Garden Fail

When The Garden Fails While You Need It Most

Garden Fail

Guest article, by ‘NRP’

I am an avid Gardener, spending HUGE amounts of time and sweat equity into the fruits of my labor.

Having many of times seeing my investment go completely Belly-Up, yielding low or no produce. Bugs infesting EVERYTHING, extreme heat and drought conditions, Seed failure, Poor Soil conditions, and yes even my own stupidity of over/under watering.

Oh yes and let’s not forget the Critters that decide they need my Corn more than I do (Dang Raccoons). AND yes the Deer or Cows that mash the fence to bits just wanting to get at that ‘Beautiful’ Watermelon.

 
Ok, let’s set up the discussion;

It’s the End Of The World As We Know It.
And I Feel Fine…

The year 20??, Pick your favorite EOTWAWKI,
Personally I like the good old “Lights Out” scenario.

“Lights Out” by David Crawford

It has been 3 years since the ‘event’, you made it through the Roving Hoards, the 3-6-12 month die-off of the masses; you even have an Outhouse setup and now are doing “Ok” with water, medical, shelter, so-on.

The first year and 1/2 you have lived off your Deep-Pantry and what you could scavenge around the neighborhood (Not much left). You planted a Garden for food needed in the upcoming year and it was moderately successful as you canned and preserved enough for the next year. Hunting and Fishing has really taken a hit though this last year.

Things are starting to look up as there are less and less threats and people, those left, are not going around just killing for a place to stay.

Oh yes, to nobody’s surprise, there is ZERO relief or help from the .gov and FEMA. You and yours’s are completely on your own, you have everything you need, or so you think.

 
Spring rolls around after a good, moderately good winter.

So spring is here, time to put the Garden in and tend it as your life depends on it.
And it does!

Digging through all of the heirloom seeds you saved last year, you notice just a slight amount of mold on some of the seeds. Also a mouse has gotten into the stash and ruined some of those precious seeds.

Moving forward you plant, and tend your Garden the first “usual” date for the area.
Then the second disaster hits, a late freeze (no NOAA Weather Alert or 7 o’clock News).

Having saved some seeds you replant only to get hit with drenching Rains.

Again you have a back-up plan; you covered most of the Garden from drowning, covering and uncovering each day.

Three weeks after it starts looking good, things (what’s left) are growing well,
BUGS!!!!! Millions of BUGS.

Next come the critters, Squirrels and Rabbits go well in the Stew Pot, Traps and 22’s are the savior of the Day.

My point is, with even the best of Plans there WILL be failures.

 
SO, how do you “survive” the Failed Garden & the Setbacks?

Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging comes to mind first, good luck with that while everybody else is doing the same.

Building a larger Deep Pantry would have sounded like a GREAT idea in “The Before” those 800 pounds of Beans and Rice sound mighty good now.

Personally I believe that anyone here should be studying the ideas of Wild Foods. Knowing what to look far in the area is valuable, there are a LOT of ‘Natural’ foods growing right under our noses that most have no idea about.

Check out your own regional “Foraging” Books on AMZN

I do not have the answer to the questions I have asked here.

Maybe someone out there can help?

 
One last sobering thought.

This very easily could be the future of the US if/when, Again!

Take a good hard look, this is a photo from the Depression,
A small hunk of Bread and a watered down bowl of Soup.

Eating soup during the Great Depression

Are you Prepared?

Again, just my 2¢ worth.

– NRP

 
More: The Pioneer Family Surviving The Frontier
More: 8 Lessons Learned From The Great Depression

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171 Comments

  1. NPR ,Thanks for a very good article! I have had a hard time with my garden and am at the point of just growing beans because they are the only crop I am consistently successful with. However I too am at the point of wondering what My wife and I will do in the event you describe. I have deep pantry and several stashes. We are older and don’t require a lot of calories to get along but at some point we may have to seek sustenance by any means necessary. That is a fact. Getting right with God I pray like it all depends on him and will work like it all depends on me. Thanks again for your article. It comes at the right time for me. I had a miserable garden failure this summer. I think the flood from hurricane Harvey has tainted our soil.

    1. Man on foot;
      It sounds like our two Gardens are close brothers.

      One of the main motivators of this Article is this year’s failing Garden.

      Here we have been hit with extreme high temperatures and Drought conditions (No Rain for well over 4 months).

      Thank you for having that “deep pantry and several stashes” I know many MANY people that have the FEMA 3 days for food storage (maybe), and just shake my head at them, all a-while keeping my mouth mostly shut, as I drop a few hints, but ya can’t fix those that don’t want to know.

      “Getting right with God I pray like it all depends on him and will work like it all depends on me”
      How true, I don’t remember exactly the Scripture, but it goes something like “God will provide the ability, you must provide the doing”.

    2. Man on foot
      You asked if the soil was contaminated by hurricane Harvey, the answer to the question is a resounding YES. As diviner/dowser I am able to use my ability to give you the answer you were seeking. The contaminated soil goes down to 24 inches, what ever came in with that storm has render your gardening soil damaged. I would recommend you have it tested to see if there is a way to fix the damage.

      1. AC, Man on Foot,
        As a hydrologist, I agree with AC on the contamination from storm surge. Likely salt water damage. Best way to ‘repair’ that soil….. flood it with fresh water and leach the salt back out of the growing zone. . It will take time, but it will recover, just like the marshes along the coast. BTW did you know that Romans practiced a ‘scorched earth’ policy with some conquered peoples by ‘sewing Salt’ in their fields to make them infertile? Tunisia, with low rainfall was one place I know of that they did this, still infertile in places I am told.

        1. Minerjim
          Found an article where a hurricane damaged the soil, it basically stated to water as usual to rid the soil of any salt. But NOT to use any kind of fertilizer on the area where one is trying to rid the soil as it contains salt.

          1. Minerjim
            Forgot the thumbs up…👍👏👏awesome recommendation.

          2. AC,
            yes that would make sense. Just let the clean water flush the soil. maybe analyze in a year or two to see what you need to add. A lot of manures carry salt that can cause issues, around here cow seems to add more to the problem. Commercial fertilizers contain a number of salts also.

  2. Thanks for the article NRP . IMHO , planning and education would be of paramount importance to getting through a bad garden season . We strive for 2-3 years of storage food in the pantry for this very reason . Wife and I have always had a garden for all the years we have been married and we have always canned and stored food . As we have become more aware of the deterioration of the country we have begun storing for a longer period of time .

    Over the years we have had setbacks ,such as you mentioned ,in the garden . For example this year we will have no apples on our two trees. Every year we deal with gophers, moles and voles . We try to grow only heirloom seeds, no GMO seeds. We save seeds and store extra seeds and rotate them out each year . Over time different seeds will lose the ability to germinate well so rotation is important .

    We will always have setbacks in the garden or orchard, and it is an educational process from year to year . To deal with garden setbacks we store foods for a longer period and we focus on heirloom seeds . We also have several garden books as references to go to in a bind .

    1. Bluesman;
      Like yourself I have, or so it seems, always had a Garden, like my Father and his Father.
      I personally do not remember a Garden with as many problems as I’m having this year, maybe it’s me, but it just seems it’s giving up for some odd reason…..

      You’ve done very well with 2-3 years of Deep Pantry. Ok OK I have to ask; how’s the TP stash? HAHAHAH

      I agree with you 1000%, and have moved to 100% Heirloom Seeds. If for nothing else to share with others I know that Garden.

      As far as the detreating Country; I’m not seeing really to much positive coming down the road. But that’s for a different discussion.

      1. NRP,
        Would chem trails be contributing to garden problems ? I see them all the time , year round . The sky looks like a giant tic tac toe board. Several of our gardening friends are having growing issues as well.
        Okay , you asked, we have nuff TP for when the times get crappy , heh heh .

        1. Bluesman;
          Without going into a huge discussion, I’m not one that goes along with the Chen-Trail ideas.
          Too many years in Physics, Chemistry and other of the sciences. Also late wife had a Masters in Hydrology; lastly I did work in the Airline Business for many years, never once saw a “tank” of chemicals in an aircraft.
          So ‘no’ I don’t believe the ‘Chen-Trails’ will be causing the current problems with Gardening.

          PS; I’m not sure about things getting crappy, but I’m betting things will go to Ship in a handbag… HAHAHAH

        2. Bluesman
          This where I would have to disagree with NRP on the chem trails. Sorry NRP…..we will have to agree to disagree.

          When they started spraying in our area(1993) an it would change the temperature from a 100 +degrees down to 80 degrees or less in 1 to 2 hours, something was not right. If you wear polarized sun glasses you can see oil streaks through the junk people call vapors.

          1. Antique Collector;
            Agreed, to Disagree;
            I will also say that there is Cloud Seeding going on in many places in the World, China is doing a LOT of that these days. And yes some here, but not the “killing” chemicals that a lot of people think.
            As far as the “oil streaks” that’s a process of “Fuel Dumping” what was very common and highly illegal, and still is. Pilots would do that to lighten the aircraft for landing, and a LOT for them got fired for doing so.

  3. This is one reason I’m “weeding” (naturalizing) as many plants as possible. If they can go to seed, I let them. Last year a pumpkin came up spontaneously in August and produced before the first frost. I have lettuce, spinach and radishes that come up every spring. I’m working on potatoes and carrots, and the park strips will be primarily a food production area.

    It’s insurance, it’s not an absolute by any means, but if my planned “harvest” fails I still have something.

    1. Lauren;
      Isn’t it sooooo cool to see something pop up and ya wonder “What’s That???”
      Hence I don’t “weed” the Garden till I can identify “Stuff”. Would HATE to pull that Prize winning Pumpkin thinking it was a Rabbit Brush start.

      You did hit on a word that always comes up in discussion here, Insurance!!! I seem to ask the hard questions at our local ‘gatherings’, the one I like is “So XYZ, how much do you pay for Car and Home insurance a year?, Ohhh Really, and yet you can buy $500 of food and ‘stuff’ JIC?” that always ends the conversation.

      PS; nada better than Homegrown Potatoes, YUMMMMMM

      1. Lauren and NRP, so the potatoes that I planted 2 springs ago that are growing big time, in the bed that I planted carrots in this year are a good thing? My DH just ask me today if they would be Ok to eat or cause him bodily harm.

        1. Eat them! The old potatoes are long gone, what you’ll get are the potatoes that grew this year. Yum!

          Sometimes (for some varieties) they don’t even need butter.

          1. Thank you Lauren, you all are going to make a Gardner out of me yet.

  4. You mentioned several disasters that could impact your garden, but you didn’t mention a few others I can think of. In fact, those could impact crops now and cause a disaster even with no grid down situation.

    1. Honeybees. They are in danger of becoming extinct. How would humans survive without them? Question: Would the honeybees die out if people started dying off and crops were fewer and farther between, or would the bees flock to those few gardens that were left. I don’t know the answer to that. How far away can bees “smell” crops growing?

    2. There is a problem I am having and some others are having this year. Almost all my zucchini flowers are male. Only one female flower and that one produced a skinny, sick looking zucchini that has stopped growing and seems to be drying up. I am having some problems with some of my melons drying on the vine in spite of lots of watering. Maybe the heat. I don’t know.

    I am still having good luck with beans, carrots tomatoes, winter squash, raspberries, blueberries, etc., but all my lettuce, spinach, radishes, and other cool weather crops bolted early, and my peas stopped producing very early this year. We had a few days of 104, 105 degree temps. Maybe that did it.

    We don’t know what disaster might cause us to need to provide for ourselves, but a weather change might do it. If that happens, all our practice gardening might not prepare us for what is coming.

    1. DaisyK;
      Your statement on Honey Bees; I have read a few articles on the subject, and yes in fact it is a very VERY serious problem and in fact if the Honey Bee goes extinct the claim is that Humans will also go extinct within 4 years because of zero foods.
      And yet we still go about spraying and kill trillions of Insects and Bees every year.
      Also, Bees can in fact fly for 10’s of miles to find pollen.
      And here is a hard fact to swallow, If Humans died off, 99.99% of the world would just go right on with us destroying everything we get our hands on.

      PS; you’re over watering your Zucchini, hence the overabundance of male flowers, let the Plant “stress” some to shock it into producing Female Flowers. Also go out and shack the tar out of it a few times, this will also stress it to produce “fruit”.
      The “bolting” is defiantly from the Heat.

      1. NRP

        Thank you. That is probably my problem. I have been watering the heck out of my plants. I will let the Zucchini stress for awhile and let you know

    2. Honeybees are only one type of pollinator. I count (by sight) five or more varieties in my garden, not including honeybees. From the big black bumblebees to the 1/4 inch long green ground dwellers. It’s fun to make the rounds in the early morning and see them all comfortably sleeping in my sunflowers. :) Most of them, being native, are far better pollinators than honeybees.

      The loss on honeybees would affect human commerce far more than it would affect pollination, except in places where the native pollinators have been wiped out.

      1. Lauren;
        I regress, I stated Honey Bees, in particular, meaning most all Bees/Pollinators.
        I sure hope your correct,

      2. Very satisfying to see the hummingbirds do the rounds of all the flowers in the garden – my pollination champions.

    3. Don’t forget Mason bees. They are a very active pollinator, every bit as good as honey bees if I remember right. You can either buy or make mason bee houses to attract these little guys. Hopefully, they are hardy, and do the job without dying off.

      1. BBC, I used bamboo poles for green beans and the Mason Bees will nest inside the open ends. You can tell by the bamboo fibers that start to accumulate on the outside.

      2. We bought a mason bee hive and the mason bees ignored them. As long as they found a place and come back every year I have no problem with their housing. Unfortunately they are only good early in the season and go back to bed before summer hits.

    4. DaisyK
      When temperatures fluctuant as you described certain plants will fail, that is the reason your crops bolted before they would have under a normal growing season.

      On the Zucchini plants it could be the plant itself, did you purchase it from a store or raise from your own seeds. What have you amended the soil with–fertilizer–additional soils.
      This is not the first time having heard this happening to a plant. Ours did this about 20 years ago, and the plants came from a nursey(big box store).

      1. Antique Collector

        I raised them from seeds. I had heard not to give zucchini plants too much nitrogen, but lots of calcium to avoid blossom end rot, so I just fertilized them with compost, which included lots of egg shells. I have beautiful plants and flowers!

        1. Beautiful foliage and male flowers, I mean. And the plants are sturdy and upright — needing no staking. Such beautiful plants but no fruit.

          1. Your compost is probably high in nitrogen, but I haven’t really noticed that this makes a difference. How long have your male flowers been coming on? Depending on the plant, the weather and a number of other variables it can take as much as a month for the female flowers to start after the males come out. It’s usually a week or two.

          2. Lauren,

            The male flowers have been here a few weeks, I guess. I didn’t realize until recently that they were almost all male.

  5. We have been gardening here for 17 years and as NPR said each year it is something else. This year surprise, no bugs but we have put a 3 ft wall around the bottom of our raised bed and enclosed garden. And then a 4ft shade cloth from there. But it also seems to keep out any bees if they are around. I finger fertilizer all my plants but I have also noticed the lack of female plants and now the females are here and no males! Guess I will have to look into preserving the male flowers. Also I use sterilized steer manure to keep out the grub population, but there is less and less steer manure and more forest product. So I am going to have to look for another way to fertilize. Also the lack of rain here is taking it’s toll on the garden. Our tanks are empty again after a short respite. Since we are older than dirt and don’t eat as much we are going to can and dry more of the harvest so as not to waste it. We have canned over 40 pt from our garden and orchard. (fought ground squirrels this year). Also being older and tired we are taking a vacation next summer and since we have a lot of gimmies (seeds that have reseeded and come up on their own) let mother nature water them and worry daily about their outcome!

    1. old lady;
      Need to tell you a little funny;
      A city-folk couple went to the local (out in the boonies) ranch and wanted to buy some “Steer Manure”, the Rancher told her he had no Steer Manure left that he sold for $20 a truck load but had a LOT of Cow Manure that he sold for $5 a truck load, the couple looked at each other and shook their heads saying they really wanted Steer Manure, so the Rancher told them to come back next week and he would have some Steer Manure for sure.
      What can I say HAHAHAH

      1. Love it. When we buy the steer manure at Lowes I always ask for bovine excrement. No one seems to know what that is!

  6. I’m upping my game plan. I had thought that two years of stored food would be sufficient, wrong. Each year we seem to experience a failure of one crop or another – this year the corn was a bust for me. Last year, worms got into the cabbages. ….. So, I am going for seven years of food storage and hope I can defend it when the troubles come. Now working on several subtle storage areas and since freeze dried foods are not temperature sensitive (like freezing temperatures), it becomes easier to hide the stuff.
    Then we will be able to take a summer vacation if we want to visit other areas or family without fretting about the daily work required in the garden.

    .

    1. hermit us;
      Seven Year Food Plan !!!!!!
      Guess I know where I’m going “when/if” HAHAHAHA and I know you’ve never heard that before :-)
      If you need a place to store that “extra” 5 years of stuff I’m right down the road LOLOL
      Anything I can do to help ya know….

      1. NRP
        Sure, I can see it now – one for storage, one for me, one for storage ….. someday I might consider a trade of some food for your coveted TP. :)

        1. hermit us;
          I do that now, at the store I use one buy two, or if new item, 1 for me 2 for storage.

  7. I must have dirt similar to NRP. They call it sterile soil. Looks like dirty sand and when you walk through it it puffs into clouds and the dirt sifts through the shoes and socks and onto your feet. I planted a tomato on the back porch and it is doing well but a lot of the leaves are small and kind of shrunken looking. I also have to put a shade cloth over it or it burns. I have heard ‘blips’ from different areas of the USA and it seems lots of people are having the same issues as NRP mentioned— no fruit, no rain, to much rain and burnt plants. I think that the UV is causing problems. I can feel it burn my scalp at 8 or 9 am.

    1. aka;
      I don’t have “sterile” soil; my rocks are breeding like CRAZY!!!!
      Every time I dig a few up and move them, 15-20 more appear, told the guy I bought the land from I wanted some “Dirt” next time I purchased land from him, he just grunted :-(

      I agree with the conversation across the Country, many many people are having problems with the Gardens it seems.

      1. LOL! Guess it does grow good rocks! Yeah, I had to move the spot I was digging for a tree over a few feet due to the rock issue. You see lots of rock walls and big bins here rather fascinating (horrifying?) when you realize that someone had to dig those suckers up. The ones that stick up about an inch and look like sand have had me face plant a couple of times.

      2. Yes the only thing our soil is good for is growing rocks! I tested our soil once and it didn’t register anything. Also when it comes to foraging the only things we have are russian thistle, Dactura which is only good for ceremonies, and maybe some horehound which grows wild.

  8. I have started looking at foraging for wild edibles. It is a daunting task. I have several books with photos, to help identify various plants. It all seems pretty straight forward until ya go “out there.”

    I seem to be very unsure of numerous plants. They look like the photos and seem to be the right plant, BUT I’m never quite sure. Many of the plants one can forage have look-a-likes or even toxic cousins.

    We have eaten wild mushrooms for years. I say that but we really only pick and eat murrels. They are easily identified and very tasty. So many of the mushrooms are listed as “parboil before eating,” or “try small quantities” to avoid poisoning. I’m sure my acceptable choices would dramatically change in shtf. Cat tails, acorns, wild carrot, wild lettuce are all things in my area, but I have only sampled tiny bits. Purslane and stinging nettles are easy to identify. They’re ok but here again, I’ve only sampled a little bit.

    Gardening is a continual mystery. Each year is different and mother nature will give what she chooses to.

    I would encourage others to give foraging a try. At least for me, it’s a lot harder than I thought. It would really be tough to have to give the grandkids a plate of xyz that you’re pretty sure are good to eat.

    It’s kinda like venison compared to beef. If everyone loved venison, there would be many pastures with 12 foot fences full of deer instead of cattle. For the most part, everyone is secure in what foods they like and eat. There is little to no thought of being accidentally poisoned by eating a look-a-like plant. Things would be a lot different if the garden failed.

    1. Plainsmedic,

      Good for you. Foraging for wild edibles is a skill everyone should learn. There are a myriad of edible plant parts most folks are not aware of.

      All grasses are edible, some easier to digest than others (mainly new shoots). Even older, stringier blades will give up nutrition if chewed, the juice swallowed, then spitting then poorly digestible stringy stuff out.

      Almost all the leaves in your veggie garden are edible. The younger leaves are more palatable of course. Pick a few young pea/bean leaves, mince a couple of cloves of garlic/or onions (or both), pan fry in bacon grease and enjoy. Everyone should know about onion tops and turnip tops.

      I only learned recently that young Kudzu (the curse of the south) is not only edible, but nutritious
      and tasty.

      1. Kudzu was brought over by the Japanese for cattle fodder, if I remember right.

        Kudzu tea, Kudzu stir-fry tender new growth, Kudzu roots for…uh, can’t remember.

        Google it for a list of recipes :)

      2. Dennis, leaves of the Nightshade family should not be eaten. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants etc. Kudzu is a legume. Let us down south not forget Polk Weed. Just boil once and discard water. High in oxalic acid so helps to remove some of that. Oxalic acid is present in MANY greens. Polk seeds are poison, but the berry itself is ok. Old timers used to make polk berry jelly and jam. Polk is un mistakable and the younger the better. Definitely pick leaves before seeds begin to form. You can find it easily where the soil ahs been disturbed. Then there are Cattails. Also Cattails need water. You will always find water where there are cattails!

        1. Kudzu leaves can be dehydrated, cut up with scissors and pulverized to make a powder, for a high mineral addition to smoothie and shakes. and to add to soups and stews…
          Polk seed are poison, It is posted on the Polk info by Darryl Patton you tube channel HOW to use them for arthritis, take 3 berries and place in empty capsule and swallow whole and every 3 days , for anti inflammatory rheumatoid relief. the poison part passes thru the intestine and the outer part ( \anti inflammatory) is utilized. The root is highly anti viral.
          Cat tails also thrive in bottom land that has little drainage../limestone/soapstone. there may not be water standing and roots may not be very big but they grow long and skinny. Sorrell/Dock is one of the first greens that come up in the spring. cooked with eggs, and prepared like turnip greens with a little bacon grease… is right fine. The plaintain come up just after…and the dandilions come up as well same time….blooms and all.of both plants are good. Sorrell after it has aged is great for the chickens and they love it they also like the bindweed

  9. NRP,
    Great article, gets you thinking. But you bring up a good points on invasion of bugs, goofy weather, etc. Like Lauren, I have been experimenting with growing carrot seed, which takes two years. of course it got away and now I have carrots coming up everyplace I don’t want them. Where I am going with this is this: I plan on sewing the sacks of carrot seed in the ‘fallow’ areas along my fence lines, near shelter belts, etc. They will always grow there, and self seed if done right. So I hope to have a ‘backup’, naturally seeding supply of carrots to start. in future years I’ll plant other veggies to self-seed and grow there too. What to do if you live in a subdivision??? Hike the stream drainages and natural spaces around the neighborhood, out of the way spaces along rights of way, railroad tracks, etc. Find the wet spots, and then seed them with whatever. Few people will know what to look for when foraging after SHTF. When things calm down, you can hit your ‘naturally seeded gardens’ and reap a harvest of sorts. Just a thought.

    1. Minerjim;
      Backups to the Backups is never a bad idea.
      Another huge concern of mine is the availability of Seeds, Yes Heirloom Seeds are GREAT, but again if you have a HUGE group of people your most likely going to plant most of the seeds just to survive, that the Crop Failure and no seeds….

      Have Backups even on the Seed Bank.

      1. NRP,
        That’s why I started growing seed with carrots. First year I let a 4′ x 4′ plot of carrots go, did not pull any, let them grow from roots in the 2nd year. I got enough seed to fill 3-4 one gallon plastic bags. Quite a lot of carrot seeds for sure. By doing open pollination, and growing them in the wild, you will get the strongest surviving and self propagating in your wild areas. I think greens (like spinach and lettuce) should do the same. Hoping I can find a way to do this with potatoes, squash, and beets too. (Being about 120 miles due north of you, I am still in the desert microclimate where things like tomatoes and such are not going to propagate themselves.) To have backups to backups growing wild for any good number of people is going to take a lot of damp, fertile area that is scarce in our area of the country. Now you know why the Anasazi moved around the 4-corners, planting here, there, and everywhere.

        1. Many varieties of potato will overwinter without a problem. Just a matter of finding the best for your area. Squash will overwinter, but they will come up when conditions are right for THEM, not for you, so you might get 50 zucchini in a 2 foot area late in August. Just spread some seed where you want them to come up, then let one go to full maturity at the end of the season. Tomatoes WILL self sow, and the seedlings will probably be stronger for it. Again, just a matter of finding which can survive your winters.

          Spinach, lettuce, beets, turnips, radishes, etc, no problem. They’ll self seed and you’ll probably be chasing them for years, regardless of the desert microclimate.

          I have a number of these growing wild in my garden, and they just pop up when the temps are right in the spring. Since we get most of our water in the winter, the soil has a lot stored when these are ready to pop.

        2. Minerjim;
          Ok Ok I had to laugh a good one.
          One year (since I like to buy in Bulk) I purchased one pound of Carrot Seeds….
          Do you have ANY idea how many seeds are in one pound of Carrot Seeds??? HAHAHAHA

        3. I used to have a dog who loved summer and winter squash and was always stealing it from the garden and going somewhere to eat it. Now it is coming up all over (when it rains, if it rains)

      2. One ripe squash will provide hundreds of seeds. Same with tomatoes, peppers, melons, etc. If I stored all the seeds I harvest every year I wouldn’t have room to store anything else.

        In the local area I’m liable to be working with, one squash will provide more than enough seeds for a year, and we would be planting hundreds of plants. There would have to be strict guidelines about keeping seeds–two seeds from every tomato harvested, one ripe pod from every bean plant, etc. It would have to become automatic, or risk starvation.

        And I know it would be a hard balance, but no eating the seeds under any conditions. One loaf of bread will keep you from starving for a day. But one small bag of seed wheat could be the difference between eating and starving next winter.

        Just one more reason to naturalize everything.

    2. Potatoes are good at coming up without being planted year after year. There is always 1 or 2 you miss when digging them up. I have potatoes coming up all over!

  10. Survival by one’s self is tough. Providing for several mouths, totally on your own, is exponentially tougher. Much like someone who buys a gun, takes a beginner’s course of instruction, then believes they are prepared for self defense, growing a back yard garden measured in square feet and thinking you will provide for several mouths without outside supplementation, is terribly naive.

    Providing home grown edibles for a family will demand gardens measured in acres, not square feet. It will require physical labor and attention that most modern humans can’t even fathom. It will require the knowledge of how to preserve each and every grain of fruit, leaf, and root for future use.

    It will require the ability to protect your fields and the fruit of those labors. There will be no days off, vacations, or even full nights of sleep.

    Few will be up to the task. I know that I doubt my chances, especially considering age and physical frailties. Does that mean everyone dies? No, there are always some who will survive, and even a smaller number who may flourish.

    If you have to truck in top soil, or buy commercial garden soil to raise vegetables at your location now and intend to stay at that location in an eotwawki event, you better be investing big time in building a huge network of raised beds or acres of well rehabilitated fields. Even then, your survival will still depend on favorable rain patterns, temperatures, and lack of insect and animal destruction.

    Doable? Yes. Our species wouldn’t still be around if it wasn’t. Something to look forward to as many in the survival blogs seem to do? Insanity.

    Sorry for the doom and gloom folks, we’ve had a week plus of rain everyday, and are under a flash flood warning today. I praise God for His many blessings. In Him I trust.

    1. Dennis;
      I agree 100% with you, I would add though that for even to Garden in the SqFt size now gets you past the first “beginner’s course”. Knowledge in a situation is always a plus.
      For if/when TSHTF and you have someone with knowledge than that person “should” be able to find bodies to work the fields.
      Maybe a fantasy, maybe not, but as you said “Doable? Yes. Our species wouldn’t still be around if it wasn’t.” but I would rather follow someone that has “Been there, Done that”.

      PS; your statement is not Gloom & Doom at all, the truth never is. AND BTW, anyone that wishes for the ‘What/If’ to hit, get away from the FAST.

      PSS; Keep your Powder High and Dry. Be safe my friend.

      1. NRP,

        Good article by the way. People are resilient. We are all capable of much more than we tend to think.

        Most of us …..uuuhmm….seasoned citizens have had exposure to many of the skills necessary to survive. Most become very experienced in those areas we enjoy, less so in those we consider boring or mundane, but even those, we maintain a reservoir of stored knowledge to be tapped in an emergency.

        Hopefully, there will be enough younger, stronger, and eager to learn folks willing to do the hard lifting under the watchful guidance of folks who have “been there and done that”.

        Having said that, I’m sure I’ve got more miles left in this battered body than I sometimes think. I am hoping I can spend them sipping tea and admiring the beauty of God’s creation, rather than struggling for survival.

    2. Dennis, Again we agree!… sorry you are dealing wih flooding. we have had nothing but a short shower, ( prob less than 1/4″) in 4 weeks

      The points you made about the space needed, and the difficulties of gardening as we get older is one reason we should be exploring different types of gardening methods that are less laborous.

      We have moved our garden to a new plot of land with a difference of 80 feet in elevation, soil and drainage are different…this is our second year and our root crops so far have been a total failure. Even in buckets and in raised beds. beets and radishes sprouted and did nothing….nada, onions bulbing onions- are 1/2 in. thru.. so nada. on 180 sets. turnips ..nada.

      Our sweet potatoes are the exception and the vines are looking good in a raised bed 14 inches deep and with a 2 ft tall shield around them. they have takn over the space all else was planted in… Okra is doing ok, few tomatoes are right tasty.. reminds me why we raise them every year. few poblano peppers are beginning to come in.

      Having shelters to protect plants from early and late frosts, and/or provide growing areas for the winter if in a southern area where it is posssible .passive solar heating can be done with black barrells filled with water to release heat during the night .. a inner green house in an outer one will also work to some extent to extend seasons even in northern climates.

      .. Some people do the “no till” and heavy mulch systems and are quite successful, but those systems take time to get ready for planting…they are not instant. Most require months of work to make compost in large quanities. Those who think tthey will be able to throw a few seed in a pot and transplant , or plant in standard gardens…may get a surprize.

  11. Dennis
    Now that is the only form of socialism I would support – you sharing some of your rain with all of us suffering fires, drought, garden water fatigue, ….. :)

  12. I’ve had a garden every year for as long as I can remember, as did my dad, grand dad, etc. I also have mostly heirloom seeds, and most of them are as good as the hybrid stuff. However, I must admit there a few hybrid things that I do enjoy, but if times got tough, I would eliminate them. I must be “right with God” this year, because I pretty much have a bumper crop of everything. Even my fruit trees. I waste nothing if I can help it ,we can, freeze, dehydrate etc. If I have too much, we give it away. However, we had so much apples and rhubarb this year, I couldn’t even give it away. The only thing that didn’t do well was the blueberries. And that’s because we transplanted them all to a new bed this spring. Hopefully, next year will produce. I am thankful for all we get, even if it’s only a tiny bit. As far as wild edibles goes, there’s lots in the yard. There always seems to be an abundant supply of dandelions. I never spray them, as I don’t want chemicals in my yard. I just try to pull them. Also, lambs quarter and purslane in the garden and flower beds. Certain lawn mushrooms are also edible , but make sure you study up on them, and know the right ones, THIS IS IMPORTANT. Don’t want any of you to get sick. Cattails grow just about anywhere there is a steady supply of moisture. Pretty much all of the cattail is edible except the long green leaves. (I think). It’s really surprising how much edible stuff grows around us. Oh yaa ,and don’t forget about the insects. If they eat all of my food and I’m starving, I’ll teach them a lesson and eat them. (yum)

    1. BigBadCat;
      You are correct, you do NOT want to eat the Green Leaves of the Cattails. BUT, that makes goo bindings, very strong for building stuff that needs lashing together.
      PS: Bugs, not so bad, go to Thailand, sit at a “friends” house and have a good dinner, just never NEVER ask “what is this”, you may not want to know… HAHAHA

      1. Why is it emphasized to not eat leaves of cattails? Important to note there are plants that look like cattails but they lack the “hot dog” seed head.

    2. Purslane is very good boiled and served as a condiment/side with beans… Dandilion is an important herb to have , very good at purifying blood , and assisting kidney function, is a mild diuretic.
      Plaintain is important for food , whole plant…and treating bites, and stings.

  13. We have had a very hard last two weeks on the deer population in our area. They have areas on our property to live and eat and to be left alone. Everything was great tell they started messing with the wife’s cinnamon apply trees and almond trees. On other news both chest freezer are full to the top with tasty goat meat now. Had to put up a ten foot tall hurricane fence around every tree and the deer tried to even climb them. Unfortunately some fell to their deaths and the rest have moved on (?). The squirrels have moved on also when the wife broke out the cast iron skillet. Her mama and her had a hankering for a mess of fried squirrel, problem solved.

    1. Southernman:
      Your quote “Her mama and her had a hankering for a mess of fried squirrel, problem solved”
      I LOVE it,,,, hahaha.

      1. NRP
        The real funny part is I caught mom one morning 0645 as I was having my first cup of coffee out in the garden. So I went out to find out what a 95 year old woman was doing sneaking around. She has her walker with a old .22 bolt rifle across it. I asked her if she had heard an intruder and why she didn’t call me? She tells me she don’t want to be a bother but she wants to make fried squirrel, gravy,corn bread ,poll beans and she needs some squirrel. By five that night she had twelve squirrels soaking in salt water ready to cook. My wife looks at me and says did you check the rifle to see if it was loaded? She tells me you Yankee boy’s are so easy to work I can’t believe it.

        1. Southernman:
          Just checking a little tonight and your post cought my eye…
          I can see it all so well. My Mom was/is exactly the same…
          Thank you for reminding me, I need to call Mom tonight…. God bless our mothers, for without them we would not be here 😊

    2. Sounds like freezer camp and fry camp to me… I know the deer and squirrell love their lodging now and they are no longer hungry. How wonderful of your fmily to prepare them a lovely habitat.:>)

      1. Just Sayin’
        That us a real animal loving group. We love em fried,braised, chopped, smoked and BBQ the most. My wife said she can even fix a ground hog to be real tasty. I think I can wait tell the end of the world for that particular mystery meat meal.

        1. Southernman, have eaten ground hog doesn’t taste like chicken, but a cross between pork and beef. Slow cook the him in what ever you like. BBQ sauce is good. Make sure you have a very sharp knife as their hide is tough. Old timers used their hide for shoe laces.

  14. Our garden last year was great. This year, not so much. Not enough rain, squash bugs. It seemed so disastrous. Hopefully our fall garden will turn out better.

    1. Texasgirl;
      Welcome to the rest of the Country, seems 99% of the Gardens are not well this year

      I HATE Squash Bugs, almost as bad as Tomato Hook Worms…..

  15. Get a green house. Install a C02 generator in the green house. Raise the Co2 levels from 400ppm, to 1,200ppm. Plant whatever you want and watch it grow faster and taller, using LESS water, than you thought possible. The more C02, the better the crop will be.

    1. I’ve been thinking about that for a long time. They have been complaining about the CO2 in the air causing climate change. But I say, the best time for this planet was millions of years ago when the CO2 was many times what it is today. We had tons of plants growing then. And because there were so many plants to eat, there was abundant animal life too.

      CO2 won’t cause us to become Venus. Venus is hot because the air pressure on Venus is 92 times as much as on earth. Not 92% higher, but 92 times as high. Earth is practically a vacuum by comparison. The greater the pressure, the higher the temperature. That is why you lose about 3 degrees of heat for every 1,000 feet you climb above sea level. Mercury (closer to the sun) has a vacuum, is cooler than Venus and, where the sun doesn’t hit it, there is frozen water. Jupiter is farther away but the air pressure is tremendous so it is 10’s of thousands of degrees at the surface.

      We need more CO2

  16. I have never had problems with a garden like we have here. We just don’t get it. This winter, I hope to clear a few spots on our land to create gardens that are hidden from view. The one we have now can be seen if someone decides to come up into the driveway. The spots back on the land are in dense woods so am hoping the soil will be better as I’m pretty sure nobody has gardened back there for at least 40-50 years (if ever). Fencing and netting will be required though.
    Good Lord we need to learn how to can!

    1. restoringBrad;
      If your planning on doing the Garden under of near the Trees, make sure to check the acid levels of the soil, especially if under Pine Trees.

      1. 95% or more of the trees on our land are deciduous, with very few pine/cedar/cyprus trees. I think the biggest issue we face after removing enough trees to have a garden area and allow it to receive enough sunlight will be the trash. The previous owners apparently threw anything that didn’t fit in the dumpster back on the property. Everything from what appears to be the remains of an old refrigerator, old household items like an office chair, old fashioned hair dryers, shoes, and a guitar amplifier, to uncountable lawn chairs, cans, and bottles of various kinds are scattered all over the property. There are also empty motor oil bottles.
        Good Lord willing, this winter I will get most if not all of it to the dump! That’s going to upset my neighbor as he hunts our land and my constant presence back there raking up and removing trash is likely to disturb the local wildlife temporarily. He’s a good guy, but we can’t do this in the heat and bugs, so once the leaves are down (height of deer season) I’m going to have to put my own hunting on hold and get started removing trash and clearing trees.
        That reminds me of a study I read, supposedly commissioned by some federal agency, that stated if there was a major SHTF event, local wildlife of all kinds would be decimated in 6 – 8 weeks from over hunting. One of the major contributing factors it listed was that people would kill an animal but not be able to preserve the meat, thus they would carve off whatever they could eat at the time, and the rest of the meat would end up rotting. Then the next time they got hungry they would simply repeat the same process. The study also stated livestock would suffer the same fate, with desperate people killing other people’s livestock to eat.
        Again, we need to learn how to safely and reliably can food!

        1. restoringBrad
          Re; “local wildlife of all kinds would be decimated in 6 – 8 weeks from over hunting”
          I doubt it would take that long, you’d also see a HUGE decline in Doge and Cats.
          I keep saying it, if/when TSHTF, one had better go dark for at least 4-6 months.

          1. NRP AND be Ready to DEAL with Dog Packs.

            As a son of a Rancher I have seen and dealt with Dog Packs created by “Drop Off Pets” when economics got bad in the 70’s.

            Sometimes I wished for a better firearm than a Bolt Action 22 when it was dark….

            Pets TODAY DANGEROUS Tomorrow that goes for often “Nice” folks today until they are truly Hungry.

        2. In SHTF, that garbage pile would be a treasure. An old refrigerator dug into the ground makes an excellent root cellar, old bottles can hold water, or herbal medicines, or seeds. Old lawn chairs could be small posts, latices for sorting seeds, or barriers for drifting leaves and wind.

          1. Lauren, you’re on the right track.

            Also, let’s remember that trash heaps can easily disguise a buried cache! RestoringBrad, you might want to consider Lauren’s suggestion with the old fridge — use it as a container for a cache, then seal it tight and bury it. Pile up some of your ‘junk’ on top and voila! Hidden ‘treasure’!!

  17. I am pretty much a novice gardener. I had a garden and it died. I have a job which has unpredictable workloads. I became extremely busy for about two weeks and pretty much ignored the garden. Well when I finally looked the weeds had already strangled out most things. Then the animals had gotten in and then the hail came. Basically, a complete loss. I am currently renting, in the short term I hope. So, I am hesitant to invest much into projects.

    The good news is I make ok money and can invest in other solutions. I am expanding my long-term pantry (Freeze Dried) monthly. I also actually rotate through and use my pantry food daily. Lessons learn here include the fragility of a garden. The challenge of maintaining a garden while working and without a group.

    1. Keeper;
      Good point on the Failed Garden, and looks like you’re on the learning curve. Takes a LOT of work for a successful Garden, now can you imagine TSHTF and that Garden is your life’s blood?

      On your other Deep Pantry, FANTASTIC!!!!! Keep going my friend, and pray non of us ever need to use these preps.

  18. Hi NRP! Thanks for the article!
    I’m not complaining…but, we had too much rain. Our rainfall is double what is “normal” and not very much sunshine either.
    luv ya’ll, Beach’n

    1. Beach’n;
      I should have added, the Mint Patch is taking over HAHAHAHA
      Now if I could find a Kentucky Bourbon plant I’d be in GREAT shape… YES!!!!!!

      1. NRP,
        Just saw this :D
        I’ve tried to confine my mint to planters and it still escapes!
        Don’t forget to add KB to your deep pantry!
        One of these days, it would be nice to share a Julep around a fire…
        Stay safe and healthy! luv ya’ll, Beach’n

        1. Beach’n
          Ken’s June 20th, 2020, 2200 hours
          I’ll bring the Kentucky Bourbon.
          AND the Mint
          AND the Silver Cups
          AND the Simple Sugar
          AND the Ice…..
          Be there or be square :-)
          HAHAHA

  19. NRP
    Thank you, Thought provoking, this is the stuff i have been thinking about lately, garden failures happen, regularly, one cow gets in at night and thats it, then she trashes the fences trying to get back out!

    Ive commented to my sweety many a time that it could be the death of us if something like this happens when we need to eat from the garden. Neighbors dog in the chicken coop, mongoose eating the eggs, pheasants dig through your row cover and eat all the seeds that are sprouting, the list goes on,

    Scary stuff if you really think about it

    1. Tommyboy;
      OK, now think about adding a few HUNDRED other things that could happen.
      Fuel Tank gets a leak
      Water gets contaminated
      You get an Infection
      Lose the Glasses you need to see well
      Snake Bite
      Torn Mussel
      As I said, the hundreds of things that could go wrong. Makes one wonder if we could really survive?

      1. NRP
        Honestly,
        For myself,
        For a while
        Yes
        Long term? I doubt it, hell as soon as my asthma inhaler runs out im most likely screwed. And sorry folks, natural this natural that, is all BS with a cap I tol B S!
        Thats why folks used to live to the ripe old age of 35,,,,,
        You ever try not bein able to breathe? Give it a go some time,
        And im not fat or anything like that, just cant breathe if i dont take the right stuff. Have had all sorta Ahole specialist tell me you need to change your environment,,,, yea right,

        1. Hey Uncle Tommy
          You’re not alone, man.
          One year tops for me, maybe a tad longer.
          Lot of what ifs out there, without our needed meds. We’ll just do the best we can with what we have.

          1. …….And I’m.gonna fight like.hell til.the bitter end……I expect you also to do the same..

        2. Tommyboy,
          There IS an herb for that. I have allergic asthma, and My DH does as well. we have both been prescribed albuterol in the past. The herb sweet everlasting, aka rabbit tobacco works as fast as albuterol inhailer . It does not make one nervous or jittery..need to figure out how to get you some seed and herbal material to get you thru. Is an interesting plant.works on resiratory and intestinal issues..Darryl patton on you tube has a video on it and a write up on it. used by indians over much of the states…. I make as a tea for gastritis , IBS type symptoms and DH smokes and i breathe the smoke for asthma attack. ( can burn in stainles bowl and breathe it effectively….)caused by pollutants we can not avoid sometimes.

  20. I am reading the book, “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan… the story of those who survived the great American dust bowl.

    Amazing people with true grit (no pun intended).

    I don’t know how they did it, the suffering was terrible.

    If I had to face their failures (thru no fault of their own), I know I would never make it.

    I guess some things you just can’t prep for… and when they happen, you struggle and possibly survive.

    Good read.

    1. grandee;
      I also have talked a LOT to my Mom about the Great Depression, very first thing she told me and I quote;
      “There was NOTHING ‘great’ about the depression it was horrible”
      Will need to check out the Book, thanks for the recommendation.

  21. NO SUN SPOTS this year. If you have records of your past gardens go back about 11 years and see if there are any similarities. Mr. and I do not garden, but I did many years in the past, a lot! The sun spots are becoming less and less through the years. If you all get a chance just search Grand Solar Minimum. Sorry to keep bring this up, but it is historic and just as likely a huge factor in our future as anything we discuss here.

    1. Mrs USMCBG,
      You are so right. There are many studies out there that show how much sun spots ( or lack of them) effect cloud cover and weather patterns. There are many different ‘cycles’ to the sun’s output, to our weather, and our growing seasons. Suppose we go into another ‘Grand Minimum’? shorter growing seasons, drier in some places, wetter in others. We will need to adjust the types of things we grow accordingly. Need to be thinking about this now, instead of later when I happens. So stock ‘short growing season’ varieties as well as ‘long growing season’ types.

    2. Mrs. USMCBG;
      Interesting you bring this up, talked to a friend at Langmuir Labs a few weeks ago. He was “hinting” at an upcoming ‘mini-ice-age’ I told him he was nuts (which fires him up), he started to spew all kinds of facts…. I did ask him when, and the smart azz he is simply said “when it starts to get cold”
      Sure hope it’s not for a few hundred years.

      1. NRP, yah got that right!!! So hope it is not a Grand Solar Minimum. As I understand it as the climate changes it will be “overlooked” until it becomes so obvious that the news and the world will have to take notice. Then well, it won’t be pretty when the grain crops fail in the world.

        1. NRP, Langmuir Labs, wow had to go look them up. Atmospheric research. Well now they would be in the know wouldn’t you say? thanks for the info.

          1. Mrs. USMCBG:
            Tis interesting the people ya get to lnow through a lifetime. Many I would trust my life on.
            But you’re absolutely correct, we have ZERO control on whats happening, tis going to be a GREAT ride
            PS; Thanks for being one of the many friends to this BLOG.
            Please tell DH he’s a lucky old SOB for having you as a,partner in life. 😊

  22. I think I commented a weekend or two ago that it’s a good thing we don’t have to rely on our garden if we want to eat. This year we’ve had lots of peppers, blueberries, elderberries,apples, and now figs, but the rest of the vegetables so far have been negligible for whatever reason..

    On the other hand, I know that a lot of the weeds we have in our yard are edible, so that would be a source once the pantry runs dry. I’ve also been taking note of places that things like kudzu, pokeweed, blackberries and cattails are growing in our area. I haven’t attempted to forage any of these because many are in public places and/or on roadsides, so who knows what’s been sprayed on them. A SHTF situation would likely halt any government weed control programs, though.

    1. chipmunk;
      Was thinking, maybe it would be a good idea to “experiment” with finding some ‘clean’ wild plants and seeing what you could build with them, get to know what works and what don’t???
      Just a thought, Knowledge ya know.

    2. Chipmunk.
      When searching for those wild things, note what landmarks are being sprayed NOW. They will remain poison for a minimum of FOUR years. Here they spray under power lines and in areas where vining is taking over the bridges… so are contaminating all water sources. Gathering from those places will increase diabetic neuropathy and nerve cell damage which leds to the destruction of the myelin sheath. Even the residuals in regular corn chips do this now for those who are sensitive.
      If anyone is planning to drink from a creek they will need a filter that removes roundup and it’s many components, old medication and fracking chemicals from water.( these are the highest quality filters and also filter the virus’/baceria’s)…to be safe.

      I have already scope’d out some areas and will gather more wild things in a month or two… as it begins to cool and plants put on their growth and flowery shows. I have not tried to eat the kudzu tendrils yet, but have some dried leaves. he kudzu grows very fas and the last 2 fee of ends of vines should be gathered fro a green bean liek vegetabl. The “Soutthern Forager” posted this some time back.

      1. Egads. FOUR YEARS?!!! That’s a long time before you can forage in an area. Good to know, though. Sounds like it would behoove me to wander a bit further in the woods to find, as NRP puts it, “clean” plants. Do you have a feel for how far away from actually sprayed areas it is safe to forage? I am actually a little concerned about my garden, which is downhill from the yard of our neighbor who had a Roundup container in his trash pile this summer.

      2. Kudzu is in full bloom here now. Some people make kudzu blossom jelly or wine. A most overlooked resource.

  23. Sorry NRP. The photo you posted looks pretty sad.

    Like you, I lived in a desert type region where daytime temps were 90 – 105 degrees. I had a day job and so I had to create a space to grow things in my back yard. ( suburbia.)

    I planted shade cloth “umbrellas” in a pattern around the base of an existing sycamore tree in my back yard. After living there for over 10 years, I had installed 3 of them into my rock hard, sun baked soil. ( digging holes in hardpan means soaking then digging/repeat.)

    Beneath the shade cloth, I placed containers of potting/garden soil where I grew what I wanted. ( cherry tomatoes, squash, and a lot of flowerpot bring in the pollinators.). Once every 2-3 years, I would buy some ladybugs and let them go in my yard to control aphids and I tried to stay away from chemicals as much as I could.

    In my younger years, I sprayed enough Round Up around my relatives farm fields that I feel I have to make up for past sins as an adult.

    Container gardening does limit what can be grown as some crops do better than others growing in a container. The nice thing about the shade cloth and container arrangement is that containers can be moved to a location where it avoids getting blasted by the most intense sunlight at the middle of the day.

    Worked a 40 hr a week job back then too so the garden was primarily to provide a safe place for the local pollinators, ( bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.). Doing habitat improvement in my own yard was one of my ways to decompress after work. It was fun to see my yard become a destination for different varieties of birds and insects.

    The wind was blocked by concrete block walls so it was nice having a green spot in the middle of the yard to look at. After watering the area in the middle of a hot day, I would notice the temperature drop by at least 10 degrees.

    I do hope that the SHTF is limited because: I still buy and use garden soil, commercial bait for yellow jacket traps, containers to plant in and starts from my local stores. I live in an ag intensive area of Oregon and there is a lot of research still taking place in the fields and schools around me. Lastly, I still enjoy reading information from the local Agricultural Extension. ( Washington State University may be the school tracking the European Honeybee population here on the West Coast.)

    Bee keeping and hive tending is a big and growing hobby here in the Willamette Valley. Networking and trading of goods and services at the local level may be what saves communities from starvation. Some of us come from a farming heritage.

    1. Calirefugee;
      BUT, you have the knowledge to raise food, you may not be doing so now, but “what/if’ is the key.
      Would it not be interesting to research how many of these “Collage” people are studying how to raise food, how to maintain acreage and water supplies to feed a group If/When.
      Where are the farmers of 2025-2030 coming from?
      Or are we as a Country just going to keep down the road of HUGE!!!! Farms and hope like crazy nada happens?

      So I will again say, you have the smarts to keep this Country alive if needed.

  24. I mentioned in a previous thread the green caterpillar we found on a tomato plant covered in what looked like tiny white tic-tacs. Well, we found another one in the same condition. It is a tomato hook worm, and it was also COVERED with these little while egg looking things. I wish I could post a photograph so y’all could see it

    1. restoringBrad;
      The white things on the Tomato Hornworm’s back are cocoons of the braconid wasp.
      According to the Net.

    2. RB, let him be he is already close to be food for the little wasp. It will stop eating and pass on.

  25. This is a complicated topic because so many people here live in different areas of the country which all have their own unique soil types and weather patterns from floods to droughts and blizzards to deserts.

    I suppose DW and I should count our blessings since we have never had a complete garden failure. We have had some individual items fail to produce for one reason or another but have always had enough of something else to offset any single item failure. Generally, something that fails one season will do ok next.

    Every year, so far, we’ve been able to either can or freeze enough stuff to get us through a potential crop failure next season. Of course we have two seasons to work with like early Spring/summer and again with fall/winter and we don’t have to contend with blizzards or desert conditions. Bugs come and go. Some years they are bad and some years they are not.

  26. So how we are going to approach this is a little different. If there is a SHTF event and it’s been several years now. We will be using some of the vacant houses as green houses modified of course. Collecting swimming pools for extra water. Starting aquaponics with the use of the other houses.
    But as for now we also have started to identify the weeds that are food and medicine keeping them in the locations we find them and transplant some to new areas. Also we have been seeding trees in the woods around us that are eatable like sassafras oak pine trees and nut trees etc. Knowing how to forage ie wild onions is great but then use that info the build a natural garden is important for when the garden fails. Bring those known good weeds to your locations and letting them go wild is a backup plan. Also planting the things that animals like to eat will draw in the animals and help you get the meat you need when the woods are full of hunters. Sometime we suggest plants we know are good herbs to other non prepared people that visit our gardens so that we have another location to source later if needed should ours die or something happen to it. It’s a long shot but we are not out anything. Just my two cents. I like the ideas here about sowing the carrot seeds and letting them go wild. And identifying all your weeds is very important but you do need to be careful. Good artical. Lot of good information.

    1. Bender,

      You’re absolutely right, it will be thinking out of the box and an “all of the above” approach that takes over. Our dietary preferences will become dietary necessities. I may upset some people, but there’s a reason someone decided to eat something that smelled like a gut pile at a fish cleaning station (caviar). They were hungry.

      I read somewhere that during the Revolutionary War, more British troops died from eating poisonous plants they foraged than were killed in battle because they were unfamiliar with the flora of America. Every possible source of nutrition, especially non-conventional ones, need to be explored in good times rather than when days until starvation is driving your motivation. Good thoughts you posted.

  27. Good article NRP
    A good slap in the face possible reality.
    Hopefully by that time, in your scenerio, foraging has well become a second nature. I would want to stretch that pantry for as long as possible and start foraging asap.
    It would take acres, as Dennis stated, to maintain. That produce will have to last you a year….. or longer if that garden falls on a bad year. That’s a lotta produce.
    Squash bugs and tomato worms maybe the ” what’s for supper?”

  28. I live in a new area this year and planted a garden in an area that had been nothing but grass treated to keep out weeds. I planted roses, coneflower, marigolds and calendula in a Center diamond to help bring in pollinators. I’m mostly getting bumblebees. I’m thankful for them and do not use any pesticides. My brother raised honeybees and lost four hives this past year. I live in an agricultural area where they don’t want to hear they may have to change the way things are done. Scary to say the least. I have managed to get one meal of peas before rabbits and groundhogs decimated them. They topped geeen Jean and chopped down sunflowers. Luckily the green beans recovered enough to can some. If you depend on your garden for food ina desperate situation your enemies are going to be plentiful so plan accordingly.

    1. MM;
      ” I have managed to get one meal of peas before rabbits and groundhogs decimated them”
      I hear you there, sounds like Air-Rifle time and some Hasenpfeffer :-) :-)

  29. NRP,
    A great article and timely as well.
    I’m spending time and money on sustainable vegetable growing.
    It seems all are having difficulty this season.
    One scientist says the sun is in a minimus phase so we will see cooling and shorter growing seasons.Another says the next 5 years will be super hot. Who is right? Who is wrong?
    Maybe both are right to some degree.
    What we do know is we better work on different ways to grow food. Traditional ways may not work well enough. We have to be willing to shift our personal paradigm to our changing environment .
    I have built both green houses and shade houses . I’m growing all leaf vegetables hydroponically . Tomatoes and cucumbers as well.
    Raised beds for potatoes and sweet potatoes.
    We are in the process of putting in bigger fish ponds. Will try some aquaponics too.
    My granddaughter is interested in the science of plants and plant propogation.
    It’s part of her homeschooling . So we are also doing some experiments relating to growth and pest control.
    I have a lot more time now that I turned over our group leadership to my sons.
    They have more “skin in the game” than me now. They are more tech savvy than me.
    I like and use the technology. I just don’t know how it works most times. They do
    The whole group approves. I get to be the wise,old,advisor now.(LOL)
    Most of my time literally is spent working on food production.
    My son’s FIL and I work together on this.
    He is a wealth of knowledge due to his Hispanic Heritage. A good man and a huge asset to the group. His wife as well. She knows how to feed a lot of people with inexpensive nutritious meals.
    My biggest concern is Gov thugs or hungry hordes attempting to take our food supply.
    We definitely live in perilous times.

    1. BJH, Catches? old/small unexplored) caves?..Old hollow trees? think deep and narrow,spread it out and 2-3 ppl know where. several of younger tha have proved trustworthy show general area so a few directions could put them on location.

    2. Bill Jenkins Horse;
      Good to hear from you Old Man :-)
      I will admit I’m rather jealous of your “Group”. Seems you have done well at bring the Family together.
      I do believe your concerns about the “Thugs: is valid, I do not trust them any more than my Ex-Wife of 40 years ago.
      I do have a question though; Did you ever in your wildest dreams believe time would move so fast? and you’d be the “Wise Old Man”? :-)

    3. BJH sorry to say Gov.com of all stripes look to control well developed food and water sources in times of crisis. Thus the Plan B Olive Barrel to restart. Like Life Insurance you don’t want to use it but it gives me Peace.

      As long as I have freedom and breath I will rebuild.

      Pray for wisdom. He will provide.

        1. Locally Chipmunk I get them from the Lumber Yard. Used to be 40 dollars each two for 65 dollars. A bit higher lately.

          I have seen them on Craigslist as almost every area has a Barrel Man or two. Just make sure it’s in good condition NO HOLES, inner seal ring and Lid screws on well. Should be airtight when closed.

          Have you written down some of the items I discussed for that Barrel?

          Hope this helps

          1. NH Michael, what is the Plan B Olive Barrel? Is it a cache of necessaries, or a back-up food supply? I think I missed your original discussion on that!

          2. Modern Throwback I just used the Search MSB link at the top of this page and typed in Plan B as well as typed in later NH Michael and found an article about Plan B Olive Barrels and a lot of great comments from our friends there.

            But a Not so short answer to your question:

            A BUG OUT Bag with out a cache of supplies to rebuild MAKES you a Refugee/Homeless Person. Don’t be a Refugee. People are not always kind to Homeless Persons.

            The Basis of the Plan B Olive Barrel is IF you were DRIVEN OUT of your Burning Home Injured and empty handed WHAT would you need NOW to survive and rebuild. Shelter/Clothing, Medical Supplies, Water AND ways to get water and PURIFY It, Long Term Storage Dry Food (esp. Dent Corn and Beans as you can PLANT them for More food later) Security a frog lubed 22 Long Rifle carbine and ammo, Tools like Knives, Axe, Bow Saw and Extra Blades, Shovel, Pickaxe, Screwdrivers, tin snips to recycle metal into useful items, wood chisels, Fire Starting Gear, Cooking Pots, etc. Materials to aid your rebuilding like Tarps, cordage (I like 550 cord and Tarred Bank Line) Heavy Duty Black Plastic sheeting to water proof your newly dug Hobbit House AND help with rain water collection INTO your now Empty 40 gallon Olive barrel, AND OR Line your newly dug cistern, Clear Plastic Sheeting for windows and Green House creation, Aluminum Screening so you don’t have to live with BUGS as well as the Basis of a Solar Dehydrator Tray to preserve food. desiccant packed copy of the Bible and other useful books like older Boy scout manuals, where there is No Doctor/Ditch Medicine, Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery and such.

            A lot of stuff yes. But if you shop Yard sales/Thrift Stores for older still good but need love yard tools, camping supplies, clothing and sometimes even perfectly good medical supplies you can do a lot on the cheap.

            You CAN Save space by removing the wooden handles on some tool as you can make them yourself later OR as I do Simply use an extra Olive Barrel for more space. I can ALWAYS find a use for an empty Olive Barrel for say Rodent and Moisture Proof Storage later?

            What the Pioneers living in Soddy’s would have given for Plastic Sheeting so rain and dirt not fall on their heads/dinner table from their wood and sod roofs. Clear Plastic and Screens to let in light but keep that Soddy warm and free of bugs. Olive Barrels to keep that hard won dried dent corn and pinto beans safe from weather and bugs/rodents.

            Have work to do while the weather permits.

            Pray for wisdom He will give it freely.

  30. I might add that part of our good fortune can be attributed to more than luck by trying to put back into the ground as much or more than we take out and this equals, literally, tons of material that goes back into our garden every year. My rough estimate of what we put back over the last year comes to 7,128 pounds. I didn’t keep an exact itemized record but this is as close to accurate as I can get. This is in a garden that was downsized about 3 years ago. Before we downsized we could easily double this.

    2 bales of Alfalfa at 100 pounds each. 200
    2 bales of wheat/rice straw at 50 pounds each. 100
    10 bags potting soil/ planting medium at 40 pounds ea. 400
    80 + bags grass clippings at 25 pounds each. 2,000
    10 FE loaders composted horse manure/bedding at 300 ea. 3,000
    5 black bags oak leaves at 30 pounds ea. 150
    10 + bales pine needles at 20 pounds ea. 200
    2 pounds wet garbage average daily x 365 days. 730
    Chicken manure collected daily average ½ pound day. 180
    Fertilizer and soil amendments spread out over a year
    fertilizer 25 spread and side dressing
    Bone meal 25 spread pre planting
    lime 15 spread pre planting
    Hard wood ashes 25 spread and side dressing
    Crushed volcanic rock 25 spread pre planting
    Sulfur 3 pounds spread pre planting
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 118
    Fish/fish heads and shrimp heads 50
    For a total of 7,128 pounds of stuff that we put back into the ground.

    There’s more to gardening than meets the eye.

    1. CrabbeNebulae;
      I’m curious, how large of area are you talking?
      Also do you have any problems with the Hay Sprouting?

      1. @NRP
        Roughly 1,600 square feet spread among 7 different beds, the biggest about 800 sq. ft.
        7,100+ pounds sounds like a lot but it’s really not after it composts/rots down.

        Haven’t had a problem with weeds from either the Alfalfa, straw or grass clippings. We mulch the plants with straw, oak leaves, pine needles or alfalfa, and keep a thick covering of grass clippings spread in the middles between the rows and around the outer perimeter of the beds but we don’t mulch plants with fresh grass clippings because it’s too hot and will kill the plants. Not so much down the centers. The thick covering smoothers and discourages weed growth and keeps moisture in the ground. DW wanders through the garden pulling up anything that looks like it might be a problem. It all gets chopped under eventually… except coco grass and stray Johnson grass which gets pulled and thrown in the burn pile. We sprinkle fresh chicken droppings down the middles on top of the grass clippings daily until we get to the end and then start on the next one. We spread our wet garbage under the grass clippings daily as well as canning refuse (peelings and such), fish and shrimp heads (Only use fresh fish/shrimp heads. DO NOT use shrimp/crabs/crawfish heads from a shrimp/crawfish boil because it contains too much salt). Over the course of 3-4 months all the middles have had a spread of both manure and wet garbage along with several applications of grass clippings/leaves mixed in with some additional shovels of composted horse manure from the pasture pile. At the end of a growing season after everything has been harvested from a bed we turn everything under with a broad fork and shovel then till everything under after applying a nice layer of composted horse manure and soil amendments then draw up the composted centers on the top of the row for the next planting. In the case of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins we pull them all up and dump them in a burn pile in the pasture. I don’t like to re-cycle those due to a greater possibility of transferring disease to next crop. Everything else though has been harvested cleanly and chopped under.

        We get 12 yard loads of horse manure/stall litter from a stable down the road and dump it into a big pile in the pasture and then take front end loaders/wheel barrows full as needed.

        It took us a long time to figure this out. For us the traditional compost piles were a waste of time and energy and seemed counterintuitive to what mother nature does. We’ve never had a problem with weeds or disease. Any plant that looks diseased is pulled up and thrown away. So far this has work out nicely. Our harvests and quality actually increased after we started doing our gardens this way. Hopes this helps.

        BTW… your article about garden fails is spot on. It is something that nags at me every season. So far though, we have never had a complete garden failure although we have had individual things not grow right for one reason or another. It usually winds up being something we did wrong or didn’t do. All the potatoes rotted one year because we planted them in a low spot. We lost all our beets one year because we got complacent and didn’t cover them up when the temperature dropped to 16 degrees. One year we had a 200 foot row of snap beans that didn’t produce anything after it didn’t rain for 3 months. Same with a bunch of corn. That’s when I stopped growing sweet corn. I discovered it was cheaper to buy it from a local grower than fool around with it myself. Ok… I’m starting to wander now. 😊

        1. CrabbeNebulae;
          GREAT response, thanks.
          Nice description of your method of composting in the Garden rather than in a pile and scattering the compost later.
          I agree 100% with the more organic “stuff” the better, although for the size of my Garden I do the good old Compost Bin. But I’m always on the lookout for Organics to keep adding and adding.
          Like you I do get quite a bit of Horse Manure, I do let it ‘cook’ for a year or two before use though.
          BTW, yes 16 deg is a little cool for Beets HAHAHAHA

          1. @NRP
            I suppose I should clarify something here that could otherwise be mis-leading.

            I don’t use regular hay for mulch because it has too many things in it that I don’t want growing in my garden like Johnson Grass and other noxious weeds. A good use of regular hay would be to place bales on edge on the edge of your property, prep it with bone meal/fertilizer and water for a couple weeks and plant potatoes in it.

            However, I do use Alfalfa because the bales generally don’t have anything else but Alfalfa in them and Alfalfa is long lasting and a good source of nitrogen. I’ve never had anything noxious grow from using Alfalfa as a garden mulch. It is expensive though. Last year it cost me almost $25.00 a bale.

            I also use straw which can be picked up at the feed store or Tractor supply in 50 pound plastic wrapped bales. Never had anything other than wheat/rice sprouts come from that and it makes good green manure. And, I use my grass (lawn) clippings/ oak leaves / pine needles. One full lawn bag on the mower weighs about 25-30 pounds depending on how thick the grass is. We usually get around 15 lawnmower bags in one mowing.

          2. CrabbeNebulae;
            $25 a bale for Alfalfa Hay???? Holly Cow!!!!!
            I’m paying $8 from a Farm across the river, $9.50 in town for 3 wire bales .

            I have not tried Potatoes in Hay Bales, but I have done Tomatoes, it works GREAT!!!! and one can reuse for several years till the Bale falls apart. that spread the ‘stuff’ on the Garden…..

            For straw I offer to “clean up” his Barn for all the “dust” off the bales, usually can get a pickup load for nada.

            Also another idea, get ahold of those Tree Trimming guys that keep the trees of the Power lines, they usually will load your PU for $5…. very cheep.

  31. RANDOM THOUGHS. IF I MAY,,,,,past experiences ,,, I’m a fresh eater ,,,, ok I’ll eat stuff canned or frozen if I have to ,, ,,,,we rarely do leftovers ,,,that said ,,,,,on to the garden ,,the problems you all are encountering are what we face farming ,,,instead of a row of carrots ,how a about five acres ? Instead of A cherry tree how about 25 trees? what about FLOCKS of birds ,,be it eating cherry or crows pulling corn seed ,,things get grim at times. So what to do ????? My answer is a greenhouse/hoophouse,,now before you say THE COST ,,even in a Wyoming winter you can have fresh 365 ,,, we have a total of 250 feet of 20 foot wide greenhouse , we plan on taking with us in the move ,,it’s amazing how much you can grow in them , AND what ,,,,,almost anything ,,,calfs ,chickens ,fish ,,,yep fish ,, AND ofcorse. Things GREEN,,,,,rootcrops ,,salad greens ,,green beans ,peas , (12 months) ,corn ,,,squash,,(nine months a year),,, blue berrys,,dwarf fruit trees ,,,if set in permanent can be protected from the little thieves ,,,, if done right with a set of water tanks a lot of rain water can be collected for later use ,,,,i haven’t done it but I know of a fish pond dug down the center with pond liner ,and plants along the side wall ,,the water helps control the temperature ,,,
    Two greenhouses set side by side with a run space between is a good way to raise and keep chickens,,the court yard between for a chicken house and out side run and let the birds in the greenhouses as needed to control bugs and clean up
    ,,,for less than the cost of a freeze dryer you can buy a pair of greenhouse kits and heat and vent equipment ,,and eat fresh. a number of places sell kits or make them your self ,,,NOT HARD TO DO ,,
    TEA time

    1. 😎🤙🏻
      Its amazing how much can be grown in a hoop house,
      That said,
      Its slso amazing how fast things can go to shit in em.
      Over here my problem isnt heating them, its how to deal with too much heat!

  32. I’ve been gardening and canning for about a decade now. I’ve learned to plant WAY more than I think I will need. When I have a bumper crop, I can it ALL because nature is cyclical and there is a great chance that next year, that particular crop might be weak or a total bust. In my canning book, I make lots of notes about how many plants produced how many pounds of produce and how many quarts/pints that yielded. Eat what you can grow, can all that you can, and trust God with the rest!

  33. It’s a good idea to start and learn gardening before your life depends on it. That way you’ll have the confidence and experience for when it’s needed. I grow my garden so I can learn the challenges I face in my area with my soil. I also keep Survival Seed vaults from My Patriot Supply and rotate them out. The unexpected can happen and that’s where redundancy comes in. Have several back up plans.

    1. Jackie;
      Exactly correct, Back-Ups to the Back-Ups, and maybe one more Back-Up.
      Also a GREAT point on over gardening what you believe you may need, Canning Jars are cheep, yes it takes time, but the consequences of NOT having the Deep Pantry is devastating.

  34. NRP
    You did a thought provoking article as always, thank you for finding the time.

    1. Antique Collector;
      Also let’s not forget all the GREAT comments and helpful info shared.
      One more thing; Thanks toy Ken for the site, he’s a GREAT editor HAHAHAHA Thanks Ken.

  35. I can say one thing for sure,
    Most of my garden failures have been my own fault, generally because ive been too busy fooling with other stuff, or just being lazy,
    If things go upside down,
    I can guarantee the garden and critters will take precedent over everything else. Those zucchinis and cabbages will be the focus rather than paint on the house or weeds in DMs flower beds. And i definitely wont be thinking about working on other peoples stuff, homestead is the focus

  36. In the “for what it’s worth” column, our acorn crop is non-existent this year. Same for hickory nuts and walnuts. How about you folks living in other regions? If you have an abundance of game that depend on mast crops, this may be a die-off winter for them. Might want to fill your freezers with what game you can harvest early. You will be lessening the competition for what forage is available. I’ve received several calls from neighbors about scavenging black bears around their feed stores. I’ve been experiencing the same. This usually means they’ve run out of their normal sustenance. May this bode for a year of general famine?

    1. Dennis,
      Here in central, far western slope of Colorado we had a mast and berry failure last year. DOW was hunting bears that had been pushed down into the local sweet corn fields. Bad year for bears, think the population was dented severely. Think this year it was better, but there is a concern among bear hunters that a lot of bears died over the winter. Haven’t seen one this year at all, no sign in the vineyard either.

    2. Here in NW Mi we are seeing more acorns than we have in some time. It doesn’t appear to be as many as about 5 years ago when we were littering skating on them, but more than recent years.

  37. thank you again to the one who told me about fire blight (bacteria)….
    you were right on
    we did a heavy pruning tonight for pear trees affected
    we read you have to trim 12 inches below affected area
    we are going to burn the branches when they dry out a little (away from trees)
    our walnut tree has not produced in years, our maple is slowly dying, and all of the blue spruce that have completely died out
    I think it is chem trails

  38. Hey Joe c a little quiet eh? Ha! Just a bit busy outside with a patch of decent weather.

    Looked over this thread pretty interesting. First thought while much of Gardening is Regional a lot of gardening tips are worthwhile with modifications everywhere (Aside from the Artic Circle and Sahara Desert).

    Friends when SHTF and your garden is a major part of your life we need to look to the past as well as modern permaculture for ideas to make it WORK.

    GONE will be the Full Color Plant Seed catalogues. GET 3 years worth of seeds of things that grow well where you live. STORE those Seeds like Gold, they are LIFE.

    Buy a BOOK on seed saving. There are nuances that are important. For example saving Tomatoes Seeds need some rotting of the seedy pulp, stir daily for about a week to prevent MOLD and then you wash the pulp off the seeds. KEEP only the seeds that DO NOT FLOAT. Dry very well out of the sunshine, THEN DRY Again after you think they are dry. Mold KILLS your Seeds. Store them IN Glass Jars with Screw Lids so Rodents don’t eat them. Label them and so forth. Buy a BOOK as your memory may not be good AND EMP-Electronic Failures may lose your E-Books and email notes.

    I be Lauren could recommend an excellent book or maybe Shepherdess or???

    GONE will be early weather reports and the Farmers Almanac to tell you spring and fall frost dates, Planting Dates and such. Eric Slone has a good book on how to read the weather that works well for me. Even covers early and late frost signs.

    We NEED Paper and PEN to record the above information. To sketch out garden plans and notes as so to better LEARN how to do it better next time AND to TRACK Plant Rotation. UGLY Blankets, clear plastic sheeting tree branches and such allows us to protect our crops. Black Plastic can speed the thawing of your soil at least here in NH so you can reduce that STARVING Spring situation our forefathers dealt with.

    Calendars HOW can we do Calendars? We NEED Accurate track of time. My Cell Phone will no longer give me the weather report and time/date. Sun Dials set up correctly work :-)

    Any IDEAS about creating Calendars and Moon Phases, Sunrise/Sunset times?

    GONE will be peat pots for starting plants BUT Guess WHAT? God gave us a pretty good plant starter with either Earth Cubes where you mix up a batch of soil that holds together with clay or straw-grasses pack it into an older style Aluminum Ice Cube maker with that release lever and you have planting cubes. I find a Mister style waterier works just fine.

    OR you can cut up 2 inch Chunks of Dried Corn Cobs after you harvest that corn :-) and use your jackknife to make a seed hole. Place in a tray of water and off you go. Can plant the whole thing. Can I suggest you USE that Golden Fluid known as a Healthy Persons morning Urine diluted 1-2 parts urine to 10 parts water as an EXCELLENT gentle Fertilizer. No smell issues as my Wife doesn’t even know when I use it. And it really gets those plants off to a great start.

    Diluted Urine is also a great way to boost weaker plants AND Oddly enough tends to chase off rodents until it rains again. Yeah I have been known to Piss Off a rodent hole when in the garden. Darn Voles…..

    GONE will be bags of fertilizer and Dump Trucks of Horse-Steer etc. manure and such. However a serious (AS in Start TODAY) 3 year rotating cycle set of Compost Piles to process ALMOST everything you can collect to compost INCLUDING Urine AN EXCELLENT Compost Pile Starter. Even if your a dedicated Organic Gardener (and God Bless you) BUY some bags of fertilizer and sprays as that first year POST SHTF you will be busy trying to build things and produce compost etc.

    HOWEVER REMEMBER in Composting Plant Viruses are VERY STUBBORN. That is why you have to rotate planting areas to prevent them building up in the soil. I use a 3 year cycle myself and so far so good. However I DO NOT Compost Sick Plants. For example a Blighted Tomato Plant in the compost will GIVE the Garden area a SEEDING of that Blight Viruses. REALLY Hard on Tomatoes, Potatoes and Peppers all Nightshade family. If your losing a Plant to a Blight for example PULL THAT PLANT and Burn it. Wash your hands as not to spread that virus to other plants.

    Burn those virus loaded plant residues. Any other more useful ideas out there friends??

    In Iceland the local breed of Chickens Are KNOWN as PILE Chickens as they are encouraged to work over the compost piles. Indeed they get MOST of their chicken food that way AND Keeps Flies down. Win-Win. A Hot Compost pile will not freeze even in Iceland. THINK ABOUT THAT Friends.

    Human manure also must be processed in 3 year cycles as that guarantees even with COLD spots in that pile all pathogens will have been killed. Good Gardeners know just how POWERFUL a HOT Compost pile can be to reduce everything to excellent soil. However that takes a fair bit of work turning it and such. I prefer a 3 year cycle instead of turning it etc. Lot of work. Great fertilizer friends.

    A properly built compost pile does NOT drain off nutrients. I dry seasons a deep top hole to catch and hold rain is good. In rainy seasons you can make a round top or even roof it with grasses to prevent drowning your good microorganisms.

    Build Fish Traps for small bits of not eaten fish can be excellent fertilizer for your plant MOUNDS.

    GONE will be the Tractor Driven rows of crops. Mound Plantings with COMPANION Plants will increase yields, reduce water needs AND often confuse or disrupt Plant Pests. BUY or PRINT out Companion Plants for your area folks IMPORTANT.

    GONE will be Deer High Fencing and raccoon proof chicken fencing. BUY IT NOW Friends. Fencing is NOT getting Cheaper although Tractor Supply tends to have sales around the holidays. Senior Family Members and Young Children will be pulling guard duty in the fields fruit trees, Chicken Yards and gardens keeping predators out of your chicken coops and gardens.

    Gone will be sprays for bugs and plant diseases. Young children can help Hand Pick Bugs to feed those Chickens (AND you DO Have Chickens right?) and can be trained to spot and remove damaged plant parts to dispose of before they spread more disease. BTW Washing you hands is a GREAT way to avoid spreading plant viruses.

    Enough for tonight, do not want to bore you folks.

    Goodnight, Pray that disaster does not fall when you are far from home. Proverbs 27:10

        1. Good Morning Minerjim hopefully my posting gave you something useful to work with?

          And to link with my Proverbs 27:10 comment friend did you take to heart the Miles Per Gallon of Water posting a while back? Did you get that bicycle and build that copy of the BOB cart you spoke of?

          Thoughts are great but doing something is better :-)

          1. NH Michael,
            Probably need to move over to Saturday open topic forum for this for a full answer later, but in short, I am working on these things. your comments certainly stuck with me.

    1. NH Michael, great stuff!

      Website timeanddate dot com will give you any kind of calendar you want for just about any year, including lunar and solar calendars. Easy to print off.

      Have you seen the articles on straw bale urinals? One in the Guardian a few years back re use at a fair in France (see uritonnoir waterless straw bale) seems to have made this a fresh topic.

  39. I’m still trying to get my head around Hermit US’s 7 yr supply of stored food…gonna need a bigger place :-)

  40. On eating wild carrot.
    Be very sure that it is wild carrot and has a carrit leaf. Hemlock has the same Queen Ann’s lace flowere and a very small amount will kill.

  41. Maybe people should stock some tobacco seed from which to derive the nicotine to use on bugs in the garden. Generate your own insecticide. Lots of people seem to think the countryside will be “hunted and fished” out. If that is the case, there likely won’t be “critter” problems of any scale. Some of the more popular “wild game” might have the population dented, but there will be plenty of “non mainstream” protein to be had.

  42. To NRP and others out there:

    An essay on why farmers do not want their children to be farmers:

    Modern civilization is built upon mans ability to grow, harvest and store plant based carbohydrates. I do hope that things do not devolve to the point where humans are living a true hand-to-mouth existence. ( i.e.. working on the farm from dawn to dusk every single day to obtain enough calories to survive is pretty close to that.) The Victory Gardens of WW-2 were grown with the intention of supplementing your diet in a world where food was rationed at the markets or not otherwise available.

    I am continuously surprised by the fact that many regions where our staples are being grown are economically depressed regions in which to live ( by outward appearances.). It is only through our modern system of transportation, processing plants, distribution centers and agricultural mechanics that we can have silos and warehouses full of wheat, rice, potatoes etc. ( thus allowing the human population to rise to unprecedented levels today.)

    I am writing this in the heart of a large agricultural valley where most of the vegetables being grown are going to 1 of 2 processing facilities to either can produce (Santiam canned goods) or freeze produce (NorPac frozen foods). Both facilities employ a lot of people around here and are a major part of our local economy.

    I hope the readers of this blog will look around them and stop to ask farmer about the crops being grown in the fields ( if you do not know what they are.). Crop failures are a setback for a farmer. Too many setbacks and they are driven out of business. If their farm fails, some one else will come along and buy and use the resources. Farming within the US is a very darwinian business.

    Many farmers raise their children so their children do not have to be farmers. So they encourage their kids to leave home and go to college. Once we have jobs in “the City”. many of us come back to hunt along the edges of the fields or catch fish from the creeks that border the fields. But we know, ( and often times we are told.) that we are only visitors now. The farm belongs to some one else and if we fall out of their good graces, we are just another trespasser.

    Knowing all of this and sharing some of this with a local farmer is how I was able to obtain permission to hunt at the edges of their pivots and fields. Farm kids are taught not to shoot the squirrel off the $100 brass sprinkler heads. ( tempting? yes, butt hold your fire.).

    Decades ago, our fathers sent us to work on the farms of our relatives for different reasons. ( To build character- often quoted and comes to mind frequently.). Years later when we return to the house and we are cleaning a limit of dove or quail, gutting a deer with our dogs snoozing in the back of the pick up truck and a dirty shotgun in the rifle rack, Our parents realize that their original idea backfired.

    In my case, My parents effort to send a young man to the farm for instilling character turned out to be a college and finishing school for a prolific local poacher. ( Thus allowing me to be pretty successful in my efforts to catch, track and foil the efforts of other poachers when I worked as a Fed.).

    By the time I left my home state, the local game wardens and I knew each other on a first name basis. ( banter started after the Stop and Frisk.) and several of the local judges and I knew each other on a social basis. ( never had to stand before them butt I did date one of their daughters and they issued me my carry permit.)

  43. Another overlooked resource, wild creasy greens. I am in zone 7 and they are available all winter. In fall and winter they are not as big or bushy as in spring because they are young but we cut and eat all winter. They seem to taste better after frost like other greens. Unharmed by cold weather or snow. Great article NRP, lots of comments.

  44. After three years on our new place of battling early frosts (July 4th this year!), I have decided to build a greenhouse.

    Sorry Mother Nature, you are going to have to work harder now.

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