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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so....we are trying to figure out how much and of what to start growing....We live in Zone 8 (middle GA)

We want to be able to grow enough to sustain us and not need to go to the store.....We are a family of 3......Myself, my Wife, and our 4 1/2 yr old.....

We will be completely relying on this for a SHTF deal......So as far as nutrition, and variety, what should we focus on? We have plenty of game in our immediate area for meat.....
 

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Start with root veggies and greens, as many types and varieties as you can get ahold of. Plant em, learn to grow em, and find what you like to eat and can grow well. Root vegetables and greens have the largest concentrations of essential nutrients and are, for the most part, easy to grow.

Learn to grow corn, quinoa, and try out wheat. (wheat doesn't do as well in warmer climates, so it may not do as well) Having a steady supply of grains, whatever they may be, is important.

After you've got those down, focus on your fruiting plants: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, okra, etc... Same deal, plant what you enjoy eating, and learn to grow it well.

Be sure that while you're experimenting and learning that you're also getting some good fruiting trees and shrubs in place. In your area I'd suggest apricot, peach, nectarine, pecan, walnut, figs, raspberry, blackberry, quince, kiwi. You might even be able to get some citrus growing.

Here's a good seed company for your area: Fedco - Co-op Seeds, Gardening Supplies, Trees, Potatoes, Bulbs

Also, this book has A LOT of information on sustainably growing the majority of your own food:
How to Grow More Vegetables
 

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Be sure that your seed is not a hybrid. Use heirloom varieties so that you can save the seed from year to year.

Plant the "staples" that produce well in your area and you like to eat. For us that means root crops. They're the only thng that grows reliably. We also grow herbs and other spices and foods used as a side or flavoring. Tomatoes are a great example. They're difficult and unreliable to grow in our region but we use them in spaghetti, chili, etc. so we grow them. But, if it came to a true survval situation most of the garden would be planted in things we were sure would make it okay.

We also have berry bushes and fruit trees growing. As the berries outgrow their space we transplant them all over out property.

Pay attention to food preservation also unless you can grow food all year 'round. You'll need to store food to get you through the time from planting to harvest. Another reason we concentrate on root crops is that they're easy to store in the root cellar and they don't take any non-renewable parts to store them (like canning lids, etc.). We have several year's wrth of canning lids on hand but eventually they will run out. After that if they can't be stred in the root cellar they'll be dehydrated.
 

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The wanderer
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Plant as many perenniel fruits and vegetables as you can. In your climate a lot of them will grow and produce year-round. Besides the obvious fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, strawberry plants, there's asparagus and rhubarb and many more.

Plus all the stuff the others mentioned above! You're wise to learn this now, and not when your life will depend on it!

:)
 

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You guys didn't leave me much but I do want to add one more thing. Don't try to grow everything you'll need for a year in your first season. I've worked up to a 10,000 sf garden over the last 4 years. It's almost a full time job keeping it weeded unless you have a lot of help. Also, print this "companion planting" guide.

Beans--they like celery and cucumbers but dislike onions and fennel.

Beets--Bush beans, lettuce, onions, kohlrabi, and most members of the cabbage family are companion plants. Keep the pole beans and mustard away from them.

Cabbage--Celery, dill, onions and potatoes are good companion plants They dislike strawberries, tomatoes, and pole beans.

Carrots--Leaf lettuce, radish, onions and tomatoes are their friends, Plant dill at the opposite end of the garden.

Corn--Pumpkins, peas, beans, cucumbers and potatoes are nice companion plants, Keep the tomatoes away from them.

Cucumbers--They like corn, peas, radishes, beans and sunflowers. Cucumbers dislike aromatic herbs and potatoes so keep them away.

Lettuce--It grows especially well with onions. Strawberries carrots, radishes and cucumbers also are friends and good companion plants.

Onions--Plant them near lettuce, beets, strawberries and tomatoes but keep them away from peas and beans.

Peas--Carrots, cucumbers, corn, turnips and radishes plus beans, potatoes and aromatic herbs are their friends. Keep the peas away from onions, garlic, leek, and shallots.

Radishes--This is one vegetable that has a lot of friends, they are excellent companion plants with beets, carrots, spinach and parsnips. Radishes grow well with cucumbers and beans. It's said that summer planting near leaf lettuce makes the radishes more tender. Avoid planting radishes near cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, kohlrabi or turnips.

Squash--Icicle radishes, cucumbers and corn are among their friends.

Tomatoes--Carrots, onions and parsley are good companion plants. Keep the cabbage and cauliflower away from them.

__The most common example of companion planting is "The Three Sisters" . which should work well in GA.

Hope this helps. :)
 

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I agree with UncleJoe ... somethings just grow better with a good friend ... :D

Also start with what you and your family 'likes' to eat ...

Why put out 4 rows of peas when only 1 person likes them ??? So IMO take a look at what you like ... and go from there. ;)

And keep us up-to-date ... Zone 8 ... garden season is just around the corner! :D
 

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performing monkey
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Ok so....we are trying to figure out how much and of what to start growing....We live in Zone 8 (middle GA)

We want to be able to grow enough to sustain us and not need to go to the store.....We are a family of 3......Myself, my Wife, and our 4 1/2 yr old.....

We will be completely relying on this for a SHTF deal......So as far as nutrition, and variety, what should we focus on? We have plenty of game in our immediate area for meat.....
You supposedly can grow a vegetarian food selection on approx. 0.44 acres of good land, according to Cornell University, if you're careful about it. There are such selections for equator to about middle-alaska in light band; it'll take some research.

Cornell Chronicle: Diets and NY's ag footprint

The current typical American's food footprint load, including area left to meat, is approximately 2.1 acres. Traditional Victorian wisdom was that two acres would feed a person.

Accounts for the food production benefits of hydroponics and aeroponics vary, but commercial greenhouses in Israel are seeing an across the board growth change of 5-7x. In the cases of certain specific plants, that can be radically higher; tomatoes generally enjoy a 20:1 output boom, passionfruit a 25:1, strawberries 28:1, etc, if you're growing trellised (which means they're filling a 3d space instead of a 2d space, hence the huge numbers for those and other vine fruiting plants.)

LED five-band lighting seems to create generally a 15-20% growth win. In a few cases, such as kelps, algae and mosses, that can be much higher.

Growing indoors allows you to nearly eliminate disease and pestilence, which can have an enormous impact on productivity and cultivar availability, but this is intensely plant-specific. You'll nearly double a perennial strawberry crop with this and bud clipping.

So, I mean, it depends on a lot of stuff. Are you an average person, or a commercial grower? Do you have big equipment? Indoor or outdoor? Climate controlled? Trellised? Water reformed? LED light supported? Carbon dioxide supported? Are you using fertilizers, and if so which kind? What's your growing mechanism and grow strategy?

etc etc etc...

If you're just farming your back yard, and if you're largely vegetarian (or hunting), and if you're not doing anything fancy, a good rule of thumb is two acres, and don't expect to produce meat.
 

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Oh heck ... The_Blob ...

to many numbers for me ... lol

I'm more of a grow what can ... eat what you can ... then put up the rest kind of person ... ;)
 

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Oh heck ... The_Blob ...

to many numbers for me ... lol

I'm more of a grow what can ... eat what you can ... then put up the rest kind of person ... ;)
Couldn't agree more! Maybe in a grenhouse you could control enough of the variables to predetermine harvests/yields but out in the open??? Not gonna happen. Just plant a lot more than you think you'll need. If you can't use it up or give it away or preserve it then compost it and use it for fertilizer.

Good point was made about animals ... you're going to need more room to grow food for them.
 

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Look up a book by Elliot Coleman called "The four Season Harvest" while many things do not grow during the cold weather, you can start many in late summer and early fall and then using row covers/cold frames/greenhouse combos the harvest can be extended all winter long- carrots and other root crops are much sweeter if left in the ground and then dug all winter- heck we used to just cover the patch with a couple of bales of straw and when you wanted a few carrots ya just moved the bale and dug a few- parsnips are the best when planted and harvested this way.
All kinds of the cole crops can be wintered over and not lose quality if done right. Also putting up hoops and then adding the plastic at strategic times can either extend the end of season or bring things in to bear earlier if added in the beginning of the year.

The only way we get a really good crop of spinach is to grow it in the fall-cover it and then uncover it first thing in the spring. Sure I can grow baby spinach all year round but that is only enuf for sandwich topping or adding to other lettuces.
There are many ways to grow food and harvest and enjoy-a person could read a book a day and still probably not get thru them all!

Also on saving seed for next year- heirlooms and Open Pollinated are the way to go, but that is something that should be learned now-- not when you have to depend on it. Some things need little help to produce pure seed and some need a bit more help. Also processing and storing your seed from year to year does need a bit of practice--even tho I have been doing this for many years now- I still screw up here and there--One big no-no--never, ever, ever store your seeds in plastic totes--I now store all my heirloom seed stocks in big one gallon pickle jars or other glass mason jars--mice can and will chew thru a rubbermaid tote and destroy your whole collection in no time flat.
 

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Carrots go to seed the second year so we just leave a few growing at the end of the year. The next year they put out seed heads which re-seed themselves naturally. We have one carrot patch that has been in constant production for several years now. All we do is weed them and eat them. Haven't bought any seed since the second year.
 

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Beets work the same way, as long as the goats don't get in there and eat them. :gaah: :rolleyes:
 

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Beets work the same way, as long as the goats don't get in there and eat them. :gaah: :rolleyes:
I thought I was the only person that had that problem ... lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the great replies! All information is being logged believe me....

So, in a cpl days the first of many raised Beds are going in......

I set up a Carport frame that was given to me a cpl years ago for a makeshift green house.....Film and accesories are being ordered with the next paychk...that stuff is more expensive then i thought.....

I do have experience with hydroponics.....I do alot better with it then soil.....not sure why, i think its the scientific part that appeals to me, working specific amounts etc......and i like tinkering with nutrient delivery and such......maybe i will turn the green house into one big Hydro Farm...hmmmm. anyway, i will give updates frequently....
 

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Look forward to the pics! :D
 
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