Monday, March 1, 2010
A quarter acre is a fun and fairly realistic quantity to work with. Though it's increasingly impossible to find lots of this size anywhere near the city center, they are still available in Seattle a few miles to the south.
How to use a quarter acre best?
I don't think it's practical nor necessary for a person in the city to grow all their own grains. Grain is easily grown nearby on a large scale. Nor do I think it is necessary to have much in the way of grazing land, though a lawn of some sort (for kids and animals) might be nice. Finally, I believe it necessary to include ornamental plantings. I broke down a quarter acre into the following portions:
House (5-6 people, 2-3 stories): 1,200 sq. ft. footprint
Shop, shed, greenhouse, driveway, patios: 800 sq. ft.
Row crops: 3,000 sq. ft.
Orchard and Chickens: 1,200 sq. ft.
Ornamental plantings, shade tree, lawn: 2,500 sq. ft.
Natural habitat: 1,500 sq. ft.
This use of the land grows at least one third of the vegetables and fruits necessary to feed 5-6 people (according to Fukuoka). That is a significant contribution by city folk to their own sustenance. In Seattle, one could legally keep eight chickens on this much land, supplying roughly six eggs/day, supplying half if not all the house's egg needs.