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To Garden or Not to Garden....

Discussion in 'Christian Preppers' started by SavedByGrace3, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. SavedByGrace3

    SavedByGrace3 Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved Supporter

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    In the prepping and gardening communities there is an ongoing controversy regarding the economic practicality of gardening and canning vegetables. New gardeners often talk about growing a 20 dollar tomato. And they are correct. At first. Initial expenses for a good _productive_ backyard garden can be high. I think we spent several hundred dollars in the first year in the creation and improvement of our 1200 square foot garden. Most of the expense has been for soil and soil additions. Virgin ground is very poor for heavy vegetable production. You really have to pump the composted manure, potting soil, peat moss, and organic material to the soil if you want to get something more than a few small poor fruits.
    So at this time, when food is (relatively) cheap and plentiful, gardening may not be practical. Some refer to it as more of a hobby or a past time And the work of processing and long term storage can be burdensome.
    Yet we have an eye to the future. If, for whatever reason, the food supply became endangered, or the supply routes were broken, a garden that is now break even at best, would suddenly become very valuable. Suddenly that 20 dollar tomato would be cheap.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
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  2. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

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    If food supply become endangered, people would be raiding other people's garden! ;)

    ...Not unless you have well-protected, probably underground garden.

    Fortunately, for me, I am immune to plant toxins (inherited genes from ancestors that subsisted on wild plants due to poverty). Similarly, I can also survive on wild plants raw. Most people would get sick if they do or would not try to eat them due to horrible taste. But our taste buds are also also adapted for consuming wild plants. For me, they actually taste great.

    Not really worried about food unless for some reason, all the plants die.
     
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  3. Sarah G

    Sarah G Human bean. Supporter

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    Gardening and canning are surely good skills to learn, hone and pass on. It's good exercise, fun, educational, good for the environment (ideally). I can imagine that it's not a priority for some if they have other homestead or farm projects requiring labour and bringing in money. Maybe it's a hobby but so many skills could be seen as hobbies: cooking, knitting, sewing, whittling yet it would be sad to see them fade out of existence as products become cheaper and more convenient to import and purchase.
     
  4. SavedByGrace3

    SavedByGrace3 Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved Supporter

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    Well said Sarah G.
     
  5. Greengardener

    Greengardener for love is of God Supporter

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    I enjoy the crafts. As a stay at home parent, back in the day it was a requirement to try to be thrifty.
     
  6. joshua 1 9

    joshua 1 9 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Once my wife tripped and dropped her salad that she had just brought home from the buffet. We were amazed when those tomatoes turned into plants that yielded two to three hundred cherry tomatoes. Even they came back again the next year so I planted some big tomatoes and got around five or six hundred of them. So the yield can be considerable with almost no effort if the land is right for growing tomatoes. We do have to tie them up though to keep them off of the ground, so that may require a little bit of effort.

    I do like to start very early in the season. Then I cover up the plants when there is a frost to keep them from freezing. This year we grew sun flowers from the early spring. They are already 14 feet tall and there is still plenty of growing time left in this season. I did not know that they grew so tall. One year I grew morning glories and ended up with two or three thousand flowers by the end of the season. They were 24 feet by 12 feet (fence).

    So if we start early in the season we can produce results a month before anyone else and end up with a big yield at the end of the season. Even now we are working on sprouting the seeds inside during the late winter. To get them ready to put in the ground in the early spring. A dollar worth of seeds can go a long way. First we get the seeds to sprout, then we put them in a little cup to get them to produce roots and then we start to move them outside during the day to harden them and get them adjusted to the environment and ready to plant in the ground.
    When I do plant them I am very careful with their environment. I try to give them all they will ever need during their lifetime. I try to make sure if there is a lot of rain the water will drain off and not rot the roots out. If I find a puddle of water I fill it in with pea gravel and cover it over with dirt so I have good drainage. I must have gone through 20 bags of pea gravel so I do not have any puddles of water in my yard after a big storm so I can get to everything right away.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
  7. mmksparbud

    mmksparbud Well-Known Member

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    I've had gardens in many places from North Dakota to California--they cost very little back then and the addition to the soil were mostly free---right out of the farmers back 40 and chicken coop! The canning jars were the investment but worth it. I learned to can in North Dakota--at the time everybody canned. I was 22 and just married and one season I canned over 400 jars! My husband and I would go down into the basement and just look at them. I've grown and canned just about everything. I no longer do very much of it as I am in a wheelchair and it is very difficult and can be dangerous. Now I do a lot of lacto-fermentation. I wish I could garden, but no longer can and Las Vegas, NV has never been very garden friendly to me. Everything dies from heat and the water bill is prohibitive! We did grow some things, and I loved having an herb garden. That is definitely worth it, fresh herbs are very expensive.
    One year, in Calif. I planted 3 zucchini plants---I didn't know 1 plant can give you more than you need!! I had canned and frozen zucchini for a very long time--family loved zucchini pickles and relish--zucchini bread--you name it we had it till we couldn't stand to look at them! I planted 12 tomato plants one year---I canned 4 quarts of tomatoes every single day all summer long!
    I also learned that if you plant tomatillos and don't have the time to pick them---they ripen, turn yellow and are deliciously sweet. Had no idea. My neighbor does grow some little hot chilis that he has no idea what they are---2 were enough for a huge pot! They are about the size of you little fingernail---a normal fingernail---not one of those acrylic things! For me, a garden is definitely worth it.
     
  8. Greengardener

    Greengardener for love is of God Supporter

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    Somewhere someone got the idea that I liked figs and gave me a tree a few years ago. I don't know much about figs and really hadn't developed a taste for them, but I wasn't about to neglect a gift that might keep giving. Every year I pruned it back because we get freezing weather every winter. I neglected to do this last winter and when my job got busy I left off much of my spring pruning and yard cleanup, including the cutting back of the fig. Just yesterday I picked over a gallon of figs from the tree and there are more figs coming. Does anyone have a fig preserving idea? I have a dehydrator and freezer. This batch was frozen but I was thinking of dehydrating the next batch. I believe I've dehydrated a handful or two in the past and liked them and I probably dipped them in water with ascorbic acid to keep the color nice. I'm open to other ideas and thankful for the bumper crop.
     
  9. mmksparbud

    mmksparbud Well-Known Member

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    You have been given a gift that I would have treasured beyond words. I grew up with 2 fig trees in our backyard. As kids we'd climb up them and eat figs till we couldn't stuff one more into us. I still love them and wish with all my heart I had a fig tree. Now I can't afford them. You can make cakes, cookies, use them in cooking chicken, turkey (best turkey I ever made had a glaze of fig jam.)Some have used them with fish--esp. salmon. There are all sorts of appetizers using them--Fig jam over Brie, all sorts of stuffing's for them---like cream cheese. For pork eaters even more ways.
    My husband was quite fond of this:
    FIG CAKE
    Makes one 9-inch loaf (12 servings)
    2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
    1 cup walnuts, chopped coarse or pecans
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    ¼ teaspoon table salt
    2/3 cup buttermilk
    ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
    6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    2 eggs
    2 cups dried figs (about 12 ounces), stems removed, chopped coarse (or 1 c figs and 1 c dates)
    Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess.
    Spread nuts on rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes; set aside.
    Stir buttermilk and sugar together in medium bowl. Add melted butter and egg; stir until combined. Stir in dried figs until combined. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nuts. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture with rubber spatula until just moistened. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth surface with rubber spatula.
    Bake until loaf is dark brown and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool at least 1 hour before serving.

    A slice toasted, and covered with cream cheese was his favorite--or topped with mashed pears--or both!
     
  10. Greengardener

    Greengardener for love is of God Supporter

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    Thank you! That looks like a fabulous cake recipe. If you are near, I'll share the figs! But I think you are close to the West Coast and I am close to the East. I sure enjoyed your story!

    (I'm not going to be cooking pork, by the way, but I have relatives who do.)
     
  11. mmksparbud

    mmksparbud Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately---I'm in Las Vegas, NV. And I do see an occasional fig tree here which I admittedly lust after. My personal preference would be to dry them. And preserves. That offers the most versatility. I never did try to freeze them--have limited space for that. I guess that you could can them, like peaches. Never tried that.
     
  12. Chadrho

    Chadrho Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a garden from spring to fall. I'm not sure how to figure the expense. It's not much, and some benefits are not quantifiable. Being able to walk a few feet for a meal is pretty priceless.

    I haven't learned canning-freaked out by old stories about pressure cookers. So, that's not an expemse. I end up giving a good bit away, which has become one of the best parts of it.

    I think having the skills and knowledge (which isn't a whole lot) is indispensable. I especially wish all kids had a chance to learn. We don't come into the world knowing these things. ;)
     
  13. SavedByGrace3

    SavedByGrace3 Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved Supporter

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    Good post Chadrho! Thanks for the input!
    My goal is to be ready to become as self sufficient as possible. Part of that includes having the nessecary connections and fellowship to sustain our home and family.
     
  14. joshua 1 9

    joshua 1 9 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Depends on how abundant your crop is. If you start your tomatoes early in the spring and cover them up on nights where there is a frost then you can get quite a good return. The Bible talks about a 30, 60 & 100 fold return. I get a 100 fold return on seeds but we have not had any abundant veggi plants here at this house. This year we mostly had sun flowers. Lots of them and they got to be 12 to 14 feet tall. I guess they liked all that rain we had.
     
  15. SavedByGrace3

    SavedByGrace3 Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved Supporter

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    Yes... indeed.
    This is the 2nd year in our current location. We had virgin ground to start with. More than money... there was a great deal of work turning over soil that was hard as rock. There was maybe 4 or 5 inches of topsoil on top of brick hard clay. What soil there was was laced with roots and vines from every sort of plant. Trees, picker vines, berry vines. You name it. I spent days with an electric tiller banging away at that soil. Go down a couple inches, fill the hole with water, let the water soften the clay. Spade it over. Repeat.

    We covered large swaths of ground with tarps and broken-down cardboard boxes. Water could get through but not the sun. There it lay for a month or two. When we lifted the tarps, all vegetation was dead. The soil was softer and we found the spade and tiller cut the ground much easier.
    Then we added soil amendments. Lots of leaves (we have lots of trees on our lot). Lots of composted manure (Black Kow loves us). Peat Moss. Cheap mushroom compost. And just plain 2 dollar a bag tops soil.
    As we approach the 3rd year, the soil is doing much better. The soil is much softer, and there is a lot of bio-matter.
    Out motto is "We do not grow plants, we grow soil and the plants are automatic."
     
  16. joshua 1 9

    joshua 1 9 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use an auger to drill down into the soil. I go down into the clay to bring some of that up and mix it in with the top soil. I create a growing environment for each plant. I make sure there is good drainage for the water that gets in the hole. Also I created a mound on top around the plant so the water runs off. Each plant is treated as an individual and given the best conditions I can for the life of that plant. Esp to break the soil for that plant. People usually put water and fertilizer in the hole to provide food for the plant.

    [​IMG]
     

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  17. SavedByGrace3

    SavedByGrace3 Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved Supporter

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    Great Idea!
    I have been eyeing an auger for digging holes. Not sure if I want an electric or a gas model.
    We will be putting up a privacy fence this spring.. so I will need one.
     
  18. joshua 1 9

    joshua 1 9 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use a drill I found for $20 on Amazon. I already had the battery from my gardening tools.
     
  19. SavedByGrace3

    SavedByGrace3 Whoever calls on the name of Jesus will be saved Supporter

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    I often get stuff from Harbor Freight. Cheap but it meets my needs and I don't have to break the bank to get something I will only use a couple times a year.
    tiller cultivator
    wood chipper
    leaf shredded
    chain saw
    pole saw
    pressure washer
    welder
    power tools
    etc

    The auger might be next.
     
  20. Galil7.62x51

    Galil7.62x51 New Member

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