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(Thanks for the rapid reaction of the stewards team!)

So I can remember to write the news about my buckweat: they are already flowering, though they are less than one foot tall!
Sure they will not shade my other green manure!
 
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Hi Artemesia,

Can you let me know about the name for your varieties of squash, hazelnuts and grapes?

Please do not say that Iceland is similar to the midwest climate In fact, our summer is much shorter and colder than yours (but our winter is identical to yours). Frost-free season is only mid June to early August. Soil becomes frozen by mid September, and thaws in early June. The summer is rarely above 60ºF (16ºC). Believe me, gardening here is way complicate!

So far, I can grow beans in sheltered spots and squash. And all carrot family, salads and brassicas. I have tried pumpkin, tomatoes and peppers but basically they do not crop anything. Even the fava and the rye did not crop this summer, as the winter kicked too early by early September (and frosts in August). But during the short season I come with tricks to warm the soil as much as possible. Next year I will start the fava and the rye indoors and then transplant outdoors in April/May, even if the soil is still frozen by then.

Anyone suggesting cold climate varieties of squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, rye, oats is welcomed !



Artemesia Bloom wrote:Rose hips are rich in vitamin C. Just be sure to remove all the inner hairs.

Fava would probably work well in Iceland. I have seen it work well high in the Andes mountains.

In Iceland you could grow flax very well also.

Iceland is close to my own upper midwest climate.
You may have to use F1 hybrids for squash.
Most of the zone 5 American grapes should work fine.
Sea Berry should work.
And the Hazelburt should still work.

 
Paulo Bessa
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:(Thanks for the rapid reaction of the stewards team!)

So I can remember to write the news about my buckweat: they are already flowering, though they are less than one foot tall!
Sure they will not shade my other green manure!



Oh Xisca, so nice to hear about your success!

How lovely is the climate of the Canary Islands Here, the soil has been already frozen (like a rock) for one month and a half.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Mike H wrote:
Perennial varieties of wheat, rye and buckwheat might be better alternatives that annual varieties. The wheat and the rye have a substantial amount of green growth. Whether it can be scythed without compromising the following year's yield would need to be explored.

Hmmm. That's a huge quantity for .5 acres even if you are growing 365 days/year. If I convert 100 m2 cereals to acres, I get 100 x 100= 10,000 square metres which is 2 acres. Can you check your numbers or did I miss something which is likely? Do you really mean .5 acres? Here's some info on grain math - http://www.smallgrains.org/springwh/June02/math/math.htm that might be helpful.

Forest gardens allow you to layer plants but not so with potatoes, wheat, oats, etc. which as Martin Crawford says in Creating a Forest Garden, "you need to either allow for a sunny clearing within the forest garden, or grow them elsewhere.



Hey great comment Mike.
It's lovely to see that you guys are still keeping this thread alive!

Mike, my calculation for yearly needs of cereals (mostly wheat, rye, oats, corn) is up to 200m2 (just to be in the confortable side). This means 200 square meters - a square 14m x 14m.

Or a square 46 feet per 46 feet, roughly 1 fifth (1/5th) of a acre: 0.2 acre.

This has been solely a theoretical calculation. Do you think that my value is somewhat accurate? Of course, growing more than necessary ensures more safety, in case of pests, crop failure, erratic weather...

Where can you buy perennial varieties of wheat, rye or buckwheat. Have been looking for these and haven't found them!





 
Xisca Nicolas
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Well, extra food can be food for chicks!
I do cereals only because I want to have hens here...

Paulo Bessa wrote:Oh Xisca, so nice to hear about your success!

How lovely is the climate of the Canary Islands Here, the soil has been already frozen (like a rock) for one month and a half.



jajaja very lovely today! I am there on the web waiting for the tempest to stop!
Hope trees resist all... Strong wind.
But so glad the drought is gone!

Lovely yes, 20°C/70°F.... that is why we have southern wind now.

My buckwheat is not a success, it flowers too soon...

frozen like a rock... Well I know very well about rocks!
But sure you have a climate that is not a gardener's delight...
 
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Well, after doing some experimentation I take back what I said about potatoes, more or less . Also, after looking up some info on diet and health I can no longer recommend wheat or other glutinous grain as a dietary staple.

I was honestly surprised at how many uses I was able to find (even just thus far) for cooking with potatoes from scratch, but unless you've got cows or some other source of frying fat you'll be buying those things. I haven't gotten sick of them yet, but I can't say I eat them absolutely every day, either, and I certainly wouldn't eat them 3x a day.

Another thing, as far as grains go, rice is definitely healthiest. I've heard of some rice cultivars that can be grown as far north as Alaska, although I don't know where to get such a thing. In the US you can also grow "wild rice", but that species is entirely aquatic. Corn is also good if you don't want an extremely monotonous diet, but you have to make it into hominy flour in order for it to be healthy.

Overall I think it's more useful to look at the diets of people who live entirely off of local traditional food than it is to try to build an entire diet mechanically.
 
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I don't think there's anyone living in my locale who lives off local foods, probably hasn't been for several decades or maybe a century. If those people exist, I wouldn't know where to find them! So I have to figure my diet out from scratch or scant information about the folks who used to live here but who are now extinct....

 
Marc Troyka
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Tyler Ludens wrote:I don't think there's anyone living in my locale who lives off local foods, probably hasn't been for several decades or maybe a century. If those people exist, I wouldn't know where to find them! So I have to figure my diet out from scratch or scant information about the folks who used to live here but who are now extinct....



Ah well the diet of the natives you're thinking of was centered around Bison more likely than not. In your case I'd be looking more to the south to see what some of the rural mexicans are eating. I'm pretty sure corn, beans, rice (all fried) and goat's milk are high on the list. Costa Ricans eat a similar diet, and they're surprisingly healthier than Americans are, even though they supposedly have no regulations or limitations on pesticide/herbicide use.

You could also emulate the Mediterraneans, whose dry climate contains plenty of plants you could probably grow. When I say 'local' I mean local to the people who eat it, and secondly who live in a similar, though not necessarily identical climate to you. What the people who lived on the particular plot of dirt you're sitting on ate is pretty irrelevant today, although it certainly doesn't hurt to use whatever native stuff work well for you.
 
Tyler Ludens
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M Troyka wrote: In your case I'd be looking more to the south to see what some of the rural mexicans are eating. I'm pretty sure corn, beans, rice (all fried) and goat's milk are high on the list.



I'm looking to avoid emulating an agricultural diet. The Mediterraneans have also been agriculturists for millenia.


I found this helpful: “Renewing the Native Food Traditions of Bison Nation,” (PDF) but don't know how to make a link to this PDF
 
Marc Troyka
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Tyler Ludens wrote:
I'm looking to avoid emulating an agricultural diet. The Mediterraneans have also been agriculturists for millenia.



Not sure exactly what you mean by that. If you plant seeds on purpose you're more or less practicing agriculture. People who don't practice agriculture, or benefit from those who do, are called "hunter gatherers", and I don't think you have enough animals to hunt nor enough space to gather to actually maintain your health on such a diet.

Out of the 4 areas on earth with the highest rates of centenarians and the lowest rates of middle-aged mortality, 100% of them subsist on some variation of an "agricultural diet", and half of those are in the mediterranean, although there is obviously some variation in what they eat.
 
Paulo Bessa
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M Troyka wrote:
Out of the 4 areas on earth with the highest rates of centenarians and the lowest rates of middle-aged mortality, 100% of them subsist on some variation of an "agricultural diet", and half of those are in the mediterranean, although there is obviously some variation in what they eat.



What are those 4 regions?

As I was born in Portugal, I can share what was (and still is to a degree) the tradicional self-sufficient Mediterranean diet.

It is very varied, mostly based in bread vegetables (mostly stews or stir fry) and grains or roots. We eat a lot of pulses (not only beans but also peas and chick peas). We eat a lot of turnips, brassicas and potatoes, peppers and tomatoes. Our diet is also heavy in fish (and different types, codfish, sardines, trout, octopus, etc), and includes also meat and seafood. Also plenty of milk and many types of cheese. Very little processed food, and "modern" food like cookies or breakfast cereals. Pastry is tradicional. Also nuts, and eggs are used abundantly. We rarely fry in other oils other than olive oil, and actually we only mostly stir fry and add water later to the cooking process. We cook mostly starting from a base of olive oil, herbs and onion/garlic, and often with tomatoes and other vegetables added later. We do bread based in different grains (also rye, corn) and we eat a lot of olives. Compared to other regions, we only use butter for bread. And we drink small portions of red wine often with meals (but other beverages other than water were rare). The diet is somewhat high in salt, not in the cooking itself, but used in preservation of certain types of food. We do not use syrups or sugar in cooking.

Many of my grandmother time people were truly self-sufficient, living off the land. Almost every one had plenty fruit trees, nuts, vegetable garden, corn, beans and potatoes, and chicken for eggs and meat.
 
Marc Troyka
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Paulo Bessa wrote:
What are those 4 regions?



Ikaria, an island south of Greece
The northern half of Sardinia, an island south of Italy
Okinawa, Japan
and
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Their lifestyles (low stress, supportive environment, social, self-sufficient) probably had more to do with it than what they ate, although there are some notable characteristics about their diets.
You can read about their lifestyle similarities here. You can read more about the diets of those regions here under "Foods Consumed by the Healthiest People".

Also, data from the China Study (but not the book by the same name) is revealing some things about diet and disease that contradict a whole lot of what western doctors and the USDA have been promoting as healthy.
 
                              
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Paulo

I used to live in South Dakota, and your right. It was never that bad.
Fortunately I live a little further south now.

Back then I concentrated on cold tolerant varieties even more:
Peas - Mr. Big, Freezonian, Ice Breaker

F1 Early Butternut - I planted indoors and then moved to heated cold frame for 2 months.
Used 7 or 10 gallon pots. They are full of roots by transplant.
Top does not grow much at first since most energy spent on growing roots.

Turnip:
Seven Top (Brassica septiceps) - for greens only,
root is small and cold hardy.
F1 Topper, F1 All Top

I strongly recommend flax also. Ultra early crop.

The key is to plant all these cold tolerant varieties as soon as your local agency says to.
I have even gone out and hacked through ice to plant flax, turnip, and peas on time.
These plants are tougher than one might think.

I used to be limited to these grapes:
Beta
Marquette
Trollhaugen
Louise Swenson
Bluebell
You might also try something new: Skujinsh from Moscow

Apples:
Liberty
Freedom

Cherry:
Evans / Bali / Eubank
Surefire

Hazelbert from - I do not remember which variety I got back then:
St. Lawrence Nurseries
or
Badgersett Nursery
or
One Green World
 
Xisca Nicolas
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M Troyka wrote:If you plant seeds on purpose you're more or less practicing agriculture.


Not necessarily... It can be something called I think "horticulture".
Agriculture is more about grains and big fields.

People who don't practice agriculture, or benefit from those who do, are called "hunter gatherers", and I don't think you have enough animals to hunt nor enough space to gather to actually maintain your health on such a diet.



No... There is an intermediate stage that is not taken into account.
Read "tending the wild" for california example.

So, there is a way to influence nature and its yields without doing real agriculture.

By the way, about diet and staple food, I am off carb for a while now, and it works perfectly...
So I will not need grain fields as staple food.
Now I focus on green leaves and nuts, and an all year round fruit supply, and roots other than potatoes, all the non starchy roots.
My main concern is to produce fats.
I will need grains for hens!
 
Marc Troyka
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From wikipedia:

Agriculture, also called farming or husbandry, is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, biofuel and other products used to sustain life.[1] Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. Agriculture generally speaking refers to human activities, although it is also observed in certain species of ant and termite.[2][3] The word agriculture is the English adaptation of Latin agricultūra, from ager, "a field",[4] and cultūra, "cultivation" in the strict sense of "tillage of the soil".[5] Thus, a literal reading of the word yields "tillage of fields".


The word horticulture is modeled after agriculture, and comes from the Latin hortus "garden"[2] and cultūra "cultivation", from cultus, the perfect passive participle of the verb colō "I cultivate".[3] Hortus is cognate with the native English word yard (in the meaning of land associated with a building) and also the borrowed word garden.


Horticulture is the science, technology and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use. It is practiced from the individual level in a garden up to the activities of a multinational corporation. It is very diverse in its activities, incorporating plants for food (fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, culinary herbs) and non-food crops (flowers, trees and shrubs, turf-grass, hops, grapes, medicinal herbs). It also includes related services in plant conservation, landscape restoration, landscape and garden design/construction/maintenance, horticultural therapy, and much more. This range of food, medicinal, environmental, and social products and services are all fundamental to developing and maintaining human health and well-being.



The word "horticulture" does not imply 'not digging' any more than "agriculture" does, and neither has any connotation that implies tending of wilderness or anything similar. The main difference is that horticulure, implying "yard" means small scale stuff grown next to a house or other building, and generally does not include animals, whereas agriculture implies a large area (field, forest, etc) which is managed in a dedicated way for producing food, which may include animals. In most cases permaculture is more like agriculture, but it can also be done as horticulture. Neither agriculture nor horticulture particularly imply permaculture in any case.

If you happen to have some wilderness in its natural state near you, it's possible that you could practice "wildcrafting", which does involve foraging and making small adjustments to encourage the things you harvest (ie planting seeds from fruit you take, sprinkling spores around from mushrooms, etc), or "forestry", which can refer to anything done to manage a forest without tearing it down completely. Add "hunting" to any of those and now you're "hunting and gathering" or at least "hunting and foresting". I think the idea that we could produce enough food to meet our total nutritional needs via hunting and gathering is absurd; in the majority of places there just isn't enough land, or enough wildlife to feed us at anywhere near our current population density. The fact that all successful human societies today practice agriculture is no coincidence. The fact that we can produce as much food as we need when and wherever we need it is what gave us the advantage over every other animal species on earth.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:By the way, about diet and staple food, I am off carb for a while now, and it works perfectly...
So I will not need grain fields as staple food.
Now I focus on green leaves and nuts, and an all year round fruit supply, and roots other than potatoes, all the non starchy roots.
My main concern is to produce fats.
I will need grains for hens!



Yes, humans can live and even be healthy on a diet that ranges from purely carnivorous to nearly (but not completely) vegetarian. The sorts of diets you're able to tolerate depend to some extent on your genetics, as different groups of people around the world have adapted to different diets over the last 10,000 years and developed some physiological peculiarities around them.

That said, grain is not chicken food. Flax and chia are good for supplementing chickens' diets with omega-3s, but most grains are junk food for chickens. Chickens eat greens, nuts, berries, bugs, small animals and maybe a little grain on top of that. Neither humans nor any farm animals are truly adapted to eating grain or beans, and most grain and beans (and some greens, too) contain toxic anti-nutrients to discourage us from eating them. One of the main reasons that modern farmed meat is unhealthy is because we force feed them grains.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Artemisia:

Thanks so much for your varieties.
I will try these, over the next few years.

I wish it would work with the pumpkins and even the grapes. But the summer is really cold for anything to rippen. So far I have only luck with berries and squash. Not even grain. PS: its -7°C here and really tropical storm-force winds. Such a nasty weather.

We planted many varieties of apples and cherries from Finland a ciouple weeks ago, just before the freezing set.

I believe in anything perennial here. Because if its a perennial crop, it already has established roots and can grow much faster than annuals, in our cold summer. Well, this is what native species do here. There are really just a few annual natives.

I have even gone out and hacked through ice to plant flax, turnip, and peas on time.



Did you planted them by seed or by transplant? I tried planting peas in a frozen soil in May but did not work. Slugs eat them. Only a few came. But transplants work well. If I have a thaw spell in March or April, I will try this next year. But the trouble is that we still have hard freezes by early May, and frost until mid June. But peas, flax, brassicas can def survived that!

Xisca and Troika:

Definitively we are belonging to different genetic group adapted to different climatic and food conditions.

I envy that you can do without carbs and grains, Xisca. I would like to be like that Perhaps you rely in meat for fat. Well, my body doesn´t want to eat that. I have no pleasure in eating meat but fish is totally fine, but I only feel confortable eating fish once every few days. Blame on my belly and tongue. They are too picky. I have one interesting fact for you to think about: why does my body, doesn´t matter how much fat or calories I eat, never gets fat. I must have genetics far away for nordic caucasian people. Am I happy with it? No, because I currently live in Iceland and I need fat.

Where were you born, or to which ethnic group?

I am a latin/hispanic, and I seem to be emulating the diet I have been raised in, except for the meat. I can´t really live with zero grain or pulses. Somehow I replace with pulses whenever I do not eat fish or eggs. And I eat small portions of grains, just to have enough energy for the day. It might be that our bodies take a long time to adapt to a new diet, over generations or at least years. Anyways, I am happy that each person finds their own way.

I experimented before with other diets only to fail: full vegetarian, vegan, meat-based. Both the fish or eggs, carbs, and nuts seem to be important for my body. Well, this is my body, but I know Arctic people do eat mostly meat to provide their energy.

My most fat here comes from fish and eggs and milk. This food is not so much expensive here. Also sesame seeds, sesame oil, olives, olive oil, chia, sunflower seeds and ocasionally nuts, pecan nuts, etc. But these are very expensive here (they are imported) and also if I eat too much nuts I have trouble doing the toilet affairs (lol). But I am generous applying raw oils and seeds, to my cooked food. Still, I avoid wheat, and refined grain, and I mostly diversify my grain, mostly rice, and some amaranth, corn, millet and ocasionally the others. Its my best effort towards it. I know how sensitive these topics seem to be for each person.

 
Xisca Nicolas
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I have read at least 2 topics in the forum, talking about tending the wild, so better not to repeat here, and the "official" definitions will not tell anything useful, because the right word does not exist, because even anthropologists now begin to understand that everybody was wrong about "hunters gatherers"!!

So what I said is not about words definition but about our ideas about the dichotomy between 1) just harvesting without human intervention in the growth 2) exploiting nature and land.

Let's say that these hunters gatherers were practising agriculture, but in a way that made the scenery look wild and untended. It could be the sort of agro-forestry that some people now call permaculture... That is why I think you hesitated how to understand Tyler:

M Troyka wrote:

Tyler Ludens wrote:
I'm looking to avoid emulating an agricultural diet. The Mediterraneans have also been agriculturists for millenia.



Not sure exactly what you mean by that. If you plant seeds on purpose you're more or less practicing agriculture. People who don't practice agriculture, or benefit from those who do, are called "hunter gatherers", and I don't think you have enough animals to hunt nor enough space to gather to actually maintain your health on such a diet.



You can plant on purpose without it looking like a regular field.
Hunter gatherers were actually practising agriculture...
 
Xisca Nicolas
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M Troyka wrote:I think the idea that we could produce enough food to meet our total nutritional needs via hunting and gathering is absurd; in the majority of places there just isn't enough land, or enough wildlife to feed us at anywhere near our current population density. The fact that all successful human societies today practice agriculture is no coincidence. The fact that we can produce as much food as we need when and wherever we need it is what gave us the advantage over every other animal species on earth.



If you speak of the success of the population concentration... yes it is a kind of success!
I think permaculture is about not finding this very successful for a permanent and sustainable society!

Agriculture as we know it increased the number of people that could live from the land, yes.
More than coincidence, now we are forced to go on with grain yields, unless we regulate our birth rates better.
I have spoken about it in an other post also, because I think there is a taboo about it,
and i think that this topic is part of living sustainably, so part of permaculture, and that it should be spoken about.

So, this "success" used to be a consequence of "grain agriculture", and now it is a cause.

Producing food for more people is the reason why it is difficult to stop modern agriculture.
Even pesticide uses and GMO is said to be "for producing as much food as we need".
What ever one does, how ever one does it, the justification is always "feed everybody".
This also the argument of vegetarians.

When you look at the wild aspect of guilds in permaculture, when you look at Sepp system, self seeding annuals and perennials,
I think the aim is to have less work after a while, and gathering is the main job we want to do!
This is not absurd, though it is in very populated areas.
Most people with a permaculture projects move to less populated places.
100% staple will depend on the surface that is available.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Paulo Bessa wrote:Xisca and Troika:

Definitively we are belonging to different genetic group adapted to different climatic and food conditions.

I envy that you can do without carbs and grains, Xisca. I would like to be like that Perhaps you rely in meat for fat. Well, my body doesn´t want to eat that. I have no pleasure in eating meat but fish is totally fine, but I only feel confortable eating fish once every few days. Blame on my belly and tongue. They are too picky. I have one interesting fact for you to think about: why does my body, doesn´t matter how much fat or calories I eat, never gets fat. I must have genetics far away for nordic caucasian people. Am I happy with it? No, because I currently live in Iceland and I need fat.

Where were you born, or to which ethnic group? I am a latin/hispanic.



So, if staple food depends on the available surface, it also depends on what one can eat! I am also interested in these topics, in the appropriate forum and will try try to respect the title here.

First, do not envy me, as I have health issues about food. I am not a latin but a caucasian with green eyes and white skin. I was born in France.
Let's be careful with genetics! It is usually used as an argument when no other reason can be found!
I know I have a problem with an early accidental cause, because I know it.
When gut is damaged, then it needs to be repaired (some people fast for this reason), and then it becomes possible to eat food that could not be eaten before.

I too cannot put on weight whatever i eat. I have again ordered deworming plants, as I found it useful 3 years ago, so it is time to do it again, and I advise to think about it regularly.
I have been almost vegetarian last year, but it is impossible for me more than a few months, because of my belly. I am better with no gluten, better with no carbs, but still not satisfied with my health, and keep inquiring.

I am ok with a lot a vegetable fat, almonds, chia, coconut (that I cannot produce...), but I do use fat meat and bone soups.
I am 100% self-sufficient with avocados!
i want to plant olive trees.
I get sugar from bananas, that I can produce, and all other fruits.
Then I am into juicing, so I need to produce a lot of greens and roots.

Then, greens and carrots can be considered as staple food! Raw food can change a lot of things. Grains and pulses can rarely be eaten raw. Well, sprouting can change it all.
 
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M Troyka wrote:That said, grain is not chicken food. Flax and chia are good for supplementing chickens' diets with omega-3s, but most grains are junk food for chickens. Chickens eat greens, nuts, berries, bugs, small animals and maybe a little grain on top of that. Neither humans nor any farm animals are truly adapted to eating grain or beans, and most grain and beans (and some greens, too) contain toxic anti-nutrients to discourage us from eating them. One of the main reasons that modern farmed meat is unhealthy is because we force feed them grains.



I totally agree for cows and other animals made to eat herb.
i agree for anti-nutrients in grains, and so in the right preparation = sprouting or fermenting, to remove the anti-nutrients.
Then grain and pulses can be staples.

I do not agree for chickens.
They have a gizzard.
Well, if you mean that they are over-fed with grains now, yes I agree with you.

They are very omnivorous, and it is a pity to see it written it big letters on the supermarket packets "100% veggy fed".
Like other birds, and even more than birds who fly better, hens are scratching.
they are looking for everything, including seeds, and including "grass seeds", from wild grass.
What is grass, what is lawn?
grains, cereals... The poaceae family...
 
Paulo Bessa
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Actually I must say, I am more motivated by the idea of self-sufficienty than a perfect diet. I guess I am a lazy bastard that doesn't want to make that extra effort to change my diet

And then I live in the worst country to reach self-sufficiency considering my own diet: such a shame of mine...

Its very fair to match both our diet needs and climate to our permaculture efforts. You are basically totally correctly in what you stated in this and the other threads.

I am glad to be discussing both topics: self-sufficiency and improving our health. By the way, are you also into natural ways of healing?





 
Xisca Nicolas
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I also changed my diet here, I had to learn to like papaya!
And I would eat the rotten fish in the pacific islands!
But I failed in finding a place with coconuts...

Yes I do include self sufficiency about health.
Food is supposed to be our first medicine, but not the only one!
I prefer to have self-sufficiency WITH the neighbors, as I live in an island, with different climates.
 
                              
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Now that you have explained a little more how harsh your environment is I would like to refine my recommendations.

I would recommend Russian or Siberian types (Brassica napus) of kale along with the other types.
Actually, Siberian is not a true kale, but actually a rape, and astoundingly cold hardy.

Marquette grapes are the most cold hardy grape of the bunch.
The others you may want to plant at an angle so you can lay them down and bury them every winter.
Beta is highly recommended since it is unbelievably high in resveratrol.

For cherry, the Evans / Bali / Eubank has a good chance of being productive.
They others may be less consistent.
A better idea is the American Wild Plum (Prunus americana) which is super cold hardy.

You might want to plant both Hazelnut and Hazelbert.
Hazelnut is more cold hardy.
Gives you a better chance of nuts in bad years.

Sea berry (Hippophae rhamnoides) and Rose hips (Rosa canina L.) are definate winners in super cold climates.

Since it is so hard to grow legumes, try the perennial Siberian Pea Shrub (Caragana arborescens).

Elderberry is also super cold hardy.

I do not normally recommend this because it is often more trouble than it is worth,
but row covers may be worthwhile to extend the season for you.

 
Marc Troyka
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Well, self-sufficiency or community self-sufficiency is at least a minimum, but it's definitely possible to grow enough food for yourself and still have a surplus to sell.

Fukuoka grew enough to feed himself, his students, and still had enough to sell that he made a profit even when selling below market price. sepp holzer grows enough to feed himself, his family, all of the students that come through his farm, and he still makes $100,000++ per year just from the surplus off his farm.

The advantage of agriculture is that it frees up people who can do more than just grow food. It would suck if everyone had to do all their own carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, doctoring and so forth. If everyone did that (or had to) we'd quickly end up back in the dark ages or worse. That doesn't mean we have to feed everyone; chances are eventually there will be people starving in the streets from their own stupid irresponsibility, and if/when that happens I plan to be on the other side of a large wall. However I hope to have at least some neighbors who don't have to farm thanks to my own efforts.

Xisca Nicolas wrote:I do not agree for chickens.
They have a gizzard.
Well, if you mean that they are over-fed with grains now, yes I agree with you.



That's true, birds can deal with seeds better than most animals. As long as you plan to feed them (much) more than just grain over the winter then you should be good. I think at least chia should grow in your area, and if you can get pumpkins to grow pumpkin seeds are also an excellent chicken food. Non-omega-3 grains like wheat and oats should best be avoided, though.


Paulo Bessa wrote:I am glad to be discussing both topics: self-sufficiency and improving our health. By the way, are you also into natural ways of healing?



Sort of. There's a lot of things like Homeopathics that I see no value in, but on the other hand there's a large "natural" component to health which probably dwarfs what conventional medicine can achieve.

It's already well known that the modern western diet causes a lot of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and so on. Eliminating processed foods, processed sugar, polyunsaturated vegetable oils, wheat and beer/liquor would definitely go a long way towards reducing the need for medicine. Then you have William Albrecht and Weston Price who noted that variations in soil mineral content or even seasonal variations in the nutrient contents of foods could cause or prevent disease. Well mineralized soil and using inoculants to improve food nutrient densities could thus also go a long way towards improving health. There are also some plants that science is revealing as having health improving properties (dark wine, tea, milk thistle, and so on) and other non-plant foods like honey, but on the other hand there's also some like comfrey that have been found to contain carcinogens or like coltsfoot which used to be considered medicinal but is now known to be toxic. Knowing what is good and what is not (and in what amounts) is something that requires keeping up with.

Then on the other side of the coin you have lifestyle. It's well known that stress impairs the immune system and causes diseases all by itself (high blood pressure, ulcers). Living in a competitive, hostile, shallow/meaningless society that schedules itself to death (most often it's someone else's schedule that you work to death on) definitely contributes to lower health and an early death. All 4 major longevity zones had friendly, supportive, laid back communities and in all of them people either wake and sleep by the sun or at least naturally rather than by alarm clock. They also unanimously found meaning and purpose in their daily routines, be it tending their gardens, running a business in town or whatever. I think the lifestyle/psychology side has an even greater effect than diet does, and as opposed to diet there are many cases where people have moved to a longevity zone or a similar community and had their cancer disappear. "Mind over matter" is probably an exaggeration, but "mind over body" is more true than we realize.

If you break a bone I'd say you need a doctor. If you come down with pneumonia you should probably see a doctor. Also, if you get infected by some horrible parasite a doctor is nice to have around. I don't think doctors will ever go away, and there are at least some cases where modern drugs are more effective than any natural remedy that I'm aware of, and eventually this may be true for cancer as well (although the improved drugs are based on plant antioxidants). We can definitely get to the point where doctors or drugs are rarely needed, though.
 
Paulo Bessa
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Artemesia Bloom wrote:Now that you have explained a little more how harsh your environment is I would like to refine my recommendations.



Hi, thanks so much for your tips Artemesia.

I am checking these varieties right now. I am already growing siberian pea, kales, seaberry (my plants are still 1 year old). All brassicas do very good here. But I am not sure if I can really grow hazelnuts or grapes. I think there is not enough warmth for them to crop.

Perhaps some types of cherries, apples and plums (the problem is that often they do not fruit, as flowers drop in early summer when freezes still occur)

It's not only our winter that is cold, what is especially difficult is the summer, it is short and cold. That is why I need varieties that can bloom as late as possible (to avoid sudden hard freezes), let's say not before late May, and ripen as short as possible in a short summer without warmth. After early August, the summer is gone. The climate is similar to Barrow in Alaska, Nunavut, Iqaluit. Maine, the midwest, Anchorage in Alaska and even Newfoundland have all warmer summers than us.

However we do have 3 months of permanent daylight, so things can grow very rapidly in the frost-free month of July.

Do you see any possibility for pumpkins that do not require much warmth to grow?

 
Paulo Bessa
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M Troyka wrote: I think at least chia should grow in your area,



I think I will try to grow chia, again, next year. This year I failed. It started well and vigorous in early May (always indoors because outdoors is way too cold summer). But the problem is that chia needs short days. By the time September and October came, the plants were stalled in growth and failed to flower. Perhaps I can sow them about 2 months before March time, but the trouble is that at our polar setting we have too much variation between a dark January and a 12 hour day by mid March. Perhapts it is impossible to grow chia where I am.

I don't think we can be self-sufficient where we are. I would so much wanted to be possible but it seems utterly impossible or impractical. Now I see that permaculture fails in Iceland. It's a survivalist country. You need to rely in the sea for fish, and import food. Let's be realistic, they always imported food in the history of this country (to support our scarse production). Otherwise you end up like the Vikings did in Greenland, they died in their settlements. But Permaculture can probably work almost anywhere else outside of the Arctic circle. The deserts is another area I find very challenging, but at least Permaculture is of great value in semi-desert climates like the one that Xisca lives.

 
                              
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Barrow Alaska is USDA zone 2. All of the fruits I recommended are zone 3. The only way you can make them work is with cheap greenhouses and trellacing. I would recommend frull size root stocks to withstand the extreme cold. The greenhouses would not need to be heated. But your right, it is really pushing it and may not be worthwhile. Anyone else in your area doing anything similar? Finding a nursery in your area that sells trees and vines that are known to work is your best option. Berries may be the only thing that will grow in such an extreme environment.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Not all cultivation of plants is agriculture. There are significant differences between horticulture and agriculture. From an anthropological perspective, hunter gatherers did not practice agriculture


I hope people will look at these, because they are important to communicating and not spending time debating about whether everyone who cultivates plants is practicing agriculture:

http://rewild.info/anthropik/2007/06/agriculture-or-permaculture-why-words-matter/index.html

Toby Hemenway - How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and the Earth, but Not Civilization http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nLKHYHmPbo
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Paulo Bessa wrote:

M Troyka wrote: I think at least chia should grow in your area,



I think I will try to grow chia, again, next year. This year I failed. It started well and vigorous in early May (always indoors because outdoors is way too cold summer). But the problem is that chia needs short days. By the time September and October came, the plants were stalled in growth and failed to flower. Perhaps I can sow them about 2 months before March time, but the trouble is that at our polar setting we have too much variation between a dark January and a 12 hour day by mid March. Perhapts it is impossible to grow chia where I am.



Sure, it is not possible! I think he meant in my area...
and it does not grow well in the Canary!
Flowers too late... short days...
But I will try the californian specy. Will also be good in Portugal!

(out topic, but yes M Troyka, homeopathy works incredibly, only when the substance and dilution are well chosen. I experienced it working in as short as a few hours...)
 
Paulo Bessa
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Artemesia Bloom wrote:Barrow Alaska is USDA zone 2. All of the fruits I recommended are zone 3. The only way you can make them work is with cheap greenhouses and trellacing. I would recommend frull size root stocks to withstand the extreme cold. The greenhouses would not need to be heated. But your right, it is really pushing it and may not be worthwhile. Anyone else in your area doing anything similar? Finding a nursery in your area that sells trees and vines that are known to work is your best option. Berries may be the only thing that will grow in such an extreme environment.



Hi Artemisia (and also to Xisca),

Actually I will share a bit of my history here. I live in an intentional community, and we have an organic philosophy (but the community does not have a permaculture philosophy - almost no members into permaculture, except the crazy me and my partner ). We have an organic nursery and it has grown trees for many years, but fruit trees it's in the early stages; actually we are trying growing some selected varieties of apple and cherries, as part of a governmental program. In the local nursery, I work there (although it's not my main job), and we grow some species with permaculture interest. At my home garden, I grow much more. I am trying to start many perennials and small seedlings of trees for future permaculture gardens. Everything very early stages.

In our region, no one else grows fruit trees outdoors here (only closer to the coast where late spring doesn't had the risk of hard freezes as we do here). It's actually pure tundra, and already near the inland glaciers. So growing such a trees as far inland in Iceland is our nice challenge

However I do want to take this a step further, and would dream of growing more types of fruits. Or at least experiment with them. Actually you can grow many plants (they survive the winter) but they do not thrive in the cold summer, i.e. they do not flower or crop.

My long term project is actually in Portugal, a few years in the future. We have a property we have been trying to introduce perennials in there, so that's a much easier project. But while I am in Iceland, with this community, I want create some permaculture project for them, its a lot of fun for me and also an interesting challenge (one certainly interesting to be shared in here).

Thanks for your advices and tips Artemesia!
 
Paulo Bessa
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Hello,

I am updating my thoughts on 100% food self-sufficiency, based in my experiments over the past 3 years.

Until 2014 I was in Iceland, then moved to Portugal in 2015, and to Austria in 2016.

First let´s talk about the common annual vegetables.
This year I harvested reasonable amounts of potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, sunchokes, chufas, barley, amaranth, millet, pumpkins and beans.
I harvested reasonable amounts for at least 2 months of food of each crop, in a field of around 30m2

I practiced a biointensive aspect of growing 60% of more of my garden as biomass/compost crops (e.g. grains, broad beans, corn), 30% of calorie-rich crops (like potatoes) and 10% of other/fresh vegetables (like salads, broccoli, squash, tomatoes or carrots).

* I concluded that the biomass crops are easy to grow and to store long-term, but their harvest is labour-intensive. Threshing grains is hardcore stuff. Best to stick to hulless varieties. Amaranth is relatively easy to harvest. Quinoa was highly productive but unfortanely the grain started sprouting in heavy rainfall in September. Millets (foxtail and japanese) were the easiest to grow but very difficult to thresh (but chicken love it). Corn is easy to harvest and highly productive, and I think about using it as polenta flour, as my staple. Beans are very productive in a short space and can be easily stored.

* Calorie-rich crops are the easiest to harvest and also to store. Potatoes and onions for example. I was surprised as how hich yielding sweet potatoes can also be, as well as giant atlantic pumpkins (one large pumpkin was enough to provide us with 100 meals, its disadvantage being that once the pumpkin is open, it has be used or frozen). As we had 8 large pumpkins, we have too much of it actually. Then I am experimenting with some perennial root crops, like mashua, oca, chufas, skirret, scorzonera, groundnuts and sunchokes. I expect surprises. Chufas for instance are quite productive in containers.

* Finally, with the last category of other vegetables, the problem is that they are only available at a limited period of the year. I guess the key here, besides inventing ways of storage and preservation, is to include perennial vegetables to have alternatives at other times of the year, like winter and spring. Some possibilities include asparagus, good king henry, indoors rocoto peppers, nettles and minutina, miner lettuce, perennial rocket, perennial kales, cucamelons or indoors malabar spinach. Anyone has other suggestions?



Based on the past 3 years, I estimate how much would I need for one year of food.

My plans have concluded in the following:
- 120m2 of grains and pulses
- 60m2 of calorie-rich crops
- 20m2 of other vegetables
Total area 200m2

In detail it´s this:
- beans and peas 30m2, corn (for flour or popcorn) 15m2, amaranth or quinoa and millets 15m2, hulless barley 10m2, hulless oats 15m2, wheat 30m2, sunchokes and sunflowers 5m2
- potatoes 13m2, sweet potatoes 10m2, parsnips 2m2, onions and leeks 10m2, pumpkins (including giant varieties) 20m2, chufas and other root crops 5m2
- salads and radishes 1m2, kale and chard 1m2, carrots 1m2, celery 1m2, parsley and beets 1m2, squash 4m2, tomatoes and peppers 3m2, cucumbers 2m2, broccoli 2m2, cabbage and other brassicas 3m2, turnips or swedes 1m2

Of course, I also enjoy having eggs from chicken, some beds with raspberries/strawberries, and if I would have a more permanent piece of land, I would have experimented also with tilapia fish ponds.

Concerning trees I haven´t experimented much, due to not having a permanent property. My favourite ones are figs, chestnuts, walnuts, pomegranates; in subtropical locations, avocados, olives, bananas, oranges; and in tropical locations, coconuts, dates, jackfruits and mangos. I am discovering paulownias as an amazing source of biomass. I have grown passionfruits in containers indoors, and experimented with goji berries and sea buckthorn. Currently I look for fruit possibilities that are quick to fruit (within 1-2 years).
 
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It's very interesting to read, any update?

 
Evacuate the building! Here, take this tiny ad with you:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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