Survival Gardening

By   – 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

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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  – 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

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

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)

By Theresa Crouse – SurvivoPedia

People strive for independence from big government for different reasons. Maybe you’re a “traditional” prepper who is worried about, and preparing for, a future disaster. Until then, you may be perfectly happy living with all of the modern conveniences. On the other hand, you may be seeking to be self-sufficient today and in the future.

Some people do this because they’re concerned about the planet. Others may do it in order to be able to feed themselves without depending on the government or grocery stores. Maybe you’re worried about all of the chemicals used in commercial farming. Or maybe it’s a combination of all of these.

I consider myself to be resilient. The old analogy “watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves” applies here. I’m taking care of myself and my family today in ways that will insure that we will be able to take care of ourselves in the future, even when fragile food systems may fail. Survival is built into everything I do – I just call it being self-sufficient, present, and forward-thinking.

There are many reasons you may want to be self-sufficient, or resilient, but many of the basic tools and knowledge that you need will be the same regardless of your reason. And I’m here to tell you that as long as you have a little space, you can grow enough food to survive.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: Are You Making These Steps To Resilience?

RaisingRabbits

By EllieThe Prepper Journal

Rabbits truly are the “one-size-fits-all” preppers domestic livestock and after reading the reasons why raising rabbits could be ideal for any prepper, we think you will agree.

Raising Rabbits for the obvious benefit: Meat

Believe it or not, rabbits actually are the most efficient of all livestock in converting feed to muscle mass. That basically means that it is going to take less pellets/grass/weeds per pound of meat to raise a rabbit to butchering size than for any other animal, including chickens. At the same time, rabbits are also faster at reaching butchering size than chickens. For example, if you start incubating eggs the same day that the rabbits are bred, rabbits will be ready to harvest about a month before the chickens are.

Furthermore, rabbits are a little more efficient in terms of man hours and equipment investment required. The female rabbits (known as “does”) do all the work of raising kits. All a person needs to do is supply a nest box. On the other hand, you need an incubator (and electricity) to efficiently raise chickens. (Hens are not the most efficient at raising chicks as this has been bred out of them over time. Actually, even in ancient Egypt there were commercial hatcheries for raising chickens.) Yes, we do keep chickens here, but only for their eggs. Rabbits can easily be kept in cages, even inside the house if need be.

A rabbit will provide enough meat for a family dinner, unlike goats and pigs which will provide a lot more meat, but will also require refrigeration or other means of preserving the excess. Rabbit is an all-white meat that is low in fat and cholesterol while being very high in protein. A common objection to rabbit meat is “rabbit starvation.” This happens when an already truly starving person eats only wild rabbits for a long period. Wild rabbits naturally have far less fat due to the circumstances of their existence.

Continue reading at The Prepper Journal: Raising Rabbits: One Size Fits All Prepper Solution?

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

It’s summer time! School is out, you may have time off work, and everything just feels a bit more relaxed without the usual hustle and bustle. Now is the time to really give your kids something to write about in the inevitable “What I Did Last Summer” essay when school starts back up.

Bonus! It’s also the perfect time of year to brush up on some of your skills with prepper summer vacation activities.  Not only is it a fun way to pass the time, most of these activities are frugal too.

Here’s a list of the best prepper summer vacation activities!

  1. Go camping. This time of year, you won’t have to worry about getting too cold at night. Put down your devices and go stay somewhere wild and wonderful to camp with your family. Be sure to practice all of the necessary safety precautions at your destination. (This book is a guide to freebie places to camp all across the country.)
  2. Cook outdoors. Go beyond the barbecue and try a sun oven or cooking over a campfire.
  3. Go hiking. Take the family out for an all-day adventure. This is a great time to put on your bug out bags and test them. Are they too heavy? Do you have everything you need in them?
  4. Take a class.  There are lots of weekend classes in the summer. Get certified in First Aid or Wilderness Survival. Learn a new skill like sewing or home preservation.
  5. Grow your own food. Even if you live in the city, you can use a teeny patio or balcony to grow at least some of your own food. This is a skill that could serve you very well one day.
  6. Pick survival-themed beach books. Even if you’re headed to the beach, you don’t have to leave prepping completely behind. Pick up an awesome piece of prepper fiction to enjoy while you’re lying by the water. (I am a huge fan of this series for grown-ups and here’s a list of some of my daughters’ favorite books through their childhoods.)
  7. Send the kids to a summer camp. But not just any summer camp! Pick one in which they’ll be spending lots of time doing outdoor activities, many of which are the precursor to serious survival skills. Some programs to look for are archery, marksmanship, hiking, fishing, outdoor skills, swimming, and cooking.
  8. Go fishing. Hang up your shingle and head out. Fishing is a great skill for preppers. Not only is it incredibly relaxing, you are learning two very valuable skills: acquiring food and cleaning the fish. Bonus points if you cook your catch over an open fire.
  9. Learn to preserve food. If you don’t yet know how to can or dehydrate food, summer is the perfect time to learn, when produce is abundant. Hit the farmer’s market and grab a bushel of something delicious. Then go home and put it up to enjoy throughout the winter. (Here are some tips for water bath canning, pressure canning, and dehydrating.) My kids were always very proud to serve jam that they had made and preserved themselves to guests, and they also loved giving homemade jam as holiday presents.
  10. Go shooting.  If your family enjoys firearms, summer is a great time to brush up on your skills. You can go to a range, or even better, go to a place with simulations so that you can really up your personal defense game. Even paintball can be a fun way to improve your skills.
  11. Hit some secondhand sales. One of our very favorite activities is getting up on a weekend morning and heading out with a thermos of coffee in hand. We go to yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, and thrift stores and come home loaded with treasures for only a few dollars. The stuff you find will often be of very high quality for a fraction of the price of newer, lesser quality goods. As well, if you purchase from an estate sale, you can often find extremely useful things like tools and kitchen devices.
  12. Go foraging. This is a great way to teach kids about edible plants. Grab a good local guidebook with high-quality pictures and head out to the woods with a basket. Then, come home and prepare your finds together in a delicious foraged feast.

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list, and all of the caveats apply. (Don’t eat poison stuff, don’t drown in the river, don’t leave food in your tent and get eaten by a bear, and if you do, please don’t blame me for suggesting you go foraging, swimming or camping.)

One of the most important things is to put down the devices, get away from the screens, and go outside. Spend some time in nature and some time away from your normal responsibilities. Really connect with one another and take a break from the demands of our normal lives.

What are some other good, family-friendly activities that build skills while being fun? What are your summer plans?

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: The 12 Best Prepper Summer Vacation Activities

About the author:

Daisy Luther is a single mom who lives in a small village in the mountains of Northern California, where she homeschools her youngest daughter and raises veggies, chickens, and a motley assortment of dogs and cats.   She is a best-selling author who has written several books, including The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource.  Daisy is a prolific blogger who has been widely republished throughout alternative media. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health, self-reliance, personal liberty, and preparedness. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.