Has anyone thought about being totally self sufficient?(25 Posts)
As in growing all your own food? Has anyone done it? Or close to it?
If so, how much land do you need? How do you decide what to grow? What do you eat in a typical day?
god no what a sad awful grind that must be
But the John Seymour book, the new complete book of self sufficiency. It's on my bedside table right now and tells you all you need to know. I plan to do some of the things!
I have that book! Love reading it, wouldn't want to live it. There's a good Paul Heiney one too, not so full on
Me and my dp and DD did this for 4 years.
We have 8 acres of land. We put up pens for 2 sheep, 3 pigs (1 breeding sow and two piglets for killing) ducks and chickens and cows.
We put up raised beds for veg.
The livestock was a breeze. I found the veg a complete pain.
We grew what we liked to eat so all the usual salad stuff, carrots onion pease beans cauliflower, courgettes, potatoes. For some reason I couldn't grow tomatoes or peppers. Don't know why they just failed on me.
we used to cut, chop and freeze what we needed for winter.
Our dream was to have a meal of which we had totally produced everything ourselves, and we did many times.
I found killing the animals the hardest because they all have lovely personalities.
Turkeys at Christmas were the worst as they were so friendly and followed you around and were playful. I was so upset about them that we didn't get any last year.
Ask me if you want to know anything and I will do my best to answer
But your whole life would be concerned with food and heating. There's so much more to life than that.
That is life though isn't it? Especially for farmers or where else would your food come from? There's nothing nicer than sitting down to say a lamb dinner knowing what has gone Into it, rather than buying lamb In A plastic packet at the supermarket. The taste is completely different.
Typical day meal
Breakfast - eggs bacon sausage home made bread and homemade tomato sauce
Lunch - ham cheese pickle sandwich
Dinner - pork chops, veg. Chips
All our own produce.
We play at this, grow all pur own potatoes (prob eat 3-4 times a week) pick lots of berries for squash, desserts , sauces etc and swap lots of stuff with others for eggs, apples, rhubarb etc . We also hunt and barter fish (through favors or work) from.fishermen locally. OH hunts most.of pur red meat (eaten approx 3 times a week).
But we also go to the supermarket and both have regular ft jobs so don't plan to get livestock just now. OH has had livestock before so maybe we will go back to.that sometime on the future.
My parents were reasonably self sufficient (bought in flour, sugar, pasta, rice, hay, fuel, water, and animal food for instance) for many years, especially by bartering with others for other veg/fruit, honey, game and so on.
We had goats (for milk and meat), chickens (meat and eggs), raised calves, pigs, and lambs for meat (bought at low cost at market or bartered), polytunnels for veg and fruit, and grew kale/potatos/onions etc outside. Mum made cream, yogurt, butter and soft cheese plus jams, chutneys etc. She never made good hard cheese, so this was exchanged for meat.
You do eat quite seasonally, and sometimes get sick of things in season - at peak milk production, and with the freezer full, there really was a limit to how much yogurt you could eat.
I liked it as a childhood, but its a hard life to keep up - no days off or long days out if you have stock to milk.
I would like to. Dh says no.
Patricia, why did you stop?
Agree with the milking. We used to toss a coin to see who would milk.
couldn't keep it up so just buy it from Farm down road now
We still farm the animals but we gave up with the veg bit by bit.
Keep thinking about going back to it, but I found it harder work than the animals.
We did get a poly tunnel frame given to us but we are right near the sea and when it gets windy it is really bad here and we didn't have a sheltered enough place to put it up.
I have the utmost respect to people who manage this, especially the meat side of it.
We had all good intentions of being part self sufficient when we moved to a house with half an acre of land but have gradually given up most of the veg except the ones that are easiest to grow and Harvest eg courgettes, beans, artichokes, rhubarb, tomatoes. Used to grow root veg but found the cleaning very messy ( we have heavy clay soil) so I buy those now. We are at least 100% self sufficient for eggs all year round (12 bantams) and mostly self sufficient for fruit ( strawberries, redcurrants, raspberries, cherries, blackcurrants, blackberries, apples, pears) in the summer and autumn. I think one of the problems with fruit is that you will need a large temperature controlled room to store apples to keep them in the same condition as they would be when you buy them several months after harvest. No bananas or oranges either. I couldn't do it.
Thanks everyone so much for your replies. We're thinking about doing this in the future but I imagine that it would be really really tough. But totally rewarding as well!
Jaxing and Champagne, I'll check those books out, thanks.
Patricia, how many cows did you have? Did you make your own cheese, butter, etc? Did you pasteurise? How much freezer space did you need? Did you have to plant everything on a south facing slope? We are thinking about buying what would initially be a holiday home but might eventually turn into a self sufficient small holding. Are there any obvious things that we need to know or bear in mind when selecting a site?
Nosy are you in the UK? The hunting to eat sounds very natural.
Silly question perhaps but how many chickens would we need if we wanted half a dozen eggs a day?
We grew potatoes, a few years ago, and from the crop we got calculated that the 10 acre field behind our garden might just be enough to make self sufficiency do-able. We'd have ot keep the chickens there, anyhow, as there's a no livestock covenant on our house.
Badgoushk, you'd need 8 I think but you'd likely end up with 8 eggs every day in the warm months and 2 or 4 or 6 or 8 eggs a day in the winter months, so it's hard to predict. Chickens are fab and very funny. Low maintenance and high reward. I've 3 (lost one to a fox last week) and they keep us (family if 5) in eggs all year pretty much. We do swop them out every 1-2 years to keep egg production high though.
bad we had 3 cows one in calf two for meat (one we sold meat from) we drank the milk straight from the cow. Did make butter, didn't enjoy doing the cheese but gave it a try and was ok. We didn't pasteurise.
We had a 6ft freezer in our designated meat chopping barn and a smaller one for poultry.
We started off with 4 hens so we eventually were getting 4 eggs a day and we had 6 ducks so on top of that 6 duck eggs. The ducks continued to lay right through the year butchickens went off Kay in winter.
Much preferred duck eggs (khaki Campbell duck are one of the best layers).
Veg beds were south facing but we didn't think about that when we put them in originally I wanted them next to the gable end of one of our barns near the house so I could run a trellis up for our peas and beans so more by accident really as we didn't have any book on it at the time. (Probably should have but it all worked out anyway)
All I would say is make sure your land is well drained as we had problems originally with water logging near our veg beds.
Pigs are great. Our Sow is lovely and she has just moved to a new pen. Good luck and go for it.
I would love to do this but no way I can as work full time. I did try growing all my own veg but it's very draining when you have to do everything in the evening after work or at weekends. It took up every bit of daylight hour I had. Managed one year and then gave up (but I still have loads of fruit from the raspberry canes and strawberry plants to nom on that look after themselves)
If I win the lottery jackpot then I would consider trying it as I would have enough free time.
We are.in Sweden.
We live on one hectare and the in laws were self sufficient here with three kids although the bartered and were able.to hint more (both in numbers and types of animals),than is possible now. They had a milking cow (made butter and milk), seasonal pigs for slaughter, working horses for the forest (log burners and cookers), own well, grew and harvest their own hay etc.
Badgoushk most adult hens will severely reduce their laying in the autumn and winter and then lay like crazy in the spring. Plenty in the summer too. We've had between 12 and 15 hens for most of last year (fox took 3 last summer) and in spring we sometimes had 12 eggs per day. Currently we get one or two per day. If you keep a rooster and allow your broody to hatch a few eggs in the spring, any new hens should come into lay in the following autumn when the egg production of the older ones naturally drops. The young hens lay throughout their first autumn and winter, as they don't moult until the second year. So it's good to keep some new ones coming through. You could raise any unwanted young cockerels to eat. They are normally mature by about 5 or 6 months.
I've thought about it. But just the thinking makes me tired.
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