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  1. Calories expended vs calories gained will be a brutal calculus we will all be dealing with if home food production ever becomes “for real”. Good article.

  2. Salad is a major source of my calories. Topped with eggs and full fat dressing, or oil and vinegar, it can get me through most of my day. Salad greens and saute’ greens are the biggest part of my garden. We eat absolutely zero potatoes, corn, squash or beans. The nice thing about greens is that they grow in cold weather. I can grow them almost all year, outside or in my unheated greenhouse. Fresh vitamins all winter long. I grow cucumbers for pickles, and zucchini to eat and freeze. The only reason I grow corn and squash is to feed my hens. I only wish I could grow an olive tree in my climate!

    1. The salad isn’t the major source of your calories, the eggs, and dressing are. AS noted in the article salad’s are nutrient rich but calorie poor.

      Moreover, in a grid down situation, your calorie needs will probably double if not triple.

      Make sure you take that into account (assuming you are planning for a long term grid down situation of course)

      1. Yes, I’m aware a half a cup of lettuce is only about 50 calories or so. I don’t count calories as they don’t exist. A calorie is a measurement of how a food burns (fire). There is no fire in my belly. The body uses foods differently depending on their contents, burning them over a flame tells you nothing about how much energy it actually gives the body.
        Anyway, salad is the carrier. I’m not going to sit and guzzle olive oil, thank you. Even if I do need more energy, it will be coming from the same ingredients.
        I can my own butter, lard, bacon, pork, beef, and chicken. And of course, raise my own eggs. Without the greens, my diet would be missing key nutrients, and I would be reduced to eating steak with butter. Not a bad dinner, but I don’t want it every day.

        1. Calories are just a measure of energy upon chemical decomposition. It is true that you body will decompose the chemistry of your food intake, likely optimizing the energy output through the use of enzymes and substrates. However, the amount of energy your body is able to get from food is not likely to exceed caloric count of the food. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. This is a basic tenant in the foundational laws of nature. So, however you chemically decompose (also know as a mechanism in organic chemistry), the energy output will not exceed the caloric count. There are a lot of potential energy surfaces within a reaction, but only one absolute minimum and absolute maximum energy in the end.

  3. Tomatos are challenging for us in southern oregon. But when I visited a like minded couple that are ahead of us (way ahead of us) I saw her growing a bunch of tomatillos. So I’m trying that this season to see if it’s its a worthwhile substitute for us.

    1. I think narrowing it down to two or three is a bit simplistic. There is no magic bullet, no easy answer. Ideally, you would store seeds for all plants you and your family like to eat, have experience growing, have the proper growing conditions for (soil ph, length of growing season, hours of sun per day, average temperature, etc.) and you have the tools and space to raise. And if you raise them in your garden, you can harvest new seeds annually. Otherwise, you would need to replenish stored seeds every two or three years to get maximum germination.

      If you simply want to store seeds but lack the experience and tools to grow them, then my advice would be store white rice, oats, and wheat totaling 300 pounds and 100 pounds of dried beans per person per year. Properly stored then will last years you can eat them all without turning over a shovel of dirt.

      1. I’m not a full on prepper. I’m thinking more along the lines of keeping a few useful seed packets in my storage that would be of help in a bad situation.

        1. My take on the “survival seed vault” concept is that it is a total waste of money. It is highly naive to believe you can become a gardener after a major crisis. Hobby gardening takes years of failure/ trial & error, understanding your local soil and microclimate to reach even marginal success. Seeds themselves vary greatly depending on source quality, germination rates, shelf life, etc. Expecting to survive off what you grow is unrealistic for an experienced gardener and downright dangerous for a novice. I recommend buying books on your local/regional wild edibles and learn to identify them now when you’re not starving. If you buy seeds to store for a crisis prep- plan on using them for barter not growing.

  4. Stone fruits and berries provide decent calorie content and can be grown Northern climates. Once established, they require little maintenance and are perennial. We’re building a berry “house”. 50’ long hoop house with netting instead of plastic cover. In it we have 50 strawberries, 6 raspberries, 5 blackberries, 6 blueberries, 1 serviceberry, and room for more. These will produce for years to come with little continuing effort thanks to “plasticulture”.
    Our apple, pear, and peach trees are a work in progress as we have yet to perfect the art dusting the blossoms. Hoping to finally get a yield this year from the walnut and hazelnut trees.
    “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is today.” -Chinese Proverb

  5. The 3 sisters is a neat practice, indeed, but modern re-telling totally misses the most critical part of the old tale:

    the pilgrims were taught to bury three small fishes in the hill when they planted the seeds. They thrived because of the fish fertilizer. The small amount of nitrogen provided by the beans is actually held by that plant until its roots die off.

    If you cannot catch and use the spring run of small fish coming up the river, you be tter get another source of nitrogen. I use urine in the diluted state of 10 parts water, one part urine, but DO NOT put any fertilizer on the young plants for the first month. Let them become established for that time frame.

    When the plants get some size to them, then they are powerful enough to take full advantage of the fertilizer (if your soil is already good fertile soil built up through months and years prior to planting, that is a better prep to make). Wait until the plants get some size before incorporating fertilizer

    Great ideas listed above. My low-height hoop house just arrived today. It’s getting set up this afternoon.

    Current forecast is for a very warm and dry month. I’m mulching everything I can, but have to use caution because I found the soil is still too cold for good production, AND some areas I put heavy mulch on have dry soil under them despite my heavy (in my opinion) watering. Nope, just my heavy mulch sawdust was wet. Glad I checked.

    Best wishes everyone. Keep getting those knees dirty!

  6. “Many county agricultural agents can provide publications to help you get started.” ~ Excellent advice within the article by L.R. … Many States also have an Agricultural Extension program to help out. Often publications can be ~downloaded for >free.

    [SurvivalBlog in the past has recommended, high quality storage, USB sticks ~ ‘thumb drives’ for the storage of information. There’s also articles on SurvivalBlog about the storage of information on the computer.
    ……….. As Idaho is in the redoubt, their site is uidaho(dot)edu/extension. [Look through the site]
    ………. Information for the local area would be more appropriate. Look to see if your State has a local extension site (or local county office). Free information can be downloaded, while a publication~hardcopy might cost a few dollars. (It all adds up, when spending money. It might be worthwhile to look something over, before buying it.)

    There’s a lot of free information available [Actually paid for by the taxpayers].

  7. Regarding food preservation, dehydration is the most energy and space efficient means of keeping food edible. There are many quality (Harvest Maid and Excaliber are great) electric dehydrators available used and low priced.

    For grid-down, using sun and wind for drying has been around far longer than canning. Look up fermentation and salting for a little more labor intensive preservation. Dehydration is still the simplest, lowest cost, and quickest means of preserving.

    Carry on

  8. I am a true believer of canning everything I can. It may take a little more work but well worth the effort. For glass jars, I find by using the classified section of your local paper and inserting an add like “Needed: canning jars for senior citizen” or “Veteran needs canning jars”, you can’t believe the calls you get. One prior ad generated 283 jars and for free. ( I am over 80 years old and retired 20yrs veteran so I qualified for this type ad.)

    Thanks for reading

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