Poll

Which crops do you consider staples?

Corn
7 (14.9%)
Beans
9 (19.1%)
Squash
9 (19.1%)
Potatoes
10 (21.3%)
Sweet potatoes
4 (8.5%)
Other (indicate in comments)
8 (17%)

Total Members Voted: 13

Author Topic: Multi option staple poll  (Read 417 times)

Woody Gardener

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Multi option staple poll
« on: 2019-11-23, 09:39:26 AM »
Here's the poll you want.

Woody Gardener

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #1 on: 2019-11-23, 09:42:55 AM »
In my small garden in NW Arkansas with untilled clay soil I grow Russian kale as a staple crop.

William S.

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #2 on: 2019-11-23, 10:24:16 AM »
Also parsnips, favas, and sunchoke. Haven't yet explored the favas and sunchoke in a culinary sense but they grow great here in western montana. 

Can't consider sweet potatoes a staple here yet. Don't grow well. Though I haven't yet had time to try sweet potato breeding.

Thinking in a strict sense in my area: Flour Corn, Dry Beans, Dry Favas, Sunchokes, Parsnips, Sunflowers, Potatoes, and Salsify can probably be thought of as calorie dense enough to be staples. I grow wheat and other small grains but never clean it well enough to use for human food. On a farm scale those are grown in my area though.

Garlic, Leeks, and Elephant Garlic are calorie dense but probably cannot be eaten in suitable quantities to be a staple.

Vegetables which are not strictly staples include: tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, lettuce and other salad greens, carrots, peas, and squash among others.

« Last Edit: 2019-11-24, 03:42:38 PM by William S. »
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

Richard Watson

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #3 on: 2019-11-23, 11:18:26 AM »
I achieve a 12 month supply of carrot, lettuce, popping corn, grinding maize, radishes (both a summer and winter types), beetroot, onions, garlic, plus celery, get roughly 10 months from the potatoes. Then 6 months from parsnips, tomatoes, peppers.
« Last Edit: 2019-11-23, 01:56:25 PM by Richard Watson »
Changeable year round climate with warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
alps.

Steph S

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #4 on: 2019-11-23, 11:18:48 AM »
Potatoes, onions and carrots are major staples in my climate.

Turnip and cabbage are also part of the traditional staples list.   Peas and broad beans/favas.

Our own list of staples is a bit different, includes lettuce and asian greens of various kinds, continuing under lights in the winter.

reed

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #5 on: 2019-11-23, 11:46:12 AM »
Here's the poll you want.
Thanks! I though there might have been an option to set it up correctly, I just missed it.
My garden here in Indiana is also small and I don't use any purchased inputs at all. I'v recently switched to basically no-till and ditched gas powered equipment.
 
As far as producing a full harvest to harvest supply of a crop, outside of canned beans and tomatoes I only have two real staples that are producing reliably for me. Those being dry beans and sweet potatoes. I also have year round supply of things such as onions and garlic and some winter greens but I don't really consider them staples.

I want to add corn and winter squash. I'm confident I can accomplish the corn but squash fails probably two out of three years. I already dropped potatoes for the same reason only from different causes and  because sweet potatoes turned out to be so much easier.

Richard Watson

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #6 on: 2019-11-23, 01:56:53 PM »
Bugger, forgot onions and garlic
Changeable year round climate with warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
alps.

Steph S

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #7 on: 2019-11-23, 02:13:20 PM »
I forgot garlic too.    I grow enough for our family and more, and growing more every year now because of a growout of 20+ varieties from a friend in Finland.    Garlic is something I can grow here without much worry about animals.

Ellendra

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #8 on: 2019-11-24, 02:39:49 PM »
My staples for survival (in no particular order):

Peas
Carrots
Tomatoes
Potatoes
Parsley
Sunflower seeds
Sesame seeds

These, plus meat, eggs, and milk, can be used to create a diet that will provide 100% of all macro and micro nutrients needed by the human body. Granted, I'm still working on being able to grow these reliably, but I consider them essential to my dreams of self-sufficiency.

(Several years ago I suffered from deficiencies in a few essential minerals. My appetite was just too small to get much out of what I was eating. It got bad enough to land me in the ER twice. Since the supplement pills made me throw up, I started researching and playing with spreadsheets to find ways to get better nutrition through real food, and pack it into as small a volume as possible to account for my appetite. I was very surprised by the results. This list is the bare-bones version of that research.)

I'm still doing research to try and come up with a similar list for livestock feed, to supply those meats, eggs, and milk without having to buy supplemental feed.

Other gardening stables, just because I love growing them:

Beans (both green and dry)
Corn (I alternate between flour and flint)
Squash (both summer and winter)
Melons
Garlic
Berries
Other assorted fruits
Beets


I'm sure I'll think of more.
Harsh winters, high winds. Temps on the edge between zones 4 and 5. Steep, north-facing slope. Soil is high in clay and rocks. Fast draining, which is a surprise for clay soil. Indicates a sandy/gravelly layer underneath.

reed

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #9 on: 2019-11-25, 03:02:35 AM »
Looks like squash and potatoes are winning the pole. Not surprised, they are pretty traditional and can produce lots of food that keeps good. I wish they grew better for me.

It's harder to grow potatoes here than used to be but I do still grow them. I don't consider them a staple in my little garden anymore cause in last few years I lost an entire crop to a late freeze. I admit I had planted pretty early but they looked beautiful, almost ready to bloom when they got froze down to the ground. Other years they make ok, but not great cause of hot dry weather. That's why I didn't replant after that freeze, cause I knew it would get hot before they matured. If I plant later to avoid possibility of late freeze there is near certainty of hot dry. I was excited when I got seeds from folks in trades but my tries at getting seeds and keeping the little tubers for the next year have been pretty pathetic.

I love winter squash but have never been overly successful at getting a solid harvest. Last year was a very good year, I had beautiful vines that stayed healthy and produced enough to last into the next year. I planted those Tetsukabuto F1 and and some other Japanese kinds as well as butternuts and some others. Even got lots of seeds from the Tetsukabuto. I expanded the patch this spring and they looked great at the end of May. Then cool rain set in first three weeks of June and they never recovered. I planted another patch thinking a get a few late ones and they also looked good but the bugs came in mass and killed them all. I didn't get any squash this year. We visited a farm in Kentucky this fall and they had wagons full of beautiful squash. I asked and they said theirs were just getting going in June and they lost some but most recovered, they sprayed the bugs.

I don't like have so many eggs in one basket but sweet potatoes are replacing both potatoes and squash for me. I'll keep growing potatoes and squash but not counting on them as staples anymore and not devoting a lot of space or effort into breeding them.

Andrew Barney

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #10 on: 2019-11-25, 07:07:14 AM »
I don't know how to complete the poll.

Are you asking what are staples to me for eating or staples in growing? I would assume the first question and if im correct then sweet potatoes are consumed in great quantity at all times,  but I don't grow sweet potatoes yet.


These are two different questions:

What are considered staples in your diet?

Vs.

What are considered staples of production in your garden / farm?
« Last Edit: 2019-11-25, 07:09:26 AM by Andrew Barney »

reed

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #11 on: 2019-11-25, 08:03:58 AM »
I don't know how to complete the poll.

Are you asking what are staples to me for eating or staples in growing? I would assume the first question and if im correct then sweet potatoes are consumed in great quantity at all times,  but I don't grow sweet potatoes yet.

These are two different questions:

What are considered staples in your diet?

Vs.

What are considered staples of production in your garden / farm?
My curiosity is what do/would folks focus on to produce a good portion of or even all of their own food.  Whether they do that by choice or necessity. What are the crops and why choose them?

For me the nutrition or calorie content of a crop is certainly important but actually takes a back seat to whether or not I can reliably grow it in sufficient quantity. For example if crop A was highly nutritious but very difficult to produce I might choose less nutritious crop B if I could easily grow lots of it.

I don't currently live on sweet potatoes and beans but if I wanted or had to make it on just my own garden they would be very high on the list. Happily they are both filling and nutritious but just as important is I can grow them more easily than any other substantial crop that I've tried so far. I have never experienced a total failure of either one.

I've found sweet potatoes easily store just at room temp even past time to plant the next year so there is potential for year round food even if you eat mostly the greens at the start of a season. As for greens sweet potatoes can easily be grown in a south window over winter, don't even need a green house.  Their seeds keep for years even if not frozen.

I've planted beans seeds that were 5 years old or more with near 100% germination and they were not frozen either. Dry beans stored well and freeze treated to make sure there are no bugs keep good for a long time.

I don't want to stop growing other stuff but I consider a lot of it to be secondary for lack of a better word. Tomatoes, lettuce, chard, radishes, mustard, turnips and so on but even they have to meet the test of being relatively easy for me to grow. 

I'm just curious about other folks choices and reasons because I want to expand my own selection of core staple crops. I'm particularly short on green leafy things I think and am working to breed/select for winter hardiness so we can have them fresh for a longer part of the season.

I'm more than a little tired of "trialing" individual varieties of about anything so I hope to acquire diverse mixes of some new stuff for next year. Top of the list is cowpeas, I already have a supply of them but also gonna get some tepary beans and peanuts.

O' and I'm gonna expand with my corn. Even if I have to kill every squirrel and coon within a mile.

« Last Edit: 2019-11-25, 08:09:53 AM by reed »

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #12 on: 2019-11-25, 09:01:43 AM »
It seems as though most of you are interpreting "staple" to mean something you eat a lot.

I voted just for squash and potatoes because I harvest and store them, then eat them over the next year.  However, maybe my definition of "staple" should be expanded. I have boxes of apples, and I also store other crops, like dried tomatoes, and  frozen fruits and vegetables.  Then there are the plants that grow and are harvested all year.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

William S.

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #13 on: 2019-11-25, 09:14:26 AM »
I really think that some of what the "How to Grow More Vegetables" book by John Jeavons is highly relevant to any discussion of staples. Not many of us are vegan, but if we were, or virtually had to be for reasons of necessity. It is interesting to think about growing your own in that context.

Jeavons lists just seven root crops as being extremely important: potatoes, sunchokes, salsify, sweet potatoes, parsnip, garlic, and leeks. They are both highly productive and high enough calorie to live off of. The list convinced me to try growing salsify and leeks. I ended up fall planting some seed of both. Will see if they germinate survive the winter and make a seed crop for me. I don't think I can grow sweet potatoes yet, though a breeding project makes sense if I ever have time. The other four I'm already growing. Or have grown. My true seed grown potatoes died out when I tried to let them overwinter in the ground a second year. 

I think flour, flint, and or dent corn make a lot of sense in a garden context.

Some kind of legume makes sense. Favas seem the most carefree legume in my garden. Though only with early seeding which I learned from Joseph.

Sunflower seeds make sense for an oilseed.

According to Jeavons we should actually think of squash as a smaller dietary portion. It sure is an easy vegetable to grow though.

I'd really like my soil to be as productive as John Jeavons is. Not sure about all the double digging though. Tried one bed this year. Will see how it does.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days

William S.

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #14 on: 2019-11-25, 09:18:52 AM »
It seems as though most of you are interpreting "staple" to mean something you eat a lot.

I voted just for squash and potatoes because I harvest and store them, then eat them over the next year.  However, maybe my definition of "staple" should be expanded. I have boxes of apples, and I also store other crops, like dried tomatoes, and  frozen fruits and vegetables.  Then there are the plants that grow and are harvested all year.

I think thought about casually it is anything you grow a lot of. Though I think if we were super serious about growing our own or about feeding people calories it's a far more restrictive list. Like per John Jeavons squash might not count.
Western Montana garden, glacial lake Missoula sediment lacustrian silty clay mollisoil sometimes with added sand in places. Zone 6A with 100 to 130 frost free days