gardening

Time to Plan for the Spring Growing Season

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Since it appears there will be no economic recovery for the majority of Americans this year, it’s pertinent that we continue to prepare to live with less money. That doesn’t necessarily mean a lower quality of life, especially when it comes to good food. Speculation is that more families will garden this year and that seed supplies will sell out even faster than in 2009. January is a good time to order seed and plan.

For those of us who were around in the late 60’s, early 70’s, the Whole Earth Catalog was our ‘bible’ to self sufficiency. Between it and the tales of the great depression from our parents and grandparents it was a starting point whose time has come again.

Whole Earth has a website here if you want to take a look back at it.

From the Daily Survival comes a link to a ton of information on self sufficient living. Since there’s a globalist plan to turn the U.S. into a third world country, some of the info may come in handy.

It’s 13 gig of pamphlets, instructional manuals and how-to guides for the third world. A combination of resources by a whole alphabet soup of governments and NGOs like USAID and Peace Corps. You can find detailed, easy to read instructions for raising just about every kind of livestock and edible plant, how to build or make simple farming and building machines and how to build everything from houses to water rams to fish farms.

Your tax dollars probably paid for it, you might as well get some use out of it.

http://www.cd3wd.com/cd3wd_40/cd3wd/index.htm

Organic Gardening is a long time source of gardening info and not to dissuade you from subscribing to the print edition but most of the information needed is available not only at their site but also throughout the net with simple searches.

Seedman.com is an excellent source of all kinds of seeds. It’s even recommended by the local farmers co-op for some things that they don’t carry.

And don’t waste any kitchen scraps and organic material. Compost it. If you don’t have room for a compost pile or just don’t want to fool with it, there’s always trench composting which can be utilized easily.

The main thing is to do a little planning, a little more learning and keep a little more change in our pocket instead of spending it on high priced organic produce or low quality factory farm foods. We’ll always need that extra change for something else.

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Plant Early, Plant Often

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middle TN 4/20/09

One thing I learned about gardening from the old timers many years ago was that in order to get really good cool weather crops you have to plant as early as possible. It pays off to prepare your beds during the winter and be ready to plant when the opportunity arises. Raised beds are a plus. Due to rain and cold, I was actually about a week late from what I planned and most of the early crops didn’t go in until March 3.

We’ve been eating lettuce and spinach salads with a little broccoli, spring onions and chives added in for the last three days so that was only 42 days from planting to first meal. The potatoes and peas are coming along nicely as are the 21 six inch high garlic plants from two bulbs. We should have salads everyday for another 6 weeks.

Not everything has gone so well. About half of the Vidalia onion plants died and the cabbage plants are not looking good. Perfection is rare in an early garden.

With a little weather cooperation, all of the summer crops except sweet potatoes will be planted by this weekend.

As food prices take a big chunk out of everyone’s budget, I have a feeling we will need all of the good fresh food we can grow, eat and preserve.

Gardening still remains one the endeavors we can undertake for ourselves and our families without government interference. At least for this year.

Garden Day – Chicken Manure

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Photobucket Bill’s chickens

After several years of having what I suppose you could call a vegan garden, one where no animal products are used, I decided to to go back to a tried and true aspect…free manure.

In this economic malaise I thought the boost might increase yield and along with quality and taste, yield is very important.

My old friend Bill has a chicken coop/stall in his barn so I cleaned about half of it out and got approximately 600 pounds of almost granulated manure. The coop had not been cleaned out for years. If you are going to raise chickens for eggs, you might as well do it right and Bill does that. Only the best feed and he even gives them ground oyster shells that make for a strong egg shell . With 14 pullets he gets about 10-12 eggs per day, gives away some and sell others for $1.50 a dozen. He loves his chickens and they repay him with almost perfect eggs.
So I’d say the manure is good quality also.

The big plant boost will be from chicken manure tea. In each of four 30 gallon trash cans I put in 20 pounds of the manure and filled them up with water. I will stir this periodically and after 3 to 4 weeks it should be ready. To be on the safe side so as not to ‘burn’ any plants, I’ll use it diluted by half and try to feed the plants right before a rain if at all possible.

I then filled up a 3×6 compost bed with about a foot of the manure, covered it with straw and will let it sit until late summer when it should be broken down enough for a lettuce and spinach crop and hopefully have some late season salads.

The rest of the chicken manure was broadcast lightly over the rest of the unplanted garden and sprinkled in between the already up lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, chives and onions and on top of the potatoes planted but not yet up.

It should be worth the effort.

A Run on Seed?

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https://i2.wp.com/www.rutherfordfarmerscoop.com/img/main/mi2_836.jpgWill demand exceed supply?

The continued economic collapse has an increasing number of people thinking about growing their own food.

This self reliant attitude as a hedge against rising prices and decline in quality was evident in a trip to the local farmers co-op yesterday.

The seed potatoes were sold out. Certain popular garden varieties such as Blue Lake bush green were also gone and in talks with several employees they confirmed that they had no idea if if they were going to get any more in. The word was there is going to be a seed shortage.

The plants; cabbage, broccoli, Vildalia onions etc. from major source Bonnie Farms were poor looking.

The local Mennonite store did have plenty of good quality seed potatoes but none of my favorite, Yukon Gold. The plants they had were well taken care of and I picked up a flat of them. This store will thrive during the coming months.

The best advice would be to use the old time, non-hybrid seed this year and save your own. Starting plants from seed will save a lot of money as the prices for them are not cheap.

The run on seed and plants could possibly be a harbinger of things to come.

Moon Signs

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From my own and other peoples experiments, I have seen that planting by the ‘signs’ does have significant positive results. Not noticeable in every single case, I do think it’s worth the effort to try. No superstitious belief, it’s one way that nature works.

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Granny Miller

“To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under heaven.

A time to be born, and a time to die.
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1


I sometimes get questions about “planting by the signs”.

On occasion I’ve been asked whether or not I pay attention to the “moon signs”?
Does it work?
Do I think moon sign gardening or farming is superstitious, witchcraft or evil?

The short answers are: yes, I think so and no.

The term “planting by the signs” is a colloquial expression or folk term for the ancient practice of timing certain agricultural tasks by the moon’s astrological position in the zodiac.

It’s my opinion that there does seem to be some advantage in timing gardening, livestock, medical, construction and day to day tasks according to the moon’s natural monthly cycle and by it’s position as it passes through the belt of constellations that we call the zodiac.

For our agrarian ancestors, the understanding and application of natural cycles and rhythms to their lives was a matter of life and death.

It’s the reason why almanacs were so wide spread and heavily used.

Agricultural astrology is a very involved subject and it’s impossible to do it justice in a short blog post.

The purpose of this post is to present a brief peak at agricultural astrology.

The following is an example of why this knowledge was and is so important.

Instead of giving the routine explanation for the best time to plant above ground crops, set fence posts or mow fields, I thought instead, I’d show the application of agricultural astrology in livestock management.

The Castration of Animals: Picking the Best Day

Our agrarian ancestors lived closer to the earth than most people do today.

They understood and faithfully applied the ancient principles that had been passed to them by every preceding generation.

It wasn’t important for them to understand the science of why something worked.
Just that it did work.

Before the days of bloodless banding, cutting was the only method of castration for male animals.

In fact in many ways cutting is still today the superior method.

But even today with good veterinary hygiene infection is a risk with surgical castration.

Never mind the risks that were involved to animals before the days of antibiotics.

Losing an animal to bleeding or infection was a serous economic loss to our forbears and was to be avoided at all costs.

Good animal husbandry would have required that a farmer chose a day for castration that would carry less risk for his animals.

Using The Moon’s Natural Cycle
Every month the moon goes through a 4 stage natural cycle.

The lunar cycle goes from darkness – New Moon
To increasing light – Waxing Moon
To full light – Full Moon
To decreasing light – Waning Moon
And then completes the cycle to full darkness again.

Through observation, it appears that bleeding and other natural functions are increased during the waxing phase of the lunar cycle.
Conversely bleeding is decreased during the waning phase of the lunar cycle.

Our ancestors were well familiar with this phenomena.
As was the ancient Greek physician and Father of Medicine – Hippocrates.

To lessen the bleeding associated with castration the most favorable time to cut the scrotum and remove testicles would be when the moon is in it’s extreme waning phase.

What is even more interesting, is that routine livestock or animal welfare practices seem to have less complications and more favorable outcomes when carried out under certain zodiac “signs” that the moon is passing through.

Here’s the reason why:

Every month the moon passes through all 12 signs of the zodiac; spending just under 2 1/2 days in each sign.

Each of the 12 zodiac signs is associated with a different part of the body.
The zodiac begins in Aries which governs the head and ends in Pisces which governs the feet.
Each sign “rules” a part of the body.

What’s more, is that each of the zodiac signs or group of signs has certain qualities or characteristics associated with them.

The Water Signs:

Cancer – Breast & Stomach
Scorpio – Reproductive system & lower bowels
Pisces – Feet

Water signs are said to be feminine, wet, nutritive or fruitful.

The Fire Signs:

Aries – Head
Leo – Heart
Sagittarius -Thighs

Fire signs are said to be masculine, barren and dry.

The Earth Signs:

Capricorn – Knees & Bones
Taurus – Neck
Virgo – Upper bowel

Earth signs are said to be earthy and feminine.

The Air Signs:

Libra – Veins & kidneys
Aquarius -Lower legs
Gemini – Arms & respiratory system

Air signs are said to be masculine and airy.

As the moon is passing through each position of the zodiac, the part of the body that is “ruled” by that sign becomes very sensitive.

Procedures done to benefit the particular part of the body that the sign “rules” seem to be of more lasting benefit.
Quicker results are noted.

Conversely anything that is to the detriment of that part of the body is compounded.

As the moon passes through each of the 12 signs of the zodiac energy is “pulled” through the body.
From the head to the feet.

Back to our castration example:

A date must be picked so that bleeding and infection is minimized.

By applying the understanding that bleeding is lessened during the waning phase of the moon, a time should be picked towards the end of the lunar cycle.

The qualities air and dryness seems to control the spread of infection in open wounds.

The knowledge that Aquarius is a dry, airy and barren sign is helpful in determining what the best day is to lessen possible infection.

What’s more, Aquarius is a zodiac sign that is moving away from the reproductive organs and towards the feet.

So the best day for the castration of animals would be when the moon is waning and passing through the sign of Aquarius.

To help me find that day I would need to consult an almanac.

The principles of moon sign agriculture are inclusive of all agricultural activities not just animal health and welfare.

Information for the best times to plant, weed, prune, breed animals, wean animals & children, castrate, harvest crops, set fence posts, logging, grafting and many other agricultural practices can be found in John Baer’s Almanac, The Old Farmer’s Almanac or any other reliable agricultural almanac.

For those who may believe that “planting by the signs” is pure superstition I would encourage you to suspend judgment, experiment for yourself and engage in a closer scrutiny of the natural world.

Why not get an almanac, 6 tomato plants and try planting them on favorable days and on unfavorable days and see what happens?

For those who may consider agricultural astrology to be witchcraft or evil; well, at one time people thought that about electricity and epilepsy too.

“Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and for years.”
-Genesis 1:14

Time to Prepare

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Take the time to prepare for the coming financial woes.


by Gwen Caldwell

The financial stability of our country is in peril. Unemployment continues to rise. The housing market continues to fall. Banks are failing at an unprecedented rate. The stock markets are unstable, as is our dollar. Folks, the new regime in Washington is not going to fix this problem! No matter how many bailouts they want us to pay for, we are only applying a band-aid to a gaping wound in the financial jugular vein of this country! It will not stop the bleeding.

We have got to start facing the facts and preparing for the total collapse of our financial system as we know it. Start downsizing now! Get your pantries stocked with food, water, essential vitamins and medicines. Making these preparations now may not only save your life, but will ensure that your quality of life is not reduced in the face of economic disaster.

I encourage all of you to look around your homes at the things that you could liquidate right now to create storage space for food and that can create extra financial resources for stocking up on food. Quit eating out, avoid fast food and junk food. Eat popcorn, fruits and vegetables for snacks to keep your immune system built up and save money.

Think about those things that will disappear in a crisis and make sure you have them. Oil lamps and oils, batteries, diapers, camp stoves and fuel, guns and ammo, toilet paper are things that come to mind. Think about those things that might be good barter items in your area…get them.

I urge you to go online and purchase heritage garden seeds, so that you can grow your own food. Even if you live in a small apartment you can plant food in containers to help you supplement what is in your pantry. Buy sprouting seeds and a sprouter. Buy canning jars, so that you have a means of preserving your food.

There are many excellent videos at http://www.youtube.com on sustainability, survival skills, long term food storage, growing urban gardens and so forth. Take the time to educate yourselves on these skills.

I believe that our time to prepare is short and would encourage all of you to do what you can now. I have already noticed that the shelves at the stores where I live have less selection and fewer items. It is not inconceivable that one day the shelves will be empty.

We will not be getting a bail out, be assured. Our bail out is how we prepare now and how well we do it.

more: http://www.nolanchart.com/article5864.html

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Survival Gardening: Growing Food During A Second Great Depression

My point for you non-farmers out there, is that you are not going to feed yourself with a Mantis tiller and 1,000 square feet of sandy dirt that requires you to pump endless ground water irrigation just to keep your crops alive. If you committed enough to surviving that you purchase over 20 firearms and 20,000 rounds of ammo (a good start) I am suggesting that you need to consider a similar commitment to growing food.

more – Daily Survival

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Food Security

Our high-tech civilization depends on a precarious balance. Our beautiful cities, the urban hives where millions of lives are stacked up and laid out, are like black holes sucking in tons of food every day. Each depends on the produce of acre on acre of industrial factory-farming to feed its teeming masses. To modern humans in developed nations, food comes not from the land but from the supermarket. We are affluent to the point where obesity has become epidemic – how ludicrous, that one of the great plagues of our lifestyle is that we have too much to eat! Well, friends, this is all going to change. Losing immediate access to food is one thing that is going to catch the majority of our population very much by surprise.

Start growing your own food, this spring if at all possible.

Another thing to keep firmly in mind is that having a ready supply of food is going to make you a target. I’m going to talk about self defense in another post. For now suffice it to say, start thinking about how you’re going to protect your home and your garden.
Long term food security is going to be a bit harder to achieve. If I sound alarmist, it’s because the state of the world has me alarmed; and I happen to live in a province devoted primarily to agriculture. I can only imagine what things could be like for people who live in less rural areas. If the optimists are right, and the collapse decides to give us some breathing room, now would be a very good time to start planting our survival plots, thinking about turning every green space we can find into community gardens, and convincing some of the masses who are being laid off at this very moment to take up urban farming full time. I’m convinced that with some work and technological advance, we can get to the point where cities can provide their own food sustainably without relying on the factory farm infrastructure; but I very much fear that a year, or even two, is just more time that people will spend not thinking very hard about where their next meal is coming from. The habit of depending on people hundreds of miles away to serve us our meals is too ingrained. It may well take a sharp shock to the stomach to remind us that when you can’t feed yourself, nothing else matters.

more – After the Crash

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Growing Edible Sprouts

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikibooks/en/thumb/d/d9/AlfalfaSprouts1.jpg/300px-AlfalfaSprouts1.jpg All the info you need here, or here.

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As an example, Mr. Obama should have the staff gardener put in an organic garden this spring and report on it via his web site.

Growing Food on the White House Lawn

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My list of easy to grow, in a fairly small space, nutritious vegetables for a moderate climate, in no particular order.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Spinach
Lettuce varieties
Onions
Tomatoes
Peppers, hot and sweet
Carrots
Turnip greens, Kale
Early peas

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My wish list for survival and healthy living includes hemp foods.

There is one thing that we all have in common: this tiny planet we share. Today the world is throwing around terms like “sustainability” and “green living” but what does that really mean? Hemp is one of the most diverse plants on the planet, and could literally supply most of humankinds needs for fuel, food, clothing, building products, and medicine. Despite its usefulness, hemp is illegal to grow in the United States.

This site is intended to be an avenue for the community to empower themselves with information. There is a truth that must be heard!

Why should farmers grow hemp?
Because hemp is the ultimate cash crop, producing more fiber, food and oil than any other plant on the planet.

According to the Notre Dame University publication, The Midlands Naturalist, from a 1975 article called, “Feral Hemp in Southern Illinois,” about the wild hemp fields that annual efforts from law enforcement eradication teams cannot wipe out, an acre of hemp produces:

1. 8,000 pounds of hemp seed per acre.

  • When cold-pressed, the 8,000 pounds of hemp seed yield over 300 gallons of hemp seed oil and a byproduct of
    6,000 pounds of high protein hemp flour.

These seed oils are both a food and a biodiesel fuel. Currently, the most productive seed oil crops are soybeans, sunflower seeds and rape seed or canola. Each of these three seed oil crops produce between 100 to 120 gallons of oil per acre. Hemp seed produces three times more oil per acre than the next most productive seed oil crops, or over 300 gallons per acre, with a byproduct of 3 tons of food per acre. Hemp seed oil is also far more nutritious and beneficial for our health than any other seed oil crop.

In addition to the food and oil produced, there are several other byproducts and benefits to the cultivation of hemp.

2. Six to ten tons per acre of hemp bast fiber. Bast fiber makes canvas, rope, lace, linen, and ultra-thin specialty papers like cigarette and bible papers.

3. Twenty-five tons of hemp hurd fiber. Hemp hurd fiber makes all grades of paper, composite building materials, animal bedding and a material for the absorption of liquids and oils.

4. The deep tap root draws up sub-soil nutrients and then, when the leaves fall from the plant to the ground, they return these nutrients to the top soil for the next crop rotation.

5. The residual flowers, after the seeds are extracted, produce valuable medicines.

Our farmers need this valuable crop to be returned as an option for commercial agriculture.

While marijuana is prohibited, industrial hemp will be economically prohibitive due to the artificial regulatory burdens imposed by the prohibition of marijuana. When marijuana and cannabis are legally regulated, industrial hemp will return to its rightful place in our agricultural economy.

Hemp may be the plant that started humans down the road toward civilization with the invention of agriculture itself. All archaeologists agree that cannabis was among the first crops purposely cultivated by human beings at least over 6,000 years ago, and perhaps more than 12,000 years ago.

Restoring industrial hemp to its rightful place in agriculture today will return much control to our farmers, and away from the multinational corporations that dominate our political process and destroy our environment. These capital-intensive, non-sustainable, and environmentally destructive industries have usurped our economic resources and clear-cut huge tracts of the world’s forests, given us massive oil spills, wars, toxic waste, massive worldwide pollution, global warming and the destruction of entire ecosystems.

Prohibiting the cultivation of this ancient plant, the most productive source of fiber, oil and protein on our planet, is evil. In its place we have industries that give us processes and products that have led to unprecedented ecological crisis and worldwide destruction of the biological heritage that we should bequeath to our children, grandchildren and future generations.

Restore hemp!


more – hemp.org

Trench Composting

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The easiest way I’ve found to utilize kitchen wastes and other organic materials is to trench compost. Dig a hole or trench eight to ten inches deep, fill it halfway with the waste products and backfill with soil. I use straw on top to hold moisture and that’s it.

The technique works well in small garden areas, especially raised beds. It’s something most everyone can do.

Organic waste materials do not grow anything in a land fill, unless that land fill is right in your backyard.