Our calculated family nutritional caloric "need" is roughly 2.5 million calories per year. The math is 4 family members * 365 days per year * 1700 calories. Seems simple enough without addressing caloric disparity between first and third world nations..
We live in an inner-ring Detroit suburb in a thriving Woodward Corridor city. Our home is a duplex with an upper one bedroom unit and a lower 2 bedroom unit. We occupy the lower unit and rent out the upper unit to a wonderful friend. We garden on our 40'x140' lot. Our neighbors are really understanding and nice and gracious.
This project is about producing as much as possible of our family's caloric intake. We'll try to grow as much food as possible in our backyard and border gardens, totaling about 1100 square feet. We have hens. Two that lay. We also have a beehive. We are neither expert chicken-folk, nor expert apiarists. We just like the way it all fits together.
Until this point, we have expanded what was just border gardens (2008) into a 500 square foot open-row designed garden with beehive (2009) to a 1000 square foot open-row garden with beehive and hens (2010). I've taken out many plants in the border gardens and will continue to replace bulbs with edible perennials in the remainder of the year.
In 2011, the garden will be better organized with framed raised beds (between 16 and 20 of them) with a rough companion/square foot gardening strategy. i'll be building poly-covered A-frame hoop houses starting in early April 2011. I'm toying with the idea of putting in up to three fruit trees, grapes, and maybe an elderberry bush. We'll grow potatoes for the first time next year.
It would likely take 3 years to dial in a food forest sort of strategy. What is possible to eek out of an relatively unremarkable suburban backyard? We'll try to find out.
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