This summer, in just 100 days I was able to grow 75% of my food working less than 10 hours a week!
I documented every single day of the adventure on my Youtube Channel, Justin Rhodes.
Just look at everything I was able to grow:
In this article I’m going to give you 10 steps you can take to grow MOST of your own food working less than 10 hours a week–from dreaming big and making plans to saving the harvest for winter. I’ll teach you the stunts I use at every step of the way to make this dream a reality.
Let’s jump right in…
Step #1 – Identify Your Goals and Limitations
Identify Your Goals
Write down what you want to grow and prioritize it.
- I suggest starting with chicken and veggies.
- Just grow the things you like.
- Grow things that you’re already buying that are expensive.
Now, prioritize each goal by ranking it according to importance.
Identify Your Limitations
Write down your limitations or draw them on a map. Limitations include things like
- Amount of space
- Amount of time
- Family difficulties
Step #2 – Design
Draw a crude map of your potential garden and chicken areas. I suggest keeping things closer to the house if they need more visits
- Kitchen gardens
- Herb gardens
- Crop gardens (These can be a little further out.)
Remember, it’s easier to make a mistake on paper than in real life.
Step #3 – Prep a Future Garden Area, Using Chickens
- Move chickens onto your future garden area.
- Use mobile chicken coops like my Chicken Tractor or ChickShaw
- Use the Chicken Tractor for
- Smaller flocks, less than 12
- Smaller garden jobs
- You could place this over a garden area and leave them in it.
- Or, you could place this inside a pastured poultry net and use it as a coop.
- Use the ChickShaw for
- Flocks of 12 to 50
- Larger garden areas (600 to 1700 square feet)
- Wild terrain
- Remember, one chicken can till 50 square feet of sod in 4-6 weeks, so make sure you have enough chickens for your garden area or make the area smaller.
Here are some ideas for deciding which coop is right for you:
Step #4 – Slap Together a Greenhouse
A greenhouse is critical to the system. With it, you can easily grow plants WHILE your chickens prepare the garden area. So good, it’s almost magic.
- Use scrap lumber and build it into a sizeable A-frame.
- Use scrap windows or plastic for the greenhouse walls.
- Put together a makeshift table using scrap lumber on top of metal sawhorses. (Use metal so that mice can’t climb up to get your seeds.)
Here’s a video where I slap together an A-frame greenhouse in half of a day:
Step #5 – Start Plants in Soil Blocks (or similar)
- Try to time this right. It takes about four weeks for the plants to grow, so think about when your chickens will be ready to move on and start your plants four weeks before.
- I like to use soil blocks for starting seeds.
Watch how I put together soil blocks:
Here we’re prepping the soil with broad forking
Step #7 – Transplanting
- Move your chickens out and mark your rows accordingly (I do 42”-wide beds with a foot in between beds like Elliot Coleman.)
- Mark a row for planting
- Plant your plants from the greenhouse.
- Give it some “insurance” if you have some vermicompost or similar.
- Water with diluted urine for an extra boost.
- Spray with Shaklee H if needed
Here the kids and I transplant into the prepped garden area:
YES, I said water with urine. Here, David the Good explains what’s up with that.
Step #8 – Maintenance
- Water/fertilize as needed.
- Spray with Basic H to prevent bug attacks.
- Sheet mulch with cardboard if lots of weeds are present.
Step #9 – Meal Planning (Time to Eat!)
- Look at your meals differently. Where can you use homegrown food?
- Every time you use food from your own land, you make a difference.
- Need some ideas? Take an item and ask Mr. Google about it.
Step #10 – Ideas for the Abundance
Have too much food? You can’t have too much of a good thing. If you have more food than you can eat you can always:
- Feed it to the chickens
- Give it away
- Store it by
- Keeping it in the root cellar or a cool, dark place
- A lot of foods will keep on the counter for several days
Those are the 10 simple steps. All of this should take you less than 10 hours of labor per week.
Remember some of the tricks are:
- Having the chickens till a future garden area while the plants grow. This is a HUGE time saver.
- Also, transplanting the crops while they’re bigger will eliminate most of the need for weeding.
- Mulching to cut down on weeds.
- Learning to eat what’s on the land is key to the amount you consume.
- Store food for later and rest in the future.
Exclusive Video Coming Soon!
I’ve created a special video showing the processes of this entire article. It will be available for FREE inside of Marjoy Wildcraft’s Fall Summit, October 31st, 2016.