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.
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
The 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.
Lets say that some kind of long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation happens. Whether its war, food shortages, some kind of new disease,,, something happens to disrupt modern society. What food group would you want to have stockpiled?
Instead of saying what single food would be the most important to stockpile, lets look at it from a “food group” point of view. The fact is, there is no single perfect food. Humans are omnivores, meaning we are designed to eat a wide range of food.
Man can not live on bread alone, nor can we live on meat alone.
Lets look at four factors in selecting our food group
History – how long has mankind used the food group.
Ease of growing – how easy is the plant to grow. We should be looking at long term survival factors.
Production – how much food does the plant produce.
Storage – how easy is the plant to store.
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.
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.
On 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.
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.
During 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.
Squash and Zucchini – Squash and Zucchini belong to the same family, and they have the same fertilizer requirements, so lets talk about them at the same time.
One of the benefits of Squash and Zucchini – they can be eaten raw. So you do not have to use precious fuel cooking Squash or Zucchini – but cook your food to kill any bacteria on it.
Fertilizer – use a well balanced fertilizer such as 13-13-13. Your going to need nitrogen for leaf production and pot ash for the Squash or Zucchini to form.
On the plant there is a female and a male pod. Pollination usually occurs early in the morning while its still cool and the honey bees are out. The bee has to go from the flower on the male pod, to the female flower.
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.
There is a discussion on the forum about the best survival crop. In other words, if you were going to stockpile seeds, what type of seed would you focus on. Or if you were going to grow 1 crop, what would it be? Some of the suggestions in the thread were – corn, beans, peas, greens, peppers, bell peppers, potatoes,,,,,,.
In my opinion, one of the best seeds to stock up on are greens:
Survivalist, do you have a survival seed stockpile? I do.
In fact, my survival seed stockpile is something that I like to keep an eye on – its on the top shelf of the freezer. I see it every time I open the freezer to look for something to eat.
If your thinking of stockpiling seeds, certain times are more favorable then others for buying seeds.
Spring Garden Seeds
Spring is when the feed and fertilizer stores get their seed shipments in. This is usually the best time to buy fresh seed, and it gives you an idea what might be in short supply.
In the early spring of 2010 I went by 2 different seed stores here in Jasper, Texas and both of them told me the same thing – certain types of cucumbers will be in short supply. Which really did not bother me because I had more then enough of those types of cucumbers stocked up anyway.
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.
The squash is one of the better choices for any garden. Its pest resistant, easy to grow, and the harvested squash can be cooked in a variety of ways. It can be fried, baked, grilled, or just eaten raw.
There are several reasons why squash should be favored by survivalist – can be eaten raw, it’s high in nutrients, can be cooked, and some types of squash can be stored for several months. The squash is in the melon family and can develop a hard outer skin. The squash should be harvested when it is in an immature stage. If the squash is left on the plant too long, the skin and the seeds will harden, making it undesirable to eat. Squash plants can grow to be about 3 feet tall and 3 – 4 feet across.
The squash is not what you might called a “high production plant”, but it does produce more then once. In this picture we can see several small “squash” starting to grow on the vine. The squash plant produces a vine, but not a long one. This “vine” may grow to be just a few feet long. The center vine of the squash plant in the picture may be about 18 inches long.