Prepper Gardening During a Drought

self-sufficient gardensWith droughts gripping a large portion of the nation, preppers are struggling to keep their gardens green and growing. A prepper garden plays a pivotal role in establishing a food storage. Without a garden, you are forced to rely on the grocery stores and pay ridiculous prices. It is only going to get worse considering many of the farms that supply that grocery stores are caught in the nasty droughts as well.

Preppers can keep their garden going by changing up the way they do things. Even the oldest dogs (preppers) can learn new tricks. These tricks will come in handy when the tap is dry and watering your survival garden isn’t as easy as turning on the faucet.

1-Put in a serious effort to keep the weeds down and away from your plant base. Weeds are water hogs and the little water your garden does get will be stolen by the weeds who are just as thirst as your plants.

2-Use pine needles, dead leaves, compost and even old newspaper around the base of your plants to keep the ground moist. The sun bakes the earth and evaporates the water quicker than your plant roots’ can absorb it.

3-Use soaker hoses or make your own out of an old garden hose. Poke a few holes along the defunct hose and lay it on the ground. The water will go right to the roots and not spray out and evaporate before it ever hits the ground.

4-Don’t waste water by over-watering. Set a timer or pay attention to the clock. Typically, 15 to 20 minutes is plenty of water for your veggies.drought-84611_640

5-Obviously, only water during the early morning hours or late at night. If you are a night owl, water throughout the night. Take advantage of the sun being down and it’s evaporating rays put away for the night.

Keeping your garden watered will help you control the bug population as well. When your plants are weak and thirsty, they are prone to disease and pests. Have you ever seen a lot of grasshoppers in a lush, green area? Not so much. They thrive in the dry areas.

Getting the Kids Gardening Today

gardening with kidsPreppers know the importance of having a garden. It is one way to supplement your food supply in today’s world and it is teaching you the valuable skill of growing your own food. After a major disaster, you are only going to be able to rely on yourself to provide your family with the food they need to survive. Gardening isn’t going to be your only job. You are going to be busy taking care of plenty of other things, which is why you need to get your kids involved in the gardening hobby today.

Kids are not going to have all the luxuries they do today. They are not going to be spending time watching television, surfing the internet or playing video games. Kids are going to be a huge part of helping the family survive. Every available hand will be appreciated when your days are spent carting water, repairing your shelter and looking for food.

Teaching kids gardening basics today, will make survival much easier in the future.container gardening ideas

Some things you can help teach them today are as follows;

Identifying weeds and vegetable plants
The art of watering plants without drowning them
Knowing when to harvest fruits and veggies
Understanding why we garden
Getting first-hand experience harvesting and eating food they helped grow
Starting them early means they will be able to take care of their own gardens at a much younger age
Participating in the gardening duties also helps teach children responsibility. They will learn early on what happens if they don’t weed or tend their plants.

It is no secret our kids spend a little too much time indoors and not enough time outside getting their hands dirty. By spending some time with the kids outside and teaching them by example, you are teaching them lifeskills that will carry them through a survival situation. These are skills they can pass along to their children as well.

Preparing to Garden During Extreme Heat and Drought

drought-84611_640There are plenty of states and regions all around the world that are expecting the worse this summer. Whether anybody wants to name the problem, it is no secret our world’s weather is drastically changing. With many regions light on snowfall over the previous winter and the winter we are just coming out of, drought is inevitable. Places like California were banking on a wet winter to bring them out of the drought they were in last year. It didn’t happen.

It is time to prepare for droughts and exorbitant food prices due to those droughts. As a prepper, you should be learning how to grow your own food. As a prepared prepper (is that redundant), you need to know how to conserve and save as much water as you can in order to keep your garden thriving throughout what is predicted to be a very hot summer.

*Mulch will be your friend. Pile it around the roots of the plants to help keep the ground moist. You don’t want the hot sun baking the earth and evaporating the water before your plant’s roots get a chance to absorb it.

*Invest in rain barrels—if your city ordinance allows. Put the barrels up now and catch as much rainwater as possible to prepare for a dry July and August.rainbarrel

*Use irrigation style watering instead of sprinklers. Sprinklers waste a great deal of water that could be used to water the roots directly. Sprinklers are also to blame for some leaf spotting.

*Set a timer to avoid over watering. It is easy to forget you have the water on and you could be harming your plants by giving them too much water.

*Only water in the early hours of the morning or late at night. This ensures the sun is not evaporating the water as quick as it is hitting the ground.

Keeping plants partly shaded can also help if the temperatures are exceeding 100 degrees or more. On extremely hot days, your plants are going to wilt and need more water to survive. Container planting is another way to conserve water. The water is not absorbed as quickly and you will be able to move the plants out of the heat of the sun when it becomes too much.

Planning Your Prepper Garden

starting seedsWhile spring is still a couple of months away for most people, it is the time of year you need to start planning your prepper garden. Growing your own food is an essential part of the food pantry process. You will not only save money by growing your own food and preserving it, but you will also have an established food supply source if and when things do get crazy.

It is important you spend some time planning your garden so you can take advantage of every inch of space. This is especially important if you have limited space. Many gardeners make the mistake of picking up a bunch of seeds and planting them simply because it seems like the thing to do. Those gardeners usually end up with a bunch of food they won’t eat and either give it away or let it go to waste. You can’t afford to do that when your garden is what feeds your family.

You need to learn about companion planning. One common method that has been around for centuries is planting corn with pea plants in between stalks. The corn shades the peas (which like cooler temps) and provides the pea vines with a trellis. This is an excellent way to maximize your space. Another option is to plant a root crop with a shallow-rooted crop on top. Herbs are excellent for planting over a root crop. Both plants will get the sun they need and will not fight for nutrients. Read up on this because some herbs should not be planted near certain plants. Garlic for one is not a plant you want next to your peas.seeds

Another trick you will want to learn is succession planning. Depending on where you live and your growing season, you may be able to get several crops of potatoes, corn and other veggies. If you start early enough, you can typically get at least 2 crops of vegetables with short growing cycles.

Lastly, invest in heirloom seeds. These seeds produce fruit and vegetables with seeds that can be saved and used for the next season. This is absolutely essential to your prepper garden. You want to be self-sustainable. In a SHTF scenario, you won’t be able to run to the store and buy new seeds every year. You have to produce your own. In many areas, you will need to order your heirloom seeds. They are not usually readily available in most stores. Order now so they are in your hands when it is time to start your plants indoors in preparation for the spring.

Heirloom Seeds: Why You Should Grow Them

organic emergency foodGrowing your own garden is becoming increasingly popular today due to the fundamental need for a vibrant food and a healthy lifestyle. It is essential that what we eat are free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides and contaminants that might put a risk on our health. Choosing the seeds to plant are one of the main factors to consider in gardening. It can be a little daunting, especially with the many choices of seeds, and choosing between modern hybrids or heirloom varieties. Heirloom seeds, or as gardeners often refer to as “Grandmother’s Seed”, are now the latest rage, thanks to its wide benefits.

 What is an Heirloom Seed? 

From the name itself, an Heirloom Seed is a plant variety (a cultivar) that has been nurtured, selected and carried down from one family member to another for many generations. It is genetically stable and will produce offspring with identical characteristics to the parent plant, meaning it is true to type. Hybrids, on the other hand, are created by crossing two selected varieties, sometimes resulting in vigorous plants that yield more than heirlooms. Heirlooms cost less than hybrid seeds but there are more reasons to choose these seeds than just the prices.

Seed-Packets-IMG_0879People grow heirloom seeds for a variety of reasons and for different motivations. While most are just interested in traditional organic gardening, some do it for historical interest, and others want to increase the available gene pool for a particular plant for future generations. Growing heirloom seeds is a great and effective way of growing, tasting and enjoying a variety of fruits and flowers from the past.

Advantages of growing heirloom seeds:

  • Greater Variety
  • Better Taste and Nutrition
  • Preserved Heritage
  • Sustainable
  • Renewable
  • Safer to the Environment & Eco-system
  • No Chemical Fertilizers
  • Open – Pollinated
  • Cost Less

Cultivating heirloom seeds in your home garden is a great idea to add exquisite taste, good nutrition and variety to your daily diet, while saving plant species. Creating an heirloom that is perfectly suited for your particular garden can take years of seed saving and planting out. If you want immediate gratification, you can do a little legwork before selecting the variety of heirlooms you want to use. Dig into your family or community tree to see if any of your elders can recall names of varieties that grew well in the region or were particularly memorable. You may stumble across a gardener still growing a family heirloom.

Where to get Heirloom Seeds?

Seed-Savers_ExchangeThe easiest and most traditional way to get heirloom seeds is from a friend or family member. If you don’t know anyone who has these seeds, you may obtain them from our heirloom seed store here or from the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA. They are one of the largest organizations that preserve, collect, grow, and distribute Heirloom Seed. These groups store heirloom seeds for future generations. For finding local heirloom seed resources, you may contact your local U.S. Department of Agriculture extension office.

 

Making Your Own Greenhouse – Video Tutorial

For those of you looking to make your own greenhouse we just found this great tutorial. It’s a full 18 minute video on ideas for making a greenhouse. This is a great way to prepare your family for emergency by growing your own food. The ability to survive the extremes of life through growing your own food is very important to the modern-day prepper.

As you watch this video, here are two quick questions to think about: Continue reading

Gardening With Kids

gardening with kids

If you want to teach your kids about self reliance, one of the best ways to start is with a garden. When kids learn to garden, they learn responsibility and they experience the satisfaction of growing something themselves.

Your child should ideally have his own garden space. He may love helping you in the garden, but having his own garden will give him a greater sense of pride when he sees it grow. He will learn that his garden thrives when he takes care of it, and it withers when he doesn’t. Continue reading

How to Start Your Seeds Indoors

heirloom seeds

I know, there is still snow on the ground. At least there is here. But it won’t be long and it will be time to get your garden going.

Some seeds to best planted directly into the garden, while others are best started early in your home and transplanted once the seedlings are established and all danger of frost has passed. Continue reading