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Staples

 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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I know that there are topics on staple crops, but I want to know what people are growing personally and where they are from. I would like any to hear any relevant experiences in this area. By staples I am referring to calorie dense food high in either fats, proteins, or starches.


I planted Sunchokes this year. And I am planning on starting honey mesquite from seed this next year. I also have Job's tears seeds.
I tried corn last year but failed miserably. I have yet to try potatoes.

I do have white oak growing on my property, but they do not produce every year.

So, what are you growing?
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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When I homesteaded in Georgia, I found that sweet potatoes quickly rose to the top of contenders for reliable easy starch production. They grow easy, store well, are extremely nutritious, and you can even eat the greens! Here in CA my first batch got off to a late start so I didn't get very many, and the gophers are a problem so I'm in process of making three large gopher-proof raised beds for white and sweet potatoes and carrots.... Growing up in MI, I grew a lot of white potatoes. I think both white and sweet can grow OK here, provided I can deal with the gophers. I'm also growing quite a bit of corn (it likes plenty of water and fertility---there are some drought-adapted varieties from the SW like "Hopi Blue"), fava and tepary beans, and winter squash. Favas are great because they grow in the winter and spring when moisture is abndant, and teparies are another SW thing that can produce with only a few irrigations. The key to a staple crop is to find, by research first and then by trial, those things that grow easily for you and that you like to eat frequently, and then work up a reliable system to grow and process them.
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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I did plant some fava beans for this winter. I've never heard of tepary beans, i'll do some research on them.

I also want to plant sweet potatoes. Although, I ideally want to plant a little of everything that will grow here.
 
Paulo Bessa
pollinator
Posts: 352
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Here in Iceland I dont have much luck with staples. I grow potatoes. With some trouble and protection I can also grow beans and sunflowers for seeds (but its not that productive).

Next year I plan to try two wild native edibles, lyme grass (a native Icelandic cereal, eays to grow but difficult to harvest) and silverweed (apparently the tiny roots are rich in starch but are mostly a famine food). The best way here is really to grow grass and raise animals, and raise enough forage to store for the long wintertime.

Indoors its a different story -but I only grow in the 4-5 months where there is enough sunlight (during the polar night, even artificial lights are not enough - plant simply stop growing or grow very slowly). Indoors, during summer, I can grow amaranth, sweet potatoes, sesame seeds and beans. I also have small seedlings of mesquite, honey locust, chinese yam, groundnuts, siberian pea, arrowhead, skirret and scorzonera, to try to grow outdoors next summer.
 
Bob Dobbs
Posts: 145
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My staples are: irish potatoes in late spring/summer, veggies in summer, sweet potatoes, meat, and painted mountain & hickory king corn, and winter squash till the new potatoes come. Too hot to grow any real storage potatoes here.
 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 131
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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we grow sweet potatos, cowpeas, cannas, taro, and a variety of other things that the rabbits can eat, thereby making protein and fat from the tons of crap that can grow here.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Grains are not the way to go. Roots and Nut are better. At least for me.
Hazelnut, Sweet/Irish potatoes, winter/summer squash, yam, Jelly Palm.
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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S Bengi wrote:Grains are not the way to go. Roots and Nut are better. At least for me.
Hazelnut, Sweet/Irish potatoes, winter/summer squash, yam, Jelly Palm.


How do you utilize your jelly palm? I planted one this year, but its very young, so I don't expect any yield from it anytime soon.

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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At the moment I grow

Wheat
Dry Indian corn
Potatoes
Winter squash/pumpkin
Sesame
Barley
Dry beans
Dry fava
Chickpeas

Planted and soon to harvest are
Hazelnuts
Chestnuts
Pecan
Walnut


Adding sweet potato and more this next season
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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here are a few nuts that are adopted to your climate.
http://www.burntridgenursery.com/nutTrees/index.asp?dept=3

Here are a some fruits alot of them will store well outside of the fridge for a few months after harvest (medlar/persimmons/apple/etc).
http://www.onegreenworld.com//index.php?cPath=1

Here are a few vegetables that are also good.
http://perennialvegetables.org/perennial-vegetables-for-each-climate-type/cool-maritime/

Jelly palm are addictively sweet and tart when fresh, famous in jellies and as wines everywhere they're grown.
They'd make delicious sorbet, exceptional tarts, and I expect they'd be better than peaches for making peach cobbler.
Dry them like dates or stuff them in a bird, pickle them, make a fine summer relish.

 
osker brown
Posts: 146
Location: Southern Appalachia
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It's true that Oaks won't produce every year, but nothing will.

We are in southern appalachia, zone 6bish, and we process a lot of acorns, mostly from Eastern White Oak, also from Chestnut Oak. We also work with black walnut and hickories.

If you've got the oaks it makes sense to me to learn how to utilize them. High mast years you could have a lot of food.

peace
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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I would like to be able to make good use of the acorns. Even the live oaks didn't produce very many acorns this past year.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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for your own use...plant what you eat that will grow in your area..of course if you are in Michigan you don't plant bananas..but plant what is on your shopping list that can grow in your area.

if you are looking commercial then you'll go a different direction but first I'd plant what I need to buy
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Brenda Groth wrote:for your own use...plant what you eat that will grow in your area..of course if you are in Michigan you don't plant bananas..but plant what is on your shopping list that can grow in your area.

if you are looking commercial then you'll go a different direction but first I'd plant what I need to buy


That's good advice. Although, I like everything. There's not a single fruit or vegetable that I have tried that I don't like.
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 573
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Steve Flanagan wrote:There's not a single fruit or vegetable that I have tried that I don't like.


Try parsnips then. Ugh.
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Todd Parr wrote:
Steve Flanagan wrote:There's not a single fruit or vegetable that I have tried that I don't like.


Try parsnips then. Ugh.


LOL. A friend of mine said the same thing. I actually have yet to try parsnips, I planted some though.
 
Matt Jones
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Here in AZ what's worked for us are sweet potatoes, sunflowers, and okra. Going to try cucumbers and potatoes next season. Want to try Jerusalem artichokes.
 
Allan Babb
Posts: 63
Location: Greater New Orleans, LA, USA
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Steve Flanagan wrote:I know that there are topics on staple crops, but I want to know what people are growing personally and where they are from. I would like any to hear any relevant experiences in this area. By staples I am referring to calorie dense food high in either fats, proteins, or starches.


Sweet potatoes during the long summer in southeast Louisiana, then the single batch of yukon golds just after spring. As others have said, sweet potatoes are so easy and grow so well that I'd be silly not to let them take over my yard. I've started growing goumi, but it will be a few years before I see a harvest(essential fatty acids). For protein, I have chicken eggs. Someday I'll start growing things properly to provide food year round, but it won't be this year!
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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I am interested in growing sweet potatoes. I wonder if I can plant some tubers now?
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1331
Location: northern California
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(About planting sweet potatoes) Plant the tubers in a pot inside or in a coldframe or some such in early spring. They need warmth. As the sprouts grow up you break them off....most will have roots coming out of the stems, and you plant these out in the garden. Leave the tubers in place and they will sprout a second and even a third set of sprouts.... You can also keep the plants as growing plants, in a pot inside. To multiply them clip them up into 2-3 node sections and root as cuttings. This method hinders the spread of certain diseases on the roots. Here in CA I seem to have a bad problem with damping off on cuttings and seedlings in pots....moreso than GA, surprisingly. I may have to pour boiling water in the coldframe or some such drastic step next time.....
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Alder, thank you for your reply.
Jordan, what kind of yields do you get from sesame?
 
Allan Babb
Posts: 63
Location: Greater New Orleans, LA, USA
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Alder Burns wrote:(About planting sweet potatoes) Plant the tubers in a pot inside or in a coldframe or some such in early spring. They need warmth. As the sprouts grow up you break them off....most will have roots coming out of the stems, and you plant these out in the garden. Leave the tubers in place and they will sprout a second and even a third set of sprouts.... You can also keep the plants as growing plants, in a pot inside. To multiply them clip them up into 2-3 node sections and root as cuttings. This method hinders the spread of certain diseases on the roots. Here in CA I seem to have a bad problem with damping off on cuttings and seedlings in pots....moreso than GA, surprisingly. I may have to pour boiling water in the coldframe or some such drastic step next time.....


Normally I'd just +1 this, but rooting the slips(cuttings from the vine) is really the best thing to do.
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Do sweet potato cuts root easily?
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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When the sweet potato plant/vine is running on the ground it "roots" every 12 inches, (these roots later turn big edible s. potatoes) all you have to do is cut at least 18 inches and it will already have roots.
http://www.fao.org/WAIRdocs/x5425e/x5425e0d.htm#easy to grow
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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S Bengi wrote:When the sweet potato plant/vine is running on the ground it "roots" every 12 inches, (these roots later turn big edible s. potatoes) all you have to do is cut at least 18 inches and it will already have roots.
http://www.fao.org/WAIRdocs/x5425e/x5425e0d.htm#easy to grow


That makes sense.
 
dj niels
Posts: 181
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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In my first year at my new garden, the corn I planted in small dug out spots with compost in the holes, never got more than a foot tall. Last year, my second year, we dug out larger beds, filled with compost and mulch, and I did get some corn to grow and produce some ears. I hope to increase my planting area this year, using a 3-sisters+ polyculture with squash, beans, and other crops, and see how they do.

My main staple crop, though, was potatoes, also in beds we dug out and filled with compost and mulch. I also grow sunchokes. They make a great survival food for early spring or late fall when the rest of the garden is dormant.' I also grew winter squash that did quite well. I was able to grow lots of green beans, but haven't tried dried beans--they take a longer season to mature. I also grew a nice crop of carrots. I grew parsnips too, for the first time. They are not my favorite veggie to eat plain, but added a nice flavor to soups I made of a mixture of different root crops.

As far as staple calorie or protein dense foods go, actually green leafy veggies like kale, chard, dandelion, filaree, and other 'weeds', etc, are very high in nutrients. (Where do you think cows, horses, and other large mammals get their protein, if not from green leaves?). It is hard to eat enough greens to be a significant part of the diet, calorie wise, but the nutritional value contributes greatly to health. My favorite way to use greens is to blend them with fruit into a green smoothy.
 
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