Homesteading and Survivalism

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Tag: shtf survival garden

What To Plant In The Spring 2013 Garden

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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 considering planting this year.

Potatoes – already mentioned.

Snap beans

Spinach

Okra

Squash

Zucchini

Pinto beans

I want plant crops that not only provides a lot of nutrients, but food my wife and I can preserve and store.

Corn – corn is often named by survivalist as a main food crop.  Corn has a lot of uses, such as food for livestock, it can be dried, canned and made into cornbread.  But, corn also requires a lot of water and fertilizer.  Then there is the predation from raccoons, deed and other pest.

If you want to look at effort to output ratio, okra would probably be a better option then corn.

Corn is still iffy as to whether or not I am going to grow it.  I would like to grow some corn, its just not high on my list.

The main food producers I am looking at growing this spring and summer are squash, zucchini, snap beans, peas and okra.  I look for those crops to produce the most food from my garden.  But then again, time will tell if that estimate holds true.

Potatoes – if at all possible, I would love to grow enough potatoes to feed my wife and I for a whole year.

Without some kind of standard to go by, its going to be almost impossible to estimate how many potatoes we need to plant.

Estimating crop yield – something I need to work on is estimating some kind of crop yield.  Its going to be difficult to estimate crop yield when there are so many factors, such as water and fertilizer.

If I was going to try and estimate how much we needed to plant in order to survive a long term SHTF situation, it would be like shooting in the dark.

In 2011 my wife and I planted several rows of corn, potatoes and beans.  Due to the drought that year the garden was a total loss.

Not only do we need to grow enough for 1 year, we probably need to grow enough for 2 years.  Just in case there is a drought and a total crop failure like what we experienced in 2011 we would have something to fall back on.

This year I am going to try and keep record of how much we plant, and how much our yield is.  This would give us some kind of baseline record for later on.

Moving To The Homestead Part 1

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The time has come to move to a rural area, get the farm setup with a garden and livestock. My wife I currently live about 4 miles outside Jasper Texas. Its time to move ever further away from town.

With the way this nation is heading, families need to be looking at how they are going to afford to buy food and provide basic essentials for their families. One example, my wife and I buy canned refried beans to make homemade burritos with. In the past 2 years the price of the canned beans has gone up almost 20%. I bet your wages have not gone up 20% in that same amount of time. The price of ground meat has gotten terrible. Pork chops used to be cheap, and now they cost a pretty penny.

At 44 years old I am getting too old to go back to school to retrain for a new career. Instead of waiting until the last minute to make my retirement plans, I want to start 20 – 25 years ahead of time.

This morning my wife and I made a trip to the farm, took some measurements and talked about what we wanted to do.  The main things we wanted to focus on were shelter, food, water and sewage.  These are the basic essentials that anyone would need during a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation.

Farm diagram for Bug Out Location

Click the image to enlarge

On the left side of the property is a wilderness area owned by a local timber company. Due to the way the terrain is laid out, nobody will ever be able to build there.

Description of the above image

A – Fence line is not the actual property line; I wanted enough room to drive a truck or bushhog between the house and garden and the fence line. A basic my wife and I started with was 10 feet. This should give us enough room to drive all the way around the garden and house.

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Raised bed cucumbers squash and lettuce

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Example of a raised bed garden with cucumbers, squash, lettuce, squash and zucchini. I would like to thank Awakeaware1016 over at the forum for post posting this video and thread.

My suggestions

The green onions, lettuce and cucumbers are ok to plant together – all of them have a high nitrogen requirement.

Looks like you will run out of room with the squash. Allow at least 2 – 3 feet on each side of the squash plants for growth. With the right soil and fertilizer, those squash plants are going to get pretty big.

Squash needs a well balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13.

The raised bed is nice. What I suggest, next year build a raised bed based on fertilizer requirements.

Lettuce, onions and cucumbers go in one bed – all of them can use high nitrogen fertilizer, such as 21-0-0 or something like 16-6-12.

Tomatoes, squash and zucchini would go in the second bed – all of them use a balanced fertilizer, such as a slow release mature and something like 13-13-13.

Just about anything with large leafs is going to need more nitrogen then say tomatoes.

Keep this in mind when you plant your garden, lets take 13-13-13 as an example.

first 13 – nitrogen, promotes stalk and leaf production, such as corn, greens and spinach

second 13 – phosphate, promotes root production, such as potatoes

third 13 – potash, promotes pod production, such as peas, beans, squash.

Cucumbers require nitrogen to prevent them from getting a pointy end.

Looks like your project is off to a good start and keep up the good work.

Post your comments in this forum thread – My victory garden and first YouTube video 2012

The forest for the trees

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survivalistOn 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.

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Squash and zucchini for your long term survival garden

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Cooking squash zucchini and boudinDuring 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.

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Peas and Snap Beans

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snap beans

Picking snap beans

Peas and 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.

Care must be taken when picking the beans and peas. If you pull too hard, part of the plant may break off. Sometimes I like to use scissors to cut the pea / bean pod off, so that the rest of the plant is not damaged.

Snap Beans are a high producing plant, the more you pick it, the more it produces. While you might get just a couple of pickings from purple hull or silver skin crowder peas.

My pea and bean stockpile contains maybe 4 or 5 different types of seeds – mainly purple hull pink eyes and about 3 different types of snap beans.

There are 2 different types of bean plants – runners and bush.

Bush beans – and we are not talking about the canned “Bush baked beans” either. These are bean plants that form a bush and do not form a vine.

Runners also called climbing beans – do just as their name implies, the vine climbs stuff. A lot of times people will plant their beans and corn together. The beans will supply the corn with nitrogen and the corn will give the bean vines something to climb on. Other people may plant their bean vines close to a fence so that the vines have something to climb on.

Personally, I like bush beans. Even though you have to dig through the bush to find the beans, it seems like you can plant more bush beans then you can runners in the same amount of space.

Fertilizer – when adding commercial fertilizer to peas and beans, try not to add add a lot of nitrogen. Use a well balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 13-13-13. In most cases beans and peas do not need a lot of nitrogen, adding high nitrogen content fertilizer like 21-0-0 or 16-6-12 is a no, no. The exception might be if the soil is nitrogen deficient; but the only way to know that is if you have a soil test done.

Growing Tomatoes

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stink bug on grape tomato

Stink bug on grape tomato

Tomatoes– one of the the topics I love and hate at the same time. If you see some tomato seed at the local store – go ahead and buy some. If nothing else, you can say you have some tomato seed stocked up.

Tomatoes are rich in nutrients, they can be eaten raw, and their easy to preserve in jars.

One of the problems with tomatoes – the bugs love them as much as your do. When the tomatoes start to ripen, if their not picked before they turn red, the bugs will have a field day. So pick the tomato right when you see a little bit of red on it, and then put it on a window seal to finish ripening.

Tomatoes do well in a slow release organic fertilizer, like in rabbit, cow or horse manure. Some of my best results with tomatoes have been from either horse manure or miracle grow organic potting soil, and some 13-13-13 fertilizer. One year I spread a bunch of dried horse manure in a raised bead, mixed in some 13-13-13 and I had more tomatoes then my family and I could eat.

One of my favorite types of tomatoes has to be the Grape Tomato – these are bite sized tomatoes that go well with just about anything, kids like them, their a high producing plant and their supposed to be an open-pollinated / heirloom tomato.

On each branch of the grape tomato plant there might be 8 – 12 grape tomatoes. In other words, when it comes time to pick the grape tomatoes, your going to get hand fulls of them.

Tomatoes are pretty easy to transplant. Meaning they can be sprouted in a green house, and then transplanted outside after the last frost has passed. This lets people get a head start on the growing season.

Video about some tomatoes I planted in May of 2010.

This video was posted back in 2008. Its kinda blurry – sorry about that. I did not know how to use the video editing software enough to make the videos turn out any better. Shortly after this video was posted on youtube, I finally figured out the editing software and the video quality improved.

But anyway, this video shows some tomato plants.

Growing Spinach

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spinach in a survivalist gardenSpinach – maybe one of the best seeds that a survivalist can stockpile, and maybe one of the best plant choices.

Spinach is a relative easy crop to grow, the only “real” fertilizer requirement is nitrogen. So any kind of slow release organic fertilizer will be good – horse, cow, rabbit or chicken manure. I wont hurt to mix in some nitrogen fertilizer when you have it on hand, such as 21-0-0.

Spinach is a high producing plant – you cut the leaves off with a pair of scissors and the plant will produce more leaves.

Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked. This means you do not have to use precious fuel cooking / boiling the spinach before its eaten. However, its always good to cook your food to kill any bacteria that might be growing on the leaves.

Spinach does not take up a lot of room, its not like the plants grow 3 feet wide. This means that a lot of food can be planted in a small amount of space. This makes it a great choice for patio gardeners and other urban dwellers.

Plant the seeds about 1/2 inch deep and about 3 – 4 inches apart. Rows should be spaced 2 feet apart – or as much room as needed to walk between the rows.

Spinach does not need a “lot” of water, average needs are around 12 inches of rainfall during the growing season.

After cutting the leaves, extra fertilizer may need to be spread to ensure further leaf production.

Spinach likes a cool season with day time temps reaching the 70 and night time temps getting into the 40s.  Which makes it ideal for fall or early spring planting.

Post your comments in this forum thread about growing spinach.

Stockpiling food for SHTF

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There is an interesting thread in the Survivalist Forum about Food Preps. Some of the topics being discussed are stockpiling canned goods, stockpiling dried or vacuum sealed foods, buying MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), canning your own food, stockpiling family sized or #10 cans of food, or something else.

Regardless of how much food you stockpile, its impossible to stockpile enough food for a lifetime.

Here is what my food preps look like:

Canned goods bought from local grocery store
Dried foods – dried beans, dried rice, and the such stored in mylar bags
MREs and Eversafe meals
Stockpiling as much seed as possible – beans, peas, corn, squash, okra, radishes,,, only to name a few.
Food stored in #10 cans
Freeze dried food in pouches with a 7 year life span

Canned goods and dried foods are not a self sustaining food supply – once you eat them, they are gone. You are not going to be able to plant an empty bean can, and expect it to sprout a bean plant; which will grow more canned beans – that is not the way it happens.

Stocking up on canned goods, dried foods, vacuum sealed foods, is a dead end. Regardless of how long your food supply will last – 3 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months, its going to come to an end sooner or later.

This is where stockpiling open pollinated seeds comes in. This can give you an unlimited supply of food, if you take care of the plants and seeds. But first, you have to learn how to grow the plants and harvest the seeds.

Go back and take a look at mankind 2,000 years ago. The Romans did not have a china-mart to buy rice or canned beans from. They had farmers that raised their own food.

If a wide spread disaster happens, the only long term food prep option is to have your own seeds to plant your own garden.

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SHTF Survival Garden Seeds

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Every survivalist should have seeds stockpiled for a survival garden. The first questions is, why would anyone need a “survival garden?” During extended wide spread disasters, food production and shipments might get disrupted. Most grocery stores only have a few days worth of supplies in their warehouse. When the panic buying kicks in, those stocks could be wiped out in a matter of hours.

In the days before a hurricane makes landfall, local grocery stores are cleaned out. There is no reason to think the same thing will not happen if there is an outbreak of some kind of new disease, or some kind of other world wide event.

During outbreaks of the plague in the middle ages, starvation was a serious issue.  As farmers were dying off, and the merchants died off, there was nobody to raise the food or ship it to the cities.  People who live in an urban environment, and who depend on the grocery store for their food – they especially need to take home gardening very seriously.

Lets start with the video.

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