I talk about wanting to be self-sufficient, but when I talk of self-sufficiency, I mean in the way of food and energy-usage. There is no way I would make my own clothes or tools. We buy the majority of our clothing from a thrift store. And there is no way I could ever raise chickens, cows or pigs and have them butchered. I could never own an animal without falling in love with it. So, we will be buying our meat from the store.
Every year, I am doing better with the garden to produce enough to eat throughout the summer. However, my goal this year is to grow enough food to last us through not only the summer, but also the fall, winter and spring! There are some vegetables I have determined are not “worth it” to grow. They include potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. I tried growing potatoes one year. I bought $10 worth of “spuds,” and ended up harvesting only 3 lbs of potatoes. Oh, and they were really gross. For that same $10, I could have bought 5 – 10 lb bags of potatoes on sale for $1.99/bag. Broccoli and cauliflower, I’ve tried to grow, and got just one head per plant. If you don’t know when to pick it (I don’t,) it tastes nasty. They take up too much space in the garden and don’t get enough produce to make them worthwhile for me.
So, this year’s focus is to grow fruits and vegetables that produce in abundance using very little space. Green beans, cucumbers and soybeans on a trellis, larger-sized tomatoes (last year, I had a trillion and a half romas taking up too much space in the garden.) I love growing zucchini. Even though they take up a lot of space, they produce for so long, it makes it worthwhile for us. I have killed most of my strawberry plants, but hope to re-plant some new ones this year for future years. We have red raspberry bushes that this would be their 3rd year. They did great last year, and I look forward to picking them again this year. They spread quite a bit every year, so I am hoping we get even more than last year. I am looking forward to planting some blackberries this year, and more blueberry bushes (I have only one blueberry bush right now.) Todd and I love to eat corn but I’m not quite sure where I’d put the corn to keep it away from the deer.
We have two pear trees that we bought in 2010. I’m not sure if we will get any fruit this year, but we should have some by next year. The same goes for our dwarf plum tree and our apricot tree. I would like to purchase 2-3 apple trees when they are on clearance in 2011 for future produce.
As for becoming self-sufficient with energy usage, I’d like to get solar panels and a few small windmills one day. Right now, we cannot afford them, but we are making our house as efficient as possible. We plan on adding more insulation to our home, replacing the old 80 gallon hot water tank with a 30 gallon, installing another new window, and continuing to heat our home with wood and propane on the cheap.
The more efficient we become, the less we have to spend monthly on things like groceries and utilities.