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 416 times)

Richard Watson

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #15 on: 2019-11-25, 09:59:21 AM »
William - You spoke of being new to leeks and planting autumn, try sowing in spring and transplanting in to deep shafts early summer, you'll have large plants by the end of the growing season that should still make it through to spring, if they can survive winter in Quebec they should ok for you
« Last Edit: 2019-11-25, 10:02:13 AM 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 #16 on: 2019-11-25, 10:08:17 AM »
I'm in the same position, Reed, of trying to expand the core staples that I produce myself.
I could make a list of the things I've stopped buying over the last 9 years.
First would be seeds of everything.  By growing some and swapping some I have basically stopped buying seeds - but I acknowledge there have been things I wanted and couldn't get my hands on.  I bought carrot seed last year, and my experiment of 'carrots after tomatoes in greenhouse then grow out for seed' was a big fail due to aphid infestation.  So I have a way to go yet to establish a seed inventory to cover all needs for the staples I can and will grow and eat.
Tomatoes are the first crop I stopped buying, and peppers.   Mainly in greenhouse or indoors (peppers).
Green onions and leeks - successfully established perennial patches of these.  We also have rhubarb, currants, sunchokes (don't use) and perennial arugula now (2 yrs so far).  I dispute that sunchokes could be considered a staple?  More of a dubious condiment to me.  ::) :P
Garlic next.  Discovered animals don't bother garlic.  Easy to produce all we need.
Peas I grow every year but I need to work on my selection and seed saving to grow as many as we can eat (do love peas!).
Leafy greens of all kinds.   I don't buy any, it's true there are gaps in supply from time to time but I just tough it out until I can get more going. Lettuce, bok choy, yu choy, arugula, mizuna and more have turned out to be very easy to grow under lights in a cool room in the winter.  So the lights I bought for tomato starting are now in use from fall to spring.   It may not be much for calories but for health it's very important.  The quality of produce grown indoors winter is also great - no bugs, no 'lashed by foul weather or hot winds' toughness, just primo tender stuff. :)

So the problem is, I'm not producing the core crops that really feed us in bulk - potatoes carrots and storage onions.
One side effect of growing more garlic every year is that I need 2X the beds for just a single year rotation.  That means finding alternate crops to fill those spaces in rotation.  I've done carrots, beets, potatoes, and tried barley, flax, triticale, peas, zucchini and bush beans with varying success but not enough to say I'm covering those in the garden.  Potatoes, carrots, onions are the three vegs I'm continuing to buy.
Incidentally, I found that row cover is the best deterrent for the usual suspects here: moose, hare, and squirrel.  They will leave my vegs alone and browse the medicinals and shrubs and grass as long as vegs are in a small bed festooned with white cover around or over it.

Reed, row cover and rotation is also the way to get brassica crops without insect defoliation.  I know someone who uses tulle in a warmer climate and that is just right to let air in and keep cabbage butterflies out.  Just jaw dropping to see the beautiful organic broccoli and cabbage grown under cover at my friend's farm.  :D   
Also, in conversation with gardeners across the world it turns out that chard is the one green that is a survivor no matter what - from coldest to hottest conditions.   Although our chard didn't do much this season (so cold overall, the lettuce and parsely never bolted from spring to fall).



Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #17 on: 2019-11-25, 10:35:56 AM »
My staples are honey, deer, sweet corn, greens, berries, peppers, onions, tomatoes, tomatillos, apples, carrots, beets, sunroot, asparagus, plums, cabbage, kimchi, eggs, chicken, squash, popcorn, peas, melons, pickles. By diversification into smaller quantities of lots of different kinds of crops, I feel like I am enhancing food security. Some years, the cool weather crops do better, other years, the warm weather crops thrive. I also feel like it enhances nutrition to eat lots of different types of things.

I grow a lot of beans, flour corn, and flint corn They are more valuable to me as seed than as food, so I don't eat them often. A lot of the corn gets fed to chickens. I grow large amounts of wheat, barley, oats, and rye which are easy to grow. I rarely eat small grains due to their high carbohydrate load.

I listed kimchi and pickles as staple crops, because my strategy is that whatever suitable vegetables are available on any particular day can be added to the current batch.

I listed greens, because there are many species of both wild and domestic plants that I forage on during my daily activities. Sometimes, I gather them for culinary use or food preservation, but mostly these are eaten as found. I listed berries for the same reason, there are a lot of wild and domestic fruit bearing species in my area that can be significant forage foods.

I didn't list sunflowers as a food, because the labor of eating them is more than I want to expend.

Kai Duby

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #18 on: 2019-11-25, 08:01:27 PM »
Though I checked corn I really mean the old corns: wheat, rye, oats and I have plans to expand this with millet, barley, sorghum and whatever other small grains can produce as well as wheat. This year was my first year growing corn and it was marginal at best though I will certainly try again because I do eat tons of corn in the form of polenta, popcorn and masa.

Though I checked beans I really mean lentils, and peas. I've had about as much success with beans as corn. Cool weather crops fit better into my current watering/ growing regime. I eat lots of chickpeas too though I have not grown them.

I didn't check squash mainly because it takes such a large space to grow so little bulk food. Though that is based on my own experiences. I recently bought a bunch of overstock pumpkins after Halloween for a $1 a piece and it's amazing how much delicious seed comes out of a single squash. As a dual purpose veggie-flesh and fatty, grain-like seed I can see how it would be considered a staple.

I would also include: onions, garlic, beets, peppers, tomatoes, turnips, and cooking greens like orach, spinach and arugula. These don't provide the bulk of my calories but they are usually cooked alongside the staples. They are more like staples for the staples.
San Luis Valley, CO. >7,500'. Zone3-4. Low rainfall: 8-10''. Low Humidity. High winds.

William S.

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #19 on: 2019-11-25, 08:19:00 PM »
Richard thanks for the tip on leeks. I should buy a couple more packets and spring sow. Had the packets in hand just used all the space for tomato projects this spring. So it wasn't until tomatoes were about done that I got the relatively short lived seeds that I thought should be planted in the ground. Will be curious to see if anything comes of them anyway. The local seed co-op has a variety they claim is winter hardy here.
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

bill

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #20 on: 2019-11-27, 12:05:06 AM »
Potatoes are by far the most versatile, reliable, and calorie dense crop that I grow.  They are also pleasant to eat consistently in large amounts.  I also eat a heck of a lot of carrots, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, oca, ulluco, and mashua.  Sunflower family roots like sunchokes and yacon produce a lot of material, but I just can't eat that much.  I doubt that there are many people who can really use sunchokes as a staple crop, at least without processing them to reduce the inulin content.

Richard Watson

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #21 on: 2019-11-27, 12:46:16 AM »
Wish I could grow oca Bill, and we do so love them so much too. Dont know why they dont do well here
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.

reed

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #22 on: 2019-11-27, 06:22:01 AM »
I wasn't really thinking of foraged or animal based things but wow, honey is a big one. I've thought about trying my hand at bee keeping lots of times but never followed through, maybe it's time to do that. I also forage and eat lots of cultivated things in season but as far as putting something up for winter from that, other than processed stuff like jellies or such not much. But then I remembered nuts, walnuts, hickory and especially pecans. Always collect lots of them each fall.

As far as animals the only ones I raise are chickens and an occasional turkey but don't think I could be self sufficient with them. Can't raise a big enough flock to keep up healthy bloodlines and of course they have to be fed too. Better to partner with neighbors on critters. I don't hunt much but we eat a lot of fish. Don't care for deer but they make good dog food. Squirrels and rabbits are abundant, not especially fond of either one as food. Wild turkey and geese are also abundant and they are both very, very fine eating IMO.

That Jeavons fellow doesn't have much useful to say it seems to me.  Doesn't he know that locations and conditions differ and accordingly so do crops? I'm sure me and mine would stave right quick following his advice.  I'm not fond of garden writers and advisers in general. Much prefer people who garden with their own little fingers and relate their experiences about it. What they do, why they do it, how it turns out and recognizing it might be different for others. Deppe, Kaupler, Lofthouse and people here on the forum have interesting and often useful things to say.

For me a staple, besides being nutritious a crop has to produce relatively easily and reliably in my conditions. It has to be sustainable which with few exceptions means it has to make seeds and it can't have any wild poisonous relatives.

And why in the world if squash grows well for them would someone not eat a lot of winter squash? I sure would and also potatoes if they were more reliable and made seeds in my climate.
« Last Edit: 2019-11-27, 06:35:25 AM by reed »

Woody Gardener

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #23 on: 2019-11-27, 06:44:22 AM »
reed:
"That Jeavons fellow doesn't have much useful to say it seems to me.  Doesn't he know that locations and conditions differ and accordingly so do crops? I'm sure me and mine would stave right quick following his advice.  I'm not fond of garden writers and advisers in general. Much prefer people who garden with their own little fingers and relate their experiences about it. What they do, why they do it, how it turns out and recognizing it might be different for others. Deppe, Kaupler, Lofthouse and people here on the forum."

Words of wisdom.
There are so many very different ways that successful gardeners use. After a few years most gardeners develop their own style of gardening. I wonder how many beginning gardeners have failed after following a "this is how to garden" book to the letter and have quit gardening in disgust.

Ferdzy

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #24 on: 2019-11-27, 07:27:50 AM »
Richard thanks for the tip on leeks. I should buy a couple more packets and spring sow. Had the packets in hand just used all the space for tomato projects this spring. So it wasn't until tomatoes were about done that I got the relatively short lived seeds that I thought should be planted in the ground. Will be curious to see if anything comes of them anyway. The local seed co-op has a variety they claim is winter hardy here.

William, I will be really interested in hearing how your fall-sown leeks do. I have only had fall sown leeks germinate once, and I thought it was a bit of an anomaly. If I'm wrong about that it would be useful information for me to have.

William S.

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #25 on: 2019-11-27, 08:47:06 AM »
I'm not sure if the leeks germinated and if so, I'm not sure if they are still making it. The salsify germinated and is still plugging along despite some leaf predation.

Will see what happens in the spring on the bed. Incidentally I planted them on my new double dug bed. First and only one I've ever made.

Incidentally I didn't follow the directions to the letter. Reread bits of the book after and noticed I made some substantial variances from it. I added more sand then recommended. I added some old sawdust down in deep. I didn't pulverize the lower layer of soil. Left it clumpy.

In fact I've never gardened from a book to the letter. I've also never really been a beginning gardener. I learned from my parents who learned from theirs probably back into time immemorial. Methods do change and adapt but there are consistencies as well. I learn things from books and they influence my gardening, but never completely. That Jeavons guy and his team do garden. So do most gardening authors. Some are shockingly ignorant newbies themselves who write to support their gardening habit. Thats a neat trick. Most have at least some small insight. Though take Pat Lanza for instance. I read an magazine article she wrote that preceded her book on lasagna gardening. Politely looked at her book on the store shelf. Pretty sure I got what I needed from the magazine. Never have enough mulch to really try mulch gardening like Ruth or Pat or that fellow with the wood chips. If I come into a source I may try it someday. Or I may garden however I have the means.
« Last Edit: 2019-11-27, 09:12:29 AM 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

Ferdzy

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #26 on: 2019-11-27, 09:00:06 AM »
Thanks, William. I'll try to remember to ask you again in the spring about them.

I'm a lazy gardener; if plonking things into the ground works for me (and it does, after the application of a lot of manure) then plonking things into the ground is what I'm going to do.

reed

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Re: Multi option staple poll
« Reply #27 on: 2019-11-27, 03:59:16 PM »
Leeks is another disappointment for me, love them but ever time I tried to grow a crop leek moths ruined them all. Just thankful they didn't target my onions and garlic too.