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Poll

If you had to grow 100% of your food and process / cook it yourself, alone, what would be your primary sources of carbohydrates?

Maize
- 8 (6.1%)
Rice
- 9 (6.8%)
Wheat
- 9 (6.8%)
Barley
- 3 (2.3%)
Sorghum
- 0 (0%)
Millets
- 0 (0%)
Oats
- 0 (0%)
Rye
- 2 (1.5%)
Triticale
- 0 (0%)
Buckwheat
- 2 (1.5%)
Potatos
- 34 (25.8%)
Cabbage
- 6 (4.5%)
Apples
- 11 (8.3%)
Beans
- 20 (15.2%)
Carrots
- 4 (3%)
Peas
- 2 (1.5%)
Other legume
- 2 (1.5%)
Other fruit
- 9 (6.8%)
Other cerial
- 1 (0.8%)
Other root vegetable
- 2 (1.5%)
Other leafy vegetable
- 5 (3.8%)
Added late: squash
- 3 (2.3%)

Total Members Voted: 35


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Author Topic: If you had to grow your own food...  (Read 26645 times)

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AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2009, 01:50:37 PM »

Potatoes have relatively bad carbs (i.e. don't give you lasting energy) and relatively little protein, so they should be combined with something that compensates for that - fruits do not.  A lot of Russian diseases have been said to come from a potato-centric diet.  Beans are the undisputed nutrition champ when it comes to easy-to-grow protein up north, and they're easy to grow in complement with the two other "sisters", as the Native Americans of these parts called them: corn and squash.
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Rillion

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2009, 02:06:45 PM »

My question is....how much room would it take to grow enough food to live sustainably?  Say I have good weather most of the year, some goats for milk to make butter and cheese, some chickens for eggs and meat.  How much space would it take for that plus veggies and grains, such that I never need to go shopping for food and still eat well? 
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Bill Brasky

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2009, 03:32:59 PM »

My question is....how much room would it take to grow enough food to live sustainably?  Say I have good weather most of the year, some goats for milk to make butter and cheese, some chickens for eggs and meat.  How much space would it take for that plus veggies and grains, such that I never need to go shopping for food and still eat well? 

Maybe check out how much land people in history were allowed to utilize for themselves, peasants and that sort of thing.  They would have to give like 9/10ths to the king, or some standard measure.  I'm not well versed on that stuff, but I think there was some sort of standard.  There were similar tactics in early American history with indentured people, I believe.  And they became very proficient at using the little allotment of land, one acre or whatever it was.  Since all farming was done by hand and they were ultimately responsible for 10/10ths, their little spot would require their time and labor as well.  Modern people in all their glorious flab should be able to handle 1/10th of a peasants chores.  (LOL, or maybe not)
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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2009, 03:39:11 PM »

My question is....how much room would it take to grow enough food to live sustainably?  Say I have good weather most of the year, some goats for milk to make butter and cheese, some chickens for eggs and meat.  How much space would it take for that plus veggies and grains, such that I never need to go shopping for food and still eat well? 

Depends on what you grow. A single apple tree can produce 840 pounds of apples.
Source:  http://urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/facts.cfm

The equivalent land area of wheat would get you a few pounds of flour.

It looks like acres. I would have to do more research but I could lowball because I am trying to find the average plot of land medieval serfs had.
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blackie

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2009, 03:58:26 PM »

The rule of thumb I have seen is 3/4 to one acre per person for a mostly vegetarian diet, 9 acres per person for a meathead diet.


I have seen numbers as low as 1400 sq ft, requiring about 30 mins of work per day.

http://ask.metafilter.com/77287/How-much-land-does-a-person-need
Quote
One commonly-used estimate of the minimum amount of arable land to feed one person is 0.07 hectares. For example:

"The minimum amount of agricultural land necessary for sustainable food security, with a diversified diet similar to those of North America and Western Europe (hence including meat), is 0.5 of a hectare per person. This does not allow for any land degradation such as soil erosion, and it assumes adequate water supplies. Very few populous countries have more than an average of 0.25 of a hectare. It is realistic to suppose that the absolute minimum of arable land to support one person is a mere 0.07 of a hectare–and this assumes a largely vegetarian diet, no land degradation or water shortages, virtually no post-harvest waste, and farmers who know precisely when and how to plant, fertilize, irrigate, etc. [FAO, 1993]"
posted by sfenders at 5:20 AM on November 28, 2007



If you're interested in the maximum yield, you might look into the Biointensive method. This book, by John Jeavons, claims that less than half an acre (~ 0.2 hectares) can support a family of four, or about 0.05 hectares/person, which is lower still than the lower of sfenders' figures.
posted by harmfulray at 7:48 AM on November 28, 2007



These are from speech notes from a guy named Jason Bradford, to a Rotary group in northern California. I don't know where he got them. The presentation used to be online here, but the link is broken, so I don't know where it is now.

Each person needs --
vegan food -- 3000 sq. ft.
a few eggs/week -- 3,500 sq. ft.
one chicken/week -- 24,300 sq. ft.
one cow/year -- 67,300 sq. ft.
posted by salvia at 9:51 AM on November 28, 2007

« Last Edit: November 12, 2009, 04:08:34 PM by blackie »
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BonerJoe

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2009, 05:00:20 PM »

I know my great aunt has a garden up in NH that grows really good because of the long summer days they have up there.
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hellbilly

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #36 on: November 12, 2009, 06:26:03 PM »

We usually have a small garden about the size of a parking space, and another area a little smaller just for tomatoes. If we wanted to live off all we produced, I think a space of 3 dozen parking spots or so may do it.

I'd try apples trees and whatnot but I think it takes a few years for those to produce fruit.
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Bill Brasky

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2009, 02:11:14 AM »

We usually have a small garden about the size of a parking space, and another area a little smaller just for tomatoes. If we wanted to live off all we produced, I think a space of 3 dozen parking spots or so may do it.

I'd try apples trees and whatnot but I think it takes a few years for those to produce fruit.

It takes a decade for apple trees to produce quality fruit in any considerable quantity, and you need a space for each tree approximately the size of a three-car garage, if not bigger.  You can't grow much of anything under them because their roots are shallow.  (Plus, of course, the shade)



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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #38 on: November 13, 2009, 02:53:48 AM »

We usually have a small garden about the size of a parking space, and another area a little smaller just for tomatoes. If we wanted to live off all we produced, I think a space of 3 dozen parking spots or so may do it.

I'd try apples trees and whatnot but I think it takes a few years for those to produce fruit.



It takes a decade for apple trees to produce quality fruit in any considerable quantity, and you need a space for each tree approximately the size of a three-car garage, if not bigger.  You can't grow much of anything under them because their roots are shallow.  (Plus, of course, the shade)

At 240 lbs per season, and with a mature tree needing 50.25 square feet of space, you get 4.77 pounds of food per square foot, which seems to me to be a fairly high level of space efficiency. As far as I know, they only need to be pruned occasionally, so given the cost/benefit ratio, apple trees seem to be a good investment.


[/quote]
« Last Edit: November 13, 2009, 03:36:42 AM by Diogenes The Cynic »
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AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #39 on: November 13, 2009, 03:22:14 AM »

Here's a quick table I've put together from various sources showing optimistic "million calories per acre" (MCPA) and "percent protein" (PP) estimates, not really adjusting for NH's climate:

FOOD
         MCPA
         PP
Apple
23.6
2%
Hemp Seed  [2]
18.1
18%
Potato
9.2
8%
Pear
8.2
4%
Almond
8.0
14%
Maize
7.5
16%
Rice
7.4
8%
Carrot
5.8
9%
Garlic
3.8
17%
Rutabaga  [PDF]
3.2
13%
Wheat
3.0
14%
Sweet Potato
2.9
6%
Soybeans
2.8
53%
Peas
2.5
28%
Brussels Sprouts
2.2
32%
Broccoli
2.1
28%
Sweet Cherry
1.9
7%
Rye
1.8
18%
Turnip
1.4
13%
Okra
1.3
29%
Peanut
1.3
18%
Oats
1.3
14%
Beans
1.1
25%
Tomato
1.1
24%
Cabbage
1.1
19%
Swiss Chard
1.0
38%
Buckwheat
0.8
16%
Spinach
0.6
50%
Blueberry
0.6
5%

Some of those numbers are pretty disappointing.  Buckwheat is one of the healthiest foods in the world, especially for people at risk for diabetes.  Beans are also very healthy, but less agriculturally efficient than I had hoped.

Note that sources differ quite a bit due to the decade when the study took place, location, variety of crops, planting methods, yield success, etc, etc, etc.  Another significant margin of error comes from differences between crop weight (as listed in the NDSU page) vs edible weight.  For example, when it says 50 tons of pumpkin per acre, how much of it is edible?  If all of it, according to WolframAlpha it would be 13.5 MCPA!

Protein percentages are also approximate.  You can find this number out by looking at a food label (ex. WolframAlpha.com) and calculating P*4/C*100 where P is protein in grams (i.e. 0.05 if 50 mg) and C is the total number of calories.  A vegetarian diet becomes unhealthy if it drops below about 25% protein, so eating a lot of legumes, mushrooms, lean veggies, etc and less fruit is very important.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2009, 02:33:38 AM by Alex Libman 2.0 »
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Bill Brasky

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #40 on: November 13, 2009, 04:07:41 AM »

We usually have a small garden about the size of a parking space, and another area a little smaller just for tomatoes. If we wanted to live off all we produced, I think a space of 3 dozen parking spots or so may do it.

I'd try apples trees and whatnot but I think it takes a few years for those to produce fruit.



It takes a decade for apple trees to produce quality fruit in any considerable quantity, and you need a space for each tree approximately the size of a three-car garage, if not bigger.  You can't grow much of anything under them because their roots are shallow.  (Plus, of course, the shade)

At 240 lbs per season, and with a mature tree needing 50.25 square feet of space, you get 4.77 pounds of food per square foot, which seems to me to be a fairly high level of space efficiency. As far as I know, they only need to be pruned occasionally, so given the cost/benefit ratio, apple trees seem to be a good investment.


[/quote]

I donno where you got that 50sq/ft statistic, but I can assure you they need more than that.

7 ft by 7 ft is 49 sq ft.  

Go into any apple orchard, you will see the trees are placed about 25 ft apart, give or take, from trunk to trunk.  That would be 625 sq ft per tree.  There are 40,000 sq ft in one acre - so you could fit 64 trees per acre. 

This would give a foliage spread of 12 ft  in any direction until the branches touched the branches from the next tree.  So even that is probably too close.  

50 sq ft is probably the root spread of an average tree.

« Last Edit: November 13, 2009, 04:11:15 AM by Drifter »
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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #41 on: November 13, 2009, 05:13:42 AM »

We usually have a small garden about the size of a parking space, and another area a little smaller just for tomatoes. If we wanted to live off all we produced, I think a space of 3 dozen parking spots or so may do it.

I'd try apples trees and whatnot but I think it takes a few years for those to produce fruit.



It takes a decade for apple trees to produce quality fruit in any considerable quantity, and you need a space for each tree approximately the size of a three-car garage, if not bigger.  You can't grow much of anything under them because their roots are shallow.  (Plus, of course, the shade)

At 240 lbs per season, and with a mature tree needing 50.25 square feet of space, you get 4.77 pounds of food per square foot, which seems to me to be a fairly high level of space efficiency. As far as I know, they only need to be pruned occasionally, so given the cost/benefit ratio, apple trees seem to be a good investment.



I donno where you got that 50sq/ft statistic, but I can assure you they need more than that.

7 ft by 7 ft is 49 sq ft.  

Go into any apple orchard, you will see the trees are placed about 25 ft apart, give or take, from trunk to trunk.  That would be 625 sq ft per tree.  There are 40,000 sq ft in one acre - so you could fit 64 trees per acre. 

This would give a foliage spread of 12 ft  in any direction until the branches touched the branches from the next tree.  So even that is probably too close.  

50 sq ft is probably the root spread of an average tree.


[/quote]

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-8301.html
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AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #42 on: November 13, 2009, 05:48:40 AM »

I've been editing my above post, adding more crops as I came across them.  Then I crunched the numbers on hemp.  WOW!

Can someone check my math please?  I'm so sleepy I can't think straight.
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mikehz

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #43 on: November 13, 2009, 07:36:21 AM »

So, that's it, then. Apples and hemp--what more do you need?  :lol:
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libertylover

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Re: If you had to grow your own food...
« Reply #44 on: November 13, 2009, 10:58:14 AM »

I think you need more than three things but if that was the limitation. 

Hemp
Yams
Sturmer Apple variety

Hemp because it has so many uses, ease of growth and ease of storage.
Yams because of the vitamin content, blight resistance, ease of growth, and ease of storage.
Sturmer Apples, best vitamin content and maintains vitamin levels even after months of storage.

However, I would like to have more in the garden than just three things. 
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