Self Sufficient Questions And Answers Vol 3

Welcome to the third instalment of Self Sufficient Questions and Answers. Sorry about the delay, we had Internet problems.

Bobpick asked via Twitter:

If a veggy says plant in rows 36 inches apart, can I plant something in-between, and what’s the best distance tween all rows?

Bob, personally I would never plant so far apart. I can’t think of anything that I plant more than 2 feet apart. However, we all have different preferences and designs of our Veg Plots to accommodate.

I would certainly plant in between rows, especially if the main crop  take a while to mature. Try planting a crop that will grow quickly, such as Radishes, to fill up the rows before the main crop matures.

The best distance between all rows really does depend on the crop planted, but I am a firm believer in close planting. It saves space and means you can enrich a smaller area and make it really good quality. Even without Double Digging I really wouldn’t plant anything very far apart. If I planted Onions for example I would plant them a large fist size apart, just wider than the size the Onions would grow. We take this theory and apply it to everything. All our Cabbages are just planted the distance apart that a large Cabbage would grow, for example.

We totally ignore the spacings given on labels or in Books. We have much richer Soil this way because we have a smaller area we can add our Compost to. I hope this helps.
Peterdonald asked via Twitter:

How much water does a drip feed system require in dry weather. Pipes buried 9” under ground so evaporation low?


Getting pretty specific there Peter.

Firstly I had always understood that drip feed systems are better not being underground as they can block partially and alter the flow rates, but I don’t know your system so this may not apply.

The watering volume and schedule really does depend on the Plants being watered though. It also depends on whether you can control the water flow as well. If you have the ability to control the flow rate I would say that half an hour, twice a day at a flow rate of 1/2 Gallon an hour should be sufficient for Veggies requiring average watering. You may be looking at more for greedy Plants like Tomatoes.

kaszb asked via Twitter:

Hi I’m thinking about getting a compost loo for allotment, how often (roughly) do they need to be emptied? keep up the great work! thanks

Kaszb, firstly I am glad you are thinking of using a Compost Toilet. See Compost Toilet DIY for a few ideas.They are a very good idea and certainly ideal for an Allotment setting.

In our experience,a Compost Loo, if not filled beforehand, needs to be emptied about once a week. If you are using something like Sawdust to cover it each time, there is no smell over the short term.

You will probably find that after a week or so it may begin to smell. It really just depends how offensive you find this. I would stick to a weekly shedule and this will stop it from smelling and also it won’t be too heavy to lift!

I hope this helps.

Thanks to everyone who took part.

For a more self sufficient future

2 Responses to “Self Sufficient Questions And Answers Vol 3”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. I like the idea of your spacing. I personally like not wasting any space. First because it useful and second because it helps to keep the weeds down and out. I like disturbing the soil as little as possible.

    I once new a fellow who said he could feed a city from his garden. Just a little exaggeration.

    He buried his water lines about a food down, as I recall and put plastic over the top. He never weeded and the plants got all the water they wanted and went deep for it.

    Thanks for the great ideas.

  2. Amara says:

    I have a question, but as this post is a tad ancient (going by the date on the comment above mine), I realize I may not get an answer, but ahh well, I may as well try.

    How many olive trees do you think a person needs to be self sufficient in olives? Enough to eat, cook (olive oil) and make soap all year round plus whatever else you discover you can do with olives?