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7 Comments

  1. So based on my previous calculation, 1/3 of an acre in either barley or oats will yield approximately 885,000 calories. Comparatively, 1/3 of an acre of potatoes will yield approximately 2,635,000 calories. To produce the same calorie content as grain, you’d only need a little over 1/10th of an acre, or about 4,000 square feet, or a plot about 63 feet by 63 feet. My back yard is 1/4 acre. I’d only need half of that for a garden to grow enough food to accommodate that potato crop and all the other food I’d care to grow, and still have a sizeable lawn to play on when I am not tending the garden area. I’ve grown gardens that size since I was a kid. The only expensive tool I would consider is a rear tine rototiller twice a year. The rest I can do with regular old garden tools, like a shovel, a hoe, a wheelbarrow, etc. Seems to me a much better investment of my time and money for the expected results.

    However, if you must have barley and oats in your diet, then it is entirely feasible to grow them in parts of Alaska. You will pay a lot extra for it, but it can be done. For me, I have better things to spend my time and money on.

  2. Barley and oats will store for a much longer time than potatoes. They will also provide for a better variety in diet. One of the problems with potatoes is that they are threatened by too much rain during final maturity and harvesting time. Excessive rain will destroy the potato crop both before and after harvest if they are super saturated. Potatoes from excessive rain will spoil rapidly after harvest.

  3. 1/3 acre of grains, even under modern agricultural practices and yields, will not provide enough calories for a family of 4 (you need ~ 2-3 million cals/yr minimum). You need 1/2 to 1 acre depending on the grain at these modern yields. Under pre-modern agriculture yields (pre-1940 which would be the best case scenario in a grid-down situation) the number of acres needed for this same yield would be closer to 3 for grains. Potatoes would require less acreage for the same caloric yield but have their own problems with regard to storage (just ask the Irish).
    Converting your gallons to bushels shows that your yields were 2/3 – 2 1/2 bushels for planted versus broadcast. Under the best of conditions (broadcast) you have grown ~100,000-150,000 calories depending on which grain. Not bad but a long way from the 730,000 cals per person per year needed.

  4. For me, the whole point of this effort would be learning to plant, harvest and process grains with the least amount of effort. When the SHTF and food becomes difficult to obtain, I know I would be able to produce it—along with other vegetables to feed my family and for barter. For now, we would use the grains mostly for animal food; but just knowing we could do it brings peace of mind and security.

  5. Maybe it’s just me, but I would not be depending on just grain or just potatoes for my diet. If that is the sum total of what you eat, you ain’t gonna live very long anyway.

    For as little grain and potatoes that my wife and I eat, maybe a 10’X10′ plot for potatoes and maybe a 20’x20′ plot for the grain (wheat, rye, barley) and maybe another 20’X20′ plot for oats. So, for far less than a quarter acre, that part of our diet would be more that covered. It’s the fruit and veggies and of course the protein that make a diet you can live on.

    Without the total package, life is very short and very unpleasant.

  6. I thinkallot of people need to look at this through the above commenter Charles k.’s eyes. A strict diet of potatoes would get very old quickly. Even now I sometimes ties of them only eating potatos 3 times peeach week. Part of being prepared is knowing how ando having other options. I bet the Irish would have loved to have some oats planted during the potatoe famine.

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