The Survival Garden: How To Start And What To Prep.

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by DirtDiva, Aug 30, 2021.

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  1. Max rigger

    Max rigger Master Survivalist
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    Christmas spuds are doing nicely, need to earth up soon. Lots of garlic to go in next.
     
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    1. DirtDiva
      I always put my garlic in the first of October. Been raining here for 3 days straight here and another day to go. Dug sweet potatoes before the rain moved in and picking figs between showers. Taking the day off to celebrate my birthday today. Temps are supposed to be in the 60's this week and leaves are starting to fall on select trees.
       
      DirtDiva, Sep 20, 2021
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  2. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard ! Staff Member
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    Happy Birthday from your greatest fan. Your wonderful posts are really helping me out. As Spock would say, "Live Long and Prosper".
     
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  3. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    As far as learning how to garden for survival purposes I recomend that you grow the easy things that you like at first. I raised a lot of tomatoes, peppers and onions when I started. Over the years I had some HUGE gardens with corn, peas, beans and pretty much anything that you can imagine. I love cantalope and watermelons.

    In South East Texas gardening is a year around sort of thing. Some years I've had tomatoes until late January or Early February.
     
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    1. DirtDiva
      I do miss those long hot deep south growing seasons sometimes. You can really crank out the food in those type of climates. The only problem is the extreme heat at times and droughts depending on the location but you can get that anywhere just not as often I think.
       
      DirtDiva, Sep 21, 2021
  4. Max rigger

    Max rigger Master Survivalist
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    Happy birthday Diva, thanks for the thread and I'll blow the froth off a couple in your honor tonight ;)
     
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    1. DirtDiva
      Thanks Max!
       
      DirtDiva, Sep 21, 2021
  5. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    What Is Companion Planting?
    Companion planting is a method of gardening where the gardener grows two plants together that mutually benefit each other. These plants may help each other gain more nitrogen, protect the garden from pests, or provide shade for plants that prefer to stay out of the sun. Companion plants don’t interfere with other plants’ growth and provide crucial biodiversity in the garden.

    The ways companion plant interactions may occur include:
    • Climate co-operation
    • Nurse cropping (bringing nutrients to the surface for young plants)
    • Trap cropping (decoy companions for pests)
    • Symbiotic nitrogen fixation
    • Natural pest repellant
    • Benevolent bug attraction
    • Biodiversity drives away pests with a specific diet
     
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  6. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    I do use some of these companion planting methods and will show you some examples.

    [​IMG]

    In the picture above there are two hilled rows of potatoes. The potatoes have started to die back but about the time they were blooming I came in between the rows and either side and planted purple hull peas. While the potatoes are sizing up beneath the soil the purple hulls will shade the potato rows keeping them cooler therefore resulting in larger potatoes, shading out weeds and because the peas are a legume pulling nitrogen from the air and fixing it in the soil. The added benefit is that it is doubling my harvest from the same area of soil. Once the peas are mature they will be harvested and then the potatoes dug.

    Companion planting at it's best.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
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  7. arctic bill

    arctic bill Master Survivalist
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    dirt diva,
    is this your real garden or one taken from the internet to illustrate a point ?
    Bill


     
    1. DirtDiva
      The pictures are all mine Bill and on my properties and gardens through the years! If I post a picture not mine I will mark it as so. In some pictures you will see a mark made through the photo this is to mask my farm logo or watermark for my own privacy.
       
      DirtDiva, Sep 21, 2021
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  8. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Another example:

    Let's go back to those raised beds.

    [​IMG]

    Notice right behind the mailbox the planting of yellow marigolds next to summer squash plants. Marigolds not only a pollinator attractor but also a deterrent for some bad bugs.

    In the last bed to the far left are the tomatoes along the fence panels at the back of the bed. In front of the tomatoes to the front of the bed sweet peppers, basil, cabbage and garlic chives.

    The basil and garlic chives not only edible crops but also deterrents against pests common to tomatoes and cabbage.

    A study from Iowa State University on Companion planting

    https://www.farms.ag.iastate.edu/files/CompanionPlanting.pdf


    [​IMG]

    At the end of the bed a tub full of petunias for the bees and hummingbirds.

    [​IMG]

    And even more at the back fence of this area a planting of purpe hull peas planted on the fence and scattered in front of the peas 8 hills of okra. These are not only planted for their harvests but as a trap crop for stink bugs a particular visitor in my tomato crops.

    The purple hull peas and okra are a trap crop planted far away from the garden and the tomatoes. They attract the stink bugs and aphids far away from the garden and the tomatoes and at the outer perimeter of the area. There the infestation will be sprayed with Neem at regular intervals to control the population and reduce pest numbers to prevent them from detroying the tomato crop. I found 2 tomatoes in that whole garden with stink bug damage. That is pretty good.

    And from North Carolina A & T University Study
    https://www.scientia.global/cowpea-an-ancient-crop-for-modern-challenges/

    Again another positive example of making your crops do double duty.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
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  9. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard ! Staff Member
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    Outstanding post. I like the idea of plants doing double duty. I would never have thought of using plant to lure away pests or as a deterrent to pests. Thank you for you posts.
     
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    1. DirtDiva
      Strategies like this could be very important in a survival garden where pesticides are unavailable or in very short supply.
       
      DirtDiva, Sep 21, 2021
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  10. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    All hail Dirt Diva!

    As the fame of Dirt Diva grows, crowds gather to get photos of her grand garden.

    [​IMG]
     
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    1. DirtDiva
      :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
       
      DirtDiva, Sep 21, 2021
  11. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Dirt Diva, don't give me that :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: look! You are a rock star! And I am a goofy old man.
     
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  12. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    I'm a tired old gardener with a camera infatuation.
     
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  13. arctic bill

    arctic bill Master Survivalist
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    dirt diva , you are the man , very nice garden , mine is much more beer drinker that your.
    Bill
     
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  14. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Mustard as a Cover Crop and Fumigant

    Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
    https://www.sare.org/publications/m...nonlegume-cover-crops/brassicas-and-mustards/

     
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  15. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Blue Hubbard as a trap crop for squash vine borer and squash bugs
    University of Missouri
    https://ipm.missouri.edu/MEG/2017/3/Trap_cropping/

     
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    1. Old Geezer
      I've had trouble with squash vine borer. Thnx for info.
       
      Old Geezer, Sep 22, 2021
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    2. DirtDiva
      Plant you a couple Hubbards in flower pots strategically placed. As they attract insects drop the pot in a garbage bag and spray the contents inside with a good dose of insecticide. Bugs gone. Dispose of the insides however you choose. I burn the plants after a couple weeks and recycle the soil around a fruit tree.
       
      DirtDiva, Sep 23, 2021
  16. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
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  17. arctic bill

    arctic bill Master Survivalist
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  18. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Crop Rotation

    In my humble opinion the survival gardens in a SHTF scenario will not be large sweeping farms of row crops that are so common today. But rather a throwback to the Victory Gardens of WWII will be small gardens tucked behind fences and hedges in back yards and rural spaces across the US.

    [​IMG]

    I think survival gardens will have to be smaller for ease in upkeep and resources compared to maintain larger ones. Maybe going back to the days when gardening was done with a shovel and hoe and not the gas guzzling tillers and tractors of the modern era. I have already started picking up extra shovels, hoes, manure and potato forks and any gardening tools that I run across at yard sales in my area. They can be cleaned up and oiled and hung on a shed wall taking very little space and could be excellent trade goods in the future.

    We are already seeing shortages of seeds, fertilizers, insecticides and canning supplies to preserve the harvests. I think we can expect to see shortages in poly to cover those tunnels and other supplies that are biproducts of the oil industries. Birds nettings, synthetic row coverings and agricultural plastics will probably be the first to go.

    As a result of shortages I think the new mantra will have to be grow small and grow smart. More use of composts to combat fertilizer shortages. Animal manures from small flocks of backyard chickens, ducks and rabbits will be worth their weight in gold in the gardens. I also think that the use of more natural methods of disease prevention and control and also insect control will have to be utilized with the unavailability of alternatives. Trap crops and companion plantings are a good example.

    For me personally A use of more vertical gardening practices growing crops up instead of out to preserve space in the garden. Raised beds to reduce the need for tilling the soil. Tucking crops along fences and up trellises and poles. Container gardening to allow the possibility of growing crops on decks and tucked in among landscaping. More intense plantings closer together to make the most of garden real estate.

    I think perhaps the most challenging of tasks will be crop rotation.
    [​IMG]

    I can tell you right now I do not worry much about rotation. I do try to rotate some to help keep a certain pest like potato beetle from collecting in the soil in one particilar area. Other than that I am of the opinion in small gardens the pests will find what they want to eat when they want it and hiding it does not work.

    As far as fertility I am adding regular compost and fertility back to my soil with organic fertilizers so I do not think all the hooplah is necessary. I have gardened in garden spots for decades without a problem.

    I will leave you with a link and quote on the subject that I personally agree with and let you make your own decision but when I am gardening for my life and the life of my family I do not have time to fool around with the Author of the hour/flavor of the month in gardening.

    https://www.gardenmyths.com/crop-rotation-gardeners/

    Agriculture and gardening are very different, and crop rotation is unlikely to provide much of a benefit in most home gardens. It is also complex and depends very much on pest and disease identification, which is not common in gardens.

    It might make sense in special cases where you have identified a specific disease or pest and where a known rotation has been shown to work. The solution probably involves not growing the problem crop for a number of years because simple crop rotation without excluding the infected crop rarely works in a small area.

    Crop rotation might make a bit more sense in large gardens, such as market gardens, but even there the benefits are limited because most of these gardens grow all crops, every year.

    Most of the hype around this gardening technique is just that, hype. Use it if you know it will solve your problem, otherwise, don’t worry about it.
     
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  19. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    A Preppers Alternative

    Now that I have covered crop rotation here is how I do it! Tomatoes and potatoes and squash are my 3 bears as far as pests really. Tomatoes it is stink bugs and horn worms. Potatoes it is potato beetles and squash it is the squash bug and squash vine borer.

    I completely remove some crops out of my garden some years. I had a bumper crop of potatoes last year. I canned new potatoes enough for years, I dehydrated shredded potatoes and potato slices (enough for years) and we ate fresh potatoes galore. So this year I tucked a few potatoes in pots for fresh eating only and called it good. I still saw a few potato beetles around the garden but the ducks enjoyed them. I think next year I will again tuck some potatoes in pots for fresh eating and call it good. As my stores of canned and dehydrated potatoes diminish I will again grow a large crop of potatoes. And make no mistake I will still have a few potato beetles just not as many. In between years that I grow large amounts of potatoes this is how I grow potatoes for fresh use.



    Tomatoes
    Again I do grow tomatoes every year just not as many some years. This year I had a bumper crop of tomatoes. Last year I had a healthy crop of tomatoes as a result I canned tomato products both years. Sauce, paste, diced, rotel, salsa and dehydrated tomatoes for tomato powder. Enough tomatoes for several years. Next year I will grow a few tomatoes for slicers and a few plum tomato plants for salads and I will not concentrate on this crop for preservation. The use of trap crops greatly reduced stink bug damage and I never saw the first hornworm in my tomatoes all year.

    Squash
    Squash are a little different in that this year for the first time in several years I did not fight squash bugs. I also never lost a plant to squash vine borers. I did use several hubbard squash in a pot as a trap crop but even the Hubbard were bug free. I interplanted garlic chives and dill and rotated throughout the garden as a space opened up.

    So I guess my point is I preserve bumper crops and use that as an opportunity the next year to concentrate on a different crop that I maybe need more in my pantry and preps. My pantry and food preps dictate my rotation of vegetable crops and what I grow more than rotating for fertility or pest issues.

    By greatly reducing or eliminating those crops completely for a cycle or two may help keep my numbers down on targeted pests.
     
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  20. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Growing Sweet Potatoes

    My garden on the top of the Cumberland Plateau can be tricky at times because springs can be wet and very cool. Late season frosts are a common occurrence. I have started growing my sweet potatoes like this man and it has worked wonderfully for me. The black plastic allows me to warm the soil and and plant the potato slips sooner and the addition of lots of compost makes for a very loose soil that means a large harvest of larger potatoes sooner. A great way to grow them in cooler areas too because I can easily cover the wire ring with something to protect the young potato slips from frost.

     
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  21. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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  22. DirtDiva

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  23. DirtDiva

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  24. poltiregist

    poltiregist Legendary Survivalist
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    Through ongoing tests from cultivation , in preparation for the survival garden , taking into consideration space , productivity , and ease of storing have my five basic heirloom seeds that I have saved for the apocalypse . Small eating pumpkins " chosen for ease of storing and nutrition " , 2- Tomatoes , 3- Climbing string beans , 4- Bell sweet peppers " to add flavor and add vitamins to meat based dishes " and 5- eggplants . --- Presently am always searching and experimenting for other plants to add to my survival garden arsenal .
     
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    1. DirtDiva
      Wow if I had to pick 5 it would be 1. Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage 2. Tomatoes heirloom 3. Winter butternut squash which would be comparable to your small pumpkin 4. Horticulture Bean 5. Mustard greens or spinach
       
      DirtDiva, Sep 30, 2021
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  25. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Season Extenders

    Some have already asked on this thread if I garden under hoop houses and the answer is no. While I do own a large structural steel high hoop frame I do not use it. Will I in the future maybe. I have it along with the covering to go over it in my preps if I need it. It was moved from another property I owned further north where the growing seasons were shorter.

    While I don't know how to prepare for a world with no oil, I can very easily imagine one in which oil and it’s products are much more expensive/less available in the near future. It is possible to prepare for that reality. I do choose to use some petroleum products (e.g. greenhouse film) because they are presently available and inexpensive. However I like to
    operate on the philosophy of minimal cost and minimal intervention, while avoiding energy-intensive technology when possible.

    My reality is that I live in a climate presently where I can grow vegetables from March to about November comfortably most years. My asparagus usually starts producing about the end of March and with a simple cold frame can start greens about that same time. So my growing season is comfortably 7 to 8 months out of the year. I prep large amounts of staples. Wheat berries, rice, beans, oatmeal, etc and vegetable garden extensively for that 7 to 8 months preserving any and all that is not eaten fresh to fill in the gaps nutrition wise in those existing preps. With the addition of dried and canned fruits and nuts I should be able to maintain a healthy diet for 2 people for years to come.

    To be honest by November I need a rest. I am ready to curl up in front of the fire with a needle and thread and a quilt to finish or my knitting needles and enjoy my winter. By February or March most people are craving greens which is why I freeze bags of frozen mustard greens and can jars of canned spinach and mustard greens for early spring. I also posses the knowledge and ability to forage and prepare fresh greens in the forest and fields to fill that need.

    For that reason season extenders are just not a huge priority for me. I eat what is in season when it grows naturally. That being said I understand there are many not in that position so I will try to list common and inexpensive ways to help extend your seasons for those especially growing in colder climates.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
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  26. DirtDiva

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    Low Tunnels ( row covers)

    Row covers are thin rolls of flat material many gardeners refer to as fleece. This material can be used to protect plants from frost, protect crops from insects, shade crops such as lettuce which prefer cooler growing conditions to prevent bolting and extend harvest.

    When I do choose to use row covers I use wire hoops made from coils of 9-ga galvanized fence wire shaped in a simple U shape with a foot or so straight on each side to go in the soil. These are draped with covers of Remay or Agribon cloth. The cloth is held down by bricks. Usually about 30” wide and 16’ long. For full-size summer crops, you need longer lengths of wire for wider and taller rows. There are 3 - 4 different weights of fabric for different levels of cold protection. I use the lightest, which allows 85% light penetration, but doesn’t provide much frost protection; the heaviest one allows only 50% light transmission but better protects from frost.

    Low tunnels can be used in spring, summer or fall, for different reasons. In spring mode, use narrow beds (30” wide). Let tunnels warm up the soil before sowing, for a 3 - 4 week jump on seed germination; then plant across the width. Pull back cover on warm day. When the plants get going, pull the hoops and let them grow. For insect control, use a very thin fabric made specifically to keep out bugs and birds; leave on throughout the season. Very effective.

    My fabric of choice that I keep on hand is this one linked below. 83 inches wide it fits easily over my beds in early spring to protect from those unexpected late frosts. Lets in 85% of the light and protects to 28 degrees farenheit.

    https://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-supplies/row-covers-and-accessories/agribon+-ag-19-83"-x-250-row-cover-9053.html?cgid=row-covers-and-accessories#start=19&sz=18

    I will make clear that I rarely use row covers and the reason for that is that I live on top of a plateau and can have very windy conditions. Row covers do not hold up very well to high wind therefore for me are not the best choice. But they may work for many of you. If omeone has more experience with them please feel free to share opinions, tricks or advice.

    WHy not plastic or visqueen you may wonder because it gets too hot underneath and is too hard to vent that heat out. Water will not go through sufficiently so you will either have to use a soaker hose or drip irrigation or remove to water and then recover.

    [​IMG]

    Notation this photo is from the captain planet foundation and is not my garden
     
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    1. TMT Tactical
      More outstanding info for us black thumb preppers. Thank you for your time and knowledge.
       
      TMT Tactical, Oct 14, 2021
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  27. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Cold Frames

    My season extenders of choice are cold frames. Just a simple wooden frame with a hinged top and plastic lid. A quick little patch of early lettuce can be planted to beat that last late frost or a place to tuck in a few trays of seeds. The great thing about cold frames is they can be made inexpensively and can be permanent or mobile depending on your needs or space. Mine shown below is actually movable with handles on the sides.

    [​IMG]

    This is my cold frame of choice pictured above. I don't think these require much explanation. i will throw out the tidbit that it was once common practice to heat cold frames with rotting manure compost in the bottom for warmth. Just an idea to tuck away for a rainy day. There are lots of cold frame pictures on the net so I will just post a few of my favorites for you. (Not my pictures or my gardens!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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    1. DirtDiva
      Cold Weather Crops to Grow in Cold Frames Lettuce Spinach Beets Swiss Chard Kale Broccoli Cauliflower Cabbage Carrots Radish Leeks Parsnips Onions Turnips Mache (aka Corn Salad) BONUS TIP: Use cold frames with straw to store root crops such as potatoes, carrots, and beets.
       
      DirtDiva, Oct 21, 2021
  28. DirtDiva

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    I will leave you with that for the day. On this subject I will post on high tunnel houses and some seed starting early to extend harvests tomorrow.
     
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  29. DirtDiva

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    1. Old Geezer
      Saved link, thank you.
       
      Old Geezer, Oct 21, 2021
  30. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Suggested Reading

    The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses Paperback – April 1, 2009
    by Eliot Coleman (Author)
     
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  31. DirtDiva

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    I wanted to also make a point for those of you with young children or pets I would seriously hesitate putting glass on top of cold frames. Many people use recycled old windows which is a great idea BUT..... my neighbor had a dog cut it's leg off chasing a cat over the top of a cold frame with a glass top and going through the glass. Just a thought......
     
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  32. DirtDiva

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    Seed starting to extend the harvest window can be very important to getting as many harvest as you can out of that garden. Having starts such as tomatoes already growing and ready to go into the garden as soon as it warms up can take precious week off of waiting for that harvest. This can make a huge difference with those gardening in colder climates. I like to have seedlings of things like cabbage ready to go into any vacant space that pops up as they grow almost season long here. There are lots of ways of doing that.

    [​IMG]

    This is my seed starting shelves. My husband built this just out of pine and plywood with standard off the shelf fluorescent light suspended above the shelves on chains that could be lowered or raised as needed. On wheels to be wheeled out of the way when not in use this shelf has started thousands of young plants through the years. Simple and straight forward it allows me to have plants ready any time of the year and not be dependent on buying young plants from the stores which gives me a much greater selection and healthier plants. Once the seedlings are up do not forget to put them outside in a shady area gradually giving them more sun everyday to harden them off.

    [​IMG]

    During the summer many of my plants start out simply in milk jugs on my sunny back deck. No hardening off required. I simply take a dining fork and carefully remove seedlings and place in the garden and water in.

    [​IMG]

    And lastly do not be afraid to simply start seeds in the garden under jugs. I have even started tomatoes and peppers like this successfully.
     
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    1. Old Geezer
      I think the world as we know it could come to an end were it not for our having plastic jugs and two liter bottles to save and use. Small glass jam jars when gone empty, we wash and use for juice glasses.
       
      Old Geezer, Oct 21, 2021
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  33. DirtDiva

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    I make my own seed starting mix by simply sifting compost through a screen and putting it in an old electric roaster and heating it by putting on about 250 for an hour to kill any weed seeds lurking. Let it cool completely and plant directly into it.

    Much easier than worrying about prepping and storing seed starter mix from the store. Cheaper too!
     
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    1. Old Geezer
      And it doesn't stick up your cooking stove.
       
      Old Geezer, Oct 21, 2021
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  34. DirtDiva

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    High Tunnels

    High tunnels, greenhouse or hoop house are all used interchangeably for the same thing. A high tunnel you’re able to walk through it and grow larger plants if desired.

    I will make the point here that I do own a very large commercial structural steel greenhouse. Greenhouses can be a huge expense not to mention your being reliant on coverings which are in most cases petroleum biproducts. My greenhouse at this time remains in storage in one of my sheds removed from anther colder northern property because I simply do not require it at this time. I live in an area with a milder climate and more than ample growing season. With minimal season extenders I can produce food 8 months out of the year without the expense of maintaining a greenhouse. I simply cannot justify the cost of greenhouse film etc at the present time. I produce and preserve more than ample food to feed my little family and preserve the remainder keeping my preps and 2 freezers full not to mention on an average about 1400 jars of preserved food on the shelf. I really have no need to use a greenhouse at this time. I do however have that option should it become necessary such as in a SHTF situation. I keep all options open.

    A high tunnel can really be great for extending those warm weather crops. Many people here do all of their tomatoes and peppers because they can get them into the ground about 4 to 6 weeks sooner than I would be able to normally. When it comes to fall, they can get another 2 to 3, sometimes 4 weeks
    additional harvest. People who sell at farmer's markets and such want those really early tomatoes because they get top dollar for them. Again my focus is on getting the crop in and not necessarily early so for me I get them in when I do and do not worry about it because my gowing season is more than ample to allow for harvest.

    The other reason many grow tomatoes and peppers in a high tunnel specifically is because we
    get a lot of rain. And overhead watering, especially on tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes –
    anything in the nightshade family really – has a larger chance of developing blight. If you’ve
    ever developed blight, once the plant gets it, it’s pretty much done for. There’s really no way
    to bring them back from blight. Keeping the rain off and using a soaker hose to water them
    can help get a much better harvest because they don’t develop blight.

    You definitely need to have venting. On most high tunnel you should be able to roll up the ends to allow
    for that venting, which is really important during the summer. Otherwise it can get up to 120
    degrees plus inside which will scorch and kill your plants.

    During cold weather you should get about an additional 5 ˚ increase. On an overcast day you’ll still get about 15 to 20 ˚ increase inside. On really hot sunny days it can be anywhere between 30 to 35 ˚ plus.

    A single-layer cover of greenhouse film provides little frost protection, as nighttime temperatures are barely warmer than ambient temperatures. For additional frost protection: use portable heaters, or place a Remay cover directly on plants inside the hoophouse. Use Wall-o-Waters inside the hoophouse for tomatoes started before all danger of frost is past. More expensive approaches include using a double layer of film, or polycarbonate panels. (Note: while polyethylene film could be used instead of greenhouse film, it has a short life when exposed to UV rays, so it’s lower cost doesn’t really warrant its use).

    There are many plans online for construction small hoop houses out of anything from cattle panels to pvc. If you intend to have and maintain a greenhouse a word of warning greenhouses and especially those with poly covering can be very susceptible to wind damage sp keep this in mind and anchor your structure well. I have seen wind get under a plastic house and pull steel posts out of the ground set in inadequate concrete footings so just a reminder. Many commercial greenhouse owners use anchors very similar for those used on mobile homes.

    I prep several rolls of greenhouse plastic to fit my frame as well as some polycarbonate and clear fiberglass. If using my frame becomes necessary it will last for awhile. Different greenhouse plastics have different shelf lives depending on their price. The more expensive tend to last the longest. I also prep a shade cloth for providing shade for my house should it become necessary. I also prep a tape that is made for patching plastic coverings on greenhouses and always remember to prep a way of securing coverings such as batten strips or if you have a poly covering system out of aluminum or pvc stock extra inserts. This can all be very expensive so keep that in mind. I see lots of people put up a greenhouse to then abandon them due to the cost of covering and maintaining.

    Note*** This is a particular area of expertise for me as I co owned a commercial greenhouse manufacturing corp. for a long time. If you have a specific greenhouse question please feel free to ask it and I will try to answer it if at all possible. I am happy to help if I can!

    (Ideas via internet for small greenhouses)

    [​IMG]

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    1. Old Geezer
      To prevent root rot, I over-dig my garden. My tiller has front tines and so I stick that tiller's nose as deep as humanly possible. Plants must have plenty of space for their roots, plus if there is a heavy rain that water has to go somewhere. The make-up of the garden soil must allow excess water to pass through. That's why it's good to add sand to the soil. If you are working with red clay, you'd better go a tad heavy on the sand and peat moss. As a boy digging taters, I cursed that red clay.
       
      Old Geezer, Oct 21, 2021
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    2. DirtDiva
      I am fortunate on top of the plateau that I have very sandy soil and not red clay like down in the bottom lands of Tennessee. It can be a pain though in that it is bad about drying out quickly and leaching nutrients quickly as well.
       
      DirtDiva, Oct 21, 2021
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  35. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    1. DirtDiva
      You don't have to produce everything that you consume. I store large amounts of traditional dry staples like most preppers. Beans , rice , oats, pastas etc... But I also produce huge amounts of vegetables, greens and salad fixings, small fruits and berries, spices such as dill and basil, garlic and onions plus various herbs both medicinal and for teas. All of this supplements and compliments my traditional dry stores. It adds not only variation but taste and variety to those traditional stores and huge amount of varying vitamins and minerals.
       
      DirtDiva, Oct 22, 2021
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  36. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Such a good point and I try to grow as much as I can vertically. I utilize property fences as much as possible as well. It's a great way to get as much as you can out of every available garden space. I grow blackberries on my perimeter fencing and get not only fruit but they tend to discourage people from climbing over. Add a couple big dogs, some well placed lighting on sensors and some motion detector alarms and you have a good start on security.
     
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  37. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Super good points on security. I've got a dog that alerts when it hears a gnat's toenails scratching on tin. That dog will bite.

    I've got motion sensing lights also.

    I envy your having mature fruit producing blackberries.

    As to vertical, runner beans sure fall into that category. God only knows how many green beans I've stringed and snapped on my grandma's front porch. Suddenly I'm a little boy again. I can hear them snap. I can smell them, right now at this very moment.

    Also, I can hear the roaring of the cicadas.



    Different cicada breeds have differing birth cycles. Some come out yearly. God knows I heard them every dang year.

    https://www.cicadamania.com/cicadas/common-cicadas-of-north-america/
    .
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
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    1. DirtDiva
      Yeah the blackberries are wonderful and I have a freezer of blackberries to prove it. I make blackberry cobbler with them and also fruit smoothies. I just planted 8 more and still have some young ones to plant. They are so easy to grow and I don't have to fight the chiggers out in the woods to pick them. Like you I have picked many a running snap bean and snapped many on my mama's front porch.
       
      DirtDiva, Oct 22, 2021
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    2. DirtDiva
      Another point is that it doesn't even have to be dogs. In past years the greatest watchdogs/alarms I have ever had are geese and Guinea fowl.
       
      DirtDiva, Oct 22, 2021
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    3. Old Geezer
      Geese can be bad news! The Air Force has used them on perimeter-duty. Geese honking are LOUD. Plus, they can pinch the dickens out'a you = blood blisters.
       
      Old Geezer, Oct 23, 2021
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  38. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    "I grow blackberries on my perimeter fencing and get not only fruit but they tend to discourage people from climbing over."

    When I worked a short while (teenager) with the Forestry Service, we used to plant killer thorn-bushes to keep hikers and motorcyclists away from mountain streams. Motorcycles silt-up streams such that fish can't spawn.

    Here's some thorn-bush varieties to use as security:

    https://gardenerspath.com/plants/foliage/best-defensive-plants/

    .
     
    1. DirtDiva
      I have blackberries on my perimeter fence and a native plum that has wicked spurs along another fence. Under the shed windows I have gooseberry that has some wicked thorns and under my house windows I have holly.
       
      DirtDiva, Oct 22, 2021
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  39. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    This or something similar is on my wish list of late but is in the planning stages.

    [​IMG]
    ( Not my picture)

    A mini greenhouse or upright cold frame of sort. A place south facing to protect those young seedlings awaiting the garden. A place to dry those onion bulbs or garlic cloves. A place to place seeds to dry out and a place for herbs to hang and dry. Vented at the top to allow heat to escape with doors that can be opened for ventilation.

    I love buildings that have dual purposes. I have a friend that raised her spring meat chicks in the bottom of her greenhouse and her spring seedlings on shelves above them. Cold frames can not only produce early spring and late fall cool season crops but be used with straw to store things like potatoes and carrots. I hang my onion bulbs in the top of my covered chicken run to dry and even in the top of my wood racks. If I am going to spend the money to build a building I want to get my money's worth.

    Other variations of this same idea.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We shall see what I come up with!!
     
  40. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    I have a certain priority for my perimeter thorns or any trees/shrubs that I plant now on this property.

    a) I like native plants if at all possible because I personally think that native species tend to require less care, be more disease resistant and have less problems with insects.

    b) My next priority is that if possible I want fruit. Either for me or the chickens and or birds.

    c) I want to be able to propogate easily. I want to be able to cheaply reproduce that plant. Fruit trees and shrubs are getting more expensive and hard to find everyday.

    Here are some examples on my own property......

    [​IMG]

    Blackberries along my fence line are not wild blackberries and not thornless but do grow easily and produce runners that I can dig up and increase my blackberry fence line without buying more bushes. Thus far they require only pruning and I do add composted chicken poo to fertilize. They can be propagated easily by simply taking a branch and pulling to the soil and weighting down until it roots. Then cut and dig.

    So I get some perimeter security from them and additional free bushes ongoing plus fruit every year with minimal care or input other than fertilizing and pruning.

    [​IMG]

    These are my wild plums sometimes called Choctaw plums. Mine were given to me but originally came from the wilds of Tennessee. Normally in the wild these make clumps or colonies of small shrubby bushes because they sprout from the roots. In my situation I took advantage of the large spurs (like thorns) on the branches and planted them close together in a line along part of my western fence line. They require absolutely NO spraying to produce reliably yearly late frost or not. I pruned them to a small standard tree and keep them trimmed at about 10 to 12 feet height to keep the picking easy. And sprouts that emerge I simply snip off or dig up and share with other people that want them. So there again easily propagated and disease and pest resistant for the most part.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    My wild plums produce a small yellow plum that can be eaten out of hand and are super sweet. They also make a phenomenal jam or jelly.

    [​IMG]

    This year I made plum brandy with them. The other jar is blackberry brandy.

    My other perimeter plant that is planted under my shed windows is gooseberry. While not native these plants seem to absolutely thrive on my property. The variety Pixwell for me can grow to 8 to 10 feet and as wide. While not invasive anywhere that a limb touches the ground they will root so very easily propagated. Can be shade tolerant. And for me I have never sprayed these bushes for anything. Give them plenty of room to grow because mine are easily 8 foot wide. Again I fertilize with composted chicken manure and mulch with sawdust. I have about 8 bushes around the property.

    [​IMG]

    So there again security friendly due to large thorns but very fruitful.

    [​IMG]

    And in exchange for a yearly pruning and some chicken manure I get dishpans ful of gooseberries. Hmmm and what do I do with them. Gooseberry pie, gooseberry tarts, gooseberry wine and gooseberry brandy.

    Some other plants with thorns that can make great perimeter security fencing quince ( can be invasive) , Rugosa rose which produce large red hips high in vitamin C, and if you are far enough south Mayhaw trees (in the hawthorn family with sharp little like the plums) with a fruit like a small crabapple. Makes an out of this world jelly that is a famous southern treat on biscuits.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2021
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  41. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    And in my own survival garden right now

    [​IMG]

    Foraged black walnuts hulled, washed and drying in the sun awaiting Mr. DD cracking them for the freezer.

    [​IMG]

    Compost piles cropping up everywhere to deal with those fall leaves.

    [​IMG]

    And figs dehydrating.

    In the garden garlic, carrots and mustard greens remain. Moving blackberry sprouts on down the fence row and pruning gooseberries and burning the prunings. Stacking and splitting firewood.

    [​IMG]

    NO rest for the wicked o_Oo_Oo_O
     
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    1. View previous comments...
    2. DirtDiva
      Approaching 70 maybe I will retire in a few years .....I doubt it though :p

      My father gardened till he died.
       
      DirtDiva, Oct 23, 2021
  42. Max rigger

    Max rigger Master Survivalist
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    Great post as usual DD, many thanks for sharing. With the walnuts I'm guessing you have a machine to deal with them?

    Blackberries in the UK grow wild all over the place, very common in hedgerows and woodland borders, makes great jams and cordial, 'rum and black' is a good drink, good shot of dark rum with blackcurrent cordial; nice winters day drink neat or hot from adding boiling water. I got totally bladdered (UK slang for pissed/drunk/off yer face) in Spitsbergen a few years ago with a bunch of crazy Norwegians...that was a hell of a night (Loganberry cordial).

    What other fruit do you grow?
     
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  43. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    Max rigger I grow peaches, plums, blue berries, figs, gooseberry, black currant, mulberry, blackberry, pawpaw, saskatoon/juneberry, grapes, strawberries, rhubarb, elderberry, Nanking cherry, pears, cold hardy apricot, Cornelian cherry and highbush (American) cranberry.
     
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  44. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    I just now found another picture of Dirt Diva!

    upload_2021-10-23_19-15-24.png
     
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  45. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    My husband has a heavy duty nutcracker that is made to crack walnuts.

    Blackberries in the U.S. also grow wild in woodlands and fencerows. The ones I grow are not wild but rather a cultivated variety with larger fruit. In the wild with the common wide use of herbicides I hesitate foraging off my property or on properties that I do not know.

    Many of the native fruit that I grow are now hard to find in the wild because of spraying.

    I enjoy experimenting with liqueurs and cordials with my fruits. My husband and I enjoy nightcaps sometimes and we give away much of it to our adult kids and family.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2021
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  46. Max rigger

    Max rigger Master Survivalist
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    Sloe berries from Blackthorn make wonderful Sloe Gin

    https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/sloe-gin

    Works well with any spirit really, Vodka works well, give it a try if you've not already had a go.

    03:00 in the morning, been on ham radio so time for some kip; talked to Americans tonight over in Florida, Virginia, New York and Boston Mass, plus Iceland, Gran Canaria, all over Europe and Brazil... conditions were good :)
     
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  47. DirtDiva

    DirtDiva Expert Member
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    GMO Seeds......FEAR SELLS !!!!!

    GMO-Free or Non-GMO

    As I have pointed out several times before, when it comes to seeds for home gardeners, the label of GMO-Free is largely meaningless and sometimes mis-leading. Whether or not you believe the prevailing science that shows that genetically engineered plants are safe for human consumption, you can rest assured that there are currently no genetically engineered seeds or plants available to home gardeners. Not on the seed rack at the box store nor your local garden center. Not in a catalog or online.

    Here are two assurances to that statement: A majority of the things that you grow in the home garden don’t have a genetically engineered counterpart. Only 12 genetically engineered crops have been approved in the US, and only 10 of those are currently produced. Most of these are commodity crops that home gardeners would not even produce, such as cotton, sugar beet, canola, and alfalfa. A few more have counterparts that are grown by home gardeners, but are vastly different from those grown by commodity producers (soybeans vs. edamame soy). And some just aren’t that very widespread (there are some GE sweet corn cultivars and squash cultivars, but they aren’t widespread on the market).

    So for the most part, there aren’t any “GMO” counterparts to the crops you’d grow in the home garden. They don’t exist.

    The other assurance is that genetically engineered crops are not marketed or sold to home gardeners as a matter of business practice or law. In order to purchase genetically engineered seeds or plants, it is current practice in the United States that you must sign an agreement with the company that holds the patent stating that you will not misuse the crop or propagate it (and before we get into the whole intellectual property argument – plant patents and agreements like this have been around since the early 1900s – it isn’t new). So you know that you aren’t buying genetically engineered seeds since you aren’t being asked to sign an agreement. Plus, these companies make their money by selling large quantities of seeds, they just aren’t interested in selling you a packet of lettuce seeds for $2.

    So since there aren’t any GMOs available to home gardeners, why do all these seed companies slap that label on their packets? Marketing, my dear! It started off with just a few companies, mainly using the label to compete in a crowded market. And fear sells. The label has spread to more and more companies as this fear and anti-science based marketing ploy has spread…both by companies who jumped on the fear bandwagon and by those who took so much harassment from the followers of the non-GMO crowd or they lost sales to people sold on the non-GMO label that they finally gave in. Unfortunately for some companies, slapping the non-GMO label on a product seems to give them permission to charge more, even if has no real meaning….so buyer beware.
     
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  48. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    GMO To.ma.to !!!!!!!!! RUN!!!!!

    upload_2021-10-28_23-18-33.png
     
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  49. Dalewick

    Dalewick Legendary Survivalist
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    Put my garden to sleep for the winter a couple weeks ago. Got plenty of cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers and dried a lot of herbs. The wife grew a bunch of sunflowers for the birds and I harvested about 5 bushels of our apples. A buck used several of my young fruit trees as rubs and broke off my cherry tree and almost girdelled my pear trees. LOL! Those are in my front yard. He is a small 4 point (eastern count) and now deer season is in. Venison on the menu soon.

    Dale
     
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    1. DirtDiva
      Boy have I been there! Venison stew, venison chili, venison jerky, venison sausage.......Venison cans great by the way.
       
      DirtDiva, Oct 30, 2021
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  50. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    DirtDiva, how about blackberry moonshine ...

    This batch put out by Midnight Moon is 100 proof. I've not tasted this, but their blueberry moonshine (also 100 proof) is great. It's so smooth, you can drink it straight ... which a person really shouldn't do.


    upload_2021-10-29_19-40-5.png
     
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