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Food use?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 7
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I was wondering, as I am moving to a farm soon, how much space does it take to feed two people? This is assuming optimal designs for space and space efficient plants.
 
pollinator
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If you are a poor Irish or Polish peasant, and you live on a diet of potatoes and cabbage, not much space at all. Potatoes and cabbage can both yield a pound of food per square foot of garden. Five pounds of food per day times two people times 365 days and you are still under 4000 square feet.

That would be the bare minimum. Which is just about what was allowed by rich English landlords or the szlachta (the Polish nobility).
 
Alex Knight
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Thanks! I kinda figured as much, my girlfriend and I are quite simple and I'm polish so it's perfect
 
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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You may want to plan on other crops as well.

A lot will depend on your climate. Food grows wild in most of the tropics, but the farther you get from the equator, the more you will need to assist the plants, and the shorter your growing season will become. Preserving food while it is abundant can sustain you through the colder months.

And, how many pounds of potatoes does it take to make a pint of wodka? You may need more space for the spuds. lol

The Irish peasants had to factor Murphy's Law into the equation.
You may need to factor in Murphinski's Law.

 
pollinator
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Alex, if you're planning on growing all your own food in a 63'x63' garden, I assume you are already a master gardener with exceptional skills living in a mild climate and willing to forego grains.

I've been homestead farming for a number of years in Hawaii, growing (or using what I produce for trading) a bit more than 90% of the food for hubby and I. The wastage goes to feed the dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens. I simply can not do that with a 63'x63' garden unless I was willing to severely curtail the variety in our diet. In an ideal world, it could be done. But nasty things like crop failure, poor weather, drought, pests, diseases mess up well laid plans.

I'm at the point where we could rely 100% on the homestead if we had to, but we enjoy including in our diet certain things we can't grow (or grow poorly here, or require special processing) - apples, grapes, peaches, pears, cherries, plums, dates, spices, assorted nuts, chocolate, vanilla, and certain grains.

I have about 100'x200' in mixed veggies and herbs. Not all of the garden is always in production because there are times that the soil needs to be renurished with manures and composts or needs to be biologically treated to reduce nematodes. So there is slight downtime between crops. My grain production is not included in this plot. I'm just now experimenting growing assorted grains, so I don't know how much square footage I need to allot to that. Plus my fruit trees are not included in that 100'x200' area either.

If I wanted to include the square footage dedicated to the chickens and rabbits and factor in the fruits and some grains, then I'd have to say about an acre is needed, realistically speaking.

Thinking about it, I guess it comes down to what you plan to eat. If you're vegan, then the task will be easier. But adding any livestock increases the square footage need. Adding tree or bush fruit increase it too. Adding any crop that only gives you one harvest a year increase the need. The same for any crop that has low yield per square foot, such as winter squash and pumpkins.
 
Alex Knight
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That's very true, my diet for the last year has slowly edged more and more to what I can grow here and what is easiest to store. The farm I'm moving to is a little under twenty acres so space isn't really a problem, I was simply wondering what people considered a bare minimum. I grew up on a similar size farm and every ounce of food we had came from it or our neighbors( yuppies that move into old orchards make great, cheap sources of fruit).
 
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