Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was posting in the Ruth Stout thread, but thought that I would whip up a 'what I did in my garden' type post.


For years I was a stay at home mom and had plenty of time to experiment and figure out what works and doesn't work for my garden.

We had a 50' x 60' plot that was a worn out garden spot for oh the last 40 years or so. It needed a lot of help in the beginning. The soil would crust over in the summer and turn rock hard. There were virtually no worms visible and pests were a real problem.

I started by piling as much organic matter as I could on the garden. I collected sawdust, chicken coop material, horse stall material, leaves, grass clippings, home made compost, etc etc etc. Every weed and leaf went on that soil. Every cup of tea that we didn't drink was poured onto the garden. Gallons of milk were rinsed out and poured onto the soil. I was (am) a bit compulsive about soil enrichment.

Anyways, once my soil had a bunch of good stuff sitting on it, I started planting things.

Tomatoes like chicken manure so I dug deep holes and put chicken manure in the bottom and then added a layer of soil, and then stripped the leaves off of the bottom 6 " or so of the plant and buried it really deep. Then I laid a soaker hose through my row of tomatoes and mulched with a heavy layer of straw. I never watered the leaves/ flowers of the tomatoes because it makes them not set fruit very well. We had a bumper crop and had more tomatoes than we could can/ freeze/ dry/ sauce/ eat/ give away. It was fantastic.
I experimented with some tomato plants by mulching them with moldy clover hay and the plants were a little more robust than the other plants. I have never been able to get more clover hay after that year to try it again though.
Make sure to cut back on water a tiny bit as the tomatoes start ripening, overwatering can cause split tomatoes.

Carrots have trouble germinating if the soil crusts over before they sprout so here is how I get them to grow...First dig the bed out and make sure there are no rocks to prevent nice straight carrots growing. Moisten the soil before planting, plant the seeds, lightly sprinkle with water again (careful not to wash away your seeds!), then cover with damp cardboard. Peek every day or so and when the carrots start sprouting, pull back the cardboard. Et voila! Carrots! Then later, thin the carrots to a few inches apart and mulch with fluffly dry grass clippings or something. This helps them from getting *green shoulders*. Make sure carrots get enough water as it keeps them sweet.

Peppers like heat, but they like their roots cool To do this...you need to plan ahead...first pick our your area for peppers (lots of sun, maybe a little late afternoon shade) and add some compost or other soil amendments. When you dig your holes for peppers, put a little crumpled newspaper in the bottom of the hole - it will hold water. Plant your peppers, mulch with a thick layer of newspaper and straw. Water as needed. Prepare for a bumper crop of peppers. MMMMM!

Potatoes hate wet, clay-ey soil. What to do?? Well...it's simple. Dig a nice deep hole and layer in some straw. Add a potato eye and cover with more straw and a little soil. Water as needed (not too much, you don't want soup just yet!)...and tuck in more straw and soil as the plant grows. baby potatoes are ready when the plants flower, and larger potatoes are ready when the vines start to die. Hold off watering as the potatoes mature.

Garlic is easy and fun. In the fall take a clove, poke it in the soil (any soil!!), cover, mulch, water, wait until spring...start harvesting garlic scapes and make pesto. In June-ish - withhold water, then stomp the tops as they start to dry. Somewhere around July the entire top of the plant will be dry. Time to dig! Make sure to cure them properly in the fresh air so they store well.

Pumpkins, squash, etc are a staple that is easy to grow and you SHOULD not miss out on it. Make a little mound of soil, toss on some compost, poke in some seeds, water, wait, when the seeds sprout mulch them and keep moist as they begin to grow. Squash is ok with hot compost as long as it is not touching the root zone...I used to take fresh horse manure and shavings from our stalls and put in a circle around the squash plants (about a foot from the base of the plant) and water in well. We had 100# pumpkins frm only doing that!! Our total count of squash that year was 200...yikes.

Corn is easy. If anyone fishes in your family and you have access to junk fish (squaw fish) make sure to get some and bury it in your corn patch. I'm not joking! The native Americans knew a thing or two about growing things. So plant your fish, plant your corn seeds, water and mulch when they sprout. When the corn is about a foot high plant pole beans around the base of each corn plant. Plant a few squash plant starts here and there throughout the patch too. Tuck a sprinkler inside the corn patch and water once a week or so. Make sure to keep the mulch heavy (but not over the bean seeds before they sprout!) throughout the season. If you use the fish you will see the soil bubble, which is gross but very amazing.

Cucumbers require no skill. Throw some seeds in the ground, water, mulch when they sprout. Keep mulched and watered...ENJOY!

Same goes for Zuchinni. MMMM.

I planted sunflower seeds around my compost pile. Their stalks were so big they looked like small gnarled tree roots. It was great.

Everything was given a final mulching of straw and you could sit anywhere in the garden on a nice cushy bed of straw.

I fertilized weekly with a hose sprayer that had the following items placed into the mix holder - kelp and fish emulsion, baking soda, few drops of unscented organic dish soap.

I never ever ever EVER used non organic fertilizers or pesticides on my garden. I did use diatomacious earth for slugs though. YUK.

I hope this information was helpful to some of you. I wrote it all from memory so if I missed a detail or you have questions, please let me know.

I'm dreaming of SPRING!!!

Heather
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good post thanks for sharing, didnt know chicken muck was so good for tomatoes will stick some in the pits this year. Some good tips there :thumb:
Thanks!

My dad is a great gardener and he is the one who turned me on to chicken poo and tomatoes...apparantly the chemical composition is perfect for 'maters :)

*shrug*

I figure if the man can get his firewood to grow (long, but true story), I should listen to him about tomatoes!!
 

·
"Always Be Prepared"
Joined
·
250 Posts
I'm trying to decide how and where to place my first garden.
So, a few newbie questions if you don't mind, mostly to clarify the details.
You say you began piling organic matter onto the soil. Did you till this into the existing soil after a while? or did you only use this "matter" to plant in? Did you aerate your soil? Did you form rows? or raised beds?
Did you mulch only with straw?
I like your choice of staple food products. I'm thinking of trying my first attempt at gardening, in containers. Do you think most or all of what you did could be done in containers? Any sources on cheap containers?
Any suggestions or sources to get started would be greatly appreciated. We have a family of three that I'd like to partly try to sustain beginning this spring. I'd like to do it with minimum effort and yet be somewhat ready for SHTF. I live in the city and have a decent size side yard that get's good sun and back yard that gets mostly afternoon sun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm trying to decide how and where to place my first garden.
So, a few newbie questions if you don't mind, mostly to clarify the details.
You say you began piling organic matter onto the soil. Did you till this into the existing soil after a while? or did you only use this "matter" to plant in?
Mostly we tilled it in and then after we planted added straw mulch. In some places we did just plant in the well composted matter.

Did you aerate your soil?Not unless you count tilling as aerating.
Did you form rows? We mostly did planting areas - the corn was a 10' x 20' block that had 10' rows. The tomatoes were in one long row at the back of the garden. The potatoes in one long row on the other side of the garden. The peppers were in a slightly raised bed. We just experimented. There are no set rules for this...and if by putting them in rows you make it so they do not thrive due to lack of sun or whatever well - then don't put them in rows :D:
or raised beds?

Did you mulch only with straw? Yes, pretty much. Although so many things can work - cardboard with a layer of soil on it...dried lawn clippings, leaves, etc.

I like your choice of staple food products. I'm thinking of trying my first attempt at gardening, in containers. Do you think most or all of what you did could be done in containers? Corn will hate being grown in a container beware. Most of the rest will be fine. You will need big containers with lots of good soil plus a way to water once or twice a day when it is hot. Plants that are in the ground take less water because their root systems are bigger.

Any sources on cheap containers? You could use food grade 5 gallon buckets.

Any suggestions or sources to get started would be greatly appreciated. We have a family of three that I'd like to partly try to sustain beginning this spring. I'd like to do it with minimum effort and yet be somewhat ready for SHTF. I live in the city and have a decent size side yard that get's good sun and back yard that gets mostly afternoon sun. Your yard(s) sound ideal - most veggies need 6 or more hours of sun per day to be happy.
I think I answered everything - if you have more questions just shout :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
I wonder if you'd be able to help me with a quick question. I've began my tomatoes in small containers inside my home. Right now the sprouts are about 1 1/2" tall. But the stalks are looking very weak and the plants are starting to bend over. Granted the last 4 or 5 days have seen little to no sunlight because its been storming here in south Alabama non-stop. So that could be the cause. But I'm worried because I don't want them to die. Does anyone have any recs? Should I just go ahead and plant them in the 5 gallon buckets that I bought for the adult plants? Should I invest in some Miracle Grow plant food? Anything would be appreciated! :)

Paul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You need sunshine and you need it fast. Barring that happening you need to get a flourescent light hung over them asap.
Living in Oregon, I struggle with enough light for my starts too!!
They'd probably resent being transplated at this stage too so be careful :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,510 Posts
Wow, that's helpful. :)

Do you have any advice for me on melons? I plant them every year, mounding up with chook pooh and compost, water well, and every year they fail. I don't know what I'm doing wrong but it's driving me up the wall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Wow, that's helpful. :)

Do you have any advice for me on melons? I plant them every year, mounding up with chook pooh and compost, water well, and every year they fail. I don't know what I'm doing wrong but it's driving me up the wall.
melons like it HOT HOT HOT and dry, if your weather is cool and damp you're SOL with melons. Tho there may be a small little melon that may work and not need so much long hot dry weather.

what other stuff do you grow?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,510 Posts
I am hot and dry - for New Zealand anyway, Wairarapa, and a tiny little even drier spot there called Martinborough. Stinking hot in summer, sometimes 37 celsius (whatever that is in farenheit, it's blood temperature) Maybe I have been watering them too much :(

Corn is happy here, cucumbers joyous but have to be mollycoddled when very young, tomatoes are simply weeds, taties not stunningly huge but certainly do a good job - berries are great, strawbs go very well, nashi pears, pears, currants, - they're all thrilled to be alive, but just those melons have not been putting out lol. I've done watermelons, I've done rock melons. I've done honey dew melons, I really have given everything a shot. Maybe more foreplay, ay?

BTW: like your carrot germination technique. I'll be giving that a go myself because yes, the soil dries out and it's a hassle trying to keep it moist.

:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think I've not given my melons enough foreplay either.
I tactfully left out mentioning how horribly my melons fail.
I think I am going to try the Moon & Stars watermelons this year with black plastic mulch and a mini hoop over them to see if I can push them into sweetness.

I would think melons need lots of water, but since you have that covered and are still failing, maybe it's a mineral deficiency of some sort.

Ugh, I wish I knew more about melons, but I have kind of given up!!
 

·
BowHunter
Joined
·
2,232 Posts
I think I've not given my melons enough foreplay either.
I tactfully left out mentioning how horribly my melons fail.
I think I am going to try the Moon & Stars watermelons this year with black plastic mulch and a mini hoop over them to see if I can push them into sweetness.

I would think melons need lots of water, but since you have that covered and are still failing, maybe it's a mineral deficiency of some sort.

Ugh, I wish I knew more about melons, but I have kind of given up!!
Try this.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Organic-G...g-Melons-in-Cool-Seasonal-Climates&id=2129402
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top