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Showing posts with label survival gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label survival gardening. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Time for a Survival Garden

We're getting an early spring in some of the country. Time to get prepared for planting some crops. Even if you are in a holding location and plan to Bug Out to a more secure location either just before or during the collapse, planting a few vegetables to gain the experience, get the fulfillment of growing something useful, are most often not useful,.....and eating the product of your labors is really a cool thing to do, not to mention a key to your survival in a collapse unless you're sitting on a warehouse of food in a secure location.

Many neighborhoods in urban locations are collaborating together to develop roof top gardens on high rises; use former grass or landscaped areas to grow crops; and develop unique methods of gardening such as hydroponic and container gardening, all in order to make the shrinking dollar go further and actually develop a surival skill set - feeding yourself.

Throughout the winter I have been composting organic material so that next month when I start my first vegetable plants I'll have some nutrient rich, clean soil for planting. Using regular hybrid seeds for the local Home Depot, so if I am forced to Bug Out, I won't be leaving behind any of my precious non-hybird seeds nor anything else that can't be replicated with a little time.

By my calendar, sometime in late June, I'll be able to trade some cucumbers and squash to my neighbor who has a chicken coop and regular gets 8 to 10 eggs a week. In fact, I have been trading .22 LR ammunition to him for the eggs lately. At 500 rounds per dozen eggs, he's getting the better part of the deal and I do that to develop a good relationship with him. But who knows what the value of eggs or ammunition will be in the collapse.....probably depends is your highest priority was security/hunting or eating.

Survival Mom from also has the same idea, that it is getting close to planting time. I read a great tip on her site pertaining to soil preparation. The whole article is here, but in short the part that taught me something I did not know was:

6. If your planting season is still a month or more away, solarize your garden area. This is very easy, and I wish I had done this last month. Water your garden area very, very well and cover it with a huge sheet of clear plastic. I’ve seen some gardeners use black plastic, but this site recommends otherwise. Weight the plastic down around the edges to make sure that it doesn’t fly away, even in a good sized gust. Wait for 4-6 weeks. This allows the weeds to sprout, thinking, “Yaaay! We can begin adding hours of backbreaking work to this poor gardener’s week!” However, the joke is on them because once the seeds have sprouted, they will quickly die, either from the heat beneath the black plastic or from being smothered with no air or sunlight. Some seeds won’t sprout at all but will still die from being overheated.

Great tip. Sure beats the hell out of pulling weeds several few days.

Another good resource is the book "The Backyard Homestead".  It is advertised as teaching you how to grow 2,000 pounds of vegetables in as little as a ¼-acre backyard.  And not just a gardening book, this book includes how to raise chickens and bees for honey.   

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Preparing for the Collapse Links, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year All.
Continuing with requests to provide more linked articles to readers, the following are some of the better articles I have came across in the last week pertaining to preparing for and seeing the beginning of the collapse, and,  surviving the chaos and uncertainly of this coming collapse.

Looting the Treasury is the Last Act.
One of the last acts in a failed nation state is the looting of the treasury. Although politicans and their mentors have been looting the U.S. for decades,..nay, centuries, this report is not about the U.S. but on Afghanistan. At least someone sees the value of Gold.

Alternative Gardening.
An excellent article from Peak Prosperity on the Back to Eden Gardening method on using wood chips and a natural method of gardening. Having the ability to grow our own food is essential to long range survival plans. Hope you have a sufficient amount of non-hybrid seeds in your survival stocks.

Demand For Gold "CombiBars" Soaring.
Swiss refiner Valcambi which has created a CombiBar, a credit-card sized, 50 gram block of 99.9 gold, which is precut, and which can easily be broken into one gram pieces which can then be used as forms of payment in an emergency. And since one gram of gold has roughly the value of two ounces of silver, it is a far more practical lowest common denominator unit of exchange than the traditional one ounce minimums in broad circulation. impractical medium of exchange, as the traditional denominations are so large one would be unable to trade one ounce (and certainly one bar) for every day needs.

Nine States with Sinking Pensions.
Illinois is one of the states with an unfunded pension, just 45% of the state’s pension liabilities were funded in 2010. The state labor unions has fought and stalled the legislation to try to fix the underfudning. Standard & Poor’s cut the state’s credit rating in August from A+ to A, pointing to a “lack of action” in tackling the state pension system’s massive unfunded liability. Moody’s Investor Service downgraded the state earlier in the year and warned that further downgrades are possible if no action on pensions is taken. There are many states and many municipalities that are going bankrupt. What happens when there are millions of broke, hungry people who are not getting thier pension check that so are angry at the government?.....

Over the fiscal cliff: How hard a landing?
Set to start in 2013 unless Congress and Obama act to stop them are the following economy killing events: $536 billion in tax increases; $110 billion in spending cuts divided equally between the military and most other federal departments; most real experts believe that this will lead to a big recession, a bigger jump in unemployment and financial market turmoil.
It’s Not a “Fiscal Cliff” … It’s the Descent Into Lawlessness.
Lawless Looting and Redistribution of Wealth that we were warned about by financial gurus in 2008 may be upon us in 2013. As big banks go bankrupt; with bankrupt cities and coming states here in the U.S.; nations in Europe tanking from debtor status and the ones that are afloat using the nuclear options of austerity programs to try and stay solvent....the collapse storm is brewing and moving.

DHS Insider gives report on gun confiscation and martial law (plan) to investigator in face to face meeting.
This is a two part interview claimed to be authentic and posted on the Steve Quayle site. I find it hard to believe there is actually a plan for this, althought I do believe many politicians would make it happen if they could.

Oil prices rise as 'fiscal cliff' talks to resume.
Oil prices rise as Obama heads back to Washington from vacation. This, I fear, is the best prices we'll see for a long time to come, if forever. As the dollar devaluates, as the U.S. debt and fiscal policies slow or destroy any economic recovery, the prices will go up. We could possibly see $200 a barrel oil - $8 a gallon or more gasoline - before the weight of a giant depression collapses the country.

Investors Buying 50 Times More Physical Silver than Gold?
The geist of story is the surprise that the price of silver has remained at such a depressed level compared to gold. Historically, the price ratio between gold and silver has been 16:1, when both were currencies. Today the ratio is 55:1, so what are the numbers telling us? We believe this is one of those times when smart investors will be well rewarded with buying in silver.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Urban Farming Supports Collapse Preparation

With unpredecented rises in food prices many people, including urban dwellers, are trying to reduce costs by growing their own food and bartering services or goods for food, and vice versa. The U.S. used to practically feed the world. Then we went from a large agricultural society to a manufacturing society now to an entitlement society, so the bits and pieces that we can see if people learning to take care of themselves, especially through these urban farming co-operatives are good news.

The simple and undeniable fact is that Long Range Survival Planning for the collapse has got to include the ability to grow your own food. 

The below is from an article titled Farmscape Brings Urban Agriculture to Los Angeles

In a dry and sunny city like Los Angeles, planting grass is one of the more useless ways to use your property. It takes a lot of water to grow and it's expensive—but beyond that, what's the point when the climate supports much more interesting flora, like succulents, and delicious ones, like fruits and vegetables?

A company called Farmscape is proving that there's enough of an appetite for farming on residential land to turn the proposition into a high-growth business. The less-than-four-year-old company has 12 full-time employees—including seven farmers who receive a living wage plus healthcare—and is looking to keep growing. So far they've installed more than 300 urban farms throughout the L.A. area and maintain 150 of them weekly. Projects range from a rooftop garden on a downtown Los Angeles highrise to small plots for families.

An exciting project in the works is a three-quarter acre-sized farm for a restaurant in the West San Fernando Valley. And the diversity of the projects is echoed by the diversity of their clients. "When we first started, we expected that our clients would be of a higher income level and would be two-parent working families," says Bailin. Instead, Farmscape has been delighted to build gardens for preschool teachers, single mothers, and institutions and businesses that want employee gardens as perks.

Bailin says the challenges of farming in Los Angeles are manifold. "You have to account for spaces that haven't had life or biodiversity for decades and then you kind of have to bring it back." The company uses raised beds to avoid contaminated soil and drip irrigation systems to provide water.

And their newest challenge? Running for office. The company has thrown its hat into the ring for the office of mayor of Los Angeles in the 2013 election, running on the platform of bringing back farms into the city. Bailin says it's an ironic way of questioning the bounds of "corporate personhood," extended to a corporation's right to free speech by the Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United in 2010. "We’re testing the limit of what it is. If corporations are already deciding our politics by giving a bunch of money and lobbying, why not see if we can take out the middleman that would be the politician and make corporations the politician?"

It's a joke, of course, and the company will presumably never make it onto the ballot, but it's a clever way to get the word out about the company while making a statement. And perhaps this corporate candidate wouldn't be so bad anyway.

A related article on Urban Gardens:

Urban agriculture is not a new idea, but it’s being resurrected in cities throughout the country (and, for that matter, the world), in part because it’s one way of fighting childhood obesity, which, along with diabetes, is a serious health concern for children of all ages. The number of urban gardens in the United States has grown dramatically in such cities as Los Angeles, Detroit, Milwaukee, and San Francisco, where local governments and residents agree that these gardens are an important way to give children and residents access to healthy food like locally grown fresh produce.

Five Innovative Urban Gardening Programs in Los Angeles with links.

Urban Farming Food Chain Project
A partnership between Green Living Technologies and Emslie Osler Architects, this organization constructs “edible” food-producing wall panels and mounts them on buildings. The people who tend these vertical gardens use them for their own purposes (meaning produce is not sold commercially), but they currently have four locations in and around downtown Los Angeles.

Silver Lake Farms
Launched in 2004, Silver Lake Farms just began a Community Supported Agriculture program offering subscribers a weekly box of fresh produce, grown locally in Silver Lake. They also hold workshops on how to start your own vegetable garden, and sponsor a volunteer program that connects urban residents with local farms, community gardens, and homesteads to help out with some of the work.

Market Makeovers
Responding to poor access to fresh fruits and vegetables in their communities, South Los Angeles’s Healthy Eating, Active Communities initiative and Public Matters have teamed up to engage young people and convert corner stores into sources of healthy foods via an online toolkit.

Urban Homestead, Pasadena
An advocacy group for self-sufficient city living via farming and homesteading, this family-owned operation was started in the mid-1980s on a one tenth of an acre backyard plot. Most of the produce is sold to local restaurants and caterers.

Urban Farming Advocates
Formed in June 2009, Urban Farming Advocates is a group of individuals, small business owners, and organizations seeking to legalize urban farming in the City of Los Angeles. Their goal is to revise outdated ordinances that restrict people's freedom to use residential land for urban agriculture.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Agricultural Decline and Survival Gardens

The facts on the Agricultural decline: 36 days for most Americans to earn enough disposable money to pay for their year's worth of food; 150 years ago, 50% of the American population lived on farms or ranches, producing not only their own food, but food for this country and for export. In fact, we used to feed a large part of the world.

Today, less than 2% of the American population live on farms or ranches. 98 percent of the population do not produce their own food to any substantial degree. However, we have seen a recent turn to the popularity of home gardening, the cities and suburbs people are growing vegetables for many, and sometimes multiple, reasons: To defray the rising costs of food; to give themselves a sense of accomplishment that comes with planting a seed then months later harvesting something to eat; and, to practice farming skills that may be a priority in a major economic collapse or what others call for SHTF.

I think the idea most survival preppers have is to grow food to augment what they have painstakingly stored for the coming collapse. For a small family, harvesting just a couple cucumbers, squash, and corn each week could go along way when combined with rice and beans stored in bulk for emergency purposes.

It should come as no surprise that world wide food production is diminishing (part of what is driving prices up), .....and that the nutritional content of these foods is less and less. Hell, that's a great reason right there to grow your own.

When Peak Oil hits, the availability of food will decrease and the prices will increases (law of supply and demand my friends).

I recently took a bunch of excess squash, cucumbers and pomegranates to work to give to the secretarial staff. They were amazed that I grew it. While none of them know my beliefs and practices pertaining to Survival Preparation, two of these ladies (both middle aged single women) asked how hard was it to grow vegetables? Now, I'm thinking "you got to be kidding me?", then I realize that most people have never grown anything but flowers and weeds. So I spent about five minutes explaining to them how to plant a couple squash plants (success early don't you know) and made a list of what to buy, how to water, and more importantly how to educate themselves by reading.

So if you haven't started your own garden, then what are you waiting for? If you are like me you have limited room, what? four or six squash and cucumber plants is better than nothing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Survival Gardening Lessons Learned

Received this e-mail from a reader: My wife and I started a survival garden this year. I learned so many things which will come in handy if I have to rely on growing my own food. Not only do we learn good lessons, but we can stretch our shrinking dollars and get just tickled seeing things grow.

UrbanMan's comment: Absolutely. I highly encourage growing a survival garden to help reduce food costs, gained lessons learned and have those skills when it IS a life and death struggle.

1. Give pests more credit than not. Use rabbit proof wire - this is a one time purchase as it can be used time and time again.
2. Pull weeds as soon as you see them. Don't wait or you'll be over whelmed. I can see that on a Survival Team, a designated person primarily responsible for the garden with labor from the rest of the group is the way to go. You have to have some in charge that knows what they are doing. Heck our lives may be in the balance.

3. Buckets cut in half to make two donuts are good containers in the ground as they direct water directly over the roots and won't let any seeds gets washed away. You can buy store bought edging to make a donut and they can be used over and over but if you are trying to make your garden as monetarily efficient as possible then improvise with buckets.

4. During 100 degree heat most plants require watering in the morning AND evening. So be as water efficient as you can.
5. Be creative for your soil. In my sandy area I use horse and cow manure that I get for free, minus the gas for my truck to go get it, to mix with the sand. My wife is now used to saving vegetable leftovers and skins for our compost heap.
6. My experience is if the seed packet says "fruit in 60 days", plan for 90 days, or even more. Most of our vegetables produced very late.
7. Beans too much water and care for the output.
8. Onions easy to grow and do not use a prohibitive amount of water.
9. Squash and cucumber are easy to grow, produce good product for the required care and water.
10. Corn - easy to grow. Be careful where you grow it as other people can see the stalks,....they may be thinking "where there is corn there may be other vegetables as well."
11. Carrots, for me, were hard to grow. In fact, this endeavor was a failure. Could be the soil and lack of nutrients, but then again most of the other crops grew. Next, I'll start the carrots in- doors until they sprout.
12. Finally, my tomatoes are my prize vegetable. They are growing well in half shady area. I am growing two different types.

Our plan is to can some of the vegetables and dry others so we developed lessons in the preservation techniques. I have a canning setup with 24 mason jars and a dehydrator.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Urban Survival - Questions on Growing Crops

I guess that in this period of rising food costs, people (and not just survivalists) are growing crops on their property. Most of the readers of this site are sure to be familiar with the book "Square Foot Gardening" which is a great resource for efficiently growing vegetables in small plots.

I have receive a couple of e-mails asking me questions like: "what are you growing"; "what I recommended for certain climates or growing latitudes"; "how much room do I have to grow vegetables and what do I do to make the best use of the space as possible", and some other questions as well.

If you are reading this site then you are most probably prepping to survive a collapse, it an economic collapse, or some sort of terrorist event or anything that makes surviving very difficult without prior planning and preparation. I have been growing vegetables in my suburban location every year for the past five years for several purposes: 1 - it's cheap to do and good to practice growing crops even when you don't really need them; and 2 - in case an unexpected collapse hits then I have a jump start on growing vegetables.

In my backyard I am currently growing 6 Squash plants, 8 Cucumbers plants, 2 rows of Green Beans each six feet long, 2 rows of Corn each six feet long and 1 row of Onions in plant beds alongside my rock wall. I am now about out of space alongside my wall, as I also have a couple dwarf fruit trees, from which the Apricot trees are producing.

I also have a couple of bucket containers with squash and grapes in them and am planning on doing some square container gardening in a week or two, planting some egg plant, more squash, more onions and maybe some carrots or beets.

Every year I have included the "big three": Squash, Corn and Beans. This is the primary fare of first Pilgrims, taught to grow it from the local Indians they first made contact with.

I have lots of rice, macaroni, pinto and black beans stored. I plan on using the vegetables in different capacities to augment rice and pasta sort of like Jambalaya.

I use store bought hybrid and non-hybird seeds, saving my heirloom seed kits for when the SHTF. I have had good luck of any seed from Gurnseys and Ferry-Morse. Ferry-Morse, which should be available in your local Home Depot or Lowes, sells a 100% certified organic seeds that have a high percentage of sprouting.

I have some railroad ties used in my flower beds and landscaping. These are readily available not only to pull inside the house and use as small arms protection under the windows, but I can situate these in the back yard and turn my whole backyard into a survival garden. I keep some 1x4 inch boards in my garage to also use in this endeavor.

I have a green house kit, still in the box, and will get that up and running when the need to grow crops during the colder months becomes apparent.

So in summary I guess I saying that squash, corn, beans, cucumbers and onions are my mainstay crops. I think everyone needs to grow now to get those lessons learned. I think everyone also needs to think about how are they going to eat during the colder months. Use up all your stored foods? Better to learn to can or preserve what you grow and look into running a greenhouse. Last suggestion would be to buy the book "Square Foot Gardening" - this is a good asset to have in your survival bookshelf.....but read it before you need it.