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How self sufficient can you get when you don't have a smallholding?
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# 1
spookycat
Old 30-12-2007, 3:12 PM
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Default How self sufficient can you get when you don't have a smallholding?

We do have an allotment, grow fruit in our house garden, recycle/reuse as much as poss, keep bills to the absolute minimum, but how far can you go down the self sufficiency route when you live in a cul-de-sac?
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# 2
northern_star
Old 30-12-2007, 3:49 PM
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As far as is practical, I guess. Self-sufficiency in residential areas can be limited not only by size but by the impact on neighbouring properties. There will undoubtedly be rules about livestock, out-buildings, etc – not everyone will be supportive!

The full blown self-sufficiency thing (generating own power, recycling own waste, trading skills and produce) a la ‘Good Life’ would seem to be difficult to achieve. We all need a certain amount of money to pay council tax, insurance etc.

You seem to be on the right track with the measures you are taking. Hopefully someone will be along with more specific suggestions for you to try. Meantime, good luck and well-done.
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# 3
Seakay
Old 30-12-2007, 4:07 PM
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These chaps have a few ideas
http://www.theyellowhouse.org.uk/
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# 4
metherer
Old 30-12-2007, 4:25 PM
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Default allotments?

I guess it depends on your area, but we have two allotments, once of which is for Chickens. We're getting around 2 eggs a day (5 on boxing day!!) and my DH is downstairs filleting some of the excess cockerels at the moment. Would a second allotment be practicable/possible

The veg allotmentkeeps us ticking over in the summer, and we're hoping to be able to get a lot more organised this year. Some of our excess produce goes to friends in exchange for cleaning goods and fruit bushes (we know a lot of market traders so can barter for good stuff.)

Like you;ve said, we aren't going to be able to go entirely self sufficient - not nearly enough room to grow wheat etc for bread, and we can't keep livestock, but I think you can make a pretty good start. Its about using what space/resources you have to the best of your ability, and about exchanging goods where possible.

Good luck with it!

Metherer
Not heavily in debt, but still trying to sort things out.
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# 5
Pandora123
Old 30-12-2007, 7:07 PM
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This book has some good ideas:

21st-Century Smallholder: From Window Boxes To Allotments - How To Go Back To The Land Without Leaving Home

Also check out Donnachadh McCarthy's website... he lives in London yet has a solar water heating system, uses rainwater for his WC and has a wind turbine installed on his roof.

3 Acorns

I want to move to theory. Everything works in theory.
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# 6
FrenchMaid
Old 30-12-2007, 7:14 PM
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well, I will start small this year and convert a large area of my back garden into growing vegetables. I don't think that a full on allotment would be feasible for me yet since I have no clue whatsoever about gardening. My grandma used to have an allotment but I never had any interest back then - wish I did so it's all a big learning curve for me. Will start ripping stuff out as soon as it is a bit drier again and go and get some books from the library.

I love the idea of being self sufficient. As soon as funds allow I want to have a wood burning stove installed downstairs and the gas fire taken away.

Sigh here is to dreaming about the good life - no actually here is to doing something about it!
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# 7
takoo
Old 30-12-2007, 7:16 PM
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Have a look in the hedgerows along footpaths etc for fruiting apple trees, blackberries, dansons, sloe and a host of other edibles.

Take up roadside horse manure for composting (6 months to one year).

Swap (or sell) plants and seeds at events etc.

Good luck

Takoo
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# 8
Zazen999
Old 30-12-2007, 7:58 PM
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French Maid

About the books, try the Grapevine Forum; there's loads of advice, it is linked with Grow your Own magazine, and there are loads of experts on there; a lot of them have blogs which they update regularly so you can always see what others are doing.

You don't have to have a clue, you learn as you go. Just make up the rules yourself and take the advice you want to take as you go.
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# 9
spookycat
Old 30-12-2007, 8:19 PM
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We have 2 allotments side by side which amounts to about 20m x 10m. We're on a learning curve as well, but getting better every year.
We're building a polytunnel and small greenhouse this year to maximise crops. We are looking to buy a wood burner and hook it up to the central heating and on our to do list is the book free food. There are some fruit bushes wild around by us and in particular a morello cherry tree which is little known about
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# 10
spookycat
Old 30-12-2007, 8:20 PM
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Ah yes GYO is Dh's fav read atm
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# 11
FrenchMaid
Old 30-12-2007, 9:49 PM
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zazen999 View Post
French Maid

About the books, try the Grapevine Forum; there's loads of advice, it is linked with Grow your Own magazine, and there are loads of experts on there; a lot of them have blogs which they update regularly so you can always see what others are doing.

You don't have to have a clue, you learn as you go. Just make up the rules yourself and take the advice you want to take as you go.
Thank you - will have a look! This is Year One growing for me if this goes well then I will get an allotment next year. I just didn't want to throw everything at it and then take on too much, get disappointed and then stop.... I know myself too well, small bites, be happy, learn more and do more...
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# 12
oldMcDonald
Old 31-12-2007, 4:01 AM
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There are two good websites worth sitting down with a cuppa and spending a couple of hours trawling around:

http://www.selfsufficientish.com/
http://downsizer.net/

The first one are a couple of lovely guys in Bath (twins), who are as self sufficient as possible living in their flats. The second link is fantastic and will help you with foraging, cottage industries and roadkill, amongst a multitude of other topics. How far you want to go with self sufficient living with advice from here is up to you





Last edited by oldMcDonald; 31-12-2007 at 4:06 AM.
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# 13
ceridwen
Old 31-12-2007, 6:58 AM
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hey...how come no-ones mentioned one of my favourite websites yet?

www.pathtofreedom.com/
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# 14
oldMcDonald
Old 31-12-2007, 7:25 AM
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I love path to freedom

Didn't mention it as the two above are UK so give advice for our climate, but PTF is brilliant for dreaming and losing yourself in - only don't mention it on some other forums as it then becomes a huge debate about how true it all is and how many carbs you would need in order to do all that work compared to how likely it is that they grow these carbs, bearing in mind that they grow everything in earth boxes etc.....etc.... (I tend to get bored and let them get on with the conversation between themselves at this point!!)




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# 15
beemuzed
Old 31-12-2007, 7:40 AM
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I'm full of admiration for all the efforts you're already making. We used to have an allotment, but found getting there took up too much time (about a mile and a half away). So, in recent years we've just managed with several growbags and a little space in the garden. This year we plan to dig up part of the lawn and thus extend our capacity for growing veg. but that's as "self-sufficient" as our ambitions are to date!
Resolution:
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# 16
sammy_kaye18
Old 31-12-2007, 11:56 AM
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Self sufficiency wise i keep bills etc to a minimum and only spend what i need to when i really need to

This year is my first year of attempting to grow vegetables im hoping i will get a stable cro pand then fingers crossed next year i can look at gettign an allotment nearby which i think will com ein handy as it means i can be twice as productive, ive also found a whole hidden batch of bramble bushes which no one seems to have bothered with and they are away form the main road too so nasty car fumes etc but when i found them there were LOADS of wasted berries on them so obviously no one had found them or bothered to pick them so they will be mine next year.

As far as anythign else self sufficient i live in a ground floor flat so any sort of livestock (lol bar the dog!) would be very frowned upon but id love to be living the good life one day and think bf has the same asperations too which is nice - he keep son about how he'd love to have livestock and a nice house int he country!
Mummy of two Munchkins - one princess and one prince.
Saving for our future.
Trying to get back on the OS wagon
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# 17
clairibel
Old 17-10-2009, 5:37 PM
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I am trying to do my bit of self sufficiency...slowly, gonna make some preserves and raspberry vodka which is essential to self sufficiency i think :rolleyes:

Found a great site with good ideas and recipes...now i need to find some time

http://www.cottagesmallholder.com
“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by ****holes.” ― William Gibson.
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# 18
dandy-candy
Old 01-02-2011, 5:58 PM
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Default Has anyone here ever tried being self-sufficient?

I love looking at books on self-sufficiency, especially the ones by John Seymour. I also remember learning about Scottish crofters when I was at school and nowadays I read lots of USA homesteading website. Has anyone here tried living as full on self-sufficiently as possible? I'm thinking rearing your own meat, growing your own veg, no electricity, using an earth closet....
I'd love to know how you got on!
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# 19
nattyt
Old 01-02-2011, 6:51 PM
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Hi there is thread called really old style living. Have a look at that...its on page 4 of Old Style Board. I personally only grow my own veg but really love the idea of living self sufficiently.......think i am possibly too lazy! Maybe when my kids have left home it could be come a reality! My cousin and her partner are probably 75% self sufficient and its great. This is a girl who used to think nothing of spending £200+ on shoes, leaving every light on in the house and not giving much of a damn where her food came from! Its a life choice as well not financial.
Good luck. xx
If music be the food of love then play on
"No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow". ღ ~Maya Angelou
Doing it for my kids. For a better secure life. x
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# 20
Linda32
Old 01-02-2011, 7:06 PM
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I've never tried it, but I guess you could have a go. No electricity would be very very difficult, I'm sure.

Growing you own is an obvious place to start, then maybe see if these a bartering scheme in your area.

Good Luck
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