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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If I want to achieve between 60-80% self suficciency during normal times and up till 100% in times of crisis/SHTF how many people will I be able to feed on
around 62 acres?

Will it be enough for 4 families or do I need to get more land? I should maybe mention that its not too far from the sea and lakes/rivers so we should have pretty good fishing rescources available as well.

What should be my main crop in SHTF times, in light of a rather cold climate and short growing season? During WW2 most people survived on salted herring, turnips and potatoes so that is of course an option. But if possible I would like to make things as comfortable as possible with as balanced a diet as possible.
 

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This question gets asked a lot, and the answer really depends on the length of your growing season, the quality of your soil, how hot the summers are, available resources and what you decide to grow. 60 acres of rocky grown covered in spruce and pine is a vastly different proposition from 60 acres of fertile, flat ground on a river.

Can you describe the climate, landscape, soil type, growing season, etc?
 

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I am doing much the same exercise on 22 acres in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

I have learned a lot by googling hehe.

One thing to think of is the animals you want to have and their care requirements.
Did you know that most of the world raises goats for milk and meat - outside the US - because they require less feed than cattle? Goats are also extremely prolific and multiple births are the norm.

We're doing some combination of the following on our land -

Goats (meat, dairy, maybe fiber)
Chickens (meat, eggs)
Muscovy Ducks (meat, pest control)
Pigs (meat, land clean up and fertilization)

We have an established orchard that I am currently researching to see what needs changed or replaced.

We also have some nut trees.

We are lacking in firewood as the property is a 2 acre island of orchard/ gardens surrounded by fields that are currently being farmed for grass seed.
We are firing our farmer and taking over the remainder of the land at the end of 2009 since he already has a crop in.

I am researching fast growing wood that has multiple uses and though it is uncommon in Oregon, am considering Osage Orange for it's fast growth and potential as fence building materials as well.

We need to support somewhere around 10 people (some children) and I believe that we can do it on our land with careful preparation.

BTW this plan for us goes into effect even if TSdoesnotHTF because I want to simplify our lives and spend more time with family rather than working for the man.

We are also investigating cisterns for irrigation and I am in the middle of planning a very cool solar shower from mostly found objects. I'll post a video or something when we start building it.

Good luck and keep us posted. It's all very interesting!!
 

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How blessed to have that land. I am sadly doomed to be an urban homesteader. If I had that kind of land I would keep chickens and goats and plant wheat, corn and hay (feeds you and the animals). I would plant fruit trees (apple, Cherry, blueberry, raspberry). And nut trees (pecan and walnut) if they grow in your area. Learn to keep bees, it will improve your orchard and give you honey.

For the garden I would want cold frames to get greens starting in March and ending in November. I would grow potatos and onions and garlic by the bushel as well as store-able squash (butternut, acorn, delicata). Lots of tomatoes (make own salsa and tomato sauce) peppers, peas, beans (green for putting up and dryable types. A huge herb garden area. Asparagus, summer squashes, cabbage (learn to make sauerkraut - a nutritional superfood), broccoli and melons.

That's all I can think of.
 

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If you take the time to build a green house, add some climate control (with lighting) you can pretty much grow year round. With a couple of these houses you could grow enough to feed 4 families.

Don't forget a milk cow, at least 2 steers and a couple of hogs. It takes work but you can be self-sustainable.
 

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I believe that you can passively heat a greenhouse using dark colored water filled jugs, stone floors (etc) and perhaps housing a bunch of rabbits in cages inside it during the cold season.

Check out the book by Eliot Coleman called Four Season Harvest. I own it and love it.

ETA - I don't think the book has info on greenhouse rabbits - when I reread my post it sounded like I was saying that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This question gets asked a lot, and the answer really depends on the length of your growing season, the quality of your soil, how hot the summers are, available resources and what you decide to grow. 60 acres of rocky grown covered in spruce and pine is a vastly different proposition from 60 acres of fertile, flat ground on a river.

Can you describe the climate, landscape, soil type, growing season, etc?
Farm is in Telemark, Norway so its sub arctic climate with a growing season from mid may till september (october for potatoes), but allways with a risk of night frost from around august. Soil is fertile and good for most vegetables. Grain will grow, but the output will often be with too high watercontent to make good flour. It has been used in the past though.

From the total of 60 acre some 30 is cleared and planted, the rest is pine forest that has to be cleared or be left as a wood rescource.

Please note; I am in no way a farmer or anything close to it. I have had some luck with a vegetable garden before, but have little experience with farm animals. I am a skilled hunter though so slaughtering and preparing poses no challenge. My family on the mother side comes from a farm though so I have advice only a phonecall away. I am well aware of my limitations so I want to start with something that I can actually handle and move on slowly from there..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am doing much the same exercise on 22 acres in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

I have learned a lot by googling hehe.

One thing to think of is the animals you want to have and their care requirements.
Did you know that most of the world raises goats for milk and meat - outside the US - because they require less feed than cattle? Goats are also extremely prolific and multiple births are the norm.

We're doing some combination of the following on our land -

Goats (meat, dairy, maybe fiber)
Chickens (meat, eggs)
Muscovy Ducks (meat, pest control)
Pigs (meat, land clean up and fertilization)

We have an established orchard that I am currently researching to see what needs changed or replaced.

We also have some nut trees.

We are lacking in firewood as the property is a 2 acre island of orchard/ gardens surrounded by fields that are currently being farmed for grass seed.
We are firing our farmer and taking over the remainder of the land at the end of 2009 since he already has a crop in.

I am researching fast growing wood that has multiple uses and though it is uncommon in Oregon, am considering Osage Orange for it's fast growth and potential as fence building materials as well.

We need to support somewhere around 10 people (some children) and I believe that we can do it on our land with careful preparation.

BTW this plan for us goes into effect even if TSdoesnotHTF because I want to simplify our lives and spend more time with family rather than working for the man.

We are also investigating cisterns for irrigation and I am in the middle of planning a very cool solar shower from mostly found objects. I'll post a video or something when we start building it.

Good luck and keep us posted. It's all very interesting!!
Great ideas, thank you. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How blessed to have that land. I am sadly doomed to be an urban homesteader. If I had that kind of land I would keep chickens and goats and plant wheat, corn and hay (feeds you and the animals). I would plant fruit trees (apple, Cherry, blueberry, raspberry). And nut trees (pecan and walnut) if they grow in your area. Learn to keep bees, it will improve your orchard and give you honey.

For the garden I would want cold frames to get greens starting in March and ending in November. I would grow potatos and onions and garlic by the bushel as well as store-able squash (butternut, acorn, delicata). Lots of tomatoes (make own salsa and tomato sauce) peppers, peas, beans (green for putting up and dryable types. A huge herb garden area. Asparagus, summer squashes, cabbage (learn to make sauerkraut - a nutritional superfood), broccoli and melons.

That's all I can think of.
Making notes..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you take the time to build a green house, add some climate control (with lighting) you can pretty much grow year round. With a couple of these houses you could grow enough to feed 4 families.

Don't forget a milk cow, at least 2 steers and a couple of hogs. It takes work but you can be self-sustainable.
Thanks.
Yes, I want a good greenhouse. But what size should I get? Seems to me greenhouses and managing them are a science of its own.
 
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