Trying to be more self sufficient

Trying to be more self sufficient

Trying to be more self sufficient

You may have worked this out already, but I am trying to live a life where I can be more self sufficient and sustainable.

Trying to be more self sufficient
Basil

How far we can succeed at it is yet to be determined, but I love the idea of it. I have already talked a lot about many of the things we have done to try and be more environmentally friendly and this goes with that.

Trying to be more self sufficient

That is the big question for us, can we do it?

We live in suburban Melbourne and our block isn’t huge, but I can’t see why we can’t grow everything we need here. Well, most of it.

I am already making all our bread and cooking nearly all our meals. That is a big change in the last 12 months. We have gone from getting nearly all our food from take away to cooking nearly everything. It feels really good to have achieved that.

The other aspect that I really like is that we know pretty much everything that goes into what we eat. Of course, once we have our own vegetables that will be more so.

Trying to be more self sufficient
Beetroot

Ways of doing this

This is the part I am still trying to work out. It is important not to get too far ahead of ourselves. I don’t want to end up with a garden full of food that is too much for us, so waste is a consideration.

It is also really important to only grow what we like and what we normally eat. So I am not going to grow turnips, because we never eat them.

I have been watching a lot of videos on YouTube about people doing this. It is really fascinating.

Trying to be more self sufficient
Small tomato plant

Veggie patch

Growing my own vegetables is something I can see us doing. I don’t know how long it will be before we can start eating what I grow, but I’m looking forward to getting there.

Chickens

Many people are doing things like raising chickens. I have thought a lot about this, but I don’t think it will work here. We get a lot of foxes. I know we are in the city, but we have masses of parkland across the road and we see foxes all the time. If I forget to put them in, then they will be gone. Also, I am not sure about them running free in the backyard when I am trying to grow vegetables there as well.

Growing fruit

Really, I mean fruit trees. We have thought about this as well and decided not to worry about them at this stage, well besides my mandarin tree. Though I think I am going to get a lemon tree and a lime tree, but grow them in pots.

Water

We have thought a bit about getting water tanks, but when we look at our bill and actually see how much we get charged for the water we use, it doesn’t seem worth it. The bill could be $350, but only $100 of that will be for the water. That is quarterly.

So at this stage, we don’t see spending money on water tanks, which will only cover part of what we need, really a worthwhile investment.

Electricity

This is an area we are doing quite well in. I know I owe you a blog post on this and I will get onto it soon.

We produce a lot of the electricity we use now. With solar, we have changed the way we do a lot of things but will talk about that another day.

Trying to be more self sufficient
mint

My garden

I thought it might be fun to do a video tour of my garden. I am not very good at these things, but it gives you an idea of what it is like outside at the moment and what I am growing.

I have put the video on YouTube, or you can view it here.

 

Finally

I have some links here for you for some of my past blog posts on some of the things I’ve been trying to do.

Do you like the idea of being self sufficient?

Making your home more energy efficient

Trying to get back into the garden

Plastic in the world

Trying to be more self sufficient

12 Responses

  1. My dad was very good with vegetable garden; he grew up on a farm so he had that built-in experience. Planting what you like to eat makes sense, but planting enough that will last when a particular veggie reaches its end (maybe 2 weeks). Two things matter, proper watering and proper drainage. Don’t overwater. Most vegetable plants do not like wet feet. So, if your soil is too wet, the plants are not going to grow. You’ll need to weed and thin your rows once your planting gets going. Also, don’t over-fertilize. Best garden fertilizer, DPW (dry poultry waste which you can buy). You can compost, but only if you can stay with the maintenance.

    Since you’re starting out on a larger veggie garden, don’t worry too much about self-sufficiency or sustainability. That can come much later when you become more confident in what you are growing and how much you can store away.

    • My mum is a really good gardener, and so was my grandmother, though I think more ornamental gardens. Yes, I agree with all you have said David, and watering I have been very careful about. Though here it is easy not to water enough because of the dry conditions. I make sure I test the dampness in the soil all the time. I’ve just done a major dumping of compost on everything, so I am hoping that will help. Drainage I think is fine. I have been using a seaweed fertilizer in liquid form and give it every couple of weeks or so. It is very popular here. I am enjoying the composting at the moment and trying to make sure there is a good balance. I guess time will tell. I lifted the lid on it the other day and couldn’t believe how much heat was coming off it.

      I agree, I imagine it will be a couple of years before we can do that, before we really know what we are doing. Thank you David.

  2. I think (hope) a lot of people will go this way after lockdown, and not just think about it. We need to do this for ourselves and the earth – it sounds melodramatic, but it is what it is. I’ve got spinach, tomatoes and beans planted so far, and am hoping to put a few more things in the ground. I can unfortunately not go the solar route at the moment, but will do as soon as I can afford it. Good going, Leanne!

    • I think so too Zelmare, though I wonder how many are doing it during lockdown and after they will forget about it and go back to the way things were before. We definitely need to do it for the earth. Sounds like it is coming along in your garden as well. I haven’t planted spinach or beans, but am reconsidering the beans. Solar is hard to do, it is so expensive. It can be anyway, but hopefully worth it. I love seeing our bills being in credit. Thank you so much Zelmare and good luck with your garden too.

    • Thank you Leanne!! 🙂

  3. Leanne this is fantastic. Good for you. I have watched your video too. You have got a lot to do with that front garden but it will look great once you’re done. Two things i would suggest is you dont mind. Everything, especially the pots and bag, look like thy need a good watering. Veg are very thirsty and need a good soaking every day. Sometimes twice a day. Also i would get a little ventilation into your greenhouse during the day else everything will get too damp and rot. Zip it back up at night but a fresh air flow is really important. Good look and i look forward to following your success.

    • Thank you Ian. There is a lot to do out front, but slowly and slowly it will get done. They don’t need watering Ian, it probably looks that way because it was a very sunny day, but I assure you the soil was very damp. We just had a few days of very wet weather. The soil on top probably looks a little dry, but underneath it is very wet. I can’t believe how much water is still draining out the bottom of everything. When we get into the real heat I will be looking to water twice a day, but for now I’m trying to get out most mornings. I usually do that with the little greenhouse, but that day was the first really sunny day we had had and I was curious to see how it would go. Thanks again, I will keep doing updates.

    • Keep it up, it will be interesting to see things growing. You can’t beat the satifaction of eating your own food. I wont be growing anything here in England for another 4 months or so sadly.

    • Thank you Ian, I hope so, I love the idea, I just have to make it happen now. I think patience will be the key. That is sad, 4 months, really. Thankfully we can pretty much grow all year round, though different things. I am looking forward to growing garden next year.

  4. Yes Leanne do a pot garden. they are easier to maintain. The produce may not be abundant but may be sufficient for your needs. Don’t get chooks unless you have the fenced off areas and space. Look at the Gardening Australia website for ideas abut chooks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPkY_c1UgYc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzLvWWzA1pc
    The more garden the more watering especially in Summer so perhaps it may be a good idea if you have the room for a tank or two.
    Grow the food you eat, any excess can be given away to friends or a local food bank.
    Good luck and it is a good thing you are doing

    • Thank you, I have purchased a few grow bags, which are like pots, but I like the garden beds, I can grow more. I don’t think chooks are the answer here in my backyard, it is fenced off, but I would be devastated if the foxes got them.
      I’m not to concerned about the watering, it isn’t going to be too much and if it costs a bit more a month, it will be worth it.
      Yeah, I have friends already putting their hands up for the excess. I’m looking forward to seeing how I go with it all.

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