The idea of living off your land is a romantic and eco-friendly thought. It’s the most basic way of living; waking up in the morning to harvest some tomatoes and spinach, picking up an egg or two while you’re at it, and preparing breakfast straight from your own garden. To live sustainably from what you grow yourself, you’re going to have to give it a bit more thought than simply planting a few hobby plants for the fun of it, however.
The more land you have, the more realistic this project becomes. With time and expansions, you can evolve from managing to harvest your own breakfast and lunch, to actually making your very own goat cheese and enjoying freshly baked bread in the morning.
Get started with this handy guide and challenge your family to live more sustainably and improve their general health and happiness by living closer to nature.
Why living off your garden is a great idea
Starting a gardening project like this might not be for you if the thought of getting your hands dirty and selecting a favorite gardening tool sounds like a wild and unsettling dream. The supermarket is still able to provide you with everything you need; lovely, plump vegetables and fruits, freshly baked rolls, and crisp herbs, so there’s no need to prepare for the collapse of the economy by going back to farming.
A commitment like this is for the green thumbs out there and those who find romance in the simple things - it should be for the fun of it, in other words, and to make you happy.
When you’re able to live like this and keep a healthy diet successfully, you’ll notice a few changes in your life. First of all, the food you eat is produced organically and has travelled far less than the ones you’d buy at the grocery shop. They’ll be bigger, juicier, and full of nutrients. In addition to this, your family will notice a change in mood; being outside and getting your hands green is proven to work wonders for our mental health and general well-being.
It’s not just a hobby; it’s a cure - which saves your household a lot of money, as well as making your carbon footprints a lot smaller. While it’s a good idea to start simple, in the beginning, and find vegetables that are easy to grow, you’d probably want to expand next year. Have a look at these greenhouses online, in case you’re completely smitten and would want to live like this forever - and, honestly, why wouldn’t you?
Remember that you don’t have to commit fully if you don’t have that much space. Many of us are able to grow several plants but struggle with finding space to grow grain, keep a cow, or raise a drift of young piglets. It’s alright - a small garden to live off is perfectly fine for now. Find solace in the fact that ordinary people who lived off the potatoes and chickens in their backyard a couple of centuries ago, also went to a small grocer to buy tobacco and coffee.
It’s where they caught up on a bit of gossip, found new and exciting products from abroad, and asked the owner ever so kindly if the coffee could be bought on credit this time too.
Team up with your like-minded neighbours if the sound of doing something half-way makes your eye twitch. People back then depended on their community out of need; if you have an amount of fresh beans you don’t want to eat for dinner every week, you could simply trade it with the lady down the street who has land enough for corn.
Be a good neighbour and reach out to your community for complete authenticity; to make something slightly too complicated in order to keep it real is, after all, just another way for us to be the ideal citizens of the 21st century.
Grow a variety of fruits and vegetables
The planning stage is both fun and exciting as you have so much to choose from. What you produce has to meet your nutritional needs, and it’s important to include plants that you can grow easily, as well as giving you the vitamins you need to stay healthy.
This isn’t supposed to be some sort of wildlife adventure where you return skinny and hairy to the real world in a few months - a bit jumpy, but celebrated by the community for your bravery; this is a sustainable eating project.
Salad Vegetables: Part-sun and full-sun
Find vegetables you love to cook with and which doesn’t give in too easily if the weather suddenly takes a turn. Start with your salad vegetables and move on to the cooking vegetables afterward. Spring onions, peppers, and radishes are perfect additions to your salads and should have a partly sunny spot in your garden. They’re relatively easy to grow, don’t need full-on sun all day long and will look lovely in a net - plus, you don’t have to water them as often as the plants that require full sun.
For the rest of your salad needs, you should plant tomato, squash, pepper, and cucumber as well. They’d prefer it if you gave them as much sun as possible, so place them strategically outside of the net or in a spot with more light.
Salad vegetables are important to include not only for their health benefits but also for the variety of dishes they open up for. They’re full of fiber, water, and important vitamins that you don’t want to lack after a few months on your garden diet. Crunchy textures, fresh flavours, and bursting with good summer vibes; children tend to fall in love with salad vegetables before cooking vegetables, so include them in the process of planting and harvesting.
Root Vegetables: Part-sun
Now, your diet needs some root vegetables as well. Needless to mention, they offer an amount of health benefits and their absence makes every dish a bit less filling and a lot less fun to eat. The best part about root vegetables is that you can cook them in basically any way you’d see fit; you can mash them, boil them, roast them, it doesn’t matter- the result is great every time. Plus, vegetables that grow underground won’t bother you too much with pest problems.
They may not grow as quick as the salad vegetables - but the amount of food in them and fiber they provide you with is worth the wait.
Carrots, beets, and potatoes grow underground, but they still need some sun. Don’t overdo it, though, as especially carrots will react to harsh sunlight and punish you for it by growing more foliage than root; more bush for you to look at, less carrot for you to eat. Remember that all root vegetables need a bit of space to grow big and strong, so the more room you give them to grow in, the more you’ll be able to harvest when it’s time.
Whatever you choose to grow and live off, you need to include the potato. It’s the closest you’ll come to the perfect food and the one your body is going to miss the most if everything was taken away; in fact, you could make it the hero of your diet and live solely off the potato - if you’d really want to, that is.
Other vegetables you have to include
It’s vital that your garden is home to a range of different produce, so don’t stop planting quite yet. The more you’re able to plant and maintain, the better your dishes will be and the likelier you are to keep the project going - instead of giving in to the freshly harvested and bright orange carrots in the supermarket. Look for vegetables that are easy to maintain and relatively quick to grow, such as garlic, mushrooms, broccoli, and beans.
These three are full of nutrients and opens for a lot of different dishes. The garlic can simply be planted and left alone - use the leftover bulb you have from your last shopping trip, and enjoy the vast health benefits it gives. Broccoli will keep you healthy all year long, is not as tricky to grow as people say, and a perfect green addition to your dinner.
Mushrooms are full of proteins, just like beans, are used in basically every dish that comes to mind, and can even grow in the dark. If you want to grow beans, find the type of bean that grows well in your region, by the way, as there are a lot of different varieties. They’re simple to grow, though, and spreads tremendously; you’re absolutely going to have some extra buckets you can swap with your neighbour lady for some milk from her cow or whatever.
For the rest of your diet needs, it’s a good idea to keep a couple of chickens and harvest fresh eggs in the morning. How far you’d like to take it is up to you, and if you have a lot of space to keep animals, you’re probably going to look at this in a few years. Remember that this kind of expansion often is subject to rules, regulations, and various trips to the veterinarian to take proper care of your farm animals.
Just like your plants, your main priority is to give them a happy and healthy life before they give you anything in return; with time, you’ll be self-sustained enough to forget about the existence of grocery shops and trolleys altogether.