To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. Steadily, we work on meeting our prepping goals. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities. They also often share their planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, property improvements, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!
Dear SurvivalBlog Readers:
We finally have the last of the hay for this winter stacked in the barn! Weather delays and down equipment had plagued us through much of summer. ıut finally, it is all in!
My most labor-intensive project this week was mucking out the chicken run.
This past week was dominated by tomato harvesting, ripening, processing, and gifting. My wife (“Avalanche Lily”) will provide the details on that…
Avalanche Lily Reports:
These past two weeks have been very serious garden prepping for next year.
Last week, I finished harvesting all of my tomatoes and harvested the last of the winter squashes. The tomatoes are in the hallway slowly ripening. I will be canning and freezing them as they ripen. This past week, I scalded, skinned and strained through my Victorio Food Mill, enough tomatoes to make 9 quarts of a light tomato sauce of which were frozen in Ziplock quart bags. There are still many more tomatoes left to process as they ripen. I harvested our cranberry beans down in the Annex garden. These were drying out on the porch and were shelled this past week. Also, this week, I cut a large bowl of parsley, washed them, and am currently in the process of dehydrating them in our Excalibur dehydrator.
The Annex garden which had the corn, potatoes, beans, and squashes did not do well at all this year for several reasons: the nights were colder than average, the soil wasn’t fertilized enough and there are still too many thistles, horsetails and other weeds that literally took over despite my concerted weeding efforts. (Summer trips across the country are not conducive to gardening and weed control, but are great for the heart and soul.) The soil there, needs more building of which we will do this winter. I’ll be hauling manure from the barn to the Annex garden and letting it rot on the snow. I’m thinking of probably giving that area a break next summer and just concentrating on building it’s soil.
Speaking of weeds and their propensity of going to seed and dropping the said seeds enmasse all over the garden for next summer: Before rototilling, I dragged out our vacuum to the main garden and after harvesting veggies and pulling hundreds of weeds, I had piles of seeds on top of the soil. I then vacuumed the seeds up lightly from the top of the soil. I was that desperate to lessen the weed impact for next summer in this particular patch of garden. I also, scraped up the thin layer of soil with all of the seeds and tossed it out onto the pasture. What a war!! In a few of the areas, I think I reduced the weed seeds by about 80%. Then I rototilled most of the main garden. I still have a section of the main garden in which the broccoli, carrots, celery, beets, cabbage, turnips and parsley are still growing. I am lightly covering these veggies with large sheets of plastic and hoping to keep them growing through the fall as long as possible.
After rototilling, our neighbor came over with his tractor and moved our large piles of rotted manure to our Main garden. We had him concentrate the manure in creating four more beds for two more strawberry beds, another asparagus bed, and another bed that will be planted with strawberries, asparagus and black raspberry plants this coming spring. We put manure into my already-established raspberry beds and asparagus beds to fertilize them for next summer and then put manure in different places around the garden that needed the boost. The areas that didn’t get the rotted manure will get more, throughout the winter. Manure needs at least three months to get rid of any pathogens and then will continue to break down as it is rototilled into the beds. We plan to re-rototill the main garden this coming week.
I cleaned the hen house and reorganized the freezers.
I harvested two beds of carrots and got about 50 or more pounds. Two years ago, I put my harvested carrots in a cold cellar closet that we use. They rotted in that room very quickly. Last year I put them in soil and left them in a hallway. They dehydrated and disappeared in a relatively short time. This year, I cleared out the large crisper in our kitchen refrigerator, and have filled it up with all of the carrots. I expect since they’re in the fridge that they’ll last longer and will be used up, since I have easier access to them. Also, I have a third carrot bed in the garden that I will mulch and harvest from throughout the winter when I use up these carrots in the crisper.
I ordered some seeds for next summer, though most of my seeds I will get from the produce of this summer. At this point I have collected seeds from Zucchini, orange cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, kale, and others. I’ve also collected thousands of carrot seeds from the carrots that I allowed to over winter last year that flowered this summer and produced hundreds of seed heads.
The next two weeks look as though they are going to be sunny and fairly warm. We plan to plant the garlic, walking onions, kale, carrots, and potatoes during this time, as an experiment to see how many come up in the spring. We always have many volunteers show up around the garden each summer, so why not take advantage of this propensity and plant on purpose and see what happens?
Listen: We are very concerned about the Grand Solar Minimum and a potential economic collapse. We cannot encourage you all enough, to start growing your own food. You need to make plans to grow under hoops, in greenhouses, and inside your house to protect your plants from cold and bad weather. You need to be producing as much of your own food as possible in the next few years. Food Security is rapidly evaporating world-wide from late snows/frosts, early snows and frosts and freak rain and hail storms, hurricanes, droughts. These weather anomalies are devastating crops everywhere. You need to make plans now: buy seeds, get plastic and hoops, grow lights, pots and soil. And start growing!
May you all have a blessed week!
We have weather reports that this week will bring our first freeze of the season. With that, the Latimer clan will be scurrying to gather the remaining melons and garden vegetables, including green tomatoes, cleaning and prepping wood burning stoves and chimneys, insulating building water lines and adding heaters to water troughs, and making other preparations for sudden cold weather that will be blowing in. It was a challenging year in the garden, but we gathered and put up much produce for the winter and are so very thankful for the LORD’s provisions. We won’t be sad to see the bugs disappear with the freeze. Soon, our attention will turn away from the outdoors and to other projects generally indoors.
o o o
As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.