Food Production Systems for A Backyard or Small Farm A few weeks ago I invited some like-minded friends over for a survival meal made from my items in my food storage and a viewing of the DVD: Food Production Systems for a Backyard or Small Farm . The four of us watched the DVD from start to finish with many pauses for discussion points and to take notes. So what did we think? Well first of all, let me say that this is a pretty amazing DVD in that it covers so much in just a couple of hours. And while the DVD itself does not go in to extensive detail about the various topics, the included resource DVD does. Perhaps it is best to start with an outline of the DVD itself plus a 3 minute trailer.
Section 1: Overview Why we began this journey Soil types and climate of the site Section 2: Water Water sources and qualities of water How much water do you need? Rain water collection systems Wells Ponds Section 3: Garden Garden location Size – how much area do you need? Bio-Intensive gardening overview Fertility Watering the garden Wind Sun and shade Bugs and insects Vegetable varieties and seed saving Getting started Section 4: Rabbits Housing and protection Watering systems Feeding Breeds Reproduction Other resources Section 5: Home Butchering Tools Butchering a rabbit Tanning hides Butchering poultry Other animals Section 6: Poultry Chicken breeds Feeding Watering Housing and egg collecting Predator protection Getting started Section 7: Dogs Why dogs? Dog training Feeding Housing Size and breeds Final thoughts Section 8: Perennials: Orchards, Food Forests, and Edible Landscaping Locations and micro climates Watering Fertility Using geese for fertility Tree varieties Planting and care of trees Getting started
Section 9: Other Essentials Calorie crops Solar food dehydration Home made herbicide test Fire ants Injuries Hog panels and tee posts Water levels and mapping contours Rocket stove and hay box cooker In The Wake; a manual for outliving civilization Propagating leuceanaAs you look through these topics, you will see that almost every aspect of food production is covered. From figuring our your water needs to selecting chickens and your coop to determining the correct type of fruit trees for your orchard, there are practical tips that every one can embrace. (Personally, though, I did fast forward through the butchering section.) So what is my takeaway? The author, Marjory Wildcraft is a down to earth, practical lady that has learned what works and what does not work through trial and error on her own homestead. She is not a Hollywood actor hired to make the DVD sparkle visually. Instead, she walks us through her own hand on efforts to attain sustainability, dirty fingernails and all. Something of Value for Newbies The most valuable part of the DVD for myself and my dinner companions were her tips for beginners:
- Plan your garden. What is your climate? What grows well in your area? Ask other gardeners in your community for advice while you are in the planning stage.
- Start small or you will be overwhelmed and will give up. Even starting with a few pots on a deck is better than nothing.
- Determine your water needs in advance and install water systems (she shows you how).
- Beginners should start with nursery starts and not seeds (now that was surprising!)
- Do not be afraid of failure. It takes trial and error to figure out the nuances of what will work in your geographical area and your circumstances. Plus, it takes time to develop the proper technique
- Grow for calories. If you are looking for 100% self-reliance, calories are important
- Chickens are for egg-laying and not for meat. Unless you can handle 90 chickens at a time, that is.