Category Archives: Self-sufficiency

The Essential Urban Farmer

In this indispensable guide, Farm City author Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal share their experience as successful urban farmers and provide practical blueprints-complete with rich visual material-for novice and experienced growers looking to bring the principles of ethical food to the city streets. The Essential Urban Farmer guides readers from day one to market day, advising on how to find the perfect site, design a landscape, and cultivate crops. For anyone who has ever grown herbs on windowsills, or tomatoes on fire escapes, this is an invaluable volume with the potential to change our menus, our health, and our cities forever.

Resources

List of the best storing and preserving methods for fruit and vegetables

silverbeet-parents

Different produce responds to different treatments – and some things just need to be eaten.

The list below gives a summary of which fruit and vegetables store and preserve well. It may also help in planing your edible gardening year.

Stores well:

  • apples, pears (not early variety)
  • beetroot, cabbage, carrot, garlic, kohlrabi, onion, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, swede, turnip

Good for bottling:

  • all fruits
  • tomato

Makes delightful things:

  • all fruits
  • aubergine, cabbage, cauliflower, courgette, cucumber, onion, tomato

Can be dried:

  • apples, damsons, plums
  • beans, peas, tomato

Freezes well:

  • berry fruits, apples and pears (if pureed)
  • broad beans, broccoli, calabrese, French beans, peas, runner beans

Lasts well on the plant or in the ground:

  • rhubarb
  • artichoke (Jerusalem), beetroot, broccoli (sprouting), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeraic, celery, chard, chicory, kale, leeks, lettuce and salads, parsnip, swede, turnip

Eat when ready: few or no good storage preservation options

  • artichoke (globe), asparagus, cardoon, radish, sweetcorn

21st-Century Smallholder – by Paul Waddington

Getting started in goats

I’m tentatively interested in goats. I’m not sure we will own them while we live in inner Brisbane.

Goats eat brush, leaves, rough plants and weeds.

Goats need:

  • shelter, bedding and secure fencing
  • feed bowls
  • dark-coloured buckets or stock tank
  • mineral feeder and hay feeder

Depending on your requirements you will select one of the following breeds:

Fibre: Agnora or Pygora goats produce mohair. Cashmere are a type, not a breed.

Milk: Your goats will need to have kids. Alpine, Guernsey, Kinder, Lamancha, Oberhasli, Nigerian Dwarf, Nubian, Saanen, Sable, Pygmy, Toggenburg.

Meat: Goats meat is low in fat. Boer, Kiko, Savanna, Spanish, Tennessee

Urban: Nigerian Dwarf or Pygmy

Recommended books

Resources

Pat Coleby reveals why she changed her farming methods

Pat Coleby reveals why she changed her farming methods to natural methods.

I love Pat Coleby’s books. Highly recommended.

Pat Coleby can be found over at Farming Secrets.

Hardy vegetables for self-sufficiency and survival

squash-flowers

Isabell Shipard recommends growing hardy vegetables for self-sufficiency and survival. Here are the ones that store well:

  • African cucumber – will store for over 12 months
  • Choko
  • Gourds
  • Pie melon
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin – Australian Ironbark, Baby Blue, Jack Be Little, Jack O’Lantern, Jarrahdale, Marina di Chioggia, Musque de Provence, Queensland Blue, Red Kuri
  • Squash – Blue Hubbard, Golden Hubbard, Green Hubbard

When pumpkin vines die down, pick mature fruit with plenty of stem. Make sure they’re well coloured and the stem has cracked. Cure the fruit for 10 days in the sun outdoors, or on a verandah in poor weather, to harden the skin so that they keep.

Store under cover on straw or shredded paper – in a cool, mouse-proof place.

How can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods? – by Isabell Shipard

How to make a hay box

Hay box cooking was popular during World War II when fuel was rationed. It is a way to save energy by turning off the oven or burner just before the food is completely cooked, and the allowing your food to continue cooking in a hay box. The lid of your pot needs to fit tightly to keep the heat in.

  • You will need a box made from plastic or metal. Fill it with dry hay
  • Cook your food in the usual way until it is hot but not completely cooked.
  • Turn off the heat, then quickly place the pot or pan into a hay box on a layer of straw. Make sure you cover the pot with more hay and seal the lid.
  • Leave for a few hours while your food continues to cook in your insulated homemade oven. Plan well ahead – the normal cooking time for this method is 4-5 hours, though it varies greatly depending on what you’re cooking. Experiment, but make very sure that any meat is fully cooked through.

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century
- by Dick and Jack Strawbridge

Has anyone tried hay box cooking?

Do you think you could use sugar cane mulch?

Would you recommend cooking meat this way?

How to make your own fabric softener

bonds

White vinegar softens fabric and stops static cling. Add a cup of vinegar to the wash, with a few drops of lavender oil for odours.

Wool will stay soft if washed in warm water with eucalyptus oil.

Other green stain remover products to try are:

How to make your own dish washing detergent

lemon

Many conventional dish washing detergents contain phosphate, which causes blue-green algae blooms in waterways.

Here’s  a simple recipe to make your own dish washing detergent:

1/4 cup petroleum-free soap flakes
1/4 cup glycerin
1/2 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil
11/2 cups of hot water

Instead of the eucalyptus oil, you may like to add a few drops of lemon or grapefruit essential oil.

Other green dish washing detergent products to try are:

We also like to look for one which did not contain sodium laurel sulphate, as it kills the good bugs in your tummy!

Handy hint – Place a leftover lemon half in your dishwasher to keep your dishes smelling fresh and clean.

Note: If you are on the GAPS or SCD diet – it’s best not to use a dishwasher.

How to make your own oven cleaner

Conventional oven sprays contain some of the nastiest chemicals. Many are corrosive lye-based (sodium hydroxide) solutions that are dangerous to inhale.

Our green cleaner put the oven parts into the outside sink (which is larger and deeper then our kitchen sink) and soaked them for several hours. I wish I knew what she put in the water to soak off the grime.

I’ve had lots of success with using bicarb soda and vinegar for cleaning the top of stove and around the hot plates. The only problem was that I accidentally blocked up the gas hole and then one plate didn’t work properly until I gave it another more thorough clean.

Mix bicarb soda with water and leave the paste on for half an hour to loosen the grime, then wipe it off with a sponge or rag.

Karen Logan in ‘Clean House Clean Planet‘ recommends using a putty knife, razor and pumice stone to clean the oven.

Other green oven cleaner products to try are:

How to make your own air freshener

rainforest

The best way to freshen the air inside your house it to open up the windows.

You may like to add some indoor plants to help filter out any existing pollutants and toxic chemicals.

Add some natural essential oils to a burner if you like aromatherapy.

Other green air freshener products to try are: