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Guide To Starting A Sustainable Vegetable Garden

Dependence vs. Sustainable Independence

Depending on others (markets, etc.) for all of your food is simply not a good idea. Every prepper should have a garden supplying some food. It’s just common sense.

Don’t have a garden yet?

picked carrots

Carrots From Your Garden

Well, the hardest part of any food garden is just starting. The where to plant, the layout, using raised beds or not, what to grow, how to make it sustainable … Yes, like I said, just starting.

So if you need a jump-start, read the article below. It’s very basic. But it’s a start!

I’ve also listed a few “Additional Resources” to help with your sustainable vegetable garden plans.

Additional Resources

At least start the article:

Ground Level or Raised Vegetable Beds

… a higher or raised vegetable bed is easier to reach. This also helps separate your actual crops from the ground, avoiding contamination from the likes of weeds … [it] helps you regulate the individual PH levels for each bed too … they need only be large containers, wide enough to plant crops and deep enough to allow roots to spread happily …

PH Levels

Depending on what you want to grow, you will need the right PH levels. In nature, everything is either acidic or alkaline … For truly sustainable crops, you need to match the crop to the soil … there are various ways to improve the quality of your soil, including composts and mulches, to either add or subtract the relevant acids or alkaline substances.

Reclaim Waste

A good prepper knows to never throw anything away until it loses all value. When it comes to the garden, nearly all organic matter can be used in some fashion. Compost is the easy to make, while mulch can be made through similar means …

Stay Organic

… it’s quite easy to support your production with organic, natural boosts … Don’t buy calcium powder in the shops, for instance, when bone meal is readily available elsewhere! … there’s always someone with excess materials (many butchers … have plenty of bones …) so don’t be afraid to ask …

Save and Store Seeds

… it’s worth setting up your own seed bank. The majority of garden plants produce more than one seed – while others such as tomatoes and potatoes can be cultivated without seeds at all – giving you amply opportunities to gain additional seeds … Store some of them in a safe environment …

… the basics are quite simple. Learn what soil your plants need, dedicate an area of your garden to it and use organic means to grow and develop your supply!

Source:  The excellent writer Tim Sparke is the CEO at 4pumps and for several years has been an active advocate of organic farming and sustainability. He contributes often to American Preppers Network.

Image: Alexei Hulsov

Where Are The Grain Reserves?

Where’s The Emergency Grain?

There’s a belief among many (most?) folks in the U.S. that if “something” really bad happens, the Government will ride to the rescue. I can only shake my head. Homeland Security, FEMA and armed EPA agents may ride in, but I’m not sure about any “rescue” part.

barn and silo

Grain Reserves For Emergencies?

Don’t get me wrong. The hard-working, boots-on-the-ground men and women of these organizations do great service for their fellow citizens. But there is a distrust of a Bureaucracy’s agenda during a crisis (or even the day-to-day).

It’s why preparedness is such an important part of many people’s lives. You’ve got to be prepared to care for yourself and your family: security, shelter and food.

And that’s the point of this post. You have to stock and maintain your own food reserves because, since 2008, the U.S. government no longer possesses national grain reserves.

None. Zero.

For national security, the Chinese government maintains a vast grain reserve. So do the Russians. But not the U.S.

Preparedness Depends On You

Read the rest of the article below. It may spur you to up your preparedness game. And remind others that if the Government does ride in, there won’t be any bread in the saddlebags.

No one questions why the United States maintains a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The very threat of bringing reserves to the market can moderate the spiking price of crude oil. But when it comes to food prices, our country cannot even threaten to bolster the national supply because the United States does not possess a national grain reserve.

The modern concept of a strategic grain reserve was first proposed in the 1930s by Wall Street legend Benjamin Graham. Graham’s idea hinged on the clever management of buffer stocks of grain to tame … boom and bust.

Following Graham’s theory, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a grain reserve that helped rally the price of wheat and saved American farms during the Depression. In the inflationary 1970s, the USDA revamped FDR’s program into the Farmer-Owned Grain Reserve, which encouraged farmers to store grain in government facilities by offering low-cost and even no-interest loans and reimbursement to cover the storage costs.

But over the next quarter of a century the dogma of deregulated global markets came to dominate American politics, and the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act abolished our national system of holding grain in reserve.

As for all that wheat held in storage, it became part of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, a food bank and global charity under the authority of the secretary of Agriculture. The stores were gradually depleted until 2008, when the USDA decided to convert all of what was left into its dollar equivalent.

And so the grain that once stabilized prices for farmers, bakers and American consumers ended up as a number on a spreadsheet in the Department of Agriculture.

Now, as the United States must confront climate change, commodity markets riddled by speculation, increased import costs, hosts of regional conflicts and the return of international grain tariffs and export bans, we have put our faith entirely in transnational agribusiness and the global grain market.

In the last five years two devastating run-ups in the price of food have pushed the number of hungry people on the planet to a billion and the number of “food insecure” households in the United States to 17 million.

These recent crises, ignited by biofuel mandates and fed by speculation, have caused bread riots in 30 countries and fostered revolution and regime-change.

Source: Frederick Kaufman author of “Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food,” for the Los Angeles Times

Image: S.W.Bennett

Top 10 On Your Preppers Shopping List

Big Box Store Prep Goods List

This is not a complete list, or maybe not even the initial list of things you should be doing to prepare.

But it’s the first thing our family did. It was our first preppers shopping list. Having a head start on food and water storage just seemed smart.

cans on shelves

Canned Food

And if you stock all that’s on this list, you’ll probably be smarter than most of the people you know … and all the people you don’t.

There are many options when securing food and other critical prep items [list items #7 through #10 below], but here is the “WalMart/Costco Method” for securing the top 10 items on a preppers list:

Top 10 “Store” Items On Prep Shopping List

1. Head to the nearest [big box store] and pick-up 20 lbs. of white or brown rice and 20 lbs. of pinto beans. White rice has a better storage life while brown rice has more nutritional benefits …

2. While you’re there grab 5 lbs. mixed beans, 5 lbs. of white sugar, 5 lbs. of iodized salt, one gallon of olive oil (can be frozen to extend shelf-life), 5 lbs. oats, 10 lbs. each of white or wheat flour and cornmeal.

3. … pick-up 20 cans of canned fruits and 20 cans of canned vegetables.

4. Pick-up 20 cans of various meats, salmon, stews, spam and tuna.

5.  … the peanut butter shelf and toss two 40-ounce jars in the cart … Peanut butter is an excellent instant survival food.

6.  Pick up two 72 Ounce Tang Orange drink canisters (provides 100% of the US RDA vitamin C requirement per 8 oz. glass).

7. Off to the vitamin and supplement aisle, pick up 400 tablets “one a day” multivitamin and mineral supplements.

8. Go to the camping aisle and pick up 4 five gallon water containers. Fill with tap water as soon as you get back home.

9. While you’re there buy 250 rounds of ammunition for your primary defensive weapon … Also a good universal cleaning kit.

10. And lastly pick up the best LED flashlight you can afford, extra batteries and bulb … Don’t forget to date, use and rotate – remember first in first out.

Source: M.D. Creekmore is one of the most respected prepping experts. Everyone should read all of his insightful articles.

Image: PublicDomainArchive

7 Small Farm Ideas For The Non-Farmer

In-Depth Farming Ideas

Ever considered starting a small farm? A survival garden that feeds you and your family? Could a micro-farm be successful? Don’t know where to start … or even if you should?

Doctor and author, Tarrin P Lupo, interviewed 10 small-scale farmers across the country to get their insights and tips on starting and maintaining such a farm. What kind of farms? The discussion includes organic farming and:

  • Organic chicken farming (at the 2:42 mark)
  • Goat farming (12:43)
  • Beef cattle (14:32)
  • Worm farming (22:40)
  • Maple syrup (33:35)
  • Aquaculture fish farming and Aquaponics (36:32)
  • Urban fruit tree farming (52:40)

Enjoy.

 

Image: Vasyliy Oliynyk