Food Independence (even if you don’t have a green thumb or time)

by David Morris on May 3, 2012

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by my new book, “Tactical Firearms Training Secrets,” which you can buy on Amazon.com right now for less than $10! Thanks to those of you who bought the book last week and thanks especially to those of you who bought 10 & 15 copies at the introductory price. You can still take advantage of the introductory pricing by clicking on the picture below:

(No, that’s not me on the cover…It’s Dustin Ellermann, who you might recognize as the winner of Season 3 of the History Channel’s “Top Shot.”)

Now onto this week’s newsletter…We’re rolling into May and early spring and, for the most part, people who want to have a summer garden this year are well on their way.

Food is such an important consideration for preppers. Whoever controls your food supply controls how long you live and how productive you can be. In many cases after a major disaster, either nobody is in control of the food supply or there isn’t much of a food supply to be in control of. That’s why it’s so important to have food storage to help bridge the gap in the event that your food supply chain gets broken.

Going one step beyond food storage is generating your own food supply with gardening…which gets into the most efficient way to generate food for your family, especially if you don’t have a lot of extra time or developed gardening skills.

Timing is another important consideration with gardening…plant too early and a late frost can kill your sprouts. Plant too late, and your still-to-ripen produce can freeze in the fall. If you happen to be busy, distracted, or out of town when your zone’s planting season hits, you’re either going to need to find a short season variety of what you want to plant or write off the season.

That’s one of the reasons why I question the validity of buying millions of seeds if you don’t have a solid plan in place to take those seeds from seeds to edible food and back to seed for the next year.

Don’t get me wrong…I’ve got seeds stored up and I’m continuing to buy more, but I’m not holding out the false hope that I’ll miraculously be able to flip a switch and feed my family from our garden if the balloon goes up tomorrow.

–An interesting aside on “when the balloon goes up.” During WWI, artillery spotters would go up in hot air balloons right before an artillery attack to help walk the barrages onto their targets. When the balloon went up, it was a very reliable sign that significant turmoil was soon incoming. Many people know what the phrase means, but I used the phrase for 30 some years without REALLY knowing the history of it.–

Gardening is a peculiar dilemma for the prepper. Using conventional methods, you could very easily use all of your time simply growing food to feed your family. This makes sense for some people, but for most people—especially city dwellers—it makes more sense to do something else for income and pay someone else to grow your food.

The other route that some people go is to build up commercial growing operations and sell their excess at farmers’ markets and to stores and restaurants…and this is a great thing, assuming that your equipment and land doesn’t get confiscated in a disaster situation.

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but until you can feed yourself, or know the source of your food and have something of value to trade for food, you’re going to be subject to whoever controls the food supply.

So, what I want to suggest today is some alternatives to traditional plant-in-the-ground gardening that could allow you to plant ANY time of the year, increase the amount of food that you’re able to generate per square foot, and decrease the amount of daily effort that you need to put into food production.

Square Foot Gardening in Raised Beds in a Greenhouse

Many people are familiar with or own the book, TV series, or DVD by Mel Bartholomew or are at least familiar with the concept. If you’re not, square foot gardening is a strategy that uses a 4′x4′ or 2′x8′ or similar planting box with 1′ square sections inside that each contain a different plant. Having every plant within 2′ of the edge means that the ground doesn’t get compacted. Having different plants helps resist the spread of disease. Set up correctly, this type of arrangement will use less water than a traditional garden and, since the ground is not compacted, weeds are easy to pull.

A common improvement over on-the-ground square foot gardens is to put them in raised beds so that you don’t have to bend over to do any planting, weeding, or harvesting.

A further refinement is to put your raised beds in a greenhouse. Three of the big advantages to using a greenhouse are that:

  1. You have increased control over what insects and weeds are introduced into your garden.
  2. In the winter, you can keep your garden warmer and extend your growing season by using dark materials and partially buried water tanks. In some cases, you can use this same partially buried water to keep your greenhouse cooler in the summer.
  3. You have increased protection from GMO pollen, polluted rain, hail, late frosts in the spring, and early frosts in the fall.

Hydroponics & Aeroponics

Hydroponics and aeroponics are two disciplines of growing plants without soil. Basically, you suspend roots and bathe them occasionally in a water/mist that contains all of the needed nutrients for the plants. The big advantage of hydroponics is that you can grow significantly more produce per square foot of floor space by going UP. Simply put, instead of having 10 spinach plants spread out across 10 feet of ground, you could drill 10 holes in a section of PVC pipe, hang it from the ceiling, and have a spinach plant coming out of each hole.

The other major advantages of hydroponics and aeroponics are that you can compress growing cycles, grow bigger produce, use less water, and reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides.

I can tell you from personal experience that these technologies are FUN and they work, but they’re not all sunshine and rainbows…I’ve lost multiple crops because of the pH of the water getting bad because I wasn’t monitoring them like I should have been.

Aquaponics

Aquaponics takes hydroponics and aeroponics one step further. With hydroponics and aeroponics, you still have to add fertilizer. Aquaponics takes care of this by adding fish (mainly tilapia) and beneficial bacteria to the mix. Fish secrete ammonia, which bacteria converts to nitrates in a 2 step process, and the plants eat up the nitrates. The other upside of this system is that you can harvest the tilapia and add fish protein to your diet.

There are a couple of “gotcha’s” with aquaponics too…you’ve got to monitor and control temperature and water quality. If you eat the fish, you need a plan to get new ones, and if you’re not growing food for your fish in the garden, you need to buy fish food.

That being said our family plans to use multiple independent/redundant aquaponic systems to be able to generate more food than we consume by the end of this year.

Share Cropping

Do you have the space and money to set up a raised bed, hydroponic, aeroponic, or aquaponic garden but no time, physical ability, or skill? One strategy that I’m hearing about from more and more people is share cropping. As an example, family A has space and buys the equipment for a setup that will generate 8 times what their family can consume. Someone from family B has the knowledge, time, and inspiration to do the work to plant, grow, and harvest the crop. Family A gets to eat to their heart’s content. Family B gets to eat to THEIR heart’s content. Family B agrees to find channels like farmers’ markets, co-ops, and barter networks to sell the remaining produce and split the proceeds with family A at an agreed upon ratio.

I’ve become a big fan of the share cropping approach over the last couple of years. It not only gets high quality food onto people’s plates, but it also fosters resilient communities and beneficial inter-dependence. What are your thoughts…not only on growing your own food, but also on ways to compress the time, money, and space necessary to generate enough food to feed your family?

Please share your thoughts by commenting below:

If you decide that you’re going to garden, you still have the issue of how to eat if you have an off season, if you face a food crisis between now and the time you are able to produce all of your own food (which, honestly, will never happen for most people), or if a disaster takes all of your time and you find yourself unable to manage/maintain your garden, you STILL need to have food storage.  In my www.FastestWayToPrepare.com course, I go over some of the fastest ways possible to get your family prepared for short to medium term disasters…including how to have your own high quality, delicious food supply for about $2 per person per day in a single 30 minute trip to your local Costco or Sam’s Club!  To learn more, head on over to www.FastestWayToPrepare.com.

Until next week, God bless & stay safe!

David Morris
www.SurviveInPlace.com
www.FastestWayToPrepare.com
www.UrbanSurvivalPlayingCards.com

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1Craig L Johnson
May 3, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Well this year we decided to finally do a garden up. My dad luckily had just purchased to new tillers. For our anniversary my parents bought us 800 lbs of composted cow manure and gave us his Sears Tiller to use to create our garden. We kept it small for this year since it has been YEARS since either of us have grown a garden, aka about 12′ by 24′ plot. We planted five tomato plants of different varieties, four pepper plants, strawberries, cucumbers, squash, watermelons, okra, and some kitchen herbs. We planted all of them on easter and so far everything is doing well. Texas weather as per typical has been cool, warm, then cool again, and now its warm and humid in “pre-summer” and the plants are loving it. Our next challenge is we have decided to leave the city and our 1 acre lot for a place about 10 minutes out in the country on 32 acres. So we will have to dig up our plants soon and transplant them to our new digs, no pun intended. Will this small garden feed our family of 3 completely…NO. However it will help us be less dependent on other sources and helps add to our food stores we already have. Great article as usual David. Thanks and keep up the good work. We plan on adding chickens for eggs/meat and maybe some other critters we will just have to see but thats info for another comment on another article.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1lightyeare
May 4, 2012 at 6:52 am

This approach of starting small and honing your skills is excellent. Remember after you’ve put all the time into getting your plants to grow you still have to find time to harvest, process and store. It is still cheaper to buy food and store it but someday soon that might not be the case. Then you have the skills and equipment when it really counts.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Todd
May 4, 2012 at 6:01 am

Great article. You reference “You can still take advantage of the introductory pricing by clicking on the picture below:”. Unfortunately, I do not see a picture on this page. Can you provide the link again?

Thanks.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dianne Finnegan
May 4, 2012 at 6:03 am

This year my hubby built me 2 raised gardens, thereby more than doubling my garden space over last year. I plan to put in Tomatoes (3 kinds) Peppers (assorted colors/types – this year I plan on adding Jalepenos because I want to make/can Salsa) Broccoli (which if I don’t cover it will bring a bunny or two for dinner!), onions, potatoes, herbs, lettuce, green beans and one or two varieties of squash. That should be enough to keep me busy. So far he has built the raised gardens and put in 600lbs of soil/hummus plus all my compost. We realized that we still need more soil/hummus and hopefully that will get done this weekend. I can’t wait to go get plants (that is my mother’s day gift every year!).

Last year I didn’t have much yield at all from my garden, hopefully this year will be different!

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Vote -1 Vote +1J.B.
May 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm

My tomatos LOVE my raised beds. I make sure they drain well by mixing in some sandy soil. Last year they had none of that blossom-end rot disease. Best of luck to you!!

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1David O
May 4, 2012 at 6:06 am

Great Article David, I’ve had a garden in raised beds, more or less using the Square Foot Garden concept, but not exactly. Last year my okra didn’t do so well as the 2 years before, most of it only got 6-7′ high (all of the plants had been 8′+ the previous 2 years), but my tomatoes didn’t let me down, every plant was over 9′ tall and produced up until the frost killed them. I also had a problem last year with squash borers, they killed my squash & cucumber plants, not once but twice…just as they started to produce.

I guess thanks to the weather here in Alabama, I’ve learned that Kale, Swiss Chard and green onions grow year round. I finally took my kale plants out after 2 years because the stalks grew so long the tops were leaning onto the ground. I plan to replant some this year, but just haven’t done it yet. It’s nice to have some fresh greens through the winter months.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1charli
May 4, 2012 at 8:39 am

david…. we have had a garden for years. and have had to expand to triple the size since our family (city-folk) want to “help” and eat the results…. i’m in west georgia. and – yep! squash borers have wiped us out three years running…. we get a small harvest off and then – boom! plants all dead in three days! BUT! this year we are gonna do what the “old gardeners” used to do! maybe you should try, too. i read about it in a “homesteading” type magazine. you DO NOT put squash out in the garden until FATHER’S DAY!!!! article said (her) granddaddy never planted squash until on or day after father’s day because at that point – the egg-layers of the borers have run their cycle and are “THROUGH” for the season. therefore – NO losses! i’m VERY excited to try this! i totally agree about the onions…. though i found that the “bulbing” type did not make through the winter. good luck! charli

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Joyce from Loris
May 4, 2012 at 6:14 am

My husband and I are “semi-retired”. We are both country people, and live on a two hundred acre farm. I also own a smaller 22 acre farm in another state. We grow our food, LOTS of it. We live in SC, and our weather permits us to grow food just about year round. I do put food up, by canning mostly but also in the freezer. But if I didn’t, I would be able to go to the garden every day and get enough food for us. We didn’t start out this way, we were both very career oriented people. But we took our 1 acre yard and increased it to 3 acres for the garden space by hand clearing the wood surrounding our house. When we say we live in the sticks, we mean it! We grow every imaginable vegetable there is, and try to always add something we have never grown before. This year is is Brazilian cucumbers and brussel spouts.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Scott A
May 4, 2012 at 6:21 am

I have been planning to start an aquaponics set-up soon, complete with growing my own fish food with worm beds and Black Soldier Fly larvae (they self harvest themselves when full grown!) Between that and sprouting, raising chickens, goats and rabbits, there will be food to spare and share. Setting it all up is the biggest investment. Calculating what we are already spending on our food for questionable quality (pesticides, herbicides, hormones & additives), makes the investment well worth it. Grow your food outdoors and you are dealing with changing weather, drought, heat, cold, bugs, and hungry people that will steal what is outside. Indoor growing takes up less area, and you can control much more and be more secure.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1wheepingwillow2
May 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm

how would one go about growing indoors? are you speaking of in your house?
what would one have to do? how is that done? thanks so much.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1R DAvid Kryder
May 4, 2012 at 6:26 am

David Morris and all,
The “Share Cropping” portion reminds me of Richard W Fulmer’s pithy essay in the Dec 2011 issue of “Freeman” entitled, “The Family Stone: Cavemen, Trade, and Comparative Advantage”. As a prepper, we are well advised to think beyond merely keeping alive to reconstructing a society after “the balloon goes up.”

Be safe, and understand your options, David Kryder

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bruce Ames
May 4, 2012 at 6:34 am

Good article and I do garden, about 80 X 90 feet. What suggestions for preserving for disaster situation? It seems we would need a militia to protect the garden in case of an emergency.

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+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Patricia
May 4, 2012 at 6:43 am

Our backyard is concrete. And we rent. We wanted a small acreage, but have never been able to afford it. Both of us live on Social Security, which isn’t too secure right now. But a few years ago I decided to garden anyway. We built planting boxes out of 2 x 12s, filling them with dirt we made. The dirt is made from 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost and 1/3 Perlite (to aerate the dirt. small rocks will also work here). We also built potato cages. Potatoes planted in a field use an awfully lot of land, but a person with limited space can build potato cages by using old fencing, old newspaper to line the cages and some dirt. You cut the fencing into 10′ lengths and fasten together with baling wire, twist ties or something else. Fill about one foot in the bottom of the cage, add 4-5 potato eyes, and cover with 2″ of organic matter such as finely ground compost. When the potato stems and leaves get about a foot high, add about 6″ of organic matter, such as leaves, straw, or compost. Keep doing that until about a foot from the top of the cage. More roots will grow from the buried stem sections, and more potatoes will grow from those roots.
Happy gardening!

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Ron Welker
May 4, 2012 at 6:48 am

I use 2 ft by 4 ft raised beds made from 2 by 8 s.
Have a strawberry bed, onion/carrot bed with swiss chard cold crop,also 2 beds with four diff varietys of tomatoes with spinach planted around outside edges,and two beds with green peppers and one hot pepper.
I like to plant onions around the outside edge of all beds,putting the bulbs out at one week intervals. Also I plant two sweet one million cherry tomatoe plants-one plant on each privacy fence.
Have three pear trees, three apple trees,and two plum trees, all of this in a fenced suburban lot with my german shepard dog guarding against critters-living on a culdesac its not real easily seen from street. Not a total food source but wont hurt if the balloon goes up hehe.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Derek
May 4, 2012 at 7:01 am

Thank you for such an important post! If you can’t support and nourish your own body then survival is not going to be a very long road for you. Nothing tethers you more to a system (crashing or not) than not being able to take responsibility for feeding your self and those you hold dear. I have long felt that preparing for what may come to be should be more about acquiring useful skills and knowledge than stockpiling goods in a bunker. Living out your days rationing yourself is merely surviving, knowing how to sustain your life with important skills such as growing your own food and providing medical care is how you will truly live. I can tell you from experience that growing your own food to put on the table is no easy task. Start learning now. What you eat will taste even better since it was your hard work that helped to grow it. My family grows on roughly one acre, raises chickens for eggs and meat, and has a greenhouse for year-round vegetables. It’s a lot of work but it’s honest and enriching in more than one way. I also hunt and fish in order to provide the protein we need in our diet. There have been many trials and failures in my years of learning how to do this but fortunately my life and my family’s has not been at stake due to my failures. Start learning now, friends. Independence now is independence later.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mike
May 4, 2012 at 7:11 am

I wonder what it meant in the Civil War when the spying balloons by Thaddeus Lowe went up?

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 4, 2012 at 10:47 am

Mike, You’re on it! It meant the exact same thing, except that there were only a handfull of artillery balloons in use during the Civil War and they used flags to communicate…so, while they did provide a tactical advantage, it wasn’t nearly as widespread or as impending of a sign of trouble as it was in WWI. As to when the phrase came into common use, I don’t have a horse in that race and am enough of a history buff that I’d love sitting around some evening listening to a Civil War expert and a WWI expert debate the issue :)

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Davis Mauldin
May 4, 2012 at 7:20 am

Growing a garden requires that you develop a green thumb and time. Additionally, unless you’ve got a greenhouse, you’ve got one shot per year. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for mastering gardening and producing your own fresh vegetables but during the learning curve may I suggest growing sprouts. It’s a source of fresh greens that many preppers overlook. You can harvest a new crop every 4 or 5 days so if you screw it up you can start over immediately. Sprouting is easy to learn, produces FRESH GREEN “vegetables” in a few days and can be pursued year round on your kitchen counter-top.

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 4, 2012 at 10:49 am

Hey Davis,

You’re spot on…and that’s why I suggested using a greenhouse. We also use/eat sprouts and it’s a great way to get QUICK nutrients, regardless of what level of survival you’re operating in.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1John Hanna
May 4, 2012 at 7:58 am

Right on!
This was and is a great article.
It takes a lot of calories per family, an egg is 72, spinach 12
beans++ corn++ peanuts++
but those neighbors have to be involved.
When/if people start looting you are going to be better off
if you can put up a block defense than if you have to defend
yourself from the nearby neighbors.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Adam
May 4, 2012 at 8:03 am

Excellent article David. It just goes to show the wide variety thta our lifestyle and subject covers from Tactical Firearms use to food self seficiency.
Of all the countries I have visited, the one that stands out for low space high volume growing is Cuba. Whether it is in the countryside of in the cities, every home devotes all available outside space to growing. In the Havana I saw window boxes and hanging baskets devoted to growing vegetables. THis we copied in England, as it would enable us to move our seed crops at short notice or get them out of harms way in the event of a flood, thus either having them to eat or saving them to use to replant a normal veggie bed.

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 4, 2012 at 10:51 am

I always find it interesting that, while my passions and most highly developed skills are in the tactical areas, it’s the skills that are much more mundane that will help people survive between tactical engagements in a survival situation. In short, it takes both.

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+4 Vote -1 Vote +1Rick
May 4, 2012 at 8:20 am

Take about a 3″ to 4″ dia. pvc pipe. Cut in 4′ to 6′ lengths. Drill 1 1/2″ to 2″ holes spaced at 12″ to 16″ apart. Fill with dirt or you can use this method hydroponically. Roots tend to block flow of water in hydro system. Hang on fence or something else. Mount each piece of pipe at slight angle so a marble would roll down it inside pipe. Add rows below each pipe so it kinda looks like toy to roll marbles down and drop into next pipe. You can grow alot of veggies in a small place in this manner. Greenhouse are also a nice option for small spaces..Build some shelves inside. Plus you can get an early start on plants and keep them safe from early and late freezes

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Stuart C. Ashley
May 4, 2012 at 8:34 am

Hi Urban Survivalists;
We have a 1080 sq. ft. garden enclosed in a fence to keep the deer and rabbits out. In it are raised beds. We spend very little time working the garden. We have plenty of time to rebuild distressed properties, go to Audubon Club and Experimental Aviation Association meetings, and to obtain a pilot’s license at the age of 71. We grow all the potatoes and squash we eat in a whole year. We just finished the last parsnips and still are harvesting last year’s Swiss chard. We do not use a rototiller. Where are you going to get gas WSHTF? I just finished turning the garden over by shovel. It took two days and zero gallons of gasoline. The rest of the time is just in bits and pieces. We would recommend “Gardening West of the Cascades” by Steve Solomon and the seed company “Terrtorial”.
Cheers! Stu.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Phil
May 4, 2012 at 8:37 am

Dave-
A historical note….during WWI, balloons were filled with a gas (usually hydrogen) not hot air.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1davidmobile
May 4, 2012 at 9:32 am

I knew blimps were…frankly, I cant fathom filling up a balloon with hydrogen, KNOWING that you’re going to get shot at.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Frank G
May 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

I would love to have a garden but I am over run with Moles and they eat the roots off nearly everything I plant. I’ve planted things like Tomatoes and peppers in five gallon buckets and have been successfull but I would like to plant corn and beans and things like that that are not feasible to plant in buckets. I have to depend on a well so putting down chemicals that will drive the moles away is not an option either. The local soil is also HEAVY clay. It’s so bad that it actually sticks to your shovel. Does anybody have any ideas?

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1davidmobile
May 4, 2012 at 9:32 am

Raised beds, hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics :)

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1lsmith254
May 4, 2012 at 11:03 am

To get better soil you really have to amend…you can add rock dust (minerals), peat moss, sand, and ground tree stumps…aged horse manure, dead leaves…work them in well this year and you will have great soil for a few years. Put all of your fresh vegetable trimmings in the ground as you create them; after you have amended you will be able to dig these smaller holes with your foot. It’s going to take a lot of tilling and amending to transform clay but I have done it in my yard in separate beds. Canna bulbs can transform beds all by themselves, they bring worms, aerate their own beds, hold moisture and literally do your tilling for you. When some bulbs die off, it creates needed air pockets, and since they spread horizontally, the bed is in constant slow motion self-maintenance. Add Epsom salts, lime, or whatever your county extension office tells you; but I have done it all organically and refuse to use pesticides. I hand pick or blast pests with the hose and employ companion-planting…you can find charts online.
You can follow #gardenchat every Monday night on twitter and also Google Sepp Holzer and hugelkultur…it will blow your mind! Lots of options…we need to take America’s dirt back, lol!

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 4, 2012 at 11:05 am

yes…or you can do raised beds, aeroponics, hydroponics, or aquaponics :)

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1lsmith254
May 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Sorry, I just believe we are conditioned to buy…growing systems, for example, ( or parts and supplies for them) when we can actually protect the Earth for future generations from more garbage… :./

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1cep89
May 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

I have tried everything to get rid of moles and the only thing that works is to kill them with a mole trap(spring loaded spike type) as soon as you see the damage from one. They breed fast. As for the clay soil add compost to it and till it in.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Doug
May 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Frank,

You might try putting 2 x 12′s, covered with either hardware cloth or fine chicken wire, on the ground, wire side down. These will make up your planting beds when you fill them with a mix of your clay soil, sand and rotted manure. It is my understanding that moles do not leave the ground to climb but an additional chicken wire cover over the beds will protect the young plants from rabbits and other leaf eating critters.

Years ago I gardened in an area that had moles using this method and it worked for me. I also started putting out wild bird seed in my garden area daily. Once the birds finish a cup of seed they go scratch around in my garden and take care of most of the bugs. My plants have very little bug damage even though I never use pesticides. BE SURE that the chicken wire or hardware cloth is not protected by lead as some crops will absorb this and you do not want to eat any plant containing lead. In my experience, very few crops go deeper than 12″, other than carrots. The beds will have to be broken down and the screening replaced periodically, in my case I needed to do it every 3 to 4 years.

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Vote -1 Vote +1J.B.
May 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm

can moles get in wiskey barrels?

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Vote -1 Vote +1CB
May 5, 2012 at 11:50 am

Keep trying. You don’t have moles. They only eat insects and your precious worms. You have gophers, and they can be trapped or killed in their tunnels. Good luck.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Judy D.
May 8, 2012 at 12:50 am

The book “The One Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka is a fascinating concept of natural farming and gardening that works with nature where you don’t till the ground or use chemical fertilizers or pest control. The stalks of the previous harvest are put back over the new crop with chicken manure. The weeds are controlled this way as well as keeping birds from eating the seeds you plant. Natural predator insects are allowed to flourish control the pests. The land is built up this way instead of depleted. He also has orchards planted with clover to keep down weeds and uses natural oil sprays to protect good insects. He says it only takes a few people to grow this way, and he gets comparable harvests.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Phyllisofical
May 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

Add chopped up leaves and steer manure to your clay to enrich and lighten it up. You could bury wire around your garden space to below the level that moles travel.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Linda
May 4, 2012 at 8:56 am

Remember if you are going to save your seed to use the next year, don’t plant several kinds of the same plant as they will cross polinate. Buy heritage seeds and keep them separate. If you want Big Girl tomatoes and Roma tomatoes, plant one in the back yard and one in the front.
Happy gardening!!

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1davidmobile
May 4, 2012 at 10:08 am

Aka heirloom

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Vote -1 Vote +1Peter Sagonias
May 4, 2012 at 9:03 am

David – I love all your articles – they are so thought-provoking. One question I have about storing seeds and/or GROWING food, that’s all fine and good but during hard times aren’t there going to “gangs” roving around looking for food and anything else to survive; crops/gardens don’t just grow overnight. Are personal gardens at risk UNLESS you band together with friends/neighbors to guard/protect your gardens?

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1davidmobile
May 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

In short, EVERYTHING is at risk without a community mindset.

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1charli
May 4, 2012 at 9:08 am

GREAT article. GREAT replies! “preppers” also need to know something else that i learned about this past winter! i learned how to “oven can”!!!! it’s FANTASTIC!!! also from a “homesteading” type magazine! i’ve got SO much food put away! the REALLY AMAZING fact about oven canning is – FOOD PROCESSED THIS WAY IS SHELF-STABLE FOR YEARS AND YEARS!!!! something like TWENTY YEARS according to the article. just remember! your product HAS TO BE DRY! set a jelly-roll type pan in the oven low enough to accommodate the height of your jars. set the oven to 200degrees. now- before you get the oven going – get ALL the things together you wish to can. get the jars washed (dishwasher worked best for me) the night before and setting ready to fill. fill each jar – whatever size you wish: 1/2 pint, pint, quart, 1/2 gallon, etc. with dry product. get all the jars filled and load into oven onto pan all at the same time. set a timer for ONE HOUR. during which time you’ll need to get the seals and rings ready. just wash and dry them! they’re ready! at the end of ONE HOUR – take each jar out of the oven (careful – they’ll be hot!) with a kitchen towel, wipe the rim off with damp paper towel, put on a seal, add the ring and finger-tighten down. as the jar/contents cool – they SEAL THEMSELVES!!!!! AMAZING! do not disturb them until the next day. they’re good to go for a L O N G time! you can even “sale” buy things close to end-date and theyare made “good” again by oven canning. i have oven canned: ALL pastas, rice – any kind, dry beans – pintos, baby limas, lentils, etc., grits, oats, unsugared cereal – corn flakes, cheerios, etc., saltine crackers, sugar – it did not lump, flour, cornmeal, fat-free pancake mix, instant potato flakes, bread crumbs, panko, dried banana chips, salt, pepper, lemon pepper, on and on. if it’s DRY – it can be canned in this manner. i even tried ONE jar of pecans. we will open this jar in ONE YEAR to see if it worked for pecans. haven’t tried the walnuts yet – but another person said it worked. we had a PILE of wonderful carrots we grew and we decided to dehydrate those and oven can. you have to blanch them for five minits, dry them off and then put in dehydrator for 12 hours. they were beautiful and then i oven canned them! four ounces of these will yield eight ounces of re-hydrated carrots! i find myself constantly looking for “things” to oven can to further build up our supplies! freezer space is at a premium – so i’m really looking to see what can be dehydrated and oven canned! please try this amazing “thing” i was BLOWN AWAY at the doing of it. TWENTY years? hope i’m still around just to see if it worked and the foods are still good! good luck everybody! collect heirloom seeds! KYPD!! charli

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Vote -1 Vote +1Rosabel
May 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm

This is an excellent idea, providing the ‘prepped’ stuffs remain good. I’m going to try this as I’m trying to stockpile stuffs now. I’m going mostly by what we did during WWII here in Alaska and had our root cellars, but don’t now, so have to look for alternate ways. Living on an island we learn to be conservative for the times we are isolated.
Thanks for all the ‘inputs’. I’m learning new ways from you youngsters. Keep up the good works and good will.
RNB

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Vote -1 Vote +1Cynthia S.
May 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Thank you! We just found grain weevils in some stored food ( I know that is extra protein in a crisis but…ewww). I will dry can all my grain and dry goods from now on. Thanks!!!!

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1melissa
May 4, 2012 at 9:11 am

Mustard greens are a great, dark green, leafy vegetable that grow like weeds, self seeding prodigiously and standing well into winter. They are very good for guerilla gardening, which is just discretely sowing the seeds in some unused patch of ground (not necessarily yours). They thrive on neglect and replace themselves without assistance, and have a high nutritional value. The leaves can easily be dried and crumbled to store without losing much nutritional value, although palatability suffers. They are an excellent source of vitamin C to supplement commonly stored foods like beans and grains, which can provide complete protien, but will not prevent scurvy. Potatoes also make a pretty reliable guerilla crop, multiplying exponentially if planted in, as opposed to above, the ground.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Julia
May 25, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I agree with Melissa about guerrilla gardening. [Try sowing tendergreen mustard if you are not a mustard green fan--makes good animal forage too..] The key to guerrilla gardening is to: 1) put the plants where they are not likely to be recognized as food [e.g., flower bed four-o'clock leaves can be eaten in salads or malabar/ceylon spinach can be grown as a decorative vine.] 2) Don’t plant in neat, tended rows but broadcast. 3) don’t plant easily identified versions of common food plants. Kale is very healthful, cold hardy replacement for cabbage but plant the more tender Russian Red Kale variety instead of the kind you see as garnish in the grocery store. Coyote tomatoes are pretty close to the original wild tomato and the little yellow round tomatoes produced on very low plants look more like ?? berries–I sure wouldn’t eat them if I didn’t know what they were. 4) as Melissa said above just seed plants known for reseeding themselves year after year [rutabagas, jerusalem artichokes, multiplier onions, etc.], in your area in unused places maybe along with some herbs or transplanted (sorrel and lambs quarters) edible wild plants for that “weed patch” look . You can even set up pieces of trash metal or styrafoam to help channel rain water to the base of your plants keeping the untended look and minnimizing time you have to spend guerrilla gardening.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXAdtXyEqao&list=FLt3YfGkrHgGpuBC0l7jrZdw&index=3&feature=plpp_video (guerrilla garden video)

Seed Savers Exchange (internet) has a wonderful catalogue if you are looking for ideas.

There’s just no substitute for becoming knowledgable about the plants which might keep you alive. Don’t forget the vegetables (cow peas, mustard greens, turnips, rutabagas, etc.) which have been staples for hundreds of years even if they are not eaten as much any more–they have a proven track record for keeping people alive. Hope this helps.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ardie
May 4, 2012 at 9:35 am

Years ago I used to garden and can and freeze, but now it’s just me so I’ve gone to dehydrating. I love it! Taking it a step farther I’m doing container gardening this summer. I live in the city, so space is an issue, and I may be moving, so it would also allow me to take my garden with me. There is lots of great information out there on this, and it is amazing how much you can grow in a small space! Any extra will get dried and added to my stock.

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Brawner
May 4, 2012 at 10:08 am

I’m starting both this season… Square foot boxed gardens and I’m building an Auquaponic unit. It’s a test because I’ve never gardened before and I’m testing my prepper skills. My thought is I’m learning a valuable, tradable craft.

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Vote -1 Vote +1M. T. Brawner
May 4, 2012 at 10:17 am

Moles? This is cheap and worked reasonably well for me:
JuicyFruit gum, piece rolled up into cylinder, pushed into the tunnel. Do not use your finger, use a stick or other device that doesn’t have your scent.
They are attracted to the sweet smell, eat the gum and die of constipation.

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Vote -1 Vote +1marinaholiday
May 4, 2012 at 11:04 am

Thanks for another great article on this important subject that affects us all! I would also like to thank the other preppers, who always take the time to share their tips and experiences – I usually learn as much from the comments as anything else! Thanks again and I look forward to being able to share some of my own tips as I work on developing my skills :)

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Vote -1 Vote +1deb
May 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I have read about gardening with aquaponics. Having managed a pet store with an entire wall of aquariums, what do you do if the power goes ( think EMP) and you can no longer aerrate those tanks of fish??? For this reason, this type of gardening does not seem
sustainable to me long term.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Nan in NC
May 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I think it’s wonderful that so many people are discovering the joys of gardening, even if the S never does hit the fan (fat chance!). I’ve been gardening since I was about 20, and good grief, that’s about 45 years. Every year I try something new. This year I’m growing Fava beans (they sell for about $6/pound, if I can find them), and snow peas, another expensive thing to buy, also sweet potatoes which are not expensive, but we love them. When that harvest is over, in about a month, I’ll put in winter squash in that bed. I use raised beds exclusively, and have for about 15 years. Especially as your joints get older, it’s the only way to go.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Eddie Hinson
May 5, 2012 at 10:47 am

Amen Miss Nan. I also live in NC, and will be 65 next Saturday. I got to watch my grandfather plow the garden with a mule while I was growing up. They were almost completely self sufficient, canning and storing everything that we ate for the winter. Back then everyone had a root cellar, he could get apples to keep for up to 11 months. I have a raised bed and also traditional garden, and still do my own canning. I also make pretty good pear preserves, and delicious bread and butter pickles. You can use a canner and pressure cooker to put up most of the food you need to eat. I have been looking at new root cellar plans.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Cindy Merrill
May 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Here’s a survival tip for thoseof us who live on Social Security: There’s free food for the picking- high in nutrition, delcious in an Omelet or added to cream soups: I speak of the scorned, lowly dandilion thought of as a “weed”: The unopened buds are scrumptious; tastes reminiscent of saffron.
Up here in northern ny, the flowers are just beginning to open.

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Vote -1 Vote +1james martin
May 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm

One thing I have found with freeze dryed survival foods is the salt content is out in space, somewhere. Is there anyone who has HEALTHY freeze dried food for us that is actually healthy and not pumped up with sodium and other dangerous ingredients.

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Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
May 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm

James,

That’s a VERY tough one…we have a good supply of freeze dried and dehydrated food, but we try to eat fresh as much as possible to avoid putting stuff in our bodies that we don’t want to. Everyone’s definition of “healthy” is going to be different, so if you got a little more specific with your request, we might be able to figure something out for you.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Eddie Hinson
May 5, 2012 at 10:50 am

The first freeze dried food that I ever saw was in Vietnam in 1968, they were called LRP(Long Range Patrol) rations, and were a good relief from c-rations. I think they are mainly good in a survival situation. I am sure there has been lots of improvement since then.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Big Red
May 4, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I live in the Co. mountains at 8200′ elevation which means the growing season is pretty short. I tried gardening years ago and the moles won. I went from 142 lbs. of potatoes one year to 38 lbs. the next because of those @#$%. I now use Garden Patch Grow Boxes. I don’t remember how I found out about these things but they solved my gardening problems. I started with 3 about 4 yrs. ago, I now have 11. The ‘box’ comes in two parts. The bottom part holds the water, the top part holds the potting mix. They come with a fertilizer strip that is designed just for these boxes which lays across the potting mix. Once you plant you can forget about everything except keeping that bottom part full of water, which you will have to do maybe once every other day. I’ve grown radishes, carrots, potatoes, beans. Some people grow cucumbers, you name it, you can grow anything in them like any ordinary garden. I’m sold on them. Greatest thing to happen to me at this altitude and the mole problems we have up here.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Doug
May 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Dave,

I live in California, where you can grow something year round. Years ago I made a dozen raised beds and planted various things that harvested at about the same time in a single bed. I kept 5 chickens for eggs at the time and what I did was to build a cage that exactly fit over the raised beds. Once the bed was harvested, leaving all greens not perfect, I moved the open bottomed chicken cage over the harvested bed after dark and the next day the chickens ate the harvest leavings. In the process they moved most of the earth in the bed looking for and eating all bugs in the bed and generally fertilizing the whole area in the process. I only had to supplement a little feed and collect the eggs. Once the cage had been in place for two to three weeks the next bed was harvested and I moved the cage, raked the bed down evenly and reseeded/planted the chicken-prepared bed for the next crop. The chickens eat everything and you need to put high, solid, sides on the cage to keep the dirt in the planting area. They sometimes dug a foot deep.

The cage should be totally covered with fine wire mesh to keep out varments and keep the chickens in. It also needs to have nesting boxes and a roosting area with at least a foot of clearance above the normal surface of the bed.

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Vote -1 Vote +1scrambo
May 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Nice article. I think a lot of us are thinking sustainability now. I know from research that in the south the plant that kept people going was corn. It takes a lot of acreage to grow corn. The problem I am having is this. Even during the great depression people were able to get things from the store, and they had a stable currency. You have to go way back to get anywhere near sustainable farming. And the closest thing that I have found are stories from Appalachia where the mountain folks were fairly self sufficient. They had small farms usually twenty acres or more. Most of us are thinking of a complete economic collapse which will stop the movement of goods for some time uncertain, and items will be only available through barter. How much acreage is it going to take to support a family, how many chickens, how many goats? I am fortunate because my family has a large farm two and half hours away, but that farm has never been self sufficient on the terms we are all prepping for.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1marcy
May 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm

It is nice to have food, but stock up on canning lids, jars, bottles, corks, bottle caps, etc. Metal (canning lids) can be rationed and in short supply. Lids last for decades and don’t go bad under normal storage conditions. Unless you plan for food preservation, you will lose much of your harvest. In a cold climate, you cannot dry as much near the frost.
It will be more important to have salt rather than sugar for canning. (Stevia is compact and works well for canning (1 level t. = 1-2 c. sugar, depending). Non-iodized salt is better for crock preservation (pickles/kraut => less spoilage) , but iodine is necessary for health.
You might also consider heavy reliance on wild foods and perennials. Esp. blueberries and apples that can easily be dried. It is good to “know” your wild mushrooms (dried), roots and berries. Wild herbs and greens.
Learn to use a hydrometer so you can test homemade vinegar for acidity to make sure it is safe to use for long term food preservation. Leave powdery yeast on wild berries or apples and add to fruit juice to begin fermentation of wine without wine yeast.
A 1″ square of cow stomach will act like rennet to curdle milk for a batch of cheese.
Basic first aid and natural remedies.
Self-sufficiency is not something you can do all at once. You will be better off if it has become part of your lifestyle.
As for composting, just about every garden has a grid of pathways. Start at one end of the garden. Gather food compost every evening after supper. Dig a hole 1-2 ft. deep in the pathway and bury it. The next night,dig another compost hole right beside it. Bury compost in the rows. The next year, the rowns become your planting beds and the former rows become your pathways. This prevents animals from dragging food wastes around, keeps your garden tidy and let worms do the work of turning over compost while it feeds them.
Cats are territorial. Place water bowls in different shady parts of the garden (ex. corn patch). Cats will claim and patrol their own territory/water bowl.
Place (an inch) of “syrup” in aluminum beverage cans and hang in fruit trees. Bugs enter the cans and cannot escape.
Basic tools to do what you need to do. Good reference books and home schooling library. Good work boots and socks.
Think about recycling. Old (esp. clear) plastic shower curtains have many garden uses (Cut rectangles and wrap around posts set in ground (duct tape ends together to form cylinder) to hold heat for young plants. Discard lidsand cut bottoms out of plastic milk/juice jugs to use as “hats” over tender seedlings–push dirt up on sides to secure in place. Clear brush for garden stakes and posts. Let garlic go wild under grape vines to control disease and also have a plentiful supply of scapes to use as a vegetable in spring.
Plan ahead while you have time to become physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy so you will be strong. Learn what you will need to know. Develop a reliable network. Teach your children to work hard, not whine and be circumspect.
Don’t expect that you can do everything.
Hope you all got a few good ideas from this.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Mary Ann
May 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

You cover a lot of territory very well.. let me add, you can do a lot with container gardening if you are short of space. Much of what you said here also applies there.. Blessings moth

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Vote -1 Vote +1Bubba In Vegas
May 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Well, we’re pretty much city folk, but we’re tryign to learn. We have a small 20 acre spread/ranch/get-away/bug out location up in Utah, and we’re attempting to learn how to grow things up in the high desert. Last season was our first. It’s just now planting time for us, and of course we have a short season at nearly 6,000 ft. elevation. The fruit trees seem to do very well, but if anyone has suggestions or info regarding growing under these conditions, we’d love to hear them.

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Vote -1 Vote +1CB
May 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

Greenhouse and hydroponics, Vern.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Kevin
May 5, 2012 at 4:54 am

Moles, try juicy fruit gum they love it but can not digest it. Squash bugs ,keep plant stem covered in dirt egg layers cant dig as the plant grows keep covering stem. I have been gardening 30 years never been able to match the quality of soil grown produce by hydro,aero,or aquaponics.The claim hydro,aero or aquaponics grows plants faster is false.Energy is the only limiting factor keep up the energy in your soil it will out perform all other means.Great article!

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Vote -1 Vote +1Bubba In Vegas
May 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm

That’s great! Juicy Fruit?! What do you do with it, bury it surrounding the garden? How deep?

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Vote -1 Vote +1Marc-Edward
May 5, 2012 at 8:39 am

Sprouting, though it is not a way to continue to have more seed is a process that increases the nutritional value exponentally and can be done in a very small space needing only an occassional soak in water, similar to hydroponics. Much of this info seems counter-intuitive at first but as you keep reading you soon understand the truth behind it. They talk about why so many people have allergic reactions,intestinal problems, how big Ag, and big Pharma are all “in bed” with BIG Government. A truly enlightening site.
Also, a good source of a natural plant nutrient is Planter’s II.
Have a great seaon this year.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Merle
May 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

About 6 months ago, my wife and I decided to hedge our bets and plant a garden. We were mainly city folk until moving to a very small community in Montana. Our yard is very small with huge shade trees.

Well, I started reading books about gardening, but not until I came across “Square Foot Gardening” did it seem likely we could be successful in raising any food.

I was happy to see you had mentioned this book. We will be using this as a guide.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Kevin
May 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

In an old version of aquaponics that I used (I’m now on gen 2 because the tank wasn’t designed correctly for cleaning purposes), I had set up a bug zapper above the tank. It gave the fish a good deal of supplemental protein from the bugs and greatly reduced the amount of food I had to give them. Not a perfect solution, but it helped considerably.

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Vote -1 Vote +1davidmobile
May 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm

That’s awesome! Not only a great idea, but it put a smile on my face too :)

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Vote -1 Vote +1michael haverstick
May 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Something that can be done is to practice canning, even if you have to do it with purchased produce. I recently, made dill pickles with the dill from my own herb patch. Wait for a sale, and then buy produce to practice with. Likewise, buy patio fruit trees, now, so that they will be producing when you need them. Get the skills while you have time now. Any one can dehydrate vegetables and fruit with a good dehydrator. Learn to cook with them. I garden annually, but I have limited space nevertheless, I canned plum and peach jelly, pickles, salsa, tomato juice, green beans and squash. i want to try canning meat! yes, you can as well. if it is on the shelf canned, you an can it as well. We may not have power for a freezer or refrigerator, but we can still eat our canned foods. try things now, before the crisis comes. jmh

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Vote -1 Vote +1Caroline
May 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Once upon a time I bought a house that had a screened in porch. Being a lifelong prepper and survivalist I quickly decided a screened in porch was not for me, but an enclosed growing room it would be(come). Went to a demo landfill asked to cheaply buy plywood, boards, and any glass I could find (french doors, old sliding glass doors, etc.), they gave it all to me free. I asked the county if I needed a permit to enclose it (no-existing structure), bartered with a local contractor- I fix your vehicles for 6 months- you enclose my porch. We ripped out the floor, filled it with great top soil, enclosed the screened in part with the glass, laid the plywood down with a few nails and then I had myself a 16 X 9 place to grow food indoors. When I want to grow tall plants, climbers, vine foods I pull a few nails on the center plyboard, slide it aside and jump down into the dirt. I can throw a bag of soil, fertilizer, manure, etc in there anytime, no weeds, bugs or thugs (two legged or four). I’ve grown and started a lot of stuff in there. I just came back from inventory of that room- here’s what is growing in there now- stevia, german thyme, peppermint, corn poppy, lettuces, spinach, strawberries, eggplant, squash, 2 peppers, parsley, tomato, zucchini, cilantro, basil, aloe, dill, and gray peas (floor intact). Last weekend I transplanted some things that I started in it this past winter to the outside- 3 blackberry bushes, strawberries, loofah, onions, asparagus and 2 pomegrante bushes. I have room now- going to try a lemon, plum and mandarin tree (I live in NC). Not everyone has a porch to do this- but if you do, or if you can convert a part of your house, something to consider… just sharing/just saying…

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Vote -1 Vote +1Jan
May 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm

This is all well and good, but I only saw 2 posts that contained another food source: the things that grow wild. Try taking a edible plants course or at least get a book and look around your area. And dont just watch Doomsday preppers, try “Dual Survival” . The hippie definelty knows his stuff. Would follow him more than the military guy.

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Vote -1 Vote +1davidmobile
May 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm

That’s a GREAT strategy, but not necessarily a one stop answer because of how few places have the quantity and density of wild edible plants necessary to sustain multiple people.

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Vote -1 Vote +1gena
May 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

I noticed someone was mentioning edible wild plants, I don’t know if we are supposed to bring things up like this, but I found some playing cards, similar to your survival playing cards which cover edible wild foods of North America. They carry them at MyPatriotSupply.com, for $7.95, and I plan to order a deck of them to read, study and keep with the deck of your survival cards. Both are convenient in both format, size, and ease of use, and can be carried in glove compartments or just about anywhere. Can’t hurt I figure and if nothing more can serve for a penny ante poker game card deck for entertainment. Or a deck for solitaire.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Crystal
May 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

One person talked about wanting to can meat. I learned to do this many years ago on the farm with my mother-in-law. I have since gotten back into it and now I live in the city. I have canned beef, hamburger, chicken, turkey, and corned beef. You do need a pressure canner. I bought a new one 2 years ago and have been canning veg. too. For beef or chicken I put the meat in raw ( beef into 1-2 in. cubes and chicken just cut it up like you are going to fry i)and fill the jars. I press them in firmly. Add 1 tsp. canning salt for a quart and 1/2 tsp. for pints. Put jars into a pressure canner which has about 3-4 in of water in it. Can for 90 min at 10 lbs pressure. Get the Blue Ball canning book. We used to can our own beef every year and then it was a quick thing to fix when we came in from working outside all day. Just open a jar heat it up, and make a gravy. Very good and easy.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Bob Anderson
May 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Again, as with everything that appears here, it presupposes land ownership, with enough to do the things mentioned, not to mention the monetary needs. Those of us without either land or extra (lots of extra) money cannot possibly do these things. We live in an end unit TH in Fairfax, VA, right outside DC, where my wife works for the FBI. NONE of the things mentioned here are available to us; covenants alone would not allow it, even if we tried it.

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Vote -1 Vote +1JR
May 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm

That’s ok Bob, if you can’t grow it, make it, or buy it…maybe you can trade for it? What do you have of value? Maybe you can trade an item, or a skill for supplies. Maybe freeze dried food can be stored more easily for you. You can purchase a little at a time (or trade for it) and easily keep it in a cool/dark place like a cellar, closet, garage, etc until it is needed. Depending on ease of acquiring…you could have several months saved/stored up for that “rainy day” in no time. Remember to store water as well as it will be needed to add to the food in order to consume. The bottom line is that we all as individuals need to work within the environment we are in to be successful. Some are in the city, some in the boonies, etc…either way, you have to do what will work for you. That’s what these boards are great for…getting ideas from others. (Thanks David)

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