Survival Gardens

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posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 01:25 PM
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I have been trying to work out a thread where I may actually be helpful, and I think I found it.
I was inspired by the Svalbard Evacuation thread. For those who don't know there is a massive underground seed vault dug into the permafrost at Svalbard.

Reading some of the responses reminded me how far removed we have become from our food.
People are concerned with GMO foods and collapsing economies and possibly a more catastrophic world wide event at some point. We need to be able to feed ourselves. We are too dependent on any system if we cannot provide simple sustenance for ourselves, Monsanto anyone?

There are countless threads on BOB's and tactical gear and weapons and surprisingly few on how we might continue to survive for ourselves past a massive calamity. Food can be grown anywhere with a few seeds and a little knowledge. Different regions will have different crops, so do your research on your local area. Your local agriculture county extension office or equivalent is always a good place to start.

First and foremost when planning a garden, is the actual planning stage.
This can be as simple as a grocery list for the seeds, bags of dirt and pots that you need. It can also be incredibly extensive, I have 2 garden planning journals, and 3 notebooks that I collect info such as first freeze and spring thaw dates every year. It all started here in my gardens with raw woodland and a 10 year plan, that has now turned into a small greenhouse, a mini orchard, raised beds and numerous potato stacks and a 20 year plan. Not to mention the annual gardens and perennial beds. I also have a cold hardy medicinal herb bed, and compost piles and berry patches. Let this be encouragement to you, if I can pull this off with winter temps to -40 degrees,and a 3 month growing season, then you probably have a better chance than I do here!
Unless you are north of the Arctic circle, sorry.

Research your seeds!!! There are many wonderful seed saving companies out there now who are dedicated to preserving our original heirloom foodstuffs! My personal favorite is Victory Seed. I have had nothing but impeccable service from them, they also produce a superior product in general. This is the perfect time of the year to start thinking about seeds, believe it or not, it gives you time to research, and plan and order. I usually start my snapdragons and onions in January to give them enough time.I order my seed in the fall to prevent freezing in transit.

* One note on seed storage, the idea behind the seed buckets from some websites are a great idea, but make sure the seed packets DO NOT contain oxygen absorbers!! The seeds need air to breath, they are dormant until given some love, but they are ALIVE and need air to breathe. Air tight packaging is ideal, but keep in mind there is some air in the package for them to sustain viability. *

The next big step is figuring out how to start your seedlings. Again, this largely depends on your geographical location. Figure out how much you want of each crop and plan accordingly, always plant a few extras to buffer ungerminated seed.Make sure you know when your last expected frost date is too!! I have gotten too excited too soon more than once. It is hard to find space for an overgrown jungle that can't move out for another few weeks.
Plant soon enough to have strong seedlings that are still manageable plants.

Amend, amend, amend!!! First thing in the spring, add compost,manure and other organics to your garden beds/pots. I bet most of you could still do this now, to give it a chance to break down over the winter even! Feed the soil and it will feed you in return.

Make sure that your plants are kept moist and weeded until the plants are well established in their new homes. Water, feed, prune and harvest at the most optimal stage for each plant and you will be able to at least supplement what you and your family consume.

Do your research, there are many great books out there. My favorite garden author has to be Jerry Baker. The info is provided in a fun way, kind of like gardening for dummies, but contain valuable tidbits everywhere. I have 3 of his books on the shelf next to me.There are many more, Jeff Lowenfels is another great one, he is the garden guru for the Anchorage Daily News who has now co written at least one book.

The ability to feed yourself from the resources provided to us is innate. It provides an enormous amount of security under any circumstances. We are healthier for it as well, my kids argue about veggies on their plate, like all kids do, but they will eat pounds of broccoli and other produce straight off the plant all summer long.

Good Luck and enjoy your garden!

edit on 9-12-2012 by woodsmom because: spelling

edit on 9-12-2012 by woodsmom because: spelling and grammar




posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 01:31 PM
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reply to post by woodsmom
 


You take us back to basics which is a good thing. Most of us have detached from nature in a mean that we would no longer be able to survive without specific instructions or a friendly neighbor. But then again... maybe that proportion isn't meant to survive if cataclysms hit us.

Good thread anyways!



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 01:32 PM
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I would suggest non-hybrid, non-GMO seed.
In the US, I would rely on what the Native Americans called the Three Sisters.... Corn, beans and squash. They survived and thrived on those staples Long before we brought other foods to the new world.



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 01:44 PM
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Good thread OP

The point you make about geographical location is significant, and I would like to add to that from personal experience. Generally speaking when growing your own The Sun is your friend, and shade is your enemy so it is in your interest to plant out in a position that gets as much sun as possible throughout the day. Beware of trees, walls, or buildings that will cast a shadow over your patch.

When you are watering your crop during dry periods use warm water if possible as your crop will make use of the heat energy and convert it into chemical (growing) energy, it will also prevent thermal shock to the all important roots.

Waste nothing: compost all your left overs including the leaves, and roots you cut from your crop when lifting, and keep a crop book that details your yield, the date you harvested, and the date of first yearly frosts.

Kind regards
edit on 9-12-2012 by hotel1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 01:44 PM
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reply to post by butcherguy
 


That's an excellent method! I have tried and failed miserably due to my climate.
For everyone, the 3 sisters method is planting corn to support beans that feeds the corn and squash, the squash shades the ground for the other plants and provides a living mulch.
The combination also provides complete nutrition.
Thanks for bringing this up!

Heirloom veggies are the best IMO, they have higher nutrition content and such good flavor!
Some are hybrids that have survived the tests of our grandparents and great grand-parents and beyond. Anything hybridized before the 20's should be safe from being genetically modified since the technology did not exist yet. Without some hybrids I would not be able to grow what I do here. Do your research though and make sure it is open pollinated! Anything heirloom generally is, and they are ideal varieties to save seed from. You are helping to continue threatened species in your own yard.
edit on 9-12-2012 by woodsmom because: added hybrid info



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 02:34 PM
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Originally posted by woodsmom
reply to post by butcherguy
 


That's an excellent method! I have tried and failed miserably due to my climate.
For everyone, the 3 sisters method is planting corn to support beans that feeds the corn and squash, the squash shades the ground for the other plants and provides a living mulch.


I do the 3 sisters every summer with reasonable sucess. Can you elaborate about your failure due to climate? Did all three things fail to produce due to a short growing season? Although heirlooms will never outdue the new batch of super early gmos, you can tailor the breeds of corn, beans, and squash to adapt to short seasons. Heriloom Golden Bantam sweet corn has a 75 day maturity date which is good for heirlooms. I'd check out painted mountain corn as well. Apparently its more tolerate of cold environments. Purple podded pole beans mature in 65 days. For squash i've always used winter squash over summer squash varieties.

In regards to the rest of the thread, I don't think most people realize just how complicated creating a self sustaining survival garden is. Just like any specialized skill, it takes years to develop competency. Every climate zone has its own unique challenges. A squash that does good at a lower elevation might get nuked by fungus in mountainous regions. There isn't a cut out pattern that will work for everywhere. It takes several summers just to figure out what breeds will function as companion plants in your location. For example which variety of corn will grow easily in your soil while at the same time having a big enough and well rooted stalk to support the bean you have selected.

Using myself as an example, six shooter corn will not grow well in my crappy soil without using ammonium nitrate so it isn't viable. Golden bantam has stalks too puny to withstand strong winds and support my favorite beans. Bloody Butcher however is just right for my environment. It will grow with chicken manure as a fertilizer, and its stalk is big and deep rooted enough to stand through strong wind and support climbing pole beans.



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 02:48 PM
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reply to post by grownshow
 


Nice, maybe you can help me out!!
My initial failure was the corn, I actually tried the 75 day variety you mentioned, and even in the greenhouse it never achieved the right temps at the right times, and my squash molded, it worked too well.

The next round I tried in a raised bed and planted the traditional mound and planted stout seedlings. The corn still didn't get what it wanted and I didn't see a single ear that year. The squash did ok, but the beans failed too.

Round 3, we had such a crappy wet year that nothing worked.
The aphids moved in wholesale, and I barely had a crop of anything that year.

I thought I would try one more time before we build a giant hoophouse. I still have land to clear for that.
I found a 65 day corn old school northern hybrid sweet corn, my seeds are in the crawlspace I will find the name next time I go down there, that I am hoping will enjoy short, cool and damp summers. I have given up on pole beans entirely, someone farther north of me has better luck with bush beans, so I am going to try some of those. Squash is my kicker, and it may not work until it is in ground under tall enough cover for the corn, because by the time the rainy part of summer is here, the squash want to fruit, so they need a cold frame to finish off, and by then the corn is too tall to cover the trio.

Haha! sorry for the run on thought there!! The joys of gardening, it is like raising kids, they cause you work and heartache, but you can't help but keep trying to get it right, and you only love them more as time goes on!



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 03:09 PM
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Originally posted by woodsmom
reply to post by grownshow
 


Nice, maybe you can help me out!!
My initial failure was the corn, I actually tried the 75 day variety you mentioned, and even in the greenhouse it never achieved the right temps at the right times, and my squash molded, it worked too well.

The next round I tried in a raised bed and planted the traditional mound and planted stout seedlings. The corn still didn't get what it wanted and I didn't see a single ear that year. The squash did ok, but the beans failed too.

Round 3, we had such a crappy wet year that nothing worked.
The aphids moved in wholesale, and I barely had a crop of anything that year.

I thought I would try one more time before we build a giant hoophouse. I still have land to clear for that.
I found a 65 day corn old school northern hybrid sweet corn, my seeds are in the crawlspace I will find the name next time I go down there, that I am hoping will enjoy short, cool and damp summers. I have given up on pole beans entirely, someone farther north of me has better luck with bush beans, so I am going to try some of those. Squash is my kicker, and it may not work until it is in ground under tall enough cover for the corn, because by the time the rainy part of summer is here, the squash want to fruit, so they need a cold frame to finish off, and by then the corn is too tall to cover the trio.

Haha! sorry for the run on thought there!! The joys of gardening, it is like raising kids, they cause you work and heartache, but you can't help but keep trying to get it right, and you only love them more as time goes on!



When you said you didn't get a single ear do you mean litterally no ear and silk ever formed or that you had little ears with silk that never grew enough to develop kernals? Since corn is wind polinated and you grew them in a greenhouse, you'll probably need to shake the tassels enough to fertilize the silks so the ear with develop beyond the initial stage. If no ear even starts i have no idea what that could be.

Do you remember what variety of pole bean you used and which seed company you got it from? If they didn't even germinate, you might have gotten a bad batch.

The squash mold hit me hard last summer. I've been gardening since i was a kid and never had fungus problems with squash until last summer and it hit me hard. It hit every squash i planted. Black beauty zucchini, straight neck summer squash, mooregold squash, burgess squash, and butternut squash were all badly affected. The mooregold and burgess were the worst. I normally HATE using big agri chemicals but so much of my food was on the verge of dying i did buy a fungacide which stoped the disease. I did without herbicide and pesticide but me using fungacide ruined my entirely organic fantasy. I did read on the internet that skim milk will retard mold growth on squash which i plan on trying this summer. Not sure if it will work though.



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 03:17 PM
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reply to post by grownshow
 


Let's see, the corn in the greenhouse I managed to pollinate enough to get a few sweet baby ears off of, it wasn't until I moved them into the gardens that they refused to completely produce, I think one of a dozen stalks managed to produce silk. The beans may well have been a bad batch, they were blue lakes from the grocery store, I think, it's been awhile!

Thanks for the heads up about the skim milk!! I always have some issues with my squash, but not usually enough to lose them like I did the first year. My best bet is the cold frame, I can let it breathe while it grows, and protect it during fruit.
I have too many young mouths in my gardens, I will lose a crop before I spray. I did use insecticidal soap and pyrethrum during the year of the aphid though out of desperation. Nothing was edible that year anyway except potatoes.



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 03:47 PM
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Originally posted by woodsmom
reply to post by grownshow
 


Let's see, the corn in the greenhouse I managed to pollinate enough to get a few sweet baby ears off of, it wasn't until I moved them into the gardens that they refused to completely produce, I think one of a dozen stalks managed to produce silk. The beans may well have been a bad batch, they were blue lakes from the grocery store, I think, it's been awhile!


If you got them from a grocery store it was probably why they didn't germinate. God knows what kinds of preservatives and chemicals they were pumped with before hitting the shelves. I'd order some heirloom pole beans from a seed company and try it again. I've grown Mccaslan, rattlesnake, and purple podded pole beans without any major problems. Mccaslan did however seem more vulnerable to cold. Purple podded are huge beans so they can't be used on bantam corn. Rattlesnake pole beans are my favorite of the three.


Edit: Have you ever tried direct planting corn? I've never heard of anyone attempting to transplant corn and its generally discouraged to start heirloom corn indoors. Check out which plant zone (also known as hardiness zone) you live in. I always directly plant corn in the second or third week of May. Btw, i live right on the line between zone 6 and zone 7 so my summer is just long enough for one crop of slow maturing heirloom corn. If you're in zone 5 or above, i have no experience with that level of cold which is why you should check that zones planting guide.
edit on 9-12-2012 by grownshow because: Forgot a question



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 06:23 PM
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Originally posted by butcherguy
I would suggest non-hybrid, non-GMO seed.
In the US, I would rely on what the Native Americans called the Three Sisters.... Corn, beans and squash. They survived and thrived on those staples Long before we brought other foods to the new world.

Is there any non-gmo corn seed to be had? I've been avoiding eating corn for a while now, because it's one of the first plants they messed with, and if I'm not mistaken, gmo-corn will overtake indigenous corn in a heartbeat.



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 06:57 PM
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Take a look at the Mittlieder Method. I was doing square foot gardening but am in the process of switching.

www.growfood.com...



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 07:02 PM
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Originally posted by new_here

Originally posted by butcherguy
I would suggest non-hybrid, non-GMO seed.
In the US, I would rely on what the Native Americans called the Three Sisters.... Corn, beans and squash. They survived and thrived on those staples Long before we brought other foods to the new world.

Is there any non-gmo corn seed to be had? I've been avoiding eating corn for a while now, because it's one of the first plants they messed with, and if I'm not mistaken, gmo-corn will overtake indigenous corn in a heartbeat.


Thankfully we still have a significant amount of non gmo corn. There are plenty of non gmo heirloom strains to choose from. Three of the seed companies i routinely order heirloom seeds from are www.rareseeds.com , www.rhshumway.com , and www.territorialseed.com .

The three non gmo corn pages are
www.territorialseed.com...
www.rhshumway.com...
rareseeds.com...

Remember that monsanto gmo corn will generally not be able to reproduce beyond 1 generation and if they do it will be largely inedible. Heirloom seeds can be saved from one year to the next.



posted on Dec, 9 2012 @ 07:46 PM
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Originally posted by grownshow

Originally posted by new_here

Originally posted by butcherguy
I would suggest non-hybrid, non-GMO seed.
In the US, I would rely on what the Native Americans called the Three Sisters.... Corn, beans and squash. They survived and thrived on those staples Long before we brought other foods to the new world.

Is there any non-gmo corn seed to be had? I've been avoiding eating corn for a while now, because it's one of the first plants they messed with, and if I'm not mistaken, gmo-corn will overtake indigenous corn in a heartbeat.


Thankfully we still have a significant amount of non gmo corn. There are plenty of non gmo heirloom strains to choose from. Three of the seed companies i routinely order heirloom seeds from are www.rareseeds.com , www.rhshumway.com , and www.territorialseed.com .

The three non gmo corn pages are
www.territorialseed.com...
www.rhshumway.com...
rareseeds.com...

Remember that monsanto gmo corn will generally not be able to reproduce beyond 1 generation and if they do it will be largely inedible. Heirloom seeds can be saved from one year to the next.

Yay!!! Thank YOU!
I seriously thought it was a thing of the past.



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 04:10 AM
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Have you seen this film?

In short, it's about using wood chip mulch as a substrate for growing and ground cover in one. There's some religious hooey in there but the gardens are built on sound principles!




posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 10:11 AM
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reply to post by new_here
 


You can grow your non GMO corn and get untainted viable seed if you isolate the plants. I am unaware of exact distances between crops, since nobody in their right mind grows corn in Alaska, but the info is out there.

If you live in an area that isn't highly agricultural, then you can probably work your crop so it only self-pollinates. As odd as this sounds, people may have better luck growing untainted corn in backyards and city gardens, because of the lack of pollen transfer.

There are alot of excellent seeds available for wonderful unmodified foods. Ask around too, grandma's and great aunt's may have come from the generations when saving seed was a yearly occurrence! Some of the strains that these companies are offering have been found treasure in someone's attic or basement.

I will go get my seed box out of the crawl space to share some of the varieties that I have tried and am going to try. You will have to forgive my inability to remember offhand, my mind is cluttered with who got their Christmas cards sent and have I done all my shopping! (no)



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 10:21 AM
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reply to post by davjan4
 


I am currently using the square foot gardening method too. I have adapted it to my space as well. It is hard to find one method that is all encompassing. My broccoli works best with this method. I am able to plant 36 to 40 plants in a 2x4 ft area. That provides all my boys can eat and I managed to freeze 3-5 lbs this season ( I don't weigh it, I just fill up a bag). On the other hand, my cabbage hates it. I get nice firm, small heads every year, but AK is known for it's 700 plus pound cabbages. The sq ft method confines them too much to make the most of the season.

I am still trying to load your link, thanks!



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 10:31 AM
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reply to post by seamus
 


I can't watch the video, but a note on using wood. It's great, it feeds for awhile, and takes a long time to break down.
Wood will get to a certain "heat" point while it is decomposing and all of a sudden burn up all of the nitrogen in the vicinity to fuel it's final transformation. The way to counteract that is to add as much green as brown materials when using wood mulch.

That is how you build a compost pile too, just alternate layers of brown and green organic materials and they break down beautifully together. Not only do they help each other break down properly, the end result is like a perfect bowl of beans and brown rice for the plants, It provides a more complete nutrition.
edit on 10-12-2012 by woodsmom because: spelling



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 10:41 AM
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reply to post by grownshow
 


I have learned many lessons from those early garden years! And yes not buying grocery store seed is a big one!


I have tried direct seeding the corn , because your right, it doesn't like to be transplanted! ( I am a midwest farm girl, transplanted to the frozen North) but our soil takes so long to warm up that it just doesn't have a chance. The old planting time has always been to put corn in the ground when the oak leaves are the size of mouse's ears.
.... I don't even have oaks, hhhmmm, maybe that's my only problem, I should plant an oak too!

I will journey under the house at naptime today and get a list of varieties, hopefully my 65 day corn seed does it for me! I really miss the sweet corn.



posted on Dec, 10 2012 @ 11:16 AM
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reply to post by woodsmom
 



Holy crap i just saw your location as being in alaska. You're certainly a braver gardener than i to even try to grow corn in a level 3 zone. If you figure out a way to reliably grow heirloom corn in that environment, you should win an award.

Even in my zone, i occasionally hear about commercial farmers trying to switch from gmo corn to heirloom and having nothing germinate simply because their gmo would germinate at a much cooler temp than heirloom and they tried to plant it at the same time.

Edit:

I looked around my seed catalogs for super early corn that purports to be for cold climates and found these two

www.rhshumway.com...

www.rhshumway.com...

The first link for early sunglow and the second NorthernXtra Sweet. Neither are heirloom corn so i don't know if you want to take the health risk of consuming the hybrid stuff; however, they do have short maturity times. 66 and 63 days.
edit on 10-12-2012 by grownshow because: Forgot a link





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