From the Konkoly family garden.
I decided to try something new this year. After researching and writing three post-apocalyptic, prepper-themed books in a row, I started to grasp the sheer scope and effort required to raise enough food on your land to survive without supermarkets and 2-day Amazon prime delivery of freeze-dried food buckets. I won’t go into the details of my broader “awakening” here. Instead, I’ll share one stark example.
I’ve never planted dry beans (beans suitable for drying and long-term storage) before, so I wanted to get a handle on the difficulty involved and general yields. I planted a 1.5ft x 6 ft row of Cannellini bean plants, spaced according to the seed packet recommendation. 9 square feet. I wasn’t planting for a big harvest…this was a test run. The results?
Growing the plants proved to be effort free. We saw a small amount of bug damage and light spotting on the leaves, but the pods looked healthy throughout the summer.
Yield: 9 square feet produced 2 cups of beans or .22 cups per square feet.
Lesson Learned: Depending on the availability of other protein sources, to provide 8-10 cups of beans per week for a family of four, we would need to plant nearly 2,000 square feet of bean plants! I’m not even sure my 2-cup yield would be enough to sow a field that large.
Randy Powers of Practical Tactical (co-author of Practical Prepping:No Apocalypse Required) wasn’t kidding when he said it takes about an acre of land to feed ONE person for an entire year. I’ve seen estimates lower than one acre using “square foot gardening” and “vertical gardening,” but the number of plants required will remain the same.
Homesteading will not be easy, but it’ll sure go smoother if you start now. Start small and build your experience level—one season at a time.