Survival Gardening Tips

All posts tagged Survival Gardening Tips

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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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)

Cold Frames: The Easiest Way To Get A Jump On The Growing Season

By Jacki Andre – Off The Grid News

Are you as impatient as I am, waiting for the frost-free planting dates to arrive? As the days get longer and spring inches closer, it’s hard not to get itchy fingers for gardening. Still, at this time of year, many of us need to wait for several more weeks, or even months, before we can start planting outdoors. But what if you didn’t have to wait that long? What if you could start gardening about five weeks prior to your traditional frost-free date? You can do it with a cold frame.

A cold frame is basically just a low bottomless box with a translucent top. It protects plants from the elements and provides solar heat to keep them warm.

Creating a Cold Frame

Cold frames are easy to build with found or repurposed items, and unless you want to, there is no need to use tools. It’s true that they’re often built from lumber, with distinctive sloping tops that are covered with clear poly sheeting, polycarbonate sheets or glass. It’s easy to find plans for these kinds of cold frames, like   or  . If you are recycling windows or other material to use as the lid, you can certainly modify the plans to fit the dimensions of the cover.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: Cold Frames: The Easiest Way To Get A Jump On The Growing Season

Even if there's snow on the ground, there are still some winter garden tasks you can do that will give you a jump start on spring.:

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

If you’re itching for gardening season to start, you’re in luck. You can start now with the clean hands, no backache part. Whether or not you’ve grown a garden before, there are plenty of tasks you can do during the colder months to get ready for spring. Not using this more barren time means that your planting will be delayed and your harvests will not be as good as they would have if you had been ready to go.

Planning your garden is a crucial step in getting a decent bounty at harvest time, but there’s a lot more to it than just allocating space in your veggie plot. As I discussed last fall in this interview, you need to work on becoming more self-sufficient NOW, regardless of where you live. You don’t have to have 30 acres in the country to produce at least some of your own food.

Here are a few things you can do during the winter.

Some of these things require that the snow already be melted, while others can be done even if it’s up to your knees.

1) Pick up any downed branches 

Chop them into the appropriate sizes and set them aside for firewood or kindling. They’ll need to dry out for a season or two, but it’s a good way to add to your wood stash for free.

Bundling sticks for a perfect fire

2) Rake the leaves.

If the snow has melted, rake your garden to get rid of smaller debris and leaves. (I like this rake because the head is expandable and can work for various nooks and crannies.) Either bag up the leaves so they turn into mulch or add them to the compost bin.

3) Kick the composting into high gear.

If you have a smaller space, rotating compost bins are ideal and make compost super fast. They are the perfect size for those who need small amounts of compost for container growing.

4) Dig up any perennial weeds that have survived the winter.

If the snow has melted and the ground isn’t still frozen rock hard, you can begin attacking those stubborn weeds before things get overgrown. Check every week for new arrivals poking through especially as we move toward warmer weather.

5) Decide what you are going to grow.

Having a garden that can supply the maximum nutrients to you family will be of prime importance if the time comes when you can’t get to the store to stock up.

6) Order your seeds.

Be sure to buy heirloom seeds so you can save them year after year, something that will be critical after a long-term disaster. Get a wide a variety of seeds for long term storage. And come on, who doesn’t love curling up in front of the fire with a pile of seed catalogs?

7) Check for restrictions in your neighborhood.

The laws and regulations targeting small growers could potentially make growing your own veggies illegal. Many HOAs make it difficult to be self-reliant. Check your local regulations – no one wants to deal with the “garden police.”

8) Get your greenhouse ready.

Greenhouses should be completely emptied. Remember that rodents love make a cozy home in greenhouses. If you have one of the plastic ones (like this), they should be cleaned top to bottom to ensure no mood, spores or moss that can affect your tender plants are present.

9) Get your pots ready.

Do you save the little pots from the nursery to use year after year? Be sure to clean them properly to ensure they are free of anything that might contaminate your new plants. Check them for leaks or cracks before planting in them.

10) Test your soil.

If your soil isn’t too hard to dig up a little, it’s a great idea to check the chemistry of your soil so that you can be sure your veggies will thrive. This will help you figure out what type of amendments you will need.

Here are a few more articles that you may find useful:

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: 10 Winter Garden Tasks for People Who Just Can’t Wait to Get Started

About the author:

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com She is the author of 4 books and the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter,.

By  – The Prepper Journal

Stacking functions is a quick term for the concept of planning things (elements) and areas (space) to perform the most services for us with the least input. It’s reusing things as many times as possible to get the most out of our time and energy, and letting the spaces themselves do some of the work for us. Elements used in stacking ideally perform multiple services and functions to not only further increase the efficiency of a space, but also add to our resiliency by creating redundancies in our systems. Analyzing homestead elements for multi-functionality and redundancy were covered in the first article. This time we’ll look at combining them into multi-function spaces.

Companion Planting & Guilds

An example of a multi-function space use is companion planting. Companion planting is basically co-locating plants so that one or all partners provide something the others need. A guild is taking that to another level to create a long-sustainable system with few or no outside resources needed for its continued health.

For example, we can put chives and daylily around the base of our trees to prevent weed growth and limit our work or need for mulching that particular area, and they’ll soldier through the dense shade seasons. Around the verges of fruit, nut and resource trees we’d put shade-tolerant and part-sun or full-sun berries, depending on sunlight, or we might have berries and-or vines on the fence beside the trees.

Continue reading at The Prepper Journal: Stacking Functions: Increasing Efficiency with Multi-Function Spaces

High-Value, Low-Maintenance Crops For The Busy Homesteader

Image source: Flickr

By Amber Bogdanowicz Off The Grid News

Gardening is time-consuming for any homesteader or off-gridder, and the smart gardener is constantly looking for ways to make it easier.

Perennial crops are one of the easiest ways to save time, in that you only have to plant them once for them to keep producing. They are rare in North America gardens, but are the gift that keeps on giving!

The most common types of perennials are asparagus, rhubarb and artichokes. They require very little maintenance and can be harvested in the event of an insufficient production of annual crops.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: High-Value, Low-Maintenance Crops For The Busy Homesteader

10 Vegetables That Just Might Grow Better In Containers

Swiss chard. Image source: Pixabay.com

By Mary Dyer Off The Grid News

Growing vegetables in containers is touted as something you do if you’re an urbanite without space for a “real” garden. People often turn to container gardening when back or knee pain make bending and digging too difficult, or when the soil is so poor that it’s incapable of supporting life.

How about growing vegetables in containers because it’s a rewarding, enjoyable activity? No excuse is required. More and more people are discovering that container gardening is a perfectly viable method for growing vegetable crops.

Container gardening is so popular these days that growers have created dwarf versions of even super-size plants (like watermelons).

In fact, some vegetables actually thrive in smaller accommodations.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 10 Vegetables That Just Might Grow Better In Containers