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What you really need to know BEFORE you take the leap

Vetiver Grass

Vetiver Grass
Vetiver Grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides) is a sterile tropical grass, that is used around the world to control erosion, stabilise slopes and clean up polluted land and water.

First used in India to conserve soil moisture and reduce soil loss. The dense fibrous roots reinforce the soil against erosion and slippage. The roots can grow 3-4m deep in a year, improving the shear strength of the soil. Vetiver is used to  prevent erosion on riverbanks, culverts and slopes.

A natural cost-effective  bio engineering  system, that has been proven again and again around to world . As well as the fibrous roots, the shoots of Vetiver help to disperse rainfall and build up silt levels, allowing native species to colonise the banks and slopes.

Vetiver grows in a wide range of often inhospitable environmental conditions. Vetiver will tolerate and absorb high levels of heavy metals and  N&P which makes it extremely effective at cleaning up polluted land and water.

Vetiver will also tolerate cold conditions,frosts, flooding and will  survice  to -15oC

Check out our sister website to find out more about this amazing grass

Animal Husbandry Essentials

Keeping animals as part of a self-sufficient life-style is a big step, especially if looking after the family guinea pig is your only experience of looking after animals so far! It is the part that requires knowledge, time and commitment, but can be incredibly rewarding. Before deciding what if any animals you want to keep, there are a few important matters to consider .


Are you prepared for the time, labour and commitment required to keep animals?

Unlike the family Guinea Pig; chickens, sheep etc can’t be taken around to a neighbour when you fancy a few days away! Animals need to be fed, watered and to be secure, which may mean opening and closing hen houses, stables and the like, twice daily  so it is important to have a back-up system for those times when you are away , and if you have to make a living then that might be more often than you think.

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Water and waste management

Most of us take for granted that we turn on a tap and water gushes out, or we flush the toilet and that is the end of the matter ! Living off – grid brings home the reality of not only sourcing water but also managing our wastes. This section is really about living off-grid as living on grid decisions are usually out of your hands, other than perhaps conserving and recycling water and with more frequent hosepipe bans then water conservation is rising up the political agenda


  • This will vary hugely depending upon where you live, however if you draw water from the surface or underground purely for domestic purposes then you are unlikely to require a licence - in the UK you only need a licence if you are going to abstract more than 4000 gallons per day. However, always check with the local authorities

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Renewable Energy Solutions

Confused about ohms, amps, volts, photovoltaic, turbines, flow, head and inverters? Then read the Self-Sufficiency Renewable Energy Essentials. There are a number of factors to be taken into consideration when deciding what if any renewable energy options are right for you.


  • Conduct an energy usage audit – how much energy you are using, what you are using and
  • What are you prepared to give up – hairdryer, electric kettle, toaster ? it might seem fun
  • Once your audit is complete the you will have an idea of the amount of power your
  • This will be affected by your budget!

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