Acerage needed for long term survival

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by OnTheTrail, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. OnTheTrail

    OnTheTrail New Member

    I have a garden that provides a decent amount of fresh veggies and some herbs. I also have a small area I grow some potatoes in. For the suburbs we live in, it's actually a pretty big garden.. but even if I converted the whole area to survival crops (and I've heard potatoes are about the best calorie/area crop around), .. how much acerage would really be needed to support a small family?
  2. RevWC

    RevWC The Future?

    I came across this:

    "One commonly-used estimate of the minimum amount of arable land to feed one person is the minimum amount of agricultural land necessary for sustainable food security, with a diversified diet similar to those of North America and Western Europe (hence including meat), is 1.235 of an acre per person. This does not allow for any land degradation such as soil erosion, and it assumes adequate water supplies. It is realistic to suppose that the absolute minimum of arable land to support one person is a mere .17 of a acre–and this assumes a largely vegetarian diet, no land degradation or water shortages, virtually no post-harvest waste, and farmers who know precisely when and how to plant, fertilize, irrigate, etc.”

  3. OnTheTrail

    OnTheTrail New Member

    Wow, that's about an order of magnitude differences in the survival v. normal scenarios. Even the low side of the scale is pretty big when I consider that the average lot size in my area is about 0.15 acres.
  4. Frugal_Farmers

    Frugal_Farmers Good ole country folk

    Advise adding a book called "The Backyard Homestead" to your library. Very detail book on how to do exactly what you desire to do.
  5. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    raised beds & tiered-growing greenhouse will increase your food production potential significantly
  6. worldengineer

    worldengineer Well-Known Member

    You can have a huge garden but if you don't up keep it up then the amount of food return will be low.
  7. Meerkat

    Meerkat Seeking The Truth

    I agree.I grew at least 25lb.s of tomatoes in less than 25sq.ft...5x5 ft.raised bed.Okra and eggplants in the rest of the bed.Had plenty of squash,peppers too.
    I'm building a lean to green house for the winter,inside will be my two bedroom windows I can open for heat.Last year it was a hoop house,but too far from the house to use electricity if it got too cold. Also putting more rasised beds closer to house ,right ourside of greenhouse area.
  8. PamsPride

    PamsPride edirPsmaP

  9. Jimmy24

    Jimmy24 Member

    Don't forget Square Foot gardening...lots of green in a small space, with minimum fert, h2o and time...

  10. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Yes, square foot or intensive gardening can increase your yield. Some of it also depends on your climate. If you're in a warmer climate you can grow another crop as soon as one is finished. In the north that's not generally possible. However, with row covers or putting old sheets or blankets over plants at night, the season can be extended and possibly two crops grown per year in same space.

    In addition to what you grow, there are things that you can forage for even in the city, if you have to.

    The link Pam posted has exellent information.
  11. TheAnt

    TheAnt Aesops Ant (not Aunt)

    Are you thinking what Im thinking? Kung-Pow Kitty and Dog-on-a-stick? MMMMMmmmmmm! :2thumb:

    I figure that I could survive on half an acre if I had to but the question wouldnt be how much acreage would I need to grow what I needed but how many acres would I need to stay 'invisible' to outsiders? That also depends on where your acreage is. In AZ it might be as many as a couple hundred, in AR you can get lost in the briars of a half acre!
  12. tsrwivey

    tsrwivey Supporting Member

    I would hate to be foraging for food in the city post SHTF. Sounds like a good opportunity to end up in a bad situation over some greens that may or may not even replace the calories you spent hunting them.
  13. SageAdvicefarmgirl

    SageAdvicefarmgirl Well-Known Member

    Great book for beginners to get an idea of what can be done...basic info that you can research further to get into greater detail with your particular situation.

    Start thinking of every bit of your landscape as a place to grow something edible, medicinal, or useful!
  14. siletz

    siletz Member

    I second the recommendation of the Backyard Homestead book. It is a good look at how to fit a lot into a little space.
  15. testhop

    testhop Well-Known Member

    pototos and tomotos need tro be moved each year . as if thay grow in the same ground thay get early or late blight .
    so if you plant eather in the same spot each yearyou will get dead plants .
    it happen to me.this year .
    i cant find anything to counter this.
  16. MonsterMalak

    MonsterMalak Member

    Hello Everyone,,,, I am new here.

    I have 12 acres in East Texas, and have been thinking along the lines of sustainability. Things one might consider to increase potential production are some of the things listed below. Also, please share with me if you have found other things.

    Terra Pretta; If you live in an area with acidic low fertility soils, research this. Removes much of the burdon of fertilization, and can double or tripple crop production. All for just labor.

    Cassava; If live south enough, can grow cassava up to zone 7, and possibly higher. Can leave in the ground for 7 years till needed. Would not be recognized by thieves "if that becomes a problem.

    Taro; If have enough Moisture, is another low labor crop.

    Oriental Persimmons; Low labor, low pest, HIGH production of a high sugar Good fruit. can eat, dry, make wine or vinegar.

    Tifton 85 Hybrid Bermuda Grass; Will double the amount of meat production on a piece of land. Also many other non grazing animals can eat and digest Tifton 85.

    Kudzu; Yeah!! I know it ate the South. But if grown responsibly can give needed protein for animals and humans. Can also harvest starch crop.

    Kiowa Blackberries; Just plant and stand back. Low problem reliable producer of HUGE and large amounts of fruit. Can make Wine, Alcohol or vinegar if needed. Vinegar can be used in so many ways, antiseptic, preserve food, etc...

    Please share any other plants ot methods that might increase a persons ability to provide for themselves on their own land.
  17. MichaelK

    MichaelK I'm an O- ISTJ Aries rat!

    HI OTT
    I noticed you're in Hayward, so maybe a better question about survival gardening should not be how much land I'll need but how much water I'll need. Without a single drop of rain for 6 months out of the year, a survival garden of any size will shrivel pretty fast. If you can't supply your own water, you aint got nothin!
  18. Ezmerelda

    Ezmerelda Well-Known Member

    I have a friend that grows tomatoes year round in a green house (the same plants). She swears by a tonic made from powdered milk, Epsom salts, and crushed egg shells. I believe it's equal parts of each, with just enough water to make the mixture pourable.

    Maybe that tonic replaces something in the soil, allowing the plants to continue to thrive? She's had such great crops that I'm going to build a makeshift greenhouse over my tomatoes and feed them the tonic and see if it works for me, too.
  19. eldarbeast

    eldarbeast O.o I drank wha?-Socrates

    Reader's Digest published a book in the early 1980's called "Back To Basics" that has a humungous amount of information {Land: Buying It-Building On It; Energy From Wood, Water, Wind, and Sun; Raising Your Own Vegetables, Fruit and Livestock; Enjoying Your Harvest The Year Round; Skills and Crafts for House and Homestead; and Recreation at Home And in the Wild.

    The section on Raising Food and Livestock is over 60 pages long and includes kitchen gardening, gardening in limited spaces, herb gardens, fruits and nuts, pest control, grains and grasses, beekeeping, fish farming, and livestock.

    Fantastic find all wrapped up in a single book! 5 stars read!

  20. Graebarde

    Graebarde Old Dawg

    This book has been re-released under the same title, but not as Reader's Digest with some 'modernization' from the 70's/80's data. Say it in Hastings just this week.. I still have the original yellow books so won't bother with the new editons. One thing the new one has I think is more on solar electric, but didn't look too close. FB