We are continuing on with this article about my wife’s and my journey in mid-scale grain gardening. Yesterday, I explained our reasons for believing it was time to build self-sufficiency, and now let’s move on to the food production part, specifically our grain gardening efforts.
Definition of Mid-Scale Grain Gardening
Grain plots may vary in size, ranging from, at the minimum, a small plot using a rototiller or shovel and rake for soil preparation, hand sowing the grain, reaping with a scythe or sickle, threshing with a flail, and winnowing with a kitchen fan or a windy day. The small-scale plot is very labor and time-intensive per unit of grain harvested, and the total quantity of grain harvested may not meet the needs of a large family. By contrast a commercial operation may utilize hundreds of acres and a heavy investment in machinery (or utilize the services of a commercial … Continue reading
Food sufficiency is a large part of self sufficiency, so my wife and I pursued mid-scale grain gardening, though our home was in Alaska. Here is our story and how we have done this.
Breakdown of My Article
My article will cover the following:
- Preamble: Why We All Should Become Increasingly Self-sufficient– The First Steps
- Definition of Mid-Scale Grain Gardening
- Crop Operations
- Reaping and Drying
- Threshing and Winnowing
- Scaling Up Harvesting Operations
- So, What To Do With All This Grain?
Preamble: Why We Should All Become Increasingly Self-sufficient
People’s outlook and actions are largely a product of their experiences, both real and vicarious. My wife and I have spent most of the 23 years prior to 2007 visiting much of the world via sailboat, and our observations have made a big impact on our view of the world.
Growing and storing potatoes in the Northwest through the winter months always brought unsatisfactory long-term storage results. It didn’t matter how I stored the potatoes after digging, whether in dry sawdust, under a layer of newspaper, on a dark cool dry shelf, all had similar results of shriveling and sprouting potatoes before the stored crop was used up.
An Experiment For Stored, “Fresh” Potatoes
I tried an experiment with the 2016 potato crop. Once I dug the Kennebec potatoes in April of 2017, the results of wonderful plump potatoes spurred me to store the 2017 potatoes crop the same way. No more shriveled up potatoes. I can dig the potatoes with my hands or a shovel when potatoes are needed in the kitchen. It’s just minutes from garden to kitchen, so that means fresh! Let me explain this new revelation that’s such a success…..
Our family did an experiment to see how we could grow wheat and oats in a garden setting. In part 1 of this article series, we shared that we used two different garden plots, one that was well fertilized and one that had never been fertilized or used for a garden. Additionally, I told about our seeds and how we protected our growing areas from animals. We began describing the tools that we tested to harvest wheat and how we found, for us, that the sickle worked best. Also, because the naked oats we grew dropped seed more readily, we ended up grabbing the grain heads in the field and collecting grain by hand rather than cutting the stalks. We shared a video in Part 1 of this. Let’s continue on now.
Removing Grain From Stalks
With half of our wheat in sheaves and most of our oats gathered by … Continue reading
This is an account of our family’s experience and learning while experimenting with growing oats and wheat in a garden setting. Storing food and preps are important; but, for us, the primary role of food storage is for the immediate emergency or to get us through the first year of a serious crisis. What then? No one can store sufficient food for a serious, long-term disaster.
The Key Is Growing and Gathering Your Own
The key is growing and gathering your own, and our favorite staples to grow are potatoes and corn. Living on the “wet” side of Oregon we got to wondering how feasible it would be to grow our own grains, oats and wheat in particular, on a small scale.
Great Fun and Valuable Lessons Learned
We had great fun and learned some valuable lessons in the exercise of growing our own grains that I’ll try to pass … Continue reading
Sustainably Diapering Your Baby or Small Child in a Long-Term Emergency
In an emergency situation, one has to consider how you are going to diaper your child for the duration. If you choose to store disposable diapers and wipes, you must have an action plan for how you will dispose of them properly. Obviously, this is not a sustainable option for an emergency with an undefined length of time, but many prefer this method.
Most people would call me a “crunchy” mom. I gave birth at home in our bedroom, I avoid big pharma, and I am a huge proponent of the sustainable nature of cloth diapering. After much research, I excitedly stocked up our cloth diaper stash with various options before our daughter was born. My goal was to try as many methods as possible and determine the most suitable solution … Continue reading
Feeding Your Baby or Small Child
Consider feeding your baby or small child in the midst of tropical storms, flooding, and with threats from nuclear testing. As world events are painting an increasingly grim picture, my husband and I have felt the urgency to set aside some backup resources in case of a long-term emergency. My husband is the “must-have-a-plan-for-everything” kind of guy. Therefore, he has excitedly mapped out our emergency storage space, along with the details of its contents. He is an avid “outdoorsman”, so many of the items that we would need for long-term preparedness are either already in our arsenal or familiar to him in some capacity.
But, when we found out we were expecting a baby, it added a whole other level of things to consider. How do you feed a baby or toddler in a long-term emergency? What about diapers? Medicine? With my background of … Continue reading
With limited storage space, cost not a concern: Is it better to store the typical dry beans, rice, etc.? Or would you obtain a higher calorie count with something like the Mountain House cans?
It really depends upon your budget and what means you have to store food. Dry beans and rice (and similar foods) are easy to store and can provide a basic sustenance, dense calorie count diet with very little supplementing from other food sources. However, it is a very bland existence. If just surviving is the name of the game, it will work, but I like more variety. If you are willing to add herbs and spices to your survival pantry, you will be much happier. More expensive items like freeze dried foods work very well when you need to minimize the cooking aromas (so as not to draw attention to yourself) or are … Continue reading
While there are many different types of “survival foods” on the market, ranging from military MREs to freeze-dried and dehydrated plus any number of types of off-the-shelf foods that last a long time, today we are looking at dehydrated foods from Valley Food Storage.
Having been a Prepper since I was a little tyke, I’ve tasted all manner of “survival foods” over the years. Some were better than others and some much, much better that others. Then we have some that aren’t very tasty, but they will keep you alive. My family and I are always on the lookout for something new to try and add to our food stores, and we make a point to eat what we store. I’m not a very picky eater, but some would say otherwise.
A friend recently acquired the capability to seal #10 cans. He’s bought a supply of new cans and is still playing around with the concept. He offered me the opportunity to do a few cans of my own. The concept has intrigued me. What would you pack in a #10 can if you could choose the contents?
My preliminary thoughts
My thoughts are a #10 can would be good for stuff that must stay one or more of these:
Ideally every person from birth through old age would get all the nutrients they need from the food they consume, but deficiencies occur. There are times when the optimal amount of nutrients from food intake are not possible. People who consume energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods can develop a marginal micronutrient intake and low serum concentrations of vitamins. In times of food shortages or limited access to fresh foods, nutrient deficiencies can become even more common, especially vitamin deficiencies.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic molecules required in small amounts to prevent deficiency signs and symptoms. The most concern is for water-soluble vitamins—the B vitamins and vitamin C. These are essential nutrients the body cannot make. The body does not store water soluble vitamins in large quantities. You should consume them every day. Water-soluble vitamins are lost during processing because they are fragile. This increases the risk of inadequate intake even in … Continue reading
Welcome to Freeze Dried Friday on SurvivalBlog! We’ve been making so many things in the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer that we want to share some of them with you. If you have something wonderful you’ve prepared in your freeze dryer that you would like to share with SurvivalBlog readers, take a photo of it and send it in along with a description. We might just feature you here! Today we’ll have a quick note about a shaft seal failure. But first:
Keeping the Freeze Dryer Filled
Harvest season is getting close here. Some herbs are just about ready to be harvested, and I can see the garden produce weighing down the plants in the garden. But they just aren’t quite ready yet. So what do you do with you’re Harvest Right Freeze Dryer while waiting for the bountiful harvest to come in?
A trip to Costco (or similar) for their … Continue reading
Welcome to a new column on SurvivalBlog! We’ve been making so many things in the Harvest Right Freeze Drier that we want to share some of them with you. If you have something wonderful you’ve prepared in your freeze dryer that you would like to share with SurvivalBlog readers, take a photo of it and send it in along with a description. We might just feature you here!
A Halting Start
This week with the garden harvest starting to ramp up, the freeze dryers are getting ready for their workout. Freeze Dryer number one is back up and running after having the main seal blown. It only took about an hour to pull the pump apart, replace the seals, and get it fired back up. I’m not sure why I dreaded that job so much because it was easier than I remember the last time.
Sweetened Dried Fruit
My dehydrator has failed me. Well, not really, but I can’t seem to create what I want so I’m asking for help from the SurvivalBlog readership. I love the sweetened dehydrated fruit that you can buy in stores, but I am unable to recreate this yummy snack. While I can successfully dehydrate fruit for storage, it has a tendency to look like leather rather than the colorful, tasty treat that you see in this picture. If you can tell me how to re-create this, you will make me a hero to my grand-kids! Leave your ideas in the comments section.- HJL