Rotation of crops economizes the natural plant food of the soil and also that which is applied in the form of manure and fertilizer. This is because:
Crops take food from the soil in different amounts and different proportions.
Crops differ in their feeding powers.
Crops differ in the extent and depth to which they send their roots into the soil in search of food and water.
Crops differ in the time of year at which they make their best growths.
Rotation helps to maintain or improve the texture of the soil because the amount of humus in the soil is maintained or increased by turning under green manure and cover crops which should occur in every well-planned rotation.
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.
Lets talk about food production during some kind of long term SHTF situation. Whether its nuclear war, some kind of new disease, climate change,,,,, combination of several things, there might come a point in time when you have to grow your own food. So what kind of seeds should you stockpile for some kind of long term SHTF situation? Lets break it down to 3 categories – short term storage, mid term storage, long term storage.
Short term storage foods – these are the foods that need to be eaten within a few days to a couple of weeks of being harvested. This is going to include most of your leafy greens, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, spinach.
Mid term storage – these are the foods that can be stored for several months before they have to be eaten. This list includes pecans, certain types of squash, potatoes, onions.
Certain fruits can be and dehydrated and stored long period of time. If you have some wire trays available, place the fruit on the tray, and put the tray into something hot – like a car or truck with the windows slightly cracked. During the summer time, the inside of a truck or car can reach 40 degrees higher then the outside temperature. So if its 80 degrees outside, the inside of a car can reach the 120s. With outside temps in the 90 to lower 100s, temps inside a car or truck can reach around 140 degrees. In other words, the inside of a truck or car can act as a dehydrator for drying stuff like apple slices and plums to make prunes.
Long term storage – these are the foods that can be grown in the summer time, dried and stored through the winter. This includes pecans, wheat, barley, peas, beans and corn.
It 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.
One of the survivalist mindsets that has been around for a long time, is that you need 1 years worth of food stockpiled; that you should have 1 years worth of food for every member in the house. If someone has the time and money to manage such a project, then good for you. But personally, I do not have the room, money, or time to put towards maintaining a 1 year food stockpile. Its no easy project to maintain all of that food without letting it expire or spoil. Expiration dates need to be kept along with a running inventory. If you eat out of your food stocks to keep everything rotated, then list will need to be kept as to what was eaten and what needs to be replaced.
I never have been one that subscribed to the “massive stockpiling of food” mindset. Stockpile food – yes. But not to the point where rotating your food and keeping track of inventory consumes a lot of your time. Over the years I have seen people that have dedicated a massive amount of time to their food stockpile – everything from calorie counting, to spreadsheets that list every single little item.
My plans are more like stockpile what you eat, and have normal food rotation. Instead of having 1 or 2 jars of pickles, have 3 jars. Instead of having 2 or 3 cans of ravioli, have 4 or 5. Instead of having 10 pounds of rice, have 30 pounds, instead of having 1 jar of honey, keep 2 or 3 in stock.
On top of that, I keep a nice stockpile of seeds for gardening.
Cucumbers – contain very little nutritional content, require lots of nitrogen and are not very drought tolerant. But on the plus side, certain types high producers. There are a lot of hybrid cucumber seeds on the market. So when buying your seed be sure to be aware of what your buying hybrid or heirloom.
Drought tolerant – cucumber roots run just under the ground. When the top of the soil dries out, the cucumber leaves may start to wilt. Allowing the leaves to wilt may stunt the growth of the plant.
Nitrogen – cucumbers LOVE nitrogen. Without it, the cucumber does not form properly and will be pointed on the end.
My personal cucumber seed stockpile includes 2 types – the pickling cucumber and the straight 8.
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.
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.
Spinach – 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.
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.
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.
There was a line in 28 Days Later that got me to thinking. Its after the group leaves the city and finds their way to the house controlled by the soldiers. The commanding officer takes Jim (played by Cillian Murphy) into a courtyard where an infected soldier is chained up.
The commanding officer tells the Jim that the infected soldier provides a lot of information. Jim says something along the lines of “what does he tell you?” The commanding officer explains that the infected solider will never raise crops, he will never raise livestock, he will never bake bread, he has no future. And eventually, he will tell me how long the infected take to starve to death.”
This brings up the question, post SHTF, how many people will “have no future”?
Halloween is a good time to stock up on pumpkin seeds. When your carving the jack-o-lantern for Halloween, take the pulp and seeds from the inside of the pumpkin, put into a strainer and wash the seeds to clean them. Getting the pulp off the seeds will help prevent mold growth while in storage.
Producing your own food is one of the easiest ways to off-load some financial strain. If your having problems paying your house note, electric bill, insurance, buying clothes, internet bill, cell phone bill,,,,,,,, something has to give. If you and your family are running on a shoe string budget, sooner or later that string is going to break. When that happens, financial disaster can set in.
Raised bed gardens – do not take any special equipment – just get some landscaping timbers, or old cross ties and build some raised beds. Find someone with rabbits, get some manure, and use that instead of potting soil. Rabbit manure makes great fertilizer and it can be cheaper then potting soil.
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: