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Article: crisis garden...enough?

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This is a topic I bring up every so often.  Since I ran into this article, it's  very interesting to read about some folks that have actually kept the data and learned some things.  CAN we live off what we can produce....if we HAD to? 


As you all know, the answer is easy for me - no.  Even the pre-tech people groups migrated south and down in elevation.  They came up here for the summers. 


At the other end of the spectrum:  Kappy and Chainsaw Mary are in a completely different ecosystem and WOW....they are pushing the envelope with their SIX season gardens.  Pretty certain all of their vegetable requirements could be met.  [....disastrous weather, marauders - 2 or 4 legged, could change that ....but they have veggies all year round]


The group in the article kept track of time spent to produce all that they could.....as well as $ expenses.  Calories Spent is one of the most important measurements for survival.  If you spend more than you're harvesting/eating.......you're dying.


If we think about where the majority of our actual CALORIES  [leaving nutrition out for a second] come from in our present diets......it will mostly be carbs.  Grains/Legumes and actually sugars.   In survival, calories are our friends, of course. 


As this article highlights, grains are difficult for a small operation.  Or.....what I should say is:  It's hard to get adequate calorie gain after calories spent to plant/weed-water/harvest/winnow-sift-grind/cook-bake.  AND enough grains stored to get thru off-season [winter] ...... AND to plant a lot of it.... AND continue to survive til next harvest. 


Every time I think on this topic, I want to order more grains/legumes!  The calories! 


Beyond calories.....gardens with multiple types of veggies .....THAT'S where the nutrition comes in!  :thumbs:


Cover those two and survival is good.


MtRider  :lois:     ....pondering again. 


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I'm afraid I'd be eating a lot of my home canned green beans, potatoes, beans and other soups. Not much else.


BTW, navy/great northern beans are very easy. Plant them, water them, weed them and let them dry on the vine. Then pull the entire plant up and store them in the garage until you can get them hulled. It's one thing you can do at your leisure. 

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Too hot here to sufficiently produce & store enough to survive. 


You are right, Jeepers, beans seem to be an option, only if they are planted in the right time frame.


 My mung beans sort of produced once, then, fried.  Purple hulled black eyed peas did well, two harvests.  Beet & carrots do well, they survive underground, giving them an advantage from the sun, however, the water is an expense.  In a SHTF scenario, nothing would survive without daily watering. I have found, I can leave the beats & carrots in the ground two years.  2 year old carrots, canned are very sweet, might be the verity, heirloom/non-gmo.  2 year old beets are great for a constant source of fresh greens, and the chickens enjoy the pulpy beets when I pull them.


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Carbs, mainly.  


I am trying to build up a store of living roots too.   Can't assume I will have time AT THE RIGHT TIME --and strength AT THE RIGHT TIME to plant, raise, harvest, process.  Stuff grows fast here, but once picked it rots just as fast.  It's the heat.

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I think we'd be okay with the seeds we've set back, the food we've set back until we could put seeds in our containers etc., and grow a garden...sprouts would be a must for us to give us some additional nutrition etc. 

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3 hours ago, Ambergris said:

Can't assume I will have time AT THE RIGHT TIME --and strength AT THE RIGHT TIME to plant, raise, harvest, process. 



Ain't that the truth!  :0327:   I'm hoping to have energy to harvest our one wild fruit this year...purple currants.  With thorns.  :buttercup:   I don't get them every year.  


The main carb in the Hawaiian diet was taro root.  It's having a come-back, thankfully.  Different types, some in flooded patches, some not.  Fortunately, I reallly like taro, esp. with fish.  That will heal an ulcer.  Or just settle upset digestive system.....askmehowIknow.  I don't really know how much maintenance a taro patch would require, once established.  ??  Whole DIFFERENT ecosystem than our current location. 


MtRider  :lois:  

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My first ex mother in law introduced me to taro (along with so much more). The stuff grows at my old house with abandon.  I had three different patches, different kinds at each.  New house--nope.  Soil is too dry.  Sigh.  I am planning to set up a patch if the new irrigation system has a leaky hose section though.  


Can you tell I say "new irrigation system" with clenched teeth?

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My rock bottom fallback has always been rice with forage for when the cupboard goes bare.  Then corn for when the rice gives out, although not being able to get rice around here would be next door to unthinkable.  I would be testing for radiation, I mean, if I couldn't get rice here.  Rice to fill up on, and forage for nutrients and enough variety that you don't go feeling the edge of your knife and eyeing people who annoy you.  Corn is like rice, but not as nutritious and harder to keep the bugs out of, but we can grow corn here a lot easier than we can grow rice.  And we can grow sorghum mixed in with the corn for the years when there's no rain at times corn needs rain.  Sorghum is like corn, but not as nutritious or as easy to cook with.


Beans and corn make a square meal.  I don't like beans and rice.  Never have.  Give me a mess of black-eyed peas and crusty cornbread, though, and I can dig in happily.


Year one:  Rice and forage.  Grow corn and beans too, but don't expect to do well enough to eat a lot from this planting because the odds do not favor good production in the first year.  Call it practice, and save the seed.

Don't try to grow ten different vegetables in addition to corn and beans unless you've got some experience doing this.  The word for that is failure.  Spend your year learning how to grow corn and beans and a very, very few precious other things.  Whatever people talk about growing like a weed?  Plant that.  Zucchini?  Go for it.  If you live in a pie-pumpkin zone, plant that.  If you live near me, plant a seminole pumpkin or another moschata instead.  And if you don't know what that is, either find out or stick with zucchini.  There are long day and short day corns, onions, and beans (at least).  Long day means northern while short day means southern.  Day-neutral means you can plant it anywhere, supposedly.  If you are looking at a catalog for a business located in a very different climate, it might be worthwhile to call customer service and ask if that interesting onion is long day or short day.  If they don't know, that's information for you.


Year two:  Grow corn and beans from your saved seed, which is selected for your particular conditions.  Grow whatever grew best of the other vegetables.  Add one or two other vegetables.  And forage too.  Especially watch for nuts, insects and larvae, and fish.  If you have not found a way to put eggs on the table, keep trying to find a way.  


Year three:  Repeat year two.  




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This year I did fairly organized 8 x 10 to 10 x1 0 or so plots of a long-rooted corn, a short-stalked corn, a corn with a lot of ears, and so on, various kinds with pollination controlled mostly by dates.  I worried about them and cussed a lot, while the hired guys mowed around them and ignored my instructions sometimes.  But mostly, I guess, the guys did as I asked.


The upshot was this:  the deer feasted.

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23 hours ago, Annarchy said:

Sprouts are awesome, WE2’s. So far, I am having trouble getting them not to grow greens before they are ready. Getting the seeds online hasn’t been a problem, ....yet.


I cover my jar with a towel, tip it into a bowl to keep it draining well, and then set it in the back corner of my kitchen counter.  I don't have any trouble with them greening up unless I want them to...then I remove the towel and set them in my kitchen window.

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On 8/14/2019 at 6:59 PM, Ambergris said:

enough variety that you don't go feeling the edge of your knife and eyeing people who annoy you. 




Excellent planning, Ambergris!  You have sorted out many of your options specific to your area.  And yes, even moving just across the county or "over there" might change what you can grow....taro/no taro.  [bummer about the taro!]  [bummer about:  The deer feasted. too]


WE2.....flour or corn tortillas?  Can you grow or acquire either wheat or corn?   [in MO you can grow corn, of course]


Since we can't grow much....our storage is heavy with grains/legumes....with some dehydrated veggie and a little fruit.  And vitamin/mineral bottles.  Replenishing that, once used......  :sigh:  It would really only give us a chance to relocate.


MtRider  ....might need more spices

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Yes, unfortunately.  Your place is not tenable.


Out of nowhere today, DS2 called me this evening and asked for instructions on planting specified edibles on his acre.  We talked about taro (he has bayou frontage) and raised beds for other things.  I kept trying to remember water chestnuts, and kept forgetting them.

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:cheer:   I'd sure like to hear that kind of interest from my kin!!!   SIL does have a specialty in traditional Hawaiian things, including horticulture and wildcrafting.  Not necessarily for prepping purposes but....it's a great benefit.


MtRider  :pc_coffee: 

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On 8/15/2019 at 7:33 PM, Mt_Rider said:

flour or corn tortillas


Both.  We set back lots of wheat berries and corn.  We're able to buy "cleaned" corn from our local Tractor Supply so we keep it in large metal trash cans.  We put food grade DE inside and make sure we have a nice seal with lots of oxygen absorbers.  But...we could (and have seed for) grow wheat or corn if we needed to.

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2 hours ago, Guest Amber Actually said:

Mt Rider, how are you going to relocate without horses?  Or would that make it simpler?


Hmmm....well, if we were talking about our Compressed Populations scenario, it would be exactly why we'd be moving sooner than later.  Get outta this ecosystem before we run out of supplies.


IRL .....today or tomorrow or next month or winter months.....  IF we run into some big Hooey, we'd be certainly hoping that the '71 van and/or the '85 truck would be working.   [post-EMP??]  The horses have always been Plan C ...or somewhere down the list.  Currently, one horse is a walking skeleton....tho she still dashes about following the other one.  She'd collapse if we tried to ride or pack her very far.  The other is currently a fat pig from all the grass....from our nicely rainy summer.  But he's spoiled rotten cuz I can't work him/ride him without help now.  Brat is too much risk for me.  So basically, they're useless anyway.....unless one wants horse meat to feed to dog...or us.  Brat could be re-trained ....if DH didn't have to return to work. 


:sigh:   Horses really HAVE always been our Plan C.....if it came down to really desperate days.  OTOH....someone would probably shoot  a horse out from under ya.....or shoot us and steal the horse......if we were in BAD days. 


 ....yes, I DO feel like one of my options is going to be off the table.  No, I don't really want to sell the tack, etc.....JIC we could locate different usable horses. :gaah:   


This is the prepper dilemma.  To live sensibly in our current world ...while ready for even drastic changes.  We also no longer have milking goats.  And only 5 ducks that are so old we get less than adequate egg laying.  And we've chosen not to replace them ......cuz  someday  we're moving and no one wants to move animals to the state of Hawaii.....not with their expensive quarantine laws. 


MtRider  ....is that what you were asking, Ambergris?

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Guest Amber Actually

It looks like my prior response was not accepted by the website security filter.


Yes, that's what I was asking.  I also suggested that the tack might be thinned down to the best, most functional pieces, as opposed to the stuff you might be saving not because it works but because some part of it might be salvaged to repair the next thing that broke.



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I'm seeing both of your posts, Ambergris.  Is your original one not visible to you?   :shrug:    Hope you'll get back on fully with your own computer soon, eh? 


We only have 2 saddles and the pads to go under them.  And my fleece bareback pad which I use most of the time.  Mebbe three ? bridles.  I've reused the 2 halters and lead ropes.  I do have a few sets of saddle bags....but those are tough and can be used in ways other than across a horse.  I've scavaged all this stuff at garage sales, etc. 


The biggest reason I do not want to ever start over finding things at garage sale prices.....CUZ I DON'T HAVE THAT ENERGY ANYMORE:sigh:  


But of course if I dug around the basement, I'm quite sure I would find all those bits of this and that which are kept for just the very reason you mentioned.  AND all the REST of the things that are needed for poultry/goats/dog/cat/equines.  {anyone need a crupper?  don't have donkey any more} 

Feed/water containers.  Ack...we have THREE big horse water tanks.  With heaters.  Maybe I'll keep one to be my "lukewarm-not-hot" tub for cooling in Hawaii's heat?.....I'm not kidding.   I've used the metal one for that ...right outside our back door.   Or maybe aquaculture?  Hay racks [2]  Misc. bits of gates and tubular fencing panels.  Buckets and bins.  A spare dog house?  Goat house?  Hope we wouldn't have to tear them down.  Horse and hay sheds would be useful and left here intact. 


Bags of goat mineral.  Birthing supplies for goats.  My beloved milking supplies ....DH made the verrrry good milking stand.  I really MIGHT have Nigies again. 


If we were going to ANYWHERE BUT HAWAII.....these choices would be easy.  U-Haul!  Dump the living room furniture [already did, actually] and keep the livestock supplies!!!!!  :happy0203: 


Seriously....I want to purchase at least one shipping container.   Maybe two if DH wants to add any of his stuff.....  ;)   Do they have a weight limit when they ship cuz ..... I. CAN. PACK!!!!  Bookshelves.  Beds. Then the important stuff. 


MtRider   ....makes me slightly ill to think about it.  :( 

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"To live sensibility in our current world... while ready for even drastic changes"


Powerful sentence. That pretty much says it all for most preppers. I've often put my real life on hold for prepping and done without 'wants' because I 'needed' to buy prep things I'll probably never use. Most of my emergency meds have already expired. I feel bad that happened but I'd feel worse if I didn't still have them. Sorry I digressed...again.

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Guest Amber Actually

No, Jeeps--that's exactly the point.

Today I was going through and tossing bottles of medication that were more than three years past expiration date and that I could not find expiration information on.  This is after tossing some eleven year outdated ghee and similar items.  DS1 asked didn't it hurt my feelings to throw out all that stuff.  Actually, no.  I feel great about it.  I paid my insurance premiums.  If I had planned a little better, I could have had my cake and eaten it too, but at least I was covered to some degree, to cushion the harsh edges of anything awful that could have happened, AND NOTHING AWFUL HAPPENED.  Isn't that GREAT?

Now I have room to stock new ghee, right?  Which will cover me for a long time, and maybe be eaten before it goes bad.  And payday is only a week away.  This means not getting some things I wanted, but I need ghee.  

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