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Wed Oct 24, 2012, 05:20 AM

 

Infographic: How big a backyard would you need to live off the land?

As you can see below, you'd need a heck of a lot of backyard space about 89,050 square feet (or about 2 acres) if your clan plans on eating fruits, grains, and veggies, dairy (via goats) meat (via pigs), eggs, and wheat-based foods (the number drops to about 1.5 acres if you cut wheat out of the equation and opt to purchase flour from a local grocery store). The infographic also shows that to live off the grid, power-wise, the typical American home consuming 11,040 kWh of electricity per year would require 375-square-feet of rooftop space to install 25 solar panels that receive a full seven hours of sunlight per day.

Interesting stuff. My question to those of you out there producing a significant amount of edibles in your own backyards: How much space do you require to feed your family (or just yourself) in a self-sufficient manner without the benefit of living on a full-blown farm? What things, due to space constraints, are outsourced? What things do you find yourself never buying at a grocery store? Two acres is a whole lot of land backyard farming is often so romanticized that one often forgets the amount of raw space required to keep it up beyond "hobby" status so I'm curious as to how you make it work ... tell me all about it in the comments section.

http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/blogs/infographic-how-big-a-backyard-would-you-need-to-live-off-

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Reply Infographic: How big a backyard would you need to live off the land? (Original post)
HiPointDem Oct 2012 OP
Kolesar Oct 2012 #1
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #3
Kolesar Oct 2012 #4
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #6
RadiationTherapy Oct 2012 #12
cali Oct 2012 #18
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #22
ret5hd Oct 2012 #2
HiPointDem Oct 2012 #5
Lochloosa Oct 2012 #11
Madam Mossfern Oct 2012 #7
mainer Oct 2012 #10
Starry Messenger Oct 2012 #8
mainer Oct 2012 #9
newfie11 Oct 2012 #13
Le Taz Hot Oct 2012 #14
MineralMan Oct 2012 #15
reformist2 Oct 2012 #16
cali Oct 2012 #19
reformist2 Oct 2012 #23
sinkingfeeling Oct 2012 #17
bluedigger Oct 2012 #20
Spider Jerusalem Oct 2012 #21

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:13 AM

1. You could produce half the food you eat by gardening 10 hours/week

According to my favorite gardening author in "Gardening When It Counts", Steve Solomon.

I could harvest greens for nine months out of the year using cold frames. We put up a lot of winter squash, onions, and root crops every winter for fun. When I retire, I will expand the garden to 1200 square feet and put up more food.

Home grown food is more nutritious.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:26 AM

3. 'when you retire' being the operative words. unemployed people don't have land, & working people

 

don't have time.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:28 AM

4. So, why did you ask? eom

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:32 AM

6. i didn't ask anything, i posted an article with a graphic.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #6)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:50 AM

12. True, true.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 10:09 AM

18. actually, where I live I know more than a few unemployed people with land

and that's true of most rural regions, I imagine.

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Response to cali (Reply #18)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 11:19 AM

22. not for long, unless they're retirees; independently wealthy; drug dealers.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:19 AM

2. tell that to this guy:

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #2)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:31 AM

5. i'll say it: i don't believe him when he claims "self-sufficiency"

 



he doesn't feed his family on what he produces in a pool. look at the 'plants'. a few potted things.



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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:48 AM

11. Try this in Florida....I dare you.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:32 AM

7. I would have to figure out how to deal with

the marauding deer and groundhogs first.
That's why I gave up my garden.

Right now I have at least seven deer living on my property, and heaven knows how many groundhogs. They even devoured my ornamental cabbages and kale within days.

Yes, I sprayed them (the cabbages) with repellant.

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Response to Madam Mossfern (Reply #7)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:45 AM

10. Eat the deer.

They're free range, after all.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:40 AM

8. I live in an apartment and barely have time to food shop.

I'd rather leave farming to the experts. Just keeping my houseplants alive is a challenge.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 06:44 AM

9. Depends on the climate, too

IN areas like Maine, where you have long winters, you'll need more land to produce grain for storage for your livestock to get by in the winter.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 07:53 AM

13. first you have to live where there is not a drought

We own a working farm in SW Nebraska panhandle. We have irrigation and made it through fine THIS year BUT...... Our irrigation water comes from Wyoming mountain reservoirs. Last year they did not fill completely and some of the junior irrigators were kicked off early. If they don't fill this year (due to lack of snow) we will all be screwed.

Those on irrigation from deep wells in the Occalala are limited to 14" per acre but that maybe changed before next season due to this drought.

So yes it is great to grow your own food if you have the ability to do so. Hay in our area is over $200 a ton, there are no pastures as no rain all summer. Many ranchers selling off their herds. If you have a freezer this would be a good time to buy a beef. Prices are going to skyrocket due to lack of grains to feed hogs, chickens, and the cattle sell off.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 08:35 AM

14. I VERY MUCH disagree with this.

Here is a family living in Pasadena with 1/10th of an acre, living off the land AND sells the extra for the food they don't produce.

Here's the Youtube video:

&feature=related

And here's a gentleman in Wisconsin who grows 1 MILLION POUNDS OF FOOD on 3 acres using Aquaculture and other methods:

&feature=related

There are MANY MANY YouTube videos on sustainable living posted by people who have actually done it and are doing it.

I'm not sure what the agenda is here but people all over the world have proven IT CAN BE DONE.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:40 AM

15. That's a very idealistic estimate of what it would take.

It would only apply to an ideal situation, and that isn't the case in most places.

Subsistence farming is not that easy, and realistically takes an average of 5-10 acres, depending on location.

Go to the Mother Earth News website and look for their articles on the subject. They've been covering the subsistence farming experience since the 1970s.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 09:44 AM

16. One could argue, this is the amount of land every person has a *right* to have, for free.


It's a natural extension of the right to life.

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #16)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 10:11 AM

19. you could argue that but it would be silly.

how on earth would one arrange it?

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Response to cali (Reply #19)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 11:31 AM

23. You don't actually give people the land, but you can give them the rental value in cash.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 10:00 AM

17. I don't think most towns and cities allow livestock to be raised in backyards.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #17)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 10:16 AM

20. I always liked the "quaint" medieval architecture of Europe.

The "first floor" of many houses there is what we would call the second floor, because the first, or ground floor, was/is for livestock.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2012, 10:29 AM

21. takes more than that

you need arable land with topsoil of a certain depth, you need sufficient rainfall or access to irrigation (in terms of natural rainfall, and genuinely "living off the land", you can forget about self-sufficient agriculture west of the hundredth parallel).

Here's a map of precipitation levels across the US. See all that red? that's where this kind of agriculture is impossible (people in Phoenix using water for golf courses and lawns is already bad enough, thanks...the three-state fight over Colorado River water rights is only going to intensify as it is).

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