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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Urban Survival Food – Growing an Urban Garden

This post is a companion to the previous post on procuring and storing Vegetable and Crop Seeds for post collapse Survival Food supply. See: Stockpiling Crop Seeds

Procuring the necessary amount of non-hybrid seeds to be prepared to grow your own food source maybe the biggest end of being prepared in this aspect, however we feel that no matter what the current situation is now the potential Urban Survivalist should at least grow a small garden now in order to gain the experience that comes with trial and error.

Some of the biggest factors in an Urban Survival Garden are space and dirt in which to plant and grow. You don’t have to bring in a couple tons of topsoil in order to have a survival garden. Almost any container is suitable for certain types of vegetables.

Larger root vegetables such as potatoes will obvious need a larger container than would smaller root vegetables such as radishes.

Vine vegetables such as squash, cucumbers, watermelons and such will do fine in smaller containers.

There is a very good website for urban gardening and we have run across in past. This site used commercial bags of topsoil bought at a hardware or store such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. These Urban farmers punched drain holes in one side of the bag, then turned the bag over and created a larger window in this side to allow the planting and watering. This technique probably saves a lot of water with the plastic container containing most of it as to allow the roots to take the water in along with nutrients from the soil.

Although planting in topsoil bags is a great idea, it also is a more costly as we checked at Lowe’s recently and these bags of topsoil were selling for over $5.00 each. Most vegetables will do fine in free dirt. Our favorite is a mix of sand and horse manure that we get for free – one we shovel up in the desert or an open lot, and the other we get from a local horse trainer. With sufficient water we grew incredibly large Black Magic Squash last summer.

We use all sorts of containers,…..various sized buckets with drain holes punched in the bottom and a narrow layer of rocks to aid in drainage before we add the soil mix. We keep the soil a few inches below the top of the bucket so that water can be added without it running off the bucket.

Heavy duty trash bags or surplus military sand bags make a good container also, especially for vine vegetables and fruits as the vines will grow out and bear fruit – the container serves only to house the plant’s roots to get minerals, water and nutrients from the soil.

Practically any container that allows for root growth and drainage would work. If you are a true Urban Environment Survivalist,….that is living inside the concrete jungle,…maybe commercial bought, bagged topsoil is your only option,. If so, then maybe you can transplant the top soil to other containers in order to use only what you need for that plant(s) to thrive.

Whatever plants you decide upon planting, there are many free resources to learn how that plants or crop grow best. These sources may be any local or state agricultural extension office, as well as the abundance of on-line resources. Both these resources may not be accessible after the collapse, get the information now that you are going to need to grow crops.

There is no reason that a winter crop cannot be achieved using a green house. After a collapse, of practically any kind, procurement of needed materials such as glass and food to frame up protect the crops while allowing sunlight, may be very hard to do.

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