Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: snap beans

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.

Drying green beans

Green beans ready to be hung up

My first attempt at drying green beans. My wife and I planted 2 rows of beans, 1 row Roma II snap beans and 1 row contender snap beans. On Sunday June 1st I picked exactly 5 pounds of beans. I know it was 5 pounds because I used a scale.

My wife has been putting a bunch of the beans in the freezer, and we are going to can a bunch of them. To go along with the canning and frozen beans, I want to dry some using an old method of using a string.

Using sewing string for quilts I did one string of Roma II and one string of Contender bush bean.

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

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.

Seeds for a survival garden

zucchini survival gardenLets 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.

Having a garden can provide an unlimited source of food.

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.

Harvesting snap beans

The snap beans are really starting to come in. If we could get some rain, they would be producing a lot more, but you just have to make due with what you have. In all, we probably picked 4 – 5 gallons of snap beans.

Rotating your seed stockpile

One of the questions that is asked a lot on the forums, is how long will seeds stay good? One example to the answer of that question is the Doomsday Seed Vault. This seed vault is designed to keep seeds frozen for centuries. Some types of seeds will stay good for decades. While other types of seeds can stay good for hundreds of years – if kept frozen.

Planting a community garden

In these tough economic times, its important for people to come together. ne way that families can work together to safe money, is to plant a community garden.

In this example, 3 families, it breaks down to 11 people, 6 adults and 5 children are working together to plant a garden. This garden will be shared equally between everyone involved.

Planting potatoes, peas and corn

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

Stocking up on seeds

snap beans survivalist gardenAs the local stores get their garden seeds in, its time to take an inventory as to what is need, what is not needed and what needs to be replaced. Seed stocks 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 – 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.

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