How much land do I need to grow my own food?

by Tiago
(Sao Paulo)

How big of a farming ground is necessary to sustain a family?

Comments for How much land do I need to grow my own food?

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Mar 21, 2012
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Growing Gopher Proof Peas on 1 acre
by: Scarecrow630

I live on one acre with my future wife and grandparents. We have a small back area of the lot that was once woods. Due to recent housing development we had to- by order of the law- cut down the remaining forest growth from our property. This being the proximity of the house is 8' from our fence line. So in order to regain the privacy lost i'm planting a lot of bamboo taking up half of the fence line. The other half is getting a decorative landscape mound treated with a double row of juniper skyrockets. I chose this set-up because the bamboo won't take away any more sun than their home already did. And the junipers row 15" giving us a good amount of morning sun and through the day.

That said I had a gopher destroy my crops last year. So this year i'm growing on a fenced floor in a fenced yard that is 12' x 12'. I'm using 5 gal. buckets this year instead of the ground.

There are different ways you can make your own compost. This saves money and i have done so. This will give me buckets of soil that will last the entire growing season. Place a few small holes around the bottom of the bucket leaving about 2" for water to stay in. Buy a bundle of cedar shims from home depot or cut some logs. Use these as water wicks to keep the soil moisture right longer using less water.

Heres the math. In one row I planted 10 pea plants. This year in one bucket i can plant ten pea plants in a circle. use a tomatoe wire upside down for them to grow up. I can put ten buckets in that same row. The harvest went from 10 to 100.

[MEG: WOULD LOVE TO SEE A PHOTO OF YOUR SET UP!]

Mar 08, 2012
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GARDENING
by: Anonymous

START A GARDEN NOW ON WHAT EVER LAND YOU HAVE. I ONCE LIVED IN AN APARTMENT ON THE SECOND FLOOR AND PLANTED MY GARDEN IN FLOWER POTS ON THE BALCONY. I HAD A GOOD CROP ON TOMATOES AND SWEET BASIL. I NOW USE FRENCH INTENSIVE GARDENING FOR THE VEGETABLES. THE GARDEN IS IN THE BACK YARD BETWEEN THE HORSE BARN AND TOOL SHED. I GROW ENOUGH TO MAKE FRESH SALAD AND VEGETABLE SOUP. I DRY ENOUGH TO HAVE VEGETABLES ALL WINTER. I HAVE ENOUGH LAND FOR FRUIT TREES, PECAN TREES AND BLACK BERRIES. WE ALSO HAVE A FISH POND WHERE WE RAISE FISH TO EAT. WE HAVE DEER,RABBIT AND QUAIL ON OUR LAND SO THERE IS PLENTY OF WILD GAME. PERSIMMONS, WATER CRESS AND WILD ONIONS ROUND OUT THE MENU.

Feb 05, 2012
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depends
by: Keith

To be fully self sufficient, you will need a meat or protein source, fresh vegetables, storage vegetables, fresh fruits, and storage fruits. For a small area, based on 1930's data, a family of four can get by with a minimum of 5 acres. With intensive gardening practices you can grow enough vegetables, and raise chickens and rabbits and likely get by, but it will be a lot of work. Some of the early data, from the time prior to the civil war in US history families were granted 40 acres to homestead. In those days herds of cattle were expected to be part of the homestead. My personal choice when looking for ground to buy was between 10 and 20 acres, and I settled on 12. Since I am not going into debt to set up my place I am taking longer than most will, but I have trees, ponds, gardens, and an Orchard is going in this year. Next is the chickens and chicken coup.

Figure out what you are going to do, and what features are most important. If you intend to burn wood for heat and cooking, you will need around 5 to 7 acres of woodland to keep from depleting the woods. If you are going to grow grains and mill your own flour, how much do you need to produce? Grains feed the world, but require more room than lettuce or kale. If you raise enough to require a tractor for planting or harvest, you will also need room to store and maintain that tractor.

You have many decisions to make and much more research to do. Read as many books as you can get your hands on, and make a plan. Then you can decide how much land is enough.

Feb 04, 2012
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how much land
by: Steven F

A good rule of thumb is one acre per person although you can be somewhat self-sufficient on a quarter acre block. Also the climate, rainfall and soil type is hugely important so it is hard to generalise.

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