100% Michigan Grown Staple Crop Seeds that Fit Your Plant-based Lifestyle Goals

around-our-homestead

What should a survivalist homesteader grow if their apocalyptic garden needs to become their life sustaining farm?

Scott Hucker

Google can find quite endless lists of how much food it takes to survive a year for an adult...  to that, you add layers of complexity like.

This is a work in progress...in my spare time...LOL.   If you have questions and directions to recommend, let me know.

Traffic increased when the President declared a Covid emergency

 

 

 

Are you just 'surviving' and playing board games, or, are you working like a Victorian farmer with tools powered by your aching muscles?

How many adults and children in your group?

Do you owe 'food' to the local landlord/government?

So, to attempt to determine the quantity of seeds to grow this food let's start simple:  One adult eating 2,200 calories a day.  That is slightly more that just 'surviving', but it is only half of what our Victorian-age peasant/laborer would have eaten. On a long & busy farming day, my exercise watches tells me I burned 4,500 calories.   Each bolded item found on typical internet lists will be broken down in how we would cover that particular requirement with the seeds in our basket.

 

Grains (400 pounds): This can be wheat, rice, barley, corn, spelt, dinkel, emmer, einkorn, millet, sorghum, and/or quinoa. By the way, to store this quantity, you will need a dozen 5-gallon buckets (remember, this is just for one person). Now we grow and sell the seeds for all of these grains. However, I do not have a way to dehull spelt, dinkel, emmer, or einkorn.  I am experimenting with a few naked einkorn, but to be practical, these ancient grains although very robust and disease resistant, are not were I would start.

That leaves wheat, barley, corn, rice, millet, sorghum and quinoa. Let's arbitrarily split the weight between grains and discuss them each in turn:

  • 160 lbs of wheat
  • 100 lbs of barley
  • 60 lbs of corn
  • 40 lbs of rice
  • 25 lbs of millet
  • 15 lbs of sorghum

Wheat berries have many uses, ranging from cooking them whole to grinding them into flour.  Depending on the type of wheat, different kinds of flour can be made.   I would split my flour into

  • Hard Red Winter (HRW) is for pan breads and would serve as a general purpose flour after some sifting.
  • Hard Red Spring (HRS) is for hearth breads, rolls, croissants, bagels and pizza crust.
  • Soft Red Winter (SRW) is a useful weak-gluten wheat flour ideal for cookies, crackers, pretzels, pastries and flat breads.
  • Soft White (SW) provides a whiter flour for cakes.  It is also ideally suited to Middle Eastern flat breads which are a nice way to eat those chickpeas.  Ok, I could survive without cake flour.
  • Hard White (HW) for Asian noodles and flat breads.
  • Durum (D) is the hardest wheat with a rich amber color.  The high gluten content makes it ideal for pasta, couscous and Mediterranean breads.

For each of those types of wheat, I might choose two or three varieties.  You might be wondering, why not just plant one big field of the same thing?  That would be very efficient, especially if you had a big farm equipment. Do you want all your eggs in the same basket, ripening at the same time, using the same strain.  Harvesting by hand, I want my crop to be staggered to spread out the work.  Perhaps the high heat will reduce the yield some, but not all.  Perhaps the heavy thunderstorm will lodge those but not these.  It's all about mitigating risk, as, I'm assuming my life depends on this crop.

Assuming a wheat yield of 40 to 1, on average, I should plant a total 4 pounds of seed. I would expect to beat that yield, but it allows for birds, seed for next year, and its just a number.    I wouldn't use more than 100:1 unless you've actually grown and harvested wheat with the same tools/equipment you would be using.  There is a delicate balance between scaling up what one can grow at 'hand/hobby' to something larger, while at the same time, scaling down from what the modern commercial farmer gets.

Barley would be a hulless type which is easier to cook and prepare.  Hulled barley is often used as animal food and malted to make beer.  Those 'calories' are not included in our survival minimum.. but discussed below.

Corn......flint for cornmeal and polenta, dent for masa....link to Nixti page.

Rice... has a hull that can be removed by hand powered equipment if you've planned ahead.

Millet will yield in non-ideal soil & moisture situations.   The Limelight type, looking like bird seed, is highly sought after by the local birds before it is ripe enough to harvest. Either use bags to protect the biggest heads if planting at a low density on poor soil, or, grow in a fertile location and cover with a net. The West African Millet type has fared better.  

Sorghum

 

... oh, re-spin the #'s with rye and oats, buckwheat

what else

 

 

 

Dried Beans (60 pounds): Beans come in a variety of growth habits (bush vs pole), colors and types.  I consider dried peas and other legumes in this food category.  Although we carry a few beans considered tasty when green, the bean becomes a capsule of goodness when it is mature and dried. Sixty pounds of beans will fit into two 5-gallon buckets.  These seeds when mature and dried, store well and are not usually bothered by weevils. 
  • 30 lbs of Common beans
  • 15 lbs of Peas
  • 10 lbs of Lima beans 
  •  5 lbs of Peanuts

Shortening (16 pounds): This can be solid fats like Crisco, ghee, and coconut oil, or 2 ½ gallons of cooking oil.  Besides a concentrated source of calories, oils are helpful for cooking.

We can grow seeds that are high in fats and oils, like oil seed sunflower, soy bean, corn, flax, naked pumpkin and safflower, even okra.  I'm assuming this internet requirement is coming from easy of cooking and dense storable calories.  

Let's assume of the seeds mentioned, you have one that is 20% oil on average.  Your 16 pounds of oil just became 80 pounds of seeds (probably without the shell).  Using your simply device to extract the oil, let's assume its 50% efficient.  Now you need to harvest 160 pounds of dehulled sunflower seeds for example. 

 

some math work to do....

1 kg of sunflower seeds can produce 1/1.398 litre of sunflower oil = 0.71 liter of sunflower oil = 715 ml of sunflower oil under ideal conditions.

1 kg oil = (1/0.9) litre = 1.1 litre 

Seeding rate of 3 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. or 15 lbs. /acre broadcast.

Small (4 g) packet has about 76 seeds.

I would be looking to minimize the amount of cooking oil needed, instead, get my fats and oils from eating the seeds.

 

Powdered Milk (16 pounds): As an ingredient in baking, perhaps a plant based alternative is possible, such as soy milk.  If the intent of this item was for calcium, sprouted seeds or cooked sorghum seeds are a good alternative.

 

Sugar (35 pounds): Another baking supply that we could replace with sorghum syrup.  Sugar beets are an option that we've grown and eaten, but currently do not sell seeds for, mainly due to that the deer find our spring replants so incredibly tasty (beets are biennial in their seed production.)

Honey (50 pounds): Another delicious source of calories... that could be replaced by sorghum syrup. 

85 pounds of sugar+honey seems like a "store the food" person' solution to calories.  Although I'd want some syrup for my pancakes, perhaps less syrup and more pancakes is a more efficient way of eating those calories. 

 

I wonder if it's possible to make corn syrup 'at home'?

From Wikipedia:

Currently, corn syrup is obtained through a multi-step bioprocess. First, the enzyme α-amylase is added to a mixture of corn starch and water. α-amylase is secreted by various species of the bacterium genus Bacillus and the enzyme is isolated from the liquid in which the bacteria were grown. The enzyme breaks down the starch into oligosaccharides, which are then broken into glucose molecules by adding the enzyme glucoamylase, known also as "γ-amylase". Glucoamylase is secreted by various species of the fungus Aspergillus; the enzyme is isolated from the liquid in which the fungus is grown. The glucose can then be transformed into fructose by passing the glucose through a column that is loaded with the enzyme D-xylose isomerase, an enzyme that is isolated from the growth medium of any of several bacteria.[6]

Corn syrup is produced from number 2 yellow dent corn.[7] When wet milled, about 2.3 litres of corn are required to yield an average of 947g of starch, to produce 1 kg of glucose syrup. A bushel (25 kg) of corn will yield an average of 31.5 pounds (14.3 kg) of starch, which in turn will yield about 33.3 pounds (15.1 kg) of syrup. Thus, it takes about 2,300 litres of corn to produce a tonne of glucose syrup, or 60 bushels (1524 kg) of corn to produce one short ton.[8][9]

The viscosity and sweetness of the syrup depends on the extent to which the hydrolysis reaction has been carried out. To distinguish different grades of syrup, they are rated according to their dextrose equivalent (DE). Most commercially available corn syrups are approximately 1/3 glucose by weight.

 

 

 

Potato Flakes (40 pounds): Potatoes are definitely an efficient source of staple crop calories.  Due to various certification requirements, we don't sell them.  We do grow them, and save the best potatoes to use as seed potatoes the following spring. 

...show the potato calculation

As an alternative, many types of stored winter squash can easily last until February and selected types lasting until April.  To hedge your bets, dehydrate/dry some of the squash in the fall to support your hard working body in the spring before the new crops are producing.

Calories in potato flakes vs dried squash

potato flakes:  21 grams (dry) is 80 calories        40 pounds should be 63k cal

fresh winter squash: 1 pound is 154 calories, needs 411 pounds of fresh winter squash

 

 

 

 

Salt (10 pounds): You should have 10 pounds of salt.

Sorry, can't grow that one.  For us, 1000 feet below Detroit is a salt mine.  Maybe they'll trade for pretty beans.

 

In addition....

What about eggs for baking?

 

Barley for brewing?

 

 


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