How many people can land feed?
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How many people can land feed?

This is a discussion on How many people can land feed? within the Survival Food Procurement forums, part of the Off-Grid Lifestyle category; It's an important question i've been asking in survival forums for years but everybody seems to have a different opinion.. Suppose in a SHTF situation ...

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Thread: How many people can land feed?

  1. #1
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    How many people can land feed?

    It's an important question i've been asking in survival forums for years but everybody seems to have a different opinion..

    Suppose in a SHTF situation our survival group sets up in this deserted farmhouse below, what's the maximum number of people we should allow in the group to keep ourselves comfortably fed all year round? 10? 20? 30? More? Less?
    What do PF members think?



  2. #2
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    This is complicated. I guess the question is how long do you anticipate your situation will last and remain with the same number? Is this a post-apocalypse situation where there is no more access to birth control and the population on your farm is going to increase? Even if you decide on a number, that number may naturally increase over time.

    Humans have had this dilemma since forever; I think you would eventually be forced to trade with neighboring groups or ask for some of their resources. I could see disputes over territory/resources arising if the situation continued for a very long time.
    czmead likes this.
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  3. #3
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    Impossible to say with what little info you provide. I've seen figures from 1/4 acre per person to 5 acres per person. Some folks, can get by on less than even that 1/4 acre. Just too many factors that come into play. Does your location get plenty of rainfall? What happens during a drought? Do you have drip irrigation? Will your well run off of solar if the grid is down? How good is your soil? Are all beds ready to plant? Do you have enough seed to grow all this food? Is your seed open pollinated? You have fertilizer stored? You have vast quantities of pesticides & herbicides? How long is your growing season? You have a variety of seed to grow 3 crops in the same year... cool weather varieties for spring & fall & warm weather varieties for summer. You have a tractor with proper implements? Plenty of fuel in storage? Are your orchards already mature & producing? You have farm animals as they needs lots of acreage for grass/hay? You have plenty of proper hand tools in case everything has to be done by hand... and not the cheap crap you get at a hardware store? Have you already grown every variety you plan on growing? Are they the best varieties for that area & your micro climate?

    In your drawing, there are not enough fruit trees. I have over 150. By themselves, my orchard is around 2 acres and that doesn't include my blackberries, blueberries, muscadine grapes & nut trees.

    I could go on & on. That is why you will never get an accurate answer. Too many variables
    Last edited by Redneck; 11-21-2020 at 05:10 PM.

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  5. #4
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    If I had more than my family unit on a five acre holding, I wouldn't even try to grow grain; it's not a dietary necessity and the yield per acre isn't...great. I'd grow potatoes and sweet potatoes if the climate allowed, beans and corn. Lots of squashes. So, as Redneck says, there are so many variables that's it's impossible to say. They only way you'd even have a chance to guess would be to live on the land prior to the sh*t hitting the fan.
    SOCOM42, dwight55, Redneck and 1 others like this.

  6. #5
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    The most productive products food wise to grow are what @paulag1955 said potatoes and beans.

    The Irish lived off of potatoes and little else for centuries, ran into a major problem with potato blight,

    thousands starved, a lot of them migrated here.

    Those two products will keep you alive for a long time.

    Corn takes up a lot of space and a lot of work to process it, must be shucked and dried properly, lot of work.

    One set of grandparents had a farm, they grew about an acre of corn, potatoes and onions each, a few bushels of carrots.

    Corn was dried and barreled, potatoes and onions had their own root cellar for each.

    Main product was chicken eggs, 3,000 layers, we ate plenty of chicken, non productive birds.
    Last edited by SOCOM42; 11-21-2020 at 07:18 PM. Reason: spelling, grammar
    Redneck and hawgrider like this.

  7. #6
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    I live in a 820 ft² studio apartment.... what can I grow in a window box?
    paulag1955 likes this.
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SOCOM42 View Post
    The most productive products food wise to grow are what @paulag1955 said potatoes and beans.

    The Irish lived off of potatoes and little else for centuries, ran into a major problem with potato blight,

    thousands starved, a lot of them migrated here.

    Those two products will keep you alive for a long time.

    Corn takes up a lot of space and a lot of work to process it, must be shucked and dried properly, lot of work.

    One set of grandparents had a farm, they grew about an acre of corn, potatoes and onions each, a few bushels of carrots.

    Corn was dried and barreled, potatoes and onions had their own root cellar for each.

    Main product was chicken eggs, 3,000 layers, we ate plenty of chicken, non productive birds.
    The reason I included corn was because when combined with beans, you get a complete protein. When I said I wouldn't grow grains, I was thinking of the ones included in the illustration...wheat, barley and a third grain that seems to be unlabeled, but I'm assuming is oats. Corn, unlike those other grain crops, can share its space with beans and squash.
    Redneck likes this.

  9. #8
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    The problem with potatoes, is that it is hard to store enough seed potatoes to really make a difference. I mean, you can't store seed potatoes for years, as you can say corn, bean & squash. Most folk I know, including me, always purchase certified disease free seed potatoes prior to planting. How many people are going to have enough seed potatoes on hand to be able to feed a group? Most people have few or none in storage. So the way I see it, it might be years before someone has enough seed potatoes to really make a difference.

    IMO, the three sisters (field corn, pole beans & winter squash) make the best survival food. One can store lots of seed cheaply & they can remain in storage for multiple years. Those three provide almost complete nutrition and they all can be stored over the winter easily. The corn & beans will dry in the field and once harvested will easily store thru the winter months. The hard rinds on the winter squash likewise allow them to be stored at outside temperature thru the winter. As the native Americans knew, the three make a perfect companion planting. The corn provides the trellis for the pole beans to climb on. The beans, being legumes, provide nitrogen back into the soil... something corn really needs. The squash, provides a ground cover to keep soil moisture in & weeds out.

    Yes, I have lots of other seed but the three sisters are my foundation... especially as a warm weather crop. My other go to warm weather crop is amaranth, which by itself could easily be the single best survival crop as you can eat the whole plant at some point. The leaves are super nutritious and the young ones can be eaten raw and the older leaves can be cooked like collards. The seed can be ground into a flour or cooked as a breakfast porridge. The seeds are tiny and a single pound of them can contain well over a half million seeds. Then I always store kale & collards as my cool weather crops so that I can extend my growing season.

    I have hundreds of pounds of seed stored in my always cool storage closet and they are sealed inside mylar bags which are inside 6 gallon sealed plastic buckets. Since garden seed can only last for 2-5 years, each year I add new seed into storage.
    Steve40th and NewRiverGeorge like this.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Back Pack Hack View Post
    I live in a 820 ft² studio apartment.... what can I grow in a window box?
    Pot

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck View Post
    The problem with potatoes, is that it is hard to store enough seed potatoes to really make a difference. I mean, you can't store seed potatoes for years, as you can say corn, bean & squash. Most folk I know, including me, always purchase certified disease free seed potatoes prior to planting. How many people are going to have enough seed potatoes on hand to be able to feed a group? Most people have few or none in storage. So the way I see it, it might be years before someone has enough seed potatoes to really make a difference.

    IMO, the three sisters (field corn, pole beans & winter squash) make the best survival food. One can store lots of seed cheaply & they can remain in storage for multiple years. Those three provide almost complete nutrition and they all can be stored over the winter easily. The corn & beans will dry in the field and once harvested will easily store thru the winter months. The hard rinds on the winter squash likewise allow them to be stored at outside temperature thru the winter. As the native Americans knew, the three make a perfect companion planting. The corn provides the trellis for the pole beans to climb on. The beans, being legumes, provide nitrogen back into the soil... something corn really needs. The squash, provides a ground cover to keep soil moisture in & weeds out.

    Yes, I have lots of other seed but the three sisters are my foundation... especially as a warm weather crop. My other go to warm weather crop is amaranth, which by itself could easily be the single best survival crop as you can eat the whole plant at some point. The leaves are super nutritious and the young ones can be eaten raw and the older leaves can be cooked like collards. The seed can be ground into a flour or cooked as a breakfast porridge. The seeds are tiny and a single pound of them can contain well over a half million seeds. Then I always store kale & collards as my cool weather crops so that I can extend my growing season.

    I have hundreds of pounds of seed stored in my always cool storage closet and they are sealed inside mylar bags which are inside 6 gallon sealed plastic buckets. Since garden seed can only last for 2-5 years, each year I add new seed into storage.
    you are fortunate to have a long growing season, up here in the NE not so long.

    I can grow dent corn and beans here if needed, hard to get heirloom seeds here, most are GMO.

    I am not a farmer or pretend to be, I have 50 pounds of dent seed corn which I replace every year, just store not grow.

 

 
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