Question What are your new year's self sufficiency goals?

I was scraping by on rainwater for a while and mostly growing drought tolerant things in the winter when the ground naturally has moisture but recently i set up some gravity fed water from a dam which seems to be doing well. I was eating a lot of stew with homegrown sheep, pigs or chooks, plus what ever else i could find or grow. Since i have water now i'm aiming to grow as much as possible this summer and eating a lot more vegetables and fruit but its hard to sustain your body weight on just that alone especially when working physically. A lot of survivalist types comment that you really need to regularly eat a good amount of fatty meat in order to sustain body weight when eating only natural foods and i would definitely agree with that. In saying that out of the plant based foods i think the tuber crops are the most sustaining. I also like grapes with seeds as i find i can sustain myself on them for a fair while as the seeds have a good amount of fat and protein. This is a common theme, most things that you eat the seeds with seem to be more sustaining.
We had a cherry type tomato this year that was watered in Spring when planted to help get it startet but then was totally on it's own and it went wild and even produced Tomatoes until the first frost. (just our normal garden soil, no fertilizer this year and heaps of weeds) It literally thrived even through the biggest summerheat and a dry spell of almost 8 weeks. 2 weeks of which we had almost constantly 39°C from 10a.m. to 5p.m.

There is (not the one we had) a wild-type Cherrytomato heirloom which is called "post office spoonfull". I've learned, that because it's very close related to the wild growing tomato types from Peru, it's especially hardy and resillient. No pruning needed and produces a ton of fruits... maybe that would be a variety for your place to try? Tomato roots can grow down about 2m very easily some even deeper, maybe they are hardy enough to grow in your area with a little help🤔
 
I tend to enjoy scouring local nurseries to see how their plants are doing. The one I frequent is out in the open, very similar to how a "normal" garden would be (compared to a controlled environment). It sometimes helps guide me to see what plants are thriving that time of the year, and which aren't. Especially early on it helped me realise that I wasn't failing my garden, but that it was simply too hot for example and that's why my lettuces bolted.
I prefer starting from seed as I feel like most of the plants I started from seed are much sturdier than the ones I haven't. There are exceptions to this rule though. In my case most herbs do better when I buy them as seedlings, as they don't do well from seed for me.

Even rainwater would've been a struggle, if you only get so little water. What consistency is your soil like? Mine is mostly clay.
Ah, you have your own animals. I'd love to have my own chooks, but I fear I'd grow attached and wouldn't be able to eat them. I personally struggle killing any animal to begin with. I do think there are many benefits to keeping your own animals for food though.
I honestly do think that meat is necessary in a healthy, sustaining diet. Especially in colder environments, where the fat can be beneficial to your body coping with the cold. In the Netherlands we eat a lot of meat and potatoes. I always noticed that the food would be served with higher fat contents in winter, and that I would actually start to crave it on cool days.
Nowadays I live in Australia, and I did notice I eat a lot less fat now. It made me feel warm and oily, which isn't what you're looking for in the sub-tropics, really.
I'm still on a path to learn what I can grow here successfully and I'm enjoying the process. A future dream for me is to grow bananas, but I think I just missed the season. And I've found it hard to source bananas that are suitable for planting. One day I'll succeed...
Yep some of herbs and other plants in the wild tend to reproduce vegetatively through branches that touch the ground growing roots. They tend to loose some of their seed viability the less they rely on reproducing that way.

Soils here were originally very hard clay but i bought in some softer soil that i've been putting on top. Yep its not a job i'm comfortable with either but animals make a big difference in terms of self sufficiency. An old farmer from Europe once said to me the only thing that kept them alive and healthy enough to work through winter and during times of scarcity was pork stored in salt in the bath. The modern diet has so much sugar and plant oils added to everything that we are already overloaded with calories. However if you grow your own food and cutout wheat, sugar and plant oils you loose weight pretty rapidly, its also worth adding your health improves a lot without those things, wheat is especially damaging to the body.

I know some people successfully growing bananas in Perth, you should be able to have some success with them, just put them up against the sunny side of the house if its made out of bricks as they hold the heat. I'd plant some, hey don't cost much to buy small plants, just try a few different varieties, smaller fruit types usually take less time to grow.

Good luck with your garden as well @Lunai, i'm sure it will go well, tomatoes throughout the year is certainly something i'd like to do here as well. Cape gooseberries (Physalis peruviana) are a bit sweeter but i've heard you can make sauce out of them in a similar way and they fruit for longer in the year.

Hopefully everyone has a good Christmas
 
We had a cherry type tomato this year that was watered in Spring when planted to help get it startet but then was totally on it's own and it went wild and even produced Tomatoes until the first frost. (just our normal garden soil, no fertilizer this year and heaps of weeds) It literally thrived even through the biggest summerheat and a dry spell of almost 8 weeks. 2 weeks of which we had almost constantly 39°C from 10a.m. to 5p.m.

There is (not the one we had) a wild-type Cherrytomato heirloom which is called "post office spoonfull". I've learned, that because it's very close related to the wild growing tomato types from Peru, it's especially hardy and resillient. No pruning needed and produces a ton of fruits... maybe that would be a variety for your place to try? Tomato roots can grow down about 2m very easily some even deeper, maybe they are hardy enough to grow in your area with a little help🤔
Thanks i'll keep an eye out, the cherry tomatoes are certainly tough, i've seen one come up wild and now that i have a bit of water hopefully there will be more.
 
Ah, that's fair. I've bought seed packets in the past, but really only buy herb seedlings nowadays. The seedlings never do too well, and on the rare occasion they do, some buy eats them all. I've found veggie seedlings to be hardier, possibly because they get bigger faster in my experience @SamfromWA .

Ah yes. I find that even making mini-raised beds really helps for my plants. That way the roots can get oxygen in the top layer, and also have something to grow in when younger. I've even cut the bottom off of plastic pots before, so that way they can grow inside the plastic pot part, but as they grow bigger they can push their roots into the boggy clay. I've had tomatoes in the clay in the past, but they really didn't do well. And upon digging them up (less that 20cm into the soil and after over a week of no rain) everything was soaking wet down below. The hole kept filling with water too. But every time I didn't water them they still complained, so I'm not sure what that was about. Or perhaps those tomatoes just didn't like this area to begin with, I was trialling a new type after all.
My dad used to sometimes hang a dead bunny/rabbit in the shed after it was gifted to him, to let it bleed out. Right where I would park my bicycle after school. The amount of times I've bumped my head against a dead animal when parking my bike up in that dark, cold shed. Brrrr. Still gives me shivers. I mean, dad was usually kind enough to tie a trash bag around it, but that was more so it didn't leak on the floor rather than keep it off of me. But nowadays he doesn't do things like that anymore and even he admits now that it's become a less frequent thing, he struggles with it. Even when one of his birds is deadly sick and he knows they aren't going to make it so he gives them a peaceful way out, he struggles now. It actually seemed to take him by surprise as it used to come so natural to him, I guess.
I don't really have an issue with someone else doing it (provided I am not attached to the animal, and I'm not watching). It's part of nature to me. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I'd rather do the work afterwards, and slice it up and cook it.

Yeah I'm interested in maybe growing some sweeter types of bananas. It's been really hard to source any though. And Bunnings already sold them as trees at $70 a pop, and that's a bit too pricy for me.

I would definitely recommend growing cherry tomatoes. They are ridiculously hardy, to the point I've only recently managed to kill one of my plants after a year of trying to remove it from existence. I think the recent bad weather and the whippersnipper finally did the trick. Now let's hope I got it down far enough it doesn't come back to haunt me once more. It has done that in the past before.
 
Ah, that's fair. I've bought seed packets in the past, but really only buy herb seedlings nowadays. The seedlings never do too well, and on the rare occasion they do, some buy eats them all. I've found veggie seedlings to be hardier, possibly because they get bigger faster in my experience @SamfromWA .

Ah yes. I find that even making mini-raised beds really helps for my plants. That way the roots can get oxygen in the top layer, and also have something to grow in when younger. I've even cut the bottom off of plastic pots before, so that way they can grow inside the plastic pot part, but as they grow bigger they can push their roots into the boggy clay. I've had tomatoes in the clay in the past, but they really didn't do well. And upon digging them up (less that 20cm into the soil and after over a week of no rain) everything was soaking wet down below. The hole kept filling with water too. But every time I didn't water them they still complained, so I'm not sure what that was about. Or perhaps those tomatoes just didn't like this area to begin with, I was trialling a new type after all.
My dad used to sometimes hang a dead bunny/rabbit in the shed after it was gifted to him, to let it bleed out. Right where I would park my bicycle after school. The amount of times I've bumped my head against a dead animal when parking my bike up in that dark, cold shed. Brrrr. Still gives me shivers. I mean, dad was usually kind enough to tie a trash bag around it, but that was more so it didn't leak on the floor rather than keep it off of me. But nowadays he doesn't do things like that anymore and even he admits now that it's become a less frequent thing, he struggles with it. Even when one of his birds is deadly sick and he knows they aren't going to make it so he gives them a peaceful way out, he struggles now. It actually seemed to take him by surprise as it used to come so natural to him, I guess.
I don't really have an issue with someone else doing it (provided I am not attached to the animal, and I'm not watching). It's part of nature to me. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I'd rather do the work afterwards, and slice it up and cook it.

Yeah I'm interested in maybe growing some sweeter types of bananas. It's been really hard to source any though. And Bunnings already sold them as trees at $70 a pop, and that's a bit too pricy for me.

I would definitely recommend growing cherry tomatoes. They are ridiculously hardy, to the point I've only recently managed to kill one of my plants after a year of trying to remove it from existence. I think the recent bad weather and the whippersnipper finally did the trick. Now let's hope I got it down far enough it doesn't come back to haunt me once more. It has done that in the past before.
I'd try gumtree, fb, or smaller stores, i bought some recently for $10 and they were about a foot high. Yep its not something enjoyable, but i'd starve without meat. You can see on the old black and white homestead photos they're all very thin, its a fine line producing more calories than you consume. I've also seen adding clay to sand makes a big difference. I need my soil here to be soft enough to work easily by hand so it was well worth bringing in some lighter soil on top. An easy way to control weeds is just to set up a mobile chook yard in an area, they strip all the green out and get it ready from planting. Pigs and happy to do the same thing but are even better and will even plough the ground for free.
 
I've probably just been searching outside of the right seasons... I hope FB marketplace will have luck, as Gumtree keeps giving me sketchy places :oops:

Oh yes. It's not a pretty job, but when done yourself you can at least ensure it was done humanely.
Love the idea of a mobile chook yard. I'm afraid we may have too many snakes in the area though... Maybe one day I'll set up something safe enough to keep some around. I love me some eggs after all. Do your chooks and pigs eat the leftover homegrown produce as well?
 
I've probably just been searching outside of the right seasons... I hope FB marketplace will have luck, as Gumtree keeps giving me sketchy places :oops:

Oh yes. It's not a pretty job, but when done yourself you can at least ensure it was done humanely.
Love the idea of a mobile chook yard. I'm afraid we may have too many snakes in the area though... Maybe one day I'll set up something safe enough to keep some around. I love me some eggs after all. Do your chooks and pigs eat the leftover homegrown produce as well?
Its good to ring places beforehand is it gives you a bit of an impression what the people are like. They eat just about anything expect for lemons, so no sweet and sour pork or chicken unfortunately. Biggest thing they seem to always need is protein, which is why we grow tagasaste here, chooks are addicted and will jump up and down eating the leaves like spring chickens, they also like the seeds. If you have a pond or some buckets duckweeds good, if your climate is warm enough Leucaena is another good one. They can sustain themselves in a yard wondering around eating bugs, seeds and greens though you get less eggs than if you were feeding them. Bugs and meat are their favourite food, they hunt down mice like a miniture t-rex, they'll even eat small snakes.
 
I got my raised beds finished I put in an extra Run for the chickens and they are laying lots of beautiful eggs but oh no the snow storm came!!!!
 

Attachments

  • What are your new year's self sufficiency goals?
    20221016_174317.jpg
    223.2 KB · Views: 52
  • What are your new year's self sufficiency goals?
    20221210_162109.jpg
    260.6 KB · Views: 50
  • What are your new year's self sufficiency goals?
    20221218_183517.jpg
    165.4 KB · Views: 40
  • What are your new year's self sufficiency goals?
    20221223_075147.jpg
    161.3 KB · Views: 40
Even small snakes @SamfromWA ? They're vicious, haha.
We've got a plentitude of wild skippies and possums around here. I've heard that even the odd wild boar or dog may show up, though I haven't experienced that yet. I've even seen goannas in my backyard, possibly even a platypus once recently.

I think we have leucaena growing wild around here. I've seen those seed pods many times.
 
The girls are very happy
I plan to add some cardboard insulation inside the coop! We got them a roo
Call him Mr Roo.
Hes young but growing fast! ❤❤❤❤
 

Attachments

  • What are your new year's self sufficiency goals?
    Screenshot_20221219-161255.png
    444.4 KB · Views: 52
In response to the earlier comments around Physalis peruviana, it is also known as ground cherry...we grew them for the first time here this past summer - they're annuals in our neck of the woods, but apparently self-sow readily :oops: I ate the last of the fresh ones within the last week...some of them were in pretty decent shape within the husk yet, but some were drying. We did make a jam with some that is quite pleasant. Some were dried, although I'm not certain what the purpose of that was aside from them keeping longer.

I'm preparing to use our acreage as my project property for the permaculture design course...submitting a project is a requirement to earn the certificate. I've got ideas rolling around, but I want to solidify the ideas into a plan and begin the implementation of the plan for this coming season.

We want to continue to develop the property and make progress toward it being more of its own ecosystem. I want to make progress on the edges in particular to create a buffer for the agricultural chemicals our neighbour uses. We will plant additional woody edibles - berries, fruit, and nuts, although perhaps less than I'd like to. I intend to start growing our first perennial vegetables - sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke) and asparagus (not counting rhubarb in that list, but we already do have some). We want to continue to work on improving the annual garden (I recently measured it and it turns out we used about 1000 square meters or 1/4 acre) - since we didn't have it planted densely, we know we can grow more food in that space as well as taking lessons learned from how things went this past season.

We also hope to grow our first intentional small grains - amaranth and golden (aka German) millet.

I'd like to take what I've learned about fermentation and improve my skill and results in that area. I'd also like to expand our repertoire of food preservation methods.

It's a bit tough to define how far we'll get this year...some of it is wait and see and some is how much do we want to spend on plant material in any given season. I'm trying not to make too many pronouncements as I'll need to get my design done...that won't be the end product, but it will be the guide to creating a more resilient property which will provide more value for us.

I've heard an interesting take on the topic - that nobody can become self-sufficient...it takes a community to truly become sufficient. We can all work away from fragility toward self-resilience and align ourselves with others of like mind to become more secure across the board.
 
Glad they are so happy and healthy @nayday !
How often would the cardboard have to be replaced? Or does it stay pretty dry and clean on the walls?
 
Even small snakes @SamfromWA ? They're vicious, haha.
We've got a plentitude of wild skippies and possums around here. I've heard that even the odd wild boar or dog may show up, though I haven't experienced that yet. I've even seen goannas in my backyard, possibly even a platypus once recently.

I think we have leucaena growing wild around here. I've seen those seed pods many times.
When you see a chook running around away from the others it usually means they've got something they really like, most of the time its something they caught. They most definitely eat small snakes, they hunt small prey and scavenge anything larger that they find. They pair well will growing your own meat as gross as it sounds as you can throw the scraps in the yard and they make short work of it. You're not allowed to sell pigs that you've fed meat but on a homestead scale pigs particularly like bones after the chickens have cleaned the meat off. Another important point about self sufficiency is that the soil nutrients must be recycled otherwise the productivity will continue to decline over time. Plus nitrogen is constantly lost as its turned into a gas through various mechanisms so nitrogen fixing plants are needed to maintain things. Leucaena and tagasaste are probably the two best known animal feed/nitrogen fixing trees on earth, protein is almost always the limiting factor and these naturally high protein feeds make a tremendous difference. There are other similarly useful families of trees out there depending on the climate(locust, prosopis, tipuana, acacia, casuarina, mulberry, elaeagnus and so on), the more you have the more productive the system will be and the healthier the animals are with diversity in their diet.
 
Haha I bet. We used to have chooks when I was little and they loved worms. Those were some vicious chickens, and when you tried to grab their eggs, they'd hurry to try and break them so you couldn't. When you did succeed they attempted to peck at them or attack you. Gosh did they scare me sometimes, haha.

Yes, true. Soil needs care as well. I believe that's why Mark cycles through his beds regularly, rather than keeping the same plant continuedly in one bed.

I haven't grown any trees seriously yet. I do have a small lemonade tree growing though. It's got some fruit on it at the moment, but they haven't ripened yet. I'm interested to see what they'll taste like. It's really been trying to produce more and more, and there's growth on it from at least two separate flowerings. Most flowers dropped off on their own, as it'd be too clumped together. I'm excited :D
 
In response to the earlier comments around Physalis peruviana, it is also known as ground cherry...we grew them for the first time here this past summer - they're annuals in our neck of the woods, but apparently self-sow readily :oops: I ate the last of the fresh ones within the last week...some of them were in pretty decent shape within the husk yet, but some were drying. We did make a jam with some that is quite pleasant. Some were dried, although I'm not certain what the purpose of that was aside from them keeping longer.

I'm preparing to use our acreage as my project property for the permaculture design course...submitting a project is a requirement to earn the certificate. I've got ideas rolling around, but I want to solidify the ideas into a plan and begin the implementation of the plan for this coming season.

We want to continue to develop the property and make progress toward it being more of its own ecosystem. I want to make progress on the edges in particular to create a buffer for the agricultural chemicals our neighbour uses. We will plant additional woody edibles - berries, fruit, and nuts, although perhaps less than I'd like to. I intend to start growing our first perennial vegetables - sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke) and asparagus (not counting rhubarb in that list, but we already do have some). We want to continue to work on improving the annual garden (I recently measured it and it turns out we used about 1000 square meters or 1/4 acre) - since we didn't have it planted densely, we know we can grow more food in that space as well as taking lessons learned from how things went this past season.

We also hope to grow our first intentional small grains - amaranth and golden (aka German) millet.

I'd like to take what I've learned about fermentation and improve my skill and results in that area. I'd also like to expand our repertoire of food preservation methods.

It's a bit tough to define how far we'll get this year...some of it is wait and see and some is how much do we want to spend on plant material in any given season. I'm trying not to make too many pronouncements as I'll need to get my design done...that won't be the end product, but it will be the guide to creating a more resilient property which will provide more value for us.

I've heard an interesting take on the topic - that nobody can become self-sufficient...it takes a community to truly become sufficient. We can all work away from fragility toward self-resilience and align ourselves with others of like mind to become more secure across the board.
To jump in, the Physalis peruviana are really quite a nice berry as they store well and have some protein and fat. They can tolerate some light frost, but will certainly die in colder climates but you can grow them from cuttings or seed very easily. We have some up against the sunny side of a brick house here which keeps them alive through our light winter frosts, if the conditions are right the seem to fruit almost continuously.

Its certainly very difficult to become self sufficient for a lot of reasons that would take me pages of writing to explain sufficiently. If you can build a community that will make a lot of difference. The easiest way to look at things is that a days work need to produce at least a days food, and you can't be loosing weight when measuring that.

Sounds like its going very well out there and hope you have good luck with the project. Those who have their hands in the dirt learn very fast, just keep planting as much as you can.
 
Ah, that won't be an issue. I live in the subtropics. Coldest temperatures we measured last Winter (and it was a cold one) was 6C. We have had one day of hail two years in a row now though, on exactly the same day, which I thought was odd. Last year was the first time in over 30 years. Many plants got demolished by the golfball (and bigger) sized hail.

Oh yes, true self sufficiency can be hard to achieve. My aim is to at least be less dependent on the outside world. We have our own bore for water and I'm growing herbs and some veg. Hopefully I can expand this soon and grow a lot, so I can make proper meals with it. I do not aim to be self sufficient with meat though, as I don't think I could bring myself to do that. But In my mind that's quite alright.

I wish you good luck too, though it does seem like you know what you're doing. How long have you been gardening/self sufficient-ish for? :D
 
Haha I bet. We used to have chooks when I was little and they loved worms. Those were some vicious chickens, and when you tried to grab their eggs, they'd hurry to try and break them so you couldn't. When you did succeed they attempted to peck at them or attack you. Gosh did they scare me sometimes, haha.

Yes, true. Soil needs care as well. I believe that's why Mark cycles through his beds regularly, rather than keeping the same plant continuedly in one bed.

I haven't grown any trees seriously yet. I do have a small lemonade tree growing though. It's got some fruit on it at the moment, but they haven't ripened yet. I'm interested to see what they'll taste like. It's really been trying to produce more and more, and there's growth on it from at least two separate flowerings. Most flowers dropped off on their own, as it'd be too clumped together. I'm excited :D
Lemonade trees have very nice edible fruit, most people really like them. I'm sure you will enjoy continuing to spend time in the garden and trying different things out.
 
Ah, that won't be an issue. I live in the subtropics. Coldest temperatures we measured last Winter (and it was a cold one) was 6C. We have had one day of hail two years in a row now though, on exactly the same day, which I thought was odd. Last year was the first time in over 30 years. Many plants got demolished by the golfball (and bigger) sized hail.

Oh yes, true self sufficiency can be hard to achieve. My aim is to at least be less dependent on the outside world. We have our own bore for water and I'm growing herbs and some veg. Hopefully I can expand this soon and grow a lot, so I can make proper meals with it. I do not aim to be self sufficient with meat though, as I don't think I could bring myself to do that. But In my mind that's quite alright.

I wish you good luck too, though it does seem like you know what you're doing. How long have you been gardening/self sufficient-ish for? :D
I've been on a farm all my life trying always testing out and trying different things but mostly dealing with trees, grains, legumes and animals at that time. About a year ago the store bought food started to make me very unwell to the point i couldn't eat it. I think it stems from all the chemical poisons they add to things to extend shelf life. So it was either die or make big changes, so initially i started producing all my own meat, and buying potatoes and fruit direct from farmers. Though i have been growing small amounts of food for for a while i've been scaling this up as fast as possible. Availability of fruit/nuts/legume trees is going to take a long time, things have been growing very slowly here as its so dry but i'm finally having a lot of success getting the trees to grow now after many years of trying. I'll just keep planting at least 100 food trees a year, with as many as i can from seed. While faster growing foods have been scaled up quickly so long as i continue to have the time and water. Though i'm inexperienced with many of the vegetables and annual fruits. Wild foods are also extremely important.

At the stage now where i produce enough food to survive but the diet needs to be a lot more diverse to be enjoyable. One of best things we can do is to plant everything possible from kitchen scraps. Every apple core, every old potato, every rotten tomato, put it in the soil, either some pots maybe on the windowsill or outside or even directly in the dirt. Make a habit of panting everything, it doesn't have to take much time, you don't need to separate it all, just plant it all together, scraps and all and see what grows. Sure there's probably a 1000 better ways to grow things that might be more productive or neater or more organised and synergistic, but we don't get anything if the seed never reaches the soil. So at least give things the chance to grow and some of it will.
 
AH that sounds like a lovely upbringing. Where I come from we simply didn't have the space to really grow anything. We had a small pear tree, dad grew rhubarb and sometimes strawberries. I think nowadays they only have some chives growing, though they don't really ever get used. We grew up with the only spices/flavours available to be salt and pepper. It's been difficult to learn about and how to use other flavourings. I'm on a path to learn and experiment with it every opportunity I get. Honestly, I find it pretty fun to experiment. I absolutely love rosemary when I roast stale bread so it lasts longer. Such a delicious taste and fragrance.
I must admit, eating my own produce is very gratifying, so it's definitely something I would love to keep doing. Never have I had crispier, more delicious green beans before. And the family loves it too. Currently I'm a bit lost on what to grow, as it's gotten a little too hot to start new seedlings, and a lot of my young plants sadly died when I went on a holiday. I've tried starting some plants indoors or shaded, but they really do grow very stunted and often die. I can't wait for winter to come, so I can start new lettuces, beans, peas, tomatoes and more.

I find that preparing the same food in different ways also helps making them feel less repetitive. One of my most favourite food items might be potatoes. They're delicious mashed, roasted, fried and in many more ways.
I'm very interested in composting food scraps. But as I'm currently a container gardener, it doesn't feel feasible quite yet. On top of that we regularly have issues with mice and the odd possum. They're absolute scavengers. And whilst I can usually keep them out of the house, the increase in snakes around the house does pose a problem to both us and our pets. Sometimes it feels hard to find a happy middle ground. But alas, for now those are future plans. Perhaps one of those closed composters, if I ever have the money to buy one. I've heard great things about them, so who knows.

What do you use to plan your garden?
 
Back
Top Bottom