I was six, and there was very little food in the house that night. I rummaged around in a cupboard and pulled out a nearly empty peanut butter jar, and using a table knife and my finger, I scraped out every bit of it and went to bed early. Being young, I don’t remember if this time lasted days or weeks, but the gnawing feeling of hunger made a profound impact, and from the roots of that childhood experience came the mindset for preparedness and survival. Everyone has a story, and this is mine. It is hoped that by sharing …
This is an interesting time for a gardener in Texas and much of the south, anything USDA zone 7-9 honestly. The heat has fully broken, some rain has returned, night are chilly but days are sunny and warm. Sounds like … Continue reading →
Honestly one of the greatest things I have done on my property is the installation of multiple aquatic systems. I likely have done more than I should have but such is the life of an educator and in the end … Continue reading →
The post Episode-2736- Back Yard Aquatics as a Permaculture Design Element first appeared on The Survival Podcast.
(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) After your pile is built you wait. The microbes do the work. One helpful tool in this part of the process is a compost thermometer that will probe temperatures 18”-24” into the pile. The internal temperature tells you what is going on inside the pile so you know when to turn the pile. We will only be turning the pile once. As you can see this pile is cooking at around 140 degrees, which means my microbes are in turbo mode. You probably don’t want it much hotter than this. The lower …
The post Composting Your Black Gold – Part 2, by Hobbit Farmer appeared first on SurvivalBlog.com.
Composting: Microbes, Black Gold, and Growing the Best Food A search of the SurvivalBlog archives will uncover pages and pages of articles mentioning compost and its value in gardening. However, if there was a startup composting guide I missed it. If you are an experienced composter hopefully you can still learn from this article, but everything here will be geared toward someone just starting out. Be warned I don’t use a sophisticated “fast” method. I work with God’s design, and let the microbes do the work. Well-balanced compost takes time–8-to-12 months with this method. This means you need to start …
The post Composting Your Black Gold – Part 1, by Hobbit Farmer appeared first on SurvivalBlog.com.
“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits” – Henry David Thoreau American homesteaders and gardeners have a high degree of familiarity with eating and growing apples. Who hasn’t enjoyed biting into a fresh, crunchy apple on a cool fall morning? Most homesteaders plant an apple tree or two early on in the process of establishing their property. This makes sense – the apple is deeply connected to American pioneering history and culture. Johnny Appleseed traveled the Ohio River Valley and parts of Appalachia planting apple seeds. Oregon Trail settlers carried seeds and seedlings with them when they came west …
The post Maximizing the Homestead Apple Orchard, by Eric K. appeared first on SurvivalBlog.com.
(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the article.) Microgreens That I Have Grown What follows are descriptions of some of the greens I have grown so far with a few observations I’ve made along the way. If you are planting trays several times a week, you’ll have overlapping harvest periods, and this gives you flexibility in terms of the different combinations you can make at dinner time. Basil Basil grows more slowly, at least initially, but is well worth the wait. I sowed a couple 1020 trays more sparsely than I would normally, and let them grow for a full …
(Continued from Part 1.) Gear and Materials: Soil The first trays I grew using ordinary Central Texas yard dirt and the results were good. But dirt from outdoors can introduce mold, gnats, and other insects, so I have been using potting soil ever since. Professional growers will use various mixtures which might include perlite, vermiculite, compost, or coconut coir. Some grow hydroponically. Some add fertilizers and nutrients. It’s very likely that, by following their recommendations, or through experimentation, I might increase yield or see other benefits. But I’m satisfied with the results I’m seeing for now, and I suspect in …
Introduction In the spring of 2020, it became apparent that the coronavirus posed a potential threat to public safety. The severity of the threat was unclear, so my wife and I, being reasonably well-prepared, decided that our family would ‘batten down the hatches’ until we could better assess the situation. Like many people, we learned a lot. We learned how prepared we were, and we learned how prepared we were not. We had never made a trial assessment of our ability to adapt to a situation like this, so it was an eye-opening opportunity to learn and improve. One of …
I wanted a proactive and fun show today and shows about useful plants are always subscriber favorites. Last night on Episode 5 of Unloose the Goose we discussed the food system and it has a lot of this churning in … Continue reading →
Natalie Bogwalker is the Founder and Director of Wild Abundance, a school that offers classes in permaculture, hide tanning, primitive skills, natural building, and more based in Weaverville, NC. She’s passionate about teaching and sharing tools and skills that are … Continue reading →
This article was originally published by Brandon Smith at Alt-Market.
Building a society is hard. Though people have a tendency to naturally adapt to forms of social order, these systems usually function best as small tribes, not massive collectives. Even when everyone agrees on particular goals, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they still often have conflicts over how to achieve those goals. Small groups have better chances, small voluntary groups are even more successful, as long as they follow a certain set of guidelines. Tribalism is the natural state of mankind, yet these days it’s treated like a taboo concept, especially by the political left.
Then, there is the ever-present outlier, the 1%-5% percent of any given population that has inherent narcissistic and sociopathic qualities. These people make coming to an agreement on anything almost impossible. They hold the world hostage by sabotaging peace and resolution until they get exactly what they want. Sometimes what they want is nothing more than total chaos and destruction. In other cases, they dream big, with notions of dominance and godhood.
If you want to know what a society based on narcopathy actually looks like, that’s easy; just look at the communist movements in Stalinist Russia or Mao’s China, or how about the social justice crucibles within Facebook and Twitter? And, let’s not forget the latest narcopathic experiment in the “CHAZ Republic” autonomous region in Seattle.
The mainstream media would have you believe that CHAZ is a burgeoning progressive Utopia where people live in harmony and free from the police. However, It did not take long before the “self-sustaining” SJW nation of CHAZ became a laughing stock among web denizens, who have been tracking their bumbling exploits with equal parts glee and bewilderment.
When your society is immediately taken over by low budget weak talent rapper “warlords”, when you run out of food and have to order Dominos pizza delivered to your southern border daily and citizens beg for soy-based vegan products to be donated, and when people are attacked by a mob for “unauthorized graffiti” on the wrong turf after that mob already tore up the neighborhood, there’s certainly room for improvement.
There are already some amazing hypocrisies flowing from CHAZ, including the fact that protesters quickly placed barriers and fencing all around the six-block area to keep people they don’t like out. Apparently, Antifa and BLM are now proud advocates of building walls. But two of my favorite examples have happened in the past couple of days, including the man who slipped into CHAZ and started preaching biblical verses at them on the street. This incident should tell you half of what you need to know about the social justice cult.
The man was immediately set upon by a crowd of angry leftists, had his life threatened, was attacked, robbed of his phone, and beaten. In the video of the attack, you can clearly see one of the CHAZ citizens trying to put the man in a chokehold; I guess “I can’t breath…” was a temporary motto.
What is so interesting about this situation to me is that the preacher was doing to them exactly what they do to others – Getting in their faces, arguing a message of belief, refusing to leave even though no one wants him there, and their reaction was to silence the man using violence. The puritanical fraud of Antifa and BLM has never been more obvious. When your mob resides in the media and on Twitter you can use cancel culture to terrorize people into silence. But, in the real world, that stuff is meaningless, and so in order to deal with persistent people, you either have to let them speak or use force.
Welcome to the real world, CHAZ…
The second incident was their attempt at planting a CHAZ food garden. I’ll let a photo of the garden speak for itself:
Now, this garden tells us the other half of the story about the types of people we are dealing with here. I was not present during the planning and formation of this garden, but I can imagine exactly what happened:
The community met in a huge and largely disorganized herd to discuss plans and grievances. Being intellectuals through and through, they enjoy talking endlessly about what should be done while having no expertise in how to make things happen. Someone brought up the issue of food, realizing that if they are going to be “autonomous”, they will have to start producing necessities somehow. With no one among the hundreds or perhaps thousands of people at the meeting with any knowledge of how to grow food, they listened to the first person who claimed he or she could make it happen.
That person then proceeded to the nearest Home Depot where they purchased 50 or so pre-grown plants because growing from seed leaves more room for failure and they have no clue how to do it anyway. Then, they went to the park with a vision, a grand image in their minds of a vast garden of plenty that would feed the community for years.
They then went to plant that garden and quickly realized the grass in the park would overwhelm and steal all the nutrients from their plants. So, they ask a handful of people to dig up the sod to get to the soil underneath. The young men, weak and pasty from years of soy-based products, tried with all their might to wrestle the sod from the ground, but to no avail. They realize digging up and tilling the ground is difficult.
One of them chimes in “This blows, why do we have to do this? Isn’t this supposed to be anarchy? I don’t feel liberated right now, I feel sweaty and annoyed…”
Another worker nods “Yeah, there must be an easier way. Let’s watch YouTube for some ideas….”
They go forth and do so. And low, they discover an endless variety of instructional videos, half of which are made by idiots just like them. The video tells them to lay paper on top of the grass and then soil on top of the paper. They immediately take all the boxes they can find on the street, stealing the homes of many hobos. They lay out the boxes on top of the grass. They venture forth into the neighboring country of America, where potting soil is plentiful.
They purchase the bounty with money borrowed from their parents and then spread 3 inches of soil over the cardboard, set the potted plants on top and viola! A garden any homesteader would be envious of! And then the homeless population shows up to demand their boxes back and reality sets in.
I’m reminded of the book ‘Defiance’ by Nechama Tec, about the partisans that fled to the Belarussian forests to hide from the Nazi occupation during WWII (the movie ‘Defiance’ is based on the same book). The book describes how many of the partisans and Jewish people in the community were college students, professors, and academics. These people realized after a few days that they had no useful skill sets and no knowledge of anything to do with survival. Once at the top of society, during the crisis they found themselves at the bottom of the totem pole. They were essentially useless while working-class farmers and mechanics took over as the leaders.
I am also reminded of the fact that after the Bolshevik revolution, the communists ran off or killed most of the engineers, mechanics, farmers, and other producers within Russian society. The Bolsheviks only survived because Western corporations sent them experts to help them rebuild their manufacturing base (but that is a discussion for another time).
The point is, if you do not know how to produce, you cannot build a society. It’s as simple as that. The residents of CHAZ appear to me to be iPhone entranced yuppies, mostly from upper-middle-class families. When all you have done in your life is talk theory in college and all your knowledge comes from Reddit the idea of application must be highly alien. The thought of actually building a thing must be intergalactic in origin to them.
When people have no understanding of how necessities work or how they are made, when they have no understanding of how food gets onto their plates, they usually have no respect for the people that make these things possible. And I have to warn you, people of CHAZ, most of the folks that make your lives possible have homes in so-called “fly-over country”, and they are conservative.
Interestingly, I find that when people choose to live in a more self-sufficient fashion or are forced to by circumstance, they have a habit of also shifting away from socialist fantasies. They abandon their first-world problems and notions of identity politics when they realize what REAL struggle actually looks like. And, they start to care about concepts like merit, and retaining the value of their work instead of giving away that value to people who don’t deserve it. They start acting like conservatives.
So, I don’t necessarily want the CHAZ Republic to fail. In fact, I would love for these people to go through the struggles of trying to set up a concrete self-sustaining community or “tribe”. Why? Because there is a chance they will come out the other side appreciating the accomplishments of the conservative communities and individuals that already do these things on a regular basis. Maybe they will even convert to “right-wing extremism”; that’s where all the real men are, and we have more fun. The left sucks at building things because their mentality is one of theory and never one of application. All they know is how to tear things down; they have no ability to create.
And to show the people of CHAZ that I’m not all talk like they are, I’ll give them some tips on how to get started as producers. For example, the image below is what a REAL garden looks like:
I carved this new garden plot out of the woods this spring. It took about a month to do everything. Trees had to be cut and I had to remove the stumps by exposing the roots with a shovel and then cutting the taproots with a reciprocating saw. The ground was leveled as best as possible using a bobcat, which I had to learn how to drive beforehand. I then built the raised garden beds, set them into the ground, and dug up and turned all the soil in the beds. Eight inches of fresh soil, a mixture of potting soil and topsoil, was then placed in the beds.
The beds were surrounded by wood chips to help prevent weed growth. I planted seeds which I know from years of experience grow very well in the cooler climate of Montana. I also built a tall fence around the garden and then sprayed the area with garlic-based deer repellent to prevent animals from trying to jump the fence and destroy the plants as they grow. Staple crops in my region are root based, such as potatoes, onions, carrots, etc.
I plant using some seed and potatoes I saved from my crop the year before, but I still have to dip into seeds I purchased, too. Eventually, I would like to plant completely from seed I save from my own crops.
This process requires many seasons of experience to become proficient. It is not easy. It is not simple. It requires hard work, and sometimes you fail anyway. This means you need backup strategies. I have also become an avid hunter and I feel I have finally mastered tracking and stalking. Here is an image of the buck I harvested last hunting season:
And, while gardening and hunting can put food on the table, you may also need to produce items that people are willing to barter to get products and services you can’t provide for yourself. Below is a cedar chest I just built by hand last week. Products like this could be traded in an open market:
You see, a community is only as successful as the individuals within it. Each person should bring with them as many unique skill sets as they can that add to the strength of the tribe. Trade is vital, and the free market of barter must be allowed to thrive, otherwise, there is no incentive for people to put in any effort and your society will die.
I read today that the Republic of CHAZ is thinking about changing their name to “CHOP” in an effort to clarify that they do not intend to secede from the US. I suspect that this change of heart may be due to the fact that the residents and activists there are starting to realize how difficult this self-sufficiency business is. When you declare you are building an autonomous zone, that is a lifetime commitment and one rife with struggle. When you declare you are merely protesting, you can walk away anytime you like and pretend you won the day.
I hope the people of CHAZ don’t quit their goal of establishing a sufficient society, at least not yet. They’ve only been at it about a week, and that’s not enough time for them to really get a sense of the effort and skill that’s needed to become productive. Maybe they’ll exit the CHAZ with a newfound respect for the conservative ideal? Who knows…
I was told today that I needed to do less about plants and yes, this is a quote, “Jack, Don’t mean to sound negative, but our country is burning down!! I know you get excited about new plants. We need … Continue reading →
One of the pillars of homestead food production is growing small grains such as wheat, barley, oats, etc. The classic text for homestead grain production is Small-Scale Grain Raising, by Gene Logsdon (1977). His focus is on using small-scale or appropriate technology, usually human powered. For example, harvesting small grains would entail the use of a scythe for cutting the grain, a flail for threshing the grain followed by tossing the grain into the air to winnow or separate the grain from the chaff. I was raised on a traditional farm in the 1960s and 1970s where we used farm-scale …
The post The $100 Homestead Grain Winnower – Part 1, by PapaP appeared first on SurvivalBlog.com.
Joseph Simcox was awesome on yesterday’s show and after talking to him I looked up more of his stuff. I found this amazing 3 part garden tour on YouTube and listened to all of it and selected 12 plants inspired … Continue reading →
In the aftermath of the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has impoverished millions and destroyed the supply chains all around the world, Americans are at least taking some responsibility. Many are now taking to self-reliance, as they’ve realized the government is not there to help them.
Many people initially obeyed the commands to destroy their lives, shut their businesses, and become good slaves. But a lot of us quickly got fed up with the tyranny as the orders killed jobs, smothered social interactions, and put the entire population of the planet in mental chains. If anything, the plandemic restrictions fed oxygen to the embers of the individualist, anti-authoritarian tradition. Likewise, the lockdowns have fueled old habits of self-reliance, prompting Americans to relearn skills and revive almost-forgotten habits in ways that, for better or worse, may shape the future.
Cooking at home was the first skill to gain new life in a nation that had become increasingly accustomed to take-out, fast food, and sit-down restaurant meals.
“Until recently, learning how to cook, or learning how to cook better, as an adult was considered an aspirational skill akin to learning how to ski—could be nice, might be fun, but would be daunting and could come with potentially expensive start-up costs,” the Washington Post noted in March. –Reason
When you rely only on yourself, you cannot be manipulated or controlled. This is perhaps the biggest blow to the political and ruling classes of the work we’ve seen yet. As David Icke said, “dependency is the greatest form of control.”
Self-ownership, personal responsibility, and self-reliance have all been on the rise since the elitists insisted on trying to bury the public in fear and horrific tyrannical restrictions on literally everything. People have risen up though, and perhaps this is the point in history when people got off their knees.
Americans now have a renewed interest in gardening. “We sold more seeds in March than at any other time in our 144-year history,” announced George Ball, chairman of The Burpee Company. And yes, those are “mostly vegetable seeds and plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and beans,” according to House Beautiful.
Canning supplies and online lessons in food preservation also took off, as people realized they have to use or store anything they grow. Food waste is becoming a thing of the past. Whether Americans want to continue doing things for themselves after the lockdowns ease and life returns to some form of normal depends on how much they enjoy the experience. Many will pick a life of convenience if that’s back on the menu. But the harsh reality of what the government is may dictate an extension of the DIY experiment for some time to come.
To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities and planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, ranch improvements, bug out bag fine-tuning, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. Note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy …
We have all likely seen the reports that food shortages are coming. This seems to be the one thing that the mainstream media and alternative media can agree upon. A lot of reports are pushing Bill Gates’ fake meat, others are showing that these food shortages are being enforced by the government as a means to keep people afraid and under their control.
Farmers are coming out saying they have been told to “quit farming,” are being forced to dump milk, and kill chickens, and turn vegetable crops under. Why? Isn’t it obvious? To scare the public into accepting dependency on the government so they will remain in a constant state of fear and enslavement. But there’s a way out. If food shortages are coming, there is a way to prepare.
Governments are banking on us not figuring out what they are doing. But it’s too late. We already know. And we can stop it if enough people open their eyes.
Ready Nutrition wrote an excellent article on how to prepare for food shortages. The first advice offered is the best: become more self-sustainable, to any degree.
You need to make the effort to become more reliant on yourself for your food regardless of what the media reports. No matter what happens, self-reliance is freedom. This is often seen as difficult in our minds, but it can be done! Any amount of improvement in the are of food self-sufficiency will go far when the grocery store’s shelves start to empty.
Order seeds online. It only takes a small amount of research to figure out what kind of vegetables and/or fruit you can easily grow in your own yard or balcony. Ready Nutrition offers a “garden in a can” which is an excellent way to grab some seeds from the comfort of your own home. With over 5,000 seeds in the can, this is what you get in a Homestead Vegetable Garden-In-A-Can. –Ready Nutrition
If you really can’t garden, there are some things you can pick up right now in bulk to get you through 3-6 months worth of empty grocery store shelves.
- Canned beans (don’t forget to keep a manual WORKING can opener on hand at all times! I have two backups just in case!)
- Canned fruits
- Canned vegetables
- Canned meats such as spam, tuna, sardines, or chicken
- Bulk dried beans
- Bulk rice
- Canned soups
- Cooking oil (healthy oils are advised, such as coconut oil or olive oil or avocado oil)
- Seasonings (salt, pepper, paprika, baking essentials like yeast, baking soda, baking powder, etc.)
- Dried vegetables (great snacks and additions to soups)
- Seeds and nuts (chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds)
- Nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter)
- Frozen vegetables
Another tip is to learn to forage for edible plants. Wild food is FREE. The more you pick it, the more it grows. The book Free Food and Medicine Worldwide Edible Plant Guide by Markus Rothkranz is an excellent resource because it includes both medicinal and edible plants. My suggestion is to buy an actual hard copy of a book like this one (if you don’t like this book, there are several others you can choose from) and take it outside with you so that you can learn before things get dire.
Also, get your hands on Tess Pennington’s Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals.
Emma Biggs is a 14-year-old gardener and garden communicator. Emma raised over 130 tomato varieties in her Toronto garden in 2019—gardening in containers, in straw bales on a driveway, in a neighbor’s yard, in wicking beds under a walnut tree, … Continue reading →
I am going to say a bit more on the concept of treating CoVid with hydroxychloroquine today and play a patient testimonial as well. Doing this because I feel we 100% need to educate people about this. Doctors are still … Continue reading →
Water storage can be a big problem for those with limited space and no well. But there is a way to still prepare for your water needs in the event of a long term emergency. You can use a Do-it-yourself rainwater harvesting system.
There is more than one way to go about creating your own system to have water when the SHTF. Additionally, rainwater harvesting is one of the most self-sufficient and environment-friendly methods of using water. You are collecting water from the sky as it falls, all the while trying to utilize is as much as you can, and without a price tag looming on it.
The average roof collects 600 gallons (2,271.2 L) of water for every inch of rainfall and you can make a rainwater collection system for under a hundred dollars and store hundreds of gallons of water to use for your garden or other purposes. Make sure you have a filtration system in place before drinking this water just to be safe.
Please be aware that some states have banned rainwater collection and harvesting.
Installing a simple rain barrel to collect water is pretty easy. Through this do-it-yourself tutorial, you can make it in no time and start harvesting water in just four steps. Connecting a rain barrel system to the rainwater drainage pipes is an efficient way of collecting rainwater. What I also like about this tutorial is the reliance on visuals to explain the process, which is always helpful, especially to those who are new to prepping.
What You’ll Need
Obtain one or more water storage barrels. We suggest a food-grade BPA-free plastic water storage barrel (in case this water needs to be used for human consumption). A rain barrel can also be made from a large plastic trash can if you are on a budget and intend to use the water only in a garden or for washing. You’ll want a barrel that will hold 30 to 55 gallons (113.6 to 208.2 L) of water.
- If you decide to get a used barrel, make sure that it didn’t formerly contain oil, pesticides, or any other type of toxic substance. It’s too difficult to clean these chemicals from the inside of the barrel, so using them is too risky.
- If you plan on collecting a lot of water, get two or three barrels. You’ll be able to connect them so they’re all part of the same water collection system and this way you can have hundreds of gallons of water at your disposal.
- 1 standard 1-inch hose spigot with ¾-in. pipe threads, so you can access water from your rain barrel.
- 1 ¾-inch x ¾-inch coupling
- 1 ¾-inch x ¾-inch bushing
- 1 ¾-inch pipe thread with a 1-inch hose adapter
- 1 ¾-inch lock nut
- 4 metal washers
- 1 roll Teflon thread tape
- 1 tube silicone caulk
- 1 “S”-shaped aluminum downspout elbow, to direct water from your downspout to your rain barrel
- 1 piece of aluminum window screen, to keep leaves, bugs and other materials out of your water
- 4-6 concrete blocks
Once you’ve got the supplies needed, level the area next to your downspout by clearing away any debris. Make sure you’ve cleared an area big enough to fit all the barrels you’d like to use. Put down a layer of pea gravel. This will provide better drainage around the rain barrels and help keep water away from the foundation of your home. Dig a 5-inch deep rectangle in the area you leveled to accommodate the rain barrels, and fill it with 1?2 inch (1.3 cm) of pea gravel. If you are putting barrels on concrete, don’t worry about the pea gravel. Stack the concrete blocks on the pea gravel to create a raised platform for your rainwater barrels.
Drill a spigot hole in the side of your barrel. It should be high enough up on the barrel to fit a bucket or water jug underneath. Make a 3/4-inch hole to properly fit the spigot you bought. Use caulk on both the inside and outside of the hole. Put the spigot and the coupling together. Use Teflon tape to wrap the threaded ends to create a tight seal and prevent leakage. Put a washer on the threaded end of the coupling and insert it through the hole in the barrel from the outside. Slip another washer over the pipe from the inside. Attach the bushing to hold the spigot in place.
(For pictures, please click here or watch the video below)
Next, make an overflow valve. Click here for detailed instructions if you are using more than one barrel. Put a filer at the top of the downspout so leaves and debris stay out of your water. Connect the downspout using the “S” elbow to your rain barrels.
This is just a simple way to start collecting rainwater, and there is more than one way to do this. Make it work for you and your situation. Prepping really isn’t a “one size fits all” deal. We all have different setups and needs, so create something that works for you. If something doesn’t work in this guide, scrap it and find what does work. We simply hope this gives you ideas on how to better prepare for an emergency.
Also, if you are new to prepping, don’t worry about trying this! We all started somewhere and as you get more ideas, you’ll be able to discover new and innovative ways to make things work for you in your current situation. Most preppers are here to help and offer advice that’s worked for them personally. If nothing else, you’ll come away with some great ideas on how to advance your preparedness.
Based on the current situation with the pandemic and people emptying grocery stores because of it, there’s a desire to want to keep your vegetables fresh as long as possible. It’s possible to get more life out of them when utilizing cold storage.
Most preppers will use this method of storage in the fall after harvesting their crop for the year from their own garden. But it can be used to keep store-bought produce fresh too, even though those vegetables are not as fresh. This method won’t work for all fruits and vegetables, but most can be stored this way.
Also, keep in mind, cold storage won’t work in places where it stays warm year-round, or climates that don’t get a “full winter.” Your vegetables also won’t last forever. When planting this spring, choose your vegetables wisely (what will grow well in your area and what will store well based on climate). Keep an eye on them throughout the winter and don’t be shy about using them!
Follow These General Rules of Food Storage
- Store only fully mature vegetables. Immature fruits and vegetables will rot quickly. Hold off harvesting as long as possible, especially with root vegetables that can withstand some frost.
- Do not store vegetables that have been bruised or nicked or that show the slightest sign of rot. Be careful when handling them.
- Remove all excess soil. Don’t wash the vegetables, just let them dry and brush off the soil. You can wash them well before using them.
- Thoroughly clean your storage area before each use.
- Keep the storage area dark.
- Do not expose stored vegetables to temperatures below freezing.
- Check on your stored vegetables every week or two. Storage times are just approximations since vegetables, temperatures, and conditions can vary widely.
- Use vegetables taken from cold storage as soon as possible. They will not last as long as they would if they had been freshly picked.
- Dry vegetables: (winter squash, pumpkins, onions, garlic) require less effort to store, but they need more space. Since indoor humidity is low during the winter, make use of any unused, dark spaces and corners. These vegetables store best if they are kept up off the floor and are not allowed to touch each other. If you must pile things on top of each other, you will need to check them more frequently.
- Moist vegetables: (potatoes, root crops, cabbages) should be stored in a container, rather than exposed to air. Traditional methods include storing them in peat, sand, sawdust or newspaper, but you can also use plastic bags or cardboard. If you choose to use plastic, make sure there are a few holes, for excess moisture to escape. To contain the odor of stored cabbages, you can wrap them in a couple of sheets of newspaper first.
You likely have one of the following places available in your home to storage some healthy vegetables over the winter months.
- Basements – Cool, dry basements (50 – 60 F and 60 – 65 % relative humidity) will keep most vegetables fresh for at least a couple of months. Make sure the vegetables have good air circulation and some ventilation.
- Attics and Entryways – If these spaces are unheated, they can be used for spreading out and storing vegetables that like dry conditions. Even an unheated spare room can be put to use storing a few winter squashes on dressers or tabletops.
- Root Cellars – For ideal cold, moist conditions, (32 – 40 F and 90 – 95% relative humidity), consider a root cellar. A root cellar can be anything that remains above freezing, from a bucket in the ground, to a crawl space under the porch, to an unheated section of the basement, to a cement enclosure build into the side of a hill. Even in a root cellar, the vegetables will need ventilation and probably some insulation against temperature fluctuations. You also need to ensure that rodents cannot get to them.
Take the time to look up each vegetable and the conditions they need to be stored in. Not all are the same. To make things more simple, you can choose to plant vegetables that will all store in relatively similar conditions, and that will make things much easier.
H/T [The Spruce]
Figure out the crop timing for your exact location The last frost date indicated on the USDA frost maps is only a ballpark figure for your area. You should have a garden journal where you keep track of the date each year for future reference and planning. Some crops such as beets, turnips, potatoes, and radishes can take some frost. Other crops like tomatoes, peppers, and sweet potatoes will be pretty upset if you plant them and they get frosted so don’t take any chances with those. Timing is important for other reasons as well. Some crops should be harvested …
(Continued from Part 1.) If you’re on a tighter budget, then there are inexpensive ways to create a lot of compost for next year’s garden. You can start a huge compost pile by cleaning out chicken coops, animal stalls, obtaining mushroom spawn from your local mushroom farm, adding grass clippings, Starbucks coffee grounds, dead leaves, etc. Do some googling and brainstorming to come up with ideas on how to get as much organic material as possible to get a huge first-year compost pile going. The woodier and the chunkier the materials, the slower they will compost so avoid things like …