Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: prepsteading for shtf

Tips on Getting Okra Seeds to Germinate

Okra seeds

Okra is one of those wonderful and well rounded crops. It can be canned, boiled, fried, or used in recipes such as gumbo. As wonderful as okra is, it needs certain conditions for the seeds to sprout (aka germinate).

To help understand okra we need to look at where the crop originated from, and that is Africa. What would we expect a crop from Africa to need? If the reader guessed hot weather they are correct. Some theories suggest okra was brought to the United States during the slave trade, which would be feasible. On thing is for sure, okra is a mainstay in Louisiana cuisine, including gumbo recipes. If gumbo does not have okra in it, it is not real gumbo.

The old timers use to say, “Plant okra when all you need is a sheet to sleep with.” This was before modern air conditioning and people slept with their windows open. So when the weather warms up enough that all someone needs to cover up with is a sheet, it is time to plant okra.

Here in Southeast Texas, most people plant okra in early May.

After heat, the next thing okra needs is water. A lot of people I know soak their okra seeds in water before planting. Some people even add a couple drops of bleach to the water. I have never tried the bleach.

Soaking Okra Seeds

Trying Something New With The Fig Trees

Fig tree

Around 2014 several fig trees were planted in the chicken yard. Some of the fig trees died and had to be replanted. The original ones, and the new ones have barely grown.

One of the original trees has barely put on any growth in four years.

In the past I had tried stuff like Miracle Grow plant spikes, and some Miracle Grow plant food. All that stuff is is a low grade fertilizer. Nothing I tried with Miracle Grow spikes or plant food helped the fig trees.

For 2018 I decided to try something different. I picked up some 6-7-7 fertilizer and put a cup around the base of each tree. This was done right before a rain. To benefit the plants the fertilizer has to be worked, or washed, into the soil.

Fig Tree Fertilizer

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?

Rethinking Buff Orpingtons For My Prepsteading Chicken Flock

Buff Orpington Chick

There have been some events which have caused me rethink the Buff Orpingtons for my prepsteading chicken flock. Buff Orpingtons have been part of my chicken flock for around four years, and during that four years I have noticed a common trend.

When new chicks are bought from the local feed store, they are brought home and put in a six feet X eight feet brooder house. The house has perches, plywood walls, screened in floor, heat lamp… everything the chicks need to be safe.

The chicks are usually kept in the brooder house for around six weeks, and then put in the main chicken house. A lot of it depends on outside temperatures, and how feathered out the chicks are.

Buff Orpingtons

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

Wildlife Habitat At Bug Out Location

Wildlife Habitat At Bug Out Location

There were a couple of locations that had perfect squirrel habitat, but there were no signs of squirrels being in the area. There were no pine cones that had been tore apart, no half eaten acorns nor did I see any squirrels.

As I followed a creek that runs along the back of the property, the timber transitioned from pine and oak to mostly oak and iron wood. Iron wood is a tree that grows in the shade of larger trees. It does not produce any kind of nut for squirrels or deer. It is mostly used for its hard wood to make walking sticks and bows.

Several years ago a lot of the older pine trees were cut off the property. Pine trees are a renewable resource when managed properly. Several large pine trees were left on the property to so they could reseed the area. Their seedlings float in the wind and can travel several hundred feet, depending on how the wind is blowing. I expected to see oaks and ironwood, but I also expected to see pine tree saplings coming up. I was rather surprised when I did not see hardly any pine saplings.

Planting Pine Trees

Another Work Day at the Farm

Cutting pine tree stump

During the last trip to the homestead we focused on thinning trees. The largest and healthiest trees were flagged so they would not be cut, the smaller trees and underlying brush were thinned out.

On February 1st and 2nd we focused on cutting tree stumps down to ground level so the heavy equipment can get in there next weekend. This part of the land has been used was an makeshift family trash dump back in the early 1980s. Most of the stuff dumped in this location is scarp metal, tin, hot water heater, cans,,, stuff like that.

Now for the rest of the story.

February 1 2013

Started off like any other day. My wife and I got up around 6:30am, got our shower, got dressed and headed out the door. On this Friday I had the day off work. so instead of going to work, I headed to the homestead for another kind of work.

On the way out my wife, my daughter and I stopped by the Shell station at the corner of Hwy 63 and FM 777 in Jasper, Texas. We were thinking about going by the donut shop, but decided to stop by the shell station. The store sells breakfast sandwiches and breakfast biscuits that are freshly made. I got a breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg, cheese. To wash breakfast down I got a low-carb monster energy drink.

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Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018