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Live Secret, Live Happy
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Discussion Starter #1
Clearing and breaking new ground for growing food is another task that will become harder, tremendously harder, if we loose the electric power grid and cheap available fuel. Planting seeds in an existing garden will be hard enough, but lets duscuss what its going to take to turn a small patch of woods into a corn field.

Step one is remove the trees and brush currently growing there. If you are lucky, you are dealing with a few very large trees, and you can start by simply girdling those trees (cutting through the outer bark layer with an axe), and simply farming around it. Girdling the tree will force it to drop all its leaves, and ultimately kill it. But while it dies you can now clear the underbrush and start working the soil.

This is a good place to list the minimum tools I believe a person would need to clear clear and plant a new garden.
A) 3.5 lb single bit axe
B) 5 lb Mattock with a pick
C) Round nose shovel
D) One man buck saw
E) Garden hoe
F) A couple water pails with handles
G) A sythe and pitch fork
H) Containers for transportation and storage.

Step two is breaking the ground and killing off the weeds and brush that will try and crowd out your crops. This is where a 5lb mattock is worth its weight and bulk. The pick end losens the soil, the blade end cuts through roots and stems of weeds and brush. Once the roots and stems are out of the way, you dig up the soil with the shovel and turn it over.

Step three is removing the dead trees. This involves cutting them down with the axe, removing the limbs, the cutting to stove legth with the buck saw.

Step four is you finally get to gardening. Using the corner of the square garden hoe, lay out your rows, and plant row crops. Small grains are spread using your hand and covered with soil by sweeping the area with a branch. Hills of squash, potatoes, or climbing beans are planted by hand using a stick.

Step four is weeding with the hoe and carrying irigation water as needed with the pails.

Step five is harvesting. Corn and squash are picked by hand. Potatoes and root crops are dug up with the shovel. Beans and small grains and cut at the ground, the stalks are dried out over a tarp, and treashed by beating them with a stick. If you are going to grow a lot of wheat, its worth having a real sythe and a pitch fork.
 

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I've been mocked in the past for advocating 1800s tech on this board, but I'm with you as far as knowing how to do the big jobs by hand. Knowing beforehand because if/when SHTF there will not be time to read and study what needs to be done. How many months is someone willing to go without food while the corn grows? The only handheld wireless devices that will be useful are tools and guns.
 

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Wile E Coyote, Genius.
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From history, slash and burn was a method used. So I would add a machete and fire starting implements.

Goats might also help clear some land, while getting fat and tasty and providing milk and cheese. :)
a guard dog and a border collie might be useful with the goats.

Regarding shovels and other wooden handled tools, I would stress that multiples are needed or at least new handles. I've snapped a lot of handles trying to overcome some hard ground.

And sharpening shovels and hoes now and then improves efficiency.

And a manual 1 row corn planter.
https://www.cornmachine.com/manual_hand_corn_planter.html
 

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Tarp the ground in the winter, leave till ready to plant, use a broadfork. I usually do an acre by hand every year so that I feel fortunate of technology. The way you are proposing to work the land would be brutal.

Make sure you leave the rows in between the broadfork area still compressed and only plant within the rows. This reduces your weed growth(we weed maybe once a year). The tarp should kill all the seeds from season to season as it gets warm by sunlight and torches them to death prior to the following year planting season.

We usually throw some cover crop on after our last picking or just tarp over the dead/dying crops to add organically back in the ground.

Also a huge fan of hydrogen peroxide, most people don’t know this but peroxide is in rainwater, your plants will grow much more rapidly if you add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide when watering them. It lets them know it’s raining.
 

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Don't forget a drain spade. It's easier to till soil deep and I use it to dig post holes, cut drainage channels, etc. I find it more handy than my flat shovel or round shovel for misc. digging jobs as it provides more control over the size and shape of hole. I use it to move bushes and plants by digging well under their root system when popping them out of the ground with the dirt for transplant.

 

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I have control issues
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I would also add a spading fork (great for digging plant you want to transplant, or digging up weeds. Often works better than a shovel - can get deeper on the first try.) and a post-hole digger. In my area (or any areas that have REALLY hard soil, or caliche) another critical tool is a San Angelo bar for breaking up rock-hard soil/caliche.
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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Discussion Starter #8
Tarp the ground in the winter, leave till ready to plant, use a broadfork. I usually do an acre by hand every year so that I feel fortunate of technology. The way you are proposing to work the land would be brutal.

Make sure you leave the rows in between the broadfork area still compressed and only plant within the rows. This reduces your weed growth(we weed maybe once a year). The tarp should kill all the seeds from season to season as it gets warm by sunlight and torches them to death prior to the following year planting season.

We usually throw some cover crop on after our last picking or just tarp over the dead/dying crops to add organically back in the ground.

Also a huge fan of hydrogen peroxide, most people don’t know this but peroxide is in rainwater, your plants will grow much more rapidly if you add a small amount of hydrogen peroxide when watering them. It lets them know it’s raining.
I agree with you, but dont burry the lead.

"The way you are proposing to work the land would be brutal."
 

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Clearing and breaking new ground for growing food is another task that will become harder, tremendously harder, if we loose the electric power grid and cheap available fuel. Planting seeds in an existing garden will be hard enough, but lets duscuss what its going to take to turn a small patch of woods into a corn field.
Indeed. So prepare so that you don't lose the use of your power tools. It may be a generation, or more post SHTF before people are ready to do manual farm work again. Prep to keep your tractors and rototillers working during that transition.
 

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The only handheld wireless devices that will be useful are tools and guns.
I disagree. I have entire encyclopedias on hand held devices that can be charged for decades with simple tech.

The future farmer will have the reigns of his plow horse in one hand, and his 20 year old iphone in the other. His farm with have LED lights at night, powered by a steam engine in his barn. He will go hunting in buckins and homespun, with his scoped AR-15.

Consumable modern life will go away, happy meals and yoga pants and two day shipping.

But an aweful lot of our world consists of small, very durable, very long lasting bits of tech that will still be around generations after the collapse. It will be an interesting mix of high and low tech going forward.
 

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Swirl Herder
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I agree with you, but dont burry the lead.

"The way you are proposing to work the land would be brutal."
I agree doing land clearing with manual labor alone would be brutal.

So I would keep that as a last resort and try to either:

1) Do any land clearing you would need to scale up food production to what you would require to sustain life when your stored food ran out before the crisis. Clear land as a prep now and then leave the prepared fields fallow but mostly done (with the exception of weed control).

2) Have enough diesel fuel stored to do those big projects with your tractor rather than manual methods.

It is also worth noting that tree roots would remain immediately after the steps listed in the OP. In the past, farmers in my area would clear land and then leave it long enough for the roots to rot down or at least substantially weaken (which generally would take at least a few years). Not having the time to wait for this would make initial ground preparation even more arduous.

I think doing work like manual land clearing immediately after a crisis breaks would be a bad idea. You need to be able to focus upon security for the first few years of any really severe (grid down) crisis at least. You won't be safe until the population density has reached a new (lower) equilibrium and the absence of ROL has been replaced with a common understanding of how people interact with each other. You won't have time to be out there with a shovel all day.

That is where stored food is great and lower labor input established fields and tree crops would provide your fresh food.

Later on, such work may be safe enough, but even then, you would be better off not having to do any land establishment from scratch with hand tools.

However, prepping is about covering as many possible eventualities and capabilities as possible - so I do have a good stock of good quality shovels, picks, hoes, mattocks and axes. I just hope I never have to wear them all out doing land clearing.
 

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Ordinary Average Guy
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I disagree. I have entire encyclopedias on hand held devices that can be charged for decades with simple tech.

The future farmer will have the reigns of his plow horse in one hand, and his 20 year old iphone in the other. His farm with have LED lights at night, powered by a steam engine in his barn. He will go hunting in buckins and homespun, with his scoped AR-15.

Consumable modern life will go away, happy meals and yoga pants and two day shipping.

But an aweful lot of our world consists of small, very durable, very long lasting bits of tech that will still be around generations after the collapse. It will be an interesting mix of high and low tech going forward.
I'm kind of confused (nothing new, I know).... The topic includes a grid down scenario. What is the purpose of the iPhone? Putting LED lights in the garden will just make it a target for robbers. I work with steam powered equipment for a living, I seriously doubt that we will have steam engines a plenty after the Event.
 

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Also, if you are trying to kill trees 50/50 diesel and sugar, cut the tree down, drill a few holes in the stump and let it drink some diesel and sugar, soak it for 5-7 days and if you want to have a party build a fire over the stump and burn out the roots. It will take about 4-5 days for the fire to go out in the ground, but that’s how I was taught.

All the roots will die or be burned out.

You don’t need it to be on fire to kill a tree, maybe 5 gallons of diesel is all.
 

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What is the purpose of the iPhone?
Having access to something like the sum total of human knowledge in a nice searchable cross referenced database is invaluable. Even if nothing worked on it but the calculator that would be a tool of immense value to our 18th century ancestors, to say nothing of all the other apps and databases available. Just having wikipedia would put you hundreds of years worth of knowledge ahead of someone starting out from scratch.


I work with steam powered equipment for a living
I highly doubt you work with 18-19th century style steam equipment, which is the kind of steam power I'm talking about.

I don't think we will have it 'aplenty' either but I do expect that if we have farms, those farms at this point in history will not be worked just with handtools and draft animals for the rest of human history.

After the dying time there will be a new normal and we won't suddenly just stop being humans and mindless scratch at the soil with a stick when a generation ago we where using tractors. We will figure out new ways to make old machines, and new ways to use old machines.

Particularly among the survivors as 'we' (hopefully) will be among the most creative, adaptable, pragmatic and well educated people in the history of the human race. I expect we will see newly made or converted engines and machines in the first year or two after dying time has past.


You don’t need it to be on fire to kill a tree, maybe 5 gallons of diesel is all.
This seems insane to me. I wouldn't even do this now, let alone after SHTF. Sugar and fuel oil!?? To expensive now to use just to kill one tree....mind numbingly insane to use after SHTF. Enough fuel to drive a hundred miles? More sugar than most people had for an entire YEAR a century ago...to kill a tree????? Where you taught to kill trees by the owner of a oil refinery and a sugar factory?
 

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Clearing and breaking new ground for growing food is another task that will become harder, tremendously harder, if we loose the electric power grid and cheap available fuel. Planting seeds in an existing garden will be hard enough, but lets duscuss what its going to take to turn a small patch of woods into a corn field.

Step one is remove the trees and brush currently growing there. If you are lucky, you are dealing with a few very large trees, and you can start by simply girdling those trees (cutting through the outer bark layer with an axe), and simply farming around it. Girdling the tree will force it to drop all its leaves, and ultimately kill it. But while it dies you can now clear the underbrush and start working the soil.

This is a good place to list the minimum tools I believe a person would need to clear clear and plant a new garden.
A) 3.5 lb single bit axe
B) 5 lb Mattock with a pick
C) Round nose shovel
D) One man buck saw
E) Garden hoe
F) A couple water pails with handles
G) A sythe and pitch fork
H) Containers for transportation and storage.

Step two is breaking the ground and killing off the weeds and brush that will try and crowd out your crops. This is where a 5lb mattock is worth its weight and bulk. The pick end losens the soil, the blade end cuts through roots and stems of weeds and brush. Once the roots and stems are out of the way, you dig up the soil with the shovel and turn it over.

Step three is removing the dead trees. This involves cutting them down with the axe, removing the limbs, the cutting to stove legth with the buck saw.

Step four is you finally get to gardening. Using the corner of the square garden hoe, lay out your rows, and plant row crops. Small grains are spread using your hand and covered with soil by sweeping the area with a branch. Hills of squash, potatoes, or climbing beans are planted by hand using a stick.

Step four is weeding with the hoe and carrying irigation water as needed with the pails.

Step five is harvesting. Corn and squash are picked by hand. Potatoes and root crops are dug up with the shovel. Beans and small grains and cut at the ground, the stalks are dried out over a tarp, and treashed by beating them with a stick. If you are going to grow a lot of wheat, its worth having a real sythe and a pitch fork.
So I own one pick, one pick mattock, and a half dozen cutter mattocks. In southern clay you dig with the mattock, and use the cutter to get the omnipresent roots that are perpendicular to your swing. Picks are almost usLess here, our rock tends to be granite.

Bush axes/ bank blades are nice for clearing brush, and are a goto tool for making fire lines.

Not so much for farming, but a short handle round point shovel is nice in confined space or in vehicles.

You can have plenty of power equipment t, but you still need hand tools for certain jobs.
 

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I disagree. I have entire encyclopedias on hand held devices that can be charged for decades with simple tech.

The future farmer will have the reigns of his plow horse in one hand, and his 20 year old iphone in the other. His farm with have LED lights at night, powered by a steam engine in his barn. He will go hunting in buckins and homespun, with his scoped AR-15.

Consumable modern life will go away, happy meals and yoga pants and two day shipping.

But an aweful lot of our world consists of small, very durable, very long lasting bits of tech that will still be around generations after the collapse. It will be an interesting mix of high and low tech going forward.
LOl, you expect that tech, and its batteries to last 20 years? OMG, I'm rolling on the floor laughing. That iphone will be landfill in 6.
 

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first thing is dont wait,get established gardens now while its easy to do so with force multipliers...i.e. bulldozer,tractor,skidsteer etc. etc.

then you can concentrate on other things needed regular like food production and getting fertlity into garden in various forms as its needed via manures,composts,leaves,bio-chars etc. etc.


one item OP didnt mention is carts and wheelbarrows ,both push and pull carts.

for me i stopped fixing flats everytime i went to use wheelbarrow when i went to solid tired ones.
 

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Of course, the equipment you want to guy is dependent on your type soil. The ground I own out in the country spent tens of thousands of years covered by very tall grass and buffalo herds. The result is topsoil deeper than you'd care to dig down. Controlling erosion is a bigger problem then tilling the soil. Which is why farmers in that area now do a lot of low-till, no-till farming.

The house I live in now is on property with a layer of nasty grey clay about 2 feet down. If you want a tree to grow you need to pick axe through that layer or the roots will stay shallow and the tree will die or blow over as it grows.

So in one area, I need to keep my rich black topsoil from disappearing, and in another, amend and break up the clay. The state determines the property tax value of a farm ground based on the makeup of the actual soil in various locations using core samples.

Some ground I wouldn't have to work at all beyond clearing the weeds, pushing in seeds, and controlling erosion, while other areas are better suited for grazing as the soil is barely worth tilling. It's why land values are broken into 8 separate areas in the state and still vary considerably on a single farmstead.

https://agecon.unl.edu/cornhusker-economics/2019/nebraska-farm-real-estate-values#table1

https://agecon.unl.edu/cornhusker-economics/2019/nebraska-farm-real-estate-values

So as with everything YMMV based on local conditions. But, overall the list is still good. If you garden and amend your soil it will mostly end up the same everywhere. Then you just need to figure out the size you need to support your family year round. Probably somewhere around an acre for crops and 3-5 for livestock if you live in my state.
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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Discussion Starter #19
first thing is dont wait,get established gardens now while its easy to do so with force multipliers...i.e. bulldozer,tractor,skidsteer etc. etc.

then you can concentrate on other things needed regular like food production and getting fertlity into garden in various forms as its needed via manures,composts,leaves,bio-chars etc. etc.


one item OP didnt mention is carts and wheelbarrows ,both push and pull carts.

for me i stopped fixing flats everytime i went to use wheelbarrow when i went to solid tired ones.
Waggons and carts are here for your consideration, https://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=934856

I am planning a five part series of threads suurviving a long term grid down crisis,
Current threads under consideration are:
Solar Panels,
Farm and Garden Tools,
Fishing gear and Traps,
Transportation,
Long Term Camping Gear,
 

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