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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 10:57 PM
Original message
If you were going to grow food for long-term survival
what would you plant?

We're looking for some plants that provide a lot of food in the spring and summer, but we're also looking for plants that provide food that can be stored or plants that provide food in the winter.

We're in Redding, California. We can grow 'most any vegetables and small fruit trees, but we do get hard frosts in the winter and the summers are BRUTAL.

Thanks.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-02-08 11:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. potatoes, wheat, onions. beets, apples spring to mind n/t
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 12:48 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm also interested in this topic.
Almost anything can be frozen, dried, or canned, or so I've been told.

We planted the standard range of common veggies and melons last year.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


We froze beans and tomato sauce last year, and are looking at canning and drying this season.
A small greenhouse is being planned to extend our growing season.
We would like to eat from the garden all year.

We planted broccoli and cauliflower in early March.
The broccoli survived (thrived) through several mid-20s overnight freezes. We will plant earlier next year, and may try for a late crop this year.
The onions and garlic grew throughout the Winter.


We will harvest some peaches, apples, and strawberries this year.
We added 2 more Peach trees, a fig tree, several different grapes, blueberries, and raspberries this Spring. Blackberries grow wild.
Ultimately, we would like to have fruit juices, preserves, and dried fruit year round.

We would like to plant some type of grain (other than corn) to make bread and cereals, but haven't done the research yet.

If you are planning for survival, avoid "Hybrid" seeds or plants. Hybrids often do not produce a good 2nd generation.
Opt for "heirlooms" to protect your seed stock.

Hybrid seeds, on the other hand, are bred for qualities such as longevity or disease resistance. To get these characteristics, the plants have been bred to two parent varieties. The seeds are often sterile, or if they do germinate, the plants aren't identical to the parents. "Hybrid seeds have become the cause celebre for the large seed companies around the world because they are far more profitable," says Judyth McLeod, author of several gardening books. "They can be made to a secret recipe just like Coca-Cola. And they're a non-renewable resource needing to be repurchased every year."

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-94775459.html


More on hybrid vs heirloom
http://www.vegetablegardeningguru.com/heirlooms-vs-hybr...
We still plant some hybrids, but are moving toward heirloom.




You may want to consider honey bees.
Honey has a long shelf life, and the bees are great for the fruits and veggies.
We have fallen in love with our bees.


This should be an interesting topic.

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murray hill farm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #2
9. HI Bob
I love what you guys have done. In many ways, you are my inspiration. I am wondering if you have a pond on your property. I saw a lot of ponds when I was there last month...and am thinking that I would like that to be one of the first things that I look into on my property. do you know how that all works...ha! Do you just have folks come in a dig up an area?????
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #9
23. Hi !
The best way to make a pond is to build an earth dam across a small creek or a rainwater drainage channel at a natural choke point.

We have a small pond.
The previous owner used a bulldozer to put up an earth dam across a spring fed creek.
The bad news is that he got the bulldozer stuck and had to bring in heavy equipment to free the bulldozer, and messed up the spring. Where the spring once came up in small pool, it now just oozes up in many undefined places. It may fix itself over time, but I'm not holding my breath. I don't think it would do any good to try to dig it out.
The pond holds water, even throughout the drought last year, and the deer come to the pond to drink in the evenings, so its all good.

Did you get the Cove property?
I'd love to call you "neighbor".
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murray hill farm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Yep! I did!
We still have to close, but that should happen soon. I went to the 1st National bank in Mena and got a mtg....so, it looks good, but I am not going to jump up and down celebrating until it is completely signed and sealed. I will not be actually able to relocate for a few years, depending on how long it takes to sell my house here, but I am pretty excited about it. I plan to come out and camp on the property in the late summer or early fall. One of the things I want to do while I am there is to get someone out there to give me some idea on how/where to put a pond, see about getting in a hand pump on the well that is there,do some repairs on the barn and have a nice outhouse built. That may be a lot to do in a month, but the realtor, John Titsworth jr, said he could get it all done, find people to do it, send me pics of the progress, etc. (he is a real high energy guy..ha).
As you know, your pictures on DU were my inspiration to come and check out the area. Thank you for that...I could never have imagined an area so right for me. I do look forward to being your neighbor..even though that may take a few years. Pat Ohhhhhhhh, and I LOVE that bee picture you posted. It is amazing....just amazing!
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. Congratulations, Neighbor !!!!!
We drove through the backroads south of Cove yesterday.
The area is beautiful....in full Spring.
Lucious, unspoiled, undeveloped, wild flowers blooming....beautiful.

:hug: :party:
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #2
10. Plant agastache for the bees
Agastache, also called lavender hyssop and Korean hyssop, isn't really hyssop, but a very pleasant, licorice-smelling member of the mint factory that is absolutely catnip for bees.

It will re-seed every year. It also makes a nice-tasting tea.
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
21. Friends of ours are getting
bees soon. They were over last weekend and we were discussing the bee situation. Small beekeepers are saying the problems are being caused by the big folks who are driving semi loads of bees around the country and working them too hard. Small local hives don't seem to be effected. What's been your experience?

I find you and Starkraven to be inspirational, too. It was those pics that got us to change up our garden, too. Your place is awesome. We'd love to come over some time and see it in person some day, if you're agreeable to that.

:hi:
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. Hi !
We love our bees.
I love to sit and watch them work.
Fascinating creatures.
The more we learn about them, the more fascinating they become.

They are smart, gentle, hearty, and very good at taking care of themselves, but sometimes domestic bees need a little help. There are some things you need to know when that time comes.
Starkraven did the research online and in the library, but some hands on experience would have been nice, especially when opening a hive for the first time (very scary then, routine now...even I do it!). There are some little things that are not covered in the books, like how to properly tie on the hood so that bees can't get inside.....


We have three very strong recommendations for someone planning on starting bee colonies.

1)Use only NEW hive bodies and equipment!
There are plenty of online resources for complete packages of NEW equipment. There is also a bunch of used equipment available. There are a number of persistent diseases and parasites that can be transferred in used equipment. It is beter to NOT take that chance.

2)Join the local BeeKepers association.
Non-commercial BeeKeepers are some of the most laid back people we have met.
The local club is a valuable (necessary) source for important local information about pests, nectar flows, Africanized bees, and disreputable operators.
Your friends can get some hands-on experience working around hives (highly recommended) from people in the club, and maybe some free bees.


3) Check In with the local county extension.
There are some regulations about keeping bees that involve inspections and registration.
We normally don't "do" government registrations, and it is pretty easy to keep outlaw hives if you are in the country, but we decided to register our bees. Since we registered our hive location, no one can put hives within a certain distance (I think 2 miles?).


There is probably not one single cause for CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder). Most of the BeeKeepers we know (local non-factory) feel that it is probably a combination of stressors....pesticides, herbicides, FrankenFlowers (geneticly altered pollen & nectar), air pollution, noise, commercial $$ BeeKeeping (factory farming bees), breeding (inbreeding?) bees for maximum honey production, rapidly transporting bees across the country exposing them pests and diseases, overdosing commercial bees with prophylactic antibiotics, taking too much honey from the hives forcing the bees to work harder,.....who knows?

It makes sense to us to give the bees a non-toxic natural environment. We are lucky in our location. We don't even get cell phones here, and are miles from any urban pressures.
Some of the local non-commercial BeeKeepers have experienced CCD, but I am not sure of their locations or environmental pressures.

We started our two colonies last Spring (1 year ago), and both survived the Winter. Both hives have good population and seem healthy. The clover is in bloom on our hilltop, and the bees are very busy.

Working Girl


Starkraven tending her HoneyBees


http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Please let me know if you are in the neighborhood.
:hi:


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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 01:02 AM
Response to Original message
3. Corn and potatoes
Both the staple carbohydrates that sustained, by some accounts, the greatest population densities in the world before our modern age. They are both easy as far as storage and seed-saving for the next crop.

In the long term fruit and nut trees are both very good, but you have to have the time and space.
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
19. The corn that was cultivated
Edited on Sun May-04-08 01:12 PM by hippywife
before our modern age was totally different than what we have today. The many varieties that used to be sustenance crops for the plains Indians and the indigenous populations of Mexico, Central and South America (and still are in some areas) was not a starch and was high in protein.

What we now know as corn has been hybridized and selected for high yields and sugar content, whittled down from several varieties into just a few.
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badgerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 03:29 AM
Response to Reply #19
30. I receive a LOT of seed catalogues...
and these guys believe in non-hybridized, heirloom-type seeds as well as green, earth-friendly methods of growing. :thumbsup:
You might find these of interest:

http://www.seedsofchange.com/default.asp

http://www.seymourseedusa.com/default.asp

http://www.johnnyseeds.com /

http://www.heirloomseeds.com /

Gardens Alive! and Nitron are also green companies that carry some very useful products.
Have used them with excellent results. :hi:
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. I have ordered from
Seeds of Change for the past three years but I'm switching to Seed Savers because Seeds of Change is now owned by Mars.
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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #31
41. That's good to know. Thanks.
nt
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #19
36. In Mexico there are still hundreds of varieties
I was just reading the other day about their efforts to preserve all the old strains...they are more rare, but they are still around.

Another thing about corn - it was most likely a highly engineered crop to begin with, and by nature (pollination by wind) freely forms hybrids whether you want it to or not. A higher protein content would be nice, but as one who gardens for my kitchen table I don't mind a high yielding sweet corn.

The same goes for potatoes, which NPR did a story on the other day. The farmers there have hundreds of varieties still going.
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-06-08 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #36
40. It's amazing isn't it?
Did you see the movie King Corn?
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 01:19 AM
Response to Original message
4. Historically, looking at various cultures who survived upon a single crop: SQUASHES win, hands down.
Luckily for us in the 2008 USA, "Squash" describes a lot
of different varieties, and we can obtain seeds for all of them.

Squashes are hardy and prolific- whatever your "soil type", there
are probably 20 varieties that will grow like weeds in it.

And by planting several carefully-chosen varieties, you can have
some that will begin sprouting in February and make food all spring
and summer, and others that produce "winter squashes" in the fall
that will stay fresh and edible for months if kept in a cool dark place.

And they'll make an amazing amount of food, if you let them. That's
the thing about a lot of squash varieties: they have no size limit
to their fruits.

They aren't like corn or tomatos- they don't reach a certain size and
then "ripen"; they're edible from day one and get bigger until they die.

From "A"corn squash to "Z"ucchini, most varieties just keep getting BIGGER
until you pluck them off the vine.
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Blue Gardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 07:38 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Mom used to feed us Hubbard squash
We had a lot of mouths to feed and not a lot of money. It's pretty tasty, and you can can it. It makes a pretty good pie and can be used in place of pumpkin.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. I baked my spaghetti squash in January after picking them in August..eom
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #16
26. Those are a favorite here at our house. Are they any trouble to grow?
The only members of the squash family we have this year
are some zucchini. I've grown them before, so I figured
they'd be a good starting point- once I master growing
them in containers, I hope to branch out to other squashes.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #26
32. Squash are native to this continent, so they work well
I have grown spaghetti squash from starts that I bought at the garden center for about three years and they have always produced well. One year was extraordinary. This year, I bought seeds mail order from Harris Seeds, www.harrisseeds.com . I have them growing under lamps in starter pots. Harris' germination rate was excellent.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #4
37. Thats a good idea I hadn't thought of.
My wife and girls don't like squash so I haven't been planting any, but maybe I will try to find a tasty variety and a good recipe...
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
5. I would diversify
The main thing is that monocropping needs just one crop failure to mess up your entire harvest.

So grow a variety of fruits (you can dry them for off season eating), a variety of grains (I'm stuck on the idea of amaranth currently, more protein in the grain that wheat or corn, and the leaves of young plants can be eaten like spinach), a variety of tubers and roots, etc.

I'm in agreement with the advice on heirlooms (good) vs. hybrids (bad).
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
7. You can grow practically year round where you are.
How low is a typical frost in Redding? I think your area is a cold Zone 9 or a warm Zone 8 which means it's not much colder than here. We're in a cold Zone 9 inland valley. Frosts in the high 20s are common and colder nights do happen some winters. You get more very hot weather than we do in the summer. schedule than here. We are essentially in the same growing zone.

If the frosts don't get below the mid-20s most of the time you can grow cole crops in the fall and winter. Broccoli and kale do very well here if we plant them by October. They need warm soil to get going but don't mind light frosts. Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower are other hardy cole crops but I haven't tried them.

In the fall (ca. October) and late winter (ca. February) you should be able to grow radishes and lettuces, both fast and high volume foods, as long as you have heavy weight floating row covers to protect the plants from frost or grow them in a cold frame.

Then there are the overwintering crops like garlic and fava beans. Favas can be planted anytime in the fall and will fix nitrogen in the soil. In the spring you can harvest leaves for sauteing and later on (about now) you can harvest the beans. Favas don't mind heavy soil either -- no need to restrict them to the prepared beds unless you have concerns about toxins in the unimproved soil.

Garlic can be planted in the fall in just about any loamy or sandy soil. It will grow all winter and be ready for harvest as green garlic in April, as full bulbs about the end of May. It's easy, too --we buy bulbs from organic farmers at the market and plant those rather than buy garlic sets. Each clove becomes a bulb so it doesn't take many bulbs to get a big yield.

And the range of fruit and nut trees that grow around here is amazing. Plums, figs and almonds are just about the easiest. With careful selection you can grow most citrus types too. Dwarf or semi-dwarf trees are best because on the cold winter nights you'll want to throw a sheet over each one to minimize frost damage (for young trees we used appliance boxes the first few years as frost covers.) Best of all, citrus produces best during the months that most other fruiting trees are dormant.

Then of course there are the herbs. Cilantro and parsley are good crops during the same seasons as lettuce. Mint is good from about April to December. These leafy herbs (plus basil in the summer) are good because they can be used as salad greens.

The biggest problem we have is having space available in the beds.

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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #7
22. We're a cold zone 9
Redding gets really widely ranging winter weather, which makes gardening annoying. This year we had a mild winter where storms came "normally" but didn't dump large amounts of rain. Between storms the weather was warm and mild. The snow hasn't melted off the mountains though, which according to local wisdom means we may be asking for it planting this early.

Last year it POURED all winter.

The year before it snowed heavily at Christmas and was very cold all winter.

Usually frosts aren't too bad, down into the mid-20s, but sometimes we get some really nasty cold snaps.

So yeah, the weather really depends on the year.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #22
35. Cold frames really help.
They're meant to deal with frosts but they're helpful with winter rain storms too. After the dumping rain storms the areas under the cold frames were damp but not soaked.

I learned a lot about gardening in this region from a Redding native.
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bhikkhu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #35
38. My cold frame is a prehung door laid flat on the ground
Carpet is stapled over the door for a bit of insulation and then the ground excavated to give the plants some head room. I have had tomatoes out for a month now, and they have survived several light snows and many 20 degree nights. I also have my lettuce crop going in there, and it helps that once the local slugs are tracked down no more are likely to get in.

Open the door in the morning, close it at night - its about as simple as things can get!
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brer cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
28. We can easily keep mustard greens
through the winter in the North GA mountains. After a snow or freezing rain, they look dead but pick right back up. And they stay sweet until spring, when we turn under the remaining plants. I find it a real pleasure to pick fresh greens all winter.
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japple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-07-08 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #28
42. Hi, neighbor! I'm over on the western side of North Georgia
and we have leeks, greens and cabbage that will winter over as well. It's really great to saute leeks together with mustard and cabbage greens. Mmmmmhhhh, delicious.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-03-08 09:24 PM
Response to Original message
8. beans
Very easy to grow and preserve, you can live off them.
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japple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-07-08 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #8
43. I second that. Beans come in many varieties and can be
frozen, canned or dried. I've never made "leather britches" but I have eaten them, and I much prefer frozen or canned.

Squashes can also be made into relishes or pickles which really perk up a menu in the dead of winter. A pot of beans, coleslaw, and cornbread is a meal fit for a queen!
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murray hill farm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
11. I always think that water is the most important survival tool
I much prefer canning and drying of foods to freezing, since if one is looking at survival, we are really talking about the probability of, at best, intermittent electricity in such a scenario. Seed saving know how is also important in being able survive long term. I like the idea of bees..so important on so many levels, plus a desirable food source. for long term survival, I like the idea of diversified squash, beans and potatoes, beets..and really all can be canned. Food for farm animals is also something to be considered to feed your goats or chickens or whatever...and I am not sure of what would be the best all around crop, but I am interested in anyones ideas on that as well.
As a side note, I always buy candles at garage sales where people give them away practically...they keep forever....and when thinking about survival, it would be nice to be able to see a little at night, as well as eat..ha!
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #11
33. I like the idea of storing winter squash and root vegetables in a cool place for several months
It requires no additional energy and not a lot of work (like canning). My only canning so far has been pepperoncini in vinegar with a hot-bath canner. Canning green beans sounds great--you have to cook them anyway, so you might as well cook them when canning them.
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murray hill farm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Yes, canned beans are great.
canning green beans with dill is just the best. I have a wonderful old family recipe for chili sauce..which I use on everything from eggs and rice and beans...to any meat. If anyone wants it, just let me know.
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
12. First, I would highly recommend
Edited on Sun May-04-08 11:49 AM by hippywife
reading Eliot Coleman's "Four Season Garden." http://www.fourseasonfarm.com /

Root vegetables store well in a cool, dark, and dry place. We're gonna use our fraidy hole this year for that, I think. Then look into canning and freezing what can't be stored.

Here's a pretty extensive site that I've looked over and will probably consult on a regular basis once harvesting begins:

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp /

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murray hill farm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Hey!
What is a "fraidy hole"? Sounds useful.
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. LOL!
It's our tornado shelter. Haven't had to use it for it's intended purpose yet, thank goodness! :hi:
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murray hill farm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Cool! I want a fraidy hole too.
I am in the process of buying 10Ac in Cove, AR.....about 10miles south of BVAR and Starkraven (i was so inspired by his photos of the area...that I went out to check out the area). The land has a huge barn in bad condition..no house, but it is beautiful land. So, it will take me a few years to sell my house and relocate, but I so look forward to it. Let me ask you the question then, do you guys have a pond on your property? Do you know anything about creating a pond? I am most interested in this and am hopeful that it might be one of the things I could do with the property in the interim.
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. I remember you mentioning
that you wanted to buy some land in that area. I'm jealous! It's a lush, beautiful area. We'd like to do the same eventually up near Jasper.

We don't have a pond but we've thought about it and decided against it. Right now I'm not really sure where we would locate it. We have 8 ac. but it's long and narrow. The house is about 100 ft. of the road and the garden is in front because the sewage system, septic tank and lagoon, run straight behind the house.

We do have a creekbed that runs the east side of the property but it's dry through the summer.

Good luck with the sale and relocation. It sounds very exciting! :hi:
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
15. I highly recommend: Gardening When It Counts by Steve Solomon
I flipped for this book last year when I bought it and now I am basing my 2008 garden on its concepts. I had been meaning to put a book report up here at DU/G forum. Here is the blurb. You can read chapter one of the book online.

http://www.newsociety.com/bookid/3920 <- Chapter One is linked off of that page.
Gardening When It Counts
Growing Food in Hard Times
By Steve Solomon


The decline of cheap oil is inspiring increasing numbers of North Americans to achieve some measure of backyard food self-sufficiency. In hard times, the family can be greatly helped by growing a highly productive food garden, requiring little cash outlay or watering.

Currently popular intensive vegetable gardening methods are largely inappropriate to this new circumstance. Crowded raised beds require high inputs of water, fertility and organic matter, and demand large amounts of human time and effort. But, except for labor, these inputs depend on the price of oil. Prior to the 1970s, North American home food growing used more land with less labor, with wider plant spacing, with less or no irrigation, and all done with sharp hand tools. But these sustainable systems have been largely forgotten. Gardening When It Counts helps readers rediscover traditional low-input gardening methods to produce healthy food.

Designed for readers with no experience and applicable to most areas in the English-speaking world except the tropics and hot deserts, this book shows that any family with access to 3-5,000 sq. ft. of garden land can halve their food costs using a growing system requiring just the odd bucketful of household waste water, perhaps two hundred dollars worth of hand tools, and about the same amount spent on supplies - working an average of two hours a day during the growing season.


--0--

In this book, I learned what I was really trying to do to improve soil fertility and to make compost, and a large number of other key topics. Solomon has a good amount of skepticism about the quality of the seeds we gardeners buy off the rack. The seed companies are under tremendous price pressure and they manage that by sending their old product to gardeners' market because they know that farmers would not accept the low germination rate of old stock.

Solomon is also noted for his low cost fertilization scheme that he calls Complete Organic Fertilizer, which is largely based on seed meal and mineral nutrients. This article in Mother Earth News is a good condensed version of that part of his thesis. Here is an excerpt .


http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2006-0...

Because my garden supplies about half of my familys yearly food intake, I do all I can to maximize my vegetables nutritional quality. Based on considerable research and more than 30 years of vegetable growing, I have formulated a fertilizing mix that is beneficial for almost any food garden. It is a potent, correctly balanced fertilizing mix composed entirely of natural substances. Its less expensive than commercial organic fertilizers, and its much better for your soil life than harsh synthetic chemical mixes.

In my gardens, I use only this mix and regular additions of compost. Together they produce incredible results. Ive recommended this system in the gardening books Ive written over 20 years. Many readers have written me saying things like, My garden has never grown so well; the plants have never been so large and healthy; the food never tasted so good. The basic ingredients seed meal, various kinds of lime, bone meal and kelp meal are shown below. The complete recipe is on the tear-out poster located within this article
...snip...




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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. Thank goodness
there are so many people out there sharing their expertise and experience. We're all gonna need it.

I seriously wonder what the vast majority of people are going to do when food becomes ever more scarce and expensive. I think so many have no concept at all about what's down the road. Sad and scary.
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Tumbulu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-04-08 11:18 PM
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29. Plant heirloom wheat and spelt
both of these are planted in the late fall early winter, require no irrigation and are harvested in the summer. They keep for years if stored properly.

Also, trees that can produce without irrigation: almonds, apricots....just s few.

I think that it is a good idea to think of planting plants that can survive and produce without irrigation.
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-05-08 09:16 PM
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39. Winter crops...
I live in the eastern panhandle of WV, so we do get decent winters here. I've had great luck with winter crops of parsnips, brussels sprouts, cabbage, siberian kale and carrots. Even some broccoli. A decent layer of straw helps to insulate winter crops. Onions and garlic can survive really cold weather too, although they won't mature until it warms up.
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-07-08 04:58 PM
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44. Here's a video/ Peak moment...
http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/an-exper... /

Peak Moment 51: Tour Scott McGuires White Sage Gardens in the back yard of his rental home a demonstration site for suburban sustainability. He ponders, How might a household produce and preserve a significant portion of its own food supply? Composting, a water-conserving greenhouse, and seed-saving are all facets of this beautiful work in progress. <www.whitesagegardens.com >

I watched it. It's pretty cool. 23 minutes long.
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