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  1. Amen brother. The polar opposite of supply line dependence is hard work with freedom as a reward. Start small and grow what you like to eat. Loved your article.

  2. Q: If a cup of salad has 100 calories, and a cup of “three sisters” has 400 calories, how many calories does a cup of lard have?

    A: 1840 calories (16 tbsp)

    Gardening can provide micronutrients and carbs, livestock provides protein and fat (and the bulk of your calories). You are going to need both to survive.

  3. I’ve killed more plants than I’ve harvested over the years. I agree, there is no better way to learn that to just start. And find a mentor! Most gardeners are teachers. They enjoy passing on what they know to someone who really wants to learn.

  4. There’s nothing quite like eating food you have grown yourself. I just tilled my garden Monday, amended with peat moss, azomite, sulpher (for pH), fertilizer, deep watered and set up the hoops. Tuesday planted a couple hundred green peas. Waiting for soil temperature to come up before planting the rest (waiting for my back to stop hurting, too). My tomato and pepper and basil starts need to be carried out into the sun every day, and returned to a warmish room inside for evening. Keeping an eye on the ten-day forecast to see when they could go in the ground…May 15 is our “supposed” final chance of frost. Some people up north keep multiple flats of starts planted in successive weeks in case their first planting gets killed by frost.

    The point made in the article about the “learning curve” is so important. When I first moved to the American Redoubt, I was naive about the amount of work and knowledge/experience required to have a healthy garden. It’s a LOT of WORK. And if you make a mistake based on ignorance, all that work can vanish overnight.

    When I moved up here I took a four month garden class offered by my local university extension, and was astonished at how much I didn’t know! I highly recommend the value of classes and educational books about the subject, but there is just no substitute for getting your hands in the dirt. Homesteading is no joke and can’t be learned by thinking about it. Those 5 pounds of heirloom seed you bought for your preps aren’t going to save you if you don’t have a couple of years of experience to go with it. And good luck living on green beans and Swiss chard. You’ll need protein in hard times, so get used to caring for some kind of livestock at the same time you are honing your gardening skills. At the very least, keep some chickens as a reliable source of eggs.

    You will be amazed at how your new capabilities improve the quality of your life. Wish I had started twenty years ago….

  5. L.R. in the article, = “Who can you get to plow and till that 20′ x 30′ garden plot you’ve decided to have? Pretty hard to do that with a spade.” ~~> SurvivalBlog has some articles about using a rototiller. The one recently mentioned ’tilling the soil for a 3rd time to mix in the Chicken Manure.’ ~ A very good description of the need for working the soil repeatedly, to achieve good garden soil. [Plus, the description reveals a good moral character.]

    A 20′ x 30′ would be a bit much for one day’s work using a Spade Shovel, with my City-Man, gut. … A person has to spread tasks out over a period time. The soil needs to be turned at least 2 or 3 times, and raked too for quality garden soil. (+It’s good to turn the soil at the end of the growing season. In my area, a mid-winter soil turning is helpful too, as the Winter-Rains compacts the soil.)
    …… In this comment section, ~Once A Marine, advocates ‘Lasagna Gardening’ ~ which is a soil building method, without all of the heavy digging. I think it might be worth a try.

    There was earlier comments in this series about ‘Edge Gardening’ on a city lot. I’ve done that too. … One year I successfully grew Potatoes in ~bags (on an edge spot), for the ‘edification’ and NOT so much the potatoes. … I’ve also grown, pole-beans, tomatoes, cucumbers (& some other things) along the stretch of soil between a driveway and a fence). It worked out real well.

    Good ideas and advice are on SurvivalBlog. Gardening is a learned skill, that develops over a lifetime. Generational help is always needed. SurvivalBlog has numerous articles on developing Homesteading Skills; that can also become good family activities.

  6. A tool that really helps till the soil quickly w/o a motor or noise is the broadfork.


    It also makes getting out weeds that propagate by root quickly and easily. I have lotsa quackgrass that will reproduce from the slightest piece of root left in the soil. A shovel cuts the root and leaves fragments. Broadfork get the whole thing.

    Um, it is also a lot cheaper than buying or renting a tiller.

    Carry on

    1. My heavy clay/rock soils would laugh at a broadfork,until a lot of sand/humus/compost is turned/rototilled in(with a lot of ph balancers) and the clay broken up(and rocks into the pile) it was hard to grow much.

  7. Read Steve Solomon’s book, The Intelligent Gardener. You’ll learn a lot. And this is coming from someone who’s been gardening for years.

    It especially addresses mineral and other soil component balances. Testing and then fixing problems. Too often overlooked by gardeners who figure that if they just keep adding compost all will be well.

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