I Encourage You To Go ‘All Out’ With Your Garden This Year

One of the most important aspects of higher level preparedness is to be successful at gardening / growing your own food.

Why? Because self-sufficiency is more important the higher you go with preparedness. Improving self-sufficiency is a cornerstone in my opinion. And putting food on the table is huge.

We are all at our own stages of gardening development and expertise. Some are newbies and others already have farms that produce ‘tons’ of food.

That said, it’s okay if you’re just starting out with a handful of tomato plants to see if you can manage to succeed. It’s okay if last year’s crop was a failure (I had my share of big issues last year!). Don’t let it get you down.

If you feel that you need to make some changes, go ahead and get it started!

Here’s the thing… The calendar keeps on flipping those days one by one. Don’t wait too long to get your growing season underway.

If you live in the south, you’re fortunate to have a very long growing season compared to me who lives up here not too terribly far from the Canadian border!

If you live way up north like me, you’ve got to get those seeds started pronto! If not weeks ago already.

I can’t safely put out plants in the ground until end of May. And that still is risky up here. But my plans and actions are in motion and at this moment I can hardly wait to get things going outside (even though there’s still a foot of snow on the ground out there!)

 

Gardening For Uncertain Times

Okay, many of you know that we’re living through uncertain times.

The more uncertain the times get, the more self-sufficient the better. The less we have to rely on uncertainty the better for us.

Growing a nice big vegetable garden (push yourself on this one) will have positive effects on you personally and positive for your preparedness.

– Even if you fail or partially fail, you will have learned valuable lessons. Most all of us fail to an extent! Embrace it as learning.

– When you grow more than you can eat, you can preserve the rest for later consumption! What a preparedness concept!

– Grow vegetables that you enjoy eating.

– Home grown vegetables are probably a lot better tasting and maybe even more nutritious than your grocery store.

– Every preparedness-minded gardener must at least try to grow calorie-dense vegetables. This is very important. Vegetables inherently don’t contain lots of calories. However some vegetables are significantly more calorie-dense than others such as potatoes and corn.

– Every year you should try to experiment with something new in your garden! Maybe it’s a new garden bed technique. Maybe it’s a few new vegetables. Maybe it’s the way you try and hold up your tomato plants (good luck with that!). Maybe it’s a different irrigation technique.

– Grow MORE than what you originally planned. Why? Because it will force you to preserve it by home canning, or whatever other method you choose.

 
This year I’m going to experiment with my potatoes. I’m going to try a technique of growing potatoes in a big barrel and I’m also going to build a frame that I can stack higher as they grow. I’m looking for a method with optimum yields versus work input.

I’m also building at least one new garden bed, 2 feet tall, closer to the house than the actual garden. Will do some ‘square foot gardening’ in there.

Square Foot Gardening!

And, I’m going to add a bunch of container gardening on my deck (e.g. 5 gallon buckets and such) to see how it goes…

 
I know that lots of you regulars already are experienced gardeners. Do you sometimes get the feeling to step it up a notch? If yes, why?

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74 Comments

  1. Am starting up again, put a bunch of stuff in trays this weekend, going to do more this afternoon or tomorrow, having to rotate out if lettuce in the tunnel, having fungal issues in there, really need to put up another one, have planted out all of the fields in cover crops, a bunch of them for cutting to use for mulch and compost, mix of stuff, one field Alfalfa, two vetch, one is a mix of oats, wheat, and cereal rye, a mix in the rest, is a mix from green cover seed called a micoryzal mix, birds nailed those fields but the oats and sesame and a few other things survived, so they are growing. Just got some new seed, trying a new type of carrots, trying to find a good heirloom variety so trying one called Tender sweet,
    Been getting seeds from Eden Brithers and starting to also buy from True Leaf Market, they have an excellent variety plus other cool stuff, used to be Mountain Valley Seed, same great quality, nice thing is the seed comes in heavy weight sealed ziplock mylar bags, excellent for longer holding of the seeds.

  2. Am starting up again, put a bunch of stuff in trays this weekend, going to do more this afternoon or tomorrow, having to rotate out if lettuce in the tunnel, having fungal issues in there, really need to put up another one, have planted out all of the fields in cover crops, a bunch of them for cutting to use for mulch and compost, mix of stuff, one field Alfalfa, two vetch, one is a mix of oats, wheat, and cereal rye, a mix in the rest, is a mix from green cover seed called a micoryzal mix, birds nailed those fields but the oats and sesame and a few other things survived, so they are growing. Just got some new seed, trying a new type of carrots, trying to find a good heirloom variety so trying one called Tender sweet,
    Been getting seeds from Eden Brithers and starting to also buy from True Leaf Market, they have an excellent variety plus other cool stuff, used to be Mountain Valley Seed, same great quality, nice thing is the seed comes in heavy weight sealed ziplock mylar bags, excellent for longer holding of the seeds.

  3. (Long time reader, first time poster) Yes I have absolutely felt the need to grow a lot more and do it with more diligence than I have in prior years. We have really expanded our garden space and are focusing on higher calorie crops along with the usual ‘maters and peppers and zipper peas’ Over the last year I have put in a lot more fruit trees and focused on perennials as well. I grew up in a farming family and have gardened for many years but never have I felt the PUSH to do more, faster, and better.

    1. Hi Daughterofaghosttown,
      So glad you joined in the conversation – welcome. As you know, Ken has a fantastic site here. Congrats on expanding your gardening and fruit trees, and I think there are a lot of folks here who are feeling that same push – the sense of urgency.

      Hope to hear from you regularly!

    2. Daughterofaghosttown;
      Welcome to the Comment side of the BLOG.
      I believe the “Push” just got a kick in the tush yesterday with the new Fed Budget and the Marker crashing over 700.
      Gardening, Chickens/Rabbits and such are becoming more and more prevalent here also.
      One word, just watch out for that NRP dude, he’ll have ya stockpiling hundreds of rolls of TP HAHAHAHA
      Is 600 rolls really that much when the stores go dry? :-) :-)

          1. But you said “when the stores go dry.” If the stores are wet, so are their contents. Are you contradicting yourself? Say it ain’t so!

        1. Lauren and NRP, I know your comments about wet/dry toilet paper are tongue in cheek, but a good segue for reminding folks that old cloth diapers were washed and reused repeatedly for both No.1 and No.2 by babies. No reason reusable cloth TP substitute should be looked at with horror.

          1. Dennis and NRP
            Reusable cloth is much more acceptable if used after the employment of a bidet hooked to your water line as long as the power lasts, then a hand held squeeze bottle.

          2. @Dennis — you’re so right. In fact, I’m prepped for it!

            I have gotten some deep-sale flannel pieces and cut 8″ x 8″ pieces. For TP substitution, I was only using new flannel but my mother gave me a flannel bedsheet King-size, so I washed it in hot water and a bit of bleach, and then it was cut to size. I also bought a pack of 6 perineal squirt bottles for ‘water rinsing’ — do it all the time now, just to get into the routine. The trick w/ cloth TP is to remember to care for soiled fabric and the ‘dirty’ cloth TPs must be washed in hot water. In grid-down, that means boiled water outside or wherever you can do this. Or — start stockpiling paper TP and you’d better have at least 600-800 rolls per person!

            We seldom throw out old clothing that’s worn down. Our old worn out t-shirts are cut into chunks that are used for rag-cloths to wipe wet or dry with.

      1. better than TP, use a bidet. a little squirt and wipe and done. i 2pint bidet can wash your butt several times before having to be refilled or use a one gallon garden sprayer.

    3. – Welcome aboard, Daughterofaghosttown –
      We have a few Ghost Towns around my neck of the woods – one of the nearest has 83 graves in the cemetery. All but one are within 6 months in 1917 (Flu pandemic, remember?). There is one house still standing, abandoned.

      I thought I saw some comments earlier about staking or caging tomatoes, but left D/T computer issues with work. Now can’t find those or my started note earlier. I use 48″ concrete reinforcing mesh (ask for remesh) cut in squares, with enough wire left over to bend over and hold it in a cylinder. A 6 1/2-foot T-post with one of these cylinders wired to it will allow one of my tomato plants to produce a couple of bushels of tomatoes here in windy West Texas. The commercial tomato cages I tend to use for pepper plants, as they are too small for my tomatoes. I can just reach through the 4″ squares to pick. I have to prune my plants to keep them inside the cages, though.

      One of my biggest problems with tomatoes last year turned out to be my black Lab/Boxer mix, Daisy (She’s a pound refugee). She was supposed to be keeping varmints out of my garden. turned out she was robbing me blind! LOL. She also helps me with my pecan harvest, judging by the broken shells all over!
      – Papa S.

  4. I’m changing what I grow this year. Last year i had Peas, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Green peppers, cucumbers, musk melon, acorn and spaghetti squash. The peas I didn’t get much out of, the acorn I didn’t plant enough of and the melons are always under attack by something. The spaghetti squash vines grew everything, I don’t eat much of them but out of 3 plants I got about 50 to 60 of them and I still have a pile of them. Since green beans did really well and I can can them I’m going to plant more of them then in the past. I’m changing the cucumbers over to the picking ones. I’m going to try cages for the Tomatoes, I’ve been just letting them grow without these but I notice my neighbor getting better results with them. I’m keeping the green peppers and plan on putting in a lot more acorn squash. I like the hard acorn squash ,they last a long time without having to can or freeze them as long as I keep them in a cool dry place.

  5. One of the new things I plan to try this year is “winter sowing” some of the garden seeds. Do an internet search for;
    – Winter sowing
    – winter sowing with Sheryl
    – Sheryl Mann
    Looks to have potential for off-grid (no-grid…) living. No grow lights, etc. needed.
    Then there is wild food (& medicinal plant) foraging.

  6. In the last five years I’ve almost doubled my garden space, and I plan an additional section this fall. Eventually the whole yard will be garden or food forest. Garden at this point is apx 120 x 30 (a little less than twice the size of the house). I want to be able to supply all our vegetative needs. I need to be able to rely on my garden in the worst conditions, so I want strains of each plant that can spit “not good enough” back in my face and survive.

    This year my main experiment will be a “dry” garden that will be watered once a month. I’ll keep seeds from anything that survives and next year will be second stage (first year of possibly drought tolerant seeds).

    I feel the urgency. I see food prices going up, farmers going out of business, the political climate is at best uncertain and the weather is changing. Whatever happens I intend to survive, which means being able to eat.

  7. In the deep south, I plant TWO gardens a year. February starts my “spring garden”. Green beans, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus beans, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, okra, and Seminole pumpkins are in my spring/summer garden.. My Fall garden includes several varieties of lettuce, collards, mustard greens, spinach, broccoli, beets, more green beans, and carrots. But the best part of living in the south is I have lots of permaculture, too! Bananas, coconuts, pecans, pineapples, sugar cane, grapes, figs, avocados, mulberries, citrus fruits, longans and lychees are all growing on our little farm. Canning is my passion, and I have a serious mason jar addiction!

    1. I am in the Deep South here, too! We garden as close to year round as we can and also use a lot of permaculture principles as well. It works for us!

    2. Goatlover & Daughterofaghosttown

      You guys cheat, I get 3-4 MAYBE 5 months of good growing season here….. NOT FAIR !!!!!
      HAHAHAHA

  8. That’s a nice tomato picture! Are those yours? Speaking of tomatoes, we just set out and staked 30 tomato plants this week plus some tomatillos. Put out cucumbers and pumpkin squash last week and will finish this Saturday with Eggplants, peppers and butterbeans. We put a lot of cold tolerant things in the ground earlier (Kale, beets, Swiss Chard and radishes.) Our lettuce, shallots and herbs have been producing like crazy for a month already. I miss my big garden though, but don’t miss the work.

    Actually, DW and I have stepped it down a couple notches. For a long time we grew a garden of almost an acre. We canned so much from that garden we began running out of space and couldn’t eat it all so decided it was time to begin eating it down. During the winter of 2016 we started migrating and downsizing everything into our yard. Now we have a bunch of different beds from a 25’x30’ big bed to several smaller, spread all over out of the way places around our yard. Altogether a little over 1,400 square feet (it’s not as conspicuous and inviting as our big pasture garden was.) It’s big enough to sustain us with some left over for canning. There’s only so much food one can store before you have to start consuming it. Even with 1,400 square feet we still find it hard to eat down what we have already canned. At least I have enough big equipment so in a pinch I could easily lay in a big garden in the pasture and have it producing in no time.

    You mentioned having issues and failure several times. That comes with gardening. We’ve had our share of failures and issues too so it’s not a big deal. Although at the time failure is disheartening. It’s easy to say we must learn from our mistakes, but every year is different so sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between whether it was really a mistake or some vague difference in the weather patterns that the plants simply didn’t like. Plants are fickle creatures and sometimes they just don’t want to cooperate with us humans. 😊 Too hot, too cold, not enough sunshine, too much sunshine, too much water, not enough water, too much fertilizer, not enough fertilizer or not the right things, too many bugs, not enough bugs… it’s a never ending balancing act. But… a nice harvest is very rewarding and satisfying. In the military I was told many times that one aw-$hit will destroy 10 years’ worth of atta-boys, but in gardening, one nice harvest will over come several years of frustration. Just saying.

  9. Has anyone else used their ” Survival seed kits?” I used some of mine last year and had good results. I had them in the freezer for a couple few years and they seemed to still be OK. I believe that others had said that they had tried some of theirs also. Maybe it would be helpful if others who have these kits could share the brand name, contents of the kits, and how well they did. And if Ken has some recommendations/links would also be helpful. I have almost 2 complete kits stored in the freezer now. But would gladly add more after hearing some of other people recommendations. Thanx. LITW.

    1. I haven’t bought a ‘seed vault’ but I have a LOT of seeds that I have had for years and the germination on them tends to be pretty good. If I were to buy a prepared seed vault it would be from Mozybeau farms on ebay or baker creek seeds (rareseeds). Excellent seeds from those two places.

      1. Daughter……
        A ghost town might appeal to many city dwellers on this site – do you want neighbors? Maybe a good bug out location for some that can’t move just yet.

        1. It would be great if more like minded people came out this way but I think it is going to be developed more and more very soon. I am right up against the state forest but not terribly far away there is a big developer trying to 4 lane the big road near us and put in ‘trendy homes for people who can afford it’. All the old timers and ag families are not happy. There are a few areas that are bug out worthy near here but more and more people are moving in to make this agricultural area ‘retirement friendly’. These types complain when they see a wild animal and Heaven forbid a cow get out. They won’t tell you, they call the law and animal control and freak out if a weed grows in their yard or fenceline.

  10. I’m up north too Ken. I have found some ethical greenhouse growers that I can buy bedding plant from, so end of May is when I usually put them in. Even corn here needs a jump start because of the shorter season. If you recall, I have planters that have poly covers for frost protection so I don’t have many frost damaged crops. My biggest problem last year was three months of very little rain – hard to keep up with the watering and artificial watering does not seem to be as good as natural rain.

  11. Yes, we are feeling the urgency and stepping it up this year, w/ special emphasis on root crops .
    WE have already planted some potatoes in raised and improvised beds. ground is too wet to plant in… or even work, so looks like I am going to be doing a lot of improvising this year. We have planted early carrots, turnips radishes, and onions. Garlic will be ready to harvest in early may.. Have moved canna’s and garlic over to new locations.
    Infrasructure is our focus Health challenges may slow us, fencing, secure lodging, storage and adequate shelter for rabbits and chickens in progress..everything likes chicken and rabbits so have to be very careful to get it right the first time.
    Hope by early fall to have the small green house up and use it to extend the season past first of the coming year.., possibly adding a hydroponics/aquaponics component… also planning on oil /feed supplements ( sunfowers and herbs)for hens, putting up extra hay, bedding and grains and supplies for the animals we are in process of adding now.
    Last year was largely a failure tho I did get some late squash…
    Will also concentrate on dehydrating leafy vegs like sorrell., and powder and will gather more of the hated kudzu for addition to soups for minerals and nutritional value….Our Sorrell which is already knee high will clip and allow it to grow again…other wild greens have bloomed and seeding…I am in the south, but not the deep south…

      1. Powdered greens is a great way to include nutrition in to vegetable resistant people like children and some older folks. I use them as thickener for soups and stews. Can be added to casseroles and even animal feed supplement.

        A great way to use unusual or bitter greens like Turnip Greens, Sugar Beets and fodder beet greens to increase nutrition in your family. Along with Sanitation and avoidance techniques like Social Distance, M95 masks and such greens can help your tribe stay healthy when pandemics are nearby.

        1. Oh I forgot to mention that given a need to treat diarrhea and dehydration powdered greens along with rice water is a handy way to treat both and give some much needed nutrition to the patient.

          There are other low tech ways to rehydrate someone but that can wait for a non gardening posting.

      2. NH answered already, I use them as he said , also I prepare pasta with vegetables, and add a couple of tablespoons of greens with whatever I am in the mood for in the vegetable line. sometimes add roasted red peppers and sweet peas, a can of chicken.. a little bullion maybe some cleery that i have dehydrated and ground…other spices as desired. to make a one pot meal.. greens have a whole lot of nutrition packed in a small package.

        1. JS
          I imagine that is about the only way to preserve greens, honestly never even thought about doing that as we have year round growing and am spoiled by having stores with stuff in them still, but its a good thing to think about. I have a feeling proper nutrition is going to be even more important when things get slim

  12. Your right. Home grown vegies are definitely tastier and more nutritious than store bought ones. Remember the saying “variety is the spice of life”? Well, the same goes with vegetables. Man does not live by beans alone. So, make sure you have a variety, and it doesn’t hurt to sneak in a few that you really like, for instance a watermelon or two.(yum!) They’re my weakness, but I love them. I train them to grow in and around everything else just so I can have a few. And if you live up north like a lot of us, NOW is the time to get your seeds started. I keep mine in the house, but this year I got one of those little greenhouses that can be disassembled for next year, so I can get them out a little early this year. Have to be careful with those though, they can be a little trickey. You don’t want to burn or freeze your young plants.

  13. I am actually having to reduce my gardening. Business is such that I have less time to spend digging in the dirt and growing my own food. There are several weeks that I must be away on travel, especially right around the time when things should be down or transplanted outside. So have decided that this is a really good time for me to form stronger relationships with local farmers so that I can still can and preserve locally grown food.

    I know that I am going to terribly miss having an extensive garden, but I’m sure I will enjoy the benefits of better relationships with local farmers and the income from a prosperous business so that I can radically reduce my debt. I am feeling the need to concentrate on financial preparedness right now. So that’s where I am really trying to “step it up.”

    1. Being debt free is a good feeling.. Meinwhile,Stock up on your favorite seeds , so you will have supplies for the next time you need to plant.

  14. Tomato cages? This works: make a 3-legged tipi over the tomato plant and as it grows support the growth with ladder steps on each side. Basically an inverted tomato cage. Very stable. If planted in rows the ladder steps (long rods) can run the length of the row connecting all of the tomato tipis. Alternate the triangle base for that.

  15. Planning on planting a lot this year. Multiple varieties of things to see which do best. It’s been a while since I’ve had a garden so it’s time to get busy.

  16. I live in Northern Wyoming. According to my records, I planted radishes and potatoes on April 20 last year. Peas, turnips, beets, and carrots on April 24. They all turned out ok, but the broccoli, pak choi, and kohlrabi I planted the same week didn’t produce.

    I checked my planters and raised beds yesterday and the soil in some of them (the ones that get the most sun) can already be worked. I bought 6 more planters this year. I also have that new lot, but there is no top soil on it. When they tore down the house that was there they filled it with fill dirt that was mostly rocks. So I am going to plant flowers, blue flax, sunflowers, and clover in different places to see what is best to crowd out the weeds. I also bought a pound of buckwheat as an experiment. Supposedly that will crowd out weeds and it is edible.

    This year I am trying some Aunt Mollie’s ground cherries in my back yard. Also watermelon, dried beans (Jacob’s Cattle Beans) and some additional types of radishes and peas in addition to what I have grown before.

    I saved some of the heirloom seeds from last year and plan to plant them. I tried that before without success. This year I bought lettuce, spinach, carrot, cucumber, zucchini, winter squash, melon, pea, green bean, oregano, thyme, and parsley seeds in addition to some other things I mentioned above and in addition to some things I have left from last year. I will buy seed potatoes, tomato seedlings, and pepper seedlings when the time is right.

    I am not a hunter, so I will need all these veggies.

  17. Like most here, I also feel the urge to enlarge the garden. However we struggled the past couple of years with health issues limiting our ability to work outside at times. Even though we are healthy now, I can’t count on that to last. So this year we will focus mainly on perennials, planting more fruit trees, rhubarb, asparagus, and I would like to plant some elderberry bushes.

    1. The elderberries I started last fall have leaves on them! I’m still giggling! Just sticks in the dirt, and boom! :)

      1. Prices on elderberries prompted me to grow my own. Outrageous prices, when you can find them.

      2. That is great with the elderberries. My extended yard is a three acre wetland which is thick with elderberry. I cut a lot of the viburnum out around those elderberry shrubs this winter hoping the moisture is right during the bloom and shortly after which will leave us a bumper crop come late summer. Also changed over one of my yard gardens to a berry garden. Can’t seem to grow enough strawberries and Red, golden, and black raspberries. Kids love them!

        1. Timberplot I couldn’t grow enough strawberries for this house even if I turned every available ground space into a berry garden. We do have wild grapes growing, unfortunately they climb the trees leaving the grapes way out of reach. Of course we couldn’t compete with the squirrels and birds anyway.

  18. We live in the North Georgia mountains and have already started in the green house a few weeks ago. As it was 32 degrees last night with heavy frozen frost it was a good thing nothing in the open garden yet. Finished building the last three raised beds last week. Have eight foot steel link fence with lower four feet covered with chicken wire also. Tall fence keeps out the deer and the lower ground hogs, rabbits and small critters. My sister-in-law said I spent to much on fencing tell last year when the ground hogs wiped out her garden in one night. Will be breaking out the crossbow next week and get a little practice in. Nothing better than some wild Georgia goat meat(deer) for a summer BBQ.

  19. Yep we are planting the whole garden this year, but like Ken we can’t plant out until May. Everyone around here says June but I still use walls of water around my plants and it lets me start early. The new walls are not as strong as the old but, oh well they still work. I am a bit concerned that this might be a cool summer for growing veggies. Although after a frost last year the temps went up to 90 in May and everything just sat there and didn’t grow until it cooled down. Our first tomato didn’t ripen until August. Anyway I am hoping for a good harvest. The orchard is already blooming as it hits 70 then drops into the teens at night so we put up the panels. And we are expecting snow next week!

  20. Your Question; “Do you sometimes get the feeling to step it up a notch? If yes, why?”

    Direct Answer; Yes, I believe yesterday with the new Fed Budget and the USA becoming the Communist States of America, plus a very real indication of the Economy with a little hiccup of over 700 point drop in the Dow should be a slight wakeup call to those watching.

    1.3 TRILLION DOLLAR budget Really? Nice going to the Communist Congress we have. We need to clean the swamp ourselves with our votes this November.

    How about a few extra tomatoes, use your imagination :-)

          1. Nailbanger,,,,,,No ,,auction fever set in ,,,,i only take enough cash to cover what I think I should pay ,,,some times things don’t pencil out so why do it ,,,,,,was a nice tractor though,,,

            ,,who is John galt?

    1. NRP,
      I’m going to answer on the weekend thread so I don’t get too far off the rails.

  21. Yes I have the feeling that more garden is needed. The economy up here(canada) is the going down the same rabbit hole as the US
    Just when I was wondering how I was going to enlarge a garden on only half acre a friend of ours offered his brothers garden spot for potatoes and root crops. His brother has developed
    Alzheimer’s (sad) and won’t be using it. Our friend always buys beets every year for beet pickles and wants me to grow his beets as a stipulation. Wow, excited about what falls into your lap when you most need it.

  22. This weekend, we’ll turn on the water and electricity in the greenhouse and I will fill the flats with veggies and flowers that don’t take that long to sprout or grow. Our set-out date is Memorial Weekend due to late frost threats. Got a few things growing here in the house under lights (peppers, toms) but the big thrust is coming up.

    In the past, during the Obama reign, we kept pushing ourselves for more garden, bigger harvests. We made 3 separate veggie garden plots, also had a few raised beds and tried potatoes growing in buckets (that wasn’t a huge success). We have a small orchard and also have some fruit trees near the woods’ edge. Those are the persimmon and pawpaw trees — they’re not the fruit trees from the woods, they’re sub species grown by a local university program for this region (we also have native persimmons here). Can’t wait til they fruit, but honestly I don’t feel they get enough sun. For nuts we have walnuts, hickory, and of course acorns galore. We never tried growing a nut tree.

    This year, we are going to be setting out a few tomato plants near the south side of the house to push it into early harvest…an experiment. That’s about the only experiment I’m doing this year.
    Only other thing I’m going to try is growing some extra lettuce to see how well they grow in 5-gallon buckets (those buckets I used for growing taters).

    I’ll probably be transplanting more sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes from our main bed into a 3rd area, to naturalize them at an area near one of our paths into the woods.

  23. The only addition to our garden this year is 5 new fruit trees, that will give us 10 total and that will satisfy our needs for quite a while . Everything we plant has to be fenced or our deer get too fat.
    For tomato cages we use the 7’x5′ wire concrete panels and form them into tubes they have about 6″x6″ holes so we can reach into the cage and pick ripe fruit easily. We have used them for 3 years now and are quite pleased with them . They are superior to the cheap store bought cages. We grow 3 variety of toms that are fairly large so we put in a few less plants to give us more space in the garden for other stuff , yet still meet our needs .
    We have starts growing now, tomatoes,peppers,broccoli, cabbage and lettuce . We feel that store food is chemical food, unless it is organic.You are what you eat. We also use mostly heirloom seeds and save our seeds .

    1. Bluesman
      Heres an interesting tidbit on “Organic”
      A while ago i was looking into certification, doing some research etc, talked to a lot of people,
      Stay away from corporate or big organic, it may not be what you think it is,
      There are many big producers who have organic fields on one side and conventional on the other, same with processing and packing, its a known fact that there is co mingling of og and conventional and much drift of pesticides etc,,, also many of these big producers import product from south of the border labled as organic, its all BS,

      1. A few months ago the Costco in our area went to “cage free” eggs and upped the price by $2. People need to study definitions. They were never in cages, thousands of poor birds crowded into a massive barn with no access to fresh air. People associate cage free with free range.

        Free range is another stupid identifier. If I remember correctly the birds have to have ACCESS to an outdoor area for two hours per day in order to be considered free range. Doesn’t mean they go out there, doesn’t mean they get any sun or fresh air.

        Just semantics and marketing.

      2. You are quite right about the corporate “organic’ folks . Nothing like a little research to get things straightened out.We stay away from veggies that are imported .We try and buy local since we have several veggie farms in our area .

        1. 😎👍🏻
          Had a conversation with a wholesaler from southern cal, he was here on a “working vacation” guess he has a bunch of clients here in the islands, anywho, he had an earfull for me, had been drinking a bit too much and filled me in on a bunch of scoop on where and what etc, was interesting, his parting words to me were to stay small. That combined with my experience and from reading Elliot Colemans books cemented in my mind to never get beyond what i could handle on my own, it also saved my azz from ruin. Lots to be said about staying within a certain limited area. The model i eventually will pursue will be small scale CSA, our area has grown enough, depending on a few factors it will work and will implement soon, finding clients is the toughest part, but like everything else in my life, it will work out when and if its supposed to work out,,,,

  24. We have cabbage, tomatoes and peppers started inside. It’s too wet to till the garden but I am getting the urge to get it going. The last two years our garden has not done very well because of health issues and not able to spend the time needed to keep the weeds down. I’m gong to try mulching with saw dust and straw to keep down the weeds without spending so much time hoeing. I am also working on a strawberry bed. I had 6 plants that spread to cover a 6×6 area but made very few berries. Hopefully they will produce better this year. This is my third time planting strawberries and the first year they have survived the winter. We have a wild black berry patch that produces tiny berries that are not worth the effort to harvest. Is there any thing I can do to get them to produce bigger berries? I have been looking at the fruit cocktail tree from Burgess because we don’t have much room for trees. Does anyone have any experience with those? Are they good or not?

    1. That wild blackberry patch might actually be ‘dewberries’ and not ‘blackberries’. While the two are pretty much interchangeable in terms of taste and medicinal quality of the plant the dew berry is much smaller than the blackberry.

  25. For me, this year we are experimenting with AquaCulture. Just on a small scale. Lettuce, Spinach, Pepper and Tomato grown Square Foot style.

  26. Want to learn to garden, plant an orchard and many other techniques look into The Master Gardner
    program. Contact your local Agricultural Agent for information.

  27. We’ve never had a garden before-we live in an area where roadside stands are abundant and I never saw the need to grow my own, However, now having a more ‘prep’ mindset we’ll be experimenting with our first garden this year. My fil is an avid gardener and he’s agreed to help me and my 13 yr old daughter get one started. This summer it will be fairly small as we figure things out, but it’s a start!

  28. Enjoyed the many comments. I have peppers and tomatoes going in cups. Will wait 2 or 3 more weeks before putting in garden. Have lettuce already sown in garden for transplanting. A prepper like all of you, but really get turned by gardening talk. In my 70s but still run my tiller.

  29. Please don’t forget fruit trees and nut trees like pecan or walnut. They are just as important. Plant them. You won’t regret your efforts.

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