Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: home garden

Tips on Growing Jalapeno Peppers in a Backyard Garden

Pepper plants sitting on the tailgate of a truck

How to grow jalapeno peppers in a backyard vegetable garden. Jalapeno peppers are an excellent crop to grow in a backyard vegetable garden. They do well in a range of soil conditions and tolerate the summer heat fairly well.

Fertilizer For Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers do best with a well balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers such as 21-0-0, or even 16-6-12. When taken care of Jalapeno Peppers will produce through the summer months and into fall. Unless killed by a winter frost, the plants may survive through the winter and into the following spring.

Because Jalapeno Peppers have such a long growing season they benefit from a slow release fertilizer, such as manure.

We are going to start off with tilling the garden rows with a garden tiller. Then mix in some well balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13, and some kind of manure or compost. Till the fertilizer, compost, and / or manure into the rows. Remove clumps of soil, rocks, or tree roots.

The 13-13-13 fertilizer will provide the Jalapeno Peppers with plant food to get started, then the manure / compost will provide a slow release fertilizer to help the plant thrive over the course of several months.

This should be enough to help the plant produce through the summer months.

Planting Jalapeno Peppers

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

2018 Spring Garden Has Been a Bust

Cajun Spicy Bell Peppers

The spring garden for 2018 has fallen flat on its face, and it is my fault. To fully understand what happened we need to back up a few years.

Several years ago I held a New Years bonfire. The bonfire was made from pieces of timber left over from cutting trees from the property. There was a large section of Sweet Gum, pine tree limbs… etc. piled up maybe eight feet tall. After the bonfire was lit, it burned for several days.

Once the New Years bonfire had finally died out, there was a pile of ash almost three feet tall and eight – ten feet across. The pile was so tall a tractor was used to level the pile out. Once the pile was leveled out, a tractor disk was used to mix the ash into the soil.

Fast forward a few years. I figured the ash had time to dissolve into the soil, but I may have been wrong.

What Does Potash Do?

How To Use a Garden Tiller to Till Manure Into a Garden

Load of chicken manure in a wheelbarrow

Using a garden tiller to till manure into the garden is a labor of love. It would be easier to pick up a bag of 13-13-13 fertilizer and spread it into the garden, than it is to shovel, spread, and then till.

In a way, tilling manure into a garden makes a full circle. The feed the animals ate came from the ground, so why not return it to the ground.

April 12, 2018 I tilled three wheelbarrow loads of chicken manure into the spring garden. Some of the seeds I put down in March did not take, so I redid the rows with manure, and planted fresh seed.

I also tilled chicken manure into the garden along the peppers and tomatoes, then raked the soil up around the plants. We are expecting terrible storms in the next 48 hours. So I worked the soil up around the plants to protect them from being damaged by the wind and rain.

To Till Manure Into The Garden:

Planted Some More Pepper Plants

Garden salsa pepper plant

Decided to go ahead and get some more pepper plants in the ground. The local Walmart has their garden plants on sale, so I thought why not? I bought five more pepper plants for $2.94 each.

Peppers usually do a good job of withstanding the Texas summer heat. All they really need is plenty of water and they usually bear until the first frost.

For fertilizer I am using aged chicken manure from under the brooder house mixed with dirt. Also, under the plant is a fresh chicken yard egg. Using eggs as fertilizer is a little experiment I am doing this year.

More Pepper Plants

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

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.

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.

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.

Who Will Be Your Best friend after SHTF

AR-15 SHTF Survival Rifle

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.

Planting Potatoes For The 2014 Garden

Growing potatoes

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.

The forest for the trees

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.

I took the video and reposted it to the Survivalist Boards Facebook page.

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.

Squash and zucchini for your long term survival garden

Cooking squash zucchini and boudin

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.

Eaten Raw

One of the advantages of the squash family, most of them can be eaten raw. This saves you have having to fire up the stove, boil water, worry about the smoke from your fire.

In a time when the cost of fuel is at a premium, not having to build a fire to cook with, or use propane to cook with is going to save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.

Reviewing Your SHTF Seed Stockpile

Snap beans for a shtf survival garden

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.

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.

Growing Cucumbers

cucumber survivalist garden

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.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018