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I am getting worried. I was thinking I had every base covered after 28 yrs of prepping.

I have a lot of prep food put up but that was a reserve I acquired over the years. I always planned to survive on my gardens.

I planted my corn March 19th. That paid off big time. I put up over 130 ears in the freezer even after pigging out on fresh corn. The green peppers did great because of the heat too.

Squash and Zucchini usually are a pain because there are so many to pick. Not this year.
Out of close to 100 Squash and Zuccini plants I bet I got less than 20 pieces of veg to eat total. The Squash/Stink bugs arrived so Early this year I was stunned.
Even picking them off 3 times a day, I lost my total crop.

Over 60% of my corn (I planted a lot) was trashed by deer and *****.

The tomatoes were growing like gang busters but except for the early plants they never wanted to ripen red. The stink bugs started on them along with what I call Jumbo Japanese Beetles. They are large and have a iridescent blue green color. There must have been 30 or 40 on each tomato. I lost hundreds of tomatoes to bugs.

Cukes started fine but then the rabbits or deer kept trimming them until they could no longer survive.
200 foot row of October beans (Yankees call them Cranberry beans) gone to deer, rabbits, whatever.
200 foot row of Ford hook Limas gone to the animals, heat and drought.

Here in my little corner of NC. WE have not had more than .1 of an inch of rain since the middle of May.

The creek I bragged about is going dry from the drought. That was my back up drinking water (Berkley filter).

I am starting to worry about my well going dry.

I have a huge 100 to 125 yr old Hickory tree 20 ft from my house that is starting to suffer from the drought. If that tree dies and falls on the house it would crush the entire structure.

This years Chickens are a disaster. I bought them from Tractor Supply and they swore they were all Hens. 8 out of ten are Roosters. That's fine for chicken salad but I wanted eggs.

I am counting on my solar power for refrigeration and lights at the very least but EMP or a Nuclear winter wipes the slate clean, and I am neutralized again.
Here in NC Piedmont, you are lucky to get your deer gutted and butchered before the temp gets to hot during hunting season, and if I had no refrigeration, The meat would spoil. (got to look into pemmican).

I kind of feel like the biblical character that was planning new barns when God took his soul that very night.

All these years of prepping and I see now how it can all go south in an instant.

I am not the type to give up, and learned some valuable lessons this year, It's just that I am getting older and the older you get the more weary you become.

I thought I had all my plans perfected and it seems I am no better off than someone that is just starting out with prepping in some ways.

I am humbled. I used to feel self righteous and a little smug because I spent the better part of 3 decades prepping but In a blink of an eye you can be starting from scratch all over again.
 

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I hope things get better for you, as i'm sure they will. A prepper is already ahead of the game even in a bad situation you have a leg up on the rest of the population.

it's good you have shown this real life situation apart from all the speculation that normally is on the site. I plan on using this to better prepare for ALL the worst of things that could happen.
 

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Pass the beans, please
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Sorry you are having such a rough year but I disagree with your assessment. Knowledge is the ultimate prep and it sounds like you have acquired years of it. That does not go away and you have learned your soil, crops, and climate. You are way ahead of most and this years weather has been very strange. We are never too old to learn and it sounds like this year has taught you some hard lessons that you will be better prepared for next year.

My goal is to have twice the garden that I need to feed my family. If we can most of it on a good year we will have plenty to survive a down year. The long term food storage would be needed if we had a 2 year window of bad weather. We are also seeding our acreage with berries and other edibles that don't require much maintenance or water as a little extra insurance. I wish that I had even 5 years of experience gardening here.

Have you considered a deer/critter fence and/or a dog that stays in the garden? One good dog would keep the deer and ***** out. I would also study some of the natural pesticides that are out there as well as chemicals if it comes down to it. I hate to use any chemical in my garden but if I had to do that to save my crop I would. From what I have read, a bad infestation this year means a bad infestation next year but I don't claim any expertise beyond reading the wisdom of others.

This has been a really strange year for weather and I hope it is more normal next year. Thanks for the post and it is certainly something any gardenprepper should consider because a year like this could happen to any of us. It cements my thought that you should always plant twice what you think you will need to allow for bad luck, bad weather, bad crops, bad bugs, and critters. Having too much also gives you a solid allowance of items to share, barter, and seeds to pass on to others.

Hang in there and don't be discouraged!
 

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Molon Labe
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I'm sorry to hear that the crops were eaten and destroyed due to insect infestation, the important thing is your not giving up. Your already a head of the game because you still have preps and a contingency plan. Good luck, Rob
 

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Sounds like you have had a tough year, to say the least! You might want to invest in a good electric fence and a sprayer full of hot pepper juice. I have had trouble with both bugs and 4 legged critters and found my suggestions work well. I also invested, with labor, in a lot of compost. My history tells me bugs like stressed plants and no one can predict the lack of rain but can mulch the heck out of our garden to preserve the little moisture the soil has. I feel for you and wish you the very best for the future.
 

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Impressive. Wish I had a hunk of land like that, even with the problems you experienced this year. Your still ahead of the game Sir and probably now next year even more prepared for the next harvest. Endure, adapt and overcome right? Best of luck!
 

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Prepared Firebird
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You learned several very important lessons, this year.

1. The first casualty in any type of prepping/survival plan is ALWAYS your own carefully constructed plan.

2. Anything that can go wrong.......will.

3. Farming and/or gardening is always an ongoing battle against drought and heat, excessive rain OR too little rain, insects, plant diseases, and an endless parade of hungry animals munching on your crops.

For starters, you need to either cut that big tree down OR get an arborist to cable it so it (hopefully) won't fall on your house and crash thru your roof.

Also, you need to put up a greenhouse big enough to house a year's worth of veggie plants. And construct it in such a way as to keep the animals and insects out of it.
Plant more crops out in the open, as you have been doing......but you seriously need to protect the minimum that you would need to get thru a year. (Personally, I would not be planting corn. It takes up a heckuva lot of garden space, totally exhausts the soil and doesn't have a lot of nutritional food value, either.) But, I assume you have your reasons for planting this.

Additional thoughts.......if you have had a 28 year run without a disastrous year like the one you described, then you have had an amazing run of good luck.

Also, from the way your post was worded, I am assuming that you are going it, alone. You just had a hard lesson "why" a lone prepper or survivor can't make it. You just can't stay awake to battle insects and hungry animals raiding your garden 24-7. You have to sleep, sometime. If it were me, I would definitely start thinking about teaming up with another person.

All of that having been said.......I think you are to be congratulated on having had the foresight to acquire nearly three decades of gardening and prepping experience. This year wasn't the worst that could happen......but it is no picnic, either. Those of us in the Northwest got slammed with a long rainy cold Spring which meant that seeds rotted in the ground. In other places, the country is burning up with drought and no rain.

If there is anything to be grateful for, in this mess, I guess it would be that this happened BEFORE individual gardening became a life-or-death project.
 

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I have been having the same problems this yr. Mainly with the drought. we were able to put up alot of the cool season vegetables. But once the heat hit in June and the rain stopped the garden was toast.

You may be able to set some of the eggs and expand your flock. I have been expanding my flock so i can still sell eggs and keep some to hatch.

I dont worry about emps, i worry about lightning.One bolt of lightning can take out everything electrical if it hits right.

I dont reccomend a lone dog in a garden. If a pack of hungry coyotes come along they have the potential to stretch the dog out.

I'm also worried about fires. It is a tender box here.

I'm having to cut my cattle herd due to no grass in the fields.Normally we would just be getting into the dry season, not schorched and going into the dry season.

Trees are dropping leaves already. grasshoppers are eating everything green that is left.

Its been a rough year, hopefully we will get some releif. Although they are looking at the end of september.

I know folks that are not going through this heat and drought dont know how bad it actually is. Even folks that are living here dont realize how it is affecting the crops and cattle market. Sheeple that will continue to flog to walmart and not give it a second thought. They just want to get back to the A/C and stick their head in the sand.

There are no homegrown tomatoes to be found. People dont realize that this heat and drought have had a big impact on gardens.They think that if you garden, you should have tomatoes, it is summer and thats what happens.

It's gut wreching to work so hard getting your garden going and have to watch it turn brown months early. There are no guarantees you will have a bountlful crop.Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

we know it gets hot and dry here in the summer, this year it just started too early. At some point you just have to cut your losses and let it go. conserve what you can, and stock up what you can. this may be a rough winter.
 

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Old Hounds Smell Good
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My garden was hit here too. Between the hail wrecking things early on, the torrential rains drowning out the nutrients in the beds and the massive heat now, things are struggling along. Ditto with the stink and squash bugs. I got a good early harvest from those, but now they are toast and I need to replant to try to get more.

Tomatoes simply won't ripen before they are destroyed by the bugs. It stinks.

Working all day and then coming home to triple digit temps isn't conducive to going outside and spending a lot of time picking off bugs either. Just too hot.

I second the greenhouse suggestion. I'm seriously considering how big a one I should try to put in at the retirement place. Since I'm getting transferred soon, it won't do any good here.

Good luck on getting things going again. Just don't give up! You're ahead of the game.
 

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Tell the truth, coward.
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Drought is a bastard and it sounds like you have a bug problem.

Do you have hedgehogs in your country? they eat a LOT of bugs, slugs and snails all night long and are a gardener's best friend. I always have water out for them.

tell me if you recognise this pic, and if you do what you call it in the US. I'm from New Zealand and not everything translates!

:)



When they're scared they roll into a ball and they're quite small.

 

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Non semper erit aestas.
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Leonidas, thank you for this extremely valuable post. It's real-life examples like yours that make theory come alive.

Your experience is a great (though sad) illustration of how having just enough preps to get through next harvest may be a little short sighted. This is the idea most people have, "we've just got to have enough until the garden produces" - but we forget that the next harvest may not happen or be very poor.

I agree with a previous poster - this year your garden may not be all you desire - but the knowledge you have makes you far, far ahead than most here.

Thanks again for sharing. I hope you can get a lot of venison this year.
 

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The EOTWAWKI is going to SUCK no matter how well prepped we are. I hope & pray it never happens because I may not survive it no matter how far I go with my preps. There will ALWAYS be something you forgot & something that will go wrong.

Chickens are easy to keep year round & I'm very new (2 years exp) to it. Egg production goes down in winter & summer but, I still get more eggs than we can eat with 20 hens & I plan to get 20 more eventually. egg sales pay for chicken feed & extra eggs can feed dogs/pigs or be given to neighbors to establish good relations.

My gardening skills suck but, tomatos in buckets have been kicking a$$ this year as they can be moved out of mid day sun. Chickens love the horn worms but, they got so bad I couldn't pick em off fast enough & broke down & used seven dust. I've only got 10 plants but, I'm eating delishous fresh tomatos every day.

Deer/rabbits/**** eating your garden are just a welcome opertunity to have freash meat & even a small dog will keep them away if you don't/can't hunt. Don't let it get you down, roll with the punches. Sounds like you're still a step ahead of many of us.
 

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Scary to think about our ancestors who would have a season like this and have nothing to fall back upon. They'd be bankrupted and lucky to find a train back East to family, so they could get their kids out alive. I suspect many of them did NOT survive.

That hedgehog is adorable. :) We have no native hedgies in the Americas at all, though people like to have them as pets.
 

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I agree that this has been a bad weather year. We also have had ourselves humbled by it. We are dealing with the exact opposite. We are in a 100 year flood. Our town is surrounded by water. This has caused an explosion in the bug population. We had always planned on bugging in. We are NOT in a flood zone so please no you get what you deserve for living near water. We are 5 miles from the river and the water is up to the edge of town. The water being this close half the town has bugged out and their yards are super high. This in addition to the bugs has caused a dramatic increase in the snakes also.

That is something that I have never read addressed in all the reading I have done. The dramatic changes that will happen to the area when it is no longer tended and reverts to its natural state.

Another thing that we had not thought of is the possibility of dislocated animals. We have lived where we are for 7 years and have only ever seen one badger. Well Wednesday night our dogs were attacked by one in our yard. Came in and took on two 90 lb dogs. We are in the center of a small town so it isn't like we are out alone somewhere.

We are trying to turn the lemons into lemonade and using this as a trial run to show where our weakness are.

Think of it this way. Your corn was an investment in a freezer full of deer meat this fall. Encourage them to come in then as soon as the season opens fill the freezer.
Remember "Vegetarian is the indian word for lousy hunter". :)
 

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Closed for the Season.
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Thanks for the interesting post Leonidas.

My garden fell early on to the deer so other than having one dinner with chard added I got nothing. Though I still have a few tomato plants growing, the triple digit heat has meant they have not produced any fruit. I have been contemplating putting in a greenhouse and trying for late season growing if it ever cools off here. Like you I have lost trees to the drought. I have one that I will be taking down come Fall since it is leaning towards my well house.

One thing that concerns me with this Weather is it going to seriously raise the cost of food come Winter? Hopefully the vegetable producers in the Southern Hemisphere will have a good growing season. The one really great advantage with our Modern World is a drought or flood in one area does not automatically bring Famine.

Prepping for bad things does not mean that the bad thing will not overwhelm your preps. You just do the best you can. If the Worlds dice comes up with snake eyes even the prepared lose.

You might look into canning and salting for that venison preservation. That is what I am doing.
 

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EMP & nuclear winter?

NW has been proven as a contrived BS by Sagan and his pals.

I guess to you shouldn't trust the slave wage employees at TS to know what they're talking about.

As others have said farming/gardening is always a iffy deal, that's why you have more than a 30 day supply of food on hand. :thumb:
 
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