Survival Gardening Tips

All posts tagged Survival Gardening Tips

Tess Pennington – Ready Nutrition

While the weather outside is still on the chilly side, many are making use of their time indoors and get a headstart on the upcoming gardening season by starting seeds indoors. Doing so results in earlier and longer harvests. This economic gardening method doesn’t require special equipment – just some moist soil, comfortable temperatures, and some TLC!

Seeds need perfect growing conditions to grow healthy: water – allows the seed to swell up and the embryo to start growing, oxygen – so that energy can be released for germination, and warmth – germination improves as temperature rises.

Starting longer growing varieties like herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, and onions can greatly benefit from indoor growing methods. This gives the gardener a headstart and helps to control the growing environment.

A Step-By-Step Guide for Starting Seeds Indoors

Home gardeners can start vegetable and flower seedlings indoors between 4 to12 weeks before the last average spring frost in their area, which means it’s time to get started! Above all, start with good seeds. At Ready Gardens, we prefer time-tested heirloom varieties. These plants have been shown to have outstanding flavor and good harvests. Heck, if these seeds were good enough for my grandparents, they’re good enough for me. As well, you want to ensure that your seed starting mix has nutrients to feed young plants when they start growing their true leaves. Adding perlite and vermiculite can do wonders for emerging seedlings.

  1. Fill a flat or other container with moist, sterile germination mix. Add enough mix to fill the container within an inch of the rim. Gently pat the soil down for even distribution.
  2. Plant seeds according to their growing instructions. Some seeds can be planted in rows or scattered onto the soil’s surface. Typically, seeds need to be planted at 1/2 inch below the soil surface and covered with soil.
  3. With a spray bottle filled with water, water lightly until the soil has proper moisture. Take precautions so that the soil is not waterlogged.
  4. Add a small layer of vermiculite to the top of the soil. This reduces moisture loss and cuts down on mold growth.
  5. Label the flat and cover your newly planted seeds with plastic wrap until the first sprouts emerge. This avoids drying out of the soil.
  6. Set seeds in a dark area that is not drafty. Seeds need a warm area to germinate.
  7. Once seeds have germinated and sprouts appear, transfer the containers to a sunny spot or place under grow lights. Make sure the seedlings get up to 16 hours of sunlight a day. If seeds do not get enough sunlight, they grow long and leggy and this will not produce the healthiest plants. Full spectrum grow lights can assist in giving plantlings adequate light needed for growth. Water as needed.
  8. When plants have grown to the proper size, you need to begin hardening them off and get them accustomed to outdoor living. Harden off gradually, so that seedlings become accustomed to strong sunlight, cool nights and less-frequent watering over a 7-10 day period. On a mild day, start with 2-3 hours of sun in a sheltered location. Be sure to protect seedlings from strong sun, wind, hard rain and cool temperatures.
  9. Once plants are hardened off, plant them in the garden according to the seed packets instructions.

Simply by providing seeds with comfortable temperatures, adequate soil moisture and time, your plants will establish strong root systems and, in time, grow big enough for replanting. Following these steps will ensure planting success.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: A Step-By-Step Guide for Starting Seeds Indoors
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6 Simple Ways To Save Money On Your Vegetable Garden This Year

By Kristen Duever – Off The Grid News

Growing your own vegetables is a great way to have fresh produce available at any time — and also to save money. Sometimes, though, even growing your own food can get too pricey.

Here are seven ways to make sure you’re getting the best value from your vegetable garden this year.

1. Save the seeds.

Initially when you were planning your garden for the first year, you might have had to purchase all of the seeds. But once you have a season or two under your belt, you should start saving the seeds for the next season.

2. Find a seed swap.

There likely are people in your community growing plants you aren’t currently growing – plants that you’d like to grow. And, of course, the vegetables you grow will have a ton of seeds in them — and you don’t need all of them. So share them around! If you can’t find a seed swap in your community, then put the word out there to start one; you might get more interest than you think.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 6 Simple Ways To Save Money On Your Vegetable Garden This Year

basic survival garden

By Contributing Author – Modern Survival Online

One of the best ways to be prepared for the many uncertainties that life hurls at us is to grow our own food. Gardening can be a vital skill to learn ahead of time, before a disaster strikes. There can be a decent learning curve if you’ve never raised your own food before. You need to take the time now to learn how to grow your own food! Luckily, if your goal is to raise a survival garden that will keep you alive in an emergency there are a handful of easy to grow plants that can help sustain you during a disaster, and are easy to save seeds from to plant from year after year.

Here are 5 Easy to Grow Plants For a Survival Garden

For all of these plants, make sure when you purchase your initial seed stock that you pick open pollinated types. This means that you can save your seeds every year, and even build up a stock of seeds in your freezer in case of a crop failure, all with just one, single time purchase. Hybrid or F1 varieties of seeds will produce seeds, but when you plant them, you will not necessarily get the same variety that you had the first year. Another advantage of saving your own open pollinated seeds is that the plants will adapt over time and become more resilient to your particular climate.

Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t always succeed. Try again the next year, and the next, until you’ve mastered a few essential crops. Some people seem to have a natural green thumb, but there are others of us who need to learn through trial and error. If you’re new to gardening in general, and not sure where to start, check out Easy Ways To Get Started On A Spring Garden for ideas on how to prepare now, even if it’s too chilly to start planting.

Continue reading at Modern Survival Online: 5 Easy To Grow Plants For A Survival Garden

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

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,.