Gardening

No matter your cause for preparedness, from a financial need to getting ready for the end of the world, it’s impossible to have enough food storage to last forever. Even if you could, stored food will never have the nutritional value or financial benefits of gardening for yourself.

These posts should give you tips and experiences we have found as we’ve worked to get better at gardening ourselves. Learn to overcome the difficulties involved in growing food in Utah and the rest of the Intermountain west.

Utah Prepare Conference

Utah Prepare Conference Logo

Utah Prepare Conference Logo

It’s that time of year again. And just saying ‘Conference Time’ in Utah doesn’t count, because there is more that one event matching that description next month. The one in question for this post is this years “Utah Prepare Conference & Expo“.

Last year this event was a great success, an informative chance to meet with many of the best preparedness resources in Utah in one place, with a wide selection of classes to attend.  This year the event will be held at the South Towne Expo center making it a bit easier for everybody from the southern area to attend.

This event is put on by the USU Extension office and will be on Saturday, April 13, 2013 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Hope to see folks there (look for the people wearing Utah Preppers shirts!)

As an added bonus, use the promo code “prepper” when registering for $2 off each ticket!

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Aquaponic Gardening

As a teenager I was able to visit DisneyWorld, and among the time I spent there I remember passing through the Epcot center and seeing their hydroponic gardens.  They were amazing systems that displayed the potential for growing food without dirt. As a kid of course I thought this was something designed simply for use in spaceships, why else would you not have *dirt*? I learned how the workers needed to make sure the water had the correct nutrients for the plants, all that good soil would normally provide. (more…)

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A Simple Fix For Farming

I was recently pointed to a great op-ed piece in the NYTimes discussing the results of a research article titled: “Increasing Cropping System Diversity Balances Productivity, Profitability and Environmental Health“.  Now of course most people aren’t going to immediately associate that title with something useful to a prepper, but given a second to review it you’ll see it makes absolute sense.  The basic purpose of the article was to test different processes of crop rotation on large scale farming, to see if it reduced water and fertilizer requirements.

The summary, it did, and incredibly well.

Why is that important for a prepper, or people in general? Because it’s not just important to store food, but to be able to grow it. To grow healthy, tasty food that your family can thrive on.  Even if you have a tiny lot and are producing just a little food, crop rotation concepts are very important. By changing what and where you plant you can avoid buildup of various plant diseases, fungus, or pests. Just think, the best prevention for squash bugs is as simple as not planting in the same place every year.

The benefits absolutely increase the larger your production. By adding in animals into your rotation, you get natural soil improvement without any of the chemicals commonly used today.

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Preparedness items at local Sam’s Clubs

I work near a Sam’s Club and sometime head over for a lunchtime visit. It is hard to beat a Polish Dog and soda at $1.50 for lunchtime frugality. While I am there I often browse through the store to see what seasonal items are on display. Over the last couple months I’ve noticed a few preparedness items at local Sam’s Clubs.

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Testing Seed Germination Rates

If you have seed saved from prior years, it is a good idea to test the germination rate before planting your whole garden with it. Depending on the rate of germination, you can decide if you want to plant normally, plant more thickly, plant single sprouts, or just toss the seed out and start with fresh seed.

Testing seed germination also just happens to be a requirement for the Boy Scouts’ Gardening merit badge, so my son got to do this project for us this year while I took pictures. Here’s how we do it.

1. Gather the seed you want to test. Just for fun, I gave him some cucumber seed I had left from the survival seed can packed for planting in 2000. That’s 12 year old cucumber seed.
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Prepping featured on the Today Show this morning – Today Show Preppers

NBCs Today Show via Google Image Search
As I was getting for work this morning, like most mornings I had the morning news on so I can try to be up to date on those events that are reported on. As I was finishing up and getting ready to walk out the door, the Today Show on NBC came on following the local news. One of the first things they mentioned? The growing number of “preppers preparing for the end of the world”.
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Dealing With Squash Bugs

The following is a guest post from Fern Miller a homeschooling Mom, wife, small business owner, internet marketer, and staff to two cats, who finally lives in a state with concealed carry. She blogs regularly at Fern’s Fronds which is her blog covering a wide swath of topics from preparedness, gardening, firearms, all from a distinctly wiccan point of view.  Enjoyably candid, she has a great practical approach to why and how somebody should be a prepper. Also available on twitter @Fernwise.

Blessings Darlings!

Lately lots of folks have been blogging about their plans for their upcoming gardens, and sighing about he bug-based problems they encountered last year.  I know that my neighbors and I had LOTS of problems with our squash from bugs, both from them simply sucking the life out of the leaves and from them turning the vines to mush.
Now, unlike my  neighbors, I DID get a really good crop before the bugs toasted the squash plants.  But my squash season ended earlier than it had to.  I don’t want a repeat of that.

This year I plan on dealing with the insect problems better than I did last year.  Which is why I’ve been researching the problems and solutions NOW. (more…)

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Living in the Past: Iron Age Reality

Yesterday I was linked to a BBC show on youtube that I found quite interesting. The video was a follow-up, thirty years after the filming of a show called Living in the past. The show itself was in effect a reality show, but not one designed on conflict, but the actual experience of a group living as a community in an iron age setting in England.

It’s quite interesting seeing a nice summary of their experiences, and how living a truly primitive lifestyle for 13 months changed the way they think.
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Backyard Chickens

Over the past year, I have noticed an increased interest in raising chickens arising all over the nation. Locally, KSL has published several articles recently about this phenomenon (see below) as has the Wall Street Journal (also below) and most prepper blogs. My family started keeping backyard chickens about four years ago and have had some good success. In this article we’ll summarize some of the benefits to raising chickens, what you’ll need to get started and some links to resources to help you out once you’ve got your flock.

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Review: The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers

Walking along the book aisle in Costco the other day, I came to a rather sudden stop as a specific book caught my eye. With a name like The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers, can you blame me?  This was obviously a book stocked for a local audience, so I hope our non-Utah readers can find a copy.  Author Caleb Warnock is a local (Alpine, Utah) writer, year-round gardener, and teacher of “Forgotten Skills” classes.  It also helped when I noticed one of the people listed in the special thanks section is a friend of mine, and local sci-fi author (how’s that for a tight-knit Utah Valley). Also at only $11 or so, any tidbit that might help will likely pay dividends well over the purchase price of the book.

This book also stood out to me, because I often wonder *how* my family managed to get enough food to live.  My mom’s side of the family was that oft-discussed “hearty pioneer stock”.  However I have noticed that while many farmed to live, I have a long history of blacksmiths and military.  There is no hiding that this must be because I inherited a really lousy black-thumb, they took up other trades because of this family curse. I’m one of those people who has to work really hard to make part of his garden succeed.  I enjoy blaming my heritage on this, as it cannot be some failing of my own, right?  So I felt driven to read this book, and find out how they managed to live, despite my inability to grow enough of the right foods in the wasteland of Utah.

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Food Production Systems DVD Giveaway Winner Announcement

We recently posted a review of the Food Production Systems For a Backyard or Small Farm DVD (see it here. As part of the review we were proud to offer a free DVD to one of our readers who commented on the review. Friday night I used Random.org to randomly select a winner from the 40 eligible (Sorry Jayce and Connor) entries.

The winner as determined by the random number generator is…
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Food Production Systems DVD Review and Giveaway

Can a two hour DVD turn you into a self sufficient farmer, providing all the food for your family on your postage stamp sized yard? Of course not. (If you think this is possible, let me know. I have a unique business opportunity to discuss with you :D ) However, the Food Production Systems For a Backyard or Small Farm DVD Is a wealth of information on how one family managed to do just that (on a bit of acreage) through trial and error over a decade. A full review of the DVD after the jump.
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