Garden Lessons – Part 1, by Greenthumb in the West

There is an old saying: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” We had this proverb in mind when we bought our retreat property five years ago, and started work on the garden and orchard immediately, even before we started on the house. The past five years have been a steep learning curve of lessons in taking raw land to (semi!)-productive land. We have had the blessing of not needing to rely on our garden for sustenance during this time. I wanted to pass on what we’ve learned and purchased …




Foraging Before TEOTWAWKI, by Just A Dad

This article describes how foraging can provide many of the things we need. In today’s world, the idea of foraging for one’s existence is deemed beneath most of us. In fact, I personally have encountered many individuals who believed themselves to be so far above me that they had already decided what laws I was breaking, what wrongs I was committing and gone so far in some cases as to call law enforcement to stop me from foraging from discarded trash. And before anyone gets any ideas, the individuals who got upset, were a mixture of backgrounds. One notable individual …




Economics & Investing For Preppers

Today, on Christmas Day, in place of my normal Friday news column, I have this special bit of investing commentary for my readers: Investing In Your Children’s Future Today, December 25th, for most Americans, is a holiday of generous excess. We live in a still relatively prosperous nation, and we are a people known for our generosity. One end of your house is most likely strewn with bits of wrapping paper and ribbons. Your children or grandchildren are surely playing with their new toys, dolls, and games. A few of them are probably pouting, because they didn’t receive a Playstation …




Seed Saving Tips – Part 3, by St. Funogas

(Continued from Part 3. This concludes the article.) Some seeds such as zinnias weigh as much as the chaff so I don’t even try to separate the two. Other seeds are both super tiny and very lightweight, such as chamomile, so these also are not worth trying to separate. In Photo 14, some of the actual seeds are circled in yellow while many more are hidden beneath the chaff. When I plant zinnias, I direct sow by tossing out handfuls and lightly raking them in.         PHOTO 14 – Zinnias (Mixed with Chaff) Photo 15 demonstrates how …




Seed Saving Tips – Part 2, by St. Funogas

(Continued from Part 1.) The first step in processing harvested seeds is to remove them from whatever the plant has stored them in. Many seeds are encased in small dry seed pods, or fine seed heads, either of which can be rubbed between your hands to separate the seeds out. This creates a lot of dust and detritus which must be removed by using some of the equipment mentioned above or other various methods. Larger dry pods, like beans and peas, can often be opened and the seeds easily stripped out while the pods are tossed aside. Seeds from many …




Seed Saving Tips – Part 1, by St. Funogas

This is not a how-to article, but rather a few tips on what I do to save seeds each year. I’m hoping we all can share ideas in the comments section to help us all become more proficient seed savers. My first experience at saving seeds happened when I was nine years old. I grew lots of sweet corn in my little garden and decided I better save some seed for the next year. I let it dry enough so I could remove the kernels from the cob then stored them in a green candy tin. A few months later …




Ready Yourself for a Turbulent 2021 and Beyond

The year 2020 will be remembered as an exceptionally turbulent year, marked by multiple worldwide crises and massive urban protests and riots. It has been a year of significant drama and trauma. I do not expect that 2021 will mark a “return to normality.”  If anything, 2021 will be just as jarring to our collective psyche. Parenthetically, I should mention that I created a meme for that. In this essay, I’m posting my recommendations for SurvivalBlog readers on how to ready yourself and your family for any of the following in 2021: Economic Turmoil Sociopolitical Upheaval Global Military and Terrorism …




My Preparedness Evolution, by Melody Channel

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 …




Composting Your Black Gold – Part 2, by Hobbit Farmer

(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 …




Composting Your Black Gold – Part 1, by Hobbit Farmer

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 …




Maximizing the Homestead Apple Orchard, by Eric K.

“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 Secret Salad Garden – Part 3, by D.G.

(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 …




The Secret Salad Garden – Part 2, by D.G.

(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 …




The Secret Salad Garden – Part 1, by D.G.

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 …




Adventures in Central Texas Gardening – Part 2, by Lisa

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) — First let’s go over how I built my raised beds. The materials needed for 1 raised bed are: 4 – 8-foot landscape timbers (try to find the ‘untreated’ type) 3 – 12 in by 1 in by 8 foot yellow pine (untreated) 1 ½ – 1 ¾ inch deck screws 2 – 3-inch deck screws 8 – small “L” brackets (approx. 2 inches) 4 – 7 in. 16-Gauge Galvanized Reinforcing L-Angle – Note: I am not a professional carpenter and I was shopping at my local ‘mom and pop’ hardware store …