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Food Growers: Got Any Tips?

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posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 05:22 PM
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Hello, over the past year or so I've become more and more interested in growing my own food for various reasons, most of which can probably be found somewhere on this site so I'm not going to go into too much depth.

My question is, to anyone with any experience or knowledge regarding food growing, can you post what is easy to grow, has enough nutrients/calories to be worth growing, etc.? I'm also interested in what crops can be grown in arid regions like the Southwest US without irrigation if anyone knows stuff about that.

Any comments would be appreciated! I'm trying to set up a kind of database of what to grow and how to grow it for once I'm out of college and can grow food to feed myself.




posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 05:31 PM
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reply to post by lldd182
 


First thing you do is get an alminac.

The second thing you do is learn to plant and harvest by the signs.

Or maybe I have those backward.

Many people will "poo-poo" planting by the signs but it works and they can niether explain why or do a better job of getting the proper yield from their crops.

An alminac is not always right in it's predictions but the weather is not all that you will find in one.

As a side note. Look in a book store or online and purchase "The Fox Fire Book". The first,of about 14 volumns, has a lot on planting and such. Actually let me encourage you to get as many volumns as you can afford.

You will thank me just for that.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 05:55 PM
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reply to post by lldd182
 


I love gardening. It's my passion...other than conspiracy theories, of course.
Anyway, here's a tip....
How do you tell when the soil is warm enough to plant your cold sensitive plants, such as beans, squash, melons, cucumbers...so forth? You use the bare bottom test. When the soil is warm enough to sit on with your bare bottom, it's time to plant.
You're welcome.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 05:58 PM
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I have grown veggies indoors for awhile,and actually just planted my first outdoor garden this year in zone 6.If you do consider growing indoors there are a lot of different costs involved from selecting nutrients to type of operation desired.I do hand watering hydroponics,which is just as effective as an ebb-n-flow or nutrient film technique,although more hands on is required.

Growing inside offers a lot of benefits to growing outside,but "free lumens" can't be beat.One good thing is being able to control the growing environment as compared to outside.Eliminating pests and disease is easier to maintain inside,and choosing select varieties with inherent resistance is good.

Finding out what to grow really depends on what you want to consume.Most plants do well inside in 3-5 gallon grow bags of Coco coir and perlite.Excellent drainage and retention are qualities that it provides as well as a ph nuetral medium,although I would suggest washing it before use.

This year I grew green bells,finger eggplant,cucumbers,ghost peppers,and a variety of tomatoes,all did well inside and out,although the yields were larger inside using a nutrients and micro-nutes.

Anyways good luck.I would suggest researching and finding what pests are in the area and be sure to test the soil before using it if you plan on growing directly in the ground.Consider doing a raised bed which offers many benefits like keeping animals out or invasive weeds from over-taking it.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:00 PM
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Good for you


There are few things more satisfying than growing your own food!
Almanacs are great sources of information.
It's also a good idea to find out what varieties grow best in your area. Your county agricultural extension office is a good free source of local info.
There are also some excellent threads in the survival forum.

Are you planning on planting a Fall garden or are you waiting for Spring?



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:20 PM
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Every county in every state in the U.S. has an extension service. Great resource for getting heirloom vegetables and saving the seeds. Vegetables in the supermarket will not be usable sources of seed, most all are hybrid vegetables, unless marked heirloom. You might be able to find tomatoes though. You will also need to ask the farmers at your farmer's market whether or not you are getting heirloom or hybrid vegetables. Organic does not mean necessarily that it is heirloom.

Some farmers will co-op, like buying shares onto their crops, you get baskets of produce weekly during the growing season. Some have a fixed price for a years share, I pay weekly till the share is pd off, then continue to get produce for the rest of the season. I will also be buying additional produce for canning and freezing. That's getting me started in saving those seeds and having some container gardening going on around the yard next year, until I am ready to plant a full out garden. Also I am going in with a friend who has land, but doesn't grow much, on her own. Together as a team we will put in enough of our favorites, so we both will have bounty for the season.

The ground needs to be turned or harrowed under in the fall after the first or second frost. Let this rest over the winter, then rototiller into smooth rows. Place your garden for adequate drainage and sunlight. Consider how you will water if you are in drought conditions. Also learn about crop rotation. Some plants put nutrients back into the soil, while others leach them out. Some plants are compatible side by side. Some don't play well with others. Besides container, consider hydroponic. There is a system called the wall garden or vertical gardening. Great for small spaces like on a deck of an apartment. Or inside next to strong window light.

Learn how to cook squashes and pumpkins. As is with butter, salt,and pepper, or with brown sugar and cinnamon and other lovely herbs and spices. Cook into breads, muffins, and scones. Peppers freeze nicely as is, I lay them out on a tray to freeze then go back the next day and quickly bag and continue to freeze, they will not stick together in a clump, so can pull out just what I need for a chili or a meatloaf.

Become a forager. I just did this, a lady down the street had a pear tree coming ripe, and I stopped and asked. She was so delighted her yard was gonna get cleaned for free, and I brought home 3-4 buckets and canned spiced pears.

Research! There is some talk we can no longer give away our extra foodages, so only plant what you can predictably "put up".

Sorry to ramble on so, hope you got some ideas.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:31 PM
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Learn about growing mushrooms.
A guy in Australia grows them commercially on his property in an
abandoned railway tunnel that went through his land.

1 end sealed and good humidity, grow off wood chips.
many varieties of mushy.

May be a good skill if you find the right cave?



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:46 PM
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Hey good luck with your growing and your desire to have home grown. I grew potatos, tomatoes, peas, onions, peppers, lettuce, spring onions, parsnips last year. It was not as successful as I would like it to have been as I did not get great peppers or spring onions but I am a non chemical grower and dont like to use bug sprays etc. You always get bugs!! Potatos are great to grow. You can grow them anywhere even in a black plastic sack and poke holes in the bottom and put them in a polytunnel or outside. I was really excited when I unearthed my first crop. Best to feed the soil if you can or make sure your soil is really good and provide nutrients.

Youtubes are amazing for helping growers. If you go in there and just type what you want to grow - like - 'Growing Potatos' or whatever, there are loads of helpful people who have videoed their crops and take you through the whole process. They are very good at showing you what to do and in your country and climate.

I wish you best I love to see people thinking about 'what they eat' especially nowadays when most food is tasteless. Your own food does taste much better and it makes you feel really proud when you put it on the table.

edit on 4-10-2011 by ELEVATOR7 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:47 PM
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reply to post by SunflowerStar
 


As usual, SunflowerStar has some excellent tips there. One thing I would add is to frequent your local farmers markets. I've made some amazing contacts at my local farmers market who have helped me to determine what grows best in my area. Also they may have some tips and tricks that will be of value to you down the line. Once you get to know them, some may even be willing to fork over some seeds for you to try out. But I would advise just going and chatting with a couple of vendors first. Don't be afraid to ask what questions you have and explain you are trying to learn. I've found vendors at local markets like that are more than willing to talk to you about the subject.

Best of luck to you when you finally get to start your gardening adventure!!



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:49 PM
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hemp seed is the only complete vegan nutrition

moringa oleifera a good 2nd

raise several hens and maybe a cock or two

keep a dairy cow or two, as goat milk has a nasty smell (like hairy udders) no matter how clean

that is all for the moment!



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:50 PM
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For anyone that has a lot of land and really wants to grow something wonderful - you can try

MISCANTHUS X GIGANTEOUS

They say this is the new energy crop and a few guys in America have grown loads of it. It looks a bit like sugar cane but it can be turned into fuel. Its a great crop and absolutely so easy to grow and spread. Do look it up as for some of you there is guaranteed money in it if you go about things the right way. Not exactly home grown veg advice but a super crop that could one day get a hold and really help the world environmentally. Just wanted to share that.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:52 PM
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Hubby and I have found that mounding your crops helps as well. As you plant a line of food raise them up into a mounds and them seed or insert the seedlings into the raised ground. We have found that our vegies - pumpkin, zucchini, squash seem to appreciate this. We have started doing this with other vegies like our Garlic, as garlic is one of those plants that dont like other plants infringing on its area, and it has worked well so far. We always put a good cover of compost and lucerine (compost when we are replanting and lucerine to keep the soil fresh and moist and to help with pest control) down. We update the lucerine continually as well.
edit on 4-10-2011 by The_Seeker because: Spelling mistake



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 06:55 PM
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reply to post by lldd182
 


I am a small-plot summer grower.

The one regret I have: not listening to elders about, and being too lazy to properly can and/or freeze the fruits of my labor because I am chite out of luck in the winter.

I feel horrible about the waste I create, and even more wretched about having to buy store goods when I am out of season.....

I am reading up/talking to others about this issue for next year!

So, please keep this in mind when your envious varieties of pepper comes to fruition...



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 07:00 PM
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If by southwest US You mean Arizona, grow cactus. If You mean California, grow fruit. If You are talking indoor, grow marijuana, seriously, I heard you can make tea, soup, and brownies with it. Make sure to check the legalities in your area first.



posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 07:22 PM
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HEY!!! Gardening thread and growing season is over for me.

I am not familiar with the climate in the South-West. Like the previous poster said it would really depend where you are.

Just recently I was looking at growing Quinoa. It is not really suitable for my area, but doable. Quinoa
It is a complete protien, seems easy to grow/maintain and produces its own seed. It can also be sprouted in the house for nutririous salads. There is another grain similar, which I believe is called Amaranth (?) I will have to look into that and get back to you.
The taste is similar to green beans, but is similar to rice in that it picks up the flavor of whatever you cook it in.

Another I picked up this year is ginger in the house, I may give it a go outside next year; similar to Quinoa it can be propogated from itself easily and is there fore in constant supply. Also useful for medicine and food preservation.

I grow all the regular stuff for my area, and suggest you start there. You could contact your co-operative extention for information. They also have info for preserving your harvest-as the above poster stated. It is also a good idea to go to your local second hand shops for gardening books as they should be based on local gardening practices.

I have found that the best way to go is through practice, that just happens to be the way that I learn best. Just plant something and try to keep it alive. Anyone can do it! Whatever you decide, have fun and good luck.

Definately check out the Quinoa, as I think it may be suited to your area and it really is a superfood.





posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 07:46 PM
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I agree with most of the posts already, but the one that post that can't be emphasized enough is canning. I'm guilty of the same thing. Luckily I'm able to feed the older fruit and veggies to my goat. You will need a pressure cooker which comes with a user guide, and "mason" or "bell" canning jars with lids and bands. You can save a little by buying the generic jars if that's important to you. It's very simple, but a little time consuming. It's will be worth it's weight in gold I promise you (maybe not by today's gold prices).
I used to can (jar) tomatoes, new potatoes, green beans, and a whole lot more. Somehow or another, I got out of the practice and started freezing everything. Frozen foods will not help when the SHTF.
One veggie I must brag on, but I'm not sure how they grow in your area. Sweet Potatoes. After harvesting them, you take them to a dry dark area and lay them in hay, covering them somewhat. They stay fresh for a long time that way. They can be boiled whole or in large cubes, mashed like Irish potatoes or fried like french fries, and even baked in a makeshift oven or tinfoil in hot coals. Some people grow them in old car tires stacked up one on top of the other, or in metal or plastic drums. Either way, it keeps some of the critters out of them...
By the way, your pressure cooker can be used on an open fire outside, but it blackens the metal. In a survival situation; so what!!!!



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 07:46 AM
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Originally posted by visualmiscreant
I agree with most of the posts already, but the one that post that can't be emphasized enough is canning. I'm guilty of the same thing. Luckily I'm able to feed the older fruit and veggies to my goat. You will need a pressure cooker which comes with a user guide, and "mason" or "bell" canning jars with lids and bands. You can save a little by buying the generic jars if that's important to you. It's very simple, but a little time consuming. It's will be worth it's weight in gold I promise you (maybe not by today's gold prices).
I used to can (jar) tomatoes, new potatoes, green beans, and a whole lot more. Somehow or another, I got out of the practice and started freezing everything. Frozen foods will not help when the SHTF.
One veggie I must brag on, but I'm not sure how they grow in your area. Sweet Potatoes. After harvesting them, you take them to a dry dark area and lay them in hay, covering them somewhat. They stay fresh for a long time that way. They can be boiled whole or in large cubes, mashed like Irish potatoes or fried like french fries, and even baked in a makeshift oven or tinfoil in hot coals. Some people grow them in old car tires stacked up one on top of the other, or in metal or plastic drums. Either way, it keeps some of the critters out of them...
By the way, your pressure cooker can be used on an open fire outside, but it blackens the metal. In a survival situation; so what!!!!


Have you tried dehydrating those potatoes? A few weeks ago I thought I needed some potatoes for a meal I was making. I bought 10lbs at the supermarket because they were buy one 5lb bag get one free.....more than we would eat in our house, but I figured I'd make something and bring it to a party or something. Needless to say, when I got home, I had a 5lb bag sitting in the pantry. I sliced them, blanched them and dried them. I think they will be good for years....
I also candy orange peels and dry them. They are delicious, nutritious and something that I would otherwise throw away. From what I gather, you can pretty much dry anything. I have done quite a few things and everyone loved them. They are easy to store, easy to dry and will store for a loooooonnnng time.

Personally, I wish I could say I have a goat to feed all my leftover veggies to...that would not fly around here in suburbia....we aren't even allowed chickens
Nothing can beat fresh, organic eggs.) Oh, well.

As for the canning part...you don't need a pressure canner to get started. I have been canning all summer in a waterbath canner; it limits you somewhat, but I have no meat to can and things like greenbeans and squash can be pickled (pickled geen beans are awesome by the way) and pickles will last longer. You can can berries in a light syrup, roasted tomatoes, salsa, relishes, jams. I went a little nuts but I am very happy with what has come out of it...and all organic too. For a tiny garden we do pretty good. Fresh fruit and veg all summer and plenty to dig into in the winter.
I have yet to purchase the ball canning guide. I have been going to www.pickyourown.org They have plenty of tested recipes and a wealth of information on food preservation, without having to wait for PDF's to load(like the co-op extention site). I have a Russian friend who grew up on a farm, she shreds her veggies before freezing so she doesn't need to blanche. I guess she uses them for soups and galumpkis and stuff.

I love sweet potatoes, I tried potatoes once before and didn't get much of a yield. I mounded them as much and as often as possible and what I got was delicious. Like I said, we have limited room, but I would love to try them again sometime. Maybe I'll try the tire stack thing.

Take care of that goat! They are so darn cute.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 08:08 AM
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There is abundance of tips, advice, and know how here at ATS and elswhere....

That being said, I suggest growing what the natives grew... no point in trying to re-invent the wheel. Look to what native Americans grew...corn, dried beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, etc

Further, there is probably a historical living farm or settlement near by in the region....visit it. You will see how the indians grew crops... and get some good ideas about low tech sustainable farming.... that means how to garden cheaply and with simple items found/ produced on your homestead.

That is what I did here in NC, but I can't speak effectively to the SW region... however, you will be amazed at how ingenious the simple solutions were and how well they work.



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 09:03 AM
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Plant a Three Sisters Garden....
The Native American way of growing crops in a sustainable easy to manage way



What is a Three Sisters Garden?
It is an ancient method of gardening using an intercropping system which grows corn, beans, and squash crops simultaneously in the same growing area that is typically a rounded mound of soil, often called a hill.


Corn is the oldest sister. She stands tall in the center.


Squash is the next sister. She grows over the mound, protecting her sisters from weeds and shades the soil from the sun with her leaves, keeping it cool and moist.


Beans are the third sister. She climbs through squash and then up corn to bind all together as she reaches for the sun. Beans help keep the soil fertile by coverting the sun's energy into nitrogen filled nodules that grow on its roots. As beans grow they use the stored nitrogen as food.


Read more here...

don't laugh... it's been an accepted and tried and proven gardening method for thousands of years...



posted on Oct, 5 2011 @ 09:28 AM
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Look into aquaponics as well. There are a thousand vids on youtube from small scale to large. The Australians are pioneering this field but there is an old black farmer in Wisconsin that should be the future to ending a lot of world hunger.

www.youtube.com...



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