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Thread: how much land do you need to grow fruit, veggie, family 5 for 1 year? page

  1. #1
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    how much land do you need to grow fruit, veggie, family 5 for 1 year?

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    i do not have experience with the land yet.

    how big is this area that i will need so that i can grow all the essential fruits and veggies and eat them over the complete year?

    use efficient and easy to understand language, relate it to familiar things.

  2. #2
    Uncephalized's Avatar
    Uncephalized is offline Senior Member
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    It depends a lot on your climate and the length of your growing season, and also what techniques you use. Google "square foot gardening" for some good tips on how to maximize garden real estate.

    Also, if you're inventive and enjoy an experiment, aquaponics (again, Google it) is a really awesome way to use fish to grow plants quickly and in a small space, with very low water use.

    In a good growing area, with the right techniques, you might be able to supply a person or two on 0.1 acre (400 square meters). Less-ideal locations will not be as productive.
    Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

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  3. #3
    Fernaldo's Avatar
    Fernaldo is offline Senior Member
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    If you grow weed on said land, you can feed your family quiet nicely...
    "The problem with quoting someone on the Internet is, you never know if it's legit" - Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    bloodorchid's Avatar
    bloodorchid is online now Senior Member
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    ^ haha

    you don't need a very large amount of land at all

    dirt quality is key, if the ground is patchy and sandy you'll need a few seasons to build it up or invest in lots of soil and manure

    another thing that's helpful is learning about food preserving, canning, freezing, drying etc

    BUT

    i say start small to get the hang of it, get a pot and grow some peas or strawberries or flowers () something easy with minimal money investment and enough to get your feet wet

    motherearthnews
    hobbyfarms
    urbanfarms

    are some good info sites
    beautiful
    yeah you are

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  5. #5
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    Crabbcakes is offline Senior Member
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    Whoo, that is one big question. It can't be answered in one post simply because while you have some choices in how you garden, some decisions are taken out of your hands according to your location.

    If you decide to till the earth directly, your approach will need to be tailored to:
    1 - your climate (this determines when in the year you can plant, and how long your growing season will be)
    2 - the soil type on your plot of land (determines what will grow naturally)
    I will give you an example: New Jersey is one tiny state. It has the same "climate" from its northernmost point to its southernmost point - and there are no mountains or other features of the land that would drastically change any NJ local climate equation. Yet, every county or so, the composition of the soil changes. We lived in two different counties near to one another. The first county had darker earth and if you dropped a seed onto it, it grew. The second county had sand - the water just ran right through, and I had to compost like a madwoman to build up any humus at all. Just like lemons won't grow naturally in Montana, some things will be beyond your reach according to your location.

    To help the situation, you can build structures and garden for maximum yield on the least amount of land. These approaches all involve buying or generating copious amounts of compost and/or buying soil/growing medium: square foot gardening, raised bed gardening, greenhouse (lets you live in a cold climate and grow more for longer), lasagna gardening, self-watering containers.

    Also, some plants are annuals and some are just permanent - like berry bushes. You can change the location of carrots every time you plant one, but once you plant berry bushes, they stay there. Same goes for fruit trees and nut trees, rhubarb plants, grape vines... so if you are counting on these items, you will need dedicated permanent space, and I don't know how many apples (for example) the family likes. Dwarf varieties are available for almost anything these days, so it takes less land than before, but perennials still need their own calculated space.

    If you are a total information masochist and want to go for the Rolls Royces of dealing with the land, here are some terms: permaculture, biodynamic farming, high brix gardening.

    I think a good starting point would be:
    Number One: to calculcate exactly WHAT you want to generate, and in what AMOUNTS you need it. Carrots: do you use 50 lbs in a year? 100? What about onions? Spinach? Tomatoes? Eggplant? Cabbage? Berries? List just everything.

    Number Two: go down to your local county extension agent and just plain old ask them what soil types are local and what grows best in it. Then plan to plant those veggies first that appear both on your list and in the extension agent's advice - to get your feet dirty (and wet).

    Trying to feed a family of 5 exclusively from the garden plot is going to be a multi-year learning experience. SO worth it, so don't believe I am trying to dissuade you, but you have some information gathering and planning ahead of you that I can't really advise you on.

    I could go on and on, but will leave it here (unless you ask). Good luck with your gardening! WARNING: GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD IS TOTALLY ADDICTIVE

  6. #6
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    Path to Freedom (dot) com. Check it out.

    I think they have a very small part of an acre, and they not only grow enough food for 3 adults, but they also sell a great deal of their food to local restaurants.

  7. #7
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    Yeah. Check out my farm blog linked in my sig. We've been doing this, on lovely soil, in a wonderful climate, since 2005. We're still not self-sufficient in many things.

    There is a huge learning curve, even for experienced gardeners. You don't just decide to grow-your-own and it magically happens.
    Growing your own fruits & veggies require some kind of fertilizer - compost, manure, or storebought crap. Do you plan to keep livestock for manure? How will you till your soil? Do you need a greenhouse? Do you can? Have a dehydrator? Root cellar?

    You can do a lot with an acre, if it's fully cultivated and you have time to process all the produce. But you'll have years where wireworms get your carrots and blight gets your tomatoes, and all you have to eat is chard and zucchini.

    Some interesting 'stead layouts from the USDA here - Rainy season, and thoughts turn to planning… « Seven Trees Farm

    Good luck!
    Seven Trees Farm - diversified subsistence farming on 1.25 acres.

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