How to Live Sustainably Off Your Own Garden

Many of us now desire to become self-sufficient. The more we, as individuals, can grow in our gardens, the less we need to purchase from external sources. In the process, this can have a significant positive impact on our health and well-being, as well as reducing our carbon footprint in the process.

Why choose to live off the land?

  • Before the introduction of supermarkets, people were used to eating only fresh seasonal produce, and the distance traveled by food was relatively short. So, by setting out to be self-sufficient, you are minimizing the food’s journey to your plate, which, when you consider the miles traveled by the food on our supermarket shelves, plus the extensive packaging being used, this can only be viewed as a positive decision for the environment.
  • Health can be another factor. Concerns about pesticide and fertilizer use, plus people’s uncertainty about how food is processed and whether it comes from GM sources, makes us want to take back control over our diet. When you eat the food from your own garden, you can grow it organically, and you can use natural methods of pest control, dramatically reducing the levels of chemicals entering your body.

Living off your land

  • There is also a great deal to be said for the mental and physical well-being that comes from working in the garden. It has been shown that people who spend time outdoors have higher reported levels of well-being, get more physical exercise, and feel less stressed.

With so many positives attached to growing your own food, you will probably want to get started as soon as possible.

How much space do you need?

Let’s consider first how much space you will need in your garden to provide for your own individual needs. The more self-sufficient you want to be, the more space you will need. However, there is no harm in taking it one step at a time. For one person:

  • To grow sufficient fruits, vegetable and grains, you will need around 19,000 square feet of land. To grow wheat you would need an extra 3,000 square feet and for corn an additional 660 square feet.
  • Eggs are a relatively easy addition and chickens will not require a huge amount of upkeep. An additional 20 square feet will be enough for 3 or 4 chickens.
  • If you want to add milk into the mix, unless you have extensive land, you will not be able to care for a cow. However, goat milk is a great alternative and one goat will only require around an additional 100 square feet.
  • For meat, you could consider rearing pigs but this will again increase the space you need, not to mention the time you will have to devote to their care, plus potential veterinary bills. Some animals also fall under agricultural regulations and will need permits.

Designing your organic garden

To be as healthy as possible and to meet your nutritional needs, you will need to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Before we turn to the staples which are easiest to grow, let’s look at the tools you will need and how to prepare your land.

The first aspect to consider is whether your garden gets sufficient sunlight and drains well. Clear the land of weeds and move away any large stones. You will then need to prepare the land by turning it over, this helps to improve drainage and then work organic compost into the soil to improve the nutrient density.

You will need a small selection of tools including a hoe, shovel, fork, shears, a watering can and gloves. Choose quality as you will need to use these items for years to come.

Starting plants

Finally, purchase good quality seeds and plant them, following the packet instructions carefully over the next few weeks to give them the best chance possible of growth.

Grow a range of vegetables and fruit

When you first start out, choose fruits and vegetables which are relatively easy to grow, then as your knowledge increases, expand your range.

Salad vegetables: Tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, radishes, and spring onions will be your staples in summer. Herbs will add flavor year-round and can even be grown indoors on window sills.

Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, and kale are all highly nutritious and peas, runner beans, and courgettes are easy to grow. Beans of all varieties are a great source of protein.

Root vegetables: Beetroot grows rapidly and with few pest problems. Potatoes are a staple in most diets and can even be grown in bags if you are short on space. Carrots need spacing out as they require room to grow large. Onions are great for adding flavor.

Garlic: This is relatively easy to grow and garlic has many wonderful health benefits.

Mushrooms: Easy to grow, packed with protein and highly nutritious, so add them into the mix.

Fruit: Introduce a range of bushes to grow raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Fruit trees can also be introduced if you have enough space and apple, pear and cherry trees are all good choices.

Spirulina: This is actually a type of algae but is super-nutritious (very high in protein) and grows faster than almost any other substance. To some, it is a modern day superfood. Even a very small amount is highly beneficial to your health, and this makes it a great addition to a small garden. Blend together with other foods to add taste and substance to it.

Making the most of the space you have

Even in a small plot of land, you can grow lots more than you think by taking advantage of vertical vegetable gardens. These can be bought ready-made as kits or if you are resourceful, you could build them yourself. The pots used in these need to be deep enough for the root system to take hold and you will need to keep a careful eye on hydration. Black pots are a big no-no, too, as they can dry the plant out quickly when heated up from sunlight. Check out the best fruits to grow in a container garden.

Learn on the Job

When you start out on your road to self-sufficiency there will be plenty to learn and you will need to

There may be times when crops don’t turn out as well as you had hoped but over time your knowledge and skill as a gardener will improve. Even if you don’t fulfill every need from your garden, you will be going a long way to lowering your carbon footprint and improve your health – those facts alone make the quest to be self-sufficient worthwhile.


About the author

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I believe in living green, organically, and natural in every aspect of our lives. My mission is to help educate you on how to live green, help save our environment and to help you and your family live a happier, healthier life!

9 thoughts on “How to Live Sustainably Off Your Own Garden!”

  1. Pingback: Organic Indoor Gardening for Fall and Winter

  2. James Thomas Henley

    Hello. I have one acre of uninhabited and very fertile land. I have 6 yielding apple trees and 3peach trees and 2 plum. I just planted a blueberry root next to my creek that will not yield for two more years. I have the book “carrots love tomatoes” for vegetable pairing. Very helpful. This is my first year to attempt a fully functional year round source of food. We are regularly visited by deer, squirrel, and Turkey. Also gophers and moles. We have a good chicken coup for 4 chickens to nest in. I have all the resources and yet have little idea how to execute this. I heard marigolds keep the grub worms at bay and so does basil and castor keeps moles away and mint keeps wasps/mosquitos away and putting cayenne on corn stalks keep the deer from diminishing that crop but I’m still a long way to go.

    1. HI James,
      It sounds like you got a great start on living sustainably off your land. The animals can be a problem but also sounds like you have a hold you how to keep them away with natural methods. Good luck and I hope you a bumper crop. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I post quite a few tips about natural ways to control pests so come back and check for updates.

  3. Hi Marla,
    This is such a helpful, comprehensive guide! Thank you for sharing “How to Live Sustainably Off Your Own Garden” at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I’m Pinning and sharing!

  4. We’re far from living off the land, but you have inspired me to get our garden going again. Thanks for sharing at Simply Natural Saturdays!

    1. HI Beth,
      I am so glad that my article inspired you to start gardening again. Glad to be part of Simply Natural Saturdays. Have a healthy, happy & blessed week.

    1. HI Tianna,
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Glad you liked my article. I have found gardening is learning as you go, talking to people that have experience and learning what works best for you. Don’t give up – keep trying and your find what works for you. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day!

Would love to know your thoughts!

%d bloggers like this: