We are definitely learning a lot at this hillfarm.
For a start, there’s a surprising amount of maths in this whole off grid living/growing your own food malarkey.
Did you know it takes 6 months to grow onions from seed? And that a single courgette plant can grow 16 courgettes, but a pumpkin plant may only have 4 pumpkins. Who Knew?? Not me.
It really is amazing how complicated it all is – so much for the simple life! After conducting some market research into what veg and fruit everyone actually likes (this can take a surprisingly huge amount of time(yes it’s warm enough to try growing melons..yum)), we then have to research how many plants we need to provide that, then the space they need, so that’s measuring out, preparing the soil, thinking about shade in the summer heat, and then the joy of sowing seeds, watching them grow and then planting them out and watering them in.
..Then finding that your blessed chickens have dug up every single carefully nurtured plant…
And then you start again…but this time with fences…
So, hens. If you want eggs you need chickens, and if you have chickens they need a safe place to roost at night, so they need a henhouse. So you need to build that, first researching some designs and finding out what space hens need. Then, if you have a lot of leftover wood it makes sense to use this, so then you start again by measuring all the leftover wood and then working backwards from that. Then there’s the exciting plans for nesting boxes where you are going to collect all those lovely eggs..except they will ignore the nesting boxes and hide their eggs in mysterious locations around the hill till you have given up and then accidentally find 21 eggs..
So that’s the eggs, onto potatoes – surely this is simpler…But then just how many potatoes does a family eat in a year? How many potatoes are there in a 25kg bag of seed potatoes? If earlies take 3 months from planting till harvesting but only produce half the amount of a main crop variety, how should you divide your crop so you have enough? And does any of this matter when your hens will dig them all up before they are ready anyway? And if they don’t, there’s bigger creatures to contend with (wild boar love potatoes).
Okay water then? How much rainwater can you collect from your roof? What is the average rainfall in your area? Have you calculated that?
Does it actually even matter when the chickens or wild boar have dug up or eaten all your potatoes and a freak hailstorm is going to trash the remainder of your seedlings so you’ll have nothing to water anyway?
You see? It’s all very complicated isn’t it?