Homesteading and Survivalism

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Tag: squash

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.

Designing a long term survival garden

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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?

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Important garden seeds to stockpile

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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?

Fresh picked spinach and snap beans

Fresh picked spinach and snap beans

 

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.

[Related ArticleStocking Seeds]

History

For the past 7,000 years or so mankind has moved from the hunter-gather lifestyle, to a farmer-gardener. What plants have sustained mankind? We have greens (radishes, turnips,,etc.), squash, zucchini, corn, okra, wheat, beans and peas, watermelons, various grains, fruit trees, potatoes,, only to name a few.

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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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Growing Squash and Zucchini

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zucchini survivalist garden

Zucchini pods with the flower on top

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. For for the namesake of sanitation, lets 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.

If you want to save the seeds from your squash or zucchini plants, do not plant the two species close to each other. The two types of plants will cross pollinate and the resulting seed will be a hybrid.

When squash and zucchini cross pollinate, the squash will have a green color in it and the zucchini will have a yellow color it in.

There are 2 main types of summer squash – cook neck and straight neck. The crook neck has a rough skin, the straight neck has a smooth skin.

Winter squash can be grown anytime, but a lot of people grow winter squash in the fall and then store it over the winter. Certain types of squash store better then others. Summer squash may store for only a couple of weeks, while certain types of winter squash may store well for months.

From my experience, Zucchini is a little more drought tolerant then Squash. A few years ago I had 2 rows of Squash and Zucchini planted side by side. We did not get any rain for probably 3 weeks. The Squash plants started to wilt and die before the Zucchini plants did.

Zucchini also seems to produce more food then a Squash plant. If you leave a Squash on the plant for a little too long, the outer skin gets a little hard. If you leave a Zucchini on the plant, it just grows bigger and bigger.

If I had to pick one or the other, I would pick the Zucchini over the Squash. Unless we were talking about winter squash. For long term storage, some of the winter squash can be stored for months.

Seeds for a survival garden

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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.

Types of seeds to stockpile:

Corn – maybe one of the most versatile crops grown today.  The kernels can be ground to make a type of flour, or they can be dried for long term storage.  Corn can be ground or fed whole to all kinds of livestock – cows, chickens, pigs,,,,,,.

One of the problems with corn, wildlife love to eat as much as humans to.  Deer will eat the young sprouts, and raccoons will bend the stalks over to get to the ears.  Corn also has its fair share of pest, like the Corn Earworm, grasshopper, Armyworm and the Wireworm.

Corn requires a lot of nitrogen fertilizer and water to grow properly.  Some types of corn may require as much as 20 – 35 inches of rain fall during the growing season.

When buying corn seed, be aware that there are a lot of hybrid corn types on the market.  So adjust your seed buying to match the types of corn best suited for your area.  A lot of survivalist get on this “you must buy open pollinated / heirloom seeds.”  Being able to save the seeds does have its advantages, but having corn that will grow in you area is more important.  When it comes to drought, disease or pest, certain types of hybrid corn will grow better then heirloom.  The best thing to do is to make a trip to the local feed and fertilizer store and talk to them about what are the best types of corn for your area.

My personal corn stockpile contains about 2 – 3 pounds of different types of corn seed.  The seeds are bundled in 1/2 pound bags, and each bag contains a certain type of seed.  I have stockpiled both hybrid and heirloom seeds.

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The best survival crop

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radish survival gardenThere 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:

Turnip greens
Rutabaga
Mustard Greens
Radishes
Onions
Spinach

Reasons:
The whole plant is edible – roots and tops, so nothing goes to waste, except for spinach.
The plant does not need to be cooked – but it helps.
The leafy green top and the root provides different nutrients.

The problem is, people with heart conditions should not eat a lot of greens. The plants contain a lot of Vitamin K, which thickens blood. For people on blood thinners, this could pose a problem.

Greens can grow in just about any climate – but they prefer cool weather. In warm weather, bugs might eat the greens up before you get a chance to.

Greens are also good to feed to livestock. One Roman historian noted that greens prevent famine in both man and livestock.  On a county road just south of Jasper, Texas, there is a certain person that raises greens and sells them out of his field.  Towards the end of the growing season, he will turn his cows loose in the fields, so they can feast on any unsold greens.  There is an added benefit, as the cows refine the greens and drop fertilizer back on the soil in the shape of manure.  The manure is then tilled into the soil for next seasons crop of whatever he grows.

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Survivalist seed stockpile

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survivalist gardenDo 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.

Early Spring – this 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.

Late spring early fall – this is when a lot of stores may put their left over seeds on sale. This is a great time to pick up odds and ends types of seeds. Usually, the more favorable seeds were snatched up in early spring. So the left overs might be a mix of “what is that?” type of stuff.

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Rotating your seed stockpile

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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.

Even though seeds can stay viable for a long time if frozen, I still take the time to rotate out my seed stock.

A lot of the seeds in my stocks are cucumbers, peas, snap beans, corn, squash, radishes, and zucchini – especially squash and zucchini.   That is because they are easy to grow and  somewhat disease resistant. Snap beans, cucumbers and zucchini can by high producing plants.

In the spring of 2008 my wife and I planted a couple of rows of snap beans.  These rows were maybe 10 – 15 feet long. We got around a 5 gallon bucket out of just short row. Keep in mind that the 10 foot row produced food for over a month and had to be picked every couple of days.

On my trips to the local feed and fertilizer store I will buy anywhere from 1/2 a pound to a full pound of pea and bean seeds. Right now I probably have about 6 pounds of beans and pea seeds. Some of these seeds are 3 – 4 years old.

Here are some suggestions on rotating out your seed stocks:

1.  Plant the seeds at the deer lease to feed the wildlife. When a doe gives birth to a fawn, this is a bad time of year. The spring and summer foliage has not yet fully bloomed, so sometimes there is a shortage of food. During this time I usually have several deer feeders going throwing corn once a day. This usually goes on through at least May or June.

2.  Start a community garden with your friends and relatives.  Take the seeds out of your stocks, use them to plant the community garden, and then re-buy fresh seed.

3.  Give them away.  Know someone plating a garden, share your old seeds with them.

4.  Move the seeds to the bug out location.  If your place has a freezer, store the seeds in the freezer so that you will have a secondary stockpile.

Comments can be posted in this forum thread about rotating your seed stockpile.

The squash as a survivalist food source

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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.

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Planting a community garden

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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.

The land we are planting on belongs to my step son and step daughter. Its some family land their grandfather left them after he passed away a few years ago. I’am guessing the plot we are using in the video is about 1/4 acre. There is another plot we are going to plant water melons on. And a smaller spot we are going to plant okra on.

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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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How to feed a family

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These days people are not only worried about this house note, or their electric bill, they are also worried about something much more basic – and that is food. There is hardly anything that grieves a mothers heart more, then to open a kitchen cabinet, and it be empty.

An economic report from February 2009 said that around 700,000 – 800,000 people lost their jobs in that one month. Less people have jobs, so less bills get paid. But the one thing that must be bought is food. But what if someone told you that you do not have to buy food? That you can grow your own.

Its true. Regardless of what people have been told for the past 30, 40 or 50 years, food does not come from a grocery store – it comes from the ground. At first I did not believe it. I honestly thought that the grocery stores used some kind of magic to make the food appear out of thin air.

We have been enslaved to the grocery store for decades. People have paid others to do their work for them. Its time to break those chains.

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