Feeding a family of four adults year-round from a one-acre garden is a rewarding challenge. With careful planning, good soil management, and a bit of hard work, it’s an achievable goal. I am going to write a bit of a guide that will provide a month-by-month plan for each of the main grow zones in Australia.
You might know about Gardenate, the Gardenate website that provides a comprehensive planting guide for various climate zones, including those in Australia. This guide outlines what vegetables and herbs to plant each month, which will be crucial in planning your self-sustaining garden.
Based on this information, I will create a general plan for your one-acre property. Just so you know, this is a high-level plan and may need to be adjusted based on your specific location, soil type, and other local conditions.
Understanding Your Climate Zone
Australia has a diverse range of climate zones, from arid to tropical, and what you plant will depend on your specific zone. The main zones are:
Each zone has different planting times and suitable crops. It’s essential to know your zone and plan accordingly.
Monthly Planting Guide
Here’s a general guide on what to plant each month. This guide assumes you’re starting in January:
January: Start with heat-tolerant crops like sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and beans.
February: Continue planting heat-tolerant crops. Start growing leafy greens like lettuce and spinach in shaded areas.
March: Start planting root vegetables like carrots and beetroot. You can also start planting winter crops like broccoli and cauliflower.
April: Continue with root vegetables, and add onions and garlic.
May: Start planting winter crops like Brussels sprouts and peas.
June is an excellent time to plant leafy greens like kale and collards.
July: Continue with leafy greens, and start planting potatoes.
August: Start planting spring crops like beans, corn, and summer squash.
September: Continue with spring crops, and start planting tomatoes and peppers.
October: Plant heat-tolerant crops like sweet potatoes and eggplant.
November: This is an excellent time to plant tropical crops like okra and melons if your climate allows.
December: Continue with tropical crops and plant early winter crops like onions and garlic.
This plan provides a general guide to creating a self-sustaining garden. Successful gardening requires attention to local climate, soil, and pests. With careful planning and some work, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest from your garden all year round.
In the upcoming articles (available for paying members), we will delve deeper into each month’s activities for each growing zone, providing a detailed guide on what to do and when to do it to ensure a successful harvest.
I would like you to stay tuned for our next article, where we will focus on the activities for the month of July for each growing zone. Just a disclaimer I am no expert by any means, and I struggle to achieve what I write about. Still, I hope it provides you with some guidance, inspiration and, above all satisfaction of growing your own food.
It is hard to find specific information on the amount of fruits and vegetables needed to sustain a family of four adults for a year. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults eat at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day.
A serving of vegetables is about 75g, and a serving of fruit is about 150g.
If we calculate this for a year of four adults, we get:
- Vegetables: 5 servings/adult/day * 75g/serving * 4 adults * 365 days/year = 547,500g or 547.5 kg
- Fruits: 2 servings/adult/day * 150g/serving * 4 adults * 365 days/year = 438,000g or 438 kg
So, you would need to grow approximately 547.5 kg of vegetables and 438 kg of fruits per year to feed four adults. This is a rough estimate; actual consumption may vary based on specific dietary needs and preferences.
As for preserving the harvest for more challenging times, we will consider techniques like canning, freezing, and drying. These methods can help extend the shelf life of your fruits and vegetables and ensure you have access to nutritious food all year round.