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How big a backyard do you need to live off of...

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posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 03:08 PM
Great thread. Thanks posting a lot of good info guys. Starting my first season of heirloom, non gm crops on a 18'x36' plot.

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 03:39 PM
If there's one thing everyone can take away from permaculture, it's efficiency. Efficient use of space, of energy, of resources. There are many levels of space your garden can take up, from root crops, edible groundcovers, to the herb-plants we see in most gardens (tomatoes, peppers), shrubs, vines (trellis as many plants as possible to use that vertical space- often ignored), small trees, big trees. Garden rows themselves are inefficient small scale, there are lots of better shapes that let you pack in more plants without crowding them. Aquaponics is awesome!

Making sure that you and your garden elements are making the most of the energy and resources available. Simple example- don't put a shade tolerant plant in full sun when it could do just as well somewhere else, or else you're just depriving something more needy of that energy for no gain.

And if providing as much for yourself as possible is your aim, most would have to get used to a different diet. Tomatoes are notoriously inefficient if you're trying to grow them out of their native climate. And you'd need a LOT less space for wheat if you were using acorn flour from oak trees. Although I have to admit I don't know the wheat stalk to acorn conversion rate for flour.

Anyway, I'm super into permaculture and I think it could save us from the agriculture black hole we've created.
A great intro video on youtube is called "Regreening the Desert".
edit on 6/21/2011 by Mossflower because: video

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 04:00 PM
Good topic!

Due to not having a garden, i made a little indoor aquaponics system.

It is still work in progress, but i ate my first salad from it already.

The vid is a few months old, I now have tomatoes, peppers, little cucumbers, different herbs, sugar plant, all growing in the same tower.

It is fun to do, and not very hard, everyone could have one in its kitchen or living room, it looks nice, fresh food and herbs.

It is almost self sufficient, I only feed the fish.

edit on 21-6-2011 by EartOccupant because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 05:56 PM
reply to post by Neopan100

i can't S&F enough of these kinds of threads

as my own small contribution i provide this video
it also mentions the importance of using vertical space efficiently

1 MILLION pounds of Food on 3 acres. 10,000 fish 500 yards compost

i would also like to point out the utmost importance of doing all this in an enclosed environment

as more folks start doing this we are going to be hearing BS stories in the media about bad stuff happening to people who have gone this path, of course in reality what will be occurring, is intentional contamination by agents of Monsteranto as i refer to that despicable corporation.

also in urban environments you need to enclose for security reasons, i have a couple of sour-sop, orange, and cherry trees in my backyard, due to lack of funds i am unable to enclose , meaning that the local junkies pretty much take it all, the last time i ate a couple of cherries was last year, the roses red, pink, orange and white that my grandma spent over 40 years carefully cultivating at the front of the house where the 1st to "disappear".

it's just lil ol me i can't stay up 24/7 the junkies and crackheads just need to come by in the wee hours or when i'm out to descend like locusts. not that there is any reluctance on my part to employ blunt instruments when i do catch 'em


saving thread and downloading vids using Keeptube now.

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 05:59 PM
Hey my dad used to be a farmer so i got no problem

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 06:38 PM
reply to post by Neopan100

Neopan100 i'll agree it appears that chart is excellent for its primary purpose: sustaining 4 on a vegetarian lifestyle, not so much so for livestock.

IMHO the animals require a lot of space to be happy & healthy. and for you to be able to feed them (if one intends on growing food for the livestock instead of spending $ on bought feed) you need much more growing room.

i got turned on to Home Food Growing being one of the real, ongoing 'rebellions' that Americans have enjoyed well before i was born. learned that here on ATS.

got some cheap used books on eBay. bought some seeds and a big bag of nutrition filled growing soil. so far i've killed everything i've tried to grow: six different types of herbs, lettuce, carrots, and peas.

now i'm trying again. and i will keep going until i learn, then i'll do even more. it feels good to actually do something.

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 06:45 PM
reply to post by DerepentLEstranger

Most urbanites, in my limited experience, wont do anything that seems too much like work. And they are often suspicious of anything they didn't pick themselves. There was an editorial in F&S this spring by a guy who was jogging in a city park, and stopped to pick some raspberries. A kid asked him what he was doing, and so the author showed him. The kids dad arrived and freaked out, with the "we don't know what those are" fear in his voice. The author explained, and the dad still huddled his kid off to the car. Because we can only trust food that comes in a plastic container....(!)

May not help much, but I have found that putting a "bird net" on the trees, as well as to be seen "spraying" really cut down on the neighborhood problems.

Diatomaceous earth washes or wipes off, and actually deters insects. But the powder looks as ominous as all hell, especially if you gear up with the big rubber gloves and mask to put it out.

Just a suggestion. Fruit trees always need to be away from the neighbors, like behind a palisade fence. It was true forty years ago. I cannot count the number of times we got chased out of old man Gibbs' peach orchard. My parents would have killed us, if they found out...

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 06:52 PM

Originally posted by LargeFries

got some cheap used books on eBay. bought some seeds and a big bag of nutrition filled growing soil. so far i've killed everything i've tried to grow: six different types of herbs, lettuce, carrots, and peas.

now i'm trying again. and i will keep going until i learn, then i'll do even more. it feels good to actually do something.

I would start with your soil. If you bought it at a big box homestore or industrial nursery, it is probably too dense to allow roots to thrive. Did your carrots fail to root? I bet that's the problem. And it probably has a lot of "organic matter" that is basically tree bark. The problem there is that bark from oak style trees leaches tannic acid, which will kill your crop.

Do you use raised beds? Treated lumber borders, especially if it is covered by green or powdery treatment, can be killing with arsenic, copper sulfate, or something else to inhibit "mold growth", but really inhibits vegetables, too.

Did you use the most expensive soil they sell? Most people by a few bags of the best, then mix it with cheaper.

I suggest getting a compost pile really going right now, and using it through the end of the year, and then using whatever soil is already present, while working in your compost. I have done it with desert sand.

Hope it helps. Trust your suspicions, though.

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 07:02 PM
I know from experience you can do way more than that in a much smaller size area. I live in your average size suburban plot of land. I do raised beds right now, but I am looking into doing a hanging garden next year. Due to city laws I can only raise chickens, but I would have more than that if I could. Many of my ideas for next year came from this thread here

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 07:15 PM

Originally posted by DerepentLEstranger

it's just lil ol me i can't stay up 24/7 the junkies and crackheads just need to come by in the wee hours or when i'm out to descend like locusts. not that there is any reluctance on my part to employ blunt instruments when i do catch 'em


We had a problem with the idiots around here picking every last raspberry off our bushes.. even the unripe ones. I used this.. not only was it HIGHLY entertaining, it did keep the idiots away for a bit when I posted the fact on a sign that I actually have night vision security cameras... that of course caught them getting hosed down. Come to find out it was the teeny bopper druggies up the street.. walking around grabbing munchies I guess. The husband went to have a talk with them, their parents and we havent had any more problems. The product says humane animal deterrence... but it was hellaciously funny to watch the human rats get a surprise. Id LOVE to see a crackhead drop like theyd been shot with this... hehe.. please youtube it if you get one. VPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=09XJXYY9TZSEH1DZ2A9X

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 07:47 PM
reply to post by dr_strangecraft

thanks to both of you for the kind advice

reply to post by Advantage

lol that would be a laugh

especially with a continuous stream and "electrical connection" that shuts down a second after the circuit is closed, LOL the idea being to shock not kill.

sorry to both if i gave the impression that i was "under siege" or something.
if really wanted to i would just conjure up a spirit sentry [powered by 5 bullet casings from a certain kind of scene i witnessed once
] but it would affect the shield of deception i've currently got going on the house, [we wouldn't want to attract bigger parasites than mere junkies now would we?] nah i'll save those and the sentry for any bigger and more violent parasites. if all goes well i'll be back home in NYC within a year from there, we'll see about maybe a big warehouse or if not find something further north were i'll be able to have both "systems" working without them interfering with each other

just wanted to point out that farmers/food growers have to worry about more than just bugs and such

edit on 21-6-2011 by DerepentLEstranger because: fixed double reply to advantage to include reply to doc

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 07:54 PM
reply to post by Advantage

I want one of those! I live next to the neighborhood park and kids are always jumping my fence to get their balls and frisbees. Aparently their parents have never taught them to go to the door and politely ask for their stuff back.

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 08:29 PM
I read this earlier today and found it interesting. Upon skimming it again I see no one has mentioned an older book that completely details this experience. [I know it from the USDA but that makes it none the less an important read.]

Does anyone here remember Foxfire magazine? Invaluable!

edit on 2011/6/21 by dubois because: I'd used the word invaluable twice it two sentences.

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 09:00 PM
reply to post by dubois

Ohh speaking of books..this one has always been my favorite. sfl_title_9?ie=UTF8&m=A2PH0OU9DK0NPM

as far as Foxfire.. I have the whole set of books. You can get them cheap off of Amazon as well.

We live in Southern Illinois now... last 6 yrs appx. Here on our little piece of land I have now 5 raised bed veg gardens and Im planning on another one to be put in this fall for next yr. Id love to permascape everything, regardless of my neighbors and their demand for fluff annuals. Ive found that I can plant pretty things, that produce edibles. They just havent caught on .... yet.

We have a patch with 5 raspberry bushes, spot with 4 blueberries, and Im working on my grapes.. they look not so great at the moment.. been a rough year weather-wise. Im expanding the number of bushes next year. I also do a bunch of containers here and there if I want to throw in some extras. Salsa tomatoes or something not necessary but wanted. WIth 3 of the raised beds I can squeeze 2 harvests out.. one late fall/early winter harvest. Im not so sure about this year, its supposed to be a harsh early winter. I have a butternut squash addiction.. so of course I TRY to get 2 harvests of them, doesnt always work.

I have just planted 2 apple trees.. but who knows how they will do. They look okay, but Im going to have to mulch the hell out of them if winter springs on us early. They like acidic soil, so unfortunately Im gonna make my neighbor to the left even more testy than usual with a nice hot manure and compost mulch this season. Ill offer her an apple eventually.. hopefully with a 60 MPH pitch if she complains. Im joking, we get along fine, she is just more of an old city lady who thinks gardening happens to be.. too country!

We have a real stone large root cellar, but Ive been using buried trashcans with straw, and I swear it keeps the root crops MUCH better. I was packing them in straw and sand in the cellar.. but give this a try if you dont have a root cellar or suitable place in your basement. Ive been keeping the home canned stuff in the root cellar and added several shelving systems to keep the stock up extras in case of zombie apocalypse or something.

BTW, Im doing all of this and I live downtown in a mid size town in Southern Illinois on a large city lot.. in a century + old historic home. The only huge gripe I have is that they will not allow me to have a few chickens.. and will fine me. I mean Im not going to run a chicken farm for Gods sake.. just a few laying hens. My dogs produce more noise and waste than a coupla hens. Im considering doing it anyway and see if they peek over my privacy fence...

edit on 21-6-2011 by Advantage because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 09:31 PM
reply to post by Advantage

OMG...Hello Neighbor! I live here too!

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 09:50 PM

Originally posted by Neopan100
reply to post by Advantage

OMG...Hello Neighbor! I live here too!

I'll pity you if you pity me... in our police state.

posted on Jun, 21 2011 @ 10:14 PM
This is my 3rd year with my little backyard garden. I practice square foot gardening, which seems to work well. I compost my kitchen scraps so my soil is free and the best kind of soil. I use no chemicals, so they're organic (and GM free). I have 2 4x8 raised beds plus corn and potatoes.
What I have found, is that it takes A LOT more plants than you think and made space for.
For example, I have 16 green bean plants. I got enough for about 4 meals for 3 people in about 2 weeks, then we got a heat wave and the plants stopped producing. I hope they start again soon. Also, I have 20 potato plants, and 10 plants gave me about 10 lbs of potatoes.
I planted blueberry & rasberry bushes, which will take 3 years to produce. I have about 20 strawberry plants, and have gotten 2 berries, both eaten by bugs,
I have a water barrel, but I empty it in a day watering my small plot of plants.
Now don't get me wrong, I love working in my garden and it's such a wonderful thing to harvest anything but you all should get going now. Start learning, let the plants mature, build up the soil, and learn some more. It's not so easy to just throw out some seeds and eat abundantly later.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 10:34 AM
reply to post by Redwookieaz

I live in southwest Texas, hot hot desert. My garden is inground. Right know I have it as an open greenhouse, I will enclose it when it gets towards mid fall. My garden culprit is ants, and the desert insects, first question, what non chemical way can i slow or stop the pest invasion? Second question, i have never been able to grow corn, it always turns black, what am i doing wrong?
Other then the corn issue and pest my gardens always germinate within3 days and grow up to 3-4 times larger then any store bought veggie or fruit.
I use half organic soil half ground dirt i put nutrients in the mulch mix and wa la fast growing hughe foods. I'm personally not going to have cow or pig in my survival list, i am getting ready to build a chicken coop. O ya and I'm going to get the fruit trees going this year.
I feel fortunate as to where i live, 150 miles to nearest big-large city, my small town has 35,000. I live 20 miles out of town in the desert, there is 20 families living on 160 acres and the lake is less then 1/3rd mile away. There is a lake with a 1.6 mile bridge between me and the small city. I have less worry regarding garden thieves.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 10:46 AM
reply to post by hqokc

I have done the square foot method for years, and am doing it this year. However.....

We have a huge backyard; and the more I put under garden, the less there will be to mow. I am thinking of doing row crops next year, which frankly is a bit less work per plant, in my experience.

While there is a benefit to planting densely in one ft squares because there is some weed suppression, it also takes more work to weed when the task arises, particularly if you have yard grass invading your space.

Weed for weed, I'd rather use a hoe than be down on my hands and knees. I can also produce a year's worth of food in a large row garden, which I have room for, without stooping as much. I'm sure others will think I'm nuts or misinformed. bit rows feel like less work for me.

posted on Jun, 22 2011 @ 12:40 PM
Damn you guys got my juices flowing with this thread. I can't stop thinking about that auquaponics closed loop system You could build tanks on the cheap with 2X3's and plywood and just line them with pond liner. I winder if you could grow lobsters or the big crayfish in there too. Wow awesome. I have been growing gardens for years if people would just plant their yards with berry bushes and fruit and nut trees instead of so much ornamental stuff they would go a long way. I have 4 fruit trees and one nut tree on little city lot. strawberries for ground cover raspberries, blackberries and blue berrries for shrubs and grapes and currents also. I have two 4'x10' raised beds for veggies melons and some smaller ones with trellises for beans and peas etc. I also have boxes on the patio outside the kitchen for carrots onions and herbs etc. Also have some potato boxes I am experimenting with they are supposed to grow 100 pounds of in a 2x2 space. But I have not been able to get them to do that much yet. I had 5 boxes last year and got a couple hundred pounds. This year i am only doing two boxes and some conventional till i get the box thing down. It''s all not that hard to do. Everything is set up on drip lines to make it easy to water and most of it is on timers except a couple I have to turn on manually.

I have some room on the side of the house if I move some junk to do the fish thing but I need to do it in a green house so they don't freeze in the winter. We'll see I have some other pressing things to do first. But maybe I can get it set up this year for next year. I was thinking of doing a local delivery service and take orders from folks for things to grow.

here is a pic of part of last years garden. You can see the potato boxes part of the rasied beds and a couple fruit trees in the background. That is some spinich or lettuce gone to seed in the foregorund...

edit on 22-6-2011 by hawkiye because: (no reason given)

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