By Kristen Duever – Off The Grid News
As we enjoy the changing seasons and the vibrant colors that come with autumn, we prepare ourselves for cooler temperatures and the raking and gathering of fallen leaves. For gardeners, this doesn’t mean an added chore, but actually a beneficial moment for improving and preparing our gardens for winter. There are many uses for those discarded leaves, and below are a few common ones.
- Compost: Mow the leaves and place in the compost pile. It is easy to shred the leaves with a mower.
- Leaf mold: This is a pile of leaves and soil that sits for about a year, and then is added to the compost. It helps with nutrients and soil-building.
- Storing: This is a method of keeping all the leaves in a pile and using them to add to the compost when brown material is needed.
- Mulch: Mulch retains moisture, controls temperature of soil and limits weed growth. Leaves also add nutrients and brown material as time goes on.
Let’s take a look at using autumn leaves. Mulching is one of the easiest and most beneficial methods of using autumn leaves.
Continue reading ay Off The Gris News: Autumn Leaves: ‘Miracle Mulch’ For Your Spring Garden
By Theresa Crouse – SurvivoPedia
If you’re like me, if you see something you like, you wonder how to make them instead of just buying it from somebody else. This is how many of my friends have gotten into home canning – they’ve tasted something that I’ve made (I regularly give away my jellies, jams, and salsas as gifts) and then they want to learn how to make it.
When I tell them, I also teach them how to avoid several common home canning mistakes, and now I’d like to share them with you.
Whether you’re making peach preserves or entire meals in a jar, don’t make the following mistakes!
Not Wiping the Rims
This is one of those rookie mistakes that a person only makes large-scale once. It’s common even for an experienced canner to have a jar or two not seal, especially when canning greasy foods like meat or sauces.
Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: When Canning Goes Bad: 9 Common Mistakes To Avoid
When we sit down with the goal to be prepared and self-sufficient, we have to balance a lot. We already walk tightropes between work and home life in many cases. Adding a pursuit that could really be its own full-time job only makes things harder. The self-sufficiency arm alone could occupy a full work week, and for some, the future looms as a period when we may have to increase our physical vigilance on top of producing our own food, medicine, and supplies.
There are methods we can use to make gardens maintenance friendly, and plant selections can ease it further. In some cases, there are plants that grow with few inputs and are specific to our regions. In other cases, we can also decrease our labors in a work-heavy and typically strength-sapping hot season by making selections that ease the other side of growing and harvesting.
Processing & Storage
Whether it’s annuals, an annual veggie garden, or perennials, whatever methods for production we choose takes time away from our daily lives. Then our produce needs to be processed, one way or another.
Even now when most lives are relatively easy due to power tools, refrigeration, and transportation, we tend to be pretty busy. I think most of us expect that even without the tug of paying jobs and some of the extracurricular activities that suck up our time, a life “after” will be just as busy and in some or many cases, even more labor intensive.
Continue reading at The Prepper Journal: Storage-Friendly Survival Gardening
By R. Ann Parris – The Prepper Journal
Whether it’s a survival garden or a small-space hobby plot and pots, the concept of producing “high value” crops periodically comes up. That term can be a little bit of a moving target, with a number of variables factoring in. Our growing season, desire for calories or balancing our stored staples with vitamin-rich foods, the amount of space we have in our plots or pots, the neediness of various plants, and other aspects all come into consideration. In an entirely different vein, we might highly value crops like teff (Williams’ lovegrass), yams, amaranth, and some of the perennials and wild edibles because they look less like a food item to most of the country, regardless of effort or yield-per-acre, or because they’re extremely drought or cold tolerant. However, we define value, we want to get the most for our efforts.
Most Common Factors in “Value”
One of the primary factors in value for survival growers is the calorie density – per plant or per space or per week http://www.gardeningplaces.com/articles/charts/World-Staple-Crops-2009.png. Value is also seen as the total bulk for filling bellies by square foot or week, with calories only a secondary or tertiary concern. There’s also a current-cash-value or equivalent-to-cash-value that might come into play.
Staples like wheat, corn or potatoes all have significant calories per square foot or acre, and in the case of potatoes, per plant. Protein from crops versus livestock – and livestock’s feed needs – also merits consideration, large scale or backyard or condo/apartment dweller. Rabbits are quiet, cheap to feed, and need little space, but if we have the land, the protein and calorie boosts from eating closer to the bottom of the food chain may be more attractive.
Continue reading at The Prepper Journal: Selecting Crops for Survival Gardens
By Ken Jorgustin – Modern Survival Blog
Depending on the growing time to maturity (time to harvest) for a given vegetable you might consider a two week staggered planting delay instead of starting everything all at once.
Why might this be a good idea?
One of our readers recently said this:
“I learned that planting an entire garden at one time was a disaster when everything matured at the same time as well. We could not eat it fast enough nor could we preserve it all as required.”
Continue reading at Modern Survival Blog: Vegetable Garden Staggered Planting Every Two Weeks
By R. Ann Parris – The Prepper Journal
Preparedness and self-sufficiency usually turns to food production at some point. Whether we’re old hats or just getting started, there are some set standards that tend to take place in the veggie garden. Sometimes they’re very well deserved. Sometimes, though, changing things up can make a difference in our ability to produce foods. Small scale or large, when it comes to the veggies, doing things differently can buy us the time and space to get started or expand our harvests.
Doing Things Differently
We may not have time for the conventional annual-veggie garden. The big square or rectangle of bare earth set off from the house takes a fair bit of time and water to maintain, even if there’s best management practices in place that return organic matter and keep the soil healthy.
Changing things up can help us save time, especially.
Where we place our veggies alone makes a huge difference for a lot of people. Growing in a bed system is its own article. So is mapping a home, yard, or larger property with a process called zoning. We can automatically make a few changes, however, to bring our veggies to more convenient locations.
Why is convenience entering the conversation?
Continue reading at The Prepper Journal: Start Gardening Differently
By Kathy Bernier – Off The Grid News
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.”
Continue reading at Off The Grid News: Everything You’ve Wanted To Know About Mulching (But Didn’t Want To Ask)