Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: long term survival garden

Old style potato farming

In no other form can so large an amount and value of human food be obtained from an acre of ground as in that of edible roots or tubers; and of these the Potato is by far the most acceptable, and in most general use. Our ancestors, it is settled, were destitute and ignorant of the Potato prior to the discovery of America, though Europe would now find it difficult to subsist her teeming millions without it. In travelling pretty widely over that continent, I cannot remember that I found, any considerable district in which the Potato was not cultivated, though Ireland, western England, and northern Switzerland, with a small portion of northern Italy, are impressed on my mind as the most addicted to the growth of this esculent.

Other roots are eaten occasionally, by way of variety, or as giving a relish to ordinary food; but the Potato alone forms part of the every day diet alike of prince and peasant. It is an almost indispensable ingredient of the feasts of Dives, while it is the cheapest and commonest resort for satiating or moderating the hunger of Lazarus. I recollect hearing my parents, fifty years ago, relate how, in their childhood and youth, the poor of New-England, when the grain-crop of that region was cut short, as it often was, were obliged to subsist through the following Winter mainly on Potatoes and Milk; and I then accorded to those unfortunates of the preceding generation a sympathy which I should now considerably abate, provided the Potatoes were of good quality.

Using manure as fertilizer

BARN OR STABLE MANURE

Barn or stable manure consists of the solid and liquid excrement of any of the farm animals mixed with the straw or other materials used as bedding for the comfort of the animals and to absorb the liquid parts.

The liquid parts should be saved, as they contain more than half of the nitrogen and potash in the manure.

The value of barn manure for improving the soil conditions necessary for root growth depends in a measure upon the plant food in it, but chiefly upon the very large proportion of organic matter which it contains when it is applied to the soil.

These factors are influenced somewhat: by the kind of animal that produces the manure; by the kind of food the animal receives; by the kind and amount of litter or bedding used; but they depend particularly on the way the manure is cared for after it is produced.

Crop Rotation

Rotation of crops economizes the natural plant food of the soil and also that which is applied in the form of manure and fertilizer. This is because:

Crops take food from the soil in different amounts and different proportions.

Crops differ in their feeding powers.

Crops differ in the extent and depth to which they send their roots into the soil in search of food and water.

Crops differ in the time of year at which they make their best growths.

Rotation helps to maintain or improve the texture of the soil because the amount of humus in the soil is maintained or increased by turning under green manure and cover crops which should occur in every well-planned rotation.

Designing a long term survival garden

Lets say SHTF tomorrow, you break out your seed stockpile, till up some soil, and then what? You plant your seeds and hopefully grow something.

The first year everything goes ok because you have some commercial fertilizer and get plenty of rainfall. The second year does not go so well because you have depleted your fertilizer stockpile and there is a drought.

At this point yall are probably saying, “I will just do some composting and everything will be fine.”

This is the difference in survivalism as a theory and survivalism as an experience.

Where is that compost going to come from? Do you have livestock so you have access to manure? What kind of livestock do you have? Do you have rabbits, chickens, goats, cow, horse,,, something else? Or were you planning on obtaining livestock after SHTF? Do you have a garden plot planned out, or were you going to bug out to the wilderness and plant your garden there?

Fenced Garden Section

Long term survival garden diagramThe goal is to be able to use one of the 25 feet x 100 feet sections for 1 complete year. But to do this my wife and I will need access to material for composting and manure.

There is a practice called square foot gardening, its where you build a box 2 feet wide, and X number of feet long. Each plant takes up 1 square foot inside the box.

My plan, based on the square foot garden concept is to build a box 3 feet wide and X number of feet long. Each box would be 2-2x14s stacked on top of each other. This would give the box a height of about 26 1/2 inches. During the off season each box would be used as a compost bin.

Indefinite Sustainability

My wife and I are working towards being self-sufficient. The problem is, the word “self-sufficient” has been used over and over so many times that it starts to lose its effect. I think another good term would be “indefinite sustainability”. Meaning a lifestyle that can be maintained for a long time.

Within the next year my wife and I are looking at moving to a rural area. We already live about 4 miles outside of Jasper Texas. But we want to move a little further from town.

When I was a child, my great-grand parents on my mom and dads side of the family lived in rural areas.

On my moms side of the family, my great-grand parents lived in a small house on the banks of the Neches river just south of Dam B. My great-grand father ran trotlines all the time and caught some huge catfish. They made their weekly or monthly trips to town for beans, bacon, medicine, and other basic supplies. The house they lived in was a very basic 4 room house – bed room, kitchen with a tv, fridge, stove and oven, bathroom, and enclosed wrap around porch.

On my dads side of the family, my great-grand parents lived on a homestead with around 30 acres in a rural area. They had cows, a horse, garden, barn, chickens. And one thing they seemed to have a lot of was peace and quiet.

Both places had several things in common. They caught or raised some of their own food, and they lived off the beaten path. I want to achieve both in the near future.

Over the past year or so I have been putting a lot of thought in my homesteading project. The goal is to have a garden and livestock that complement each other.

Garden and chicken yard one in the same

Chicken yard and garden

Sustainable food sources after TEOTWAWKI

What are your plans for a sustainable food source after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI? In other words, what are your food sources going to be during a long term disaster? Lets define long term as a disaster lasting at least 6 months. This could be a new disease, long term civil unrest, nuclear war, financial collapse,,, something that disrupts modern society.

This article will attempt to divide gathering food during a long term disaster into 3 categories: foraging, growing or raising food, and a combination of the two.

Foraging

For this article, foraging is defined as hunting, fishing, trapping, picking berries, digging roots,,,. Anything having to do with the collection of wild growing plants and animals.

Every year a buddy of mine and I spend three days camping on the Angelina River close to Jasper Texas. During those three days we go fishing, look for food, scout for wildlife,,, just try to put our Bug Out to the Wilderness skills to the test.

In a real life, most people that bug out to the wilderness will probably end up starving to death. Or, will be driven back to society in the search for food. That is if the person does not contract some kind of waterborne disease and die of dysentery.

Important garden seeds to stockpile

Lets say that some kind of long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation happens. Whether its war, food shortages, some kind of new disease,,, something happens to disrupt modern society. What food group would you want to have stockpiled?

Fresh picked spinach and snap beans

Instead of saying what single food would be the most important to stockpile, lets look at it from a “food group” point of view. The fact is, there is no single perfect food. Humans are omnivores, meaning we are designed to eat a wide range of food.

Man can not live on bread alone, nor can we live on meat alone.

Lets look at four factors in selecting our food group

History – how long has mankind used the food group.
Ease of growing – how easy is the plant to grow. We should be looking at long term survival factors.
Production – how much food does the plant produce.
Storage – how easy is the plant to store.

[Related ArticleStocking Seeds]

Page 1 of 11
Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018