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Food for a year......

 
Salkeela Bee
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So here's a thought.

Many/most PC gardens/forests I am aware of are great at providing diversity for the diet, but few could feed a family for all their needs for a year. 

Of course "we" (on here) are all part of the industrialised world or we wouldn't be chatting on computers and so on.  Yet we are also very dependent on industrial agriculture to provide many of our needs.

I work out 4 days a week & my other half full time.  I have help here through help exchange.  I grow more non-industrial food than most of my friends and neighbours.  Yet still I could not feed myself for a year.

Part of that is a seasonal storage type of problem.  N.Ireland is very seasonal. 

So here I grow loads of fruits (apples, pears, plums, red/black currants, g'berries, rhubarb, raspberries etc.)  some nut trees, some perennial veg (j.artichokes, cardoon, globe artichokes) and then a variety of annual veg (tomatoes, squashes, potatoes, leeks, onions, celeriac, garlic, beans, peas and various salad).  I'm sure there's more stuff I've forgotten.... ah we also keep hens, rear pigs for the freezer and keep bees.

Yet to process all the fruit - I buy sugar, to keep the pork we have a freezer,  and the bees have consumed more sugar than they've provided honey (hopefully just establishment phase).  Also I buy in flour to make my own bread.  And of course buy milk, cheese and loads of other "basics" from the shop.

To store sufficient potatoes to provide more calories for the year I'd need to completely restructure my storage abilities and extend the cultivated area substantially.  So I grow only what we'll eat over the summer months and for short term storage.

So at what stage can permaculturists begin to live by permaculture?  (And I don't mean by becoming a demo site, or teaching.)

Of course I don't expect to grow everything I need, but if there is a pattern where all permies are taking the same sort of things from the industrial world, then permies are not really getting closer to being a permanent culture....... if you see what I mean.

Comments?
 
Paula Edwards
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There's actually a good book from Carol Deppe it is called the resilient gardener.
You're Irish you must know about the values of potatoes. But she writes that an  Irish adult ate (if I remember that right) 6 kg for a male and 4 kg for a female each day. you must really have a piece of land for that plus storage area.
And you will need that if you work outside.
If you count only 1 kg of potatoes per day and family, which is not nearly self sufficient you need to grow 365 kg of potatoes and I don't know if you get two harvests at your place. How much space would one need only for growing enough potatoes?
Then you need to rotate your crop and need around four times the space.
That doesn't include animal feed.
That's a very interesting question indeed. There's very little resilience in our system.
 
Leila Rich
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My goal is to store enough potatoes for a year, which probably need more space than I have at my place...
Next season I also want to grow an enormous amount of beans for drying.
I don't have animals on my small suburban property, so I need to focus on calorie and protein-dense vegetables that store well.
I'm single, which makes things easier: I've only got myself to blame if I end up eating the same thing every day for months!
 
Paula Edwards
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You can add some chicken in a chicken tractor, which you rotate over the beds, and they fertilize as well. Some people think ducks are better, they are hardier and don't scratch but I have no experience with ducks. But don't make the tractor too small that's not fair.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I expect that to live by my garden I will need to change my diet to eat what is available each season.  The book "One Circle" describes how to design a vegan diet grown in the smallest amount of space using Biointensive methods.  The diets could be used as a basis to design a permaculture diet.  The diets are heavy on root crops, including potatoes, which often don't need special storage methods or preservation.  Most of the diets don't include much in the way of grain, because it takes so much room to grow.  I expect a permaculture diet would likely not include much grain, but instead the calorie crops would be roots, tubers, and nuts. 
 
Salkeela Bee
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Interesting replies....  (and I forgot to mention we have chickens too.... )

However the scaling up problem is still immense.  I have scaled up from a very basic "look what I can do" garden to a fairly productive one that in season provides us with frequent "all home grown" dinners.  And we are still eating the tomato sauce & dried beans from last year. Indeed the last acorn squash went only a couple of weeks ago.  But tomatoes, beans and squash all grow best inside the polytunnel for me - and the were not eaten up to now because we eat other things as well and so keep these for a change.

So calories?
Potatoes are temperamental to store - so probably best left in the ground.  Brassicas and carrots don't grow well for me.  We also have one growing season and a long wet winter. 

Discussions like this often dismiss the calorie question by saying - "There's more to a healthy diet than calories".  But my point is that you DO need the calories if you want to be independent of the industrial system.

I'm not, and at the moment can't take the time to be so - however if I wanted to be independent, I now know just how difficult it would be. 

There is a certain point where scaling up in order to take enough harvest to store as well as eat-now becomes incredibly intensive labour that requires a load of growing and storage space and facilities....

I wonder is there any food-forester/ permie here who does not buy the bulk of their annual calories?
 
Salkeela Bee
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ediblecities wrote:
There's actually a good book from Carol Deppe it is called the resilient gardener.
Yes I bought it for my sister and had a quick read first! 

You're Irish you must know about the values of potatoes.
Indeed yes.... I love them and we eat loads.  Not 4kg a day though!  I did calculate the area required to provide the calories my family needs for a year through potatoes once... I think it was quite shockingly huge!

That's a very interesting question indeed. There's very little resilience in our system.


It is the one weakness in Permaculture at the moment I think.
 
Todd Hoff
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Leila wrote:
My goal is to store enough potatoes for a year, which probably need more space than I have at my place...


There's the idea of leaving potatoes in the ground, using where they grow as storage. Might work?
 
Nathalie Poulin
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I'm guessing that to provide food for your family for year, you would need to buy/make a food dehydrator and include lots of fruit and nuts.
There are certainly storage ideas that you could work with, but I think it would be easier to feed a family for a year if you lived on a farm than if you lived in suburbia.
 
Burra Maluca
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I've found that the longer I'm in Portugal, the more I'm veering towards growing exactly what my neighbours have always grown.  Maybe you should be researching what your locals used to eat a few generations ago and basing your main calorie needs on that.   Lots of my old neighbours used to keep goats - lots of goats.  They wouldn't be high production animals that needed a lot of food, but they would get most of their nutrition from what they could forage on their daily walks.  What milk they gave would be converted to cheese, which would keep for many months.  Surplus goats could be killed and eaten at any time.  Pigs, both wild and domestic, would be killed and the meat salted instead of frozen.  Rabbits would be raised and fed whatever was on hand, and wild ones would be snared.  They snare wild boar, too.  They all grow beans outside their back doors until they are too old to walk outside and pick them.  

I'm still a long way off getting all my calories from my own land.  After three years of being a compost and mulch fanatic, we do finally seem to be making real progress, but I'd say we were still a few years off that dream.  I think when the fruit trees are bigger and producing well, and they cast enough shade to be able to grow berries between them, and we've mastered growing all kinds of pumpkins, and figured out how to dry stuff, I think we'll be pretty well there.  We seem to have finally mastered growing beans of various kinds, and the potatoes are big enough to be worth eating this year.  It even looks like we might have enough plums to be worth calling a harvest instead of just eating them off the tree.

The trick is to keep working towards that goal without giving up, and being flexible with what you want to eat and how you think it should be grown.  It's perma-culture, not instant-culture.  It might last forever but it's not necessarily a quick-start process.  
 
Tyler Ludens
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It's perma-culture, not instant-culture.


I love that! 

 
A lot of the background of permaculture seems to be in the tropics, where food is easily available all year.  Those of us not in the tropics will need to be a little more inventive to figure out how to provide calories all year.  Most root crops seem to grow pretty well for me (except Irish potatoes), so my permie diet will have to include more roots and tubers than I currently eat.  It's a matter of adjustment to what is available.  Small meat animals like poultry, rabbits, etc might also be a good source of calories.  I think for most of us diet is a matter of habit more than necessity.  We're used to eating grains, but grains are not necessary for the human diet.  They are a dense and easily stored source of calories but they take a lot of room to grow and are difficult to harvest.
 
Salkeela Bee
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Loads of ideas here - thanks for all the thoughts -  and also lots of folk in a similar position to me:  Gaining the knowledge but a huge way off being able to feed a family without the industrial system in the background.

We are quite a way along the route here.... 21 years on a 25 acre property (although only in the last 8 have we been actively growing rather than dabbling).  I have a dehydrator, a pressure canner and ample jars, a large freezer and a big store room.  In the garden, I have a 40' polytunnel in cultivation along with several other growing areas too.....   Yet I'm probably providing barely 1/10th of our calories. (Family of 6 - but 2 only home sometimes).

Trouble really is - right now the bulk calories are cheap to buy.  Wheat flour, potatoes etc are not really expensive, so permaculturalists grow the fancy and expensive stuff, but still buy their bulk food from the industrial system.

I do too, and right now it makes economic and time sense.  I may know how to do a potato patch, but scaling up is another thing....
 
 
Darren Collins
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I found John Jeavons' biointensive book an interesting read, because it tries to complete the circle and not bring in outside fertility. That system allocates a large percentage of the growing area to crops that provide compostable material to maintain the fertility of the whole garden.

I guess for your situation, history books would answer the question of how to grow enough food in your climate to eat year-round. People have lived there for centuries, so it can't be impossible.

Where I am, we have no snow or frost so growing only slows down a bit through winter. The idea of a "start" and "end" to the growing season is outside my experience! Maybe you could do like my Irish ancestors and hop on a boat to Australia. I believe they even got free passage, courtesy of Her Majesty .
 
Salkeela Bee
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I'm not saying growing all our own calories is impossible.  Potatoes are one route to do it.  Livestock another. 

No what I am trying to point out is that most permaculturalists rely on the same factor of industrialised society.  I know that it's not about "self" sufficiency alone, community resilience is important.  But reading the books, and talking on here all permies seem to be ommitting the same thing..... bulk calories for their diet.

Am I wrong? 
 
                                      
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Wait, wait,

are we talking about permaculture or self-sufficiency?

because they really aren't the same!

Of course many permaculturalist might stribe towards self-suffuciency. Aims being to eliminate input from outside, and closed loop systems.

BUT,
pc isnt necisarily self sufficient, when some-one on a small lot, say 500m2 (ok did the math, thats 598 square yards... 598 y2 ) produces her own fresh food 6 months of the year, but buys some additionnal food throughout the winter from a neighbouring CSA, and sells jams and jelly's (own produce or wildcrafted), in order to buy cheeps calories (nut and tubers, no grains) from a neighboring farmer, this can be called permaculture without any objections i think. I also think that is a sustainible model, that can exist permanently (or at least many many generations).

Now comes the self sufficiency, which is much harder to achieve. I dont have a reason to want to become self-sufficient. Maybe to become more resilient many people want selfsufficiency. i can see why, if you live very rural and isolated, otherwise not so.

If it comes to being more independent from industrial society i dont think selfsufficiency is necesary, i think learning to co-operate with your community will become essential. I think real resilience comes through strong communities. when system collapse comes to our doorsteps and we are all alone i think our survivall rates are lowest. we just cant do everything ourselves, co-operation and working together has been a succesfull strategy for human survival.

and I mean not only to be able to deal with disasters or system collapse, also as a model for an alternative society.
i dont see a complex society where everybody grows ALL their own food as necesarily the best way to go, why not have people who will specialise in growing staples. a bit of trading between people in a community, and between communities.

but anyway, back on topic.

how much land would one need to grow a years food on their own land?

here in europe people usually say 1ha (2,5 acre) is enough for a small family (of 3/4). But i am guessing that doesnt involve clothing and the likes. i am fascinated by the concept of using walnuts as staples, they supposedly match cereals in calorie per surface production, but need minimal input if it comes to labor, water and fertilizer. Also im guessing storage is easier that tubers.

but how to put that into our daily coocking?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Salkeela wrote:
But reading the books, and talking on here all permies seem to be ommitting the same thing..... bulk calories for their diet.

Am I wrong? 


I'm not seeing the omission of calories, personally, certainly not by "all permies".  There's plenty of discussion of growing a complete diet in the Designers Manual. 


A lot of my focus in gardening is to try to plant and grow as many calorie crops as possible, mostly roots and tubers because they seem to do pretty well for me.  Beans and grains have not done so well.  I have some almond trees but they are a few years off from bearing, if they ever do.  We have a lot of acorns but I have not cooked with them much yet.

Root and tuber plants I'm growing (or trying to grow  ) presently:

Hardy yam Dioscorea batatas
Sweet potato Ipomoea batatas
Canna Canna edulis
Canada onion Allium canadense
Garlic chives Allium tuberosum
Elephant garlic Allium ampeloprasum
Nodding onion Allium cernuum
Walking onion Allium ×proliferum
Tiger lily Lilium tigrinum
Duck potato Sagitarria
Daylily Hemerocallis
Sotol Dasylirion texanum (actually an edible stem that looks like a root)
Beet
Turnip
Radish
Carrot
Irish potato
Annual onion
Salsify



 
Tyler Ludens
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Joop Corbin - swomp wrote:

how much land would one need to grow a years food on their own land?


Ecology Action has done a lot of research on the smallest amount of land needed to grow a complete diet using Biointensive methods, which are compatible with permaculture.  The smallest amount of land they arrived at per person is about 4000 square feet, which includes land needed to grow compost ingredients.  This is for a vegan diet. 

http://growbiointensive.org/
 
Tyler Ludens
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We had a very similar discussion to this awhile back.... same title, even.....

http://www.permies.com/bb/index.php?topic=6848.0
 
Sam Surman
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Great thread, one that I hope brings out those that are really striving to grow most of their own food.

I too live in NI and believe that our ancesters lived on a very boring diet of potatoes morning, noon and night, every day! sometimes turnips were there along with a little milk egg and some wild caught meat .... they survived, but I certainly wouldn't wish to live like that.

I have grown all my own potatoes for a year, not that much room needed really, but the weather beat me mostly, ground getting too wet to harvest and doing a lot of damage to the soil working it in those conditions.

I now work in deep beds and grow what I actually eat most of, some potatoes, onions bulbs and greens, peas and beans, and lots of salad stuffs for the summer months, surplus goes to the hens, also grow apples, plums, pears, red/black currants, elderberries, gooseberry, garlic ..etc etc.  I buy organic flour and bake our own bread, pastrys etc make jellys from the soft fruits for winter vitamins and minerals ... I have grapes in the greenhouse, along with some early strawberries.

I want to do more, but I feel that a warmer, milder climate would mean a longer growing season and less calories needed to keep warm, so I could live on my own produce for more of the year. I've kept pigs in the past, but never managed to make the bacon to my liking ... when we eventually move to a milder climate, I will get a couple of goats for milk and add rabbits for meat along with the chickens and hens for eggs.

Growing all or at least most of your own food is possible, but in our wet, cold, windy, climate ( not today ) you do need lots of calories so the root crops play a bit part, and it can become a little boring eating soups and stews everyday, we have been spoiled! a warm climate means a nice salad with some cheese and home made bread is a pleasure to eat ... given that on even a cold and wet summers day, it kinda looses its appeal!

Congrats on your 25acres and doing as much as you do, I know the time and effort it takes, my deep beds are more productive than my large garden was! and much less work too.

Cheers

 
Burra Maluca
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dolmen wrote:
I want to do more, but I feel that a warmer, milder climate would mean a longer growing season and less calories needed to keep warm, so I could live on my own produce for more of the year.


That was one of our main ideas when we left Wales for Portugal.  We never allowed for the horrendously hot, dry summers and thin soils that dry out right down to bedrock though.  Salads are for spring and autumn - summer is way too hot to grow things like lettuce, and we're coming to the conclusion that we need 'early' tomatoes to make sure they ripen before the summer heat kicks in.  Maybe when the forest garden is better established and we have more shade...

I've been trying to pull my thoughts together on permaculture and self-sufficiency and how they relate.  I think my neigbours here, for the most part, still grow more of their calories than we do, even though we aspire to be permaculturists.  Mostly they grow potatoes, beans and cabbage.  The more able-bodied ones still grow tomatoes and keep goats and chickens.  All have fruit trees, grape vines and olive trees, too.  In fact I think the olives are pretty well vital to their ability to feed themselves - if calories is what you need, then potatoes *and* oil (batatas fritas!) is a good home-grown boost.  Even when they are too old to grow beans, the old folk will still insist on gathering olives - they can't bear not doing it as they know it's essential to keep the family fed.

They are definitely used to being self-sufficient here, and there are lot of permaculture elements to what they do.  I'm hoping to take the best of their systems and tweak them in a more permaculture way so that I end up with a system that will require less and less input from me and feed me past the age when most of them start to rely on meals-on-wheels. 

But I think Salkeela is right - most of us reading this are probably just 'playing' at permaculture, not needing to rely on it for all our daily needs. 
 
Terri Matthews
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Regard the honey bee for how it is done: Bees favorite foods are nectar (not honey) and fresh pollen. But, nectar cannot be stored and honey can, so they turn nectar into honey and they pack their pollen with honey for the winter. Then they cover it with wax so that it stores better. In the winter they eat honey even though it is not a favorite food, because it is what they could store.

The native Indians during the winter in this continent ate stored beans, pumpkins, corn, and dried meat because that was what they could store. I am fairly certain that they would rather have had roasting ears and a fresh deer steak rather than dried meat and dried corn. But, hunting when the weather is bad is very hard work and sometimes dangerous as well, and they could eat dried meat in safety when the weather was bad. Hunting was for when there was no blizzard.

Lastly, in your own history I believe it was the mans job to bring home the food but the woman's job to store it, pickle it, salt it, whatever. Food storage was a skilled job, because for part of the year what they had to eat was what was mostly what was stored. A husband and wife were two parts of a team, and dealing with food was worth most of the labor of one-half of the team. In this country a single farmer often lived in a boarding house so that he did not have to preserve, store and cook his own food after putting in a 16 hour day of farm work. It took many hours to do so and it was not a job that the farmer would have learned to do very well.

The question of winter food was not so much what they could produce but what they could store.  If you want to be more self-suffinient on your parcel of ground, then you will NEED a better storage space and the means to deal with that amount of food.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Terri wrote:
. In this country a single farmer often lived in a boarding house so that he did not have to preserve, store and cook his own food after putting in a 16 hour day of farm work. It took many hours to do so and it was not a job that the farmer would have learned to do very well.


I think one of the ideas of permaculture is to expand the diet to include foods which are easier to grow and perhaps do not need special storage.  Obviously this is easier to do in some parts of the world than others.

Here's a good reference for learning about unusual edible plants for different climates:  Plants for a Future http://www.pfaf.org/user/default.aspx
 
Terri Matthews
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I think one of the ideas of permaculture is to expand the diet to include foods which are easier to grow and perhaps do not need special storage.  Obviously this is easier to do in some parts of the world than others.

Here's a good reference for learning about unusual edible plants for different climates:  Plants for a Future http://www.pfaf.org/user/default.aspx
The soil in Kansas is rich and deep, but the ground is frozen for most of the year.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Terri wrote:
The soil in Kansas is rich and deep, but the ground is frozen for most of the year.


What sorts of things are you growing for calories in that climate?

 
Terri Matthews
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Winter wheat and corn and soybeans are the most common.

Wheat is planted in the Fall, and when the autumn rains begin the wheat starts to grow. It goes dormant when it gets cold out. In the spring it begins to grow again, and it is ready to harvest in June when it gets hot and very dry. The dry weather makes harvesting easier.

Corn is planted in the late spring. The summers are dry but the corn roots are deep: they follow the moisture down and produce a good crop.

The Indians would plant their gardens in the flatter area near the big rivers, and then weed the gardens three times with a  pointed stick. After the third weeding the plants would be larger, and  they would go off to follow the buffalo. They would come back with a load of dried meat just before the ears of the corn were developing. They ate some as roasting ears and let others develop for grain. They also raised beans, squash, sunflowers, and tobacco. Chokecherries and plums were gathered from the wild.

Seed corn was carefully wrapped to keep it dry and hidden in deep holes dug into the bluffs: it would be a very bad thing if an enemy tribe found the seed corn when everybody was out getting dried meat!

In my garden I raise apples, pears, blackberries, beans, corn, and tomatos for calories, and this year I will also try sweet potatos and American Plums (These are native). I am also trying Indian corn and alfalfa to feed to my few chickens to lower the feed bill, and the chickens give me eggs.

Some people in my area have have set bales or straw over root vegetables, which prevents the soil from freezing so that they can be dug during the winte time: this would be difficult on a large scale.
 
Kay Bee
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I agree with Salkeela that there does seem to be quite a few folks (permie and otherwise) that make the choice NOT to grow their own bulk calorie crops.  I don't think this is a bad thing by any means.  Each farm has it's own areas of specialty and diversity.  This makes for a good network.

I also agree that it is unfortunate that industrial style farming is such a large part of that network, but I think it will change in the near future.

Regarding the perennial question of how much land one needs, I think the most simple answer is approximately 10-20 sqare feet can provide the calories an average person needs for a day over the course of a year... IF that land is managed with that intent.  There are certainly ways to produce less calories, if that is of interest

If 'taters don't suit someone's interests, why not put in some hazels and chestnuts.  The same area that would be dedicated to the spud will eventually give the same calories back each year with good management.  Just a lot less work.
 
Tyler Ludens
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K.B. wrote:
Just a lot less work.


That looks good to me! 
 
Tyler Ludens
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Terri wrote:

Some people in my area have have set bales or straw over root vegetables, which prevents the soil from freezing so that they can be dug during the winte time: this would be difficult on a large scale.


It might not be too large a scale scale if the roots are grown intensively as in Biointensive.  How large a scale might be dependent on how many people need to be fed from that area and how much roots figure in the diet.  As grass grows easily in that part of the world, it could be stockpiled as hay to use to cover the root beds, I'm thinking...But nuts might be an easier calorie choice eventually (allowing time for the trees to mature).  Personally I find nuts much easier to incorporate in the diet than roots, but I've not had good luck getting nuts to grow, except a few almond trees that may or may not ever give almonds. 
 
Terri Matthews
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1 cup of chopped carrot has 52 calories.

I usually plant my carrots on a 2 inch grid pattern and *IF* every carrot has 1 cup when chopped up that means that every square foot will only produce 1600 calories, or 1 days worth for a small person.

If you assume that the ground will stay frozen for 4 months, then 1 small person would need to cover a 10 foot by 12 foot area with packed hay 2 feet deep. The cost for the hay would be about $300. I am GUESSING that it would take an acre of ground to produce that amount of grass?

So far that sounds very doo-able, but a person would also want a source of protien, which could be dried beans.  I would consider such carrots to be stored, just as grain is stored, instead of growing.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I've never lived in a cold climate, just warm dry ones - a different set of challenges.  Here things will grow almost year round with irrigation.  Not so much on natural rainfall.  Lots of critters to eat, though, so protein shouldn't be a problem here if one can hunt.  Poultry can be raised with difficulty here (so many predators  ).
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 468
Location: Eastern Kansas
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EVERYTHING likes a grain-fed chicken!

We wereable to free-range for some years, but not any longer. As the population in my area grows the predators become less afraid of humans: I had foxes and coyotes coming into my fenced yard!

Mine are shut in, now, which is a shame as chickens on the lawn are a lot of fun. Every morning I would let them out in the morning (they had to be protected while they slept).

The hens would walk out to the back of the lot for bugs for breakfast while the rooster would dance and talk and flirt and try to get some attention but they would ignore him: laying hens work very hard and they WANT! their breakfast! I gave them pellets but they liked bugs much better. For a while they were eating 25 cents worth of bought feed for every dozen eggs that they laid.

And, yes, roosters do dance to impress the ladies: that is how "Prarie chickens" got their name. Prarie chickens get on a log and dance to attract a mate: so do roosters but the prarie chickens do it much better!

I grew up in California, and I kind of miss the long growing seasons, But, I do not miss the high land prices! I could NEVER have afforded a house on an acre in California!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9456
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Ah, gardening in California - "just add water" 
 
Salkeela Bee
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Joop Corbin - swomp wrote:
Wait, wait,

are we talking about permaculture or self-sufficiency?

because they really aren't the same!


I guess I'm interpreting the word Permaculture in this thread to mean Permanent Culture... In other words that this culture is something that could survive permanently (or as near as).

It does not mean self sufficiency (I thought I explained that) but rather the whole culture would be sufficient.  

Now if everyone aiming towards a permanent culture, omits the same detail from their aims, then as a collective group we are not sufficient.

So, I was just trying to point out that as a collective group, Permies do not do the bulk calorie issue well.  Most, in my experience, depend mostly on calories that are produced in the industrial food system.

Perhaps I'm wrong?


So, this is not really a criticism of any individual: indeed I am entirely in that boat myself.   However from the perspective of this boat, I notice that many others are here with me.....

It's not really an issue I am addressing, because the time factor would be more than I have right now.  However it is an observation on the general direction that Permaculture growers are taking....  

 
Salkeela Bee
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dolmen wrote:
Great thread, one that I hope brings out those that are really striving to grow most of their own food.

I too live in NI


Hello!  Hope you too are enjoying the amazing heat these last couple of days..... 

dolmen wrote:

I now work in deep beds and grow what I actually eat most of, some potatoes, onions bulbs and greens, peas and beans, and lots of salad stuffs for the summer months, surplus goes to the hens, also grow apples, plums, pears, red/black currants, elderberries, gooseberry, garlic ..etc etc.  I buy organic flour and bake our own bread, pastrys etc make jellys from the soft fruits for winter vitamins and minerals ... I have grapes in the greenhouse, along with some early strawberries.



PS  Just read more of your post... are you a long lost twin?  Or is there an echo between your garden and mine?
 
Salkeela Bee
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I'm not seeing the omission of calories, personally, certainly not by "all permies".  There's plenty of discussion of growing a complete diet in the Designers Manual. 


Okay the "all permies" was hasty typing.  I think I intended to say "many" as I have elsewhere.  Yet it's not  theoretical discussions I'm looking for, it's what is actually going on in the real world. 

Who is doing this? 
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Salkeela wrote:

Who is doing this? 


See my post above about what I'm trying to do.

I can barely grow any food at all yet, let alone all my calories.  Of course I also didn't build my own house from local materials, I don't produce my own energy or run a local business using locally grown materials, etc.

<<<<Total permie failure. 
 
Salkeela Bee
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  I do agree a true "permanent culture" is a long way off.

And bulk calories are not our only weak link....

I appreciate the list of things you are growing  - I have a slightly different list but equally varied.

I guess I had a soap box moment there on calories. 
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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It's ok, I get on a thing every now and then about it being all theory and no practice.  But then I think about what a challenge it is to be doing this at all, and try to cut myself and others some slack.    It's a process.

 
Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Actually having enough food nearby would be a complex challenge in my suburban environment.
It would require , as Joop discusses, a very organised and well-coordinated community effort.
As yet I don't have that community (but plans are afoot..)
I imagine households would grow a large quantity of a single storage crop that does well (I'll grow the broad beans!) on top of the regular kitchen garden, then distribute among the community.
Things like potatoes would have to be spread around to minimise the affects of disease.
Mindbendingly complicated.
 
hannah ransom
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I hope to at least be close someday. I'm not sure I can do it on the property I am currently on (about 3/4 acre?), but I eat mostly fruit, so that, I think, produces the most calories/land area. Of course, I would love to do this without preserving, so since not much fruit grows from Feb-May or so here I would probably need to rely on tubers and winter squash for calories. I wonder how much land one would need for living solely off of fruit? I wouldn't think more than an acre, if that, for one person. Of course the problem would be year round stuff.
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