Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: gardening

Tomatoes, Peppers, and Okra Spring Garden Update

Jalapeno peppers

The garden got off to a late start this year. In March we received so much rain the seeds rotted in the ground. It seemed like every couple of days we were getting a cold front.

All of this means the 2018 spring garden is running a month behind. Instead of the peppers producing in May, they are producing in June. Which is no big deal because once the peppers start producing, they will continue until the first frost.

Instead of the okra being planted at the first of May, it was planted at the end of May. I was hoping to get some rain to help the okra germinate, but we did not get rain for a month.

Eventually, I decided to plant the okra and water the seeds with a sump pump that sits in a creek. Everything worked out and the seeds germinated. Once the okra started to come up, it is making solid progress.

Tomatoes and Tomato Cages

Planted Two More Brown Turkey Fig Trees

During the spring of 2018 I decided to put two more Brown Turkey Fig trees here on the farm. This gives me a total of five fig trees. Three are in the chicken yard, and two are outside the chicken yard near the chicken house.

Planting the first set of fig trees in the chicken yard came with some problems. For one, they were a long ways from a water source. To water the trees, about 100 yards of water hose had to be strung together. They were also planted in sandy soil which did not hold very much water.

The two Brown Turkey Fig trees planted in 2018 were planted near the chicken house. the clay layer is around 12 – 14 inches below the surface, the the soil holds water better than the sandy soil. Also, the fig trees were planted where they could use manure in the chicken house as fertilizer.

Two More Brown Turkey Fig Trees

Garden Update: Contender Snap Bean Sprouts and Peppers

Contender snap bean sprouts

Contender snap bean sprouts are breaking through the soil and pepper plants are getting established. Some the peppers have died, and some are not looking too good, which is to be expected.

The pepper plants were planted in a garden spot around 100 yards behind the house. Just a couple of days after planting we got around 8 inches of rain overnight. I suspect a couple of the plants drown during the rain. Some of the pepper plants look nice.

One of the things I love about spring is the garden. Seeing sprouts break through the soil is a wonderful sight. They symbolize rebirth after winter is over.

No signs of the potatoes yet, but that is no big deal. It may take the potatoes a few more days. When the potatoes were cut, I made sure each eye had plenty of meat on them. The potato chunks provides nutrients so the roots and sprouts can get started.

Snap Bean Sprouts

Planting Pepper Plants With Homemade Organic Fertilizer

Planting pepper plants

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about planting pepper plants and using homemade organic fertilizer. If there is one plant in my spring garden that has a special place, it has to be pepper plants. Because of that, pepper plants need some tinder loving care.

Pepper plants need nitrogen to grow big and tall, then they need potash (potassium) to grow peppers. Those are the first and third numbers on a bag of fertilizer. The middle number is bone meal (phosphorus), which promotes root growth.

Around the farm I have chicken manure, and some potash from the smoker. These were used to mix up some homemade potting soil, which will be used as organic fertilizer.

Aged chicken manure from the brooder house was mixed with potash and some topsoil in a wheelbarrow.

Planting Pepper Plants

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

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.

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.

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.

Farm Progress February 2017

Tractor moving debris

In December of 2016 I posted a thread in the forum about my prepping plans for 2017. I wanted to post an update to that thread and how things were moving along.

Firearms and Ammunition

A Glock 19 was added to the inventory. Overall, I find the quality mediocre. I can not understand why Glocks are as popular as they are. Because of this I am looking at a Beretta 92F compact.

I have decided to dump a certain amount of money into bulk ammunition. February was 1,000 rounds of Wolf 9mm FMJ. March will probably be 223 Remington. April might be 45acp or 308 Winchester. The plan is to continue to buy bulk ammo for the rest of 2017.

2017 is going to be a buyers market for everything shooting related. If you want something, get it now. If you have been on the fence about buying rifle or handgun magazines, go ahead and get them.

Garden

Starting Spring 2017 Garden

The weather in early 2017 has been unseasonably warm, so I decided to go ahead and start the spring garden a few weeks early. I usually do not plant until after the Ides of March. With everything blooming out early and daytime highs hitting the low 80s, I decided to start planting in late February.

This garden will be special, as it uses decade old seeds. I posted a video on youtube about stockpiling seeds and then shared the video on survivalistboards, twitter and reddit. A couple of guys on reddit said made statements that seeds can not be saved.

Storing potatoes

Half bushel of fresh potatoes

How do you store potatoes? So far this year the potato harvest has gone well. I have probably gotten close to 3 bushels, and that has not even made a big dent in the garden.

If you had a shed or a barn, you could put down a layer of hay, layer of potatoes, layer of hay, layer of potatoes,,,, until all the potatoes are covered with hay.

Space the potatoes so that they are not stacked on top of each other. The spacing allows airflow and will help prevent potato rot.

The layers of hay add a cushion between the potatoes and will help prevent rot.

Digging potatoes

Grandkids digging potatoes

Nothing brings mankind closer to the earth than digging potatoes. There is a certain joy in working the soil, planting seeds, watching the plants grow, taking care of the plants, then harvesting the fruits of your labor. This is especially true with potatoes.

Digging potatoes like opening a present, you do not know what it is until you open the box. The same is true with potatoes. You do not know what is in the ground until you start digging.

There are other options besides digging potatoes by hand.

Hobbies For Survivalist

So you are sitting around the house, nothing is on TV, no new or exciting news on the internet,,,,, what do you do?

You could always play some Skyrim or Left 4 Dead 2. But Left 4 Dead 2 is getting old.

What hobbies can survivalist get into that will help improve our long term SHTF survival skills?

Coin Collecting

Most of us handle money in shape for or fashion just about everyday. Why not get into coin collecting so you can start stockpiling silver and other valuable coins?

Silver and gold have been recognized as being valuable for thousands of years. At one time the US dollar was backed by gold, but now its just backed by a promise. If that promise ever falls through it would be good to have some kind of money that has a real physical value.

Ever though they are getting very rare, from time to time I find a pre-1965 quarter in my change. When I find silver coins they go into storage.

Years ago I used to take my kids down to a pawn shop in Orange Texas to buy them silver dollars and half-dollars. I was trying to teach my children the value of real money. Times change, things change, we moved away from Bridge City and Jasper Texas. The local pawn shops around here do not sell silver coins.

Growing Onions

Home grown onions

The onion is a national crop; as widely though not quite as extensively grown as the potato. It is available as a money crop for the farm gardener.

Choice of Soil — Heavy, stiff clay land is to be avoided. Sand and gravel dry out too quickly. Stony land renders good culture difficult. The best soil for onions is a deep, rich, mellow loam. Soils which afford natural advantages for irrigation should not be overlooked, as the rainfall is often lacking when greatly needed.

Fertilizers — Onion culture demands high manuring. No amount of rotted stable manure is likely to be excessive. A ton per acre of high-grade, complete fertilizer is not too much, if moisture can be supplied. Hen manure is a good top dressing for onion-beds, furnishing the needed nitrogen. Nitrate of soda is a good source of nitrogen, if nitrogen must be purchased. The clovers and other leguminous crops yield the cheapest nitrogen. Wood ashes, kainit, etc., furnish potash. Either ground bone or acid phosphate will give the needed phosphoric acid. An analysis of the onion shows that it carries away fertility in just about the proportions furnished by stable manure.

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Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018