The idea is to create a self-sustaining, self-perpetuating forest type of garden, a food forest. Once established (a long-term proposition), this edible ecosystem takes care of itself: no annual tilling of the soil, no planting of seeds, and no daily “farming chores”.
On this Prepper Recon Podcast, David the Good discusses how you study the existing layers of your local forests: the tall and medium size trees, the shrubs and vines, and the underground growth.
These layers provide insights into what this forest habitat can naturally sustain, the fruits, nuts, berries, tubers, etc.
Once established this forest garden could provide edible crops for decades or longer. You could never walk away from a field of sweet corn and expect a crop next year.
But you could return to your food forest after a long absence, sit in the shade and enjoy a meal. Or so David says.
Listen how Mother Nature becomes your most reliable farmhand:
Image: Anja Osenberg
Like most important projects, saving specific seeds for specific plant outcomes involves as much “art” as science.
Nuances like garden location, the age of plants, and time of day all play a part in saving seeds.
There are dozens of things you should know about this topic, but here are ten you should start with.
If you have others, please comment below.
1. Saving seeds helps preserve the genetic material of the plant varieties we have. Within the last 100 years, we’ve lost over half of the varieties we used to have.
2. Saving seeds will give you crops that are better adapted to your specific environment. You’ll be collecting seeds from the plants/varieties that thrived. It gives you a lot of control over what grows in your yard.
3. It saves money.
4. It’s easy to share and trade seeds with others.
5. Save seeds from heirloom and open pollinated varieties. An heirloom variety is one that has been passed down within a family for 50 years or more. Open pollinated is simply a plant that has pollinated by itself or its type. Both will give you crops true to the original plant.
6. Seeds from hybrid plants will not give you the same crop as the original plant. In fact, seeds saved from a lot of hybrid tomato varieties end up growing cherry tomatoes! Once something is hybridized, anything in the genetic chain can come up in a crop. If you’re serious about saving seeds, you’ll need to take steps to avoid cross pollination, which will produce hybrids!
7. If you live near large commercial farms that grow soybeans, alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, or sugar beets, there’s a very good chance those crops are GMO. There’s a possibility that cross pollination could occur, but the seeds that are available to the consumer are not GMO.
8. If you intend to save seeds from specific plants, it will take some planning to avoid cross pollination, since bees and other pollinators, including wind!, carry pollen from blossom to blossom. Read more about this here.
9. You can avoid cross pollination by placing small organza gift bags over the blooms you want to protect and hand pollinate. These are nice because they’re reusable and you can use the drawstrings to tighten the bag over the plant.
10. Hand pollinate early in the morning while the pollen is still visible. Female flowers are only open once.
Source: From another great post by Lisa Bedford, the original Survival Mom. Lisa is a great resource. Please check out her site
Image: Hebi B.
Although some weeds provide some nutrition, you may want a more diverse and satisfying crop in your survival garden.
After ample sunshine and moisture, the next most important element for your garden success is your soil. Both the type of soil and its pH. This post reviews how to check the pH of your garden soil.
The pH is an indication of how acidic or alkaline your garden dirt is. And that determines what will actually grow in that soil. Acidic soil: here come the beans, beets, and blueberries. Alkaline: say hello and yum to sprouts, spinach, and Swiss chard.
You can use a Commercial Soil pH Test Probe which may cost up to $50. Here are 3 other methods:
Use a Soil pH Test Kit
These are generally accessible at nurseries and greenery enclosure focuses and are anything but difficult to utilize. They’re likewise modest – not exactly $10 in numerous spots and you get a few tests. All that you have to do is blend a little measure of soil with some refined water in a tube then include the arrangement and shake. The arrangement may be in powder or fluid structure; both work similarly well. The arrangement will respond with the dirt and turn the water a sure shading. Contrast the shading and the outline that is incorporated to get your pH.
Test Your Soil pH with Red Cabbage
This test is simple and doesn’t oblige something besides cabbage however you won’t get a precise pH. Finely slash red cabbage or hack it in your nourishment processor until you have 1 glass cleaved cabbage. Heat some refined water to the point of boiling and include your cabbage. Stew for 10 minutes, then permit the answer for cool. Strain the cabbage from the juice, keeping the juice. It will be violet or blue.
Presently, add 2 teaspoons of soil to a glass jug and afterward include two or three inches of water. Blend it well and let it sit for 30 minutes. On the off chance that it turns pink, your dirt is acidic. The brighter pink it is, the more acidic your dirt is. In the event that the juice turns green or blue, your dirt is basic. The brighter green or blue, the more soluble it is.
Test Your Soil pH Using Vinegar and Baking Soda
This check is very simple to try and do however, like the cabbage check, won’t provide you with a precise pH. Still, you’ll get a decent idea counting on the violence of the reaction.
Start the take a look at by putt a few of teaspoons of your soil onto two totally different plates. Add one or two of teaspoons of vinegar to 1 plate. If it fizzes, your soil is alkalescent and you don’t got to proceed to the next step. The additional fizz you get, the a lot of alkaline it’s.
If your soil doesn’t fizz, add some of tablespoons of distilled water to your different plate. you would like the soil pretty muddy. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the combination and stir. If it fizzes, your soil is acidic. The additional fizz, the more acidic.
If you get no reaction at all, your soil is neutral.
Source: More great info from John Turner who is, in his own words, “just an ordinary guy who tries to survive!” Love it.