Wednesday, 28 November 2012

100% Food Self-sufficiency, part II - how much area is required?

This thread was the result of a long work. Of course it is my personal perspective and estimate. Depending on what you eat, you might end up with different numbers.

I calculated myself to eat (these kg of food per year):
  • 45 kg of cereal GRAINS: 15 kg of pasta (wheat flour), 15 kg of bread (made with wheat/rye), 15 kg of breakfast cereals (oats or rye porridge); based in eating one portion of 50g pasta per day, one portion of 40g breakfast cereals, and one piece of bread (35g), per day
  • 20 kg POTATOES (two portions of week, each with 4 tubers) - but if you eat them daily, then it amounts to 80kg 
  • 15 kg of BEANS/pulses (one 40g portion per day)
  • 18 kg or RICE (one 50g portion per day)
  • 4 kg of CORN (two 40g portions per week) - but if you eat daily, then it ammounts to 15 kg
  • 2.5 kg of AMARANTH or quinoa (one 50g portion a week)
  • 1 kg of SESAME seeds, 1 kg of sunflower seeds (one 1 tsp portion per day)
  • roughly estimated: 1 onion per day, 2 garlic head per week, 1 broccoli head per week, 2 celery plants per month, 1 turnip per week, 1 carrot every other day, 1 tomato plant per week (around a dozen tomatoes per week), 1 pepper plant per week (around a few peppers per week), a couple pumpkin plants (a few pumpkins per year)
I am not counting with important perennial crops: namely fruits and nuts. I am also not counting with spices and animal protein (such as eggs, milk or fish).

Assuming average yields, for each crop, we can calculate the required area (in square meters, m2):
  • 150m2 of cereal grains (mostly wheat, but also some rye and oats)
  • 20m2 of potatoes (or 80m2 if you eat them every day)
  • 75m2 of beans/pulses
  • 60m2 of rice
  • 10m2 or corn (or 37m2 if you eat it every day)
  • 50m2 of amaranth or quinoa
  • 1m2 of sesame, 1m2 of sunflower
  • about 2m2 for each: tomatoes, and bell peppers
  • about 7m2 for onions
  • about 9m2 for growing pumpkins
  • about 1m2 for each: broccoli, turnip, carrots, garlic, celery, salads
Total is around 400m2, but if you live in a warm climate, you can manage with less space. You can grow the grains in winter and spring, as well as onions and most vegetables, and grow the remaining  cereals, rice and beans during summer. For this, you need a minimum area of 250m2. We can also try biointensive farming, and including polycultures to further minimize the growing area!

Plus space for chicken forage, fish aquaculture, fruit trees... I would account a mininum of extra:
  • 50m2 for a couple of chicken
  • 50m2 for a pond
  • and 200m2 for a few fruit and nut trees
Total area for food self-sufficiency ranges then between 550m2 to 700m2.

I also calculated how much seed to use for this:
  • 2.2 kg of dried grain (perhaps 1kg of wheat and the rest of oats and rye)
  • 3 kg potatoes (or 65 tubers)
  • 720g of dried beans
  • 1 kg of rice seeds
  • 50 corn seeds (about 1 ear)
  • 5g amaranth or quinoa (about 3 tsp of seeds)
  • 20g of sesame seeds (about 10 tsp), sow similar amount of sunflowers
  • roughly estimated: 365 onions sets, 100 garlic cloves, 50 broccoli seeds, 24 celery seeds,  50 turnip seeds, 150 carrot seeds, 50 tomato seeds, 50 pepper seeds, a couple of pumpkin seeds
You will find this very funny!
  • You should sow 2 beans and this is probably enough to give you enough beans to eat for a meal!
  • Grow 1 potato tuber and you will have a meal. Easy, no?
  • Grow about one full hand of rye seeds (2g or about 100 seeds), in a 35 x 35 cm square, and you could eat a porridge meal, OR use that flour to make 1 bread, or 1 dish of pasta!
  • Grow about 50 plants of amaranth in a 30 x 30cm space, and you will have a full meal!
  • Grow 8 sesame seeds, in a large pot, and you will have enough seeds to spray over a salad
  • Grow a few corn plants (even in a container), and surely you will have several cobs, enough for a meal or more!
  • Grow 2.5g of rice grains (about 100 seeds), in a 40x40cm area, and you will harvest enough for a meal.
Its a wonderful project to grow all of the above, and make a meal just grown by you!
    You need very little space to try this !!!

    We must sow....
    • sow about 50g, about 60 beans. You will need a square 3x2m
    • sow anywhere between 5 to 20 potatoes, in 3x2m square
    • sow about 180g of grain, in a square 4x3m
    • sow 100g or rice in a 5m2 spot
    • sow 8 plants of corn in a small area, about 1m2
    • sow about 1 tsp of sesame in a 40x40cm
    • sow about 1 tsp of amaranth seeds in a 2x2m square
    • roughly estimated: a patch with 30 onions, 8 garlic cloves, containers with 4 broccoli, 2 celery 4 turnips, a small patch with 15 carrots, a container with 4 tomato plants, and another with 4 pepper plants
    In about 40m2 (a 6x6m), you can grow enough food for a whole month!

    Now, one thing is a theory, another is practice. I must test these areas and see if I can feed myself for such a period of time! :-)

    I haven't count space for wood and compost crops. I estimated this to be perhaps 300m2 per year. 


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