Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: peas

Ending the Chicken Manure as Fertilizer Experiment

Tomatoes grown with chicken manure experiment

One gardening experiment for 2018 was to take a field that had not been used for a couple of years, till in chicken manure using a garden tiller, then plant the crops.

How well would the crops grow? Would some types of crops do better than others?

After watching the experiment for close to two months, I think I have my answers. The experiment for this year has drawn to a close and 13-13-13 fertilizer was spread along the garden rows.

However, I feel part of the experiment should be repeated in the spring of 2019. The weather here in Southeast Texas was very wet between March – April, then very dry from April – May.

When the rain stopped in April, it stopped. It was like GOD turned off the water valve. We have not gotten a drop of rain in close to a month.

Starting the Chicken Manure Fertilizer Experiment

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.

How Many Seeds Should a Survivalist Stockpile for SHTF

Stockpiling Garden Seeds

While we have discussed stockpiling seeds in depth. Something which may have been overlooked, is how many seeds should someone stockpile?

I have come up with a simple formula and would like to know what yall think.

How many seeds do you normally plant to obtain X amount of harvest? Lets say you plant 1 pound of snap beans or purple hull peas. With that one pound and a certain amount of fertilizer you have an idea of how much of a harvest you will get.

How many people are planning on using your place as a long term bug out location?

To keep the formula simple, take the usual number of seeds you plant and double it. Lets say you plant 2 pounds of contender snap beans. Double that for a total of 4 pounds. Doubling is for the extra people you intended to feed.

How Many Seeds Should Someone Stockpile

Old Style Bean Farming Wisdom From The Past

Snap beans for a shtf survival garden

Bean-growing in a small way is fully warranted in every garden, but on a large scale it is a different question, being somewhat a matter of soil and location.

Food Value — The bean is one of the most excellent of human foods. Its botanical kinship is close to the pea, and both are legumes. The leguminous plants, it will be remembered, have the rare ability of obtaining nitrogen through the tubercles on their roots, taking this expensive element partly from the air, and not greatly impoverishing the soil by their growth.

Something of the food value of the bean may be learned by comparing its chemical analysis with that of beef. In 100 pounds of beans there are 23 pounds of protein (nitrogenous matter), while in 100 pounds of beef there are but about 15 to 20 pounds of protein. Peas are almost as rich as beans in protein, which is the tissue-building element of all foods, and, hence, it is easy to realize the fact that both beans and peas are foods of the highest economic value. They are standard foods of the world, entering into the diet of soldiers, laborers and persons needing physical strength.

It is generally safe to grow beans for the retail market of any town or centre of population, but to compete in the open wholesale market demands experience and good equipment on the part of the grower to insure profits.

Bean Varieties and Types

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.

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.

Three Types of Seeds to Stockpile for SHTF

Radishes

Lets talk about food production during some kind of long term SHTF situation. Whether its nuclear war, some kind of new disease, climate change,,,,, combination of several things, there might come a point in time when you have to grow your own food. So what types of seeds should you stockpile for some kind of long term SHTF situation? Lets break it down to 3 categories – short term storage, mid term storage, long term storage.

Short Term Storage Foods

These are the foods that need to be eaten within a few days to a couple of weeks of being harvested. This is going to include most of your leafy greens, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, spinach, summer squash and zucchini.

Beans and peas are a good example of short term and long term foods. We will get into storing peas and beans later in the article. For snap beans, they can be picked, boiled and eaten right after their harvested.

One of the benefits of beans – they do not require extra nitrogen to be added to the spoil. Throw some manure and pot ash down, and the beans will supply their own nitrogen.

2011 garden plans

snap beans survivalist gardenIt looks like the drought of 2010 killed off some of my young peach trees, so those will have to be replaced. Currently I have 1 nice sized plum tree, and 3 or 4 peach trees. At least 2 of the peach trees will have to be replaced. Instead of replanting both peach trees, I’am probably going to plant 1 more plum tree. That will give my 2 plum trees and maybe 4 peach trees.

One of the peach trees that I planted last year looks good, so its going to be pruned to make room for more branch development.

2 of the pear trees need to be pruned – the limbs are a little long and almost hang to the ground when loaded with pears.

All of the trees need to be fertilized.

As for the home garden – I think I’am going to plant some cucumbers, tomatoes, peas,,, and I really want to plant some okra this year. Okra is a warm weather crop. Here in east Texas, Okra can no be planted until around May.

We will probably plant a community garden this year,,,, but just where the garden will be planted I do not know. Where we planted the garden last year, the guy who lives next to the garden let his dogs run through it.

Peas and Snap Beans For SHTF

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.

Stockpiling Seeds For a Survival Garden

zucchini survival garden

Lets talk about stockpiling seeds and the value of having the ability to plant a survival garden. Stockpiling food – dried rice, beans, canned goods – is fine and dandy, but that is a none renewable resource. When you eat that can of beans, are you going to plant the can, and maybe it will sprout a canned bean plant, for you to pick more cans off of? I don’t think do.

Stockpiling food provides a family with a limited food source.

Stockpiling seeds and having a garden can provide an unlimited food supply.

2,000+ years ago, did the Romans and Egyptians have canned foods and mylar bags? Nope, they raised what they wanted to eat. What about the Greeks and the Chinese, did they have mylar bags full of rice and beans? Nope, they raised what they ate.

There is nothing wrong with stockpiling food. It appears to me that a lot of survivalist put more focus on stockpiling a limited food source, then on learning how to develop an unlimited food source.

Corn Seed

Maybe one of the most versatile crops grown today. The kernels can be ground to make a type of flour, or they can be dried for long term storage. Corn can be ground or fed whole to all kinds of livestock – cows, chickens, pigs,,,,,,.

Planting Potatoes, Peas and Corn In a Survival Garden

Growing potatoes

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.

Stocking Up On Survival Garden Seeds

snap beans survivalist garden

As the local stores get their garden seeds in, it’s time to take an inventory and start stocking up. A well rounded survivalist seed stockpile should include the types of food that the family will eat. And, most important, the types of seeds that will grow in a certain geographical area.

The bags that the seeds are stored in should be marked with the type of seed and the date when the seeds were bought. The date is very important so that the seed stocks can be rotated out every 2 – 3 years.

Examples of different types of seeds and plants:

Potatoes

Potatoes are usually planted from cuttings from a mature potato. When the “eyes” start to sprout on the potato, take a knife, cut a good section of the potato off (along with the eye).

Types of potatoes like red skin or Irish are high producers.

Squash and Zucchini

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018