As promised, this post will focus on literature available on simple farming. I define simple farming in two ways. First, farming that does not rely
upon large amounts of modern machinery and chemicals. In a survival situation, these may not be readily available, would make one a little too
obvious, or would make the individual/group dependent upon outside suppliers. The second definition points toward those who need to ground themselves
in growing (no pun intended) now, so that they may develop those skills most useful in the former.
A couple of years ago, I discovered a wonderful publication, SMALL FARMER'S JOURNAL. It is a quarterly. Before I began subscribing, I purchased it
at the Barnes and Noble, so it is available on the rack. It caters to the sort of agriculture that was most seen in the time of WWII and prior.
There are good articles on the use of draft animals, and essentially 'pre-technology' farming. Each issue is filled with advertisements for books,
heirloom seeds, as well as the tools and equipment needed.
Not to mods: I do not work for SFJ, and believe that it is a very useful tool to the subject at hand. However, if the paragraph above is too
'commercial', please delete it with my apologies. I do not want to run afoul of the T&C. Thank you
A quick word on heirloom seeds, if you are looking for a survival garden, particularly post-SHTF, you should have a stock of non-hybrid seeds. For
those that are not familiar, hybrids are very useful in gardening, and in agriculture as a whole. They generally provide superior yields, as well as
disease resistance. However, there will also be an issue with the seeds of your crop being 'true'. In other words, the seeds from your hybrid crop
may be sterile, or they may not produce the same, palatable crop. An heirloom seed is a non-hybrid variety that should produce the same crop
generation after generation. Learn to properly save seed now. Also, determine which varieties best suit your area.
A search of the net produced some WWII era Victory Garden literature that also includes information on home canning. The Ball State site also has
further literature on local Civil Defense of the same period that may be of interest to others as well.
Victory Gardens Handbook
Home Canning of Fruits, Vegetables and Meats
Root Vegetables in Wartime Meals
Vegetable Gardening in Wartime
Checking out Used bookstores for farming and gardening books from the 1940's and earlier can also be a good source of information as well.
Particularly, these will discuss specific heirloom varieties, and can help you to choose. They will also discuss methods of disease and insect
management that may be of use. Do be aware, however, that many of the chemicals used during that period for insect control can be nasty, lead
arsenate, and Paris Green, to name two. These are toxic, but they are poisons, after all.
I hope that these two posts are of value to someone. Anyone else, who has other ideas, sources, or sees where I really screwed up, please feel free
to chime in.