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

SamfromWA

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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?
It certainly is enjoyable testing things out and finding what works. I use a lot of salt here as well though i collect my own. Might be worth planting under the shade of a tree and picking up a few different types of the smaller melons that have seeds. If you scrape them out and give them a bit of a wash they grow quickly when direct seeded. Sunflowers are also pretty tough and easy to grow but hard to eat. So far burdock and salsify seem to be growing ok at the moment but its my first time growing them. Silverbeets are growing fast, popcorns doing ok but corn in general is pretty fussy here. Sweet potatoes can take a while to get going but do pretty well.

I certainly like potatoes as well, probably my favourite food but they are quite hard to grow here at least. "Garden Larder" on youtube has been working towards breeding some varieties that can survive through the Australian summer and i hope more people try to grow their own from true potato seed (TPS) so we can get some better adapted types in the future. There's always solutions to problems, most of what they're trying to sell has very little benefit, you can get pretty creative with what people throw away.

I used to spend a lot of effort and time planning things but often it only serves to delay real action so i don't worry anymore. If there's spare space what ever i have at the time i plant, mixing everything together and the plants seem a lot healthier and happier this way for the most part though there are a few species that don't like competition. I just keep planting as much as possible where ever i can to the point i forget about a lot of things only to find them later and be presently surprised by what succeeded on its own.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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I think I would really only grow sunflowers ornamentally, as it seems quite the hassle to prepare them. On top of that, I don't particularly care for their taste either (though as a kid I loved them).
I'm interested in growing corn for pop corn. I haven't looked up how to grow them and what species to use yet. I don't have the space at the moment to grow them either way.

I actually hated potatoes for a long time, as my household ate plain boiled potatoes for every meal. I got so sick and tired of them. It's been more recent when I've re-fallen in love with them. They are amazing. And I've also grown to appreciate roasted sweet potato - yum! I actually started looking up for ways to prepare potato as I heard it can increase your iron absorption. Granddad-in-law (I live with and care for) already has to supplement iron, but his values are still too low, so I always stay on the lookout for ways to help him. He's sadly very picky and old school, sometimes only liking salt and no other seasonings.
I'm trying to source some potato starch, as I want to remake a Dutch snack called raspatat (it's a French fry variety). It's been mindboggling on how hard it's been to find as I haven't succeeded yet. I've even tried Asian grocers and other little stores. Nothing! And ordering it online has ridiculous delivery costs sadly. And Woolworths keeps saying "in stock" but I can't find it and the workers don't have a clue either.

Ah yeah, that's fair. It's how I grow at the moment too. Just do whatever I feel like. It's more fun that way, I think. And the only "guide" I try to use and make is when to grow what. I'd love to grow lettuce year-round but it just bolts this time of the year, which makes it taste horribly bitter.
Frankly, I love making things up as I go. Hence why I'm hoping to get back into finishing a trellis I started on ages ago. I've got some young passionfruit seedlings that I'm hoping to grow up on it. And underneath I could grow plants that require shade (or start seedlings).
 

SamfromWA

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I think I would really only grow sunflowers ornamentally, as it seems quite the hassle to prepare them. On top of that, I don't particularly care for their taste either (though as a kid I loved them).
I'm interested in growing corn for pop corn. I haven't looked up how to grow them and what species to use yet. I don't have the space at the moment to grow them either way.

I actually hated potatoes for a long time, as my household ate plain boiled potatoes for every meal. I got so sick and tired of them. It's been more recent when I've re-fallen in love with them. They are amazing. And I've also grown to appreciate roasted sweet potato - yum! I actually started looking up for ways to prepare potato as I heard it can increase your iron absorption. Granddad-in-law (I live with and care for) already has to supplement iron, but his values are still too low, so I always stay on the lookout for ways to help him. He's sadly very picky and old school, sometimes only liking salt and no other seasonings.
I'm trying to source some potato starch, as I want to remake a Dutch snack called raspatat (it's a French fry variety). It's been mindboggling on how hard it's been to find as I haven't succeeded yet. I've even tried Asian grocers and other little stores. Nothing! And ordering it online has ridiculous delivery costs sadly. And Woolworths keeps saying "in stock" but I can't find it and the workers don't have a clue either.

Ah yeah, that's fair. It's how I grow at the moment too. Just do whatever I feel like. It's more fun that way, I think. And the only "guide" I try to use and make is when to grow what. I'd love to grow lettuce year-round but it just bolts this time of the year, which makes it taste horribly bitter.
Frankly, I love making things up as I go. Hence why I'm hoping to get back into finishing a trellis I started on ages ago. I've got some young passionfruit seedlings that I'm hoping to grow up on it. And underneath I could grow plants that require shade (or start seedlings).
Yep do what you enjoy and are interested in. The hungrier i get the more i plant, the body and mind tend to regulate things naturally without the need for too much else. The same goes for when its cold, it becomes highly motivating to collect wood and start a fire. We tend to over-complicate things that work perfectly fine without interference, all that's needed for the most part is to get started and the rest will sort its self out.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Haha I hear you @SamfromWA . I'd love to start up even more plants, but other parts of our property are on a higher priority right now. The mower's broke down, so I'm trying to whippersnip what I can. Definitely should clear a path for granddad so he can reach his ute. And the house is looking horrid after all the rain we had. Mould is a real issue, so I want to get right to tackling that as soon as I can. It's just too hot and wet to do anything. I'm not built for this weather, haha.

What are your top plants you always got growing? :D
 

JP 1983

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I'm trying to source some potato starch, as I want to remake a Dutch snack called raspatat (it's a French fry variety). It's been mindboggling on how hard it's been to find as I haven't succeeded yet. I've even tried Asian grocers and other little stores. Nothing! And ordering it online has ridiculous delivery costs sadly. And Woolworths keeps saying "in stock" but I can't find it and the workers don't have a clue either.
If there's a Korean grocer near you, ask them for gamja jeonbun (감자 전분, pronounced gahm-jya John-boon). Every Korean grocery store I know sells potato starch.
 

Lunai

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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?
We germans are patatoe kings (and queens) 🤣🤣🤣🥔🥔🥔

you get them in every store and each store has minimum 3 Varieties (hard boiling, soft boiling, mostly hardboiling) But most stores offer at least 2-4 more varieties (purple, yellow, gnarly...)(that goes for every store in germany). Sometimes even the agrar suplyer offers Potatoes (in 10kg sacks). And we have a potato farm a 5min drive away which grows around 15 varieties here around our town.

🥔chips/ crisps in every way/style
🥔Salt potatoes: peel before boiling, cook in distinctly salty water (2 teespoons on 1l) 15-25 min
🥔🌱rosemary salt potatoes: peel before boiling, cook in distinctly salty water add a decent amount of rosemary while boiling,15-25 min, (can use every herb like this)

🥔Potato in the skin (Peel potato/Pellkartoffel): just rinse, then boil with the skin, young potatoes can be eaten with skin on, older/stored/cured potatoes must be peeled befor consumption

🥔pan fried potatoes: use pre cooked potatoes, add onions and beacon (that's the most common german variety)
🥔braised potatoes: simmilar to fried potatoes but uses raw potatoes
🥔Oven potatoes: sliced raw potatoes (skin on or peeled) put in oven (you can put other veggies with it together: carrots, beets..)
🥔Foil Potatoe: use big whole potatoes (fist size), wrap in aluminium-foil, put in oven (or barbeque, or hot coals, or firepit)
🥔Potato fritter: use raw grated potatoes, form small (pancake like) circles in the frying pan, fry from both sides

🥔french fries
🥔croquettes: mashed potato formed to (thick) fingers and fried in oil
🥔almond balls: simmilar to croquettes but with added almond flakes on the outside and formed to little balls (like a pingpong or smaller)
🥔duchesse potatoes: mashed potatoes useing a pastry bag to form them, then fry in oil

🥔different types of casseroles: mostly thinly sliced and layered, with spices and herbs and cream added, grated cheese on top

🥔mashed potatoes

🥔Potato bread: using 1/3 ground potatoes and 2/3 flour, bake like a normal bread

🥔potatoe soup: cook like a normal veggi or pumpkin soup, blend everything together to create a smooth texture, add beacon or saussages or porkbelly or....

🥔Schupfnudeln: a southern Germany classic, a type of thick noodles useing ground raw potatoes, flour and eggs
🥔Quarkkeulchen: an eastern Germany classic: lit. translates to curd bludgeon, a type of thick (3cm) pancacke-shaped and -like meal, can be eaten sweet or hearty
500 g soft boiling potatoes
250 g Quark (curd cheese)
50 g flour
25 g sugar
1 medium sized egg yolk
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon full of grinded lemon skin (just the yellow stuff, not the bitter white)
Butter or oil to bake in frying pan

🥔🥔🥔🥔🥔🥔🥔🥔And I'm sure there is a ton more local ways to eat Potatoes 🤣🙈🥔🥔🥔🥔🥔🥔🥔
and it's important to notice: you need to use the right type of potato for the meal planned: hard boiling potatoes aren't good for mashed potatoes for example...
 
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SamfromWA

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Haha I hear you @SamfromWA . I'd love to start up even more plants, but other parts of our property are on a higher priority right now. The mower's broke down, so I'm trying to whippersnip what I can. Definitely should clear a path for granddad so he can reach his ute. And the house is looking horrid after all the rain we had. Mould is a real issue, so I want to get right to tackling that as soon as I can. It's just too hot and wet to do anything. I'm not built for this weather, haha.

What are your top plants you always got growing? :D
Apples are probably the most convenient food as they store well though they're not very sustaining, they grow well from seed. Grapes are extremely good and sustaining with the seeds, you can multiply them just by sticking cuttings in well drained soil over the cooler months. Plums are probably one of the easiest fruit trees to grow though some of the peaches are pretty tough as well. Sunchokes are a staple crop. I've never really had the water to grow things in the melon family until now but they look like they're going to be extremely useful, Dino melons are delicious. Certain types of lemons have leaves that make the best tea, many citrus store well. Hoping to get some Australian desert limes one day and see what they are like. Where its legal to grow prickly pear is an extraordinarily useful food crop though its hard to eat and serves as a good emergency food. I like dates but i haven't got any trees big enough to fruit yet, from what i've seen their yield is extraordinary. Many of the nut trees could become staple foods but they take a long time to grow. I like lilly pillys when i can find them, hoping what i've planted here will grow. Lots of experiments with different crops and wild foods and will see which ones end up being the best here. Jujubes are pretty tough and have a nice fruit but are very slow growing. I always grow large amounts of field peas and faba beans. Wild bees are not a plant but are easy to catch and the honey is nice but they are more grumpy than domesticated bees. Cape gooseberries are the best of the berries here. The mint family is pretty good. Trying to find the best varieties of other root crops for here but its going to need a lot more work before i can say though sweet potatoes and Queensland arrowroot are pretty tough. Other people like cassava, chinese yams, sweeter types of turnips, mangel beets, diakon radishes, perennial bean tubers, nutgrass and others. Some people even like the tubers that form under bunya pine seedlings. Carobs are good but slow growing. Flowers of a few species can be soaked in water to make a sweet drink or simply eaten. Onions, tomatoes and peppers and good for giving flavour. Pigeon peas seem good, some of the wattles are similar with edible seeds and some have edible gum. The Elaeagnus family looks like it has a lot of value. I'm sure there's a few things i'm forgetting plus more wild foods but that's a pretty good list of the things i like so far. There's definitely some good more tropical species if you can grow them but i know little about them.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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@Lunai I come from the Netherlands. Potatoes everywhere :rolleyes:
But they were always boiled with a pinch of salt. Bah, so bland. It's probably why we always mashed them together with our veggies and soaked the whole plate in the Dutch version of gravy (we call it jus). Basically just the ridiculous amount of butter you cooked your meat in, thinned with a little water at the end. Worst thing is, sometimes I miss it and still cook it for myself. Like, once every 2 months, haha.

Nowadays I can appreciate potatoes in many, many ways. I think my favourite is slow roasted in the oven, along with some sweet potato (and sometimes carrot), yum! Just takes a long time before I can eat them and I don't always have the patience, haha. The lazy way is 'fine', by parboiling it before sticking it in the oven, so all the oven does is give it a crispy skin.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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I didn't know apples were easy to grow @SamfromWA . I think I'm in too hot a climate for apples, sadly. I love applesauce.

Yes, prickly pear can be a good emergency food. I hear it tastes horribly bland and takes a lot of work to prepare. But it's good to have over nothing at all. *My apologies, I mistook this for the cactus paddles (nopales), rather than the pear itself. I wonder what that tastes like... It's prohibited here though, as it's invasive.

I'm thinking of growing my own potatoes when the temperatures cool down a bit more. I've tried in the past, but I think it died because I overwatered it. I grew a whole plant from a thick potato peel with an eye. It may have been one of my first experiments with plants ever. Very fun.

Mints grow like a weed here. I've got a pot (with the bottom cut out) with mint in my garden and occasionally the whippersnipper gets put right on it. A lovely scent whilst mowing, not going to lie.


I had native bees living in a statue, but over the time of a holiday I haven't seen them anymore. And their hive was completely encased in cobwebs, so I feel like the spiders munched on them whilst I was away, sadly. I hope some will return some day. I've not moved or touched the statue for that reason. Maybe the home they left may attract new ones some day. It's happened once before, so fingers crossed.

I really wish to start a new crop of beans and peas, but they've been repeatedly dying on me. I haven't quite figured out why yet, but I bet the weather plays a big part. It's been hot and wet. I'm waiting for the end of summer, but I'm feeling impatient, haha. I might try a couple times before the right seasons rocks around again :D
 

SamfromWA

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I didn't know apples were easy to grow @SamfromWA . I think I'm in too hot a climate for apples, sadly. I love applesauce.

Yes, prickly pear can be a good emergency food. I hear it tastes horribly bland and takes a lot of work to prepare. But it's good to have over nothing at all. *My apologies, I mistook this for the cactus paddles (nopales), rather than the pear itself. I wonder what that tastes like... It's prohibited here though, as it's invasive.

I'm thinking of growing my own potatoes when the temperatures cool down a bit more. I've tried in the past, but I think it died because I overwatered it. I grew a whole plant from a thick potato peel with an eye. It may have been one of my first experiments with plants ever. Very fun.

Mints grow like a weed here. I've got a pot (with the bottom cut out) with mint in my garden and occasionally the whippersnipper gets put right on it. A lovely scent whilst mowing, not going to lie.


I had native bees living in a statue, but over the time of a holiday I haven't seen them anymore. And their hive was completely encased in cobwebs, so I feel like the spiders munched on them whilst I was away, sadly. I hope some will return some day. I've not moved or touched the statue for that reason. Maybe the home they left may attract new ones some day. It's happened once before, so fingers crossed.

I really wish to start a new crop of beans and peas, but they've been repeatedly dying on me. I haven't quite figured out why yet, but I bet the weather plays a big part. It's been hot and wet. I'm waiting for the end of summer, but I'm feeling impatient, haha. I might try a couple times before the right seasons rocks around again :D
Apples from the nursery can be fussy but seedlings grow very easily and are much more vigorous, its always surprising what will grow and there's only one way to find out. I forgot to mention, cooking in cast iron pots is a good way to increase iron intake. There's many different varieties of prickly pear fruit all with very different flavours, the young leaves are edible, not too bad in comparison to some of the other things i eat. Potatoes are difficult in Aus, they need almost perfect soil and very high fertility, worth growing but difficult, there's almost no one growing and selling organic potatoes here in WA because its very difficult. Field peas and faba beans are cool season and easy to grow with many local varieties, most of the warm season beans are imported and not well adapted to conditions here. Most of the wild bees are European bees that have gone wild, their colony's tend to produce a bit less honey but they are more resilient than domesticated types. Backyard bees are a great way to produce calories in a small space, so is pigeon farming, plus you have a constant supply of fertiliser. Popcorn, beans and some other seeds are sold dry at most food stores and will grow for the most part though sometimes they don't.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Ah that's pretty cool @SamfromWA :D

I thought that the whole cooking in cast iron pots was a wives tale. That's pretty cool to know! I don't own any cast iron cookware at the moment. Might be something for the future if budget allows.

They are? I thought at least sweet potatoes were meant to be relatively easy in the subtropics. Not that a challenge will stop me, I'm more than happy to experiment.

The bees I had were native Australian bees. Those without stingers. I absolutely love them, though in the beginning I kept mistaking them for annoying flies and always swatted them away. Now that I know better, I love seeing them on my plants.
I'm not intending on keeping them for their honey, but more so for pollinating. It's been pretty good so far and I've had little pollination issues. I'm also trying to learn how to grow flowers to ensure they have access to them year-round and are more likely to thrive and want to be in my garden.
 

Lunai

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They are? I thought at least sweet potatoes were meant to be relatively easy in the subtropics. Not that a challenge will stop me, I'm more than happy to experiment.
Ah yes, sweet potatoes are not related to Potatoes. They are a vine that produces tubers. And sweet potatoes are native to the subtropics... potatoes are not, they originate in the Andes, it's dryer and colder there than in the subtropics 😅 😁 That's why Potatoes grow vigorously in Europe (climate much more simmilar to the origin) But sweet potatoes struggle (only in very warm and well watered regions). I bet it's the whole way round in the subtropics. Potatoes struggle and grow only in Winter (or what you call winter 🤣) and sweet potatoes grow like a weed. I thinkin WA it's dry enough for potatoes but much too warm, and for sweet potatoes it's warm enough but too dry🤔 not taking into account the soil and nutrition level.

Thereis a farm in north WA (not sure if organic or not) but they have a project going for years now to slowly turn their Land from desert into bushland with the help of livestock and such: They'r called Kachana station: https://www.facebook.com/kachanastation/
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Well I learned something new today @Lunai . Don't I feel a little silly though, haha.
Yes, in The Netherlands everyone could basically grow potatoes, but you never heard anyone about sweet potatoes. Those were only things served in a restaurant. Here it's very common to eat sweet potatoes and even snack bars serve sweet potato chips sometimes. It's actually quite tasty so you won't hear me complaining.

Very interesting, though very different from my environment. I think it might suit @SamfromWA more :D
 

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Mandy, I also buy herb and some veggies as seedlings as I have trouble getting them started, if at all.

One job I really need to do next year is to mulch and get rid of the grass between my raised garden beds. I feel as if I'm constantly dealing with it. Hopefully it will stop grass growing into my beds as well.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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I've had great success with about any seeds @KathrynJN , but herbs just don't like me very much it appears. Even those that I do successfully sprout, immediately go to seed, or some... cobweb-like stuff completely encompasses them and kills them within a day. Not sure what that's about. And only ever my herb seedlings.

That's a really fair sounding goal for the next year. One I should try as well, perhaps. I've got pots full of weeds and I don't have the patience to pick them out one by one. So let's make that a goal for the both of us :D
 

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20230102DSC_0023Chips.jpg

Yesterday's attempt...teaser for something I'll add in the food section.

@Lunai - great list. I think "zest" is the word you're looking for regarding the lemon peel. Of course it gets used as both verb and noun.
 
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