If my allergies are any indication, Spring has sprung. This means it is time for Daylight Saving Time, spring cleaning, starting gardens and other activities.
What are the UtahPreppers up to?
Besides decluttering and planning a massive garage sale, we are also finalizing plans for our garden. We have the layout designed and are rotating some crops from last year. Our garden last year was our first real attempt at gardening since moving into our house a few years ago. Thanks to the classes we took from Gordon Wells, we were able to have a *very* successful garden our first attempt. You can find some great garden reference cards based on Gordon’s classes in a previous post here.
To kick off the season, we began looking through seed catalogs in anticipation of planning the garden. Then, once our plan was in place, we ordered and have started the seeds in seed pots to sprout them indoors. We’ll be moving them outdoors a bit at a time. This weekend we’ll be roto-tilling the garden area and creating the beds per the spacing and size requirements in the documents linked to above.
We are also increasing the number of chickens that we have. Due to a number of factors, we are down to two chickens at the moment from which we are getting an average of 1 egg a day. We will be adding five more chickens to our brood. This is about one more than I would like, but if our previous luck holds, we’ll have at least one rooster in the bunch that will end up in the freezer or canning jar.
My recent exploits have leaned mostly towards doing extra contract work, keeping the bank account to a happier level. I have been gazing longingly at my garden, but keep getting distracted from giving it the attention it really needs. I did begin doing basic soil amendment for the year, working in compost from last year into about half of what I need ready. I’ll be getting a late start on some of my plants, but with the way this year has gone, it seems that it might be for the better. I’m not doing any specifically new plants this year, just hoping to implement some of the changes in locations, last year, and hopefully making good use of some saved seeds. My biggest hope is that some of the beds that underproduced last year will see better results with some soil changes, and rotation of a few of the plants. Also, we think we’ll have much better results from a “cleaner” planting, making it easier to get at the food, and less will go to waste.
Beyond the garden, my wife and I are really going to be working on how some of our food and equipment is organized over the next couple of months. We have large plans in place to sort, clean, categorize, and document things far better than the haphazard manner they are in now.
My top priority is to finish off the huge project I started last fall. A few of us (including Jayce and Angela) started a very aggressive project to build a massive network of sites to make prepping much easier. So far we’ve pretty much completed our community forum, LDS Preppers and we’re nearly finished with our Preparedness Store, US Preppers (we still have about 3,000 products to get listed there). Our Preparedness Training site, Survival Training Center, is still in the early stages and has a ways to go. We’ll be adding about 2 dozen new classes over the next month. We have a couple other sites that we are going to be starting on soon that provide more tools for Preppers. We’re in the process of launching our new Prepper Newsletter that will be coming out every two weeks and providing the cheapest prices possible on lots of preparedness items (look for a post about that this week). In all, I’m hoping that by the end of summer we’ll have our entire network of sites completed and we’ll be able to provide all of you with some very valuable resources!
We moved to a new place at the first of the year and we’re going to be putting in a new garden. I’m going to be spraying the grass in the next couple days to get that started. I still have a big list of projects that I thought I would get done last year but got bumped. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some of those this summer. We’ve got several camping plans this year and hope to use the RV we got last year for some of them. Currently I have plans to attend Sniper School this summer, we’ll see if that pans out! I’ve been pretty heavily involved lately in developing some new survival classes that we are planning to bring to Utah County and I’ll be spending a lot of time teaching those.
We lost about half our chickens to a variety of factors and will be looking at replacing those this year as well. And then of course, there’s the big plan to get rich and buy 1,000 acres and build the ultimate retreat. I’m thinkin’ that probably won’t be happening this year though :)
When things get to where I’m not spending 20 hours a day building the new network, I’ll start authoring a lot more posts here again too!
My plans are short since I am moving, but have been involved with my spring garden. My garden is fertilized, tilled, de-rocked (an annual event), and raked. I started peas and lettuce inside in February but lost them all last week unfortunately when the temperature dropped extra low. So, this past Saturday I tilled them under and started over. In their place, I cheated and planted onions, broccoli, and cauliflower that I bought from the nursery.
I also tried something new this year and planted some strawberries. Other plans include saving for a portable propane oven and building out my non-food supplies.
Gardening is always big on our spring list. I’ve got some seeds started in peat pots to plant and will also be trying some of the seeds I collected last year along with a few new varieties of veggies. Our snow just finished melting, so we’ve got a lot of mud. I’ll be planting the cold crops as soon as the ground is workable. We’ll also need to expand the drip water system to the strawberry box and squash areas of the garden to make it easier to water those, and there’s always repairs and changes to be made to the water system.
On the animal front, as of yet, there are no plans for new animals this spring. We will be putting a nest box extension on the chicken house and painting/staining it also. Eggs are in high production already, so we’ll be looking for someone to share them with.
I’ve also got a few purchases I’ve been saving for (sun oven, water filter, not-so-dangerous food processor) that are on tap to be purchased in the next month or so, so those should lend themselves to a good deal of testing and puttering as soon as they are in hand.
Definitely looking forward to getting outside and playing in the dirt as the weather gets better!
Wait, it’s spring already? When did that happen?
My efforts will be a carry-over from last year, since I’ve been far too busy to have the time necessary to plan any new projects. As such, we’ll be planting a variety of plants in our three planter boxes (using the Mittleider Method), rotating one of our water tanks, replenishing the supplies in our bugout bags, and getting in some more target practice to refresh my skills acquired at Front Sight.
I’ll also be setting up (for the first time) the TurtleTuff Shelter I got late last summer so I’ll know how everything works should I ever need to use it in an emergency.
I hope to get at least one plot set up for a square foot garden in the next week or two, but my main focus lately has been on hydroponics. I built a basic indoor garden a couple of weeks ago, and as of the time of this writing, 4 out of 6 plants have sprouted. Expect at least a short post soon. While I do hope for a decent harvest from both the hydroponic and the square foot gardens, most of what I’m doing is trying new techniques to see how well they work.
It’s so difficult to find fresh lemongrass in Utah. I’ve been wanting to grow it hydroponically for years, but I don’t know that my basic setup is appropriate. I’ve read articles on growing it both conventionally and hydroponically, and am trying to put it altogether. My thoughts are that since it grows via rhizomes, growing it in a little cup probably isn’t conducive to propagation. So I’m thinking about switching from lots of little baskets to one big basket. Design details to come, assuming my wife doesn’t veto it.
Gardening looms large in my sites. I have 3 boxes that I’m getting ready for (using the square foot gardening technique). I’m going to mainly grow a salsa garden, with a few beans and zucchini thrown in. I was lucky to get the lawn mowed last year, so I’m not going to grow a huge garden.
I also need to re-visit my bug out bags and vehicles. When I originally put my bags together I was planning for Armageddon, the problem is that my kids can’t actually carry their bags… I need to scale down a bit and rethink some things. I also want to organize how the bags are put together so that I can rapidly scale up according to both my available retreats, and the means of getting there. For example: weather related disaster, no vehicle = light bags, and destination is the closest church/school.