Perennial Vegetable Plants

Perennial Plants That Produce Food Year After Year

“A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Perennials, especially small flowering plants, grow and bloom over the spring and summer, then die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous perennials”.

Below are a few of the more common food plants that are known to live and produce for over two years, and some like asparagus, for example, can produce for literally decades if the asparagus bed is well taken care of.

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Even More Reasons to Grow Your Own Food

Growing your own food

As if you needed any more reasons to start growing and raising your own food, Chipotle restaurants have now given you one more reason.

Chipotle restaurants are noted or want to be noted for using organically grown foods. Obviously, the growers cannot use commercial fertilizers and still call their product organic, so they typically use animal manure for fertilizer. Before the manure can be used however, it must be composted for a specific period, but foods grown in other countries are not regulated as heavily as they are here in the United States.

The manure may go directly from the barns to the fields, bypassing proper composting practices, which would have eliminated the bacteria in the manure, bacterium that has sickened close to two dozen people so far.

In addition, human feces has been found on some food products grown in other countries, so it may not just be animal manure being used as fertilizer. In fact, in July 2015, the FDA banned Cilantro from Mexico because of human feces in the fields.

Once in the fields it is not a far stretch to imagine it is on the leaves of your produce as well. Some foods do not require cooking that would kill the bacteria, and a quick rinse may not be enough to remove the bacteria (Stapleton, 2015).

Foods from other countries or even from this country could pose a health risk if not properly grown and processed, and part of the processing to ensure you are safe must be done by you. You have to clean any foods that will not be cooked to a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria present on the product.

You simply cannot buy fresh produce carry it home and slice and eat. You shouldn’t do this even with produce you grow yourself. A proper scrubbing and rinsing is important to wash away contaminates on the product. You also have to clean fruits and vegetables that have heavy skins that are not usually eaten. The knife used to cut into the product will carry the bacteria inside to the edible parts, as will your hands, if you handle the skins before washing the skins and your hands thoroughly.

If you compost at your homestead it has to be done properly to ensure the organic matter has been broken down (decomposed) correctly. This requires heat, which is generated by the decomposition of organic matter. Cow/horse manure can be composted, but it should compost for up to six months before being used as fertilizer. The heat generated must reach a certain level and maintain at that level.

Hot composting manure before applying it to your garden will kill parasites and reduce seeds from any weeds in the manure. Hot composting balances food, water, and air in the compost pile to favor the growth of much needed microorganisms that thrive in high temperatures.

It takes one-half to one cubic yard of fresh organic matter for the pile to reach the recommended temperatures for hot composting”, states Nick Andrews, small farms specialist with the OSU Extension Service. “The pile should also have a balanced carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and good moisture and oxygen supplies (OSU, n.d.).”

Associated Press (2015, November 3) Retrieved 2015, from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/11/03/officials-identify-microorganism-responsible-for-chipotle-e-coli-outbreak-shift-focus-to-suppliers.html?intcmp=hplnws

OSU. (n.d.). Retrieved 2015, from http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/turn-manure-compost-your-garden

Stapleton, A. (2015, July). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/28/health/mexico-cilantro/

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Seeds Seedlings

Seeds, Seedlings or Both When Starting Your Garden

For most people it would be a combination of sowing seeds directly in the ground or in pots and transplanting into the ground using seedlings. The seedlings can be ones that you started yourself indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost, or you can purchase seedlings from your local home and garden store.

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DIY Seed Tape

How To Make Seed Tape

Planting vegetables with tiny seeds can be wasteful and a pain. Traditional methods have you sowing way more seeds than you need, then coming back and thinning after they sprout. The traditional method finds the plants competing for resources in the soil as well.

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Benefits of Gardening with Chickens

Gardening with Chickens

We all know chickens are great for producing eggs which are a great source of protein, but did you know they can also be beneficial to your garden. Chickens can help fertilize, weed and control pests in your garden. So if you have a garden and some chickens and want to know how you can use your flock to aid you in your gardening. Check out this excellent article below.

Benefits of Gardening with Chickens

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8 Lightning-Fast Vegetables For Your Fall Garden

fast Growing vegetables

With Summer waning and yields on your spring crops winding down, right now is the time to start planting for a fall crop. Plenty of species will do well, giving you a bumper crop to get you through the winter. It is best to get into this practice now, not when you need it, as you want to learn the slight variances between spring and late summer planting. Check out:

8 Lightning-Fast Vegetables For Your Fall Garden

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Top Ten Survival Foods You Should Grow

Survival Foods

Could you live off your land if there was an emergency? If the answer is no, then I highly recommend that you start a garden. There may come a time when we will have to depend on the food we grow, so now is the time to start. If you haven’t thought about what you would want to grow then here is an excellent list of 10 survival foods you might want to consider for your garden and why. For those of you that already have a garden what’s your top 10 grow list? Check out:

Top Ten Survival Foods You Should Grow

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Is a Survival Garden Really Worth It?

Survival Garden

Preppers: You May be Wondering If Survival Gardening Is Going to Be worth It

First, ask yourself what you have to compare it to other than what you are doing now as far as gardening. You may believe that from an economic standpoint and how much labor you invest in gardening it may not be worth it, but that is now, you do not likely need a garden to survive.

Gardening is hard work, raising your own food is not the same as running to the local grocery store as some have found out. Today if the tomato plant wilts and the blossoms fall off you run to the store for your tomatoes. The corn did not come in, oh well better luck next year, in a survival scenario there may not be a next year if the crop fails.

Gardening requires you put in the time, effort and have the skill. In today’s world, you have work, social obligations and social networks to keep up with and then maybe you have time to putter in the garden. Gardening for most people today is a hobby. In a survival situation, gardening is surviving.

People try to put a dollar amount on gardening, if “I raise so many potatoes how much money will I save at the store” for example. This may be the wrong way to approach it, it is not about dollars saved today but about how much you are investing in you and your family’s future survival. Building a skill set today, gathering knowledge now, is why you should be gardening today, because once things go boom is not the time to be rummaging around for trowels and seeds.

Is Gardening Practical or Even Safe In A SHTF Scenario

Should you wait to find out or should you develop the skills now. Isn’t it better to have the skills and not need them versus finding out you need them and you do not have a clue as to where to begin.

The cons some preach about on the Internet include “becoming a target because you have a garden hidden away”. This is an actual quote from a blog. First off, if the garden is hidden then how is it you are a target because of it, this is why you have to carefully review information on the Internet. Obviously, people are only stating what they think will happen, because no one has lived through a doomsday scenario, so firsthand knowledge is non-existent.

Your neighbors will hound you because you have a garden is another quote. Your neighbors may be dead, and in a SHTF situation, people will not be living harmoniously next to each other. Most people will assume the grass is greener on the other side and head off somewhere and never return. If you live in suburbia, the only ones likely to stay are those prepared to stay. The so-called sheeple will wander off looking for a handout from the government.

Some Perspective

A survival expert was asked. “What happens if you are stranded for 10 days and only have three days worth of food”. The answer was “well I get to eat for three days at least”. Some people are focused on the 100 percent instead of asking themselves is it better to eat for three days or not eat at all for seven days, if you do not know the answer to this give up now. If you can only raise one tomato that is one tomato more than you had yesterday, that is survival.

You have to get it straight that you will not live as well in a survival situation as you do right now. You may spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars trying to ensure your quality of living does not suffer when the lights go out. It may be a fool’s errand, because survival is hard work and is measured in minute’s, hours and by the day, and not having that tomato plant, or those pumpkin seeds may mean the difference between surviving and not.

The answer of course is yes survival gardening is worth it, you have to try and then try again and always have something else working. Never put all of your eggs in one basket. Once the garden is in, set traps, go hunting and start looking for wild edibles, and do all of this before your stockpile gets any lower.

Roving Bands Will Strip Your Garden

They may and then they may not but are you really going to say to yourself “well if I put in a garden someone will just come along and steal it all, so I had better not”. You will likely have more produce eaten by insects, deer, and rabbits and the neighbors wandering goat, they left behind then by roving bands of thugs ( tie up the goat by the way, you will need it).

People will search for gardens because that is what some survival experts preach. However, respectable survival experts talk about finding abandoned gardens, where the homeowner fled the area and it is obvious the home is abandoned, that is just common sense.

The pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to gardening no matter where you live. Having a garden means you have a chance, not having a garden dramatically reduces your chances, so what will you choose.

The point of all this of course is that no one really knows, and because you do not know the prudent thing to do is to be prepared to have a survival garden. You have the time now to develop the skills, gather the knowledge, tools and materials. Once disaster does strike, you cannot run down to the local home and garden to load up on seedlings and do-it-yourself books.

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Growing Your Own Food in a SHTF Situation

Growing food shtf

Past articles have talked about what crops to grow, and in some cases how to raise a particular crop and so on. This article however, will attempt to point out a few things that some of you may not have considered about your food and raising your own during an extended crisis.

Some Facts to Chew On

People living in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century are consuming more food and several hundred more calories per- person, per day than did their counterparts in the 1950’s, according to the USDA (USDA, 2000).

“In the late 1950s, the per capita calorie consumption was at its lowest level in the last century. The aggregate food supply in 2000 provided 3,800 calories per person per day. This is 500 calories above the 1970 level and 800 calories above the record low in 1957and 1958” (USDA, 2000).

In 2000, the average person consumed on average 195 pounds of meat yearly, which included red meat, pork and poultry, while only, consuming on average 15 pounds of fish. The meat consumption was up by 57 pounds annually. According to some experts today however, the consumption of meats is down compared to 2000.

The study was conducted in 2000, so in all likelihood the calorie consumption and meat consumption has changed. In the year 2000, 62 percent of adults were considered overweight, but not necessarily considered obese.

“A person is considered obese when they are 30 pounds above their healthy weight”.

What is a healthy weight, that is a question for another day and only you and your health care provider can answer that.

Ok Now That You Have Digested the Facts

The point of the data is to point out that modern farming, food processing and readymade foods along with technology has made food readily available. The availability of foods can logically be considered one of the reasons for the growing problem of obesity in the country.

The study did not point out however, that even though food is readily available for various reasons, it is not free. In a SHTF situation how well you eat will be directly related to how much effort you put into it, along with having the right skills, knowledge and the plants themselves. Being prepared is vital to your survival.

You Don’t Know Until You Know

Backyard gardeners today have fertilizers, pesticides and soils bought in bags that virtually guarantee results. You have a reasonable expectation of yields even though you have just a basic understanding of gardening.

The Internet is full of stories of people claiming they can support a family of four on a ¼ acre of land while others say it takes ½ acre while still others say it takes a full acre. You will not know until you know, because you cannot use the standards of today to predict what the results will be in the future.

Today if your tomatoes look like weaklings, you give them a dose of fertilizer, spray for fungus and pests, and talk soothingly to them. The squirrels, rabbits, deer and other animals know their place so your crops in the backyard are swaddled in comfort and safety.

You go to sleep dreaming of that beefsteak tomato slice on your hamburger at tomorrow’s barbecue. All the other foods for the gathering were bought at your local grocery, so gardening for some if not for many today is not a life or death struggle.

Imagine your food supply is down to six months, it takes that long or even longer in some cases for a crop to mature if it matures at all. You plant the seeds in soil that is dubious at best because you have no idea what contaminates may be in the soil. You have no fertilizer other than the scraps from your last meal and water is always a problem because you cannot count on rainfall.

It seems like that ten minutes after planting the seeds weeds have already sprouted to compete for the nutrients and water. You cannot provide any more fertilizer than what you have. The lonely tomato is now in a life or death struggle, for water, nutrients and even sunlight and how well it does may determine if you will survive or not.

Your research has shown that growing foods organically today means you will have at least a 25 percent reduction in yields, so for every ten plants you put in, 2.5 of them will die or be destroyed by insects, animals, or simply not yield at all. The figures may be conservative because now you have a water problem, a bigger animal and insect problem and your seeds even though they were canned and sealed may not be what you thought.

The Data May Tell the Story

When people stopped producing as much of their own foods shortly after the Second World War, people’s waistlines increased, (look up victory gardens). Was it because the troops came home, and houses were built in record numbers during this period? Farmland was sold off so more houses could be built and thus suburbia was born. Cheek to cheek, the houses sprang up, no room for victory gardens anymore but that was okay because food was plentiful at the local market.

What about Now

You have a SHTF seed survival can or packet or even a seed vault. Great to have, but all you get are seeds in the can. Knowledge and skills cannot be bought in a can and what about seed harvesting for future crops. Will bees even survive (you will need bees more so then ever) or will the population be reduced after a catastrophe, questions that cannot be answered right now.

The overuse of pesticides in today’s gardens has reduced the number of bees, so much to learn so little time.

It is not this articles’ intent to scare anyone, or to prove it can or cannot be done, but to simply point out there is more to growing your own food in crisis than just having a trowel and a packet of seeds.

You will need a way of tilling up the soil. Today you rent or you may already own a tiller. Pull the cord and the machine does much of the work. How will you work the soil, an acre or more, without machinery? Irrigation is something you must consider as well, unless you want to carry water in clay pots and dribble a little on each plant, and where will the water source come from. All things you must consider. Rainfall is generally never enough to sustain a healthy garden.

These are things to plan for now. Make sure your seeds will still germinate a month, year or two years from now by knowing the shelf life. The only way to be sure however, is to harvest your own seeds and store them properly. Who are you going to call when that survival pack of seeds is nothing more than a container of duds when the SHTF. Most importantly, you need the skills and the knowledge. Guesswork will hasten your demise when the situation becomes real.

Some of you living in a rural environment may already have an established garden. How many of you have considered how much food you buy from a grocery store. You may buy less, because of the garden and livestock, but how much less. If the grocery stores closed today, could you feed your family?

Food storage will be a problem. Seeds will be sought after not only by humans but also by rodents. Rats and mice depend on humans for their survival. Rodents will continue to rely on humans as long as there are humans on the planet. You will need a rodent and insect proof plan for food storage. Keep in mind what you use today may not be relevant during a crisis, so you have to adapt as the situation changes.

Get your pencil sharpened and begin now planning for when you do have to survive on your wits and skills alone.

USDA. (2000). Retrieved from http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf

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7 DIY Ways To Make Gardening Easier

DIY Garden Water Reservoir

Growing your own plants, fruits, and vegetables are crucial for any prepper. Having easy access to fresh food can make your daily cooking so much better. Not to mention the benefits of growing plants for medical use.

All of these can be maintained from your own garden, but we all know it can get a little stressful. These tips will make your gardening days run a little smoother. Check out these 7 excellent tips below to make your gardening a bit easier!

Read more at… 7 DIY Ways To Make Gardening Easier

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