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Thread: How Prepared Are You Really To Live Off Your Gardening Skills Alone? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-05-2020 02:07 PM
Rural Buckeye Guy I tilled up 2 acres for a garden and bought seed. Answer: quite a bit.
04-05-2020 01:23 PM
Hick Industries
Quote:
Originally Posted by edprof View Post
I grew up in a gardening, canning, freezing family. I have had a garden every summer since 1972 when I was first out on my own. Gardening is not new to me.

I don't see how people say they can grow all of their own food on 100 square feet. We have 10, 500 square feet and we eat almost everything we grow every year. Family of two. We have fruit and nut trees mostly outside the 10, 500 square feet. We have our soil tested every year by our extension service and follow their prescriptions carefully, so this is not impoverished soil we are talking about.

Any garden will be an improvement over no garden. But if you are really trying to grow most of what you eat. something approaching 10, 000 square feet is what your're looking for. Go big.
I agree with your suggestion of 1/4 AC (10k sqft), but this area does not need to be in one piece.
It might be far better if you had a dozen small round garden patches, each 20-30 ft in diameter.
The risk of a single garden include thieves, predators, disease, and bad weather.

Btw, I am testing the small round garden patch idea this year. Two of my gardens are (16ft) in dia, and the big one is 32ft.
04-05-2020 03:23 AM
luckyfasteddie
Quote:
Originally Posted by edprof View Post
I grew up in a gardening, canning, freezing family. I have had a garden every summer since 1972 when I was first out on my own. Gardening is not new to me.

I don't see how people say they can grow all of their own food on 100 square feet. We have 10, 500 square feet and we eat almost everything we grow every year. Family of two. We have fruit and nut trees mostly outside the 10, 500 square feet. We have our soil tested every year by our extension service and follow their prescriptions carefully, so this is not impoverished soil we are talking about.

Any garden will be an improvement over no garden. But if you are really trying to grow most of what you eat. something approaching 10, 000 square feet is what your're looking for. Go big.
The whole garden thing has two parts , you can grow as much or as little as you want and get what you want but do not grow from an out side source . Works fine as long as food is on the shelf somewhere . When talking about food in a real survival event ( nothing in the store to buy because of -pick your cause here ) the real focus is ,is making what you grow going to be enough to feed all who would have access to your garden . Most people do not live in an isolated place and their gardens would be subjected to being raided .
04-04-2020 08:33 PM
edprof I grew up in a gardening, canning, freezing family. I have had a garden every summer since 1972 when I was first out on my own. Gardening is not new to me.

I don't see how people say they can grow all of their own food on 100 square feet. We have 10, 500 square feet and we eat almost everything we grow every year. Family of two. We have fruit and nut trees mostly outside the 10, 500 square feet. We have our soil tested every year by our extension service and follow their prescriptions carefully, so this is not impoverished soil we are talking about.

Any garden will be an improvement over no garden. But if you are really trying to grow most of what you eat. something approaching 10, 000 square feet is what your're looking for. Go big.
04-04-2020 03:20 PM
goat daddy I took the weed eater to my last years garden and open some dirt around this years additional garden. I'll till last years garden next week after the rain, it should go easy. the new spot will be up for its third tilling and the area beside it its first in 5 years. Spring planting looking better but not great. Tenative plan. last years garden is going to the old pinto beans from Y2K and maybe okra and corn. The new area will be the main garden. he plan is to empty the second freezer and get out the canning jars. the area I cleared yesterday will go to pumpkins and "indian" planting. the concept is fresh produce and less purchased stuff. If the grits hit the fan we could get by.
04-04-2020 10:57 AM
Velvet Elvis
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilltopper View Post
I would say a miserable fail but trying and eventually learning and making progress .
I am flubbing my way through starting seeds , old seeds , low light, too much moisture, taking them outside and forgetting them in freezing weather over night , snow . And I am not always learning from my fails either . 13 flats of seeds started in the unheated greenhouse and the garden itself is a wet disaster of weeds growing in wet clay right now . 2 flats started in the house and various pots of things that eventually will likely get planted out into the fenced garden .


I did not choose to do traditional rows for my orchard but I did for my vines which will one day need support trellising . One time I did sort of random plots in my garden I regreted it in summer trying to snake the wheelbarrow and hose around to water .

I am experimenting today to see if I can graze the vineyard and orchard down once hard with the goats before the vines and fruit trees bud , saving my other pasture to grow in since the snow is not sticking long now on the southern British Columbia. And integrating the rabbits back onto the lawn in their tractors April 1 to see if they can graze the lawn basically from April through to end of October , early November . So while it isn't gardening, it absolutely is integrated food production with the planted gardens . I am piling manure up in the next area I will temp fence for chickens and that conveniently is a place I have mulberry and plum tree saplings started trying to mimic a forest for them . Almost none of my young fruit trees have produced any fruit . I am merely hopeful and the nut trees are all putting in growth which in Canada is slower, with a longer cold dormant season.

About two legged varmints, I have less problem but it is not an impossibility in the country either . I have friends whom live outside the suburbs of a rural small town and have biosecurity down for their rabbitry but only a latch on the chicken coop, came out to find a hen and eggs gone and the latch still secured , so they put on a hasp and lock on the coop and have had no further problems .
Excellent self analysis. You should be able to see where you need improvement. Agreed about the security of rural plots not being looter proof. But the odds are better at defending in the country. Myself, I would have to work with neighbors
04-04-2020 10:50 AM
Velvet Elvis
Quote:
Originally Posted by citykittyatheart View Post
Whatever, Elvis. I'm out of here. Take care.
Ha... Iím probably a hard ass, tough love purist of preparedness gardening
04-03-2020 02:33 PM
Hilltopper I would say a miserable fail but trying and eventually learning and making progress .
I am flubbing my way through starting seeds , old seeds , low light, too much moisture, taking them outside and forgetting them in freezing weather over night , snow . And I am not always learning from my fails either . 13 flats of seeds started in the unheated greenhouse and the garden itself is a wet disaster of weeds growing in wet clay right now . 2 flats started in the house and various pots of things that eventually will likely get planted out into the fenced garden .


I did not choose to do traditional rows for my orchard but I did for my vines which will one day need support trellising . One time I did sort of random plots in my garden I regreted it in summer trying to snake the wheelbarrow and hose around to water .

I am experimenting today to see if I can graze the vineyard and orchard down once hard with the goats before the vines and fruit trees bud , saving my other pasture to grow in since the snow is not sticking long now on the southern British Columbia. And integrating the rabbits back onto the lawn in their tractors April 1 to see if they can graze the lawn basically from April through to end of October , early November . So while it isn't gardening, it absolutely is integrated food production with the planted gardens . I am piling manure up in the next area I will temp fence for chickens and that conveniently is a place I have mulberry and plum tree saplings started trying to mimic a forest for them . Almost none of my young fruit trees have produced any fruit . I am merely hopeful and the nut trees are all putting in growth which in Canada is slower, with a longer cold dormant season.

About two legged varmints, I have less problem but it is not an impossibility in the country either . I have friends whom live outside the suburbs of a rural small town and have biosecurity down for their rabbitry but only a latch on the chicken coop, came out to find a hen and eggs gone and the latch still secured , so they put on a hasp and lock on the coop and have had no further problems .
04-03-2020 02:20 PM
citykittyatheart Whatever, Elvis. I'm out of here. Take care.
04-03-2020 10:50 AM
Velvet Elvis Not everyone is located on small city lots, so issues of defending the garden wouldn’t be equally applicable. On the other hand, a grid down would affect every one regardless of locale. Some have BOLs where they could start a garden if they had the skills.

Sometimes in this prepper gardening forum there are post trumpeting the yields produced. But then we find out the person was growing with many of the modern convenience / shortcut products commercially available that greatly aid in acquiring those yields. That’s not preparedness gardening in my opinion. The point was to encourage an honest self exam of one’s actual gardening skill apart from the crutch of commercial products.
04-02-2020 08:59 PM
citykittyatheart OceanDweller, that isn't an option for me. I have a small city lot, not even 1/2 acre. My entire lot is 59' square and that includes the portion that my house sits on. And since I don't drive, moving out to the country isn't an option either. Besides, I'm a city kitty at heart. My skills are mostly city skills. My yard is so tiny that even a fence would cut into my space, and city ordinances with regard to fences are odious. For example, I'd need to set the fence back 3' from my neighbor's property. And there goes half of my garden

Security is a gardening skill. If you can't protect it, what's the point?
04-02-2020 08:01 PM
OceanDweller Man city Kity I am going through the SAME exact senario. I am an experienced permacultural gardener with heirloom vegtables and fruit trees. I reccomend planting stuff sporadically, ie JUST say NO to Traditional Rows. And spread it out. I have some 50-100 fruit trees on 1 1/2 acres and looking at it, it looks like maybe 3-4. Everything produces at different times so don't have a large row of tomatoes, plant them in 3-4 areas. That will kind of help with production even if somebody gets into them, at least they won't like get them all. A secruity camera system is long overdue for me. As well. I have been growing stuff near the street to completely block all views but its still got a couple of years before it fully grows in :/... granted we don't get much traffic only a couple of cars but most of my neighbors all now walking daily :/ can see the peaches from a distance and that has to be a draw.

I am finding out its not the gardening skills I lack its security and well being able to go down the street and get a new toilet float valve when it breaks. What then...
04-02-2020 07:19 PM
Hound Dog
Quote:
Originally Posted by Velvet Elvis View Post
The grid is down long term. Industrial production no longer exists. There is no more buying cheater / shortcuts to grow your food like starter plants, seeds, fertilizer, soil, mulch, no city water or electricity, no gas for tillers... everything that we currently purchase to grow food is no longer available other than possibly thru barter.

Don't bother with all the other realities such as mass die off, looting provisions etc that would come in such a scenario. Just stick to an HONEST evaluation of your actual level of survival gardening skills.

Things to consider:
How many seeds do I have on hand
Do I know how to start from seed
How skilled am I at saving seed
How will I water and feed the plants
What do I know about soil management
If I'm utilizing solar set ups for power, am I prepared for when the parts fail
I am failing miserably here.
04-02-2020 07:14 PM
Velvet Elvis
Quote:
Originally Posted by citykittyatheart View Post
Interesting thread, although it's true that I haven't read all 300+ posts.
Although it inevitably lapses into standard, commercially reliant gardening commentary, there has been a lot of good, relevant to the topic posts too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by citykittyatheart View Post
One thing I haven't seen much on is security: how do we keep two-legged rodents out of our garden? Being in the city, that's a larger issue.
I tried to address that by not addressing it in the very first post. The intent was to simply focus on EP gardening skills, and not get sidetracked with various other prep issues like security. Defense of one's garden is a thread all its own really. I freely admit I could not defend mine perfectly as is. Most growers in any large metro couldn't without a co-op team.
04-02-2020 10:45 AM
citykittyatheart Interesting thread, although it's true that I haven't read all 300+ posts. One thing I haven't seen much on is security: how do we keep two-legged rodents out of our garden? Being in the city, that's a larger issue. I'm lucky that my garden is a bit set back, although my neighbors know about it. For now, they're afraid of me since I own a G-U-N and they're convinced I'm going to lay waste to the neighborhood at any moment. I used to be a bit bummed about this but now, it's not so bad. Unfortunately, as they get hungrier, their empty belly will overrun their fears and raiding my garden in the middle of the night, when I'm asleep, is likely easier than working. Being alone has its drawbacks! No one can be awake 24/7 for the duration.

The water and electrical being down is a problem. I do have rain barrels that I can place, but the existence of such will alert the smarter grifter to the existence of possible food. I need electricity to run my security cameras but other than that, my raised beds are small enough that I need a hand tiller anyway. I can produce a great deal in my small space but I'm not sure if it's enough by itself to feed me through the year. In fact, I'm dubious on that point. I will switch over to higher carb stuff and fewer tomatoes for sure. Beans are for protein, even though I'm not nuts about them. City ordinance limits chickens to 3 (and I really hate chicken) and the rabbits & squirrels will be quickly gone post-SHTF. Sadly, there's not much meat on a squirrel, or so I've read.

I'll validate the CSA thing, although I wonder if they'd even run after an economic collapse. I too am planning as much garden as I can handle this year; between that and my CSA it's going to be a busy summer! Canning what I can and freezing what can't be canned will take up lots of time. This is what my grandparents did before the Internet and 24 hour TV
03-29-2020 05:39 PM
Homesteader123 How prepared are we really to live off our gardening skills alone? Unless this virus thing clears up soon I guess we're about to find out. We've gone into full lock down on our homestead and are intending to keep it that way for the duration of this event.

We raised produce for a living for 10 years selling at farmers markets, but we retired that business 2 winters ago and sowed some of our fields in grass. We still have 5 greenhouses and most of the infrastructure in place to grow stuff and as soon as we saw the direction that this was going in we tilled those fields back up for crops. We're still laying out exactly how much of what we want to plant for this year.

We had khaki campbell ducks and a few chickens and we bought a few more layers. We have also purchased a milk cow which has turned out to be a really good thing so far. I think we got a good one, she's so gentle and gives great milk. We stockpiled feed for the birds and the cow to hopefully get us to harvest this fall.

We've grown tons of vegetables for years but we will be changing what and how much we grow because of course it's different for markets vs survival gardening. We haven't grown grain here before but this year we are going to grow quite a bit of field corn, milo, oats (part to bale and part to harvest for grain), dry beans and then winter wheat this fall. We have a tractor and planter but we have no combine so all harvest will have to be done by hand...we'll see how that goes.

I think meat will be a little bit in short supply. We have a lot of fish and then wild game. We have considered getting some animals to feed up but then we would have to stock more feed for them...I think we likely will go with what we have. We do have a lot of meat in the freezers so we'll be good for quite a while. We will have eggs, milk/cheese so that will help with protein needs.

We'll be documenting everything and putting it on our YouTube channel and hopefully after this is all over we can go watch all of them and see what we did right and wrong. Wish us luck!
03-29-2020 08:14 AM
Velvet Elvis Itís also about preserving the produce of one season to provide until the following season produces.
03-28-2020 10:59 AM
goat daddy Just a thought, the chicks that I bought in February will not be laying until September. the chicks and ducks that I hatched last week will not be butcher ready until July or August, no eggs from the hens until Sept or Oct. My spring garden is waiting until spring to begin growing. maybe June? Summer garden will not be planted until May. Right now we are eating veggies from the freezer and canned fruit. We are looking to live out of the freezer and pantry but that was last years garden. Most of living off your garden is staying alive until it produces.
03-27-2020 10:14 PM
ForestBeekeeper Most of our beans go into flour.

Our land is not well suited to growing wheat, so we shifted our wheat flour consumption to bean-flour.
03-27-2020 08:18 PM
OceanDweller Beans are great... especially with rice, fresh vegtables, sausuage, red beans and rice, it makes meals go much further. Not everybody has the same growing habitat. I have two 40 start biodomes and they are everybit as efficient as a greenhouse having built and owned several. https://parkseed.com/parks-original-...cells/p/v1801/
Don't buy the refills, just use peat and or composted manure. I find 80 is the magic # for me. I can start seeds and plant out every two weeks. I then take some and move to cups to offset planting dates, kind of like setting seeds out at different times. Saving seeds means I always have heirlooms. I probably give away 10k seeds a year so everybody I know "no neighbors except one..." that's cool has seeds. I don't think you want to advertise with neighbors in today's world even if they are nice. I have some tomatoes I am going to keep at 1 foot for the fall right now to plant in August.
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