Home gardening tips: How much land do you need to feed your family?
06/05/2021 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Home gardening tips: How much land do you need to feed your family?

Starting a home garden takes you one step closer to self-sufficiency. But do you know how much land you need to feed your whole family? If you’re not sure, you must first ask yourself several questions to determine if it’s feasible to start a garden on your homestead.

7 Questions to ask yourself before starting

A home garden, especially one that’s meant to feed your whole family, requires a lot of time and effort to maintain. Answer these six questions truthfully to determine if you can commit to maintaining a garden and if you have the resources to do so.

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Do you have enough time to maintain your garden?

This question might be easy to answer if you spend all your time in your homestead, but what if you have a full-time job?

A garden can’t be ignored after you plant seeds and water seeds. You need to water your plants and monitor your garden regularly to get rid of weeds and harvest your crops.

If you also plan on raising livestock for food, you need to keep each animal healthy and harvest eggs and milk. Additionally, you need to learn how to butcher animals if you’re going to raise them for meat.

Are you willing to work hard?

A home garden isn’t a project for quitters. Like most homesteading projects, a home garden requires a lot of back-breaking work.

You need to do your research and figure out if you have soil that’s good for growing crops. You also need to figure out which plants will grow well in your area.

How much money are you willing to spend on your garden?

You need the right tools to maintain your home garden. You also need to buy or make your preferred tools for weed management and pest control. With the right tools, you’ll make things easier for yourself while working on your garden.

Invest in high-quality basic gardening equipment like:

  • A dirt rake
  • A garden hoe
  • A garden shovel or D-handle shovel
  • Hand tools
  • A leaf rake
  • A scuffle hoe

Avoid cheap plastic tools and look for real metal tools at garage and estate sales to save money. You can also get proper tools at your local garden center. Keep your tools clean and sharp to make them last longer.

Will your family eat the crops you grow?

You’re better off not starting a garden if you still plan on eating junk food and dining out or ordering takeout.

It’s best to start a garden if you’re going to incorporate your harvest into your regular diet. This ensures that you make the most of every dollar you invest in your home garden. Eating homegrown organic produce is also a good way to improve your health.

If you have excess crops, you can learn home canning to produce something that you can sell for extra money.

To make the most of your home garden, you need to be willing to eat in season and learn how to dry and home can your crops. Make your harvested fruits and vegetables a big part of your diet.

Is there enough rainfall in your area? Do you have enough water for your garden?

If you live in an arid region, you’ll need more space for your garden. If your property is located in a wooded area, you can plant really tightly.

What is the climate like in your area?

Know what grows well in your region before buying seeds or seedlings for your garden. Consider factors like the climate and sun exposure. Familiarizing yourself with these factors will help you understand the limits and possibilities of your home garden.

If you’re at a loss, consult someone who works at your local garden center about the best native plants for your region. These plants will perform the best with less maintenance. You can also ask fellow homesteaders for tips.

Does your property have fertile soil?

A garden with rich, deep, loamy topsoil can produce healthy crops. But if all you have is nutrient-depleted clay soil, you’ll need to work twice as hard to maintain your garden.

You’ll probably need more land for your garden if the soil isn’t very fertile. If all you have is land that is very bad for growing crops, consider raising livestock like chickens and goats instead.

Crops to grow in your home garden

Here are some homestead staples that you should try growing in your garden.

Root crops

For small-scale homesteading, it’s better to grow root crops instead of grains, which require more work and space. Compared to other vegetables, root crops are more forgiving.

Here are some root crops that you should grow in your garden:

  • African yams
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cassava
  • Garlic
  • Icicle radishes (daikon)
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Taro (malanga)
  • Turnips

Squash, beans, and corn

If the climate where you live is right for squash, the vegetable deserves a place in your garden. Old winter squash varieties are large and you can store them for six months or longer.

Beans are a good source of storable protein. Plant old-school shell beans and try growing different varieties on your land. While their yield isn’t as good as other survival plants, beans help repair garden soil by adding nitrogen.

If you have beans and squash, add corn to the mix, but don’t plant sweet corn. You’ll need old varieties like Bloody Butcher, Hickory King or Hopi Blue for your survival garden since they’re tough and uncorrupted by genetic modification.

Unlike other grains, corn is easy to harvest. Intercropping corn with squash and beans via the “Three Sisters” method will help you maximize garden space.

How much land do you really need?

If you have a one-acre garden, two acres for goats and two more acres for fruit orchards, food forest, chickens, ducks and ponds, you’ll grow enough food in a location with a good climate and healthy soil. Overall, your creativity and what you grow will determine how much land you actually need to feed your family. Start by heavily utilizing what you have.

If you’re a gardening beginner, grow crops on a small plot of land or plant veggies in a container garden. After all, gardening isn’t about how much space you have but how you utilize the space you already have.

You’re the only one who can figure out the answer based on the factors discussed in the questions above and how much time, money and hard work you’re willing to invest in your home garden.

Sources:

TheGrowNetwork.com

CommonSenseHome.com

RealSimple.com

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