

Garlic, not a calory staple, but easy to grow and it makes your food tasty, and above all, its a excellent medicine. I have stop many colds with garlic, many sore throats with garlic, and also many terrible toothpains with garlic.

For vitamins: carrots and lettuce (also sweet potatoes) for vitamin A; sorrels for vitamin C (if you don't eat citrus fruits), Sunshine, eggs or mushrooms for vitamin D. Besides avocado and olives, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are rich in vitamin E. Lettuce for vitamin K. For vitamin B1 beans and nuts; vitamin B2 green leafy vegs, folic acid from lentills, vitamin B12 from eggs and probably some vegetables (but that is poorly understood), vit D3 and D6 from wheat, etc... you shouldn't think too much about this, just ensure you need a lot of diverse food.

It is in diversity of crops that you can have both health, sustainbility and "survival safety".


Christopher de Vidal wrote:More I think about it, the more I get concerned about appetite fatigue, even with foraging. I have gotten burned out from too many green smoothies or lima beans. Lots of potatoes every day... hmm. So the next step will be to tweak for significantly more variety while keeping space compact, and then actually trying to live on it.

I'll look in Jeavons' tables for items similar to potatoes and see how that impacts necessary space.
 
Nicole Castle
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Christopher de Vidal wrote:
Nicole Castle wrote:Not that unbelievable. Many body builders consume well in excess of 6000 calories a day and they don't work out all day. Of course that's maintaining a much high quantity of lean body mass than the average person. I've been trying to remember the source for one bit of trivia but I can't; nonetheless I distinctly recall a figure cited that the average farm laborer in pre-industrialized America was estimated to consume about 6500 calories per day.


I can see that for someone managing animals and large cash crops on dozens of acres. This farm is more scaled down and trapping has low energy requirements. Do you think the stated energy output -- more than 10 miles of walking per day -- is the expected exercise level for this situation?


I think it's highly variable. Walking 10 miles a day isn't that much (unless you're stuck in an office all day), especially compared to wrestling with large livestock, using a horse plow to till your fields and chopping your own firewood. In winter, without central heat, your body is definitely doing to burn more calories. There also -- I'm guessing -- may be more energy expended by the body fighting off parasites and diseases and minor cases of food poisoning from the less-than-perfect food preservation methods available.

Your farm may be small, but if you have to walk/bike considerable distances for medication, supplies, etc. you could be adding some serious mileage. That said, I think if you have access to fish and game (and are skilled enough to be able to bring it home consistently when needed), that adds a lot of buffer. At least unless everyone else is also trying to hunt to get enough to eat!

I was under the impression that north Florida's native soil was really not that fertile. It certainly doesn't look like it is when I drive through there, at least not the panhandle, although it does get less scruby going eastward. If you aren't already growing there, you may want to run your yield figures past people in the area. So much of the work in biointensive gardening is done in Northern California. The soil is amazingly fertile and the growing conditions ideal for many things. The techniques and outcomes don't necessarily transfer intact.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Nicole Castle wrote: So much of the work in biointensive gardening is done in Northern California. The soil is amazingly fertile and the growing conditions ideal for many things. The techniques and outcomes don't necessarily transfer intact.


Thank you for pointing that out, I think it's very important to keep in mind.

 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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