Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Category: Homesteading

Farming Gardening and Homesteading

Why Won’t Your Garden Plants Produce?

Bushel of potatoes

You planted a garden, but it did not produce. The plants may have grown nice and large, but they did not produce anything. What could be wrong?

The simple answer is – Plants need certain certain types of fertilizer depending on what they produce. Using the wrong fertilizer may cause the plant to grow large, but may not produce.

What brought this topic up? I posted a video talking about how to pick out seed potatoes. Ethical Preparedness asked a question about growing potatoes..

If the reader does not subscribe to Ethical Preparedness YouTube channel, get over there and subscribe. He makes some excellent videos.

People prepping for a long term collapse, or just a backyard gardener should understand how certain nutrients affect the garden.

Everything written here is from memory.

Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash

Cutting Seed Potatoes For Planting

Cutting potatoes before planting

Potato planting time is just around the corner. In the southern part of the united States it is common to plant around February 14th. Or anywhere between the middle of February to the first of March.

When planting potatoes there is a common misconception that the whole potato has to be planted. That simply is not true. It is possible to grow multiple plants from a single potato. this is done by cutting a chunk of the potato along with an “eye.” A potato eye is another name for the sprout. Potatoes will have multiple sprouts coming off of them. Simple cut the sprout along with a chunk of the potato off.

After cutting the eye off the potato, some people dip the cutting in lime or fireplace ashes. Then allow the cutting to dry for a few days before planting. Some people say the lime or ashes help prevent the cutting from rotting.

Survivalist: Starting a Seed Stockpile

Stockpiling Garden Seeds

Local farm supply stores are getting their summer seed shipments in. If any survivalist are looking to start a seed stockpile, or add to their current stockpile, now is the time.

The key is to buy your seeds early. If you wait too long, certain types of see will be sold out. Take corn for example. It is not uncommon for farming supply stores to sell out of their corn seed pretty quick.

There are also issues with seed shortages. This does not happen all the time, but it does happen from time to time. There may be issues with suppliers having shortages of certain types of seeds.

For example, several years ago there was a shortage in pickling cucumber seeds. The shortage did not affect me as I had a lot of them in my stockpile.

How would a survivalist go about starting a seed stockpile?

Buying Seeds

New Country Lifestyle Forum

Bushel of potatoes

Has everyone signed up on my new forum – Country Lifestyle Network?

Awhile back I wanted to shift gears with my prepping plans. Since moving to the farm I have not dedicated the time and effort I should have into various projects, such as an orchard, and fencing in a few acres for livestock.

The goal is to build a semi-self sustainable farm. It would be rather difficult to build a fully semi-self sustainable farm based on renewable energy. However, I can travel down that road and see where it goes.

While I am going down that path, why not start a community and share my experiences? That is the purpose of Country Life Network. I want to build a community where people who live in the country can share their knowledge and experience.

The new forum is NOT a prepping survivalist forum.

There will be nothing prepping related in Country Life. That is unless you call growing your own food prepping.

Country Life Kick Off

Difference Between Heirloom And Hybrid Seeds

Grape Tomatoes

What is the difference between heirloom and hybrid seeds? First of all, hybrid and GMO are not the same thing, and a lot of people seem to get that confused. GMOs are Genetically modified organisms. Meaning they have been altered by man on the genetic level.

GMO products can contain genes from organisms that will never meet in the real world. For example, let’s say some scientist splices the genes of a fish into corn seed. There is no way that would ever happen in the real world.

Hybrids

Hybrids are are when plants who are closely related cross pollinate. This happens all the time in the real world.

  • Corn can cross pollinate.
  • Squash and zucchini can cross pollinate.
  • Different types of melons can cross pollinate.
  • Peppers can cross pollinate… etc.

The Meme Has Ruined Prepping

Kevin Felts political commentator

Sites like Facebook and Pinterest changed the face of survivalism. Over the past few years there has been a gradual shift from real prepping, to reading memes. Looking at a meme and pictures satisfies our desire for instant gratification.

There was once a time when people were truly interested in prepping. Survivalist joined forums, read blogs, made YouTube videos… etc.

Today, people are happy to just look at memes and invest as little time as possible in prepping.

For example:

Post a meme on Facebook, and it may get thousands of likes and hundreds of shares.

Post a link to an article, and it gets nothing. After all, an article would require people to do this thing called “read”, and this other thing called “thinking.” Who has time to read or think when the meme can explain everything?

Why should we read about gardening, when all we have to do is look at memes?

Why should we read about raising chickens, when all we have to do is look at memes?

Real Life Prepping

Food Will Be The Focus For 2018

Growing potatoes for food

Food production and preservation will be the focus for 2018. Every year I like to pick a topic and focus on that topic. Other ideas and topics will be covered throughout 2018, but the main theme for articles and videos will be food.

Food is a must have for everyone. Without food production, humanity has no future. Maybe we could revert to a hunter-gather society, but those societies do not flourish.

Food is the foundation of every modern society. When societies lose access to food, collapse is close behind. We have numerous examples of this through history. Only with a stable food supply do we have governments, science, technology… etc.

Fruit Trees and Orchards For 2018

Peach tree

There is an area close to the chicken yard that I would like to clear out for a small orchard of fruit trees. It only measures around 50 X 75 feet, maybe 50 X 100 feet. Just large enough to plant some mayhaw, fig and pear trees. Not a lot of trees, maybe a handful of each. There is a good size sweet gum tree in the way of this orchard. Cutting the sweet gum tree down and burning the stump would not be a big deal, just time consuming.

Another spot is on old fence line that is overgrown with small oaks and sweet gums. This is around 400 feet long and would have full sun. The issue with this one, it would require a LOT of work to cut all the sweet gum and small oak trees out, then burn the stump to make sure they do not come back. This location does not have access to water, while the other location does.

Almost Time To Cut And Split Firewood

Cut and split firewood

Some people may wonder why I would cut and split firewood in the middle of winter. The leaves are off the trees and the weather is cool. What better time to cut some small oak trees, split them and put the firewood up.

I do not have a fireplace. I hope to have one in a few years, but that is in the future. So the firewood is used for cooking, and for outdoor activities here on the farm. It is nice to sit outside in the cool weather and enjoy a fire with friends and family, or just my wife and I.

Here on the farm there are a number of small oak trees that are growing at an angle. I say small, but they are at least six – eight inches in diameter. The trees grow at an angle because the small trees are shaded by larger trees. So the small tree grow at an angle to reach sunlight. They will never be a nice straight mature tree. The best thing to do is to cut them down, split the wood, and use the wood for cooking. Thinning the small trees will help the mature trees grow better.

Unglorified Survival Gear Preps

Srockpiling survival gear preps

Go to YouTube and watch some videos on survival gear, and all the stuff that goes bang or is bright and shiny gets all the views. Why is that? Why do videos about chicken feeders, fencing, and other long term survival preps get so little attention?

For the sake of discussion, let’s say there is a collapse of society. This could be from nuclear war, pandemic flu, some kind of new viral plague.. etc. Which would serve you better, livestock and homesteading resources, or some cute cutting tool?

To me, my seed stockpile, chickens, livestock fence… are all just as important as something that goes bang.

Shifting Gears On The Farm

Mahindra 4530 4-wheel drive tractor

As hunting season winds down, it is time to start working on the farm. During November and early December I try not to make too much noise. This means no chainsaws and no tractor. Why? Because people on the hunting leases next to the farm are sitting in their stands. My dogs roam those hunting leases, and I would like for the people to not shoot my dogs.

So after hunting season ends, it will be time to start working on fencing in a few acres on the back of the property. A rough estimate is around 7 – 9 acres that will be fenced in.

What kind of livestock will be kept?

I would like to get some goats, hair sheep and a few calves. The calves are to be raised and sold at auction. There is not enough land to raise full grown cattle, so I am looking at a calves. For milk it will be goats and sheep.

Three Broody Hens in The Chicken House

Broody hens

Three of my hens have gone broody and are sitting on eggs. One of them even hatched out a chick.

For those of you who do know, broody means a hen has gone into a mothering mode and is sitting on some eggs. The eggs are called a clutch. Some chicken breeds go broody more than others, and some breeds rarely if ever go broody.

What gets me:

Two of the hens are Barred Rocks, which rarely go broody.

One is an Australorp, which has a reputation of going broody.

My first set of chickens was back around 1987 or 1988. My wife and I butchered out that first set of Barred Rocks when they were around two years old, and I did not get any more until 2012.

So in the seven years I have kept chickens, only two barred rocks have gone broody.

One of my Dogs Passed Away

Pet dog Buckshot

It is with deep regret that I have to make this post. The newest dog to the pack, a four month old puppy by the name of Buckshot, ran in front of a truck, was ran over and died on August 4th, 2017.

There is a private dirt road that goes through the farm that my cousins use to access their home. It was on that road, Buckshot ran in front of my cousins truck and was ran over. He did not suffer and passed away just a few seconds after the accident.

Several months ago one of my cousins brought Buckshot home for her mother, my aunt. My aunt, being an older lady may have had difficulties taking care of the puppy. It seemed like every day Buckshot was at my house to play with my dogs and look for food. I put a feed bowl on the front porch and would make sure the puppy had plenty of food.

Losing Chickens To Predators

Over the past couple of weeks I have lost several chickens to predators. Several of them have gone missing, with just a few feathers in the chicken yard. From the trail of feathers, something drug the chicken from the chicken house.

It is not a chicken hawk, because there is no body. Chicken hawks do not eat the bones.

A trail camera in the chicken yard showed a couple of raccoons and an opossum.

Opossums will not drag a chicken off. It will eat the chicken in the chicken house.

Fig Tree Organic Fertilizer Experiment

Fig tree with some chickens

For some reason my fig trees are not growing like they should. I suspect it is due to the sandy soil and a lack of composting around the fig trees. There is just any nutrients in the soil for the trees to pull from.

I do not want to put commercial fertilizer around them, so I mixed up some organic fertilizer:

  • Cut the top off of a one gallon milk jug.
  • Fill 3/4 with water.
  • One handful aged chicken manure.
  • One handful ash from my smoker. This is a mix of oak, pecan and wild cherry.
  • Handful bone meal.
  • Urine.
  • Mix together with a stick.
  • Pour around base of fig tree.
Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018