Awhile back someone posted a comment on one my youtube videos saying the hoe will be your best friend after SHTF. This got me to thinking about how important certain types of survival gear were over other types.
Can you use an AR-15 or AK-47 to till a garden? Plow a field? Bushhog? Operate an auger to set fence post? Clear brush? Weed a garden? Pick the crops? Can the harvest?
Who is your very best friend?
The hoe and the rake.
They have proven then test of time. Our ancestors used garden tools thousands of years before firearms were ever thought of.
Garden tools have no moving parts – no locking lugs, no bolt carrier, no firing pin, no ammunition, nothing to run out of except your physical strength.
When I made the youtube video I thought it was a good topic. Maybe something for members of the community and forum to talk about their over reliance on firearms to survive a post-SHTF world. I was rather set back by the comments and negative ratings on the youtube video.
Let’s be honest, garden tools are not cool. They do not have the “that is so awesome” like an AR-15, AK-47, AK-74, PTR-91 and FN/FAL do. there are no rails on a hoe to mount the “best tactical light money can buy”, or a suppressor, or eotech or aimpoint. There is no tacticool with hoes and rakes. Yes there are cheap garden tools and there are more expensive ones.
Who honestly pays attention to the brandname and quality of a garden tool? Do you take your hoe and rake out and show it to your friends like you would with some of your tactical gear? Do you shop online and read the reviews of your garden tools? Or do you buy whatever the local chinamart and farm supply store has in stock?
Someone on youtube even sent me a message saying they almost unsubscribed because of the video.
In the overall scheme of things which is more important in the long run, being able to feed your family, or having thousands of rounds of ammunition you can not eat.
Hunting after SHF
The typical survivalist response to questions about stockpiling ammunition, they will go hunting during a long term SHTF situation.
Let’s be honest, do you really think you will be the only person hunting post-collapse?
What do you think caused the wild turkey and whitetail deer to become extinct in east Texas during the early 1900s? Habitat destruction played a big role, but over hunting during the great depression contributed greatly to wildlife depletion. When the food dries up in the cities, where do you think those people are going? Out to the country to find food.
Do you honestly think you will be the “only” person who will be able to hunt when all the wildlife has been depleted? Chances are good number of people are on hunting leases, which is where a lot of people will go. When they reach their hunting lease they will hunt. When all the wildlife around the lease is depleted they will travel further and further to find food.
People who live in rural areas will deplete the wildlife around them. Then they will venture further and further away from home to find food.
It will be just a matter of time before all the deer, rabbit, squirrels, wild hogs,,,, everything is hunted out. Then what?
Do you plan on raiding your neighbors garden and chicken house for food? Only the animals that are protected by their owners will be the only fresh meat available in a long term post-collapse world.
Family pets will be a source of food, and then what? During the Black Death of 1348 – 1350 dogs and cats became extinct in some parts of Europe.
History has proven this time and time again. The people with a renewable and reliable food source are the ones who will survive. This means a garden, chickens, goats, fruit trees, stockpiling seeds,,, a variety of food sources.
Simply put, hunting is unreliable and unsustainable in a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation.
Practical approach to prepping
Preppers / Survivalist may wish to consider a practical approach to prepping. Which means less focus on stockpiling beans, bullets and band-aids, and more of a back to basics approach.
Let’s take $25 and spend it on prepping gear.
Would you rather have:
1 brown turkey fig tree at $22.98.
Taken care of could provide your family with decades of figs. Figs are rated as maybe the worlds healthiest food with it being a source of fiber, vitamin A, manganese and potassium.
1 Celeste fig tree at $22.98.
10 chicks, at $2.50 each.
10 laying hens with a reliable food source should be enough to produce a dozen eggs every 2 – 3 days. Breed, time of year and quality of feed all play a role in egg production.
2 Pmags at $11.95 each.
9 pounds Roma II snap bean seed at $2.75 a pound.
Plant 3 pounds of this seed and you should have enough for 3 years after SHTF. Pick before the beans for, snap the ends off, boil and eat husk and all. Or, lot beans mature, dry and save for next year. High producing plant, should be picked every few days.
9.43 pounds Contender snap bean seed at $2.65 a pound.
Same family as the Roma II snap bean. Pick before bean inside of husk matures, boil and serve. Beans are a good source of potassium, iron, protein, and fiber.
Plant one pound per year and you should have enough for three years.
10.20 pounds purple hull BVR pea seed at $2.45 a pound.
Plant one pound per year and you will have enough seed for 3 years. Peas are a source of vitamin A, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and vitamin B-6.
9.43 pounds yellow dent field corn at $2.65 a pound.
Yellow dent field corn is open pollinated / heirloom so the seeds can be saved.
60 rounds American eagle 223 Remington for $6.49 a box.
Good source of copper and lead.
Renewable or consumable
From the above list it boils down to renewable and consumable items. Should you base your and your families future on renewable or consumable items?
If you plan on gardening during a long term SHTF event, the potato is one of your best friends. Not only are potatoes easy to grow, but they also store well, are easy to cook with, and any remaining potatoes at the end of the year can be replanted for next years crop.
Unlike a lot of crops that require special storage, such as canning and/or drying, just keep potatoes dry and in a cool dark place and they will store for close to a year.
Small potatoes can be eaten straight out of the ground. Larger ones can be baked, boiled, mashed, or made into a soup.
Potatoes grow well in loose soil free from rocks, sticks, tree roots and other obstructions. Work the soil with a tiller, plow, disk,,, something that will break the soil up. Make the rows, add fertilizer, I like to mix the fertilizer into the soil using a tiller, then plant the seed potatoes. Plant the seed potatoes about 3 inches deep and about 12 – 18 inches apart.
A few nights ago I had a dream that has had me thinking ever since. The dream was about the US going through a nuclear war. The infrastructure had been devastated, no news was coming out of cities like LA or New York. It was as if life had been turned 180 degrees in the blink of an eye. We had limited internet, and we had electricity, but there was no news getting out about how bad the devastation was.
Part of the electricity in southeast Texas is provided by a series of 3 hydroelectric dams – Dam B, Lake Sam Rayburn and Toledo bend. In my dream, the electricity in my area was being kept on by those 3 dams.
When the food shipments had stopped, the local grocery stores were cleaned out in a matter of hours. What led to the shipments stopping, was the main computer systems that tell the trucks when to roll and where to go had stopped working. Since the trucking companies did not know when and where to deliver the products, the workers stopped loading the trucks.
Our society has grown so dependent on computer systems, we do not know how to do anything without them. The local Sonic can not even fix an iced tea without their computers being up. A lot of radio stations broadcast syndicated content, that content travels over the internet. Without the internet, a lot of radio stations would not even have a morning show. Inventory control for massive retailers are controlled by remote offices, and you guessed it, over the internet.
On the morning of Saturday, February 18, 2012, while eating breakfast I checked my facebook feed. On my feed was a youtube video a subscribed friend posted on his profile. The video in question was from Foxnews and was about the US Senate working to approve military action against Iran.
The youtube video had been posted by a person and not a news source. To backup the video from the authority site I did a couple of google searches for the title of the video. The only thing I found was from 2007.
The first thing that came to mind was that someone took a video from 2007 and reposted it to youtube as if it were a new video.
I went back to the Survivalist Boards Facebook page, deleted the post with the video with the intentions of reposting it when more information was available from an authority news service. One of the people taht comments often made a post that after the video of cooking squash, and then removing the youtube video, he was going to bow out.
I was setback that someone would make a comment that my video about cooking squash was not related to survival. During the video I talked about why squash and zucchini should be part of your long term survival garden.
During a long term SHTF survival situation, its going to be important for people to grow their own food. One type of seed that survivalist should stockpile are seeds for squash and zucchini.
Ok, why you grow squash and zucchini? They are easy to grow, bug resistant, packed full of nutrients, can be jarred for long term storage, some types can be stored for a couple of months of kept in a cool dry place, summer squash and zucchini can be eaten raw.
Its estimated that various types of squash have been cultivated by mankind for 8,000 – 10,000 years. Think about that for a minute, squash has been with mankind for thousands of years, why change now? Follow in the foot steps of those that came before you. Use available resources to achieve a desired goal. Our desired goal is to survive a long term teotwawki situation.
Spring is just a couple of months away. As the warm weather gets closer, some of us are going to be putting seeds in the ground in 6 – 7 weeks.
Over the next few weeks the local feed and fertilizer stores will start getting their shipments in. As the stores start to get their seeds in, now is a good time to review your seed stockpile.
Last year my wife and I planted 1/4 acre of corn and peas. But due to the drought, nothing came up. This year I plan on planting a garden a little smaller and a little closer to home so I can get a water hose to the plants. This year I need to replace the seeds that we pout out last year.
Some of the seeds in my stockpile:
Beans – snap beans and pinto beans
Greens – Radishes, Turnips, Mustard greens, 7 top turnips and Rutabagas
Peas – Mississippi purple hull pink eye and BVR. BVR seeds are resistant to a certain virus that can stunt the growth of the plant.
Snap beans – Contender bush bean, Roma II and pinto beans
Squash and Zucchini
When stockpiling seeds for a home garden, and especially for a long term SHTF survival situation, its important to have seeds that will provide a balanced diet.
Unless you have access to livestock or land to go hunting on, one of the most important types of seeds that you can stockpile is pinto beans. Pinto beans are a good source of protein. Its such a good source of protein, vegans use pinto beans as a replacement for meat.
Cucumbers are not a good source of nutrients, its more of a filler food then anything else. Plus, cucumbers have a high nitrogen requirement. If you have nitrogen fertilizer on hand, why not use it for something like spinach, instead of cucumbers.
As spring gets closer I hope to post more on stockpiling seeds.
Cucumbers – contain very little nutritional content, require lots of nitrogen and are not very drought tolerant. But on the plus side, certain types are high producers. There are a lot of hybrid cucumber seeds on the market. So when buying your seed be sure to be aware of what your buying hybrid or heirloom.
Not drought tolerant – cucumber roots run just under the ground. When the top of the soil dries out, the cucumber leaves may start to wilt. Allowing the leaves to wilt may stunt the growth of the plant.
Nitrogen – cucumbers LOVE nitrogen. Without it, the cucumber does not form properly and will be pointed on the end.
My personal cucumber seed stockpile includes 2 types – the pickling cucumber and the straight 8.
Pickling cucumber – is a high producing plant and makes a cucumber maybe 3 – 4 inches long. Despite its name, the Pickling cucumber does not have to be “pickled”, it can be eaten just like it is. But its small size makes it an ideal cucumber for Pickling. Pickling cucumber are an heirloom types, meaning the seeds can be saved and used in next years garden. Just 1 or 2 of these cucumbers makes a good side dish for a meal.
Straight 8 – makes a larger cucumber then the Pickling cucumber, and grows to about 8 inches long. Thus the name, Straight 8. The Straight 8 is an heirloom type cucumber so that the seeds can be saved from year to year.
Peas and Snap Beans – since peas and beans are so much alike, lets just group them together. In fact, there are debates saying that peas and beans are the same thing. I personally divide peas and beans into 2 groups – one you eat whole (snap beans) and one you shell to get the bean/pea out of the inside and eat it instead of eating the husk.
Peas and beans return nitrogen into the soil, so that makes them good for crop rotation. Before you plant a high nitrogen requirement crop, such as corn, plant some beans or peas at the same time, or the season before the you plant the corn.
One of the problems with peas and beans – wildlife love it. Deer and rabbits will eat the bean / pea plants down to nothing but a stub sticking out of the ground. To protect the bean and pea plants, plant some squash or zucchini with them. The pea / bean plants will provide the squash plants with nitrogen, and the squash plants will help protect the pea plants from deer. The squash and zucchini plants have little “hairs” on the stalks that the deer do not like.
Peas and beans are a good long term storage food crop. The old timers used to run a needle and thread through the pod, and hang it up to dry. Thus the name “string beans”. When it comes time to eat the beans, pull them off the string and boil until ready to eat.
Care must be taken when picking the beans and peas. If you pull too hard, part of the plant may break off. Sometimes I like to use scissors to cut the pea / bean pod off, so that the rest of the plant is not damaged.
Snap Beans are a high producing plant, the more you pick it, the more it produces. While you might get just a couple of pickings from purple hull or silver skin crowder peas.
My pea and bean stockpile contains maybe 4 or 5 different types of seeds – mainly purple hull pink eyes and about 3 different types of snap beans.
There are 2 different types of bean plants – runners and bush.
Bush beans – and we are not talking about the canned “Bush baked beans” either. These are bean plants that form a bush and do not form a vine.
Runners also called climbing beans – do just as their name implies, the vine climbs stuff. A lot of times people will plant their beans and corn together. The beans will supply the corn with nitrogen and the corn will give the bean vines something to climb on. Other people may plant their bean vines close to a fence so that the vines have something to climb on.
Personally, I like bush beans. Even though you have to dig through the bush to find the beans, it seems like you can plant more bush beans then you can runners in the same amount of space.
Fertilizer – when adding commercial fertilizer to peas and beans, try not to add add a lot of nitrogen. Use a well balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 13-13-13. In most cases beans and peas do not need a lot of nitrogen, adding high nitrogen content fertilizer like 21-0-0 or 16-6-12 is a no, no. The exception might be if the soil is nitrogen deficient; but the only way to know that is if you have a soil test done.
Producing your own food is one of the easiest ways to off-load some financial strain. If your having problems paying your house note, electric bill, insurance, buying clothes, internet bill, cell phone bill,,,,,,,, something has to give. If you and your family are running on a shoe string budget, sooner or later that string is going to break. When that happens, financial disaster can set in.
Raised bed gardens – do not take any special equipment – just get some landscaping timbers, or old cross ties and build some raised beds. Find someone with rabbits, get some manure, and use that instead of potting soil. Rabbit manure makes great fertilizer and it can be cheaper then potting soil.
Old flower beds – if you have some old flower beds around the house, plant something there. Stuff like radishes, onions, peppers and garlic are easy to grow.
If you have a fence between your house and the neighbors house, use it to grow stuff like cucumbers.
Instead of planting that do not produce fruit, plant fig or pear trees. Both can be used to make jelly or preserves.
If you have a community breezeway that runs behind your house, plant some fruit trees there – just don’t tell anyone, its called Guerrilla gardening.
If you know someone that owns some land, ask them about letting you plant a small garden. My mom and dad let my cousin plant a 40 foot by 100 garden on their land, but they have 25 acres.
Snap beans, peppers, tomatoes, peas, corn and cucumbers (only to name a few) can be preserved in jars. If you have some extra money, invest into some Ball brand jars and a pressure cooker. Be sure to read the directions and follow the safety guidelines on those pressure cookers. The old ones had a reputation of going “boom” – but the new ones are pretty safe to use.
The snap beans are really starting to come in. If we could get some rain, they would be producing a lot more, but you just have to make due with what you have. In all, we probably picked 4 – 5 gallons of snap beans.
I’am going to string some of these beans up for them to dry in the shed, while some of them will be blanched and put in the freezer. The old timers use to run a string through the beans, then hang the string up where they would stay dry. If all of the beans had to jarred, that would be a lot of jars and it would cost a lot of money. But if done properly, the jarred beans can stay good for years.
Anyway, here is a garden update filmed on May 24, 2010. If you want to post a comment about this video, you may do so in the forum thread about my 2010 survivalist summer garden.
In these tough economic times, its important for people to come together. ne way that families can work together to safe money, is to plant a community garden.
In this example, 3 families, it breaks down to 11 people, 6 adults and 5 children are working together to plant a garden. This garden will be shared equally between everyone involved.
The land we are planting on belongs to my step son and step daughter. Its some family land their grandfather left them after he passed away a few years ago. I’am guessing the plot we are using in the video is about 1/4 acre. There is another plot we are going to plant water melons on. And a smaller spot we are going to plant okra on.
Potatoes, peas and corn – plant them in that order.
Commercial grade fertilizer has 3 numbers, such as 13-13-13. Those three numbers stand for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (also called Pot Ash).
nitrogen – large leaves, tall growth – greens, spinach, corn, okra
phosphorus – root growth – potatoes, turnips
potassium / pot ash – pod production – peas, beans, corn, okra, squash
Potatoes – use fertilizers with a high middle number, such as 10-20-10 fertilizer. The higher phosphorus content helps promote root growth. The potatoes can be harvested and eaten at anytime. Just dig around the base of the potato plant and pull out the potatoes when you want some to cook. Or, wait until the top of the plant dies, then you know the potatoes are full grown and ready to harvest.
There is an interesting thread in the Survivalist Forum about Food Preps. Some of the topics being discussed are stockpiling canned goods, stockpiling dried or vacuum sealed foods, buying MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), canning your own food, stockpiling family sized or #10 cans of food, or something else.
Regardless of how much food you stockpile, its impossible to stockpile enough food for a lifetime.
Here is what my food preps look like:
Canned goods bought from local grocery store
Dried foods – dried beans, dried rice, and the such stored in mylar bags
MREs and Eversafe meals
Stockpiling as much seed as possible – beans, peas, corn, squash, okra, radishes,,, only to name a few.
Food stored in #10 cans
Freeze dried food in pouches with a 7 year life span
Canned goods and dried foods are not a self sustaining food supply – once you eat them, they are gone. You are not going to be able to plant an empty bean can, and expect it to sprout a bean plant; which will grow more canned beans – that is not the way it happens.
Stocking up on canned goods, dried foods, vacuum sealed foods, is a dead end. Regardless of how long your food supply will last – 3 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months, its going to come to an end sooner or later.
This is where stockpiling open pollinated seeds comes in. This can give you an unlimited supply of food, if you take care of the plants and seeds. But first, you have to learn how to grow the plants and harvest the seeds.
Go back and take a look at mankind 2,000 years ago. The Romans did not have a china-mart to buy rice or canned beans from. They had farmers that raised their own food.
If a wide spread disaster happens, the only long term food prep option is to have your own seeds to plant your own garden.
Every survivalist should have seeds stockpiled for a survival garden. The first questions is, why would anyone need a “survival garden?” During extended wide spread disasters, food production and shipments might get disrupted. Most grocery stores only have a few days worth of supplies in their warehouse. When the panic buying kicks in, those stocks could be wiped out in a matter of hours.
In the days before a hurricane makes landfall, local grocery stores are cleaned out. There is no reason to think the same thing will not happen if there is an outbreak of some kind of new disease, or some kind of other world wide event.
During outbreaks of the plague in the middle ages, starvation was a serious issue. As farmers were dying off, and the merchants died off, there was nobody to raise the food or ship it to the cities. People who live in an urban environment, and who depend on the grocery store for their food – they especially need to take home gardening very seriously.