Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: potatoes

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. […]

Almost Time To Plant Potatoes

Around February 14th is usually when potatoes are planted, at least here in the south.  I missed the 14th but will be planting the week of February 20 – 24th. On February 18, 2017 my finance and I went to Circle Three Feed in Jasper Texas.  I bought some chicken feed, bean seed, seed potatoes […]

Farm update beans figs and potatoes

The season of plenty is upon us. On Saturday June 14, 2014 the grandkids, my wife and I dug 4 1/2 bushels of potatoes, beans are doing good, fig trees have figs on them.

Here in southeast Texas we had an unusually cold and wet winter. We got snow 4 times this year. One of the storms blanketed the farm with 3 inches of snow. My dad nor my aunt remembered anything like this past summer.

Around 1964 there was a storm that dumped 2 feet of snow in southeast Texas. My dad remembered having to get the chickens out of the snow and put them in the chicken house for the night.

Nobody I talked to remembers a winter like what we experienced here in Southeast Texas in 2013 – 2014.

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.

Potato plants three weeks after planting

Potato plant

The potatoes were planted March 1st. Here we are three weeks later and the potatoes are starting to break through the soil. One of my favorite times after planting is seeing the first sprouts break through the top of the ground.

When the cuttings were planted they were not planted in a mound. The mound will be made as the plant grows.

A common question is how far down do you plant the seed potatoes? I usually plant them about 3 inches deep, or the width of your hand. With well drained sandy soil the potato sprout will have no problem pushing to the top of the soil.

Planting potatoes for 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.

What To Plant In The Spring 2013 Garden

Spring time is just around the corner. One more month until the potatoes go in the ground, and another two months until everything else is planted.

If you were to plant a SHTF survival garden, something that would produce a wide variety of food and nutrients, what would you plant? We have already mentioned potatoes, so they should be a given.

Here are some of the crops I am looking at planting this year.

Potatoes – already mentioned.

Snap beans

Spinach

Okra

Squash

Zuchinni

Pinto beans

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.

Potato Recipes

PARSLEY PIES

Mash and season with butter and salt half a dozen boiled white potatoes, add a little grated onion and chopped parsley.

Sift together in a bowl 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoonful baking powder and a little salt.

Add a small quantity of milk to one egg if not enough liquid to mix into a soft dough.

Roll out like pie crust, handling as little as possible. Cut into small squares, fill with the potato mixture, turn opposite corners over and pinch together all around like small, three-cornered pies. Drop the small triangular pies into boiling, salted water a few minutes, or until they rise to top; then skim out and brown them in a pan containing a tablespoonful each of butter and lard.

Germans call these “Garden Birds.” Stale bread crumbs, browned in butter, may be sprinkled over these pies when served. Serve hot.

These are really pot pie or dumplings with potato filling.

POTATO BALLS

Potato Balls

Boil until tender, 8 medium-sized (not pared) potatoes;

When quite cold remove parings and grate them; fry one finely-chopped onion in a little butter until a yellow-brown; add this, also 1 egg, to the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and add flour enough to mold into balls;

Use only flour enough to hold the mixture together.

The chopped onion may be omitted, and instead, brown small, dice-like pieces of bread in a little butter, shape dumplings into balls the size of walnuts, place a teaspoonful of the browned bread crumbs in the center of each and add also a little chopped parsley.

Drop the dumplings in salted boiling water and cook uncovered from 15 to 20 minutes.

When dumplings rise to the top they should be cooked sufficiently, when remove from kettle with a skimmer to a platter; cut dumplings in half and strew over them bread crumbs, browned in butter.

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.

BEEF STEW

1 lb. of meat from the neck, cross ribs, shin or knuckles

1 sliced onion

¾ cup carrots

½ cup turnips

1 cup potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup flour

1 quart water

Soak one-half of the meat, cut in small pieces, in the quart of water for one hour. Heat slowly to boiling point.

Season the other half of the meat with salt and pepper. Roll in flour. Brown in three tablespoons of fat with the onion. Add to the soaked meat, which has been brought to the boiling point. Cook one hour or until tender.

Add the vegetables, and flour mixed with half cup of cold water. Cook until vegetables are tender.

POTATO PANCAKES

POTATO PANCAKES

2 cups of chopped potato

½ cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

5 teaspoons of baking powder

2 cups of hot water

Parboil potatoes in the skins for fifteen minutes. Pare and chop fine or put through food chopper.

Mix potatoes, milk, eggs and salt.

Sift the flour and baking powder and stir into a smooth batter.

Thin with hot water as necessary.

Bake on a greased griddle.

POTATO PARKER HOUSE ROLLS

½ cake yeast

1 cup milk (scalded)

1 teaspoon fat

3 tablespoons corn syrup (or 1 tablespoon sugar)

3½ cups flour

2 cups potato (mashed and hot)

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

Dissolve yeast in milk (luke warm). Stir in dry ingredients. Add potato and knead until smooth. Let rise until light. Roll thin, fold over, bake until brown.

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