I start my garden with seedlings bought from the Amish folks up in Scotsville, KY. I constructed raised beds that are 14 inches deep (12 inches of cedar on top of bricks to keep them off the ground and dry), and am using the square foot gardening method this year. Each bed should produce at least 2 sets of 32 plants per year... or at least that's the plan.
Corn, potatoes, beans, and melons are grown in the field. This is my first year with "soft fruits": raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and black berries. I'll let you know, but I think we'll be fine as I have good guidance from the Amish family that sold them to me... and we have been doing the "pick your own" thing for 5 years now, making jams and preserves.
I milk at least one cow per day, and in the future when there is more milk than the family and the pigs can consume I intend to get some bottle calves and put them on the cows.
Over all, a family of 5 would need to raise 2 hogs per year, one steer, 100 chickens (for eggs and poultry), keep 2 milk cows (cows dry out every year so you'll need 2), several goats, a 1 acre garden and at least 3 acres in corn to keep everybody fed (we have more livestock than that, for reasons not entirely clear even to me). It sounds like a lot, but I think it takes about the time it would take to get in my car, drive to the gym, change my clothes, work out, shower, and drive home. Instead of dirty gym clothes I have food stuff coming out of my ears, and enjoy being outside and having something constructive to do.
|Raised beds. 8, 8 x 4 cedar beds plus 1, 64 foot cinderblock bed.|
|Seeds planted and forced are outside hardening off but protect from wind in this box.|
|We have 5 cows, 1 Bull and 20+ goats on pasture. They are grass fed and well cared for. We eat the males and milk females.|
|This is my breeding pen for meat birds. These are Jersey Giants and 2 Rhode Island Red Roosters whose daughters proved to be good egg layers. At least we think these are the Dads... nothing's perfect.|