gardening and animals

by PRB
(Minnesota)

Do you have any helpful hints to a layout of a garden to support a family of 6-8? How much to plant? Raised beds or rows? How many jars do I need for canning to support us through the winter? Have you ever raised rabbits for meat? What breed of chicken is best? What bread of goat is best? How do you harvest seeds?

Comments for gardening and animals

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It Depends on the Size of Your Land
by: Sue Merriam

The answer depends on many factors, including the amount of land you have, your gardening skills, how much time you have to devote to your garden, the weather, etc. But, according to John Seymour, author of The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It, if you have five acres of good, fertile land, you can raise most of your own food excluding things such as coffee, tea, sugar, etc.

With that big of a garden (or several really), you will need to devote a lot of time to watering, weeding and tending your gardens, but with plenty of care, you should be able to grow a lot of your own food.

The amount of canning jars you need will be a big expense in the beginning. I must have at least 250 canning jars, and I don't have nearly enough. You will probably be investing in these for years You can find them much cheaper at garage sales and auctions. Just make sure the rims aren't nicked, and they'll be fine.

As for rabbits, I don't have any experience in that area. I tried to cook a rabbit once and absolutely hated it, but I know you can raise rabbits for meat in a limited space. According to John Seymour, one male and two female rabbits can produce up to 200 pounds of meat per year. He recommends the Californian breed of rabbit.

For meat chickens, the common broiler is best. These chickens are bred to produce a large breast and have a lot of meat. They do produce good meat and are fairly easy to raise.

There are several varieties of chickens that are good for producing eggs. We've raised Rhode Island Reds and liked them, and I am currently raising Americaunas and Black Australorps. Leghorn chickens are also excellent layers.

And for goats, you want a large breed that will produce a lot of milk. Nubians and Saanens are also known to produce a lot of milk.

To learn how to save seeds, check out this excellent resource.

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