Crop Choice

Discussion in 'Gardening, Plant Propegation, & Farming' started by poltiregist, Mar 1, 2020.

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  1. poltiregist

    poltiregist Master Survivalist
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    With planting season arriving for many people and the possible food shortages looming over the next months I thought it might be a good time to hear from our members what they consider their top few crops they would put at the top of their list to plant from a prepper / survivalist view point and "why ".
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
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  2. Justin Baker

    Justin Baker Expert Member
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    Good discussion topic!
    1. Herbal Medicines. Always the first thing I plant every spring. The obvious reasoning is to keep my medicine cabinet stoked, but a lot of the herbs I propagate and where I put them actually improves the microbes in the soil for other plants there. I am an avid crop rotation fan.
    2. Squashes. Whether planting the pepos, moschatas, or argys, I always have plenty from the gourd family. Besides the nutrition they give being maximized throughout the fruit, they are super easy to care for.
    3. Beans. Protein Source. Most beans can be propagated vertically as well, thus creating a more efficient garden!
    4. Tomatoes. Why? Because I want to! ;) I do love my 'maters!
    5. Greens. Often called superfoods, most greens are very, VERY easy to grow, and will provide an abundance of nutrition. I usually plant a good, vibrant spinach and a collection of prolific kale.
    6. Berries. Not enough people get started into berries. They are very nutritious, very delicious, and once the plant is established, not at all laborious!

    The Roots and Refuge Farm has some wonderful ideas about vertical gardening. Check out this video:
     
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  3. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Good stuff. It's squash that I've found easiest to grow. Watch out for squash vine borers they'll kill your squash.

    https://www.almanac.com/pest/squash-vine-borer
     
  4. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2020
  5. poltiregist

    poltiregist Master Survivalist
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    Justin it appears we are basically on the same line of thought on plant selections though I don't plan to grow herbs but do have ginseng . Looking at the possibility of no fuel for equipment in a S.H.T. F. situation I am concentrating on the most food for the amount of labor and space available . Squashes are also high on my list as also are greens . This year I am growing the small eating type pumpkins simply because of fact they will keep for months simply stacked back somewhere . Also this year I am experimenting with husk cherries . The husk cherries are supposed to be able to be saved for up to three months without having to can or dry them . I thought that would help those wild game stews with a few of those throwed in the pot . Tomatoes are also on my list but mainly because the wife told me to plant them .
     
  6. Justin Baker

    Justin Baker Expert Member
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    I love vertical gardening. not only does it make your garden space more efficient, but so many plants respond more abundantly when coaxed to grow this way!!!
     
  7. Justin Baker

    Justin Baker Expert Member
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    This = vertical gardening and crop rotation.
     
  8. Rebecca

    Rebecca Expert Member
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    First I absolutely love gardening and growing my own food so I can get much too carried away on this topic! I am mostly planning raised beds and vertical gardens this spring.

    1. Berries - I already have blueberries and blackberries and will be planting more. I have also ordered grape and kiwifruit plants for spring but these will take 3 years to start producing fully.
    2. Potatoes - one of my favorites because we eat a lot of them, they store easily for a long time ( and I'm really good at growing them LOL)
    3. Squash - again easy long term storage
    4. Corn - this one I am not so good at but I keep trying and learning, will get it right eventually. Hopefully this year.
    5. Onions and garlic - which grow well here
    6. Greens - fresh salad without possible store contamination or pesticides
    7. Herbs - I grow a wide variety for cooking and medicinal use
    8. Beans and peas
    9. Tomatoes - easy to can them for use over winter
    10. Fruit and nut trees - I plant more every spring, but as we have only owned this place for a few years I don't get anything from them yet. The plan is to end up with our own orchard.
     
  9. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    1. Beans
    2. peas
    3. squash
    4. potatoes
    5. yams
    6. greens
    7. corn
    8. onions
    9. garlic
    10. peppers

    check your area for lambs quarters and other naturally growing eatable plants in your area. In low lying areas around here we have cattails.

    Berries and fruits are nice but they are only ripe and ready to eat for a very short time of the year and are hard to store without canning or bottling them.
     
  10. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    Actually the best way to "store" berries is to ferment them and bottle that. Wine or "homebrew" is a pretty simple and low tech process. I was bootlegging my own grape homebrew when I was 9. One hint...Don't bottle until the process is TOTALLY finished and all the sugars have been converted. Exploding bottles of my product got me busted by the MBI!!! (Mom's Bureau of Investigation) Word got out what we were doing so we decided to bottle up real quick and shut down for a while. The batch was close to being done...close only counts in horseshoes!!!
     
  11. Justin Baker

    Justin Baker Expert Member
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    I've got a 5 gallon carboy of Cider in tertiary fermentation and a 5 gallon carboy of Irish Red Ale that's only about a week from completion, according to the hydrometer reading.... About 2/3 of my berry and fruit harvests every year go into brewing!
     
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  12. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    That stuff will be liquid gold in a post-apocalyptic world. If you look at history in Europe the various fermented beverages were used as more than just grog to get drunk with.
     
  13. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    I used to make my own fruit wine ... absolutely delicious! An excellent way to make use of fruit that is in abundance and past its use by date.
     
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  14. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    I don't drink a whole lot anymore but in times of stress recreational drugs use has always been important. The navy ships in the old days considered a ration of rum to be a must. The Native Americans didn't drink but the tobacco when you are not smoking all the time is a powerful drug. World wide every culture had its inebriants. Used in moderation it is a good thing. Overused it isn't.
     
  15. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    Alaska is world famous for the world record setting vegetables we can grow. I’ve relocated most of my operations to my mountain retreat that has less than ideal soil and the almost 3,000 foot elevation cuts a good month off the growing season verses where I originally established in the fertile Mat-Su Valley.

    For the past 5 seasons, we have successfully grown more than enough potatoes for the family in our mountain home. Typically we grow enough to trade a several bushels of potatoes, but have avoided planting items of interest to the abundant moose and snow shoe hares on the mountain. We still grow and harvest these items in the valley. This includes lettuce, kale, squash, pumpkin, radish, beans, etc.

    My wife wants to experiment to see what grows well on the mountain. I built her and experimental raised bed garden and have enclosed it with chicken wire framed out to be 6 feet tall and reinforced with what I hope are sufficient 2x4s to keep the moose off. It’s certainly sufficient to keep the hare out. She has a good dozen different types of vegetables that she is planting today. Hoping we don’t get a frost, as we are a week early planting verses previous years, but the forecast looks promising. Based on this experiment, I will build her a green house and additional beds this fall designed to optimize what we can successfully grow on the mountain. Hopefully these will include items we can can and store for use during the winter.

    In addition to what we raise, the mountain has more than enough blueberries, high and low bush cranberries, raspberries, and other native berries to feed an army. Fortunately, we and one other homesteader control the access to this so most of my side of the mountain is ours for the harvesting.

    The other homesteader is getting up there in age and this year he stoped raising livestock (pigs and chickens). If I have the time, next year I might start buying some of his pins and equipment off of him. Although I was raised on a farm, it’s been a good 5 decades since I’ve had any experience in this.
     
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    1. Dalewick
      Have you tried a solar electric fence? I use a small one and it keeps the deer and black bears out of the garden. That bottom wire (6 inches high), zaps the rabbits and squirrels really well. I know some guides use the same system to keep grizzlies out of their camps. I don't know how moose will respond.
       
      Dalewick, May 27, 2020
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  16. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    I'd love to hear your tips for growing spuds john. I haven't had that much experience with them so would be grateful for any advice you could share.
     
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  17. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    My primary crops are tomato's and peppers. We still have 6 gallons of cut up and frozen peppers from last season. We also have planted:
    Corn
    Green Beans
    Pumpkins
    Lettuce
    Beets
    Cabbage
    Garlic
    Snow peas
    Cucumbers
    Oregano
    Basel
    Thyme
    Sage
    Carrots
    Radishes

    Along with our small patch of Rhubarb.

    We also have apple trees and young peach, pear, apricot, cherry and plum trees. Also have hazel nut bushes started.

    I use the 3 sisters method of growing corn, beans and pumpkins. Helps keep the corn from blowing down in our wind storms.

    Tomato's are a primary because we use a lot of tomato product. Tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, BBQ sauce and more. There easy to can and last a long time.

    I grow bell peppers, Italian peppers, hablano peppers and chili peppers. We grow green, yellow and red bell peppers that I clean and cut up either into strips (stir frys, pizza, phillie steaks, etc.) or small chunks to freeze or dry. We can the hablano's for adding heat to other dishes and I dry and crush the Chillies for use as a spice. Some I smoke and crush to a powder for use as chipotles.

    Want that greenhouse for aquaponics again and I'm going to try growing vanilla orchids.

    Dale
     
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  18. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    I forgot our patch of mustard greens and gourds (for crafts and trade).

    I don't have blackberry or raspberry vines on my place as they grow wild everywhere here and I just pick those. I want to raise strawberries in the greenhouse after it's up. I also have hay scented fern growing for the fiddleheads. The wife likes them.

    Dale
     
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  19. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Wow, that's impressive Dale!
     
  20. Dalewick

    Dalewick Master Survivalist
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    Thank you. I'm striving to make my place a homestead. It's already home.

    My neighbor also has a large garden and he grows about a half acre of potatos along with it. We would plant wheat and oats if a TEOTWAWKI occurred. He has a nice chestnut tree on his place and a second garden behind his house. We're country around here.

    Come fall I'll deer, bear and turkey hunt along with grouse and rabbit. I have an elk hunt planned for this fall, 2nd freezer comes in handy. The wife wants a cellar so we can stop storing under the house. Hoping for this fall.

    Dale

    The wife wants to raise pheasants. Guess I need to build a pen. LOL! Something else to do.
     
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    1. Blitz
      You're certainly a busy boy then!
       
      Blitz, May 28, 2020
  21. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    Blitz, I am not abundantly familiar with Australia, but a google search indicates NSW is what the US calls zone 8. Zone 8 should be quite capable of growing potatoes. Potatoes are considered cool weather plant, but still can be grown successfully in climates warmer than NSW.

    Some varieties that should work well in NSW includes Irish Cobbler, Red Pontiac Yukon Gold, Caribe, Norchip And Kennebec.

    Potatoes grow best in cool, well-drained, loose soil. I need to work on my soil quite a bit as I’m on fairly rocky soil. I mixed about 50% topsoil with the other 50% a mixture of peat moss and compost. My compost included well composted cow manure.

    Do you have space to plant in rows? I try to keep my rows as near as 3 feet apart and space the potatoes out about 12 inches. I’ve grown them well with rows spaced out about 24 inches, but the full grown plants are bunched together which then requires great care working them.

    If you don’t have space to plant in rows, potatoes grow great in containers. With containers, or in rows, remember that as the plants grow, you need to add soil around the plants as they grow.

    For my rows, I dig a trench about 8-10 inches deep with the top of the trench being about 18 inches apart. I bury the seed potatoes about 4 inches deep at the bottom of the trench. As the plants grow, I carefully push the trench in a little at a time around the base of the plant as it grows.

    Watering is dependent on the amount of rain you get. Assuming now rain, I’d water well 3 times a week. You don’t want to over water, but they do respond best with some watering. I find the plants tells you when it needs water, and generally perks up quickly when you give it enough.

    Choose a location that gets full sun—at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. We get 18 hours are so of sunshine through most of our growing season, so this is a big part of why our gardens do well.

    If you want to experiment, plant a few Yukon Golds and maybe a couple others in large buckets and see how they do. Then you can expand as you figure out what works!
     
    1. Blitz
      Thanks john, yes, I believe this area is good for growing spuds.

      Pontiacs are the only type that I'm familiar with. I don't have room for rows unfortunately and am not likely to dig up enough space to plant them. I'll have a crack trying some in large buckets and see how I go. Our soil is very rocky here as well. It's a nightmare. I'm currently digging up a garden bed and have collected 2 buckets full of rocks so far. I'm thinking I'll use compost + potting mix and see how that does.
       
      Blitz, May 28, 2020
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  22. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    Dale,

    The original homesteader raised animals and I can see he had the place wired most likely to protect against bears. At some point I plan on putting in a wired or solar panel fence. Just too many higher priority projects, and everything I’ve planted prior to this season was moose proof, so it wasn’t really needed. We will find out soon enough if my construction work sufficiently moose proofed her veggies!
     
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    1. Dalewick
      Please let us know how you do.
       
      Dalewick, May 28, 2020
  23. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    Your garden choices closely match my preferences the only thing that I would add to it is an assortment of squash. They are both nutritious and keep for months. If you have never tried spaghetti squash you need to try it. I could put a plate of it in front of you and you wouldn't know that it wasn't spaghetti. We bake it and then shred it and serve it with either alfredo sauce or marinara sauce and it is great. The pattypan squash when sliced and fried makes me think of fried fish. The native Americans planted "The three sisters in little hills with corn in the middle, climbing beans under the corn and then squash around the bottom. They are complementary and support each other in several ways when planted together. If your soil is sandy you might think about peanuts they offer several advantages one being that they will go unnoticed by people raiding your garden. Very few people know what the plant looks like that grow root crops.
     
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  24. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Will be a small garden this year. Putting it out late. Got the tiller going & turned the soil.

    Last year's bounty was a bit much. Can't handle that this year. Wife and I not feeling so super. Tiller didn't break my back, however. Wasn't aching day after. Maybe I'm a bit better than imagine. Heart rate last night ran 46/min (Zen / rifle team / Rx salad) -- wasn't feeling light-headed at all & bp fine @120/72. But man, this body is worn-out. My "good" knee is bothering me.

    I'll be mostly reading about what other folk have achieved with their gardens. We've not even made up our minds as to what we'll plant. Both feeling our years.

    I've never been successful with onions. Was talking with mate about onions in addition to whatever little else we plant. Any advice on onions? Maybe garlic also. I love garlic. Can't buy ramps and we're not at altitude.
    .
     
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    1. Blitz
      Are you growing onions from seed or from an actual onion? If from seeds, the trick is not to sow them too deep, just lightly cover. I think the challenge is they take a fair while to come up and you need to keep the soil moist until they do.

      Garlic you need to make sure you plant them the pointy end up and not overwater them, or they'll rot.
       
      Blitz, May 28, 2020
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  25. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Master Survivalist
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    My wife makes spaghetti with squash and I love it! As a kid, my mom used squash in a variety of dishes. I recall a great chili dish that included squash.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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  26. arctic bill

    arctic bill Master Survivalist
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    I am still in the possible frost cycle for the next couple of weeks,
    that being said i have planted potatoes last week . they were planted deep in the ground and can resist frost,
    next are beans yellow and green, onions and green
    rubab is coming up nice and all but one apple tree that was sick last year are doing great.
    it is so hot up here . we are breaking records. i have seen a killing frost in early june .
    I went with four raised bed gardens.
     
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  27. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    My winter garden is going great guns. The peas, cauliflower, broccoli, broad beans, onions, spring onions and turnips have all come up beautifully from seed. The veggies already planted are doing well too. So I'm a happy camper.

    I'm trying a lot of container veggies this year, as I don't have the time or the back to dig up more beds. So it will be interesting to see how some of the veggies like broccoli and peas produce in containers.
     
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  28. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    I grow potatoes in tyre "towers" usually 3 high saves having to do all that earthing up and the tyres heat up in the sun and retain the heat. been doing this for 20 years and never had any problems.
     
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  29. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    That's a great idea lonewolf. I've got a couple of tyres. I'll give it a go.
     
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    1. Dalewick
      Careful with tires. Old ones can leach toxins into soil.
       
      Dalewick, May 29, 2020
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  30. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Thanks for pointing that out Dale. Might try big buckets instead.
     
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  31. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Wash the tires. Line with washed plastic if you are worried.

    https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/health/are-vegetables-grown-tire-gardens-safe-eat

    https://www.thespruce.com/are-tire-gardens-safe-growing-veggies-848043

    The enviro-wackos are going to wring their hands over something/everything. You can't listen to the terminally neurotic.

    "What if! What if! What if! ..." These people should just go kill themselves. Gamma radiation from space, from the sun, from Gaia Herself, is trashing their DNA every microsecond -- tell them this. Set off their deepest anxieties. Let them curl up in the fetal position and go catatonic. Maybe then, they won't be out voting anymore. Hope they sh## themselves and starve to death.

    Late today I was working on a rain catch barrel -- H2O from roof down gutters into barrel. Will finish tomorrow. My family has always done this. Counting on roof run-off not killing me. Research on this water-source confirms my lack of concern. I've already put the drain faucet on bottom of trash can. Will run garden hose downhill to garden. Why use "clean" water -- that's kinda nuts.
    .
     
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    1. Blitz
      Hahahahahahahaha! I'm killing myself laughing ...
       
      Blitz, May 30, 2020
  32. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    We bought some sweet potatoes today. I've never grown yams, no joke.

    Bought onions, also.

    I wanted some perennial flowers and got them. They can throw the flowers on my casket. There's a use.

    Me, I can live on fried Spam, baked beans, and corn bread. Toss in some Irish butter and I'm in Seventh Heaven. Sardines, got plenty of smoked kippered herring aus Deutschland, sehr gut! Got mustard put back, hallelujah!
     
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    1. Blitz
      I've never grown yams either.

      Hahahahaha! You seriously crack me up.
       
      Blitz, May 30, 2020
  33. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    never had any trouble with the tyres, and I've been using this method for over 20 years.
    you can also use sacks, plastic and otherwise, tubs are good too.
     
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  34. arctic bill

    arctic bill Master Survivalist
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    My garden is in
    I have 4 raised beds 1) yellow beans one side and green beans the other
    2) all potatoes
    3) kale on one side and endives on other
    4) beets one side and broccoli the other side
    then i have many container of tomatoes, green onions, zucchini , broccoli, radishes , chives
    thyme , basil .

    also rhubarb, blue berry bushes, and a dozen apple trees planted on the land .

    I am a realist, this is not enough to get me through a winter but it is enough with the other stock piled food stuffs to get me and 2-3 other through .
    I would need to put up a deer, which are plentiful in my area. especially when the apples start dropping if you know what i mean.
     
  35. poltiregist

    poltiregist Master Survivalist
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    I have extended " hopefully " my growing season by planting seeds at different times that should let me produce food until a solid freeze occurs . I am more concerned about next years crop than this one as food appears to be available for now . So some of my crops are grown more for the heirloom seeds it will produce than the food for this year . As the Democrats continue to loot , burn and do anything they can conceive in an attempt to force their will over an election in November that they realize they likely will not legally win I look for further disintegration of the supply chain . We have already seen how the supply chain being fractured effects seed supplies and food availability at the markets . I am preparing for the situation to be much worse next year . In my stash is a hand crank grain grinder for grinding up corn and boiling it . It taste tolerably well . I have sacks of corn put up for grinding if the situation so merits .
     
    1. Old Geezer
      Folk so often forget to have the proper grinders. You are being smart/practical, speaks to surviving now doesn't it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if more people could actually think. Speaking for myself, life would be so much more livable if humans were human. The whole I.Q. thingy, good having one of those.

      Speaking of proper grinders, we humans are not ruminants. But y'know what, it seems that so often -- all too often -- one runs into cud-chewers posing as human. When I witness masses of ruminants milling about ruminating on never-to-be-digested issues (not by them, anyway), I want to whip-out my wooden crate and bullhorn, stand atop the crate, switch on the horn and broadcast, "Moooooooooooooooo! Mooooo!"
       
      Old Geezer, Jun 12, 2020
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    2. DirtDiva
      Poltiregist in my zone 6B garden by planting at 3 week intervals many of my vegetables I can extend my season into November in some cases depending on the first frost. Another benefit is that I have smaller amounts to deal with at one time just more of them. Can make shelling, snapping or canning and dehydrating easier. As for seeds I grow vegetables that are all open pollinated, some are heirloom. I tried to find varieties that are hardy in my area and have been grown for decades. I have saved seeds over many years for all of these vegetables therefore I am not reliant on anyone for my seeds. All of my seeds are varieties that my family will eat, are hardy in my area, I know how to cook and preserve and the seed can be saved easily. If I have to coddle it I don't grow it. Therefore whatever happens in the world around me I know I have seeds.
       
      DirtDiva, Jul 1, 2020
  36. arctic bill

    arctic bill Master Survivalist
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    Poltergeist. I do the same thing to plant crops so the do not all come in at the same time. Some crops like root crops does not make a difference . but beans timing is every thing .
     
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  37. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Active Member
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    My top choices would be (Vegetable)

    1. Potatoes..early mid and late season. The small ones and nicked ones I can the rest go into storage.
    2. Beans..red, butter, green and horticulture. I plant bush beans always. I can get 3 rotation of green beans in a season. I can them. Red, horticulture and butter beans I dry. Easy storage. Purple Hull peas also.
    3. Cabbage ...easily turned into kraut. I can get 3 crops of cabbage a year easily. Freezer slaw is good and will keep in the root cellar good too. I also freeze for soups.
    4. Mustard greens..I can them for winter and eat fresh spring and fall
    5. Squash.. Summer squash planted every 3 weeks. Winter squash grown vertically good keeper. Also naked seed pumpkins.
    6. Onions and green onions. Storage onions and I also dehydrate both onions and green onions.
    7. Garlic
    8. Tomatoes. I can about 200 jars a year and dry also.
    9. Cucumber I make pickles every year. Fermented and canned
    10. Okra. Easy to grow. Freezes well and also dehydrates well for gumbos.
     
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