There are 3 Things you need to grow on your homestead if you want to be more Self Sufficient, and a few other things you should NOT Grow.. why?
I’m guessing you are not a full time farmer. Your growing time is limited. SO instead of trying to grow everything, focus on growing the most productive things…
Codi from More than Farmers in Ohio, who is growing OVER 75% of his food, had some good advice to share on this…
“I feel like growing the most food possible comes down to being the most efficient. In gardening, it’s having the willpower to not try all the different varieties and vegetables that you’ll barely eat. Grow the things that are the staples and that are the most space and time-efficient to grow.
A cow gives you dairy products and beef, and beef is super easy to raise. Instead of raising goats, sheep, cows, pigs, and chickens for meat, we only raise beef and chicken. Maybe eventually we’ll do more, but it’s more efficient to get better at a couple of things before branching out. By sticking with fewer things we are able to grow more with less effort.”
So narrow your focus to just a few things done well. And then, spread those out across an entire year…
How do we know what the most productive things to grow are? We found over 100 homesteaders who were growing around 75% of their food (we will call them 75%ers for the rest of this post). What are they growing? More importantly, what are they NOT wasting their time on?
What should you grow for Maximum Food Production?
When it comes to food production, there are definite trends among 75%ers that you can learn from…
Meat, Eggs and Veggies were produced by more 75%ers than any other products. In fact, every Homestead that filled out our questionnaire and said they were a 75%er, was growing meat, eggs and veggies.
Focus on those BIG 3 products to be more self-sufficient. (Dairy, Fruit and Herbs were the runner ups)
Now let’s be honest… Saying you should grow ‘Meat’ or ‘Veggies doesn’t really narrow it down much. So we asked the 75%ers what was the…
Best BANG for your Buck?
When we reviewed the responses, we found 3 items were mentioned more than any others…
Beef – It’s hard to beat beef. Nothing else puts so much lbs. in the freezer. If you raise just 1 thing, beef is a great option.
Meat Chickens – Many homesteads mentioned meat chickens as the single best way to grow food in your backyard.
Starchy Veggies – Many different homesteads mentioned squash, potatoes, and other starchy veggies as a great way to put a lot of food up.
If you want to grow more food, add 1 of those to your homestead.
Now let’s talk about what you should NOT be growing, at least not at first.
Everything you grow will cost you time, energy, and money to produce, so make sure you are getting the most out of the time you put in. You can do this by growing MORE of FEWER things in the early years.
When reviewing the data for this workbook, we found a few different things that very few 75%ers (or none at all), were growing.
Grain – Grain takes a lot of land for little product, and may require heavy equipment to plant and harvest. Not a great way to grow a lot of your food on a small acreage with limited time.
Nuts – Limited climates will grow nuts, perhaps that accounts for the lack of 75%ers growing them, but almost no one mentioned growing nuts.
Fish – Aquaponics producers can grow a bunch of food, my best guess as to why there were so few growing fish is that it is an infrastructure heavy operation at first with little crossover value to other livestock.
Mushrooms – I have little personal experience with mushrooms, but only 2 75%ers mentioned growing them on their farms.
Honey – Bees are an awesome creature to add to a homestead, and we certainly need more bees thriving on the earth. But if food production is your focus, skip beekeeping for now.
Now, before I make some Bee Enthusiasts angry…. we are NOT saying NEVER grow these things, but if you are concerned about growing more of your food, don’t start with them.
Get good at the big 3, and in time you may find you diversify and add mushrooms or some chestnuts to your homestead. But start with the most efficient food producers and grow from there. Before you know it… You too may be a 75%er!
This post was an excerpt from the “How to Grow 75% of Your Food” Workbook. That can be found in the Pioneer Library.
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