Is human kind turning back to the times where they were hunters and gatherers? Can anyone actually be self-sufficient?
For quite some time people in Ireland have been becoming more and more interested in organic growing; growing their own vegetables and getting their hands dirty in the garden in order to provide their family with some green and organically grown food, and to enjoy the reward of home grown crops.
Some of us take it even further: We want to become not just green but self-sufficient! Can you actually achieve that? I confess the idea is intriguing, but let’s face it: most people live in urban estates with a small front green and a back garden that can be anything between a towel size and an eight of an acre, where they grow flowers and shrubs.
So if you are lucky your back garden, which provides enough privacy to do what you want, is just the opportunity to do that… Or is it? Somebody recently brought up the question of how many potato plants would you need to feed a family through the winter season.
Let’s just think about it: for a family of four you might need as much as 500 pounds of potatoes to get through to the next harvest. That takes into account that you don’t put potatoes on the table every day, and that you have proper storage facilities to keep them healthy.
If you get an average harvest of 5 pounds from a single plant, this translates into just 100 plants you need to grow successfully. That requires at least a bed of 25 feet length and 5 feet width and includes 4 rows of staggered potato plants (25 in each row).
For many people this is all the space they have in their back garden. You see how this in reality limits the opportunity to those of us who have either a field or a huge garden. And the potato is only one of the crops you’d need.
So, will we all become hunters and gatherers again? I don’t think so. You really need a substantial amount of space to grow enough vegetables. The small example gives you some idea.
If you want to change your entire lifestyle in order to challenge yourself and to make the world a little bit greener, then do it. Grow your own crop, become your own food provider. Get your hands dirty and become self-sufficient. Beware of a demanding challenge though.
Published in: Gardening