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  • #14588
    Profile photo of tweva
    tweva
    Survivalist
    rreallife

    Jay wrote:How many acres do you think can you take care of with just two people working on them without help of any modern tools?

    Jay I can only speak from my own experience and viewpoint. There are more ways and means and methods to grow stuff – and corresponding proponents/fans- than you can shake a stick at.I have made it a point to try most of them over the years.

    That said, acreage size does not equate necessarily to crop or livestock production volume or quality. If you mean, of how much acreage can two people manage to grow produce and/or raise livestock? That is a question that has too many variables to attempt to answer.

    Why? Because it depends on many things:
    1) what you are growing
    2) why you are growing it (purpose/goal)
    3) where you live and what your ‘space’ characteristics are
    4) your level of knowledge and skill
    5) your available equipment and infrastructure
    6) processing you intend to use for each crop
    7) if animals are involved in your plans and what those are/the mix

    The reason I posted a link to Nathan Lewis’s blog post about yield factoids was….summed up with this, quote ‘Some people have been pushing the notion that a family of four can be sustained with a 3000 square foot garden.
    Oh really? That’s about 50×60 feet. Which is actually a pretty large garden, by hobby garden standards.
    Let’s think about this.
    A square mile has 27.878 million square feet. There are 640 acres in a square mile. Each acre has 43,560 square feet. Thus, 3,000 square feet is 0.0689 acres. This is about the size of a typical “suburban backyard garden,” if you use most of the available space. The highest calories per acre are probably attained with grains, such as wheat or rice. You aren’t going to get there with lettuce and asparagus.‘ To that last sentence I say – amen – pay attention folks!

    I am in my late 50’s. I am very fit for my age. Managing and working my small place is a lot of hard, physical work that never all gets anywhere near done. I NEED calories because I BURN lots of calories. When planning what you are going to grow and how you are going to best feed your family, you need to actively think first, plan next and then implement the plan (and be prepared for them to be shot to hell by Mother Nature, critters etc).If you just grow and eat vegetables, when you are not a vegetarian now, you are going to have big problems in your health and stamina when SHTF attempting to produce most of all your own food. You may not starve, but you probably won’t thrive either. You will subsist. Which was his other point.

    In SHTF ok first you want to keep you and yours from starving. Doable but lots of work and experience involved. But who wants to just subsist? Most want to thrive! I know I do. For that I have to feed my body the calories it will need (assuming I am otherwise healthy) to sustain the heavy, physical labor required to grow most of your own food (and let’s not forget other required activities of life) without the aid of modern equipment. AND, IMHO – to thrive after SHTF at some point I am going to have to be able to produce excess in my growing endeavors to trade for all of the many things I can not possibly produce myself – no matter how hard I work.

    I know, from my experience, permculture is not going to get me there because it is not inherently efficient for the ‘excess’ and thrive part of the equation. . I would be running all over the farm rummaging around here and there collecting nature’s bounty – all the while trying to perhaps to evade God knows who or what. Not happening here anyway. It has it’s place to me – as a sort of developing backup – but would I personally base my SHTF growing plans and methodology on it – no. That’s me. I understand about wanting to ‘blend’, and OPSEC reasons but that makes me laugh (and I don’t mean derogatorily) – but again, post SHTF at whatever point, going hither and yon, around and about collecting your food? For me – no.

    My personal main annual vegetable and fruit gardens (the ‘subsistence’ /must have area -are well disguised, easily accessible for me, but well protected. Working out from that are the areas of the farm that would require me to be more exposed, but are the areas that will help me thrive by producing more calories and variety in diet; and, produce excess for future trade. This is by trial and error, being accomplished now in the least labor intensive methods have been able to devise for now and in future if something happens to make current method not workable.

    I am working with my draft cross mainly for pulling a wagon,pulling out logs from the woods, pulling the hay rake and the sickle bar mower that has almost been brought back to life (last night friends helped me make great progress). I do not till my fields when I plant. THAT is too much damn work, pardon my French – even with a draft horse. If anyone cares to know the method I developed/use let me know and I will happily bore you to death. :)

    So, in my case, as described elsewhere, I myself ‘take care’ of and also grow and raise livestock on close to 12 acres. But, I plan,plan, plan in writing and with schedules I refer to daily exactly what I am planting, where I am planting it, what it cost me to plant it (if any), when I need to tie it up, prune it, thin it, harvest it, kill it, process it, can it, dehydrate it, freeze dry it, re-seed it, cut it, bale it….and then start over. Most people who have not gardened, much less grown/small farmed have no clue that it ALL starts with planning. And, my planning starts with the calories I will need to do the damn work it will all take to stay healthy and energetic as possible, what I like to eat (or others will need if growing for trade/sale), what I MOST NEED for my chosen diet and then referencing charts – what that all translates into volume/quantity/space. I do not just on a whim start planting anything for the hell of it.Even if it’s pretty or sounds like an interesting plant (’cause pretty takes work to care for too)

    Jay – does this make sense to you? Helpful? Sigh, probably another big ramble.

    PS those who read my past posts – my rice trial is coming along much better than expected! Yahoo! We will see.

    #14603
    Profile photo of 74
    74
    Survivalist
    rnews

    I like your analytical approach, although reviewing my own needs is frightening.

    #14610
    Jay
    Jay
    Survivalist
    member3

    I read The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! as inspiration. It helped me with planning a bit so far.

    Thank you very much for all the insights. Are you able now to produce all the seeds as well for your next harvest? What are some areas that you felt / feel are the hardest to master to become sustainable in your gardening /.small scale farming efforts?

    If anyone cares to know the method I developed/use let me know and I will happily bore you to death.

    I really take notes by the way soo… yes I do care!

    Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")

    #14704
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    ME TOO!  Tweva, please bore us!

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #14708
    Gypsy Wanderer Husky
    Gypsy Wanderer Husky
    Survivalist
    exprepper

    Tweva I am willing to be bored as well. So please bore me to tears as well. I’ll set up the coffee perk and hand out the tea and biscuits as well!!

    Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.
    George S. Patton

    #14715
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    Tweva – one more thing.  Please start a new Topic for us who just want to see/hear what you are doing and how you are doing it without all the other techniques on the post.  Also allowing us to ask you questions that directly relate to your style.

    After really digesting the above and your previous posts, I’m very impressed and am definitely looking forward to reading what you post next.  You should consider a book, but in the mean time, thanks again for all the guidance.

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #15287
    Profile photo of decoy
    decoy
    Survivalist
    member1

    for the OP and question on seed viability…

    you can germinate old seed. for stubborn seeds, try either Giberellic acid or a mild salt peter solution. Some peppers germinate well after this treatment. Covered germination trays work well(use indirect sun)

    for soil–I think you said you lived in SoCal? Use this site to find out what type of soil you have so you can add the proper amendments :http://casoilresource.lawr.ucdavis.edu/soilweb/

    Visit the Derveas Urban farm if you can. Great inspiration. They grow most of their food except for grains.

     

    #16099
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    Decoy – thanks a ton! Yep, SoCal SD county north. Good to know – I got a couple of the red bell pepper seeds to germinate in just 50/50 soil/Miracle Grow Garden Soil. I’ve got them all separated now so hopefully they won’t cross.

    Appreciatete the link on the soil resource and I’ll look up that farm and see if I can make it over.

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #16737
    Profile photo of Gentolman
    Gentolman
    Survivalist
    member2

    Go around your area and you will probably find many old men and women that have beautiful gardens. Just introduce yourself and be respectful. They are a great source for information. My first garden was preceded by talking to many old men for about 1.5 months. They gave me so much knowledge. I took all their ideas, which were very different techniques, and created my own version. My first garden was so successful that they all came by to see how I was doing and were amazed at what a beginner could do. In all cases I had come up with some idea that was better than theirs for a particular vegetable. They said they were proud to help a youngster that really wanted to do well. I still talk to some of these old men but most have passed away now, but I still have much of their knowledge. They live on through what they taught me. That is the best that any of us could dream of doing.

    #16739
    Jay
    Jay
    Survivalist
    member3

    Go around your area and you will probably find many old men and women that have beautiful gardens. Just introduce yourself and be respectful. They are a great source for information.

    This is great advice. Similar to growing local vegetables, learning from locals how to grow is one of the best ways to get started quickly. We start out like all our neighbors but already have some ideas for improvements, but why not learn from those who had years to optimize what they do.

    Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")

    #18810
    Profile photo of Novus Ordo
    Novus Ordo
    Hunter
    rprepper

    Gentolman – thanks for the reminder. I make it a habit of learning from the elders, but I don’t currently know any in my neighborhood that garden. However, the town does have a couple farmers markets that I’ve been telling myself to get down to each week so I’m sure I can find some there.

    Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
    - Thomas Paine

    #20515
    Profile photo of Anselm
    Anselm
    Survivalist
    member6

    Novus Ordo, I didn’t know you were into this. You might draw inspiration from the 300 year old food forest in Vietnam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZO0Nco2t5g and from a similar one, 2000 years old, in Morocco: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hftgWcD-1Nw.

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