Tag Archives: Gardening

Starting a Survival Garden in 4 Simple Steps

Starting a Survival Garden in 4 Simple Steps

Disasters can occur anytime, and when they happen, food becomes scarce in the neighborhood. One of the most beneficial things you can do to prepare your family for these situations is to start a survival garden in your backyard.

What Is a Survival Garden?

A survival garden is a specially prepared small farm where you plant highly nutritious crops for your family’s dietary needs. The garden is also important when it comes to the production of vegetable that can be stored for future consumption. These food crops are selected mostly based on the calories they provide. They include protein, carbohydrates as well as fat producing crops.

Survival gardening is advantageous when it comes to natural disasters. With a survival garden, you are better prepared to face a food shortage problem that will likely affect society in times of disasters. Many harvested food crops from a survival garden also have long-term storage abilities like carrots, potatoes, onions, pumpkins, nuts as well as winter squash.

How to Start a Survival Garden

To start a survival garden, follow these simple steps:

1 – Identify the Perfect Location

When identifying the location for your garden, consider the following factors:

Sunlight – Survival garden should be located in a place that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight in a day. Most of these crops require sunlight as a source of energy for their growth and developments.

Accessibility – The garden should be near your home for easy monitoring. You can then easily check for pests, weeds, disease and the general conditions of the crops. Having it near also reduces the risk of thieves who may decide to harvest on your behalf.

Access to water – Your survival garden requires water for irrigation. This means that a water source must be available and accessible. It becomes easy to set irrigation system when the water source is near.

Fertile and well-drained soil – Most of the crops you plan to cultivate in the garden require proper drainage. A well-drained soil is well aerated, which allows the crops to grow well. You can also do some soil test to determine the nutrients level of the soil.

2 – Select Suitable Crops

Most survival garden crops are for family consumption. Therefore, you must determine how much your family consumes and then calculate how much your garden can produce. It is highly advisable to subdivide the garden into sections and also intercrop to ensure you cultivate several crops. Maximize the garden’s output but don’t intercrop crops that are not friendly.

Make a written plan for your garden. Ensure you have perennial crops like sage, mint, raspberry, blueberry, strawberries, bunching onions and asparagus in the garden. They should be planted at the back of the garden where they will be less disturbed. A survival garden should aim to produce several food crops either at the same time or in a sequence. Therefore, make sure you don’t plant crops that have the same pests or don’t follow each other in the sequence.

When selecting crops, be realistic and go for crops that are well adapted to the regions’ climate. On top of that, it is highly advisable to go for crops that your family loves and consumes more often. Also, consider the season of the year and make sure you incorporate those crops that can be preserved for future use. Don’t make it look too complicated, make it simple for a start so your garden can produce good harvests.

3 – Prepare the Land for Cultivation

If you want to harvest handsomely, you have to prepare your land properly. Clear the bush, plow, collect trash and compost it, and level the garden. Depending on the crop varieties you want to have in the garden, you can select to use either rows or bed. For crops like carrot and onions go for beds, and for crops like kales, cabbages, potatoes as well as corn go for rows.

Ensure you subdivide the cultivated land into plots that will be planted with different crops. If there is a plot, you want to mark and intercrop it to ensure you don’t affect the arrangement. Depending on the times of harvest you can plant some crops earlier to ensure they are not affected by competition for sunlight and nutrients.

When spacing your garden, also consider crops that require special training like tomatoes. Set the poles for training during planting to ensure you don’t disrupt other crops in your garden. If you are going for drip irrigation, make sure to set it properly to ensure crops get significant moisture for their growth. After planting it is necessary to fence the garden to keep off pest like rabbits, poultry, porcupines and squirrels

4 – Plant and Manage the Garden

Apply organic manure before planting, but if the soil needs a special nutrient boost, go for organic fertilizers. Use plant certified seeds as well as seedlings from certified seeds. After planting ensure that crops are well taken care of until they mature. Irrigate regularly and weed the garden when necessary. On top of that do pest monitoring as well as disease checks to ensure your garden is free from pests and diseases.

It is important to be well prepared for any disasters that can lead to a food shortage. With a well-prepared survival garden, you can cultivate the most important nutrient providing crops. The garden can be small, but with subdivision and intercropping, you can harvest enough. Follow these steps, and you will have the best garden that meets most of your family’s nutritional needs.

Resources & Further Reading

Planning A Survival Garden
Vegetable Gardening for Beginners
Planning Your Garden In Six Easy Steps

Guest Post Author Bio: Henry Rangkuti is a gardening enthusiast. His other passions include the outdoors, travel and technology. He writes about his gardening interest over at his website GardeningJourney.com.

Prepping for the Fall Garden

prepping-garden-collageMany gardeners do not even consider fall gardening because of the winter frosts that might make an early appearance.

On the contrary, fall gardening will result in excellent vegetables and will extend crops long after spring planted plants are finished. Vegetables produced from fall gardening are sometimes sweeter and milder than those grow in the summer and offer a brand new taste to the same old veggies.

What you choose to grow during you fall gardening will depend on your available space and what you like to eat, just like spring plants. Even the crops that enjoy the heat, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, and peppers, will produce until frosts hit, which can be pretty late in the year in southern areas. However, there are some plants that will quit towards the end of summer like snap-beans, summer squash, and cucumbers. If these vegetables are planted around the middle of the summer they can be harvested until the first frosts as well. Hardy, tough vegetables will grow until the temperature is as low as 20 degrees, but those that aren’t as strong will only be able to grow through light frosts. Remember that if you have root and tuber plants and the tops are killed by a freeze the edible part can be saved if a large amount of mulch is used.

When fall gardening, make sure and pick the vegetables with the shortest growing season so they can be full grown and harvested before the frost arrives. Most seed packages will be labeled “early season”, or you can find the seeds boasting the fewest days to maturity. You may want to go after your seeds for fall gardening in spring or early summer; they are usually not kept in stock towards the end of summer. If they are stored in a cool and dry location they will keep until you are ready to plant.

In order to know exactly when the best time to start fall gardening, you must know about when the first hard frost will hit your area. One of the best ways to tell this is by a Farmer’s Almanac. I always check the Farmers Almanac for the frost dates…you can too...go HERE! They will give you exact dates and are rarely wrong. You will also need to know exactly how long it is going to take your plants to mature.

Here is the Gardening Calendar for August and September:

AUGUST 2014

5th-7th Cut winter wood, do clearing and plowing, but no planting.
8th-9th Good time to plant aboveground crops.
10th-11th Barren days.
12th-13th Favorable days for planting root crops, fine for vine crops. Good days for transplanting.
14th-15th Barren days. Do no planting.
16th-17th Root crops that can be planted now will yield well. Good days for transplanting.
18th-19th Any seeds planted now will tend to rot. Best days for killing plant pests and weeds.
20th-22nd Most favorable day for planting beets, onions, turnips, and other root crops. Plant seedbeds and flower gardens. Good day for transplanting.
23rd-27th A barren time. First two days best for killing weeds, briars, poison ivy, and other plant pests. Clear woodlots and fencerows.
28th-29th Good days for planting aboveground crops. Excellent for sowing grains, winter wheat, oats, and rye. Plant flowers.
30th-31st Plant peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and other aboveground crops in southern Florida, California, and Texas. Extra good for leafy vegetables. Plant seedbeds now.

SEPTEMBER 2014

1st An excellent time for planting aboveground crops including leafy vegetables, which will do well. Start seedbeds.
2nd-3rd Good days to clear fencerows, woodlots, and fields, but do no planting.
4th-5th Any aboveground crops that can be planted now will do very well.
6th-7th These are poor planting days.
8th-9th These are good days for planting root crops. Fine for vine crops. Good days for transplanting.
10th-11th Seeds planted now will tend to grow poorly and yield little.
12th-13th Good for planting root crops. Good days for transplanting.
14th-16th Seeds planted now tend to rot in the ground. Last two days good for killing plant pests, cultivating, or taking a short vacation. Also plant seedbeds and flower gardens. Good days for transplanting.
19th-23rd A most barren period, best for killing plant pests, or doing other chores.
24th-26th Good days for planting peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and other aboveground crops in southern Florida, Texas, and California. Excellent for sowing grains, hay, and forage crops. Plant flowers.
27th-28th Excellent time for planting aboveground crops that can be planted now, including leafy vegetables, which will do well. Start seedbeds.
29th-30th Clear fencerows, woodlots and fields, but do no planting.

  

To get your soil ready for fall gardening you must first remove any leftover spring/summer crops and weeds. Crops leftover from the last season can end up spreading bacteria and disease if left in the garden. Spread a couple of inches of compost or mulch over the garden area to increase the nutrients, however, if spring plants were fertilized heavily it may not need much, if any. Till the top layer of soil, wet it down, and let it set for about 12-24 hours. Once this has been done, you are ready to start planting.

What to Plant?

Well, it really depends on where you live, and what your lifestyle has room and energy for and what you like to eat!!  The following is a general over view and I have highlighted what I will be planting in my garden this fall:

Greens

  • Many leafy green vegetables are frost resistant and grow well in the fall. These include mustard, collard and turnip greens, spinach, kale, lettuce and other salad greens, and parsley. Some people consider greens, such as mustard and collard greens, to taste sweeter and less bitter after they have been affected by frost. These vegetables mature relatively quickly in 30 to 60 days.

Root Crops

  • Root crop vegetables, such as beets, turnips, parsnips, radishes and carrots also work well for fall gardens. The roots of these vegetables are frost tolerant and continue to grow into the colder months of the season. Some of these plants, including beets, turnips and radishes, are harvestable in 30 to 60 days. Others, such as carrots, may take up to 80 days to mature.

Cruciform Vegetables

  • Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower are among the cruciform vegetables that are frost tolerant. These vegetables are typically planted as early in the season as possible, as they frequently require more than 80 days to mature. While larger leaves of these vegetables may be adversely affected by hard freezes, the heads of the plants usually remain fresh and edible well after this time.

Bulbs

  • Many bulbs also grow well in the fall and can handle cold temperatures below freezing. Plant onions, garlic, leeks and shallots early in the season, usually 60 to 90 days before the predicted time of the first frost. These plants grow through the fall and can be left in the ground well after the first freeze occurs.



Many gardeners will run from fall gardening so they don’t have to deal with frosts, but if tough, sturdy vegetables are planted they can withstand a few frosts and give you some wonderful tasting produce. Fall gardening gives you the chance to enjoy your vegetable garden for at least a little bit more time.

What are your favorite vegetables to grow in the fall?

Ornamental Rule Lines in Different Design 2 150x44 Prepping for the Fall Garden

This article was written by Kat from Simply-Living-Simply and can be viewed here.

Summer Bugs Are Coming to a Garden Near YOU!

garden-pests-collageLuckily, most garden pests thrive during the harsh winter months, but that doesn’t meant there aren’t any in your summer garden!  Many thrive in hot weather like we’ve been having recently.  Wet weather followed by warm weather can be especially encouraging for many pests including slugs, snails, aphids, red spider mites and vine weevils.

Slugs and Snails!

Slugs and snails may be your biggest garden pest this summer. It’s time to protect any vulnerable growth by enforcing your slug and snail protection. They aren’t easy to get rid of so you’ll need multiple ways to combat these garden pests. Slugs and snails will infest pots, eat their way into potatoes and feast upon your prize juicy strawberries leaving a myriad of holes.

Snails leave a silvery slime trail wherever they go so they are easy to spot. They eat the soft green bits between the leaf ribs leaving a skeleton leaf behind. Slugs, similarly, eat the leaves but don’t leave anything behind!

Initially, add a layer of grit over your soil, this surface will be avoided by slugs and snails. If you see them in your garden remove them by hand and relocate them to hedgerows. Draw the slugs away from your plants with beer, put some in a jar buried into the ground as a trap for slugs. Coffee grounds scattered over your soil will also put off slugs and snails and won’t stand out against your garden.

Aphids!

Aphids or ‘green fly’ are small insects that feed on all foliage and flowers and are particularly partial to ornamental plants, fruit, vegetables and houseplants. There are over 500 species of Aphids and they range in size from 1-7mm (1/16 – 1/4in) long.

Aphids create a sticky surface on plants which encourages a growth of unattractive sooty mould, aphids will also eventually distort plants. They can be carried for hundreds of miles by wind or air currents and can transfer viruses to other plants notably Strawberries, Raspberries, Tomatoes, Dahlias and Sweet peas.

Get rid of aphids as soon as possible. Walk around the garden and use a cloth to wipe off any aphids or a spray of water, paying particular attention to the underside of leaves. Don’t over fertilise, this will produce an abundance of greenery which aphids love, use slow release fertilisers instead.

Red Spider Mites!
The red spider mite is a common sap-feeding pest which causes mottled leaves on greenhouse plants, houseplants as well as garden plants. Common victims are: vines, peach, nectarines, cucumbers, tomatoes,zuchinni, peppers, poinsettias, orchids and Impatiens.

Destroy any plants that are infected by red spider mites but don’t put them on the compost heap because the infection will keep on spreading. Moving plants out of the late afternoon sun will stop red spider mites from taking up a permanent place on your plants.

Vine Weevils!
It is one of the most common and devastating of all the garden pests, vine weevils are vicious pests that can cause suddenly otherwise healthy-looking plants collapse and die. Vine weevils are dangerous because they attack using two methods – the adults eat the leaves and the grubs eat the roots. Each adult can lay hundreds of eggs and thrive during the summer months.

Vine weevils will eat anything from ornamental plants to fruits, especially those grown in containers. The adults feed mainly at night on the foliage of many herbaceous plants and shrubs. Watch out especially for your Camellias Rhododendron, Hydrangea, Bergenia and fuchsias.

Good hygiene can help reduce the amount of vine weevils in your garden, clean out any debris from your green houses. Put physical barriers in place because vine weevils walk rather than fly. Protect individual pots and the legs of greenhouse staging with sticky tape smeared with non drying glue or fruit grease.

Here are some natural ways to use essential oils to keep your garden pest free….

Try mixing 8 ounces of water in a spray bottle with ½ teaspoon natural soap and 12 drops of dōTERRA essential oil. Remember to shake the bottle frequently to keep the oil mixed with the water.

The tips above courtesy of  doTERRA International

What natural ways do you have for controlling pests in your garden?

This article was written by Kat from Simply-Living-Simply and can be viewed here.

Ornamental Rule Lines in Different Design 2 150x44 Summer Bugs Are Coming to a Garden Near YOU!

Garden Tips to Avoid Fungus During the Summer

gardening-quick-tipsMost of us are ready to invest a good amount for landscaping and gardening to give our home more beauty and well…bounty!  But we fail to prune when the plants needed it, and then our highly invested landscape (both time, money and energy) looks more terrible than ever AND our edible bounty isn’t so bountiful. So this is a good time to know about a few QUICK & SIMPLE gardening tips for better maintenance of your landscape.

Pruning:

Pruning plays an important role in garden maintenance. If you commit any mistake while pruning, don’t lose your heart because its like a bad haircut, it is going to grow again.

Watering:

During summer, you may experience high humidity, which might result in lot of problems in your garden. To get your plants nice and dry, tuck them in for night. In addition to this, watering in the evening may be avoided to prevent damage to the plants.

Get rid of Powdery mildew:

Powdery mildew is the common fungus mostly affecting your ornamental plants, but also some of our veggies. This will create white film on the leaves of the plants in your garden. Even other ornamental plants such as Sand cherry and Dogwoods can also getting affected with this fungus. Efficient gardening is necessary to curtail the growth of this fungus.

The key to preventing it is planting mildew-resistant or mildew- tolerant varieties. Resistant varieties get less mildew than susceptible varieties; tolerant varieties may get some mildew, but it shouldn’t affect the performance of the plant. Also place your plants so they get good air circulation and a good amount of sunlight so that they have a chance to dry off.  

To control minor infestations, pick off affected plant parts and either compost them or bag them tightly and put them in the trash.

Homemade Sprays
To try this at home, mix 1 part milk with 9 parts water and spray the stems and tops of leaves with the solution. Reapply after rain.

OR

Spraying leaves with baking soda (1 teaspoon in 1 quart water) raises the pH, creating an inhospitable environment for powdery mildew.

Prevention of Pythium Blight:

If you’re in the north and also having perennial Rye grass, then you ought to be very careful not to leave your grass wet at night. A dreadful fungus called Pythium Blight may take its upper hand, if you leave your lawn wet in the night because this fungus loves to grow in high humid conditions mostly at night.

Pythium blight can easily be seen in the early morning. You can easily appreciate the fungus on the top of the lawn as white cotton candy. You can easily notice this fungus mainly along driveways and walks, where the soil is moist. Pythium blight can easily be controlled by watering in the day at the earliest possible time.

 Fire Blight:

Fire Blight, yet another culprit prefers to grow well during summer than any other season. This fungus prefers to attack Pyracantha, cotoneasters, crabapple trees, and Apple trees. The presence of Fire Blight can easily be visualized once the any one of the branches of the plant turns red and dies. This Fire Blight can be prevented little by pruning the affected branch and removing it from the main plant as far as possible.

It is also important that the cut branches should be burnt since Fire Blight is contagious and also wash or dip the projected shears by using alcohol in order to prevent the spread of the deadly fungus to other parts of the branch.

Homemade Remedy: 

Put on gloves to protect your hands from the bleach.

Prune all branches with fire blight off with shears. Dip the shears in the bleach solution after each cut so as not to spread the infection. Cut off all branches at least 12 inches below the last branch that is wilted and discolored. Dispose of the branches in an area that is at least 100 feet away from the tree.

Open a 1-gallon garden sprayer by turning the lid counter clockwise. Pour in 6 cups of water and then 4 cups of white vinegar. Close the lid in a clockwise direction. Shake the sprayer gently to mix the contents. Pump the handle on the top of the sprayer to pressurize the contents.

Put on safety glasses. Point the nozzle at your tree and depress the lever on the wand to spray the tree from bottom to top and underneath the leaves. Step back from the tree and spray the vinegar solution from top to bottom until the leaves are dripping. Spray the tree trunk thoroughly.

Spray the vinegar solution on the fruit tree again in two weeks to ensure the fire blight is medicated.

Things You Will Need

  • Gloves
  • Large bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup bleach
  • Spoon
  • Shears
  • Gallon sprayer
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • Safety glasses

Tip

  • Control aphids and insects that spread fire blight on your trees.
  • High nitrogen fertilizers encourage new lush growth that attracts fire blight bacteria.
  • Remove dead leaves and plant debris at the base of fruit trees. Fungal spores thrive in dead matter.
  • Place organic mulch around the bottom of fruit trees to keep any fungal spores from splashing up on your tree in heavy rains or when watering them

Shotgun fungus:

A little gem like fungus, which prefers to grow in mulch and tends to swell, has been termed as Shot gun Fungus (Artillery Fungus). This fungus can fly up to 8 feet in the air and will spatter your house with tiny brown specks and once they stick to your house or windows, they stick like glue. Most of us suspect the spiders and aliens for this tiny brown speck.

Sometimes very little can be done to control nuisance fungus other than to spade the mulch into the surface soil layer followed by soaking with water. Another option is to remove the mulch, place it in a heap after thorough wetting to allow for self-heating to occur (110-140 degrees F). This will kill nuisance fungus. If fresh dry mulch is placed on top of mulch colonized by nuisance fungi, the problems may occur again the following year or even earlier.

The best control strategy for homeowners and landscapers is to purchase composted products low in wood content. Fresh, finely ground woody products should be avoided for many reasons unless composted first. Coarse fresh woody products are much less likely to cause problems unless applied too deep. It is important to soak all mulches immediately after they have been applied. Generally, mulches should not be applied to a depth greater than two inches. Mulches and composts applied in this manner provide many types of beneficial effects rather than nuisance problems, or worse, plant diseases. Sour mulches should be avoided altogether.

This article was written by Kat from Simply-Living-Simply and can be viewed here.

Ornamental Rule Lines in Different Design 2 150x44 Garden Tips to Avoid Fungus During the Summer

DIY Garden Design | Grow 100 Pounds Of Potatoes

potato-garden-title-300x336Small space gardening is both efficient and convenient.  Being able to produce food without a large area is a truly useful skill for any survivalist, and few foods are better for survival than potatoes.

They keep for a long time, are extremely versatile and filling, and just about everyone likes them.

Seriously, have you ever met someone who doesn’t enjoy potatoes in one way or another?

Learn how to grow 100 pounds of potatoes in 4 square feet with these easy, cheap potato boxes. Read on and think about all the great food you could make with the pounds of potatoes you’ll grow using this easy tip.

 

 

Supplies:

garden-design

  • 6  2×6″ boards, 8 ft long
  • 1  2×2″ board, 12 ft long
  • 96  2 and 1/2″ wood screws

How To Build The Potato Box:

resize

Full instructions here.

 

How To Build A Potato Box Video

DIY Garden Design   Grow 100 Pounds Of Potatoes

 

Harvesting Your Potato Box

DIY Garden Design2 Grow 100 Pounds Of Potatoes

 

Want more spring time gardening tips? Check out 6 Tips To Avoid The Springtime Garden Blues.

This article can also be viewed at Survival Life