Gardening When You Have a Bad Back

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Is your bad back a real pain when you garden? If so, you’ve faced the reality that there are certain gardening methods that are easier on the back than others, such as gardening in containers or planting in waist-high beds.

But what if you want to embrace traditional gardening methods and plant straight in the ground, but can’t—or don’t want to—double dig?

Summer: Bake the Soil to Kill Grass and Weeds

In this video, Marjory shows you how to turn a patch of grass into bare soil using a simplified version of a technique called “solarizing.”

Click Here to Watch the Video. 

By laying a tarp or 2 mil black plastic on the would-be garden bed, weighing it down with rocks, and letting the plot bake for a few months in the summer sun, you can effectively kill grass, weed seeds, and even unwelcome soil diseases. Some research has shown that using a clear plastic does an even better job killing unwanted grass, weed seeds, and soil-borne diseases.

If you live in a hot area and get a lot of sunny days, you’ll usually need to wait a few summer months before removing the black plastic.

In places where the summers are mild, wait even longer.

(Shorten this timeframe by tilling and re-leveling the soil before laying down the plastic, but it’s certainly more back-friendly to just lay down a tarp and wait!)

Autumn, Part 1: Reintroduce the Good Microbes

For solarizing to be really effective, your soil needs to reach about 150°F (66°C).

That’s hot enough to also kill some of the good microbes in the soil. In late autumn, top dress the soil with about 4 to 6 inches (10 cm to 15 cm) of good organic matter—compost, composted manure, or green manures.

We’re going for no more bad backs. So, spread the top dressing and let irrigation and earthworms pull the nutrients down into the subsoil.

(Do this each autumn to increase soil fertility.)

Autumn, Part 2: Use a Garden Fork in Rocky Soil

A note here for those of you with rocky soil: Once you remove the plastic covering, apply a garden fork to soil to remove the bigger rocks.

If you must do this yourself, be sure to use a garden fork with a long, lightweight handle. Try to keep your back straight by bending at the knees instead of the waist.

(Do a YouTube search for “gardening without back pain” for other helpful videos on safely using long-handled tools in the garden.)

Alternately, ask a relative or friend to do it for you, or hire someone to help with this task.

Trade with fellow gardeners—the work you can’t do for the work you can. Perhaps you could provide compost in exchange for help tilling rocky soil, or seedlings in exchange for help weeding.

 

Spring: Strategic Planning and Garden Planting

When it’s time to plant in Spring, some folks with bad backs like to use a simple, homemade seed-sowing tool.

  1. Simply take a four-foot length of 2.5 inch PVC pipe and cut a 45° angle on one end. (If you buy your PVC at one of the larger home improvement stores, they will often cut it for you at no charge.)
  2. Use the sharp end of your seed-sowing tool to make holes or furrows.
  3. Hold the pipe upright. Drop the seeds in the top hole, and let them fall through to the soil.
  4. Then, use the tool to cover the seeds with soil.

When deciding what and how to plant, consider reducing the need to weed by using companion planting methods, mulch, a block-style layout—or a combination of the three.

Achieve Gardening Success—Even With a Bad Back!

It’s well-known that converting a plot of sod into a fertile garden is backbreaking work.

But, through pre-planning and gardening smarter, not harder, you can work your beds successfully—without overworking your back!

Now let’s hear from you. What tips and tricks do you use to keep your back in tip-top shape? Tell us in the comments below.

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The post Gardening When You Have a Bad Back appeared first on The Grow Network.

What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homesteading

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What I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homesteading How many people are stuck in a cubicle for 40 hours a week? When I am on the road I look at all the cars and wonder how many people are stuck in a life they hate and wishing they were on about 20 acres off …

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Savings: 5 Ways to Get Fruit Trees For Cheap!

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Savings: 5 Ways to Get Fruit Trees For Cheap! Fruit trees are nearly mythical in some settings in America today. To happen across a tree that food grows on in an urban setting is absolutely amazing. We all have those stories of people who had an apple tree in their backyard. Its magic thing to those …

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Everything You’ve Wanted To Know About Mulching (But Didn’t Want To Ask)

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Everything You’ve Wanted To Know About Mulching (But Didn’t Want To Ask)

Image source: City of Brevard

The question came during a car ride to the annual co-op tree sale, when my farm apprentice asked one of our passengers, a seasoned self-described permaculturist, for a definition of what she did.

After a few halting starts describing site-planning and sustainability and organic and natural, she said, “Basically it just means I mulch a lot.”

We all laughed, but the truth is that mulch is a really big deal. So much so that I consider it to be every gardener’s secret weapon. It is simple, often inexpensive or even free, easy to use, and effective — yet many people are not aware of the wonders of mulch.

It may be easier to define mulch than permaculture, but it, too, is a practice which is wildly diverse and highly personalized. It can be made of virtually any material, used in multiple ways for myriad purposes, and infinitely customized.

What is mulch, exactly? An Internet search of the word yields plenty of opportunities to purchase it but not much in the way of actual definition. In two words, mulch is “ground cover.”

Why Mulch?

The reasons I use mulch are mostly about utility and efficiency. Covering the ground around my garden vegetables, perennials such as rhubarb and blueberries, and fruit trees accomplishes many desirable outcomes for me as a homesteader.  It discourages weed growth, helps retain water, defines walking paths, improves soil health, and discourages my cat and other animals from eliminating and digging. It also makes it easier to mow and trim around vegetation.

The All-Natural Fertilizer That Can Double Your Garden Yield!

Other reasons to use mulch are more focused on aesthetics. A manicured layer of ground cover around flower beds, bordering everything from household structures to fences to walls to ornamental trees and shrubs to pools, is generally considered attractive.

Other mulching uses include covering steep banks and other areas which can be challenging to mow and where erosion control is a factor.

Everything You’ve Wanted To Know About Mulching (But Didn’t Want To Ask)

Image source: Pixabay.com

There is a great deal of overlap among reasons for mulching. Although my reasons are primarily practical-minded, I enjoy the pleasing visual quality of the neat appearance. Likewise, I expect that homeowners whose objectives center upon visual appeal are glad for the added bonuses of weed control, reduced water usage and facilitating trim work.

What to Use?

Hang on to your hat — here comes the best part! You can use just about anything for mulch. Grass clippings, weeds, leaves, cardboard, newspaper, wood scraps, rubber, plastic, and more are all great for mulching (although rubber and plastic won’t decompose). Sourcing possibilities are also widely varied. You can get mulch from farm and garden retailers, landscapers, recycle facilities, or your own backyard. You can pay a lot of money or you can find many options for free.

When most people envision mulch, they think of coarsely ground-up bits of bark and other wood products, purchased by the cubic yard. It can be natural colored or dyed in shades of red or black.

I use a lot of other substances for mulch. I use three-foot-wide strips of used carpet as a semi-permanent border and weed barrier around the edge of my in-ground garden. They can be moved out of the way for rototilling and neatened up every season. The carpet kills the lawn grass beneath it, allowing me to easily expand the size of my garden every year, but is permeable enough to allow air and water through it. One of my favorite things about my carpet border is that it is soft enough to allow portable electric fencing to be installed over the top of it, keeping out animals by either electrifying the fence or using it as a simple physical barrier, and removed during the off-season.

Between rows of vegetables, my go-to is simple newspaper and lawn grass clippings. I lay a complete cover of newspaper, add a thick — six inches or more — layer of fresh lawn grass, and water it well to keep it in place until it forms itself into a mat that will resist being blown away. This method is generally sufficient to avoid most weeds for the entire season and can be turned into the soil in fall.

I use layers of industrial cardboard, which I get from my local recycle center, under my raised beds. This helps keep weeds out and water in; it is not foolproof, but it makes a difference.

Between rows of highbush blueberries, I use purchased landscape fabric. It is expensive stuff and took a period of years to get it all installed, but it impacts lawn care effort. Landscape fabric lasts many years, is air- and water-permeable for the health of plant roots, and has a tidy appearance.

I use round rubber mulch mats around the base of some of my young trees. These are thick flexible mats, two to three feet across, that lay on the ground around a tree much like a Christmas tree skirt. These, too, can be costly, but last a long time and are very versatile and time-saving.

Seamazing: The Low-Cost Way To Re-mineralize Your Soil

Everything You’ve Wanted To Know About Mulching (But Didn’t Want To Ask)

Image source: Pixabay.com

Other materials I use incidentally or have tried in the past include empty plastic grain bags for weed blockage underneath decorative or bark mulch or crushed stone or sand in areas where soil aeration doesn’t matter and I do not want anything to grow.

Sometimes mulching happens in tiny steps. When I harvest rhubarb, for example, I cut the leaves and lay them on the soil around the base of the plants, and sometimes pile other plant discards or pulled weeds over top of existing mulch to help weight it down.

Are There Any Downsides to Mulching?

One major caution in this kind of creative thinking is this: remember that crucial life exists below the surface. Bear in mind that plant roots need air, water and nutrients, as do beneficial organisms in the soil itself. Use impermeable materials with wisdom and forethought.

Also, consider the presence of chemicals. While it is possible to acquire free pieces of leftover carpet from flooring installers, I generally avoid new flooring and instead opt for that which has had the opportunity to adequately off-gas that it will not add anything undesirable to the soil or air.

Another possible disadvantage of mulch is that it can provide appealing habitat for wildlife. Snakes, mice, voles, rats, and insects might be glad to make their homes in, under, and around a layer of insulated and camouflaged mulch.

When and How?

Getting mulch applied early is key. It is much harder to eliminate weeds once they have appeared than it is to prevent them in the first place.

Volume is also important. A thin layer of grass or newspaper will be of little use and could result in more frustration than anything else. Pile it on thick and cover the area thoroughly.

Any effort made in mulching will pay for itself many times over. In the end, mulch might be easier to use than it is to define, but any gardener who uses it will be glad they did — having fewer weeds, healthier soil and an attractive yard is always beneficial.

What types of mulch do you use? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

Wild Edibles Wednesday: Broadleaf Plantain

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 Wild Edibles Wednesday: Broadleaf Plantain Peek out your window right now. Look at the grass or undisturbed areas in your yard. You will see the broadleaf plantain. Its everywhere. Don’t confuse this wild edible for the banana looking plantain of South American cookery. This wild edible is actually much more effective a plant. This article …

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How to Save Seeds For Optimal Vitality

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As summer begins rolling into autumn, it’s time to get busy saving seeds from your summer harvest.  Remember that HEAT and MOISTURE are the enemies to seed viability after storage.  In other words, just the things that make a seed germinate when planted are the things that will kill them during storage and prevent germination later when planted.  Even if the poorly stored seeds germinate, they may produce weak, spindly plants that do not produce fruit or vegetables.  You may get carrot sprouts but never any root bigger than a thread even after months of growing.

When stored properly, some seeds can last 5-10 years, but this depends on the type of seed.  Some seeds don’t do well the second year no matter how good the storage conditions.  Seed banks use climate controlled environments (temp/humidity) to store their seed banks and grow them out every second or third year.

Fedco Seeds has a great chart on Seed Saving for Beginnners which gives great information including seed longevity. Most seeds store well for 2-3 years. Onion will only last one year and leek will last two at the most. Cucumbers, melons, and tomatoes can last up to ten years.  I have successfully grown tomato plants from seven year-old seeds. Remember the younger the seeds, the more vigorous the plants will be.

If you are faced with an emergency where you had to get a garden in and survive off what you produce, you will also need to harvest seed from that garden so you don’t use up all your precious seed bank and have nothing left for the next season. If your emergency is such that you have enough time to grow a garden, you may need to do it for more than just one season. There is no substitute for experience in the garden.

I recommend a fantastic book by Steve Solomon called Gardening When it Counts: Growing Food In Hard Times. His premise is that you are gardening because you are going to live on what you grow so you cannot afford to waste money or to fail. This book was not written specifically for any particular state or zone and is not for the Square Foot Gardening crowd but it is full of extremely valuable advice gained from decades of experience with subsistence gardening. He also discusses seed longevity and seed saving.

In an ideal situation, you would be growing your seeds every year and saving seeds from the most vigorous plants and the best fruits. Watch for the plants that produce the biggest and best leaves and fruit. Tie a piece of yard around the stem, so you’ll remember those are the plants whose seeds you want to save.

By saving seeds from each harvest season, your seeds will always be fresh. Even if you live in an apartment, you can practice growing seeds on your balcony in pots. That said, you may purchase seeds for your garden and only plant some and save the rest for the next years. I do this. It’s a great money saver.

Seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. A mason jar in the refrigerator is ideal and easy. I store seeds from each type of plant in small, labeled paper envelopes. (These small packets make it very easy to trade seeds, too.) Adding a desiccant, oxy pack, or pumping down to vacuum would also improve shelf life. Do not store seeds in a frost free freezer without making sure the container is airtight. Ever seen an ice cube left too long in a frost free? It evaporates. This will kill your seeds. Seeds need to maintain a low level of moisture to survive, and if you’re packaging seeds yourself, that desiccant packet could make a huge difference in whether or not the seeds remain viable.

If you buy your seeds in a #10 can, keep it in the refrigerator. Every 10 degree F increase in temperature above standard conditions combined with a 1 percent increase in the moisture content of the seed, cuts the storage life of the seed in half.

Last but not least, make sure you purchase good quality seeds to begin with. Some seeds are nearly worn out when you get them. If you purchase seeds that have been stored in an outside nursery with the lovely trays of flowers under a mister system, they are in trouble. I was at a “big box” garden center the other day and the seed envelopes were under the shade cloth outside, in the heat, near the flowers.  The packages had been so damp they were bent over. They had probably been out there all summer. I checked the envelopes and the seeds were loose in the packet and not inside a foil pack inside the envelope. At a “supercenter” I went to, the seeds were inside the air conditioned part of the store and well away from any moisture.  These would be a much better bet. The best place to get seeds for storage is through mail order or order online from a reputable dealer. My favorite is Fedco Seeds for quality, price, and customer service.  There are several other good ones as well.  These seed dealers store their seeds appropriately and test germination each year for each lot.

Growing food is a big enough challenge but can you imagine trying to do that with old seeds that may or may not be viable? Take the time to not only learn how to save seeds but then store them so they will retain their optimal vitality.

Marta Waddell contributed to this article.

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5 Beneficial Garden Bugs You Should NEVER Kill

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5 Beneficial Garden Bugs You Should NEVER Kill

Praying mantis. Image source: Wikipedia

As a professional gardener and farmer, one of the questions I field most frequently from people sounds something like this: “I have XYZ in my garden … how can I kill it?”

Usually, this refers to some form of insect. The problem with this approach is that it insinuates that all insects are problematic and should be eradicated. The opposite approach, though, requires gardeners to understand a little more about the complex relationships that occur within nature.

Typically, if you see a specific insect in your garden, it can be indicative of other unobserved conditions. For this reason, I have begun to reach out to new gardeners in the hope of changing the overall mindset to one of working with nature rather than trying to fight against it.

The All-Natural Fertilizer That Can Double Your Garden Yield!

Following is a short list of some of the more common uninvited garden visitors and why they are your friend — rather than your enemy. Many of these insects are so helpful that it is actually advantageous to encourage them to make a home in your garden by providing additional habitat so that they can breed and reproduce.

5 Beneficial Garden Bugs You Should NEVER Kill

Syrphid flies. Image source: Wikimedia

1. Syrphid flies — These are also known as sweat bees or hover flies. Many people assume that these little flies are equipped with a stinger, since they share some of the same colors and markings as yellow jackets and hornets. However, these harmless little flies are actually nectar- and pollen-feeders during their adult stage. During their larval stage, they are voracious feeders and prefer to eat aphids, scale insects and thrips. One way to encourage Syrphid flies is to keep a continuous nectar source in your garden throughout the entire growing season. Among the best plants for this is sweet alyssum. Alyssum is easy to grow and makes an excellent and attractive choice for flowering baskets and beds.

2. Praying mantis — Sure, mantis can look intimidating, but they are excellent hunters and harmless to humans. Mantis are ambush predators and prefer to eat soft-bodied pests such as caterpillars and grubs. They also will eat cabbage moths if given the chance. The egg sack of the mantis is equally strange looking and can startle people who are not accustomed to their rough papery appearance. To encourage mantis, learn how to identify its egg sack so that during garden clean-up you can set it aside in a safe place.

3. Spiders — Be kind to your eight-legged neighbors while out in your garden. There are many different species of garden-friendly spiders, and all of them are doing their part to defend your plants from harm. Spiders tend to feed on caterpillars, leaf hoppers, aphids, cucumber beetles, thrips and flies. An abundance of spiders in the garden means there’s a lot of prey around. A healthy garden will have a diversity of spiders that includes both orb weavers and ground hunters.

4. Wasps and yellow jackets — Believe it or not, these stinging insects aren’t too interested in humans. The overly large stinger of most nectar-feeding wasps is often used as a method of injecting eggs into a soft-bodied host. As the larvae from these eggs mature, they will devour their host from the inside-out. To encourage beneficial wasps, provide a continuous nectar source throughout the growing season. One of the best nectar sources for beneficial wasps comes from flowers in the allium family. Yellow jackets are meat eaters and are ruthless killers of caterpillars, grubs, flies and moths. Although they can be problematic for humans when present in large numbers, a small population of yellow jackets can be extremely useful in controlling soft-bodied insects within your garden.

5 Beneficial Garden Bugs You Should NEVER Kill

Pirate bug. Image source: Flickr / creative commons

5. Pirate bugs — This is a scenario where nature gets a little bit complicated. There are some cases where large numbers of pirate bugs can be a nuisance to people, even biting them. However, as a beneficial insect, pirate bugs are exceedingly good at hunting thrips, mites, insect eggs, caterpillars and aphids. As a gardener, one must decide if the benefit outweighs the side-effect. Personally, I have only found them to be of benefit. When prey levels are low, pirate bugs will choose to feed on nectar and plant juices instead. These garden allies are very susceptible to pesticide applications which can have deleterious effects on their numbers.

What insects/bugs would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

10 Healthy Veggies You Can Grow in Water

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Store-bought or homegrown, you can reuse those veggie scraps to grow an endless supply of food starting with just a container of water at home. DIY water gardens are ideal for anyone who wants to minimize waste, grow organic, save money, and make fewer trips to the market. Homesteaders and city dwellers–this one’s for you. […]

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How To Grow 90 Pounds Of Tomatoes From 5 Plants

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How To Grow 90 Pounds Of Tomatoes From 5 Plants Are you short on space in your garden? Do you want to grow more tomatoes in a smaller area? Do you want more tomatoes to sell, store, can or eat? This method of growing them could see yields up to 90 lbs from just 5 plants. …

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56 Essential Items for A New Homesteader

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56 Essential Items for A New Homesteader Starting a new homestead, especially as someone who has been living in the city the whole life, takes a huge amount of courage. It’s not easy, mentally and physically. But that’s not the only thing you need. Realistically, you’ll also need tools, equipment, and supplies to help you live …

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Easy Guide to Planting Cover Crops (to Improve Soil)

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Easy Guide to Planting Cover Crops (to Improve Soil) One of the best things to happen to our country over the last 20 years is the explosion in home gardening and community gardening. I am so happy to see more and more people taking the reigns on food production. Whether they know it or not …

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Aquaponics- Growing Food with Fish

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Aquaponics- Growing Food with Fish We often get much of our aquaponics information from first hand users that enjoy the benefits of this method of growing food and fish everyday. That is a great source. There is an incredible cohesive relationship between the fish and the plants in a well run system. Imagine producing fish …

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6 Reasons You Need A Gardening Journal This Year

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6 Reasons You Need A Gardening Journal This Year

Image source: Pixabay.com

Each growing season brings a new opportunity to create a fantastic garden, but every year also brings its own learning opportunities and challenges.

The best way to make the most out of these challenges is to remember them so that you don’t make the same mistakes.

This year, consider keeping a gardening journal. Here are six reasons why you should do so:

1. Track specific time frames

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew the exact date past frosts happened in your yard? By writing down when the growing season started and ended in the area you care about most, you can optimize the amount of time you have for growing plants.

Need Non-GMO Seeds? Get The Best Deals Here!

This can be especially important if you live in a climate that experiences drastic differences between seasons, like summer and winter.

2. Track temperatures

Along with tracking specific time frames in your area, you also can log daily temperatures. That way, you can see patterns over various growing seasons and be able to figure out correlations between specific temperature patterns and harvests (whether good or bad).

3. Track plant production

6 Reasons You Need A Gardening Journal This Year

Image source: Pixabay.com

Track how certain plants do and how fast they grow (such as the time from planting to harvest). Create a page for each type of plant you grow and keep notes about anything related to this plant, including specialized details about the plant.

4. Track soil issues

You may find that the soil in your garden reacts differently at various points during the growing season. Keep track of the dates when you add compost, and write down the watering patterns and how dry or wet the soil is. This helps you see the “broad picture” so you can learn how plants react to different levels of watering and fertilization.

5. Track your garden plot

Most of us don’t have an unlimited space for gardens, which means we must pick and choose which plants we want to grow.

Seamazing: The Low-Cost Way To Re-mineralize Your Soil

Use your journal to map out the space you have and where you plan to grow specific vegetables in the garden. That way, you can plan next year’s garden based on what happened this year, without guessing from a faulty memory.

6. Track local seed swaps and community events

There may be people in your community who grow plants you haven’t thought of growing or have the room to grow. You can meet people in your area who share your passion for gardening, and perhaps even get some tips and tricks from them.

There isn’t a formula or exact method to creating a creating a gardening journal, so make it work for you and ensure you get the most out of it. Let it grow and bloom into something beautiful.

Have you ever kept a gardening journal? Share your tips in the section below:

Natural Weed Control – Weed Killers and Non-Toxic Weed Control Options

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Natural Weed Control – Weed Killers and Non-Toxic Weed Control Options Once the excitement of your sprouts is over you are hit with that familiar feeling. You see those terrible weeds starting to sprout as well. Wire grasses and various other ground weeds that steal the nutrients from your soil and choke those delicious plants …

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How Does Your Garden Grow? Sunlight, Water, and Some Technology

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In theory, growing a garden seems like the easiest thing in the world to do. Just sow some seeds, make sure the seedlings get plenty of water and sunlight, and in a few months (or less) you’ll have a bountiful harvest of fresh produce.

Of course, anyone who has ever grown a garden knows that it’s not really that simple. An infinite number of factors can affect how well your plants grow and how much food they produce, from how much water they get to the average temperature over the summer. Of course, there are always the human factors to consider, such as remembering to water the plants and pulling the weeds. It’s all enough to make most people hit up the market or the farm stand to buy produce, rather than go to all the trouble to growing it.

However, commercially grown produce isn’t guaranteed to always be widely available, and there are legitimate concerns about the safety and sustainability of those products. Not to mention, for those who wish to grow their own food, the climate can present a significant obstacle. Thanks to technology, though, all these obstacles can be overcome.

Bringing Tech Into the Garden

Sensor technology is taking over virtually every aspect of our lives — and gardening is no different. Embedded chips and an internet connection can take a lot of the guesswork out of growing your garden, telling you exactly what’s happening out there and what you need to do, and even keeping pesky critters out of your plants to ensure that you actually have something to harvest.

Gardening technology ranges from simple apps that tell you exactly when to plant specific crops to fully computerized greenhouses that ensure perfect growing conditions at all times, and everything in between.

For example:

  • A new generation of garden stakes include sensors that will send information about soil, light, and moisture conditions directly to your smartphone, so you know when to water and feed your plants — and whether they are getting enough sunlight or not.
  • The idea of timed sprinklers is nothing new, but gardeners now have the option of using sensor-controlled watering systems that monitor real-time weather conditions via the internet as well as soil moisture levels to deliver water when necessary. This prevents both under-watering, as well as the issue of sprinklers or irrigation systems turning on unnecessarily — such as in the middle of a rainstorm.
  • Home gardeners have the option of growing plants without soil using consumer-sized hydroponic systems. From smaller models that fit on a sunny countertop, to larger setups that take advantage of vertical space and use either natural or fluorescent lights, the idea of growing larger plants in less space is very appealing to many gardeners.
  • Keeping animals out of the garden is a challenge for any farmer, but sensor technology is helping with that as well. Several different systems offer everything from a blast of water to harmless wireless fences that keep deer away, ensuring that your carrots and tomatoes won’t become a feast for woodland creatures.

Getting Started With a High-Tech Garden

The first thing to remember when incorporating technology into your garden is that you don’t want to rely on technology to replace you and the work that goes into a successful crop. Technology is a tool that can help you avoid certain common issues, but it should not replace your own real-world observations and care for your plants. In other words, you’re still going to have to remove the weeds yourself.

That being said, the best way to get started on a technology-enhanced garden is to begin with a sensor system that helps you tackle your biggest weakness. Since the majority of plants fail due to over or under watering, a sensor that helps you determine when and how much water to give your plants is a good starting place.

Or, if you live in an area where the growing season is short, a greenhouse might be a good option to help you expand your options. With a technologically advanced greenhouse, you can experiment with different crops as well, combining the data you collect from sensors with your own observations to create a garden plan that works for your needs.

Few things in life rival the pleasure of growing your own food right in your backyard. Incorporating technology can help that be a more successful endeavor, while also increasing yields and reducing the amount of time and money you spend cultivating your plants.

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Everything You Need To Know To Start Your Garden

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I feel inclined to share everything you need to know to start your garden today. I now live in Southern Utah, so we can start a garden a lot earlier than up north. In Salt Lake City, Utah we always used Mother’s Day as the day we could finally get started with planting vegetables in our gardens. In other words, the middle of May. In Southern Utah, I decided it’s tax day, April 15th or the middle of April. We have all had good years of gardening and occasional years when we wonder what in the world happened to my squash or cucumbers. I used to have a huge garden, with a gas powered tiller and we grew all of our vegetables for the year. Now I have a very small yard and I had to learn to adapt to the clay soil here.

I have heard people say to me “I can’t get anything to grow in my garden.” I get it. It was so much easier to garden in the rich soil I had up north in Salt Lake City, Utah. You could practically dig a hole and plant a tiny plant and BAM that baby would grow like crazy! If I planted seeds, they would sprout and grow great veggies for my neighborhood. It took me a few years here in the desert to get the hang of growing a successful garden. We have a lot of critters here and the bugs are out of control.

I also learned not to put so many coffee grounds in the garden from the local coffee shop because they put too much nitrogen into the soil in my raised garden beds. I guess I put way too many in my planter areas to get rid of the cats in the neighborhood when my flower pots, potato pots, and raised gardens became their litter box. Yep, we learn something new every year, right? Coffee grounds are good, but not the amount I used, just to clarify my statement. The pH level was off and I had to add additional nutrients to offset those coffee grounds to have a successful garden. I call it a learning curve.

I have also learned when to plant and when not to plant certain seeds or plants in my area. I live in Southern Utah where my climate zone is #8A. If you have a local family owned garden center in your area, I highly recommend you go there and get a printout of the times you can plant certain vegetables and other plants or trees you would like in your garden. It’s all about the soil, the seeds, the plants and the watering. I would have to say soil is the biggest learning curve for people.

Start Your Garden:

  1. Good soil: I start with Miracle Grow planting soil. You can buy this at most big box stores or nurseries, plus the items listed below.
  2. Gloves: I buy them every year at the end of the growing season for 1/2 price.
  3. Shovels: One large, one medium, one short small handled one, and then the size we need to dig a small hole for the plants.
  4. Good seeds or plants (non-GMO): You can also start your seeds indoors, but I’ll talk about that another day.
  5. Root starter: I only use Miracle Grow Starter to transplant my seedlings or plants.
  6. Watering can: So you can mix up the Miracle Grow Starter with water.
  7. A good hose and sprinkler attachment.
  8. A pitch fork.
  9. A rake to level the soil.
  10. You may need to add some or all of the items I mention adding to my soil below. Those are the ones I’ve found work best in my planting soil, climate and other factors.  You may need to experiment with different plants and the unique nature of your location.

I have several four-foot by four-foot by 18-inch tall raised garden beds in my backyard. When I first moved here I tried growing tomatoes in pots. It’s too hot, so that didn’t work. The dirt in my yard is hard rock red clay. It almost takes a pick and shovel to dig any kind of a hole for shrubs or trees. I soon realized that my only option was to purchase some raised gardens.

I have a very small house and yard. I need to use as much space to produce food for pleasure and to survive if we had an unforeseen emergency or disaster. I had to learn how to garden here. I have been successful with gardening in this home for about six or eight years now. I have had a garden for as long as I can remember. In years past I canned everything possible from my garden, teaching my daughters the skill of gardening and canning. It’s really fun, I promise. But this desert area took me some time to learn how to garden.

I had been reading about composting (no, I do not compost food). My life is pretty busy and I can’t add that to my plate each day. So I buy organic compost and organic fertilizer. So there you have it, some people love to compost. I don’t.

I had also studied up on different products I thought I would need, but I wanted to hear it from the expert nursery owner if these were the right ones for my area. Bingo! I nailed it with the help of phone calls, reading, and research at various nurseries. Ballard Nursery in LaVerkin, Utah has the most knowledgeable people in my area! Woohoo!

I no longer own a wheelbarrow so I mixed up the following items listed below in each raised garden bed. I used my hands, a small pitch fork, and shovel to make the soil rich and loamy. It really is all about the soil!!!

The base for my garden beds is Miracle Grow soil available almost anywhere. Remember, I have raised garden beds. If you have awesome soil you probably won’t need this. Then I made a concoction of peat moss, Azomite minerals, Coco Coir, organic compost, bone meal, earthworm castings (organic fertilizer), Vermiculite, and a small amount of steer manure. My soil is 15-17-inches deep. You can buy most of these at your local garden centers. I bought some items online and some locally. I promise a garden is all about the seeds and the soil. We can all grow a garden, we just need practice. This is one more way to be prepared for the unexpected. Grow a garden and harvest your own food. It’s all about being self-reliant. Good luck with your gardening efforts.  Be sure to let me know your secrets to gardening success.

My favorite items you to start your garden:
Azomite Micronized Bag, 44 lb
FibreDust Coco Coir Block
Unco Industries Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer, 15-Pound
Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic Bone Meal, 3 lb.
Espoma VM8 8-Quart Organic Vermiculite

The post Everything You Need To Know To Start Your Garden appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

5 Tips To Eliminate Blight And Disease Naturally

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 5 Tips To Eliminate Blight And Disease Naturally Why are tomatoes such a right of passage for gardeners? Of all the incredible things you sprout in the dirt it seems like of the growing of tomatoes there is no end! Maybe that’s a good thing because the garden tomato is such an anomaly when eaten …

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The post 5 Tips To Eliminate Blight And Disease Naturally appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

How to Get the Most Food from Your Survival Garden

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Boosting Our Garden Productivity

Our practices can affect our garden productivity hugely. Sometimes that’s as easy as changing our mindsets, so that the time and labor it takes to garden is lowered, which allows us to do more. Sometimes it’s embracing “Semper Gumby” and accepting the feedback our gardens and yards offer us, and sometimes it’s looking at our home and yard spaces differently. Sometimes it’s letting the Johnson’s be the Johnson’s and contenting ourselves with being us – with our needs and abilities the measuring standard we use. In some cases, the practices we apply might be hugely unconventional. In other cases, they’re tiny things only in our minds. They can all make a difference when it comes to successful growing. Here are a few ways we can cut down on the labor and time of gardening and increase our yields, whether we’re just getting started with some pots or whether we’re ready to expand our production in times of crisis when food production has stopped.

Pick the Right Plants

Sometimes if we’re after heirlooms and open-pollinated plants so we can collect seed, it can be tough, but whenever possible, selecting local or regional plants and seeds will boost our success. They’re adapted to if not developed specifically for our climate, so there’s a better chance of them performing for us than something that was produced across the country, even of the same cultivar.

If we can’t find our choices locally, we can do some research. There are some proven winners that work across multiple USDA growing zones for most types of veggies and even most of the field crops we’ll grow.

Most of our county extension, state Ag department, and the Master Gardener’s programs will have stock lists of varieties that perform well regionally within the state and county. Remember that the Big Ag guys are going to most likely be spraying and irrigating, so look for and ask about dryland farming varieties and varieties that are resistant to pests.

We can also improve our gardens by selecting disease-resistant varieties whenever possible. Not dealing with a crop illness at all is far easier on the labor, pocketbook, and productivity of a garden.

We also want to pick the right plants for us, and the right number of plants.

15,000 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Survival Garden 32 Variety Pack

Ten or twenty tomatoes take a lot of work, and a lot of resources. On the other hand, ten or twenty pea or bean plants is likely to only yield enough for a couple of meals at once. Four-square-feet of corn is nearly nothing – one, maybe two meals for 4-5. Four-square-feet of spinach could be salads and greens for a whole season, depending on family size.

Determinate plants dump the majority of their produce all at once, which can lead to a glut we have to deal with, and then they die. That can be good or bad.

If we want to go with determinates, for some things like squash and tomatoes, maybe we stagger two to four plants at a time for a small family or a beginner. It makes less to deal with at one time, and it lets us re-plant after them at a reasonable pace for busy people as well.

Alternatively, maybe we go with a longer-lived set of indeterminate plants that trickle in produce at a rate we can consume or process easily.

Proximity – Plan garden plots along paths we already take, and near the resources they’ll need.

Proximity

Location, location, location – we hear it all the time when finding property, but it’s just as important once we have our space to play with. The closer we can put our gardens to our homes, the more attention they’re going to get and the less time we’re going to spend crossing ground to go weed, water, fetch tools, and harvest.

Once we’re hitting about fifty-percent of our veggie consumption, it’s tough to keep the whole garden close at hand, but we can still keep rotations plants that require a lot of water, that get harvested from regularly, and our problem-prone plants near at hand.

The closer we can put our gardens to our homes, the more attention they’re going to get

We also want to be mindful of proximity to water. Since rooflines are going to be our most common rain catchment points (using our free salvaged buckets and totes), we can check both those boxes keeping at least some of our beds along our common walkways to and from the house and garage or sheds, or establishing beds near doorways and outdoor water faucets.

With our beds near the house, we’ll then also want to keep some of the maintenance basics like hand tools and maybe a watering can right there handy as well. The most regularly used items are fairly compact, so they should fit right in with our porch broom or a bucket or deck box near the door.

Eliminate Ego

Right up there with making our life easier by picking out plants that are proven winners and producers, is giving ourselves a break. The neighbors might have a bare earth garden without a speck of a weed. Martha Stewart and the Neeleys might have awesome, bountiful beds with expensive chipped mulch or thick mats of straw.

Good for them. They’re not us.

We can take advice from them if we want – and if their advice falls in line with our growing style, and the desire to be more self-sufficient, which means cutting some of the umbilical cords to Lowe’s and Tractor Supply. We can ask what varieties they use, maybe even trade some seeds. We need to not compare ourselves – or our gardens – to them and theirs.

Every person and family is different, and soil changes step by step. The extra time being cultivated, a reliance on outside fertilizers, different wind and sun patterns, and a devotion to watering can all have effects.

We also need to just be nice to ourselves. If the weeds aren’t big enough to bother the plants, they’re not hurting anything; take a few minutes to enjoy family or a book now and then. If we have to pick between having cardboard between rows and beds, or running a tiller or weed-eater or hoe, go with the time and fuel and labor-saving ugly.

All our garden should be about is our yield and our health and our abilities, compared only to our past.

The rest of it, that’s just ego. Hubris is how mere mortals take down the gods and giants in all the good stories. Stick with humble and happy.

Slow, Steady Solutions

This is actually a permaculture principle. What it means is that we add things at a pace where we can handle them, where they will thrive, and where we can accept feedback from them – and adjust accordingly. It goes hand-in-hand with that ego point above. But also, it’s about learning, and not getting overwhelmed.

Whether we’re just starting or expanding, it can be tempting to go for broke. And sometimes, we break. Then we get discouraged, either by a method and we write it off, or by this whole gardening thing in general.

We can also break the bank trying to do it all at once, either getting started or making changes or trying to keep up with others’ results.

Deciding on our pace should include a look at our financials. Sometimes it’s more economical to buy or rent a machine and get lots done in a few hours, but sometimes we’re better served with a shovel and a post-hole auger and working by inches over days and weeks.

We do need to get started with gardening, but make changes and expand at a pace we can maintain. In the end, we’ll have a better situation than if we rushed around and ended up unhappy or worn out later.

Leave Room to Renovate

When we eke out our plots and expansions, we can benefit from leaving ourselves some elbow room through and around them. Especially if we’re new, we might also want to use a more temporary “build” for the first few rounds.

Container gardens, lasagna beds, using established flower and ornamental beds for veggies, expanding at the base of trees or hedges just a foot or two, and inexpensive beds made from things like shelving units can help with that. So can doing an unbounded, free-form bed instead of starting off with brick or timbers.

That way we have a chance to test out our water solutions, placement around our homes and placement of our tools, our composting systems, make sure it’s not too dry or too sodden or in a frost pocket or heavily shaded come June, exposed to winds, or affected by our livestock locations, and then actually apply the feedback that our plants themselves will give us.

Then we can go around and reinforce our beds with timbers and CMU if we’re happy, or reassemble them somewhere else if we’re not, or go whole-hog with our in-ground, tilled-out methods.

Having extra elbow room also allows us to try out new methods as we become aware of them, and have space to maneuver or change focus as we lose mobility due to injury or age, or as our family situation changes.

In the end, our gardens and our time in them will be far more productive if we leave ourselves room to adjust for better efficiency or economy down the line.

Bed Down Beds

Cover vegetable beds with leaves in the winter.

At the end of the season, cover garden soil with something, no matter what it is – tilled plots eked out of the yard, actual built raised beds, unbounded lasagna beds, pots and planters.

The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible

Maybe it’s newspaper you soak and then weigh down with loose sticks and rocks and the brick/CMU for a later project, or cardboard that gets screwed into timbers. Maybe it’s a tarp, some old shower curtains, or a patchwork of trash bags and duct tape. Maybe it’s a layer of mown leaves and pine needles. In some cases, you might actually plant a cover crop that will grow for a bit and then get killed off in winter’s cold, forming a mat.

Do whatever it takes, but cover gardens for the non-growing seasons.

It’ll reduce the amount of work necessary to start all over in spring, because it’ll prevent or limit weeds – especially from trees that have long, hard-to-kill roots and the most prolific annuals – and in some cases, it will deprive any that are already in the soil of light come spring.

In most cases, covers of all kinds will also help prevent compaction from winter and early spring rains, so it’ll take less work to loosen soil for planting again.

Even piles of unused mulch can benefit from being covered.

Mulch is there to help us prevent weeds on top of the benefits of reducing compaction and creating a slow-breakdown feed for our beds. If it sits open to the sky, weed seeds can blow in, and some of those weeds will get roots going all the way through the pile, a foot or more deep. We don’t really want to be moving weeds into our garden beds, especially not when there’s a fast, easy way to prevent it.

Garden Management Practices

How we manage our gardens, and even the mentalities we adopt as we plot them out and watch them over the season, has major effects on how much yield they return.

Siting and plant selection in particular is crucial, no more so than for busy people. It’s also crucial that we be realistic with ourselves and with our goals – because every style of gardening requires at least some labor and inputs from us to be successful.

Veggie gardening can be rewarding, but it can also be frustrating. Using practices that make it a little easier to get started now and that leave room for improvements in the future can limit some of the frustrations, and can let us work out the kinks while there are still grocery stores filled with cheap produce to cover our gaps.

The post How to Get the Most Food from Your Survival Garden appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Prep Blog Review: Follow These Tips To Maximize Your Harvest

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Homegrown vegetables and herbs are more delicious, nutritious, and sustainable than store-bought food. But growing your own food can be challenging sometimes especially if you are limited by space, poor soil, limited budget, or all of them.

Keeping top-quality home-grown produce on your table all year round is not so difficult if you follow the steps I’ve gathered for you for this week’s Prep Blog Review. If you have any other comments or ideas, please share them in the comment section.

  1. Succession Planting – How To Get The Most Of Your Garden This Year

“If there is one simple gardening method that can help feed your family consistently, its succession planting.

Succession planting is all about sowing the right amount of seed to have plants to feed your family for a specific period of time. As the growing season progresses, seed is planted again a few weeks later so that the harvest will be spread out accordingly.

With succession planting, you can keep fresh produce coming all season long

We have all been there. We plant a huge area of lettuce, beans or corn all at once. And then of course, it matures all at the same time. Before you know it, you become overrun by more produce than you can possibly consume. The result – a large part of the crop goes to waste.”

Read more on Old World Garden Farms.

  1. Alternative Soil Conditioners For Organic Gardening

“The soil in your garden is a very complex structure of elements and it has both advantages and disadvantages. To improve the soil and keep a successful garden you need to apply soil conditioners. The ones described in this article are alternatives to compos and manure.

Over the years I’ve experienced with various types of soil conditioners since I had to work with poor soil in my garden.

I was surprised to discover that there are other organic materials that you can dig into your soil.

You can use these soil conditioners as mulch to help improve drainage or water-holding capacities.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. 7 Best Flowers For Your Vegetable Garden

“If you want a healthy garden, whether decorative, or an edible vegetable garden, you absolutely need to incorporate flowering plants. As a critical part of any healthy ecosystem, flowers provide food and/or habitat for beneficial insects (especially bees and butterflies), and humming birds, while adding natural aesthetic delight for children and adults alike.

The more nectar that your garden has available, the more balanced of an ecosystem you will have, since only a small number of insects are actually pests.

The more insects you have, the less chance your garden ecosystem has of getting out of balance and pests taking over.

Flowers have other benefits to the garden as well, including use as ground covers, nutrient accumulators, and aromatic pest deterrents, among other functions.

With this in mind, we’ll take a look at some of the best companion plant flowers for your vegetable garden.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

  1. 10 Common Herbs You Should Know And Use

“Using herbs in cooking – fresh or dried – increases the flavour and taste of your food and often improves the visual appeal. Most of us want our food to look good. Have you ever looked through those recipe cards from the 1970s?

Everyone’s mother had a set, I think.

Despite what the recipe might actually have tasted like, we are turned off by mashed potatoes and steamed fish covered in white sauce or an Easter ham dressed up to look like the Easter bunny.”

Read more on Just Plain Living.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Succession Planting – How To Get The Most From Your Garden This Year!

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If there is one simple gardening method that can help feed your family consistently, its succession planting. Succession planting is all about sowing the right amount of seed to have plants to feed your family for a specific period of time. As

The post Succession Planting – How To Get The Most From Your Garden This Year! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

10 Must-Knows Before You Plant Fruit Trees

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10 Must-Knows Before You Plant Fruit Trees Nothing provides a better satisfaction than being able to pick your own fruits from the trees you planted in your garden. Having a bountiful orchard is a dream come true for many gardeners, but they will all tell you that caring for it is not easy. Even more, …

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Alternative soil conditioners for organic gardening

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The soil in your garden is a very complex structure of elements and it has both advantages and disadvantages. To improve the soil and keep a successful garden you need to apply soil conditioners. The ones described in this article are alternatives to compos and manure. Over the years I’ve experienced with various types of … Read more…

The post Alternative soil conditioners for organic gardening was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

10 Ways To Save Money Raising Chickens

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10 Ways To Save Money Raising Chicken Of the many benefits that come along with raising chickens, there are a number that can actually effect your wallet. Chickens cost you feed, bedding and the occasional meds for keeping your flock as well as other rare costs. For the most part they are such a giving …

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Why You Can’t Grow Food In Containers

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You start by planting seeds and hope to have a small crop but they don’t even sprout. Or you buy healthy seedlings and they just come to your home to die.

Your container gardening is just not working…

Just like with flat gardening, you’ll come across some problems when you’re practicing container gardening, too.

Are you going to give up before reading how these 8 problems can be solved?

Plants grow but don’t produce fruit

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your plant grow from a seedling into a lush, beautiful plant, then waiting for fruit that never comes.

There are a couple of different reasons that this may happen.

Plant isn’t pollinated

If you’re growing plants that require cross-pollination, they won’t bear fruit if they aren’t pollinated. Usually, bees take care of this, but not always, especially if your containers are in a protected area or you live somewhere with a small bee population. These plants include squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, and some cucumbers to name a few.

To pollinate them so that they bear fruit, simply take a small, soft paintbrush and gently run it around the inside of each flower. Don’t forget to do the first one twice!

If you still have a problem, you may not have both male and female plants. Female plants may not develop if the weather is cold or too wet. You can determine which flowers are male and which are female, by their appearances. If you do this, then you can just pick the male flowers (only females bear fruit) and pollinate the females with those.

The easiest way to tell if many plants are female or male is to look at the base of the flower. For instance, with squash, the female flower will have a little squash underneath it at the base of the stem and a raised orange structure inside. The male will just have a stem on the bottom, but there will be an anther with pollen on it inside of it.

This will vary from plant to plant, so know how to tell the difference on your individual plants. Usually, though, the presence of the pollen-covered anther will be a dead giveaway.

Video first seen on Tower Garden

High temperatures or humid/arid conditions

Another reason that your plant may get bushy but not produce fruit is because they won’t produce if the temperature is too high or if the pollen can’t spread. This is particularly applicable to tomatoes and peppers.

If the temperatures regularly reach 85-90 degrees during the day and 75 degrees at night, the plant may not set fruit. If it’s too humid, the pollen may be too sticky inside the flowers to spread from flower to flower. If it’s too arid, the pollen may be too dry.

The best solution here is to protect your plants from the heat as much as possible, and make sure that they’re fed and watered correctly. Even though most people will tell you that tomatoes and peppers prefer full sun, if you live in places such as the southern US where temperatures can be brutal, “full sun” means “full sun in the morning.”

Plant your seedlings where they’ll get full sun in the morning but shade in the afternoon.

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing your own food!

Seeds Don’t Sprout

This is incredibly frustrating. You’ve taken the time to choose your seeds and plant them, then you wait … and wait … and wait. And nothing happens. No seedling pokes through. What went wrong? Well, again, it can be a couple of things.

Seeds were too old

Seeds are only good for an average of a couple of years – some seeds may be good for up to five years – but don’t count on them for more than two years. To make sure that your seeds are good, germinate a few of them before you plant the rest.

Do this by placing ten seeds, evenly spaced, in a wet paper towel. Roll it up and put it in a baggie, then put the baggie in a warm spot in the kitchen for two to seven days. Check the seeds after then and see how many of them germinated.

The number of seeds that germinated will give you a good idea of the percentage of the other seeds that will germinate, thus giving you an idea of how many to plant in order to get the yield you’re looking for.

Incorrect amount of water

This is possibly the most common reasons why seeds don’t germinate. Some seeds, such as tomato seeds, like plenty of water. Others, like peppers, germinate better when the soil is fairly dry. The only solution here is to know what conditions your particular plants require in order to germinate the best.

Planting too deeply

This is a common mistake made by new gardeners. Most seeds don’t need to be planted more than an inch or so beneath the soil. Planting them deeper will either delay the appearance of the sprout or cause the seed not to germinate at all.

Planting in cold soil

Most plants need the soil to be at least 50 degrees in order to germinate, and 65 is better. If you live in an area that gets extremely cold, start your plants inside in order to get your seeds to germinate. A combination of planting too deeply and planting in cold soil is the most common reason for seeds not to germinate.

Plants have mold

You may notice a white mold growing on the top of your soil. This in itself isn’t cause for concern, though you do need to change the environment around your seedlings. The soil is either too wet or it isn’t getting enough sun, or both.

The white mold actually helps organic matter decompose, but you don’t want it to grow in your plants. Don’t freak out, though. It doesn’t mean instant death. Scrape the mold off the surface of the soil, then don’t water your plant again until the soil dries out.

Setting up a fan to circulate air may help, too. Just put it on a setting that causes the leaves to flutter.

Your plants may also get what looks like a white film over the leaves. This is actually powdery mildew and is one of the most common and easily identifiable fungal disease in plants. Unlike mold, mildew favors dry foliage. Like mold, though, it also favors low light and high humidity.

You have a few effective natural treatments, but the best is vinegar. Combine 2-3 tablespoons of ACV with a gallon of water and spritz on the leaves a couple of times a week until the mildew disappears. Be careful though, because vinegar can burn the plant. A combination of 1 part milk and 2 parts water is strangely effective, too.

Nobody really knows why, but it works! Sulfur and lime/sulfur works, too, but can easily damage your plants, so try the vinegar or milk first.

Video first seen on ehowgarden.

Other common problems to container gardens

Plants wilt even with enough water

Cause: insufficient drainage.

Tip: increase drainage holes, use a lighter soil mix.

Plants are “leggy” (spindly and unproductive)

Cause: not enough light.

Tip: relocate the plants.

Leaf edges die

Cause: too much salt.

Tip: leach container regularly by watering until water drains from drainage holes.

Plant turns yellow at the bottom

Cause: too much water.

Tip: water less and ensure good drainage.

These are most of the problems that you’ll run into with container gardening, aside from insects and other diseases.

If your plants become covered with spots, develop dead, dried, powdery, or rusty areas, you may have a few different issues. Your plant may not be warm enough, the soil may have low phosphate levels, or you may have a variety of diseases.

Start by separating the plant from your others and setting in the sunlight. Pull off the dead or damaged leaves, if you think the plant is salvageable. Also, spray with neem oil and/or vinegar water to kill a variety of bugs and diseases.

Container gardening is typically easy and most problems are related to water, sunlight, and temperature. The best way to avoid most of these problems is to know the needs of your plants and meet them.

Back in the days, people knew how to do it. Click the banner below to discover the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive during harsh times!

If you have any other questions or suggestions about container gardening, please feel free to share with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Yard and Garden updates

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Cedar Boards for the raised 3 sisters garden.

I am working on raised beds for the 3 Sisters Garden of Corn, Beans and Squash.  Last year I put the sisters in my large garden bed and they did not do very well as I think they received to much water when I was watering the other plants.  This year the sister’s beds are going to be completely separate and have three different 3 ft. x 3 ft raised beds on the south side of the house.  My hope is the corn will cast a bit of shade as some the stalks can grow 12 feet tall and the plants will get only the water they need and not get over watered.   I should have realized different plants need different amounts of water!

If you are curious this is the new garden …backyard layout

I have added two 2 ft. x 4 ft. beds for broccoli and cauliflower with a couple of bunches of celery in each bed. Celery is one of those plants that seems to be a good companion to almost every plant. Plus, home grown celery is to store bought celery that home grown tomatoes is to a store bought tomato.  Celery in the garden is easy to use as you just cut off what you need and at the end of the season you cut off all the stalks, give them a quick blanch and then dehydrate them for all those dishes in the fall.

I put all of the brussel sprouts, cabbages and most of the leaf lettuce in the front yard edible beds.  I planted a lot of lettuce this year as the prices have really gone up a lot and I like having lots of green salads and sandwiches for quick and light lunches in the summer.  Going with earlier plantings of lettuce in several different  beds I hope to avoid the lettuce “bolting” in hot weather.

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Newly mulched beds

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Tulips

In the front yard we added a lot of flowers and cleaned up the front yard garden beds.  I got some of the old dead roses dug out and added some new roses.  The biggest of my  problems with my Rose beds was I had no idea what I was doing when I moved into the house and the roses were too close and became overgrown because of neglect.  As you can see in the top pic I have cut back the old roses that are still somewhat healthy, dug out the dead roses and while it is bit tough to see I added new roses with plenty of space between them to grow.  It does not look all that impressive so far but the new roses are  starting to put on new growth and  the mulch is has made a big dent stopping the weed growth. Mom was also a huge help on cutting back the grape vines that got very over grown  when not cut back each year.

Last but not least the Alley way beds now seem to be cleared of puncture vines though I still have some broad leaf weeds and a bit of “cheatgrass” to eliminate.  Using the black walnut leaves as a killer much has worked out great and adding the wood ash from the fire place, seems? to be helping the poor clay/alkali soil in the alley.  My little sedum plant from last year have come back and look darn good once you find them in the taller weeds.  The sunchokes are filling and while it may not look all that impressive I’m darn pleased with the progress made on those beds.  Adding more mulch, soil amendments and good plants like the sedum and sunchokes should start choking out the unwanted weeds.

The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook

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The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook I don’t know about you but the thought of buying the right growers handbook or seeking out a gardening book of any kind seems like an incredibly daunting task. The truth is there are just too many of those books on the market. It’s not that there isn’t great …

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The post The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Composting Guerrilla Style

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This is an entertaining video from The Urban Farming Guys who are doing their best to make urban farming exciting. There is no shortage of talent and resource in most urban areas, but there is a serious shortage of fresh foods. This is a giant problem in America today. This food shortage would only be […]

The post Composting Guerrilla Style appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

I’m back!

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It has been a bit difficult the last 12 months but I am trying.  Lots of stuff to catch up with all of you.  I am not dead nor have I given up I just got lazy and my juggling skills were just a bit lacking for life and posting.   Sorry, I really dropped the ball and I don’t think ignoring my Blog was the best answer!  If we are lucky, we live and learn.  Just some quick updates .  Mom is still living with me as housing prices are a tad high and she is waiting for “DAD” to get her off the Mortgage contract.  Yeah it’s a long story but this is a quick update so “No Drama”  is allowed.

The garden is looking awesome and I managed to start plants this year.  Celery seeds are small rascals and you should be careful how you start them.  Mom says we will need tweezers just to separate the plants.  Never let a person with poor tactile skills start your pots for celery or any other small seeds!   Over all Mom and I are doing darn good.  Mom is enrolled in a Master gardeners class and I added a few more raised beds.  I started a 3 sisters garden last year and it failed.  This year I have new beds in the making for the 3 sisters garden.  I’m also trying out a new drip irrigation system.  Early days on trying a new system but the theory looks sound. We got a new dog and he is young and a terrier.  He has been great as he makes Mom giggle with his antics.

I added 2 new raised beds in the backyard and went hardcore adding edible beds in the front yard beds.  Early days for the “Cole” crops but so far so good!  Pics of the dog and pics of the garden.

Mom calls him Jackson and he is devoted to her.  He is a very sweet little terrier and not yappy.

Jackson the terrier.

I’m building new firewood racks and loading up on fire wood.  This last winter was brutal.  So I’m looking at buying a couple of garbage cans and filling the with sand and salt for next winter.   I thought I was prepared for winter I was wrong!

 

Sort of a short post to say I am back but I should have more3 pics and plans for what I am trying to do in the future.

 

11 Weeds You Should Be Eating, Not Killing

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As a general rule, weeds aren’t especially well-liked. Even among the prepper community—a group of people known for salvaging everything that can be salvaged and putting to use everything that can be used—weeds are seen as little more than a bothersome obstacle that gets in the way of growing plants that are of actual value. […]

The post 11 Weeds You Should Be Eating, Not Killing appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

6 Experts Give Their Top 3 Gardening Tips on How to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden

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6 Experts Give Their Top 3 Gardening Tips on How to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden Starting and maintaining a garden takes hard work, patience, and some basic awareness.  Don’t let garden pests ruin all that hard work, and your beautiful garden, by taking some preventive steps that are easy and effective.  BugsBeGone site …

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The post 6 Experts Give Their Top 3 Gardening Tips on How to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Prep Blog Review: From Garden To Pantry

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Growing your own food offers you a great feeling of self-reliance. It doesn’t matter if your have a big garden, or you are growing your food indoors, in small containers, as long as you preserve it to feed you and your loved ones through the winter and during harsh times.

With this thing in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles on this topic.

1. 20 Plants You Can Turn Into Flour  

“In most of the world, wheat is a staple of almost everyone’s diet. Bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, cereal, and even beer all have wheat in them. Because of this, many off gridders are trying to grow their own wheat, but unfortunately, wheat can be difficult to grow depending on the land and climate.

Thankfully there’s a plethora of other plants both wild and domesticated that can be made into flour. Some of these plants are gluten free which can be great for those with sensitivities, but keep in mind they can be quite different to bake with. Gluten is what gives dough made from wheat flour its characteristic stretchiness.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

2. Stock Your Prepper Food Pantry on an Affordable Budget

“If you live in an earthquake-prone region, or one that has seen deadly hurricanes, the devastation will happen again. If you live in a floodplain or an area that has seen tornadoes, you can be sure to experience those events every few years. The densely populated east and west coasts can shut down for a week from a serious storm or mudslide. And deep snow will fall in the mountain states that can affect the infrastructure, making it impassable.

Some of these natural events are commonplace each year, some every few decades, and some may only occur every hundred years. What’s surprising is that too many people still don’t prepare for a serious event they know is likely to occur.”

Read more on Survival Common Sense.

3. How To Make Dandelion Bread 

“Nearly every part of the common dandelion, from its brilliant yellow petals, to its roots have been foraged throughout history for food, drink and medicine.

A rich source of beta-carotene, dandelions are also packed with vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.  Young dandelion leaves are fantastic to eat raw and the roots can be roasted, ground and used in place of coffee.  Dandelion extract and tincture is used all over the world to treat ailments from high blood pressure and diabetes to liver complaints. Here you can find another 78 edible flowers to forage.

Dandelions are so easy to gather and it’s worth finding out how many ways you can use them.  Pick them somewhere that hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides and is not too close to busy roads.  Your own garden is probably perfect!”

Read more on Ask a Prepper.

4. 10 Healthy Herbs You Can Grow In Water

“No garden? No Problem! You can grow your own indoor herb garden without a pinch of soil. Even if you live in an apartment with nothing more than a tiny back porch or balcony, there is still room to grow some fragrant herbs.

All you need is water, sunlight, and a place for your plants to spread their roots.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

An Easy Guide To Growing Herbs – 12 Herbs You Should Have In Your Garden

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An Easy Guide To Growing Herbs – 12 Herbs You Should Have In Your Garden Keeping a flourishing garden is never an easy task and success comes only after hard work. When it comes to growing plants, all gardeners prefer growing herbs as starters. The reason behind their choice is quite simple: you can never …

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The post An Easy Guide To Growing Herbs – 12 Herbs You Should Have In Your Garden appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Own Aquaponics System

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Aquaponics is an efficient integration of aquaculture and hydroponics in an automatic system that fuels growing plants and breeding edible fish altogether. In aquaculture, fishes are bred in tanks where they are fed and the disposal of their waste from the tanks is often a major problem in the aquaculture system. Different filters are used…

The post Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Own Aquaponics System appeared first on The Weekend Prepper.

The Most AMAZING Garden Veggie EVER!

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The Most AMAZING Garden Veggie EVER! The title reads like some sort of terrible infomercial but it seems these homesteaders are onto something. They have found an incredible veggie that you most likely never heard of that really produces. Its one of those rare breeds that doesn’t have issues with pests, doesn’t have issues with …

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The post The Most AMAZING Garden Veggie EVER! appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Sustainable Gardening Systems!

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Sustainable Gardening Systems James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! Is there anything like eating out of your backyard? I don’t know about you but when I get the change to look out back and see beds of kale, chard, beets and spinach growing tall I am so satisfied. Just having access to … Continue reading Sustainable Gardening Systems!

The post Sustainable Gardening Systems! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Completely Sustainable Gardening

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Completely Sustainable Gardening Gardening starts as a fun hobby and before you know it your buying gas masks! Well, maybe its not that bad. After a while it gets under your skin though. From a small raised bed you often wind up taking more and more real estate from the backyard. The good news is …

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The post Completely Sustainable Gardening appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Easy DIY Wood Pallet Projects

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Easy DIY Wood Pallet Projects Wood pallets are one of the best materials you can use for DIY projects. They are readily accessible and usually free to acquire. Most of the pallets you will find are free of dangerous chemicals, and the ones that aren’t are clearly marked. To top it all off, pallet projects …

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The post Easy DIY Wood Pallet Projects appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

10 Healthy Herbs You Can Grow in Water

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No garden? No Problem! You can grow your own indoor herb garden without a pinch of soil. Even if you live in an apartment with nothing more than a tiny back porch or balcony, there is still room to grow some fragrant herbs. All you need is water, sunlight, and a place for your plants […]

The post 10 Healthy Herbs You Can Grow in Water appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

15 Ways to Repel Bugs Naturally

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1_featured_bug_repellent_natural

2_tiger-mosquito-mosquito-asian-tigermucke-sting-86722Having a healthy insect population in your garden is a good thing, but when you’re camping you can run into all sorts of things like mosquitoes, flies, spiders, ticks, fleas, ants and mites. If you’re an avid gardener, you might also want to keep the insect population on your lovelies in check. Pesticides and insect repellents can contain harmful ingredients (or you might not have access to them), and you might want to opt for a natural way that doesn’t harm you, your family or the bugs in question.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog.com

Here are some of the most effective ways to repel bugs naturally…

#1: Crushed basil leaves

What’s homemade Italian cooking without some basil? It’s an essential addition to any herb garden – as most chefs will tell you! Fresh, crushed basil leaves placed on a table will keep flies away while you’re eating: This is especially handy for camping trips, picnics or hot days.

#2: A solution of yeast, water and sugar

Yeast is something you should always have in the house. A solution of yeast and sugar – to feed the yeast and attract the bugs – will keep flies away. This is the natural version of the bug-zapper. Just remember to change it out every couple of days – or hours, depending on how huge your fly problem is.

#3: Homemade fly strips

1_fly_bug_repellentThere’s no reason you should have to buy fly strips. (If you’ve ever tried getting one down again without sticking hundreds of fly corpses to yourself, you might not want to buy them again….). Boil some sugar water (or water with a bit of money in it) and add strips of paper. Hang these up, and they will attract flies pretty much just like a fly strip would. Again, change and dispose of these periodically.

Read Also: Oak Trees and Survival Food

#4: Clove essential oil

Flies (and some humans) absolutely hate the scent of clove oil, so if you’re trying to get a handle on a fly problem, get some essential oil to make a spray with and spray in the areas the flies happen to frequent. Keep clove oil as part of your natural arsenal anyway, as it can also be used as a natural and very effective (though temporary) remedy for toothache: If you do not have the oil, bite down on a clove.

#5: Yellow globes

Yellow light naturally repels bugs (including moths and mosquitoes) at night, so if you have an ongoing problem with either, start by changing your lights – and, it should go without saying, getting a mosquito net to go with your bed. They’re cheaper than getting treated for malaria, or, y’know, being buried.

#6: Burning coffee grounds

Used coffee grounds can be burned – over a fire, like you would incense or dried herbs – to get rid of mosquitoes. If you’re a regular camper, it’s likely that you love the smell of coffee by a campfire, so it doesn’t cost you anything to do this as part of your process anyway.

#7: Rose geranium for ticks

Ticks can carry diseases like tick bite fever, and if you’re going to the woods or African bush you’ll want to check your body regularly. Rose geranium, in an essential oil on the skin (or diluted in a spray), is commonly recommended to get rid of ticks. This works on both man and beast, by the way, so it’s even great for your dogs.

#8: Black pepper for ants

1_pepper-pepper-mill-pfefferkorn-pepper-ground-39069Black pepper, sprinkled where you don’t want them to go or diluted in a spray, will keep ants in check and away you’re your food. Of course, don’t leave open food lying around for ants either – get containers that seal (and seal properly). Cayenne pepper works just as well, but you don’t want to get that in your eyes.

#9: Vinegar

Vinegar is commonly recommended as a repellent for spiders: Diluted, spray it if you don’t want to follow the spiders. Apple cider vinegar (again, diluted in water) will also keep away ticks and fleas on both humans and animals. Keep in mind that cats hate the smell of vinegar (and it’s also a cat repellent), so dilute pretty well if you plan on using it on your cats. Internally, it’s given to cats and dogs to treat a bladder infection.

#10: Caffeine for mites

Caffeine is a naturally occurring pesticide, and a weak coffee spray on plants will keep all sorts of pests away, including mites.

#11: Garlic

Garlic keeps away more than just vampires. You can also increase the amount of garlic in your diet to keep away mosquitoes: They really don’t like the smell of it. (If your camping mates don’t either, chewing on some parsley will neutralize the smell of garlic on your breath after some buttery garlic bread.)

Check Out: Protecting Your Soil Over Winter

#12: Mint leaves

3_mintMint leaves, fresh and crushed, in an oil or in a spray will keep away mosquitoes – and a range of other bugs including moths. Catnip is technically family of mint, and much of the same properties that apply to mint apply to catnip. (For those with heart problems, take care when ingesting mint.)

#13: Lavender for moths

Lavender has been recommended for years as a remedy for calm and aiding sleep, but it turns out that dried lavender pouches work just as well for keeping moths out of your clothes. (This tip comes courtesy of Martha Stewart – the queen of homemaking hacks.)

#14: Citronella for mosquitoes

Citronella candles or oil should always be part of your camping kit as a bug repellent. It’s commonly recommended for mosquitoes, and is a great natural replacement for mosquito coils.

#15: Sage

Both sage and rosemary can be burned over a fire to get rid of mosquitoes naturally. (And again, both are great additions to whatever you’ve got cooking on the fire, too!)

What have you used as a natural bug repellent? Use the comments to let us know.

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Vegetables In 1950 Were More Nutritious. Seriously.

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Vegetables In 1950 Were More Nutritious. Seriously.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Most potatoes we eat today have 100 percent less vitamin A than potatoes did in the 1950s. One hundred percent. That may sound unbelievable, but it doesn’t end there.

An analysis of nutritional records done by Canada’s national newspaper found that potatoes also lost 57 percent of their vitamin C and iron, 50 percent of their riboflavin, 28 percent of their calcium, and 18 percent of their thiamine. Of the seven nutrients analyzed to determine nutrient density, only niacin levels increased in potatoes in the past 50-60 years.

This decline in nutrient density isn’t specific to potatoes. Broccoli in the 1950s had more calcium. Scientific American reported – shockingly — that it takes eight of today’s oranges to pony up the same amount of nutrients that one single orange had in the 1950s. What on earth is going on?

Nutrient Density

Nutrient density is the measurement of key nutrients in a predetermined amount of food. For example, the USDA’s “National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference” indicates that 100g of “tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average” contains 237 mg of potassium, 1.2 g of fiber, and 833 IU of vitamin K. These numbers are averages, based on testing done on produce purchased around the country. Nevertheless, these averaged numbers help determine how nutrient-dense — how healthy — each type of food is. And it’s by comparing historic numbers with contemporary numbers that the decline in nutrient density can be tracked.

Crop Development

Vegetables In 1950 Were More Nutritious. Seriously.

Image source: Pixabay.com

Agribusiness is called “agribusiness” for a reason: It’s about making money. And in its quest to make money, agribusiness has developed new varieties of vegetables, selecting for characteristics that impact the bottom line, rather than nutrient density. Cultivars are chosen for their disease resistance, suitability for the climate, maturity rate, high yields, and physical appearance.

Plants are growing bigger, but their ability to take up or process nutrients has not increased at a comparable rate. Also, as Scientific American points out, the high yields of commercial plants have a direct impact on nutrient density. It’s not unusual for commercially grown tomato plants to produce 100 tomatoes per plant. The plant itself is limited in how many nutrients it can take up and disperse among that many fruits.

Soil Depletion

Another problem that’s rooted in agribusiness is soil depletion. Intensive farming methods strip the soil of its nutrients. If the soil lacks nutrients, so too will the plants that grow in that soil. Just as the health of human beings depends on what they eat, the health (nutrient density) of vegetables depends on what they “eat” or absorb from the soil. The more nutrients they take up, the more nutrients their produce will have.

Need Non-GMO Seeds? Get The Best Deals Here!

The only way to address soil depletion is to fertilize the soil. For agribusinesses that are not concerned with nutrient density, the high cost of fertilization may seem to be an unnecessary expense. But, as Scientific American points out, without re-mineralizing the soil, “each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.”

Chemical Pesticides

The term “pesticide” collectively includes substances that control pests and/or weeds, including insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. Chemical pesticides are formulated to kill specific things, but once released into the soil, they also may kill beneficial microorganisms. Microbes are crucial to nutrient density because they recycle and release nutrients in the soil, which are then taken up by plants and distributed to the produce.

Long-Haul Transportation

Once picked, vegetables start losing nutrients. Leafy greens lose their nutrients very quickly; some types of spinach may lose 90 percent of their vitamin C within 24 hours of being picked. While vegetables are in transport to grocery stores or sitting on grocery shelves, they continue to “respire;” that is, they continue to live by drawing from their nutrient stores. The longer the time between harvest and consumption, the more nutrients are used up during respiration.

Impact on Human Health

Insufficient nutrients may be one reason why we continue to crave food even after we’ve eaten full servings. And, some speculate that due to the decrease in nutrients, five to ten servings of fruit and vegetables daily is insufficient to meet our needs. Foods that are low in nutrient density may contribute to Type B malnutrition, which is prevalent in industrialized nations. While people with Type B malnutrition take in adequate calories and do not appear outwardly malnourished, the food they eat does not contain sufficient nutrients for health.

What Can We Do?

The solution? Plant a garden. Amend the soil with natural fertilizers. Besides producing healthier nutrient-dense produce, nutrient-dense soil creates a healthier plant. A healthier plant has:

  • Increased pest and disease resistance.
  • Higher and healthier yields.
  • Produce that has more intense and complex flavor due to increased nutrients.

Soil that is rich in microorganisms and nutrients is good for plants — and good for us, too.

Do you agree? Share your thoughts in the section below:

8 Ways To Fertilize Your Garden With Household Items

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8 Ways To Fertilize Your Garden With Household Items

Image source: Pixabay.com

Self-sufficient gardeners avoid the use of pre-packaged fertilizers and soil from the store. But chances are you have plenty of items in your house that can be used to fertilize your garden, saving you money and time – and giving your vegetables a healthy boost.

Let’s take a look:

1. Coffee grounds. Do you start the day with an overflowing cup of coffee? Those dried coffee grounds add nitrogen, potassium and magnesium to your garden — all vital nutrients for the growth of your plants. Just remember that coffee grounds can change the pH of your soil, possibly affecting plants that need a delicate balance.

2. Tea bags. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, tea bags have a very similar effect on the soil as coffee grounds. Remove the tea grounds from the bags and allow them to dry before application. Many gardeners notice tea grounds are particularly beneficial around tomatoes.

Need Non-GMO Seeds? Get The Best Deals Here!

3. Egg shells. Your chickens can contribute to more than just breakfast. Egg shells are a fantastic calcium source.

After breakfast, wash out the shells and let them dry. Break the shells into smaller pieces and put them in the ground when planting tomatoes. You also can add them around the base of already-planted tomatoes. Tomatoes require more calcium than other plants.

4. Fish scraps. Early Pilgrims had trouble growing crops when they arrived in North America, mostly because of nutrient-lacking soil. The Indians who came to their aid, including the famous Squanto, taught the Pilgrims a trick – burying fish with the seeds. You don’t need to plant multiple fish inside of your garden, but using the scraps can help.

If you have an aquarium, don’t dump the water down the drain. Use this water to hydrate your garden beds and potted plants. The fish waste provides vitamins to the plants without any extra steps for you! If you filet a fish, save the bones and scraps. Some gardeners like to puree them with water and milk, creating a strong fertilizing mixture. You could bury scraps, as well.

8 Ways To Fertilize Your Garden With Household Items

Image source: Pixabay.com

6. Wood ash: Those who have a wood stove or fireplace have a free source of fertilizer, adding potassium and calcium carbonate to the soil. Remember never to use the ash if you added anything else! Ash is an easy way to increase your soil pH, so don’t use it if your soil is alkaline. Ash also can keep slugs away from your plants.

7. Bananas. Do you have kids who eat bananas like candy? Don’t toss those peels! Putting them in your compost pile is a good first step. You also can put them right into your garden to give the soil a quick potassium boost. Peels degrade fairly quickly, and they don’t produce a nasty odor. A benefit of using banana peels is that they repel pests!

8. Grass clippings. Free makes everything better, and you likely have an unending source of grass clippings. Yard waste is the perfect organic matter to add to your garden. Add them to your garden to work as mulch. Every time you mow and rake, continue to add more. As it decomposes into the soil, grass clippings release nitrogen.

Powdered milk. Do you have powdered milk in your cabinet that is past expiration? Don’t throw it away! You can mix one part milk into four parts water. (You also can use expired milk in your fridge for this.) Milk is a fantastic source of calcium for more than just humans! It also contains proteins, vitamin B, and sugars that improve the overall health of the plant. Plants that are failing to grow to their full potential can benefit from a boost in calcium. Milk also helps with blossom end root, commonly ailing squash, tomatoes and pepper plants.

What would you add to our list? Share your gardening tips in the section below:  

Plant Your Tomatoes This Way To Get A Bumper Crop

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Plant Your Tomatoes This Way To Get A Bumper Crop I NEED my veggies, my burger is not complete without a layer of tomatoes, a blanket of lettuce, a few peppered pickles, and onions to taste. You give me a bare burger and I’ll give it back. However, I will admit…I HATE shopping for vegetables. I don’t know where they were grown, what they were grown in, when they were picked, and by whom. Plus the expense, I get why people are so quick to bypass vegetables when they can get double or triple the amount of junk food or

The post Plant Your Tomatoes This Way To Get A Bumper Crop appeared first on Mental Scoop.

Extreme Weather Gardening

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Extreme Weather Gardening   Last year my garden was totaled by extreme weather. It was well into May and my plants were looking great. This is a reality that we all must plan and plant for. This article offers 7 powerful tips for extreme weather gardening. There is nothing more depressing than looking over the …

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The post Extreme Weather Gardening appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

DIY Indoor Vertical Herb Garden

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DIY Indoor Vertical Herb Garden Its so important that we start growing our own food. It comes from the necessity to combat this factory farming epidemic as well as a push towards self reliance. Not everyone has the ability to grow food because of space limitations. I have seen the look on their faces when …

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The post DIY Indoor Vertical Herb Garden appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Planting by the moon, hype or help?

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I was born in 1965 so I grew up less than one generation removed from those in my family who really farmed and those who went through the Great Depression. We saved everything, we didn’t throw anything into the trash until it was used up, worn out, reused and even then, it would be more likely put aside for parts…

I remember hearing my dad talking about “planting by the moon” as I grew up, one summer he decided it was all nonsense and would just plant whenever, with no regard to what the moon cycle was doing. Well, that year our garden wasn’t as good as it usually was, after that, we went back to planting by the moon.

What does that mean? Well, to simplify it, anything that is harvested from underground (root vegetables, carrots, onions, potatoes) need to be planted by the “dark of the moon”, when the moon is past full going toward the new moon. Anything that is harvested above ground, (corn, tomatoes and the such) should be planted by the “light of the moon”, meaning after the new moon going toward the full moon. If you get an “Old Farmer’s Almanac” it will get even more detailed as to the specific dates when you should plant based on the moon phases.

There is science behind this, it’s not hocus pocus, the moon affects water on earth, just look at what it does to the tides. Here is a video explaining how all of this works.

https://youtu.be/kYtnZPuP4zk

What about you? Do you plant by the moon? Do you believe in it or do you think it’s nonsense? Let me know below!

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The post Planting by the moon, hype or help? appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How To Make Compost Tea

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Just like us, our vegetable gardens grow best when they have access to quality nutrients. Adding the right types fertilizer to the soil helps. And mixing in compost to soften and feed the soil helps even more. But if you are looking for a garden superfood, look no further than compost tea. It can be…

The post How To Make Compost Tea appeared first on The Weekend Prepper.

Why You Should Plant Fruit This Year!

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Why You Should Plant Fruit This Year On the Homestead Austin Martin “Homesteady Live“ Audio in player below! Going on 6 years of homesteading, I have learned some big lessons. Don’t get goats. Infrastructure is king. Don’t buy livestock on craigslist. But of all the lessons learned, one of the biggest regrets I have… Spending … Continue reading Why You Should Plant Fruit This Year!

The post Why You Should Plant Fruit This Year! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

5+1 Organic Remedies For Your Spring Garden

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It’s almost that time of year again – time to set out your plants and get that beautiful garden growing! But, one of the biggest problems that many of us face is that we grow our own food to avoid chemicals, but we need fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides to really get the most out of our labor.

Don’t worry – there are excellent organic options to help your garden grow.

Read the article below to discover them!

Seeds

You’re not going to grow anything of quality if you don’t start with good seeds. It’s easy to go the cheap route and buy seeds at the dollar store, but do your research. This isn’t the place that you want to skimp because if you do it right, you’ll only have to buy seeds once because next year, you’ll use ones that you harvest from your own crop.

Now, you’ve likely heard of GMO, which stands for “genetically modified organism.” Scientists literally modify the DNA of the plant to make it “better.” Of course, we know that actually means, “more profitable,” not “more healthy.”

Because science tinkered with the natural structure of the plant, the seeds are unreliable. You may get great results by replanting them, or none of them may grow. Besides, GMO have been linked to several different illnesses. Skip them.

You want to go with heirloom seeds because they’ve been carefully cultivated from one type of plant for generations. They’re reliable and safe. To learn more about the different types of seeds, check out this article.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills for survival cooking! 

Organic Fertilizer

In the event SHTF, you might not be able to run down to the garden center and pick up a bag of Miracle Gro. Why would you want to even when you can? You can make your own fertilizer at home that’s every bit as good as the store-bought stuff, and you know exactly what’s in it.

But what if your tomato plants grow just fine? I’ll be rude and answer a question with a question. How do you know that they’re growing fine? Sure, they may be growing and producing, but here’s the thing – our soil is depleted.

That means that what passes for a tomato today likely only has a fraction of the nutrients that it had 100 years ago. Too many seasons of constant planting without a break has sucked all the nutrients out of the soil, and if there’s none in the soil, well, there’s none in the plant.

So you need fertilizer. Your compost is going to be a huge part of that, but you can also add nutrients in other ways, such as by mixing Epsom salt around your tomatoes and peppers or by mixing a bit of diluted vinegar in if your soil isn’t acidic enough. Check out this article for more tips for fertilizer, but don’t skip it, whatever you do!

Video first seen on GrowVeg

Compost

This is probably the most proactive step you can take for a healthy garden, but to do it right, you’re going to need to do it right. You can put many things, from food scraps to paper and ash in it, but there are definitely some no-nos.

Now, before you start saying that you can’t have a compost pile because you don’t have a big enough area, let me stop you because you only need an area the size of a bin to have a compost pile … err, bin.

Oh, and you can have liquid manure compost – aka manure tea – too. It’s exceptionally good for plants that require extra nitrogen. Manure tea is exactly what it sounds like – manure that’s been steeped in water. It’s a bit involved and takes some time, but it’s well worth the end result. It’s especially good for plants with deep roots.

Herbicides

Oh, those nasty weeds. Of course, if you’re container gardening, it’s not such a hassle, but if you have a traditional garden, it’s a real pain, literally and figuratively. And if you opt to use commercial herbicides, you’re often defeating one of the purposes of growing your own garden  by using chemicals on your food.

Fortunately, you have many natural options that will work just as well as harmful chemicals. First, mulch is an excellent idea for several reasons. It helps keep the weeds to a minimum, it holds the moisture in the soil, and it acts as a natural fertilizer when it breaks down. That’s assuming you make your own mulch, which is cheap (or free), or buy organic mulch, which is NOT cheap or free.

Another option that isn’t exactly an herbicide but works as well as one is to use landscape fabric, which you can also make yourself from recycled sheets, feed sacks, etc. Or, you can buy it. It prevents weeds from growing by blocking out the sunlight. A natural result of this is that it helps hold moisture in the soil as well.

Boiling water works, too. It’ll kill a weed quick, but this isn’t particularly effective if you’re treating your entire garden.

Borax, bleach, vinegar, and salt water are also effective herbicides though you may need to repeat the process. Add a little liquid dish detergent to each for an extra boost. Be sure to spray these only on the leaves of the plants that you want to kill because none of them discriminate.

Be careful not to saturate the soil because all of them alter the pH and can have catastrophic effects on your plants.

Video first seen on Grow Your Heirlooms

Insecticides

This is the big bad of the chemicals that most people consider necessary to growing a healthy, productive garden. And it’s true – nothing will wipe out a garden faster that a horde of hungry aphids, beetles, or other flying or crawling creatures.

Fortunately, you have options here, too, and some of them, such as dish detergent, serve double duty and kill weeds, too.

Neem is probably the most effective. It’s been used for centuries and has more than 50 natural insecticides. Since it’s safe for you, your pets, and your plants, you can use it without worrying about damage. The only problem is that the bug has to actually eat the plant to die, so if you have an infestation of something, you may have some losses before you win the battle.

Himalayan salt kills spider mites. Just mix 2 Tbsp. of salt in 1 gallon of water and mist onto infested areas.

Chrysanthemum flower spray is lethal to insects because it paralyzes their nervous systems and immobilizes them. Just boil 3.5 ounces of flowers with a liter of water into a tea and spray directly on the plant. The spray stores for up to 2 months. Add some neem oil to give it an extra boost.

I call this the pizza spray – it’s made of 1 clove minced garlic, 1 medium sliced onion, and 1 tsp. cayenne pepper. Add them to a quart of water and let it soak for an hour. You don’t want to cook it; just let it soak. Add a tablespoon of liquid soap and spray directly onto the plant. This will stay potent for a week or better in the fridge.

Grind a couple of handfuls of dried chilis and add to a cup of diatomaceous Earth, then add 2 liters of water. Let it soak overnight, then shake it up and apply.

Other natural pesticides include orange oil, citrus oil. Eucalyptus oil, soap, and mineral oil. Dilute them with water and spray directly onto the plant.

Note that, with the exception of the soap, all of these concoctions are drinkable (though I don’t imagine that you’d want to) so you’re not going to poison yourself.

Critters

Bunnies and deers are really cute until you find them eating your carrots and corn. Then, not so much. As a matter of fact, so may say that they’d look delicious on  a plate side-by-side with said veggies after they’re busted dining on your labors.

I once lost an entire crop of cherries overnight because apparently the birds had been waiting for them to be perfect just as I had, but they were up earlier than I was. Two words – bird netting.

But, they do have minds of their own and aren’t easily deterred. Some good ideas that may help you keep from feeding the neighborhood wildlife instead of saving it all for yourself are as follows:

Marigolds. Rabbits, deer, and other wildlife hate the smell of them so plant them around your perimeter. You can also build chicken wire fences around your garden, or around the plants that you’re worried about.

Raccoons and some other animals hate the smell of Epsom salt – which, by the way, isn’t a salt so it won’t kill your plants. Just sprinkle it around the perimeter of the garden. It also increases the magnesium in your soil, so your plants may thank you.

Solar motion-activated lights may help scare them off, especially if you relocate them regularly so that the animals don’t get used to them.

Finally, you can cover your plants at night using tulle netting – that gauzy stuff that a bride’s veil is made of. For that matter, if you’re only covering it at night, you can use light sheets or other fabric that won’t break the plants.

We’ve covered most of the ways that you can grow a healthy, delicious garden without worrying about chemicals leeching into your foods. Plus, most of these suggestions are free or super cheap, so it’s a win in all directions!

Do you wonder what are the secrets that helped our grandparents grow their own food to survive during harsh times?

Click the banner bellow and uncover them!

If you have any more ideas about organic remedies to keep your survival garden healthy, share them in the comments section below. Happy gardening!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How To Build A Raised Bed Garden

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Raised bed gardening has become a very popular method of gardening in recent years. Their design offers many advantages that make them attractive for gardeners of all ages. These include: Raised bed gardens offer an effective way to raise vegetables intensively in a small space. Raised beds are designed to minimize foot traffic on the…

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31 Drought Tolerant Plants & Trees for Your Survival Garden

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by Jordan

This past summer much of the U.S. suffered prolonged droughts. In many areas wells ran dry and towns implemented water use limits. Farmers, gardeners, and homesteaders watched as their crops wilted and died. While this was devastating for any commercial growers, everyone else simply made a few more trips to the local grocery store. Unfortunately after TEOTWAWKI that won’t be an option. You’ll have to rely primarily on your garden and food storage.

Even if you’re plan is to bug in in an area that has never before experienced droughts you should still consider it a possibility. With our changing climate droughts can happen where you’d least expect them, just as many New England residents discovered this summer.

Obviously there are general garden practices you can use to keep your garden moist. Don’t leave bare soil, always use mulch or a cover crop. Collect rainwater and install a grey-water system. Create swales and terraces to prevent run off. However no matter what you do if you don’t have enough water and you’re growing moisture loving crops they will inevitably fail. Selecting at least a few crops from the list below can help you survive a drought even during a SHTF scenario.

Prickly Pear

This cactus is a hardy native of parts of North and South America. It’s not only drought tolerant but also very cold hardy for a cactus and can be grown as far north as Canada. Plus both its pads and fruit are edible and there are spineless varieties available.

Loquats

They’re a small citrus like fruit tree that once established needs very little care or water. Their fruits are also small but flavorful. They can only be grown outdoors in areas where winter temperatures don’t fall below 30°F.

Hazelnuts

As many California farmers know getting a good crop of nuts from trees like almonds without a lot of water can be difficult. Thankfully hazelnuts which grow on a small tree or shrub are relatively drought resistant, perfect for a SHTF scenario.

Flint & Dent Corn

These types of corn were grown by Native Americans in many hot climates including South America and the South Western U.S. Just like the Native Americans did, you can make your corn crop extra drought resistant by growing a vining plant like winter squash beneath the corn to help shade the soil. They’re an excellent staple crop for preppers concerned about the possibility of drought.

Burdock

Burdock grows wild in many places but adding it to your garden and caring for it will allow it to grow larger roots. Burdock roots, fruits, seeds, and leaves are all used as herbal remedies for a wide variety of ailments. The roots are also often added to Asian dishes like stir fry or pickled for winter food storage.

Seaberries

Though a relatively uncommon plant, seaberry is a favorite among many permaculture experts. It both drought and cold hardy and its fruit is high in vitamins A,C,K and E as well as saturated and unsaturated fatty acids and minerals.

Goji Berries

If you’re a fan of health food stores you’re probably familiar with the goji berry. They’re believed by many to be a “superfruit” and are high in many vitamins and minerals. Once established they do well with very little water making them ideal for drought situations.

Purslane

Don’t let purslane’s reputation as an annoying weed get to you. It’s actually a great plant that was grown and eaten by the Native Americans. You can simply save seed from a wild plant or just let it grow in your garden. However for larger more succulent plants there are cultivated varieties available.

Pomegranates

This tree only grows in the south but if you can grow it you definitely should. It does well in hot, dry conditions and has little pest problems. If you really want a pomegranate and live in the north there are also varieties that tolerate being grown in pots.

Grapes

Some grapes are drought resistant while others like plentiful water. Look for varieties that are native to the Mediterranean.

Fava Beans

Fava beans need moisture but they will grow in such cold temperatures that they can be grown in the fall, winter, or spring when rainfall is less of an issue in many places.

Jujubes

Also called red or Korean date, the jujubes are small red fruits that grow on small tree native to Southern Asia. Along with being tasty and drought tolerant jujubes are thought to help with several ailments such as poor circulation, bone problems, and sleep issues.

Tomatillos

Cultivated by the Aztecs, these guys are super easy to grow. They don’t mind little water and aren’t heavy feeders like tomatoes. Try them fried or in salsa verde.

Rosemary

A tasty herb and powerful medicinal, rosemary is native to the Mediterranean and will tolerate dry, hot conditions. As an added bonus it can be harvested year round in many areas.

Kale

While kale is probably best known for its cold hardiness it will also survive with little moisture. Plus you can grow it in early spring or in the fall when there’s typically more precipitation and dry gardens aren’t as big of a problem.

Sage

Sage needs hardly any water and is essential for good biscuits and gravy! It’s also a hardy perennial and is often used for spiritual and medicinal purposes like digestive problems, memory loss, and depression.

Amaranth

Amaranth is ancient grain that the Aztecs cultivated thousands of years ago. It grows like a weed and thrives in a hot, dry climate. When it’s young you can harvest and eat the greens or you can let the plant mature and harvest the grains.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are nitrogen fixing, legumes and are heat loving, drought tolerant plants. They’re full of protein and easy to grow, perfect for your survival garden.

Jerusalem Artichokes

This sunflower relative can grow almost anywhere and offers filling tubers for your survival garden. It grows so well though that it can take over gardens so be sure to keep it contained.

Sorghum

Not many people grow sorghum any more but it’s an excellent choice for a survival garden. Its canes can be harvested early and pressed for sap to make molasses or it can be allowed to mature and used as a grain.

Asparagus

When you initially plant asparagus it will require watering but once established it’s very hardy. It will also live for years allowing you continued harvests of one of the earliest spring vegetables.

Rhubarb

Just like asparagus, rhubarb requires plenty of water to get going but will then thrive for years and years with little care. Though it’s not a fruit it’s probably the closest you’ll get to fresh fruit really early in the spring and it’s full of vitamin C. Note that you only consume the stalk as the leaves are poisonous. Some people make natural pesticides from the leaves.

Early Tomato Varieties

Many early tomato varieties, especially cherry tomatoes will mature before the hottest and driest part of summer and can do well with less moisture.

Swiss Chard

Another hardy green like kale, swiss chard tolerates both cold and hot, dry weather. It can be harvested as a “cut and come again” green or let to grow really big as it doesn’t bolt quickly like lettuce does and is still edible even if it does go to seed.

Asian Greens

There’s many varieties of Asian greens available like mizuna and tat soi. Much like kale they’re loved for their cold tolerance and can be grown in seasons with cooler, wetter weather. Their small size also means that they require less moisture.

Dry Beans

Dry beans are an excellent survival plant. They’re nitrogen fixing and full of protein. Pole bean varieties like Cherokee Trail of Tears or Hidatsa Shield Figure that can be grown in combination with a shade crop like squash are ideal for dry climates.

Globe Artichokes

You may picture globe artichokes as a southern crop but there are varieties they can actually be grown as an annual in cooler climates. Either way they require little water and are a tasty addition to your garden.

Gourds

They may not seem like a great meal but gourds are actually a really cool survival plant. Since they were cultivated gourds like the birdhouse or bottle variety have been used to store food and carry water. Gourds for holding liquids are typically coated on the inside with beeswax first. Plus they’ll grow with minimal water and care.

Early/Small Pepper Varieties

Much like tomatoes, the early and smallest pepper varieties require little watering because they finish before the hottest days of summer.

Ground Cherries

Ground cherries are not true cherries instead grow similarly to tomatillos. They even have a paper husk and are equally drought tolerant. However they taste more like cherries than tomatillos and are excellent eaten fresh or in pies and other desserts.

Squashes

Many varieties of both winter and summer squash do well with little water. Vining varieties have the added benefit of shading the soil for themselves and other tall plants.

When you’re planning a survival garden you’re trying to plan for an unpredictable future. You have to prepare the best you can for as many possibilities you can. No matter where you live water shortages are a possibility. Whether there’s such bad droughts you have little water to spare or getting water to your garden is a huge amount of work having plants that will thrive in low moisture conditions can save your life.

What SHTF garden problems have you planned for?

Planning a Fruit Tree Guild

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Planning a Fruit Tree Guild Gardens are fun and exciting. They grow lots of food if you know what you are doing. I would recommend that every home have some small area that gets plenty of sun and can grow some food. Still, there is something near mystical about a growing fruit on trees in …

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Shade Cloth and Hoop Houses

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Shade Cloth and Hoop Houses There are so many trains of thought when it comes to gardening. Its very easy to “geek out” over very little things when it comes to your garden. One of the ideas almost all gardeners wrestle with is the greenhouse or the hoop house over colder months. Some people allow …

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Alternative Food Garden: Straw Bales

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Alternative Food Garden: Straw Bales Though not everyone like to garden or grow food, everyone does need to eat! From a preparedness point of view, it makes sense to have the knowledge of several different food garden methods. It’s even better when you are able to practice them so you don’t have to try and …

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How Compost Heals Your Soil

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How Compost Heals Your Soil Its all about the soil. If you plan on growing a survival garden or would like to start seeing real results from your current garden I have to tell you step one is great soil. I spent years trying to push my clay based soil into becoming something more than …

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How To Build A Walipini Greenhouse

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We use cellars because they maintain a more constant temperature than structures that are built above-ground. We use greenhouses to extend the growing season because they hold in heat. Well what if you combined a greenhouse and a cellar? You’d have a greenhouse that would allow you to grow plants year-round.

This type of greenhouse is called a geothermal, pit or, Walipini greenhouse, and is common in South America. ‘Walipini’ means ‘place of warmth’ in Aymara Indian, and it’s an apt name.

Basically, the idea is that once you get below the frost line (3-5 feet below the surface, the Earth maintains a fairly constant temperature. In the US, that temperature is typically around 45-50 degrees in the northern states and 50-70 in the south. That range makes for perfect plant-growing temperatures, especially when you add a covering to one side that sun can shine through and warm it up a bit.

You’re harnessing the existing geothermal heat by digging 6-8 feet underground and capturing and storing solar radiation in order to create a near-ideal growing climate that’s resistant to surface-level temperature changes.

Benefits of a Walipini Greenhouse

There’s the most obvious benefit – you extend your growing season, or even make it so that you can grow food year-round.

Another reason that this type of greenhouse may appeal to preppers is that, depending on how you build it, it’s not obvious what’s in it so your food will be better hidden.

I’ve even seen articles about Walipinis that are built in such a way that they are a self-sustaining unit containing animals, aquaculture, and hydroponic plants. That’s a bit complicated and beyond the scope of what we’re doing today, but it can be done.

If you live in a dry climate, another advantage is that your Walipini is going to hold moisture from the ground in. You can help this along by using water along the wall to help pull the heat from the earth. That way, you’re making the air warmer and moister. Plants will love you. Actually, take condensation into consideration when you’re building.

The final advantage that a Walipini or pit greenhouse has is that you can build the whole thing for just a few hundred bucks. Less if you already have the materials.

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing your own food.

How to Situate your Walipini Greenhouse

The first thing you need to do before you start gathering materials is determine where you’re going to build. You need to know a couple of things when you make this decision:

  • your local water table
  • how large you want your greenhouse to be. The larger it is, the more stable the temperature will be.

Ideally, a Walipini greenhouse is built by digging into the ground so that 3 sides and the floor are underground, and the exposed side, which is covered with windows or plastic, is built facing the winter sun – south in the northern hemisphere – and at a 90-degree angle to the sun. Think digging into a hillside, then covering the hole with plastic, which is actually a pretty good description.

Of course, what’s ideal isn’t always realistic. We don’t all live in places that even have hills to dig into. You can also dig them so that they’re just a pit and the sun is directly overhead. Of course, you’ll see that you can use the dirt that you remove from the pit to build up the rear side of the pit both for better insulation and to give you that angle for your plastic that will both help with rain run-off and position your light better.

The important things are that you dig beyond the frost-line, provide good insulation that will pull the heat in, and make sure that you don’t dig below the water line. Obviously, that would be bad. You need to make sure that the floor will be at least 4 feet above the water line.

Now, if you live in an area where the water table is measured in inches instead of feet, (many coastal areas) that doesn’t mean that you can’t build this – it just means that you need to be a bit more creative and that most  of your structure will be above ground and you’ll pile dirt around it.

Video first seen on Ben Green

What do you Need to Build a Walipini Greenhouse?

At its most basic, all that’s needed is (maybe) wooden support beams (2x4s or poles), greenhouse plastic or windows, and insulating materials – natural soil may be used for the walls if it’s structurally sound enough to hold up – such as clay or mud bricks, clay, straw bales, earth bags, concrete, cinderblocks, or stone. Of course, you’ll need nails or screws for the support beams, and a door and door frame.

Video first seen on elicia clegg

Digging out your Walipini

When you start to dig, save the topsoil to use as the soil in the floor of your Walipini because the sub-soil won’t be good for growing. You can use the remaining dirt that you remove to build up the back berm of the structure so that you have better insulation and a higher back wall.

Many people dig a drainage ditch around the Walipini to help the water flow around the greenhouse instead of into it.

Dig down at least 6 feet (8 or 10 feet is even better) as long as you’re maintaining your distance from the water line. If you’re building into a hillside, you’re literally going to scoop a section out of the hill so that the back wall is vertical and the floor is horizontal.

If you’re building a pit, pile the soil that you’re removing so that it creates a berm behind and on the north side of the hole.

Remember when you’re digging that you’re going to be insulating the walls and floor so you’ll be adding at least a foot or so back to what you’re digging out. Account for that when you’re designing it.

There are so many different ways to design your Walipini based on your needs and geography that telling you where to put the door wouldn’t be of much help; just remember not to build one into your plans when you’re designing the Walipini.

Once you have your whole dug, reinforce your north, east, and west walls with whatever you chose as your insulator. Natural stone and brick are both great choices because they naturally pull the heat (and moisture) from the ground and into the greenhouse. Some people choose to line the floors with stones and some don’t.

Now, you have to decide if you’re going to plant directly into the floor or are you going to treat this as a standard greenhouse and use containers? I also saw a few great examples of container garden-type methods.

If you’re planting straight onto the floor, it’s a good idea to put a layer of gravel 6 or 8 inches deep under the soil to help with drainage and to pull more heat up from the ground. You can use compost or manure under the topsoil because it naturally generates heat as it decomposes and will help warm things up.

After you get your walls built, it’s time to cover the pit. I’ve seen several examples where people built a vent into the roof in order to let some of the heat escape. This may sound silly, but the inside of a Walipini can be as high as 100 degrees even in its below freezing outside – that’s no exaggeration.

So, either build in a vent or be prepared to leave the door open or cracked for part of the day in case it does get too hot.

The roof (cover) doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be clear plastic stapled over a wooden frame with braces every few feet.

There you have it – the basics on how to build a Walipini greenhouse. It’s a simple yet effective method to help grow plants during the winter or even in climates that aren’t typically conducive to gardening at all.

Click the banner below to discover the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive during harsh times!

Do you have a Walipini or pit greenhouse? If so, please share your ideas and experiences with us in the comments section below. Also, feel free to ask questions.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How to Make the Perfect Potting Soil Recipe in 5 Easy-to-Follow Steps

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Have you noticed how expensive potting soil can be?

I mean, truthfully, when you think about it – you are buying dirt. Why is it so expensive?

Well, a lot of it has to do with the nutrients that you are purchasing so your plants will grow better. But don’t you think there has to be a better way?

If so, then you’re in luck because I’m going to discuss how you can create your own potting soil and a few other facts that you might need to know along the way.

Here is how you create your own potting soil:

A Quick Warning:

When creating your own potting soil there are two things you need to understand.

First, there is no ‘one size fits all’ potting mix. Each plant has different requirements. So you may have to tweak any recipe for potting mix to better suit exactly the plant that you are wanting to grow.

Secondly, when creating potting soil there are dangers. Namely, you’ll want to be aware of a disease known as Legionnaire’s Disease. It is basically a severe form of pneumonia that can be contracted from bacteria which can live in potting soil mixes and compost.

So you’ll need to use safety precautions such as wearing a face mask, wear protective clothes and gloves, try not to work with soil when the wind is blowing heavily, and spritz dusty ingredients of potting mixes with water to keep them from flying in the air.

Also, be sure to always wash your hands after working in the garden or anywhere else outdoors. If you feel ill and think it could be an onset of this disease, please seek out treatment. Especially if the warning signs are spotted in those with weakened immune systems, small children, or the elderly.

Now that all of our safety notices are out there, let’s move on so you can create your own potting soil.

Why should you create your own potting soil?

Before you take on a DIY project, you need to be sure you know why you are doing it.

Otherwise, you might get frustrated half way through and quit. I’ve been there, and I totally understand. Sometimes when you are buying things to create something, you start adding up the costs.

Though the supplies you buy might make you a lot more than the store bought stuff, it still hits your wallet all at once.

And you begin to ponder why in the world you are doing what you’re doing.

Well, that is why it is important to know why you are doing the task. So in this case, you are creating your own potting soil.

Benefits of Making Your Own Potting Soil:

Here are a few of the reasons you might want to consider doing this yourself:

1. It Saves You Moola

When creating your own potting soil, you are actually saving yourself money. You may not feel like it at first, but how many times have you purchased potting soil and not used it all?

Then you put it in your garden shed, only to return to it later and it is unusable because it is all dried up. If you’ve ever done this, then you know how bad it feels to know that you wasted that money.

Well, if you mix up your own quality potting soil mix, you should save yourself money. You can store it better and easier than the store bought stuff.

Or you could actually just mix up what you need at the time and forget about having to store it, period. Either way, you’ll save yourself some money in the process, usually.

2. Convenience is a Sweet Thing

Convenience is pretty awesome. If it wasn’t then our society wouldn’t have shifted so easily to a newer more convenient way of living.

Let’s face it. We all love to have things when we want it and how we want it as well.

So when you create your own potting soil, you have this convenience. You can actually order most of your ingredients and have them shipped right to your door.

Then, as long as you have everything on hand, you can quickly and easily mix up your potting soil whenever you are ready to use it.

3. You Know All About It

The next benefit of mixing your own potting soil is the fact that you know what it is in it. Let’s face it. All potting soil is not created equal.

And we know that plants love certain things in the soil. It encourages them to grow and produce better, which is the ultimate goal.

Well, if you create your own potting soil, then you can adjust the ingredients as you see fit. You know everything that is in it, and you also can feel better knowing that all of your plants are getting what they need.

4. You Are More Self-Sufficient

So you want to plant your flowers, but it is at a time that maybe the store is closed. If you mix your own potting soil, you are practicing better self-reliance, and you don’t have to worry about when stores are open or closed.

Plus, now that you are learning how to make your own potting soil, you can also know that you are taking another step toward being more self-reliant.

5. Longevity

The final reason why you might want to consider creating your own potting soil is because quality potting soil usually lasts longer.

So if you buy potting soil from the store you might be surprised to realize how much of it is actually bark. This bark will then compost quickly and begin to decompose.

Then your potting soil struggles to retain as much moisture as your plants desire and money is wasted. But with creating your own potting soil (where you include your own quality ingredients), you shouldn’t have to worry as much about it decomposing and not being able to retain water.

In fact, since there is no bark in this potting soil mix, your potting soil should last much longer than a lot of the potting soil you purchase from the stores.

What Do I Want From My Potting Soil?

When I wanted to learn how to make my own potting soil, I found that soil actually did much more than I ever gave it credit for.

Truthfully, I didn’t think about what I actually wanted my soil to do, besides surround my plants, give them a happy home, and then I wanted to see the plants produce.

But now I know what I really want from my soil. Here are few things to consider:

1. Light and Fluffy

I knew I always loved to run my hands through the dirt before planting my flowers and veggies in it, but I never really knew what I was looking for.

But now I know that I want light and fluffy dirt. The reason is because the lighter and fluffier it is the easier it is for my plants to spread out and take root.

Also, you want the soil to be fluffy because that means it is aerated. This means that oxygen has an easier time accessing the plant.

2. Longevity

I want a soil that is going to last. I knew there were a few times I had put bagged soil in the garden shack, come back to it, and the soil didn’t do as well.

But I never knew it was because of the bark content making the soil water resistant. I want a potting soil that won’t break down easily and won’t compact. That way it will last for much longer, and I save money.

3. Retain Water

Naturally, you want your potting soil to hold water. This is great for the plants because they need water to be released to them as needed.

However, if your potting soil won’t hold water, then your plants will not get water as they need. That is something you should keep an eye on when choosing or creating your potting soil.

4. Add Nutrients to My Plants

Obviously, plants get nutrients from the soil. If you create your own potting soil, then you need to create one that will provide these necessary nutrients.

But be sure whatever soil you create or purchase, will give the nutrients your plants desire.

The Recipe

What You’ll Need:

  • Measuring cup
  • Large Mixing Container
  • Water (Jug or Water Hose)
  • A Sieve
  • Trowel
  • A Container to Presoak Peat
  • Potting Soil Ingredients

The Ingredients:

1. Coir Peat or Peat Moss

You will need 1 part of coir peat or peat moss. If you are about living a greener life, then you’ll want to go with coir peat. It is a waste by-product of coconut processing.

So it is clearly a renewable resource. However, if you just prefer peat moss it will do the same thing.

2. Vermiculite

Then you’ll need 1 part vermiculite. This is a natural volcanic mineral that has expanded because of heat. They do this because it increases its ability to contain water.

Also, vermiculite is great at providing necessary minerals for your plants. It can also hold minerals for your plants as well.

3. Compost

Next, you need 2 parts compost that has been sieved. You can make your own compost or purchase it. Whichever option works best for you.

4. Worm Castings

Finally, you’ll need ½ cup to 1 cup of worm castings. If you worm farm, then these should be readily available.

If not, then you can purchase them here. Also, you can use humus from the bottom of your compost pile.

Either way, you’ll want to include this part in your potting mix because it helps retain moisture in your potting soil. It is a great food source for plants and contains microbes that are beneficial to most plants.

Plus, it protects from toxic metals and toxic chemicals that can be found in some soil. It also helps create the desired texture for a potting soil as well.

The Process

1. Presoak the Peat

You will want to begin by placing the coir peat or peat moss in a larger container to soak. Be sure to soak it in warm water. You usually take the amount of peat you have and divide it in half to determine how much water you need to rehydrate.

But once you have loosened the rehydrated peat with your trowel and are satisfied with the consistency of it, then you are ready to move on to the next step.

2. Mix the Peat and Vermiculite

Then you’ll need to mix equal parts peat with vermiculite. If you are not able to purchase vermiculite, coarse sand could be used in its place.

3. Add Compost to the Mix

Next, you’ll need to sieve your compost. Then you’ll need to sieve your worm castings. Once you’ve completed that, you’ll need to take these items and combine them with other nutrients that you might want to add to your potting soil.

Then you’ll add it to the peat and vermiculite to round out your potting soil mix.

4. Check the Acidity

Then you’ll need a pH meter and measure the acidity of the potting mix. You’ll want the acidity to be between 6.0 and 7.0.

If you are having issues with balancing your soil, here is a link that can give you some ideas on how to deal with that.

5. Keep Moist and Store

Finally, you’ll want to insure that your potting mix is moist. Then you’ll store it with a lid to insure it stays moist.

Then you’ll want to recheck the soil’s pH within a few days. You are a looking for a soil pH that is neutral (around 7.0) or a little acidic (around 6.5). When you are ready to use your potting soil just add any last minute minerals you might want.

Plus, you’ll want to add some slow release fertilizers as well.

Finally, add water to moisten the mix and begin planting.

Well, now you are aware of how to make your own potting soil mix. You also know what you should look for in an ideal potting soil. Hopefully, this will help you with your gardening this year.

But I’d love to hear from you. Do you have your own recipe for making potting soil? What ingredients do you add to your potting mixes that you feel work really well for your plants?

We love hearing from you so please leave us your comments in the space provided below.

Saving our forefathers ways starts with people like you and me actually relearning these skills and putting them to use to live better lives through good times and bad. Our answers on these lost skills comes straight from the source, from old forgotten classic books written by past generations, and from first hand witness accounts from the past few hundred years. Aside from a precious few who have gone out of their way to learn basic survival skills, most of us today would be utterly hopeless if we were plopped in the middle of a forest or jungle and suddenly forced to fend for ourselves using only the resources around us. To our ancient ancestors, we’d appear as helpless as babies. In short, our forefathers lived more simply than most people today are willing to live and that is why they survived with no grocery store, no cheap oil, no cars, no electricity, and no running water. Just like our forefathers used to do, The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available. It comes as a step-by-step guide accompanied by pictures and teaches you how to use basic ingredients to make super-food for your loved ones. Watch the video HERE .

Source : morningchores.com

 

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4 Common Soil Problems (And How To Easily Fix Them)

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4 Common Soil Problems (And How To Easily Fix Them)

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The key to a healthy soil with balanced nutrients may be easier and more complicated than you thought.

It’s not just about spraying the right fertilizer and watching it be miraculously sucked into your plants in the exact quantities they need. That’s because plants work in harmony with specific types of soil structures, microbe populations, and pH balances, so the best thing you can do for your plants is learn about creating a healthy soil through mimicking natural processes in natural soil ecosystems and begin to think of your soil as just that: an ecosystem.

Treatment of Nutrient Deficiencies

There are three main ways of treating soil nutrient deficiencies: increasing bioavailability/absorption of existing nutrients, adding non-harmful nutrient sources, and creating an efficient nutrient cycle.

Nutrient absorption can be increased through creating a healthy soil food web by using composts, compost tea, chop and drop techniques, effective microorganisms, green manure and cover crops, and lots of mulch. With the healthy soil food, web microbes will predigest nutrients for plants, while helping to bind them in the soil within their bodies and within the rich, well-structured soil they help to create.

Efficient nutrient cycles are created through having a diversity of plants with different root depths and patterns, especially perennials (and including trees). This ensures nutrients are pulled from deeper in the soil, while creating less root competition. Protecting your soil from erosion and nutrient leaching through mulch (4-6 inches) and/or cover crops is essential.

Seamazing: The Low-Cost Way To Re-mineralize Your Soil

It’s also important to test your soil, both nutrients and pH, ideally at a soil testing lab. You’ll most likely have to mail in samples following their collection instructions. This will then give you a picture of how to proceed.

Treatment of Nutrient Oversupply

It can be easy to over-fertilize with concentrated chemical fertilizers like ammonium sulfate or sulfur coated urea, for example. These fertilizers are damaging to soil ecosystems. Many fertilizers are directly toxic to soil organisms, particularly in high amounts, reacting with other elements in the soil to create toxic substances such as sulfuric acid, hydrogen sulfide, and chlorine. Hydrogen ions released from some processes disrupt the soil’s nutrient-holding capacity, while chemical fertilizers also may increase mineral salts in the soil, stealing water from the plants.

It’s always best to go the slow-and-steady route to building your soil, using natural compounds that a healthy soil food web can break down and make available to the plants as they need them, rather than trying to force feed your plants, disrupting their ability to get what they need by themselves, and creating more work for you.

The best way to treat oversupply is to stop fertilizing with fertilizers high in the nutrient in question, and rebalance the soil if the nutrient oversupply may have caused deficiencies in other nutrients.

Following are four common soil nutrients, along with how plants react if there is an undersupply (deficiency) or oversupply.

1. Nitrogen deficiency/oversupply

Deficiency: Leaves turn pale green or yellow before finally dying, starting in older leaves, and overall plant growth slows.

Fertilizers: Seaweed, compost, compost teas, bone meal, and fertilizers containing natural sources of nitrates, ammonium or urea. Nitrogen “fixing” plants can help, since they have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria that pull, or fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Plant things like peas, beans, honey locust and alder tree with your other plants.

Oversupply: Excess foliage growth, lack of flowering and fruiting, stunted root growth, browning of leaves, a buildup of mineral salts in the soil.

2. Potassium deficiency/oversupply

Deficiency: Leaf tips curl, leaves turn yellow between the veins before browning and dying, root growth slows, and plants have poor seed and fruit quality and quantity. Leaves may also develop brown or purple spots on underside.

Fertilizers: Compost and compost teas, langbeinite, potassium sulfate, sylvinite, seaweed, greensand, rock minerals and wood ash.

Oversupply: Calcium deficiency, low oxygen levels in soil, production of toxic compounds, loss of soil structure leading to compaction and poor water infiltration.

3. Phosphorous deficiency/oversupply

4 Common Soil Problems (And How To Easily Fix Them)

Image source: Pixabay.com

Deficiency: Poor leaf, shoot and root growth; deep green, purple or red leaf color; delay in the maturity, including with fruit and seeds; poor nitrogen fixation in nitrogen-fixing plants.

Fertilizers: Compost and compost tea, mulch such as wood chips or straw, chicken manure, bone meal, rock phosphates (with no phosphoric acid added) and fish bone meal.

Oversupply: Yellowing of the leaves (especially just beyond veins), brown spotting, death of leaves, inhibition of beneficial fungi growth, decreased uptake of iron and manganese.

4. Sulfur deficiency/oversupply

Deficiency: Common in weathered soils and areas with heavy rainfall. Yellowing of leaves (especially younger leaves), dying leaf tips, stunted growth, high seedling mortality, few flowers. Similar to nitrogen deficiency, but with reddening of veins in young leaves.

Fertilizers: Compost and compost tea, langbeinite (as long as you need all of the nutrients contained), potassium sulphate (also includes potassium), gypsum and Epsom salt.

Oversupply: Rare, but causes acidity and deficiencies in selenium.

To recap: The most effective, low-labor and low-cost way to prevent and treat nutrient deficiencies and oversupply is to start conceptualizing your gardens or landscape as an ecosystem, and to begin treating it as such.

Just as a forest has a constant layer of mulch, so, too, should your plants. Just as an oak savanna has healthy and diverse soil ecosystems supported by multiple species of plant roots at varying depths, so, too, should your landscape. We indeed can mimic natural ecosystems while still achieving our own aesthetic, using the plants we prefer while giving them what they need to (largely) take care of themselves.

What advice would you add on taking care of nutrient deficiencies in the garden? Share your tips in the section below:

Fertilizers, feeding your plants!

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Fertilizers, feeding your plants! Bobby “MHP Gardener” Audio in player below! Before you plant a seed or seedling, you need to apply some fertilizer to the soil or container. What kind and how much depends on what you’re growing, and your particular style of growing. So it’s important to have a good understanding of the … Continue reading Fertilizers, feeding your plants!

The post Fertilizers, feeding your plants! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

How To Create And Maintain An Indoor Worm Composting Bin

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Worm composting (aka vermicomposting) is a great way to recycle your kitchen scraps into a powerful nutrient mix for your garden. Many people create indoor worm composting systems either for convenience or to protect the worms from the cold. Some people even keep the bins right under the kitchen sink for the ultimate in convenience.…

The post How To Create And Maintain An Indoor Worm Composting Bin appeared first on The Weekend Prepper.

15 Most Nutritious Plants To Grow In Your Garden

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When planning a survival garden, you can’t just focus on the number of plants you can grow–you also have to think about the nutritional value of those plants. Most survival food isn’t very nutritious due to all the processing and preservatives, so it’s a good idea to supplement your stockpile with healthy produce from your […]

The post 15 Most Nutritious Plants To Grow In Your Garden appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

How To Grow Tomatoes For Survival

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If I were told that I could only grow one vegetable (err…technically fruit, but that’s irrelevant) in my garden, I would pick tomatoes. Why? Because they’re delicious, nutritious, easy to grow anywhere, and you can use them in so many ways that you’d likely never get sick of them. You almost have to grow tomatoes for survival if you want your garden to be complete.

Just a single cup of tomatoes provides about half of your RDA of Vitamin C (move over orange juice), 25% of your RDA of Vitamin A, some Vitamin K just for kicks, and minerals including iron, potassium, folic acid, Lycopene and calcium. Plus, tomatoes have been linked to cancer prevention. Not too shabby for a little red, yellow, green, purple, orange, black, or pink fruit/vegetable, is it? Oh and did I mention that they come in an array of colors?

But which ones should you grow? How long do they take? Do they have particular needs? How much space do you need? There’s definitely a bit more to growing quality tomatoes than just grabbing a pack of seeds at the dollar store, but throughout the following paragraphs, you’re going to learn enough to get you started.

Different Types of Tomatoes

Many people grow several different varieties of tomatoes because there are so many uses for them. Just like anything else, most tomatoes are better for one purpose than another. For instance, if you want to grow tomatoes for juice and for eating raw, you’ll likely want two different types of tomatoes.

Of course, there are definitely good all-around tomatoes, but variety is most certainly to spice of life. And since there’s very little difference in planting and growing, why not grow different ones best suited to your individual needs?

Here are some of the reasons you may want to grow tomatoes:

  • Slicing, or eating tomatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes for salads
  • Plum tomatoes for eating or cooking
  • Juice tomatoes
  • Sauce tomatoes
  • Whole canned tomatoes
  • Tomatoes for chutneys.

Now, think about it. If you want to slice a nice, meaty tomato to put on your burger, you want plenty of “meat,” right? But if you want to can whole tomatoes, you’ll want something a bit smaller, and with a different consistency. And of course, if you want a little tomato for a salad, you need yet another type.

That’s the beauty of tomatoes; there are hundreds of options. All you have to do is find the ones you like best!

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing and preserving your own food for harsh times. 

Types of Seeds

There are four main types of seeds out there: GMO, hybrid, heirloom, and open pollination.

GMO

These seeds have been genetically modified at the DNA level in a lab. They’re meant to make the seed better in some form or another. However, because the plant has been altered at the genetic level, you may find it difficult to get the next generation of seeds to grow, or to produce tomatoes that are the same as the ones in the first generation.

Hybrid

These are often mistaken for GMO, but they’re vastly different. They’re a naturally-occurring plant that occurs when one variety pollinates with another. Think of the hybrid as a family – a mother and dad get married and have a child that shares their traits – hopefully the best of each parent.

Hybrids have no problem growing but may not be consistent from one generation of seeds to another. First generation plants and fruit tend to be more consistent in size and shape and are often more disease resistant than heirlooms, but you don’t know what you’re going to get next year.

Open-Pollinated

These plants are the result of plants that are grown close together pollinating each other in a natural manner. You’ll have some genetic variability because of this, and when the seed is saved, those traits are passed onto the next generation. Open-pollination tomatoes are often regionally unique and have unusual shapes, colors and flavors.

These are the seeds that most farmers count on, because they’re reliable. You can save the seeds with a high degree of confidence that they’ll grow next year.

Heirlooms

The queen of seeds. Heirloom tomatoes come from seeds that have been carefully preserved for generations – usually 50 years or more. They’re carefully tended so that the traits are consistent from one generation to another. The one trait that heirlooms have is that the fruit can vary greatly in size and shape even on the same plant. That’s not always the case, and it’s not really a bad thing – just something to make note of when you’re growing them.

Heirlooms grow consistently from one year to the next, so you can save your seeds and have the same exact plant next year.

So What Seeds are Best?

Many people grow hybrids and love them; for that matter, I have too. But if I’m saving seeds, it’s the ones from my hybrids and open-pollinated ones because I know that they’ll grow and I know what I’ll get. 

Growing Conditions

This is yet another trait that I love about tomatoes – no matter where you live, there’s a variety that will grow for you. Well, almost. If you live in an area that has no warm weather to speak of, or an extremely short (less than 50 day) growing cycle, your choices are limited unless you want to grow them inside, or in a greenhouse.

Altitude affects every single aspect of growing – temperature, soil conditions, precipitation, and humidity. In high-altitude climates, you often have short growing seasons, soil that’s either rocky and alkaline or shaded and acidic, too much rain, not enough rain, and a ton of wildlife that’s just waiting for you to grow them some delicious food.

But don’t despair, you can grow great tomatoes just about anywhere you want as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

What do Tomatoes Need to Grow?

I read a story about a couple who invested all of their summer into a tomato crop only to yield a single fruit. They’d gone out of town one weekend and forgotten to tell their friends to water them, and that’s what did it.

Now of course, that’s a tall tale, but it’s not far off. Tomatoes need a consistent amount of water, especially when the fruit is ripening. But if you water them too much during this period, they’ll be washed out and flavorless.

So if your tomato could pick its ideal situation (and it can because if you don’t listen, it won’t grow) what would it be? There are some variances in their needs, such as length of growing seasons, but in general, the necessary components to successfully growing tomatoes are:

  • Temperature – tomatoes need an average of 3-4 months or warm, fairly dry weather to grow and produce well. In order to “set” fruit – a gardening term that means that your plant will produce fruit after flowering and pollination. Generally, they need nighttime temperatures of 55-75 degrees F for this to happen. They won’t develop the proper color if night time temps are above 85, and most will quit growing if nighttime temps are over 95 degrees. Now, there are tomatoes that thrive in hot weather, so if this is your situation, do some research and find them. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
  • Sunlight – Your plants need at least 6 and preferably 8 hours of sunshine per day. If you live somewhere temperate, 8 is great. If you live in the sweltering south, then 6 with a nice shady afternoon will be appreciated.
  • Consistent Watering – This part is SUPER important. You want your soil to be moist but not wet. Too much will kill the plant, too little will stop the fruit from growing, or will give it a poor texture and flavor if it does grow.
  • Proper, regular feeding – Tomatoes like nitrogen in the soil, so prepare the soil with ripe compost and a scoop of aged manure in the bottom of the hole when you plant it. Another trick is to add some Epsom salt to the soil monthly.

You can do this via just sprinkling a couple teaspoons around the plant, or by mixing a couple of tablespoons in a gallon of water and watering your plants with it. Be careful though, because too much nitrogen will give you a beautiful plant but will delay ripening. Add nitrogen when the top leaves turn yellow and the stem turns purple.

  • Loose soil that drains well – honestly, they prefer this but will grow in nearly any type of soil as long as you provide the proper nutrients. If you have plants that harvest early, sandy loamy soil is best. Plants that bear fruit late like heavier loamy clay. They also like slightly acidic soil with a pH somewhere between 6 and 7.
  • Take Care of the Roots and Leaves – tomatoes are a good plant to start inside because if you live in most zones, you want your plants to be 8-10 weeks old when you set them out 2 weeks or so after the last frost. It’s important that you wait this long because if you get an “oops” freeze, your plants are done.

You also need to protect them from wind that can break them and try to keep the vines off of the ground to help protect them from mold and bugs. Bugs love tomatoes, so be proactive in your insect prevention and check the leaves, top and underside, regularly.

Planting Your Tomatoes

Ok, not that we have that set aside, let’s talk about how to grow your plants. This is the exciting part – well, one of them anyway!

It’s best to prep your soil a week or two in advance by turning in some aged manure and compost. A bit of Epsom salt may help too, if your soil is low in nitrogen. Rest easy – though salt will kill your soil, Epsom salt isn’t actually sodium – it’s actually magnesium and sulfur. The magnesium helps your plant absorb nitrogen.

Some people just dig the hole for the plant and plop a trowel full of compost/manure in the bottom. This may be OK, but make sure that both are well-aged so that you don’t burn up your plants. I’d recommend mixing it into the soil.

If you started your plants from seeds, they should be at least 8 weeks old now, and you should harden them off for a week or so before you plan to plant them out doors. This just means that you’ll start putting them out for a couple of hours per day, protecting them at first from the sun and wind, then gradually increasing their time spent outside so that it’s not such a shock when you actually transplant them.

Now, let’s plant. You can plant them in your garden, or tomatoes make excellent container plants. 5-gallon buckets work great.

Dig a hole with your trowel about 6-8 inches deep. Remember that your soil should be loose. Pull off the bottom few leaves  of the plant, then put it in the ground so that the root ball is buried and the remaining leaves are above the surface of the ground.

Plant them about 2 feet apart.

Water well to help reduce shock to its roots.

Stake or cage immediately. This doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but trust me – in a few weeks when they’re growing like gangbusters, you won’t find it nearly so easy as you do right now.

Water your plants well for the first few days to help prevent shock and help it to acclimate. Water consistently throughout the season so that your soil stays at about the same saturation. In some growing conditions, you may be able to get away with watering once a week, but 2 or 3 times is better. They’ll need about 2 inches per week.

Just a tip here – using homemade mulch is a great idea because it helps hold moisture in AND it helps fertilize at the same time. You can put the mulch down when you plant or you can wait a few weeks to do it. Don’t forget about liquid manure compost, either.

Keeping a steady fertilization schedule is good, too, Follow the tips above about that.

When your plants begin to vine and you get them staked, it’s a good idea to pinch off sucker leaves – those leaves that don’t lead to more vine but only exist to suck the moisture from your plant.

Wait for your bumper crop of tomatoes to appear!

Video first seen on Rogers Gardens

Preservation Methods

Now comes the fun part. The best way that I like to preserve my tomatoes is in between two slices of bread – oh wait, it doesn’t last long like that! Seriously though, there are a number of ways that you can preserve your tomatoes. Each way ends up using a canning method, but there are many different ways that you can prepare them for preservation including sun-drying and adding to olive oil, or dehydrating.

Juicing and Sauce

I can’t even tell you how many tomatoes I’ve mashed through a sieve with a wooden  pestle to make juice! All you need to do is cut your tomatoes into quarters and toss them into a saucepan. Bring them to a boil for 5 minutes to soften them up and get the skins all loose. The juice will start separating out.

After they’ve simmered for that five minutes, turn off the heat and pour some of them over into your sieve or food mill (which is over a pot or bowl, of course) to separate the juice from the skins and seeds. Mash them through and pour the juice back into a pan and bring to boiling again for another 5 minutes, then can.

You should add a tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint just to boost the acidity enough to preserve it. I also add in a teaspoon of salt per quart (1/2 tsp. per pint).

Water bath can as usual or 35 minute for pints and 40 minutes for quarts. If you’re pressure canning, it’s 15 minutes for pints and 20 for quarts.

Note that your juice may “clarify”, or separate so that the bottom is dark red with the tomato pulp in it and the top is almost clear. This is perfectly normal – just shake it up before you use it.

If you want to make sauce instead of juice, it’s simply a matter of cooking it longer so that the water evaporates and the juice thickens. You can make plain tomato sauce if you want, but this is a great time to jazz it up by adding seasonings such as garlic, oregano, rosemary, etc. Think spaghetti, pizza, taco sauce, etc.

Whole, Crushed or Diced

Blanch your tomatoes for just a couple of seconds – that is, dip them in boiling water for 10 seconds then toss them into an ice bath. An old Italian guy (because nobody knew more about tomatoes than this guy) taught me that if you slice a small ‘x’ somewhere on the bottom of the tomato, it makes it easier to peel. The skin will fall right off and you can proceed to the next step.

Once you get the skins off, cut away any bad parts or green sections. If you’re canning them whole, stuff them into the jars. If you’re halving, quartering, dicing, or crushing them first, do it now. And add them to the jars and top with water so that you leave 1/2 inch headroom, at least. Add lemon juice and salt, seal, and can.

Paste

The process of making tomato paste is similar to making the juice except you cook it WAY down into a super thick sauce, then add olive oil and salt and bake it in a 200-degree oven, spread evenly in  pan, until it’s the thickness of tomato paste.

Chutney, Salsa, Etc.

This is possibly the best part! Make your favorite salsas and chutneys with tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, and other spices and can them up so that you have some of this deliciousness year round!

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into growing tomatoes, but there are so many different ways that you can use them that it barely qualifies as work. It’s like growing an entire winter’s worth of possibilities all with just a few plants.

Study what kind of tomatoes you want to grow and get started! What are some of your favorite tomatoes? Do you have a recipe or an idea you’d like to share?

Discover how our forefathers produced their own food during harsh times! Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://leitesculinaria.com/87323/recipes-homemade-tomato-paste-conserva-di-pomodori.html

Gardening Made Easy – How To Create Simple Raised Row Garden Beds From Scratch!

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With simple raised row garden beds, you don’t to have break your back or the bank to have a great garden. Whether you are already an avid gardener, or want to grow vegetables for the first time, raised row garden

The post Gardening Made Easy – How To Create Simple Raised Row Garden Beds From Scratch! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

2 Simple Ways To Eliminate Garden Weeds This Year

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2 Simple Ways To Eliminate Garden Weeds This Year The bane of any gardeners existence is the consistent and unrelenting growth of weeds. Its a nightmare each and every year the plucking and picking. Most gardeners threaten to place weed blocker down to assure nothing can grow through it and into your garden. But even …

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How To Deal With Common Worm Farm Pests

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Worm farming is a great family activity. It gets  your family engaged with nature and it produces some of the best vegetable fertilizer you will ever find. But if done improperly, it can be a magnet for a variety of pests – both big and small. The best pest control method you can take for…

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GroBucket: Turn Any 5-Gallon Bucket Into Self-Watering Container (video)

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I’ve seen other self-watering container ideas (and even tried one) in the past and, for the most part, they’re a useful tool if you’re short on space or just want to use buckets for gardening. This particular GroBucket is similar to others in general design but the inclusion of a water level (assuming it survives beyond … Continue reading “GroBucket: Turn Any 5-Gallon Bucket Into Self-Watering Container (video)”

9 Best Edible Plants You Can Grow Indoors

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Yes, we’d all love to have a sprawling garden full of fruits, veggies and magical beans that lead us up to a castle in the sky–but life’s not fair. Maybe you are working with a small space, or perhaps winter is coming and you want to actually give your crops a fighting chance. Regardless, it’s […]

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Grow Salads in Pots & Tubs

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How to Grow Salads in Pots & Tubs. You can have fresh salad fixings within easy reach | PreparednessMama

For around $10 you can grow fresh salad fixings to harvest for months We are eating salads most every night now. They’re healthy and I love the variety I can get by having a different mix of greens each night. The fixings can get expensive, especially if I want to eat organic.  Here’s a simple way […]

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Best Ideas On Growing A Garden In 5 Gallon Buckets

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Container gardening – growing plants in 5-gallon buckets, for example – is usually discussed in the context of (not enough) space.

The idea is that if you don’t have a “real” garden because you live in an apartment or your backyard is too small, container gardening would make for the best option. And-5 gallon buckets are the ultimate containers both in terms of availability and shape.

Also, they’re highly mobile, meaning that you can put them in the best spots to catch the sun and so on and so forth. Due to their versatility, resilience and low cost, 5-gallon buckets are already famous in the prepper community and they’ve also captured the imaginations of home gardeners.

Now, if you have enough buckets and you’re ready to put them to good use, just keep reading folks!

Eeven if you don’t have them yet, just poke around a little bit and you’ll discover that 5-gallon buckets are the definition of “readily available,” “dirt cheap” items. Just go cruise your nearby stores and restaurants or check out Craigslist.

Getting back to business, gardeners are doing remarkable things with 5-gallon buckets, things that you can’t even imagine actually. This humble piece of plastic is a tool of a thousand uses, which makes it extremely valuable to a prepper.

However, keep in mind that you must stay away from secondhand buckets that were used to held toxic stuff, like paint or what not. The ideal 5-gallon bucket to use for gardening purposes should be made out of food grade plastic, at least in a perfect world.

Now, if you’re going to grow flowers (as in non-edible stuff), you can forget about the food grade thingy, but keep an eye on toxic materials just in case.

Speaking of bucket supply, you have 2 choices: to buy brand new 5-gallon buckets from building supply stores or hardware stores, or to go scavenging bakeries, local restaurants, grocery stores, and similar places. These buckets often come with plastic fitted lids, so remember–it never hurts to ask, alright?

Now and then, you may be asked to cough up a couple of bucks for a sturdy, clean, used 5-gallon bucket, but that’s definitely worth it if it’s the right type. Even if they smell a little weird (they are used often for storing pickles and/or frozen products), don’t worry – the smell will go away relatively easy if you clean them right.

This proven-to-work portable device provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

With all these considerations taken care of, let’s see about some projects involving 5-gallon buckets, shall we?

Project 1 – DIY Alaska Grow Bucket

If you’re already scratching your head, an Alaska Grow Bucket is the scientific term for a bottom watering container. There’s nothing complicated, just fancy talk. These are the easiest DIY watering containers anyone can make to grow their own food at home.

The materials required are cheap and easy to acquire. Besides the famous 5-gallon bucket, you’ll need a fabric shopping bag and a plastic kitchen colander – you know, that piece of gear used for draining rice or pasta.

You’ll have to drill some ventilation holes (the more the better) and another irrigation hole for the water feed line. Ideally, you should use a power drill, but you can always improvise if you’re a meat eater. The irrigation line should be drilled as low on the bucket as possible, and then you’ll insert a plastic, T-shaped connector.

Video first seen on devineDiY

Project 2 – The Hanging Bucket Planter

If you don’t have much space, e.g. you’re living in a condo, you can DIY a hanging bucket planter for growing organic tomatoes. Obviously, you can use hanging bucket planters for growing a large variety of stuff, not only tomatoes, those are just a suggestion because tomatoes are a popular choice.

Also, if you have a small yard, this type of project will suit you like a glove. Making the best of one’s available space is next to Godliness for a true prepper, right?

For making tomato gardening great again, you’ll need:

  • a hook
  • a 5 gallon bucket
  • steel cable (galvanized utility wire)
  • a wall (the bucket will hang by the hook hammered/drilled in the wall).

The idea is that hanging a bucket planter outside your condo’s wall will provide your plants with plenty of sunshine, which is a necessary ingredient for growing big fat tomatoes (along with water and carbon dioxide).

Video first seen on Peter P.

Project 3 – The Raised Bed Bucket

Here you’ll learn how to grow veggies successfully in a raised bed garden using the famous 5-gallon bucket, thus making for a garden within a garden or something along these lines.

With this cool technique, you’ll be able to grow more food in less space and that’s the definition of efficiency and sustainability (don’t worry, I hate Agenda 21 too).

Here’s an interesting video about the reasons for growing vegetables in raised bed gardens.

Video first seen on Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens

The concept behind this project is that plastic buckets are used for providing more soil depth for the plants thus allowing for more nutrients, more space for root growth and less frequent watering. This technique makes for a cool hack which will enable you to grow deep-rooted plants in a shallow garden.

Project 4 – The Self-watering Planter

This DIY job makes for the easiest way to build sub irrigated self-watering planters using PVC pipe, a 5 gallon bucket, and a milk jug for practically next to zero costs. You’ll have to cut some holes in the bottom of the bucket that are large enough for the water to drain through, so you’ll not flood your plants. It’s easiest to use a drill for this.

The jug must be placed inside the bucket with the PVC pipe stuck on the top of the milk jug. The jug gets filled with water (you’ll have to drill some holes in the upper part of the jug too) and then the bucket must be filled up with dirt, then you put a plant in it. Pretty simple and highly efficient.

Video first seen on Growing Little Ones for Jesus

Project 5 – The Hydroponics

Finally, here’s a cool idea about how to build a hydroponic DWC system with a trellis-type system for growing cucumbers, and obviously it involves a 5-gallon bucket. This project is a little bit more complicated, but it’s doable with a little bit of research and elbow grease.

The supply list includes a 5-gallon bucket, a 6” bucket lid net pot which can be bought online or at a local hydroponics store, a small airstone and air-pump (from Walmart), black hose for the airline, vinyl tee fittings, clear vinyl tubing, rubber grommets and wire green border fence.

Video first seen on Jksax914.

Now that you know how to grow a garden in a 5-gallon bucket, you could learn how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

Click the banner below and find out how to build your own portable device which provides fresh water 24/7!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

5 Perennial Vegetables You Only Need To Plant Once and Enjoy Forever

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5 Perennial Vegetables You Only Need To Plant Once and Enjoy Forever Grow a great survival garden with these perennial veggies and rest assured that they will grow and grow year after year! I found a great article that tells us 5 vegetables that you only need to plant once and they will keep coming …

Continue reading »

The post 5 Perennial Vegetables You Only Need To Plant Once and Enjoy Forever appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Prep Blog Review: Gardening With Canning In Mind

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As spring is coming, I am already thinking about my healthy and beautiful garden and I am getting ready for the new preserving and canning season. One of the best things of growing your own food is that you and your loved ones will enjoy healthy and tasty food, fresh or canned, for a long time.

With this thing in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic to help you plan your garden with canning in mind.

  1. 22 Ways for Growing a Successful Vegetable Garden

“Spring is fast approaching, so are you planning to grow a healthy and beautiful vegetable garden that will help beautify your home’s outdoor and be a place of relaxation?

Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the yard lets you spend more time outside, at the same time saves your money for buying organic food.

So if you have the space to grow your own vegetables, you should definitely take advantage of that.

Even if you only have a small space, it isn’t an obstacle anymore in your effort to vegetable garden. In the following projects you will find a lot of vegetable garden designs to help you start your neat and tidy veggie garden that produces fresh and tasty food for you.

Take a look and get started!”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 7 Secrets to Successful Canning – How to Preserve This Year’s Harvest

“Now is the time to get ready for a successful canning and preserving season!

One of the best things about growing your own food is keeping it the year around for great homemade taste!

For an individual who wants to start canning for the first time, or for the seasoned veteran, here are a few secrets to help you have a successful canning season this year.

The results of our canning efforts one summer.

The most important thing to remember about canning is to simply not be afraid to try!  Maybe you have only water bathed before and never uses a pressure canner. Whatever it is, if you are feeling a little nervous, ask someone to help you or try it out with you.”

Read more on Old World Farms Garden.

  1. More Thoughts on Canned Goods and Food Storage

“Several weeks ago we established that canned goods are safe to eat far past their expiration date thus a great choice for food storage programs.

I received an email from someone saying that they felt tremendous pressure to prepare right now and due to their budget just could not afford to stock up on freeze dried food for the long term.

This motivated some additional words on the subject.

Every tragic disaster that takes place ultimately causes the question of “What now?” to be asked. More often than not “What are we going to eat?” and”How are we going to get food?” are also asked.

This doesn’t have to be in a Third World country as most anyone who has experienced the loss of a job or some other major financial personal SHTF has asked similar questions.”

Read more on 1776patriotusa.com.

  1. How to Store Food Storage In a Small House

“Have you sometimes wondered “how can I store food storage in a small home?”

Well, I have a fairly small home, it’s only 1900 square feet.

I am going to show you my home in small doses because otherwise, the post would take too long to load.

I have a three car garage, if you can call it a three car garage with the narrow one car section. You can barely fit two very small cars in the double garage and one car in the third stall.

Mark and I use the third garage section for our emergency preparedness items that can withstand the heat in the summer.

Everything else is stored inside my home.”

Read more on FoodStorageMom.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

12 Long Blooming Plants You’ll Love

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12 Long Blooming Plants You’ll Love What’s the point of planting if your plants die within weeks or months? If you’re going through all the trouble of digging up your garden you might as well plant something with a little endurance, something that’s willing to sprout all over again once the bitter winter frost has passed. These twelve plants could very well be your next long-lasting perennial. 1. Moonbeam (Coreopsis) If we’re being honest, this one’s first because I love its name. Moonbeam grows in clumps around one to two feet tall, they are known for their density and feature yellow

The post 12 Long Blooming Plants You’ll Love appeared first on Mental Scoop.

How To Get Rid Of Any Burrowing Animals With This Dawn Soap Solution

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How To Get Rid Of Any Burrowing Animals With This Dawn Soap Solution I have enough trouble walking on my own two feet without holes under them. Seriously, gravity is a cruel mistress, but divots and holes in my yard definitely do not help. Ankles are sensitive! And even if you’ve figured out how to avoid mole holes and hills, your kids sure haven’t. Have you ever heard the phrase, curiosity killed the cat…curiosity may have contributed, but a mole clawing your cat’s face off because your cat was curious enough to poke its head in the mole’s hole was

The post How To Get Rid Of Any Burrowing Animals With This Dawn Soap Solution appeared first on Mental Scoop.

How To Make A Potato Pot

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I love potatoes. Boiled, mashed, fried, baked – it doesn’t matter how they’re served, I’ll eat them. They help stretch your food supply and provide energy when you need it the most.

Unless you have a place to grow a traditional garden, you may have discarded the idea of growing them, but you can make a potato pot and grow them wherever you want – and you can even take them with you if you need to bug out.

If you’re shooting for the “potato” that offers the most health benefits, shoot for yams or sweet potatoes. Though the names are often used interchangeably, they are not the same vegetable, nor do they have the same nutrients, though they’re both high in vitamins, particularly vitamin A. Technically, neither one are even potatoes but that’s outside the scope of this article.

How to Store Your Potatoes

If you were raised in the country, you likely remember the root cellars. Ever wonder why they’re called that? Me too, and the best explanation I can come up with is that they were used to store root vegetables – traditional white, yellow, or red potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, etc. All of these will store all winter if kept at the right temperature. The important thing is to not wash them because the dirt extends their shelf lives.

Unlike other potatoes, sweet potatoes love the warmth – unlike traditional spuds, room temperature is great for them. They’ll keep up to a year! Again, don’t wash them. And if you’re growing them yourself, as you’re going to be after you make your pots, do your best to leave them somewhere warm – 80 degrees is great – for 10 days or so after you harvest them. This promotes the growth of a chemical on the skin that protects them from rot and also “cures” them to make them sweet.

Another advantage to growing sweet potatoes is that you have a tremendous yield. Believe it or not, you can yield as much as 130 pounds of sweet potatoes from just 3 potatoes.

You can grow both sweet potatoes and “regular” potatoes in pots, but the process is different. We’ll take about the easiest and fastest way first, then tell you how to grow sweet potatoes.

Now, are you ready to get your hands dirty and make a potato pot that will produce a great crop of potatoes? Good. Let’s get started.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills for survival cooking! 

Making a Standard Potato Pot

First off, I have to say that this is the perfect  idea for a prepper because once you get it going, you’ll have potatoes literally forever without even needing to add dirt or fertilizer. It’s absolutely brilliant, but so simple that anybody with 1 potato, soil, water, and access to clover can do it.

Of course, any potato crop is self-perpetuating, but with this one, you don’t need fertilizer and you won’t have to dig in the garden.

Expect to yield about 10x (perhaps just a bit less) the weight of potatoes that you plant; that’s ten pounds for every pound, so you don’t have to do math.

  • First, choose your container. You can grow them in anything from a 5-gallon bucket up. Use a bucket or container that has never been used to store any type of chemical or poison. A great place to get food-grade buckets is local restaurants and bakeries. They usually buy in bulk, and items such as pickles, lard, sugar, flour, and frosting often come in 5-gallon buckets.
  • Fill your container with a mixture of potting soil and compost. I’ve even heard of people using sand and sawdust, but for this method, use the potting soil and compost.
  • Let your potato sit long enough to start growing eyes. That way you know that it will grow because some are treated with chemicals that keep them from sprouting in order to extend shelf life. While you’re waiting, prepare your bucket and get your clover growing.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of your bucket for drainage and make sure that you have a place to put the bucket so that it’s not in direct contact with something such as dirt that can clog the holes and prevent drainage.
  • Put a few inches of gravel (and sand if you’d like) in the bottom of the bucket and fill it with soil to within several inches of the top.
  • Sprinkle white clover seeds across the top of the soil and just run your hand over them to get a bit of soil over them.
  • Once your potato sprouts eyes and you know it’s good to grow, your clover should be starting to grow, too. Dig a hole 12 inches deep or so in the center of the bucket. Don’t worry if you have to dig through the clover – it will grow back.
  • Plant your potato at the bottom and cover back up with dirt.
  • You’ll see a plant within just a couple of weeks, then all you have to do is water it once or twice a week and let it grow. After 3 months or so, the plant will die back. When it does that, your potatoes are ready to harvest.

Video first seen on Hollis & Nancy’s Homestead

Making a Sweet Potato Pot

This has several steps and takes quite a bit of advance wait time, but your yield will be awesome. Plus, sweet potatoes are delicious and nutritious just as they are. Not to say that a good old regular potato isn’t delicious, too!

Because the yield is so high, you may want to use 20 gallon buckets for this. That’s what was used here – if you’re only using 5-gallon buckets, just put one slip per bucket. You’ll know what that means in a minute.

  • Start with a single sweet potato. Unless you want to be overrun with them, or intend to sell them or trade them, you don’t need more than a couple because one potato seriously can yield forty pounds or so.
  • Find cups, jars, or containers that are wide enough and deep enough to accommodate one half of the potato, lengthwise.
  • Stick 3 toothpicks into the potato at equal distances around the middle so that you can dangle one end of the potato (half of it or so) into the glass or jar and have one end sticking out. You want to have at least a half-inch or so all around the potato between it and the inside of the container.
  • Put the potato into the container so that it’s suspended by the toothpicks.
  • Now it’s time to wait for the slips to grow. Slips are basically shoots that grow into individual plants, and one potato can yield up to 50.
  • The slips will begin to grow off of the bottom and up around the potato and will be ready to separate after a couple of months.
  • Once they are, separate them out into different jars, and you can even cut and root new slips off the first ones as they grow. Once you have the slips that you want and they’re at least 12 inches tall, it’s time to plant them.
  • You’ll want a trellis behind them because sweet potatoes vine, and they root where they touch the ground, so if you’re using containers, you don’t want them vining all over your yard.
  • Fill the buckets with equal parts potting soil, peat moss, and compost to about 6 inches of the top.
  • Ramp the dirt so that one side of the container (the one furthest away from the trellis) is 8 inches or so more shallow than the side closest to the trellis and soak it with water.
  • Place 3-6 slips in each bucket so that the tops are facing the trellis and the roots are at the side of the bucket that’s furthest away from the trellis.
  • Add soil mixture to cover the roots and make the dirt level. It’s OK if you cover up some of the leaves and only just the tops are sticking out.
  • Water it again a bit and cover with straw or mulch to keep weeds from growing.

Video first seen on OFF GRID with DOUG and STACY

They love hot weather and take about three months to mature. They’ll get super bushy, so try to encourage any long vines to grow up the trellis. The plants will also grow really pretty flowers, which makes them great for ornamentals. Since the good stuff isn’t visible, if people don’t know what they are, they’ll just think they’re bushes – hiding your garden in plain sight.

The leaves will start to turn yellow. After that, leave them for another week or so and test a part of the bucket by digging down to see if they’re ready. Or, you can just dump a bucket and see how they are. Though remember – you only get one shot if you do it that way.

Now you know how make a potato pot.

Potatoes are the ultimate survival crop and they were included almost in every meal during the Great Depression.

Discover more about how our forefathers handled their survival food.

Click the banner below and uncover their secrets!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

10 Brilliant Garden Edging Ideas You Can Do At Home

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10 Brilliant Garden Edging Ideas You Can Do At Home What’s a picture without a frame? Pretty for a while right, until it get crinkled and wrinkled, and torn. A garden is similar, it may look great, until it overlaps with your yard, until weeds sneak in and wreak havoc on your painstakingly planted masterpiece. Save yourself the headache, protect and accessorize your garden with these pretty yet effective garden borders. The world is your oyster, as they say in regards to garden edging. You can literally edge your garden with anything. I have compiled the top 10 garden edging ideas

The post 10 Brilliant Garden Edging Ideas You Can Do At Home appeared first on Mental Scoop.

An easy guide to growing herbs – The 12 herbs you should have in your garden

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Growing herbs is one of the preferred activities of both beginner and experienced gardeners. The reason behind it is quite simple: you can’t go wrong with herbs. These are perhaps the best gateway plants and everyone can try growing herbs both indoors and outdoors. As a beginner you need to build up confidence to branch … Read more…

The post An easy guide to growing herbs – The 12 herbs you should have in your garden was written by Rhonda Owen and appeared first on Prepper’s Will.

14 Best Vegetables To Grow In A Bucket

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There’s nothing better for you than fresh, homegrown fruits, herbs, and vegetables, but not all of us have the luxury of being able to plant a traditional garden. But did you know that you can get great yields on many types of produce?

Today we’re going to take a look at the best vegetables to grow in buckets, so that no matter where you live, you can eat well.

Growing in buckets enables people with limited space to grow their own food. Even if you have the land, buckets still make growing easier if you have a hard time getting up and down to weed the garden, take care of the plants, and pick the veggies. Or, if you’re simply too busy to dedicate the time it takes to care for a traditional garden.

If you’re using buckets, don’t forget to poke a few drainage holes in the bottom. After you’ve poked the holes, use some natural filters so you won’t lose the dirt. Put a layer of rocks, then a layer of sand if you want, then your soil. Don’t use regular dirt because it will likely compact and impair growth. Instead, use an equal mix of ripe compost, potting soil, and peat moss.

Do a little research on what your plants need so that you know to make the soil more or less acidic.

If you live in a cold climate, it’s a good idea to plant seedlings for plants that require extra time. This includes just about every plant except for green onions, shallots, carrots, potatoes, and radishes, and plants that are grown from bulbs. Of course, you always have the option of moving the buckets inside if it gets too cold too early.

Finally, you may look at the yield you’re getting per bucket and think, “Wow. That doesn’t sound like much for the amount of space I’m using. There’s a lot of soil left underneath that plant that isn’t being used.” You’re absolutely right. If you want to maximize that space instead of wasting it, consider growing plants out the bottom, too. Many plants grow well upside down.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills you need for survival cooking! 

Potatoes

Whether you like plain old spuds or prefer sweet potatoes or yams (yes, there is a huge nutritional difference), potatoes are a great bucket crop. Potatoes are hardy, grow in virtually any soil, and are grown underground, so they’re tolerant to weather changes. They’re also simple to prepare.

The key to getting a good potato yield is to grow them in a nitrogen-rich environment. Potatoes also self-perpetuate, so you’ll never run out.

Hint – grow clover on top of your potato bucket, or on the topsoil of any plant that needs lots of nitrogen, because clover pulls nitrogen out of the air and distributes it through its root system and down into the soil.

All you have to do to plant regular potatoes in a bucket is let the “eyes” or little roots grow from it, cut the potato into sections so that each section has an eye, and plant it. Plant the equivalent of one whole, large potato per 3-gallon of bucket, and 2 potatoes to a 5-gallon bucket.

You don’t even really HAVE to cut it into pieces. I just do because it’s how I was raised with a traditional garden. Old habits.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes grow fabulously in buckets; just remember that you’ll still have to stake them to something. This can be as easy as sticking a stake right in the bucket with it. No problem.

Cherry or bush tomatoes work the best and you shouldn’t plant more than one per bucket. You can pull tomatoes off in a 3-gallon bucket as long as you’ve got something besides just a stake in the bucket to stake them to, so that the weight will be supported.

Video first seen on ROCKNTV1

Cucumbers/Squash

Any type of cucumbers or squash grow well in buckets. As a matter of fact, I have a little better luck with the buckets because it’s easier for me to find the vegetable. Often when I planted them in a regular garden, I’d lose a few in the foliage.

Plant one plant per bucket.

Peppers

These are nice to grow right on the porch as ornamentals. For that matter, so are cucumbers and squash because of the nice flowers. If you’re growing colorful peppers such as banana peppers or chilies, they brighten up the porch, too.

Interesting pepper fact that many people don’t know:

The only difference between green, red, orange, and yellow sweet peppers is the time they spend on the vine. Green ones are picked first, then if they’re left alone, they turn yellow, orange, then red. Nutritional values vary widely among the colors, though.

Plant two peppers per 5-gallon bucket.

Video first seen on Gary Pilarchik

Beans

Bush beans grow best. Plant 1 bush per bucket.

Carrots/Radishes

Plant 10 per bucket. You can get away with using a smaller bucket or planter for these. Just make sure that the soil is at least a foot deep.

Onions/Garlic

Green onions, shallots, and any type of larger onion all grow wonderfully in buckets. For green onions and shallots, you can use a shallow bucket or window box as long as the soil is at least 6 inches deep. Just sprinkle a tablespoon or so of seeds evenly across the top of the bucket and cover with 1/4-1/2 inch of soil. For large onions and garlic, plant 4-5 per 5-gallon bucket.

Beets

Plant 4-5 per bucket.

Eggplant

Plant 2 plants per bucket because each plant requires 12-14 inches of growing space. You may be able to get away with 3. They’re good as ornamentals, too. Eggplants can be a bit finicky to grow because they require adequate water, good drainage, and pollination. Nothing is more frustrating than growing a plant then watching the flowers fall off without bearing fruit.

For your soil, use half sand and half soil/compost. Make sure they get at least two inches of water per week – more if you live in a hot climate. It’s a good idea to give them all of this water at once so that the water reaches the roots. Test your soil between waterings to make sure that it doesn’t dry out. You don’t want it too wet, but it should be moist.

Since they’re wind-pollinated, you may have a problem with adequate pollination. If you’re worried about this, it’s easy to pollinate them yourself. Just take a little paintbrush and run it around the inside of each flower.

They’ll also need a support system just like tomatoes do.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage

These are great vegetables to plant in a bucket and you can grow 2-3 plants per bucket. Broccoli and red cabbage in particular are packed with nutrients.

Herbs

All herbs grow well in buckets, and you don’t need to use a full five-gallon bucket, either – they only need about 6 inches of soil to grow well. How many you can plant per container depends upon the herb, so pay attention to planting directions. You can even easily and successfully grow herbs inside.

Growing plants in buckets is a great method for several different reasons. From a prepper’s perspective, perhaps one of the biggest advantages is portability. If you have to bug out, you can take your food with you.

Since nearly all plants have seeds, you’re basically leaving with a food supply that will self-perpetuate, so it’s best to use heirloom seeds to ensure consistent growth and quality. I can’t overstate how important it is to choose the correct seeds for your needs.

Do you wonder what are the secrets that helped our grandparent survive during harsh times?

Click the banner bellow and uncover them!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Small Plot Gardening Tips

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Note: Tips quoted from other sources are marked with a link to the original source. Unmarked tips are from me.

The point of this article is that you can grow at least some of your own food, even if you only ave a very small yard. Even if you have no yard at all, you can grow some veggies and herbs in containers on a patio or balcony, or in windows.

1- With any type of gardening, it is important to plant crops that you and your family actually like and will eat. Planting foods that you dislike, no matter how productive, will simply be wasted space (unless you plan on selling or trading them, an unlikely goal for those with very limited space).

2- Tomatoes are probably the most productive crop you can grow. Since they are tall, however, you should take care not to plant them where they will shade the shorter plants in your garden. Tomatoes are a good choice because they are packed with useful nutrients, store well (canned, frozen, or dried) and are a basic ingredient used in many dishes.

3- Green leafy vegetables, such as loose-leaf lettuce, turnip greens, spinach, mustard and kale all make excellent choices for small plot gardening. You can grow a lot in a small space. And they are all highly nutritious.

4- “There are all sorts of herbs that can be planted in containers and moved around as you please. And a lack of space doesn’t mean that you can’t grow some fruit or berries. Try raising strawberries in a strawberry jar, plant a fig tree in a container, or grow a compact blueberry bush in place of ornamental shrubs.” — veggiegardeningtips.com

5- “Many vegetables, including peas, pole beans, cucumbers, squash, melons, and tomatoes, will naturally climb a support or can be trained to grow upwards, leaving more ground space for other crops. Support structures include cages, stakes, trellises, strings, teepees, chicken wire, or existing fences let your imagination take over!” — Small Plot and Intensive Gardening

6- “Vegetable breeders have been emphasizing smaller plants for container and small plot gardening. Although some of the dwarf or mini plants produce smaller fruits, often a greater number of fruits are produced, yielding a good total harvest. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and peas are just a few examples from the mini ranks. Some new cultivars of vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers have compact, trailing growth habits ideal for growing in hanging baskets.” — Small Plot and Intensive Gardening

7- Water less often but more deeply. Frequent light watering will result in shallow root development. When needed, water only once or twice a week but thoroughly enough to soak the soil down to at least six inches. This will encourage deep root growth.

8- Most small plot and intensive gardening techniques naturally discourage weed growth, but weeds are still likely to appear in your garden. Pull weeds as soon as you notice them. Weeds are easier to pull when young and pulling them earlier will help prevent them from spreading.

9- “For minimum maintenance and weed control, apply an organic mulch around the plants after the soil has warmed. A mulch also helps retain moisture in the soil. Grass clippings (3 to 4 inches), straw (4 to 6 inches), and sawdust (1 to 2 inches) are excellent mulches.” — Small Plot Vegetable Gardening

10- “Do not sow seeds too deeply or they may not germinate. Place carrots, radishes, and lettuce no deeper than 1/4 inch. Large seeds such as peas, beans, and cucumbers can be sown 1 to1-1/2 inches deep. Vine crops can be planted six seeds in a cluster or hill and then later thinned to four plants per hill.” — Small Plot and Intensive Gardening

11- “Thin seed rows to their proper spacing after the plants are 1-2 inches tall. Thin the plants with scissors rather than pulling them so you won’t disturb the other plants. Use the thinnings for salads.” — Small Plot and Intensive Gardening

12- Grow only a few varieties. Trying to grow a little bit of everything creates more work and yields less food. Since your space if relatively limited, try growing only a few favorites, or look to grow whatever costs the most at the market in your area.

13- Most herbs do really well in small pots. The pots can be moved around to take full advantage of sunlight, and even taken indoors in the fall to extend their productivity. Some herbs to consider: parsley, chives, mints, basil, dill, oregano and thyme.

14- “To select your vegetable garden plot, consider what vegetables need to thrive. Vegetables and fruits need 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. The vegetable garden plot should be well-drained and convenient to water (vegetables require 1 inch of water weekly or 75 gallons per 100 square feet).” — Preparing a Garden Plot (no longer available online)

15- “Soil that is loamy, well drained, and high in organic matter is ideal for your vegetable garden. Visit your local cooperative extension or health department and pick up a free soil-test kit. The ideal pH for vegetables is 6.0 to 6.5. The test tells you if your soil needs lime added (available at your local gardening center).” — Preparing a Garden Plot (no longer available online)

Herbal Cold and Congestion Remedies

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Herbal Cold and Congestion Remedies The time to prepare your herbal remedies is not in the depths of the winter. Depending on what remedies you are looking to use in the fall and winter season. Spring is really the best time to consider your remedies preparations. If you are truly looking for a sustainable process …

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Prep Blog Review: 100+ Gardening Secrets Revealed

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Gardening is a fun, healthy and rewarding activity, but in a survival situation, knowing how to grow your own food is a necessity. In a post-disaster world, having a resource of fresh food will make the difference between a healthy meal and starving.

For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered four articles where you can find more than 100 gardening secrets you can start following right now whether you are an experienced gardener or you’ve just begun growing your food.

  1. 101 Gardening Secrets the Experts Never Tell You

“A well-tended 400 square foot garden will feed a family of four.

The trick is planning, planting, tending, and harvesting that garden right.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know to maximize your garden’s production, everything the experts don’t tell you!

How to Grow from Seeds

I like to use natural topsoil to start my garden seedlings in. I usually don’t use potting soil because it generally does not produce the results I want.

I fill a large, deep baking pan with top soil and bake it for thirty minutes at 350 degrees.

This sanitizes the soil and ensures that no unwanted weeds or grass will come up in your soil. I usually start on this project in the winter and I fill up a couple of large plastic barrels with lids with the sanitized soil.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. Growing and Drying Your Own Herbs

“As a new gardener, I often found the task of growing prize winning tomatoes and succulent melons very daunting. Can I say succulent melons here? Get your head out of the gutter!

Gardening has never come naturally to me. But I learn and grow each and every year.

I finally began to master tomatoes by the third year of gardening. But I’ve still never mastered the green bean.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re gardening, but I’ve found one thing that I can never kill.

I suppose I could if I drenched it in chemicals, but ultimately, they’re very forgiving.

What is it, you ask? Why, herbs, of course!”

Read more on The Fewell Homestead.

  1. How to Make Compost with Worms

“Vermicomposting (aka worm composting) is a great way to rapidly compost your food waste.

They are hugely efficient at breaking this waste down into high quality compost.

A worm composting system is easy to build from scratch or you can choose an excellent commercial vermicomposting system.

The heart of the system is the worm bin.

This is basically the home for the worms.

It is also where they will work their magic – turning your waste into great worm castings.

A good vermiculture bin has several important components.”

Read more on The Weekend Prepper.

  1. Unbelievable Hydrogen Peroxide Uses in Garden You Should Know

“Is it possible? Are there Hydrogen Peroxide Uses in the garden?

Well, yes, it can be useful! Read on to find out how.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has an extra oxygen atom than Water (H2O), this extra oxygen atom breaks down and the molecule of water releases from this separately.

It is this extra oxygen atom that makes the hydrogen peroxide so useful.

The Hydrogen peroxide is used in cleaning, bleaching, sterilizing, as a disinfectant etc. but it can also be used in horticulture.

In simple words, Hydrogen Peroxide acts as an oxygen supplement for plants (beneficial if used in low strength).

It works by releasing oxygen and it also aerates the soil.”

Read more on Balcony Garden Web.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Companion Planting Basics

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Get companion planting basics for tomato, beans, peppers, and squash. Implement companion planting in your garden and have a bumper crop this year. | PreparednessMama

Implement companion planting in your garden The practice of companion planting has been around for generations. We see the principle working brilliantly when the three sisters – corn, beans, and squash – are planted together. Each crop is doing its part to sustain the other. “Companion planting is about marrying plants that work well together […]

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Growing in a bale

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Straw bale gardening
Straw bale gardening, it’s becoming more and more popular. I wondered if it would be as good as growing in raised beds, I had great luck growing in raised beds using a thick layer of straw as a mulch, the Ruth Stout method. A few years ago, one of my neighbors and friend who had very poor soil, in fact she had mostly rock. She took a large chain link fence dog kennel and 4 or 5 bales of hay and gave it a go.

That year, we had a gardening round-table in our community, we discuss tips and tricks for growing at our elevation and climate, my friend mentioned that her garden was going crazy, we were invited to come over and take a look after the meeting, I think most everyone at the meeting eagerly went over to see her garden.

It was unbelievable, the plants were bursting out of the dog kennel, when she went inside the kennel, you couldn’t see her anymore, the plants completely obscured her. The plants were quite happy and healthy, she didn’t even try to keep the plants inside the kennel – allowing the birds and other animals to nibble on the plants that were escaping the chain link fencing.

Seeing her garden really sold me on the straw bale gardening method. One thing I’m going to be contending with starting this year are gophers, they have been around in other parts of the neighborhood, but I’ve not seen them around this area. This year, I’ve started to see the tell tale signs of the gophers, they are small, not like the ones I remember in California, those created holes large enough to step in and break a leg. Our gophers our here make holes that are only a few inches across, though they do create lots of piles of dirt. I’ve seen them around the garden area on our property, I suspect they will be very interested in whatever I choose to plant in the garden.

https://youtu.be/juzf5VGMjCA

 

 

 

 

 

https://youtu.be/UfItdfkRikU

I’m thinking that growing in straw bales, closer to the SkyCastle, I can protect it better than out farther away. What about you? Have you grown in a straw bale? If so, how did it work for you and are you going to do it again? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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