Spotter Up: Homestead Indoor Gardening

In this post at Spotter Up, Alaskan homesteader David Donchess talks about some food plants that he grows indoors. For people in a preparedness mindset, having food through a long winter can be a big concern. David mentions growing potatoes in a plastic bin indoors to provide food throughout the winter among others. Homestead Indoor Gardening: Plants To Grow

Ever since I moved up to Alaska with my wife, we have tried to be more self sufficient. We have really been drawn into growing our own food, to include livestock. The challenge for us in Alaska is keeping our plants and livestock alive during the winter. The summers churn out many world record sized crops due to the extremely long and warm days. Winter, on the other hand, produces the shortest(4-5 hours of sun) and coldest(-30 to -40) days. The harsh winters here can kill most types of perennials if they are not bred to handle cold down to -50. For this reason, indoor gardening is probably your best bet for continuing production of certain plants like leafy greens and things like strawberries and peppers. For this article, I am just going to talk about some of the plants I have in my indoor greenroom and why I grow them.

THE FOCUS

When we start talking about indoor plant growing, we have to keep in mind that the point is to have the ability to be mostly self-sufficient. The reason for growing plants indoors at my house is not to have something nice to look at, but rather to have a healthy variety of foods to eat and cook with. The main focus, due to limited space, should be to grow plants that are nutrient rich and will give you the best return for your efforts. But don’t forget that some nutrients you need cannot be found in just one plant. You will need to do your research and find a variety of foods that give you a decent return in vitamins, minerals, and macro nutrients.

For my plant selection, I have a few plants that offer the same return in certain nutrients, but lead in one area over the others. Then I have certain plants that are just more versatile and can be used in more ways and in more dishes than others. The choice is yours, but I have spent alot of time deciding what plants are worth the investment. Now keep in mind that this is not an indoor garden that is designed to provide everything during the apocalypse. If that were the case, perhaps we would want to simplify the number of plants we have to a short list that will allow us to minimize the need for water and light.

This specific selection of plants require varying ranges of attention, and it is all based on my abilities, space, and the time I am willing to invest in these plants. Each person will have different capabilities, space, funds, and time, which will determine what they grow indoors…

There are vegetables that I like to grow in order to provide a more diverse and balanced nutrient return, while also helping enhance the flavor of your meals. These veggies offer things that you may not be able to get from leafy greens like calories, protein, and higher concentrations of certain nutrients. Here is a list of the vegetables I like to grow and why.

-Broccoli: This vegetable is a powerhouse for sure. Raw, it has a higher concentration of vitamin C than an orange, and about as much calcium as whole milk. The plant can be a bit difficult to get control of since you have to trim the florets before they bloom. But if you take care of your broccoli plants, they will produce for you over and over again with increasing return as time goes on.

-Carrots: This veggie is one of the more versatile since it can be prepared and consumed in pretty much any way that you can imagine. Just a little bit of carrots can easily provide a huge amount of vitamin A to your diet. It takes some patience to get them to harvest. You can actually reuse the carrot heads to make more carrots, making this a somewhat renewable vegetable.

-Bell Peppers: I like growing these because they add a good deal of texture to my meals. If I am making burritos or a stir-fry, you bet that Bell Peppers are going to be included. They give a decent return in vitamin C, but not much of anything else. For the most part, the plants are easy to maintain and grow indoors as long as you provide a steady temperature and don’t let the soil get too wet…

Potatoes are a big thing for my household to the point that I grow them indoors during the winter in big storage bins. They take some time to grow to maturity, but they offer so much in terms of calories and just energy overall. They are very filling and you can add them to pretty much anything. They are relatively maintenance-free except for periodic watering, and they give back alot in return…

Click here to read the entire article at Spotter Up.

Organic Prepper: Dirt Cheap – The Best Frugal Gardening Ideas on the Internet

This article from Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper is a link-fest, bringing together numerous articles across the internet – Dirt Cheap: The Best Frugal Gardening Ideas on the Internet

With the price of healthful groceries going no place but up, lots of thrifty folks are starting a garden to save money on their bills this year. But what about the money to start a garden? It can be a very expensive undertaking, especially if you’ve never gardened before in your particular location.

I’ve been researching ways to start my own garden as inexpensively as possible and thought, “HEY!!! I know some other folks who would absolutely love frugal gardening ideas!” So…here they are.

Step One: What Kind of Garden Are You Going to Grow?

Of course, the very first thing to decide is what type of garden will work best for your situation. This will depend a lot on your soil, your climate, your skillset, and what you have easy and inexpensive access to. Following are some articles and books that will help you make your decision.

Pallet Gardens: Simple, Easy, Free

Straw Bale Gardens Complete

Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching

Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful

Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!

DIY Super Easy Raised Garden Bed for Under $30

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for $12

For those who aren’t build-y: Big Bag Fabric Raised Beds (I have used these with great success for veggies with shallow roots and as a bonus, you can use them on concrete if you’re gardening on a patio.)

Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

15 Fruits and Veggies You Can Grow in a Bucket Garden

PVC Drip Irrigation System for Your Garden

How to Save BIG on Lumber Supplies for Your Square Foot Garden

Step Two: Plan Your Garden

Now that you have figured out how you’ll grow your food, you need to figure out what to grow. A lot of that depends on your goals. Are you just hoping for salad this summer? Or are you planning to grow an entire year’s worth of food for your family? These links will help you make some decisions!

FREE Garden Planning Printables

How Much to Plant for a Year’s Worth of Food

An Inspiring 5000 Square Foot Garden Plan

Last Frost Date Seed Planting Worksheet

Step Three: Start Your Seedlings

While it’s easy and less hassle to buy your seedlings already started, it costs a whole lot more. One plant can be the equivalent of an entire package of seeds!  Starting your own seedlings is not that difficult and you don’t need an indoor growing operation that marijuana drug lords would envy.

Seed Starting 101

Frugal Seed Starting Station

10 Seed Starting Hacks

20 Frugal Repurposed Seed Starting Containers

How to Make Newspaper Seed Starting Pots

Another Way to Make Seed Starting Pots from Newspaper

Chicken Manure Tea for Seedlings

Why Your Seeds Aren’t Germinating

Step Four: Amend, Create, or Prepare Your Soil

No matter how sturdy your seedlings or how efficient your beds, your garden is only as good as your soil. These tips will help you, whether you’re amending what exists, creating soil, or preparing your soil to receive seedlings…(continues)

Some seed sellers on the internet are starting to take orders again, like Seed Savers Exchange.

The Prepared Homestead: Coronavirus – Six Actions You Should Be Taking Now

The Prepared Homestead has a video out talking about six steps that you should taking right now in regards to the pandemic and resultant/simultaneous supply chain/economic problems. He covers (1) sizing up the situation, (2) scenario development – best, most likely, worst case, (3) taking stock of your financial situation, (4) topping off supplies, (5) growing some of your own food, (6) working on your health. Much of one and two will be familiar to you if you’ve taken or read Forward Observer‘s SHTF Intelligence or Area Study book/classes.

Christianity Today: Save Your Soul – Start Gardening

From Christianity Today with the tagline “local creation care offers an antidote to cultural chaos” is Save Your Soul: Start Gardening.

Save Your Soul: Start Gardening

We live in a cultural moment defined by divisiveness and chaos. Every day there is something new to be afraid of, something to fix or to save. School shootings, economic instability, and political upheaval all engender feelings of powerlessness and discouragement. If I turn to social media to look for some semblance of comfort or joy, I find infighting and dissension. There’s no perfect antidote for all this pain, but nonetheless, as winter fades and light extends longer into our days, I can’t help but turn with anticipation toward garden season.

Although planting a garden might seem like an insignificant act, it offers us something deep and enduring: a reminder of God’s sovereignty over the earth and a practical, incarnational way to participate in his created order. “The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility,” writes Wendell Berry. “To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”

Last year, my husband, John, and I decided to plant a small vegetable garden on our deck. My kids joined in, and throughout the spring and summer, we delighted in every new cucumber and every new pepper. In the process, I discovered the timelessness of gardening and why it matters for our particular moment.

First, in a culture driven by immediacy and instant gratification, gardening forces us to cultivate patience.

Each time I worked my fingers into the dark rich soil and planted a few vegetables, I had to wait. Eventually, when something popped off the vine, my kids and I ran to examine it. Then we’d wait some more and watch for it to ripen.

In Galatians 4, Paul writes about the fullness of time. When vegetables reach their fullness on the vine or in a garden bed and we have to identify the moment when they’re ready to be plucked, we gain a new understanding for what Paul meant when he said, “When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son …” (Gal 4:4). Gardening offers us connection to the seasons of the earth and a pathway to understanding the sacred time of God. As Karen Swallow Prior writes, “Waiting is the fertile soil of our sanctification and one of the hallmarks of Christian practice. And yet what a joy it is to see at last the blessings God enables us to harvest.”

Second, gardening reminds us of our finitude and fallibility.

Several of the plants we were most excited about never grew. Although we expected our large tomato plant to produce dozens of tomatoes, it only gave us one tomato. There was nothing we could do about it. The broccoli, too, flowered and failed. Did we plant it incorrectly? My gardening friend, Christy, assures me her broccoli does the same thing some years.

Not everything we plant comes to fruition on our timetable, but as Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us, God makes everything beautiful in its time. Some seasons appear dormant and fallow, but all the while, God is working his purposes for our greater good. Tending to a garden each year gives us fresh eyes to see his long-term, redemptive work.

Third, in a world that continues to stun us with harsh cruelty and chaos on every side, gardening offers us beauty and simplicity…

Read the entire article at Christianity Today by clicking here.

The Prepared Homestead: Victory Gardens

The Mitzels of The Prepared Homestead have a couple of videos on their Youtube channel about victory gardens. Their homestead is a colder zone in Idaho. They give a little history of victory gardens, how supply chains work and why you would have a garden yourself. In the part two video, they get into how to start, what to grow, how to read seed catalogs and so forth. If you aren’t familiar with the Prepared Homestead already, they have a lot of herbal and permaculture knowledge in addition to what they’ve learned homesteading.

Zero Hedge: It’s Not Just Toilet Paper, Seed Shortages Spread

Zero Hedge has an article on the growing seed shortage as Americans turn to growing their own food in response to supply chain problems – It’s Not Just Toilet Paper, Seed Shortages Spread As Locked-Down Americans Turn To Growing Their Own Food 

…Americans started buying 3M N95 masks in mid-January, then non-perishables in February, followed by toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and guns.

Now apparently, plant seeds are the next big thing…

Seed companies who spoke with CBS News said they have stopped taking new orders after unprecedented demand. George Ball, chairman of Pennsylvania-based Burpee Seeds, said the recent increase in new orders is “just unbelievable.” The company will start accepting orders again on Wednesday after it stopped taking new ones for several days to catch up on the backlog.

Americans in quarantine are becoming increasingly concerned about their food security. What has shocked many is that food on supermarket shelves that existed one day, could be completely wiped out in minutes via panic hoarding. Some people are now trying to restore the comfort of food security by planting “Pandemic Gardens.”

“If I had to put my thumb on it, I would say people are worried about their food security right now,” said Emily Rose Haga, the executive director of the Seed Savers Exchange, an Iowa-based nonprofit devoted to heirloom seeds.

 “A lot of folks even in our region are putting orders into their grocery stores and having to wait a week to get their groceries. Our society has never experienced a disruption like this in our lifetime.”

One of the most significant trends besides a crashed economy and high unemployment is that tens of thousands of Americans, mainly of the working poor, who just lost their jobs, are ending up at food banks. These facilities have reported surging demand, as a hunger crisis unfolds.

Today’s economic, health, and social crisis has made people realize that relying on supermarkets for food is not a safe bet. Some are now reverting to the land for survival.

Seed Savers Exchange noticed a surge in seed demand started in mid-March, the same time lockdowns across the country went into effect. The nonprofit has also halted new orders to catch up on the backlog.

“We received twice the amount of orders we normally receive,” the company said, adding it has had to hire more staff to deal with rising seed demand.

With America at war with coronavirus, the “Victory Gardens” our ancestors planted in WWI & II have now morphed into Pandemic Gardens. The surge in seed demand suggests a new trend of the 2020s is developing, one where reliance on corporations and government for survival are coming to an end for some people, as rural communities and living off the land is the safest bet in times of crisis…

AmPart: Living Off the Land – Gardening

JohnyMac at American Partisan is starting a series of articles on living off the land. His first installment is on the topic of gardening.

…This series of articles will cover gardening, protein raising, spirits making, among other fun things that you and your group will need to do to survive. Since we are now in harvesting time the first item will be about gardening.

I know the topic of gardening isn’t as exciting as the new XYZ carbine review however, if you think you are going to survive a job loss, economic downturn or even a SHTF scenario without food you are truly mistaken…

Let’s first talk about hitting the mountains and living off the land, ala Jeremiah Johnson. I will use my AO area as an example because it is truly rural.

We are located in a small hamlet surrounded by thousands and thousands of miles of woods among mountains and more mountains. The town of 500 or so is about 5-miles away and the residents are made up of farmers, blue collar workers, retired, and unfortunately living off Uncle Sugar too. If things went south everybody would be hunting and fishing. You must ask yourself, “how long would the critters living in these mountains last?” I remember one of the old timers here telling me that the deer and bear really didn’t come back into these hills in any kind of quantities post the Great Depression until the late 1960’s.

Once the deer, bears, and other four-legged critters were hunted out what will one do? …How many of us could gather the needed vegetables from the surrounding area? Once someone learns that you can eat cat-tail roots everybody will be digging around the ponds in the area. Again, how long will cat-tail roots last before they go the way of the game.

My point is that you nor your family will not survive. Therefore we have a garden. Not just for food today, but to practice growing food tomorrow…

Our garden is approximately 1,800 sf and is made up of raised beds with seedlings, and seeds planted directly into the tilled ground. The research that I have done is it takes about 900 sf at our latitude per person to grow enough veggies for one person. The current goal is to grow 80% of the veggies that we eat within a year. The best to that goal has been 70% due in part to the fact the vegetable garden is self-tending. We do not spend a lot of time weeding, watering, or general maintenance. I know though that if our garden was the only source of food, we would be in that garden every day weeding and doing general maintenance…

Click here to read the rest of the article at American Partisan.

Related:

Gardening KNow How: Survival Garden How To

Vegetable Gardening with Lorraine: Survival Gardening

AskAPrepper: Post Apocalypse Gardening

John Mosby: Guerrilla Gardening

John Mosby: Permaculture

Preparedness and Sustainability Festival, May 18, Blanchard, ID

Blanchard Community Center – site of the 2019 INW Preparedness and Sustainability Festival

From INWPrep.com:

Preparedness and Sustainability Festival! May 18, 2019

Location: Blanchard Community Center, 685 Rusho Rd, off Rt 41, Blanchard, ID
Saturday, May 18th, 2019 at 10am4pm

FREE ADMISSION – FREE LECTURES!


PREPAREDNESS AND Sustainability Festival!  Saturday, May 18, 10-4, Blanchard Community Center off Rt. 41.  Come show, teach, demo, sell or swap any legal new or used items.  Install safety ties through firearm receivers.  Indoor 10×10 $20 tabled spaces or outdoor $5 tailgate spaces. Solar demos, communications, first aid, gardening, gun safety & more.  Click calendar listing at www.inwPrepFest.com to reserve space.  208.GUN.5115.

Food, snacks and drinks will be available on site from 11AM until 3PM.

FREE LECTURES:

LECTURE HALL:  Educational lecturers are welcome to apply for a speaking slot (on the hour, 10-3, for up to 45 minutes duration).  Priority is given to topics relating to preparedness, homesteading, sustainability, etc.

10am:

11am:  A Beginner’s Intro to HAM Radio!  Randy KB6YAV –

12pm:  BACKYARD COMPOSTING Jim & Pat McGinty;Learn how to create your own “black gold” compost from yard and garden wastes.  Simple tools, simple techniques, great stuff – your garden will respond with more and better food.

1pm:  Safely Choosing a Handgun Russ Spriggs.  Veteran, NRA Instructor and Range Safety Officer, www.PistolProf.com. ; Lecture and demonstration.  Learn the ins and outs of most major types of pistols and revolvers, how to make your preferences, and safely handle.  This class is free as a public service.  If you need a Certificate for Concealed Carry Training, a $20 charge will apply.

2pm:  Creating an Efficient & Resilient Prepared PropertyBrian Domke, RLA, LEED AP; www.StrategicLandscapeDesign.com;  An overview of design methods and key items to consider when planning a prepared property. The presentation will outline the design process to develop a comprehensive plan for a prepared property. Information will also be offered on a few specific systems and approaches that can be used when designing your prepared property to account for the fundamental aspects of water access, food production, energy generation and integrated security.

3pm:  I-FAK: Your Medical Force Multiplier“Doc” Dave Hensley, R.N. His thirty years of Pre hospital EMS, volunteer fire, ICU, ER/Air ambulance/ Trauma, CCU, CVICU (open heart surgery), recovery room and OR care sets the background for the importance of your own Individual First Aid Kit, and what should be in it.  This is not only for your use, but for another to use on you in an emergency!

QUESTIONS?  Email Russ.Spriggs(at)EarthLink.net with “PREPFEST” in subject line.

Click here for more info.

Blanchard, Idaho is approximately a one hour drive northeast of Spokane, WA. It’s always beautiful in Blanchard, Idaho!

Self Reliance Public Meeting, Richland, Mar. 28, 2019

The Tri-Cities Self Reliance group is holding a public meeting on Thursday, March 28, 2019 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

EVENT: Public Self-Reliance Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, March 28th 2019
TIME: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Island View Worship Center
LOCATION: 1520 Fowler, Richland, Washington
How to Grow Nutrient Rich Foods Without Pesticides
Delores Beyersdorf has been a biological farmer for 42 years, plus 10 years of gardening and now farms in Benton City. She has transformed farms from conven-tional farms to biological farms in various locations of Washington State. She raises goats, cattle, fruits, veg-etables and many plants including NON-GMO alfalfa hay. She enjoys sharing how to improve the health of the soil through balancing minerals and microbes; disease and insects are the result of improper soil nutrition. Healthy soil equates to healthy food.
Delores will be teaching us the basics of healthy soil, amendments (minerals & microbes), amendment sources, soil testing, and how to analyze test results.