Poll

Will you start growing your own food in 2021?

I already do
4 (33.3%)
Yes
2 (16.7%)
No
6 (50%)

Total Members Voted: 12

Author Topic: Growing your own food  (Read 662 times)

Fambo Number Mive

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Growing your own food
« on: November 18, 2020, 06:54:17 PM »
Given that it looks more and more likely we will see some food shortages in the New Year, how many of you plan to start growing your own food?

I'm a useless gardener so I don't know if I would be able to grow my own food, but I'm wondering about giving it a go. I don't know if you can order seeds online because the only places that I know that sell them are garden centres.

I'm very concerned about medication and food shortages, I've got a stock of cans in case I need to isolate for 14 days but it's difficult to stock up too much due to the coronavirus pandemic and not having a car (the longer this goes on, the more I wish I could drive and afford a car, although my concentration isn't very good). At the moment I'm mainly living off baked beans, tinned fruit and porridge, so if I can get those and milk and bread I should be ok. I'm also very worried about those close to me as well as concerned about the wider population.

Whatever happens, those responsible won't take responsibility. Look at how Tories are responding to the reasonable demand for scrutiny of covid spending.

bgmnts

  • Depressed to the point of poisonous toxicity.
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2020, 06:57:16 PM »
My mother grows her own herbs every once in a while but you'd need a LOT of space to grow a sustainable level of food. The only thing I would grow myself are tomatos.

Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2020, 07:06:46 PM »
It's maybe the wrong time of year to think about growing things. As for running out of food, they deliver you know.

DolphinFace

  • Put it in me
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2020, 07:28:55 PM »
It's exactly the right time of year to start thinking about growing things. It's no use starting to prepare the ground in spring or else you'll be waiting a whole year to get something

Buelligan

  • STOP being afraid
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2020, 07:38:52 PM »
Please try not to worry too much dear hearts.  I'm a terrible one for it or used to be, then I finally understood that I can take some sensible precautions, plan a little, try not to waste things but after that, I just have to accept what happens.  Spoiling my now with worries about stuff that may never happen is silly. 

Anyway, back on track with the food growing.  I assume you have some ground to plant things in.  Some sunlight falling on that ground and some water too.  Now is not the best time for major planting of stuff but there are some things you can do.  Try to choose a spot that gets as much sun as possible and isn't too windy.  The sun thing is more important than the wind thing. 

First, prepare your ground.  This means digging it over (it really is a great time for preparing right now).  And getting out all the weeds, even their roots and rubbish, stones and so on.  Try to dig down at least 20cm, get the soil light and airy as possible.  The more meticulous you are now, the better your long term result will be so invest in this process.  Don't walk on soil once you've prepared it, decide on paths and stick to them. 

Here is a short thing from Gardener's World - there's tons of this stuff on Youtube - about how to build a raised bed, which you might find easier or prefer to do.  You could even do this on a paved area as long as you make it deep enough and make sure it has enough drainage.  Obviously, if you go the raised bed route, you'll need to get soil or compost to fill it.  So consider that.  Or you could even just use pots.

So get your soil ready.  Now you need to find something to grow.  As I said, right now is not a major time for planting, that's early spring and onwards.  But you can still grow some good stuff. 

Some of the easiest, quickest things for now would be perpetual spinach or ruby chard.  Both of these can be raised quickly and easily from seed, extremely cheaply and they're very nutritious and quite beautiful.  Or the broad bean, Aquadulce Claudia, fabulous for planting around now and cropping in late spring/early summer.  But there's lots of other stuff to choose from and even more if you continue and plant in the spring as well. 

Here is a link to Chiltern Seeds' winter seed recommendations and here's one for Thompson & Morgan, both old reliable seed companies that will send seeds (and plants in the UK) through the post quite inexpensively.  But there are lots of seed and plant suppliers in the UK. 

Also scour Youtube for Gardeners' World programmes and other veg gardening shit.  The more you listen to people who know what they're doing, the more you read and learn the greater your pleasure in what you will achieve and the better the produce will be.  This is an activity that can not only make your body healthier through exercise and good food but can heal your mind and heart, through meditation, contact with nature and harmony with the things that truly count.  I hope you love this experience.  :)







Buelligan

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2020, 08:22:20 PM »
Here's a shortish film about allotments in Birmingham to get the juices flowing.

Twit 2

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2020, 09:40:57 PM »
At the point where you need to grow your own veg to survive, the veg won’t help you.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2020, 09:41:45 PM »
At the point where you need to grow your own veg to survive, the veg won’t help you.

"they found him face down in his allotment, he appeared to have been trampled"

Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2020, 09:46:57 PM »
Why stop at fruit and vegetables? Plant a few eggs and grow some chickens too.

Buelligan

  • STOP being afraid
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2020, 09:56:45 PM »
Fuck me, I'm dying to grow some chickens.  Most of my neighbours do and sometimes I take care of their chickens for them and get to keep some eggs and so on.  I really like chickens, they're a fantastic mix of soft and fluffy, manic and violent, cunning with a drop of absolute thickness stirred in.  Silkiest down with an evil pitiless yellow eye.  Wonderful beasts.  But I'm reluctant to ever get attached to any living thing again.

Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2020, 10:02:12 PM »
Worried you'll fall in love with one?

touchingcloth

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2020, 10:05:14 PM »
Don’t dig the ground. Bung some compost and mulch on it and let the worms do the hard work for you. Lasagne gardening, it’s the future.

touchingcloth

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2020, 10:05:58 PM »
Worried you'll fall in love with one?

It’s a risk. I got my hens for the eggs, but it turns out I’m really just keeping them for the cloaca.

Sherringford Hovis

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2020, 05:06:06 AM »
Quick summary of what I grow here.
You can add beetroot and hazelnuts to that little lot and I've naughtily been guerilla-growing some spuds outside our boundary on our neighbours' land too (that was historically a potato field from 17something to 1970), but the fellas that fixed the village's main power lines after they blew down parked their Unimog on most of them, so easy come, easy go.

you'd need a LOT of space to grow a sustainable level of food.

I've been gardening like a filthy snivelling peasant for a decade now on about a fifth of an acre - even in our most abundant years I don't reckon that we'd ever achieve over 70% self-sufficiency for just two people. So to comfortably provide for a family of 4, you'd need at very least half an acre (2023 square metres); very roughly, walking at a speed of 4mph, it takes just over 35 seconds to walk one side of a square acre, if you fancy pacing it out in a nearby open space.
And though I grow quite a lot of pulses, I reckon that I'd have to at least quadruple the space devoted to them to even provide starvation rations, which would necessitate sacrificing space-hogging luxuries. Seasonal planting and succession cropping of many plants is possible, but it's very easy to fail at these even with plenty of experience, as the whims of the weather have become very noticeably much more extreme just over the last decade alone. And then you've got to work out how to preserve and store what you've grown - it's heart-breaking chucking a third of a hard-nurtured crop out in April because it's crawling with weevils and you won't be harvesting any more of that particular foodstuff for another 12 weeks.

Some very basic maths (multiply by 4 to work out what you need for a household for a year):

Potatoes
Harvest per person: 91kg
Yield per 3m row: 4.5-9kg
Row length needed: 23-30m = ±85 plants

Carrots
Harvest per person: 9kg
Yield per 3m row: 3-4.5kg
Row length needed: 3-6m = ±60 plants

Tomatoes
Harvest per person: 7-29kgs
Yield per 3m row: 7-20kg
Row length needed: 3-5m + ±10 plants

Do you love your family enough to embrace the faff of tending 300+ potato plants just to keep 'em fed? If you've eaten nothing but unsalted, unfatted boiled potato for a couple of months, you'd cry with joy at your first sniff of hedgehog casserole or squirrel stew. I've only been properly hungry maybe a dozen times in my life: most of those were 'voluntarily' as part of organised resilience training: after 60 hours without food, we begin to think very differently about our place in the universe; around 72 hours or so the thoughts dwindle and animal instinct emerges - at this point I have seriously considered murder to acquire a half-eaten bacon roll and a Mars bar. The laudable but misguided performative compassion in the Cutting out meat thread would be hilarious if our looming food deficit future wasn't so terrifying. Nut milk? Vegan cheese? Lentils from the other side of the planet? All as sustainable environmentally and nutritionally as Blue Panda Pops and Turkey Twizzlers without your tiny-cog participation in global trade, industrialised farming and food over-processing.

There's a reason why the "Give us our daily bread" line is so central to our local flavour of God-botherdom - the raw materials are fairly easy to grow, space-efficient, store well and can be prepared freshly in small portions. Pray. Pray every day. Pray every night. Pray with all your might that you may never know hunger.

Charles Lindberg Jr

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2020, 05:29:56 AM »
Quick summary of what I grow here.

Potatoes
Harvest per person: 91kg
Yield per 3m row: 4.5-9kg
Row length needed: 23-30m = ±85 plants

Carrots
Harvest per person: 9kg
Yield per 3m row: 3-4.5kg
Row length needed: 3-6m = ±60 plants

Tomatoes
Harvest per person: 7-29kgs
Yield per 3m row: 7-20kg
Row length needed: 3-5m + ±10 plants




Fuck me. This knowledge has changed and potentially ruined my life

Buelligan

  • STOP being afraid
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2020, 07:49:19 AM »
Don't let it ruin it.  Let it inspire it.  Hardly any amateur gardener grows enough produce to feed themselves and their families year round.  You can aim for it if you like, use it to remind yourself of the value and work required to produce all this stuff we take pretty much for granted but don't be put off. 

IMO, growing any plant, especially something you can harvest to provide food for the body or soul, speaks to something deeply primitive in people.  Far deeper than any Pavlovian trained response, this is something hard wired into our very dna (and, for obvious reasons).  Taking part in this activity, whether you're a market gardener or just have a chilli plant or some early spuds in a pot, will fulfill and heal you like nothing else you'll ever try.

Buelligan

  • STOP being afraid
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2020, 09:34:31 AM »
Worried you'll fall in love with one?

Already did, mate, already did.

touchingcloth

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2020, 10:49:40 AM »
Don't let it ruin it.  Let it inspire it.  Hardly any amateur gardener grows enough produce to feed themselves and their families year round.  You can aim for it if you like, use it to remind yourself of the value and work required to produce all this stuff we take pretty much for granted but don't be put off. 

IMO, growing any plant, especially something you can harvest to provide food for the body or soul, speaks to something deeply primitive in people.  Far deeper than any Pavlovian trained response, this is something hard wired into our very dna (and, for obvious reasons).  Taking part in this activity, whether you're a market gardener or just have a chilli plant or some early spuds in a pot, will fulfill and heal you like nothing else you'll ever try.

John Seymour reckoned on 2 hectares for a household to be fully self-sufficient, which isn’t practical for most people because that’s more land than most people can ever dream of owning, and they would need to fully own it because that size wouldn’t be enough to feed a family AND pay a mortgage. But his level of self sufficiency was full on - food for the animals as well as the family, with the animals forming a virtuous circle by providing their manure, and the land producing enough surplus that it could be used to barter for items they couldn’t grow.

We’re not even close to that level with our allotment, nor do we want to be. We try and make it cost efficient by focussing on things which are hard to find or expensive to buy, so we don’t grow things like onions or potatoes because they’re cheap as chips (ARF!!!) in the shops, so we focus on things like artichokes, interesting tomatoes, cutting flowers, chillies (for a country in love with piri piri, fresh chillies are bafflingly hard to find here), and herbs[1].

When I have had limited growing space in the past I have prioritised herbs, because they’re a piece of piss to grow, yet pricey in the shops, so it’s a no-brainer to grow them if you do much cooking at home.  Fresh herbs also get packaged in a ludicrous amount of plastic in most shops, so that’s another benefit to growing your own.
 1. both culinary and “da”

Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2020, 12:01:44 PM »
Parents have had an allotment since the mid 90s and they have had chickens since the early 2000s, they had to work hard and employ child labour to get the whole thing going to a decent standard. Now it sort of looks after itself but does need alot of time effort and energy. Obviously with chickens comes rats, and foxes. So the chickens are in a coop with deep foundations and steel mesh fenced cage with a heavy duty padlock. The allotment itself is very hard to get onto too. The chickens were first brought in ala Hugh Fernley Wittingcunt. IE eat the eggs, then once the hens have passed their use, they were meant to be eaten. My after the first had it's head removed and was cooked up, mum decided she couldn't eat it. So now once they naturally die they are thrown in the bin. Which the dogs aren't happy about.

We did have over the years some of the chickens end up being bullied by the others, so one was in our back garden for a while, slept in the green house and it used to chase off birds landing in the garden.

My uncle also has a small holding out in the sticks and we normally get a turkey from him at Winter Fest.

Sebastian Cobb

  • bad opinion haver
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2020, 12:03:37 PM »
Self sufficiency seems daft if other people are doing it as for the levels of sustenance you'd be restricting yourself to quite boring stuff. You should at least aim to barter with other growers so you can get the odd bit of esoteric veg in if practicality allows.

Or you know, people could collectivise the land and use it in the most efficient manner and split the produce, maybe club together and get some tools or machinery to improve throughput, I wonder if anyone's ever thought of that ever.

Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2020, 12:25:47 PM »
Got an allotment and it's good fun, but you probably couldn't sustain yourself with it. Way too much scope for crops to fail unless you're constantly down there and even then there's only so much you can do. Potatoes fucked with blight, carrots ripped out by foxes just because they feel like digging up your beds and shitting in them, pigeons all over your brassicas so you put up nets, but then the cunt foxes fuck about with the nets and the pigeons find their way back in.

Do it for the enjoyment, not because you think you'll be able to live off it. Any food you get is just a bonus.


icehaven

  • Marmalade's reared it's head in every course
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2020, 12:37:08 PM »
We have neither a garden nor much windowsill but we managed to grow a chilli plant from some seeds. It yielded about 10 tiny and rather tasteless and unspicy chillies then promptly dropped dead.
I did enquire about the allotments next door to us some months ago but apparently so did every other fucker and they're in demand at the best of times so we've got no chance. Wouldn't even grow veg on it, I'd just turf it over, stick a deck chair on it and use it as a garden. 

Buelligan

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2020, 12:54:05 PM »
Ever considered joining/visiting somewhere like this?

Or try this https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/find-a-group

icehaven

  • Marmalade's reared it's head in every course
Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2020, 01:21:57 PM »
Ever considered joining/visiting somewhere like this?

Or try this https://www.rhs.org.uk/get-involved/find-a-group

Tbh the appeal with the allotments was that they're literally right behind our flat (our kitchen window overlooks them, which was a particular kind of torture during the warm months of lockdown) and it'd be a way of having a bit of outdoor space to ourselves (I was only partly kidding about using it as a garden, we'd grow stuff of course but the only alternative outside space is parks stuffed full of people.) So having to travel a few miles to share a garden with other people kind of defeats the object, although it's better than the aforementioned heaving parks I guess. We're hopefully moving soon anyway (and definitely before it gets warm again) so outside space is going to be something we take into consideration this time (not that we can necessarily afford it, but neither could my sanity if we had to spend another hot day cooped up indoors.)

MojoJojo

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2020, 01:53:37 PM »
Self sufficiency seems daft if other people are doing it as for the levels of sustenance you'd be restricting yourself to quite boring stuff. You should at least aim to barter with other growers so you can get the odd bit of esoteric veg in if practicality allows.

Self sufficient a.k.a subsistence farming. There's something a bit "let them eat cake" about the richest 1% of the population deciding they want to live like the poorest 25%.

Which isn't to say there's anything wrong with growing your own food, just that any dreams of self sufficiency massively underestimate how much work is involved. You have to really love gardening and physical labour.

Gurke and Hare

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Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2020, 02:29:32 PM »
Obviously with chickens comes rats, and foxes. So the chickens are in a coop with deep foundations and steel mesh fenced cage with a heavy duty padlock.

Can foxes and rats open a regular padlock then?

Re: Growing your own food
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2020, 03:31:24 PM »
No, but the local yobbos did and they executed the chickens. The rats usually end up in a trap.

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