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Anyone out there striving for self sufficiency in their vegetable plot?

(13 Posts)
Dumbledoresgirl Fri 01-Jul-11 19:08:01

I am just wondering.....how big a plot would be needed to feed a family of 6? Roughly? Do you think?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Fri 01-Jul-11 19:18:37

I think a traditional 10 rod allotment (250 square yards ?, not sure ) was supposed to be the amount you needed to keep a family of 4 in fruit and veg for a year. Could be wrong about that though.

diggingforvictory Fri 01-Jul-11 19:26:32

We feed 4 from a set of raised beds totalling 375 square feet, plus a 12'x8' greenhouse and fruit beds (roughly 200 sqft). We are self sufficient except for maincrop/old potatoes which we don't bother with. It's hard work though!

Dumbledoresgirl Fri 01-Jul-11 19:29:22

Thanks Wynken. I had to ask dh to translate that into terms I could picture. wink He thinks that is about 50 feet squared. Hmmm.

Dumbledoresgirl Fri 01-Jul-11 19:34:38

Wow diggingforvictory, I am in awe of your achievement! I have to admit I am a fair weather gardener only, so only grow veggies for the summer and autumn, but we have a huge garden which could, theoretically, feed us all, so every now and then I fantasise about how it could be done.

How much time do you spend cultivating? and what do you do about produce that cannot be grown in this country? do you simply not eat it or do you buy some exotic things?

catinthehat2 Fri 01-Jul-11 19:58:47

I have something pretty much every day/365 which I have grown

We eat a lot of onions/leeks/garlic/shallots in our house

(the 2 statements are indeed connected smile)

Dumbledoresgirl Fri 01-Jul-11 20:01:41

catinthehat, I am growing leeks for the first time this year. I have loads, but all really close together at the moment as they have not yet been thinned (because I have no room to thin them). On the packet, it says thin to 9 inches apart... 9 inches? really? That seems ever so far apart given that leeks are only about an inch or two in diameter. Can you let me know how far apart you plant yours?

catinthehat2 Fri 01-Jul-11 20:25:27

blush
I chuck the seeds in a trough in JAn, and forget about them
I end up with a lot of grass like sprouts, maybe 70-100 ish?
I reckon to get these in a section about the size of a single bed mattress, possibly a few inches less all round
I don't do rows, just start in the centre & work my way round in a spiral, reckon maybe 6 in apart in all directions.
just enough to weed between without disturbing the plant
I end up with nice medium leeks which are a decent size for cooking, rather than the tree trunks which the old allotment boys bestow on their grateful wives (!)
I plant close as I have no space to waste, my hands are small enough to weed, and I like sensible leeks rather than competition whoppers, so I think I am in agreement with you, closer is sensible

<leek bore>

Dumbledoresgirl Fri 01-Jul-11 20:30:59

oo thanks for that. I think the upshot is that 6 inches is sufficient? I hadn't thought about weeding potential blush In my book, if there is no gap between the plants, there is no room for weeds - job done blush blush

But I agree with you re size of leeks. When I buy them in the shops, I only ever buy the thinnest ones as I think they are less stringy. So I am definitely not up for competition-sized plants.

GnomeDePlume Fri 01-Jul-11 21:08:44

Dumbledoresgirl would it be helpful to try to become self-sufficient in certain things then expand out from there? We are now self-sufficient for strawberries (and jam), new potatoes, courgettes, broad beans, french beans, runner beans. I have a greenhouse and a 5 pole plot.

Some of it I think is an attitude of mind. We eat the things we are self-sufficient in in season and I preserve in some form the glut.

Dumbledoresgirl Fri 01-Jul-11 21:26:35

GnomeDePlume, that is a good idea and something I am trying to achieve in a way, eg we had a constant supply of runner beans and courgettes for 4 months last year, and then were able to carry on eating them occasionally all the way through to spring courtesy of the produce I froze.

Sorry, how big is 5 poles?

GnomeDePlume Fri 01-Jul-11 22:00:15

5 pole - mine is 30 feet by 45 feet (in old money).

I have had my plot for a couple of years now (I'm in my third season). Having tried to grow anything and everything in my first couple of years I'm now looking at the things which are actually worth the bother. For me that means soft fruit, beans, new potatoes, onions, garlic. For some reason I cant grow peas.

diggingforvictory Sat 02-Jul-11 18:54:18

Dumbledoresgirl, we spend far too much time growing! Typically at this time of year it's about 1-2 hours a day, much of that is picking. Then there's all the preparing the veg and freezing excess.

We buy bananas, but everything else we just eat what's in season or stored in the freezer.

I plant leeks 6 inches apart by the way! Any further is just madness!

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