Garden Like Your Life Depends on It!

by | Apr 4, 2014 | Headline News | 120 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    The following article has been generously contributed to our community by Holly Deyo, the author of the widely popular Dare to Prepare reference guide, now in its 5th edition. She and her husband Stan Deyo are also the developers ofPrudent Places USA, which provides an insightful handbook on how to relocate and where to go in times of crisis. 


    Everyone is complaining about sky high food prices. Why are they going nuts? The fault is mostly due to harsh weather conditions of drought, vicious storms, floods, soggy soil, hail, frost and ice, and ferocious winds. Escalating extremes have beaten fruits, vegetables and farm animals to death around the world and we’re paying for it – literally. In the last 3 years, America was slammed with 32 multi-billion dollar disasters that for the most part, hit during crop-growing seasons. The 2012 Drought / Heatwave alone took a $30 billion bite out of peoples’ pockets.

    weather extremes

    For the past three years drought has decimated Texas cattle herds by over 2 million head. Now California’s cattle are getting smacked. This is small potatoes by comparison, but last year South Dakota lost 30,000 head – frozen in a single November blizzard. Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, lost 1.7 million head in 2011 due to drought. There are other cattle losses as well, but there’s not time to document them all.

    It used to be that cattle herds took about 3 years to replenish. Experts stated this week it could take the rest of this decade – 6 years – to rebuild America’s beef and dairy livestock. That’s double the norm. Meanwhile, food prices continue to ramp up. That’s ifno more catastrophes descend. How much do you want to bet on a lucky break? In the first 3 months of this year, 1/3 of the U.S. is in USDA-declared crop disaster areas.

    Gas prices are moving up again with Brent Crude kissing a $100/barrel yesterday. It costs more money to move produce, dairy and meat from farmer to fork. Also, more countries are eating better so farmers ship more food to other nations. This puts a squeeze on our supply. Then there’s the idiocy of bio-fuels, which takes another bite from food stocks. However, the most direct and dire cause of rising food prices is unquestionably weather disasters.


    Having your own garden helps counteract rocketing food prices. All you need is a bit of space, some know-how and a little time. Frankly, I’d rather be outside messing in the garden, soaking up the Sun, doing what we can to provide in the face of Nature’s fury, and helping plants spring to life than read depressing news. It’s like my girlfriend’s phone recording: “Hey, I’m out playing in the dirt. Leave a message!”

    You don’t need to have this much space dedicated to veggies. Generally speaking, all that is needed is one 4×4 bed for salad greens and one 4×4 bed for vegetables for each adult. See? It requires little space for the basics. However, in light of ever-darkening current events, worsening weather and escalating grocery prices, we’re taking out our own food insurance for pennies on the dollar. Since the world is now a global food store, everyone’s pain is our pain and we all feel it at the grocery store. If you’re a newbie gardener or are bleary-eyed from reading news, here’s a look at our layout for this year’s crops.


    Stan and I practice what we preach and have greatly expanded our veggie gardens this year. In fact, from 8 years ago, they’ve doubled in size. Some of the harvest will be canned, some frozen, some eaten fresh, some given to friends and some taken to the homeless shelter. Nothing will go to waste. We see hard times coming this year and having an ample garden is one way to fight back.

    garden map

    Image: This year we really concentrated on what we like to eat and grow just that. Figures 1, 2 and 3 show the layout of this year’s gardens. We’ve expanded them considerably in light of much higher food prices. It will save money in the long run. See the first article in this series, How to Beat Coming Killer Food Shortages. Since we grow organically, we won’t fall victim to repeated fruit and veggie recalls due to E. Coli, listeria and salmonella contamination. Numbers in red are the weeks that successive crops will be planted.

    For example, the first lettuce, carrot, radish and spinach seeds were sown on March 29. Second crop will be planted April 12 and the 3rd crop on April 26. For radishes, since they only take about a month to harvest, the 4th planting on May 10 will go where the March 29 seeds were and so on. For peas and other lettuces, we’ll plant for Fall crops.



    Last year, we had tons too many tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini and ended up giving away more than half of everything. Neighbors were happy to help us with this!

    We still have plenty of Jalapeños, Serranos and Big Jim/Nu Mex in the freezer from 2013, so this year, the garden will just grow Santa Fe chilies.

    Bell Peppers have a ton of uses whether they’re eaten fresh or grilled or included in salads, omelettes and kabobs. Extras at the end of season can be Ziplocked and frozen to make colorful tasty additions to soups and stews.

    Zucchinis over-produce for our use, so there will be just a couple of seedlings planted. Since we adore baked Acorn and Butternut squash we’ve allowed for plenty. They store for months and are super versatile.

    My favorite method is to slice them in half lengthwise, scoop out the seed goo, add a bit of butter, white wine and seasoning like Lawry’s or even better, Red Robin. The flavor of a little sweet wine mixed with a hint of Red Robin zing? Yum. Bake them in water about 1/3 of the way up the squash until fork-tender. Baste occasionally. A clone for Red Robin Seasoning goes like this:

    Red Robin Seasoning

    3 tablespoons salt
    1 tablespoon instant tomato soup mix (Knorr tomato with basil works great)
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    ¼ teaspoon cumin
    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

    Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Store in a covered container. Makes 1/3 cup.

    Stan is a major fan of small watermelons, so we’re planting a bunch of Sugar Babies. Ditto for Holly on cantaloupe. The best ever is grown just a few miles away – Rocky Ford. Yes, this is the same ‘loupe involved in the 2011 listeria outbreak. Regardless, they are the sweetest cantaloupes on the planet. To be clear, Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado that was responsible for the listeria drama is not the same as Rocky Ford Grower’s Assn. They are 100 miles apart. To further confuse things, Rocky Ford is both a place and the name of these luscious ‘loupes.

    Image: The dotted line represents two different growing areas. The two ‘old beds’ on the left are out by the orchard and the two ‘new beds’ are about 50 feet off the back deck.

    We love Snap and Snow Peas and Green Beans and have been known to munch them straight off the vine. 🙂 Plus, they freeze well. Since beans and peas are something we consume regularly, we’re planting a bunch.

    And then there’s Pinto Beans. Stan and I must have Hispanic roots somewhere “in another life” because Tex-Mex is our favorite food bar none. Nothing beats a hair-raising, nosebleed-bitingly flavorful bit of really southern tucker. This brings us to that weird patch of cilantro in Figure 1. It is integral to many Tex-Mex meals. This stuff simply won’t die out. It grew throughout winter with no water in sub-freezing temps. So for its faithfulness, we let it live, otherwise I’d dig up this herb and replace it with a veggie.

    TIP: Spices can take up as much room as veggies. Economically speaking, it’s more cost-effective to buy them in bulk from Tone’s and save your space for fruits and vegetables. Besides Tone’s for dried bulk buys, check McCormickFrontier Natural Products Co-opMonterey Bay Spice Company and My Spice Sage. We’ve purchased most of ours from the first three, not the last two. However, nothing beats the fragrance and flavor of fresh herbs and spices.


    Four years ago, we put in an asparagus bed with 47 crowns. You’d think that’d be plenty and then some. Mistakenly we thought multiple varieties would be clever. Not so. The Martha Washington, Jersey Giant and Jersey Knights were ready at different times. Some were thicker and some thinner, which meant they steamed at different times. There wasn’t a single instance when more than 4 or 5 stalks were ready to harvest simultaneously. Not exactly a side dish for 2. It was a nice stalk here, 2 more there. Since we live in the high desert, it was a perpetual uphill fight to get them going productively, like pushing a boulder along with a toothpick. Plus, you’re not supposed to harvest the first year’s crop. More waiting. Florence, a town just 30 minutes west of us, has them growing wild by the Arkansas River. When our neighbor lived there his mom sent Jerry nightly to pick all they needed – for free. Lucky dog!

    If in having a practical, usable garden, some things are just too difficult and expensive to cultivate, yell calf rope! Enough already! This year, the asparagus patch now holds melons, cucumbers, broccoli and celery.


    Don’t be surprised if, over the years, your garden beds morph. This is what we started with in 2007: 6 – 4×4-foot beds. The strawberry bed is history. They didn’t produce enough at the same time (like the asparagus) to warrant the space. Unless you have time every week to cut off runners, the bed soon becomes an overgrown, tangled mess. For fruit, these plants were replaced by raspberry, blueberry, grape and elderberry bushes on a berm not pictured. Also in the fruit department are 15 trees consisting of varieties of apple, peach, plum, pear and cherry.

    Photo: In eight years our gardens have changed considerably and doubled in size.

    The cedar beds (pictured above) didn’t weather well in Colorado’s high altitude and strong UV. Gone are the chicken wire walls and cages. Where the 4 – 4×4 beds were on the left are now 2 – 4×4’s and 1 – 4×8. The two decorative brick beds on the right have morphed into two more 4×8’s. Our total bed space is this: 4 – 4×4’s, 4 – 4×8’s and one goofy-sized 6×7. We use recycled plastic and natural fiber board raised beds from Frame-It-All with nifty animal barriers. They also sell very cool attachable greenhouse tops and trellises.

    The image below of a Frame-It-All 4×8 bed is their older model for the animal barrier. Now where “A” is, it has a cap like on “B”. This allows for multiple 2-foot additions of animal barriers – in case you have tall invaders! Numerous other companies manufacture similar raised bed kits. We just happened to land on Frame It All and stuck with them for continuity. You can also build your own as detailed in Garden Gold.

    All of our beds are 12″ deep, which makes rotating crops no problem. If you use only a 4″ or 6″ high board, which holds just 3-5 inches of Super Soil, it makes growing potatoes, carrots and some other root veggies nearly impossible, so it greatly cuts down on the ability to rotate crops. With extra depth, there is always flexibility. It’s vital that crops are rotated yearly to naturally prevent bug infestations. Not every bug likes the same veggie so if they’ve visited cauliflower one year, next year’s crop of cauliflower needs to go in a different area. This is one of the main natural preventative techniques used by organic farmers.

    SIDEBAR TIP: Also changed is the 500 gallon propane tank pictured above. No, it’s not gone. When natural gas was made available to our area, we chose to go with it. However, we’ve kept the propane tank – always filled – for back-up fuel. In the event of a prolonged power outage – as in months – gas appliances can be switched back to propane. You can’t believe how much less expensive it is to refill your BBQ canisters from this big tank. It’s always available so if you’re cooking and the 20-gallon BBQ tank is unexpectedly empty, it’s easy-peasy-cheapy to fill up.

    Back to gardening.

    Areas around the beds are now grassed in. That, combined with the Chinese bio-intensive growing method of planting everything close together keeps weeds at bay as there’s no place for them to take root. In case you’ve read our accounts and saw this video of massive tumbleweed issues in southern Colorado, it’s best not to give their seeds a place to land. It’s also easier on the feet and knees than surrounding beds with sharp, decorative rock. All it takes is a quick go with the Weedeater to keep grass in line.

    All that’s left is for you to enjoy!

    Also by Holly Deyo: How to Beat Coming Killer Food Shortages


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Holly Drennan Deyo is the author of three books: bestseller Dare To Prepare (4th ed.), Prudent Places USA (3rd ed.) and Garden Gold (2nd ed.) Please visit she and her husband’s website: and their FREE Preparedness site:

    Other articles by Holly Deyo


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      1. We used to have a garden and had a wetlands in our backyard…not anymore… 🙁

        The 10″ of snow we got does not help my mood.

        • The garden information is great.

          We could feed the world if the US corp would quit making fuel with all the corn.

          • I love this article. The biggest pests I would have if I decided to put in a raised bed, is the colony of feral cats, using it as a litter box. The fence pictured isn’t near tall enough to stop that.

            • A good pellet rifle would fix that problem! feral cats kill song birds, carry parvo, rabies, transport fleas throughout the area, if you love your cats, keep them in the house! When you let them out to wander they become somebody else’s problem! I have lost pigeons, chickens, quail and rabbits to cats, don’t let your pet become somebody else’s problem!

      2. Been waiting for this article. I’ll admit my thumb is as far from green as it can be so there will no quality input from me here. I am hoping some of you will spread your knowledge liberally. I must be despite to use such a nasty word as liberal-ly. Thanks in advance. Wife has plans for my birthday tonight unless the computer is on so ………

        • Maddog; This is a great article and a good place for everyone to start if they have never had a garden There is a lot of different techniques out there, but i think the most important part is the organic soil and water,and good heirloom non GMO seeds.So that what you grow is nutrient dense and healthy which will not only give you some peace of mind by not having to depend on any one for your sustenance, but by not eating the GMO crap that is poison you won’t be depending on the insurance and medical community to keep you alive!! That way we will all have a lot more birthdays to enjoy with our loved ones ! Happy Birthday!!!

        • Thanks, MAC. Very useful information. I have started on my garden but it has been awfully wet this year and the back yard is like a swamp. Planting Tomatoes, Okra, Squash,Corn,and Herbs. I have to raise the beds because we get too much rain sometimes and the plants almost drown. I have Japanese persimmons, grapefruit, Satsumas, Lemons, Blood Oranges, Navel Oranges, Figs, Kumquates, Sugar Cane, Taro, and Grapes. The grape vines got devastated by the Skeletonizers, little caterpillars that are truely devastating to grapes. I did harvest wonderful grapes one year.

          • If you are able to grow all those other tropicals, you might try muscadines in place of grapes. Native to the US southeast they can tolerate a lot more pest and disease pressure than grapes.

        • Permaculture food forest. Buy the book secret survival food forest & plant now. in October buy Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchoke.

          • We been working on our food forest for about 6 years now. Added in PawPaws, Persimmons, fig bushes, grape vines, gooseberry, elderberry, a few nut trees, hardy Kiwi vines, big patch of sunchokes, and more.

            Then theres our permanent beds in the garden. Asparagus is grown in rows and we get pounds and pounds every spring. Strawberries are great producers for us and we regenerate our own new plants by clipping and transplanting the new pups that come on. Last year the wife froze more than 100 pints in foodsaver bags. Were still eating them.

            We have traditional gardens and stay organic using composted manure and mulches from our own place. Takes work but we like it.

            Raised beds are an ass pain w/ the watering. Cant imagine how wed get our yield w/ raised beds. Most articles dont get into the need for more water or irrigation but w/ the soil being raised, it dries out faster. Thats good if you have wet or crap soil but raised beds aint for everyone.

            Id question the safety of those manufactured blocks seen in that picture because there are chemicals used to make those things. And fiber boards may as well be called composite chemicals for what they are.

            We are what we eat. We stay away from chemicals and gmo garbage. Grow the open pollinated foods and learn to save your own seeds. Some plants will cross pollinate easily like cucs and squash so learn how to prevent that and save seeds for the next year. This year w/ the deep freeze of winter were a month behind but all that means is watch the signs and slide the planting dates forward some.

            • Agreed on the raised beds. My family and I have been growing food for years in an area with terrible soil, 90 day growing season at best, incredibly dry climate, and violent unpredictable summer weather. We’ve tried everything in our quest for food independence.

              My dad New Ordnance says he never wants to see another raised bed again. Even though our soil was “crap,” our best production was from a plot we plowed and rock-picked by hand and diligently fertilized and mineralized (totally organic and non-gmo of course – no sense poisoning yourself). Those raised beds dried out within hours of a deep soak and even though that soil was manufactured from choice organic stuff, it seemed to deteriorate in quality far faster than our rocky, native soil. Production in those raised beds was far more trouble than it was worth. We garden for sustenance, and maximizing calories per square foot of garden is always our main concern. The bottom line is corn, winter squash and field peas & beans.
              The one time a type of raised bed setup worked for us was in a pit garden. FYI we never use any type of fiberboard, treated lumber, plastic, pre-fab, etc. For price and convenience we went with rough-cut doug fir. This wasn’t a true “raised bed” by any means. We just used the doug fir to section off part of the floor of the pit so we could dig a deeper walkway that could act as a cold sink. We also used doug fir planks to terrace a hill on the south side of the house. But again, this wasn’t really a raised bed.
              Sometime soon we hope to publish on our website (Rocky Mountain Corn dot com) the details of our pit garden since it was very successful and would be invaluable to anyone in the Redoubt interested in growing their own food in extreme climates.

        • Excellent timing on this article.

          It just so happens that this year we decided that with everything happening domestically and around the world, we’ll likely truly *need* what we produce in our garden this year, and that is exactly how we’ve approached our planting, fertilizing, weeding, and mulching for the past few weeks.

          It does make a difference in attentiveness…


          • This was excellent timing. We’re getting rid of our wildflowers this year in the front and planting the entire thing to garden. Our biggest problem will be the deer and other critters.

            • Those deer will also become
              a captive meat source, Wrong.

            • I plant flowers in and around my garden to attract pollinators.

        • Happy Birthday Maddog! It is my little brother’s birthday too!

      3. learn to forage for your food, hunt and trap, it will help if your garden fails & if your in battle, you will never starve if you know what things to shove in your pocket for later consumption.

        • Absolutely correct. Being tied down to a homestead could be a huge problem for many preppers. Sure i plant a garden and keep some heirloom seeds on hand, but im not going to be trapped or locked into one location.

        • Number one — I have a garden.

          Number Two — I have no doubt in my mind

          the government will deem it a form of

          taxable income, or not gmo compliant,

          or perhaps an illicit scheme of guerrilla

          farming comparable to growing marijuana.

          Whatever the reason, why would they change

          their totalitarian agenda with the freedom

          of home gardening.

          • Bingo! The voice of reality. You got it.
            “Our self-ordained statist overlords and their Chekist organs have spawned hordes of commissars in their alphabet soup agencies. They are cloaked in different garb and names these days but their sociopathic actions reveal their true Stalinist lineage as political agents who enforce the will of the Party.” –New Ordinance “Fried Frogs and Commissars” (Rocky Mountain Corn dot com)

          • There are 90 million gardeners in America and the number is increasing out of need. Food prices were up 19% at the end of March 2014.

            Be sure to cache lots of OP seeds just in case. You can use them or trade them. If stored properly, seeds can be stored for decades.

        • Another Red Dawn fantasy.

          • Go tell it to the Ukranians.

            (Watch the video at RockyMountainCorn dot com “Fried Frogs and Commissars”)

      4. Raised beds
        A friend of mine rather than trying to come up with soil to fill his beds, and garden was already pretty rich soil, but they were getting old, (the people not the garden) took an excavator to it and dug out the pathways so the beds were 2′ high, garden was on a slight slope anyway, i thought that was a great way to make raised beds, the extra soil went to fill in uneven spots and create a couple more beds on the low side of the garden.

        • An excavator and diesel fuel…2 of my favorite luxuries.

      5. All good, but the first thing you must decide is what is your garden for. If you want to not starve, summer squash cucumbers, lettuce, etc consume more calories in the effort to grow them than they give you. Corn, potatoes, dry beans, and a few others are worthwhile. For winter vitamins, cabbage, carrots, etc are good and they dry easily. Onions keep well and seeds or multiplier varieties are available. For the most part tree, grape and bush products will get you more with less effort.

        • yep ,PARANOID , tubers offer the most bang for the buck.
          Potato’s , carrots and onions , all store well .
          And you just cant beat a couple good apple trees .

          I got till the end of may to think about gardening!

          • Aint that the truth…snowing again…wish to God we got some real global warming…instead all we get is blovating hot air from enviro-weenies and politicians and that aint worth nuthin!…be June here before anything can go out in the soil unprotected…glad I have the hoophouses!

        • Gotta have your “green stuff” brother…spinach, lettuce, superfood kale, summer squash…easy to grow in my neck and simple to store (frozen) for use in the winter.

        • Amen.

          My family has been working towards total food independence for years and with my dad we have the cumulative experience of decades of trying to grow food in extreme climates. Out of necessity we’ve always grown food for sustenance. When you are forced to rely on what you grow for your food year round, the bottom line is calories. Farming your food takes a tremendous amount of energy and anything you can do to reduce energy input and increase calorie output MUST be your top priority.

          “Forget those romantic notions of a nineteenth century life illumined by the cozy glow of the family circle around the fireplace at night. Been there – done that. It’s OK for a time and a season but I don’t want to repeat it unnecessarily as long as I have a choice. You don’t have to spend all your time and energy scrambling in bare subsistence. In that state, you have no time or energy for anything else, such as forming a resistance. You are effectively neutralized as any force opposing tyranny.” –New Ordnance “The Secret Weapon” (RockyMountainCorn dot com)

          For my family the bottom line is grain, legumes, potatoes and winter squash. Add in carrots and turnips and onions for some variety. We’ve tried many different grains, legumes, winter squashes and numerous varieties of root vegetables. YOU MUST GROW VARIETIES ADAPTED FOR YOUR REGION AND CLIMATE. Plants that work well for organic farmers and seed growers in Maine are not the best varieties for a high mountain micro-climate in the Redoubt. It seems obvious, but we’ve learned the hard way. Buy seed grown in your region or you are courting disaster.

          The tried and true garden for my family at 5,000 feet in Montana is (1) Painted Mountain Corn for our grain (Fukushima-free, Non-GMO, non-hybrid, open pollinated, high protein, micro-nutrient, soft starch – go to our website RockyMountainCorn dot com for more info), (2) Progress #9, Early Frosty, and Dakota shell peas & Black Coco, Golden Rocky Bush Wax, and King of the Early dry beans for our legumes, (3) our own local cross between Squisito spaghetti squash and Eight Ball Zucchini that turns out to be a decent tasting winter squash that keeps well and produces incredibly fast and heavy in a short, harsh summer, and (4) Purple Viking potatoes that produce reliably in spite of late and early frosts and poor, gravely soil and constant high wind.

          Augmenting this garden with deer, elk and trout, we are able to have a balanced diet with enough calories to sustain a high level of activity.

      6. My parents grew gardens years ago but then produce got so cheap you could buy it cheaper than to grow it plus animals got half your crop, not to mention all the back braking labor. So the folks years ago nixed the idea of a garden. Sure wish they were around today to give me some pointers, seems like everything I grow either will NOT grow, OR grows like crazy and then does not produce anything.
        I FOUND A SECRET for those who DO NOT Have a Green Thumb.
        Aquaponics, where you grow fish in a fish tank and pump the fish water up into grow beds to feed and water your plants and they grow like crazy, all without any soil, no pesticides, no pests, no weeds. The lazy mans way to garden and the plants grow fast and produce amazing fruit and vegetables. I was amazed how fast it grew and it all produced fruits and vegetables. And the bonus is you get a crop of fish to eat too.
        ALL you have to do is feed the fish and they take care of your plants for you. If you want more into on this amazing gardening secret check it out at:

      7. I’ve got clay soil and have tried raised beds as a result. However the summer temps will often be around 100-110 and just destroy the hard work I put in since the spring.

        Would appreciate any ideas.

        • I have heavy clay too and the way I fixed that in raised beds was to add lots of sand enough to change the soils texture) and organic matter…enough to encourage worms to hang around…Ive also had some luck in raised beds putting white plastic or a semi breathable row cover material around the plants…helps keep evaporation down in the hot times…which are very rare round these parts…hope that helps some 🙂

          • Add gypsum to the clay soil. It helps break down the clay and make the trapped nutrients available to the plants.

            • Does anyone know if you could mix some diatomaceous earth in with clay soil? Would that work of not? DE is cheap.

              • Why would you use DE? Go for Organic Matter to cure most soil problems. Even if you use DE, you still need organic matter; i.e. compost.

        • Add sand and mulch to the clay. Raised beds are o.k. too. Keeps the gofers out if you screened the bottoms. Pray for rain.

        • We have the same thing. What we do is take 10 foot lengths of 1/2 inch PVC pipe, and bend them, stick it in the sides of the raised bed( 4 of them to a 10 foot bed) so I can put shade cloth over the bed.(sorta like a hoop house). I am the only one in my area who has lettuce after May! I can usually keep it going til late June! I would do that with any plants that would normally get “cooked” by the heat. I’m doing that with my lettuce, Swiss chard, peas and broccoli and cabbage, as well.

        • Where abouts do you live? In florida we have a longer growing season, but like you said, it gets so hot that you can not utilize it. I have been thinking about shade cloth, but then the expense and how to put it up on a big garden. I have a few partially shaded spots, thinking about a summer crop in those spots. Other than that, we get in as much as we can before it gets too hot. Then till and wait until fall. As far as the clay soil, that is what we have. Very little dirt. I was raised just planting in the ground. No raised beds. So all of my gardening is that way. I till my garden. put in the rows with an attachment on my tiller. That gives me about 8 – 10 inches of soil. I then run my lawnmower with a bagger and fill in all the ditches between the rows. I do that twice a year for spring and fall. When I till all the leaves and grass puts compost in the garden. No fertilizers. Rotate the crops every year. Going on 6 – 7 years now and doing great this way. Most of the bad bugs I pick off as I see them. We get enough and don’t use pesticides.

          • Take a look at using wood chips as ground cover/mulch. There is a great video at Paul will tell you what you need to know.

        • My dad has clay soil, and every three years he has to enrich it. Your local count extension office can give you pointers on what needs to be added, and how much per acre. Local universities and mail order seevices can do soil testing for pH and nutrients.

        • The house that used to have a garden; we lived there for 15 years. You have to dig that clay out and replace with black dirt. We had an excellent, fertile garden for many years…add turkey compost, etc. But get that clay out of there.

        • Shade cloth or plant where the afternoon sun is blocked. Raised beds take much more water than gardens at ground level do. Use soaker lines for watering.

        • Plant earlier………..

        • @ Silver: we also have clay soil. have had to work a small area over the years adding in stuff to make it better. even with this, the soil is still just ok. so I hand tilled it, then grabbed a couple of old 4×4’s we had laying under some bushes, made a L, then added in mushroom compost & potting soil on top. planted everything in it and it’s thriving. oh, and due to our SC summer heat, it’s north/east facing. so it won’t get scorched. so far, so good. best of luck to you!

      8. I do not mind giving tips, but unless you are in central Florida, I could only help alittle bit. I have 2 gardens of appox. 5000 sq. ft. I also have around 45 – 50 fruit and nut trees. You can grow alot more fruits than people would believe in Florida. In 2 weeks, hope to get 1 pig, 1 calf, and maybe 1 goat. Someday I’ll be getting rabbits and chickens. Maybe next year on those, if there is a next year. Still want to plant 10 – 20 more fruit and nut trees. I’ll start that project this year. Ask your questions if you need help and keep buying bullets, seeds and TP.

      9. I love to grow things, makes me appreciate and feel closer to Mother Earth. But when SHTF I would just have to leave it for others because a city is not the best place to survive. That would not bother me to leave it for others, but one does not just wake up one day and know how to garden, it takes years of learning from your mistakes. It also requires a lot of hard work which so many people are unfortunately allergic to.

        • Spot on with your comment about not just waking up and being a gardener,,

          The first year is usually pretty good, then its all down hill unless you stay on top of stuff and learn from mistakes and learn what does and does not work,,,
          There are also no sure things, Mother Nature has a way of issuing reality checks when its least convenient!

      10. My house resides on land of about 0.40 acres. We have two garden spots, one is 24×24 and the other 16×16. We have one raspberry patch. We also have 12 fruit trees, use to have 16 but fire blight in early years. And the rest fills the home, yard, and numerous aspen trees. It is amazing how much produce we can produce with a little area as ours. That is the good news. The bad news is WE ARE THE ONLY DIPSHITS WITH A GARDEN in our neighborhood !!!! Come on dudes, get with it….

      11. “Garden like your life depends on it”. I’ve been living it since 1963.

        • Its a good life aint it 🙂

          • Yup.

      12. If you live in Tucson AZ look me up. I build and install Raised Garden Beds. We will also fill with garden soil made for Raised Beds. We enjoy growing all year round in our raised beds as well. visit us at:

      13. All I can say is , I’m glad I started my garden 3 yrs ago.We have 5 acres, took two years to get a decent crop,, working with black gumbo/clay was hell..Tilling, adding compost sand, etc finally paided off, I remember thinking back then If SHTF now, we would of starved to death !!! ? Silly me thought ,just plant seeds and whoola..a garden …. NOT…
        Also at the same time planted a lot of peach trees ( early & late bloom) pear, plum, apricot, blackberry,,,,, all in full bloom , …..(looks like we will get bunches of fruit this yr) took three yrs, glad I had started when I did, it takes longer than you think…

        • Thats the truth and so many folks still dont get it…they think you just throw out some seeds and…volia!…and theyll pay a dear price sadly…all we can do do is keep teaching those willing to learn…cant help the rest…happy planting!

        • I’ve not done much gardening in the past 55 years. Just a few tomato plants, sprouts, etc. (When I was a child, my parents had a garden, but I didn’t do much work in it.)

          This year I bought a bunch of seeds and decided to start the peppers indoors, since our growing season here is too short to start them out side. This afternoon I had 15 plants growing. Tonight I have none. My cat ate them. Well, at least I learned while the stores are still working and I can buy the plants already started. I haven’t let my cat go outside, and now I am sure she will stay inside 24/7.

          You are so right loulou. We need to practice so we can find out what can go wrong.

          • If not your cat, then someone else’s cat…

      14. Got some advise for small spaces from the nursery .

        You can plant pumpkins at the base of a large tree, the vines train up and is supported by the tree, the tree shades the plant and takes no space.

        My Hubs works construction, he’s on the job when the landscapers are there, so he gets me the large black tubs the trees come in, I fill with dirt and compost , this year I planted some watermelon in one, allow it to train over the side and down, takes a lot less space and maybe this year the melons won’t run next door for the neighbor to scarf! lol

        Also, our county gives away compost, for FREE! A truck load a day, 7 days a week, I’ve had really good luck with it although I’ve been warned about different viruses, I’ve had no such problems.

        • The tree will take all the water, nutrients and the sunshine. Try a different approach as trees do not co exist with gardens where the garden is in the trees root zone. Shade loving veggies such as lettuce etc. in containers under trees do great with afternoon shade.

      15. getting ready to germinate my seeds indoor to get a jump on the season, still too cold outside to trust mother nature to do it, or do it right.
        Ive always had good results and always have good plants when doing this, my growing season is just so short up here, and very unpredictable
        two years ago we got a deep hard frost long after all the buds came out and it killed a lot of crops and low production due to the cherry tree buds getting the frost and the apple trees, it also did a number on the smaller vegetables if they were planted before that time..its just too dam unpredictable so I wait until im dam sure to transplant outside

        some of the farms up this way took quite a hit back than, some never re couped their losses, some of the farms went up for sale

        • VRF
          Lots of the farmers have sold their souls to the USDA devil, see it over here in all scales of farms, when the currency dives or something happens they will all be in trouble, i know a few folks who have used their land as collateral with the USDA for huge loans, it is a shame, its real attractive to think about expanding, at some point reality will come back and bite ya in the ass though.

        • Ive lost my tree crops to freeze/frost 13 out of the last 15 years…hard to take when theyre all bloomed out and temps drop to 16/18F for the night in June… 🙁

        • @VRF

          I just put Roma tomato and gourd sprouts into cups of dirt last night. I’ll put them outside tomorrow, then transplant them when they get big enough. I’ve got squash, watermelons, cantaloupes, and peppers ready for sprouting. I put the seeds between damp paper towels, put the paper towels into plastic bags to hold the moisture, and label them. It has finally gotten warm enough to work outside, but not quite dry enough.

      16. How about this.
        You Do NOT garden.
        Instead put your time and money and buy used computer books off of
        You get hot with a computer. Spreadsheets, word processing, programming.
        Then go double your pay.

        You guys are a bunch of fucking Idiots.
        Yeah, I bought into all this prepper shit back in 2009.

        Today… I doubled my pay be being an IT guy.
        They will just ship food in from the globe.

        Yeah, I have all that prepper shit and I’m ready.

        Stop thinking that we have this global mad max thing going on.

        I personally know a farmer whose is sitting on a whole silo of grails just for kicks.

        RE: Beef. Just as well… as I should not eat all that crap… heart you know.

        balance idiots.

        • Good luck with that imported food concept when the dollar loses another 90% of it’s value.

          Imported food won’t get beyond the cities, either.

          • Especially good luck with that when 40% of the world is ALREADY starving and the US is one of the largest growers of wheat and soybeans.

        • I can double my money instantly. All I have to do is pull it out of my wallet and fold it.

          Will your pay double every four years? If not, you won’t be able to keep up with food inflation. You may not be able to buy meat at all before long. “They” might stop shipping any food to you.

          If you garden, eventually your produce will be practically free. Composting, saving seeds, and using your free labor makes it free after a little initial cost.

          Also, I was in word processing for many years. It definitely does not double your pay. For the work involved, I could make more growing peppers and herbs.

        • IT people are a dime a dozen, millions of kids coming out of college with degrees working with the latest, greatest and they will work for less to get a foot in the door and 90% of them will not give you attitude.
          One in a million will get a position that pays huge returns, and at that it generally doesnt last unless you are exceptional and one of the leaders in cutting edge tech.

        • i,m with you. i done that stuff over 35 years ago. i,ll eat my hotdogs eat my chips eat salad and live to 99. it a racket that the wise clean up on. writing books about really nothing and selling it to the dumb. ha-ha-ha. what a joke.

      17. First of all, good article by Deyo….On our two garden spots, the 24×24 area is designated mostly for Jerusalem Artichokes and Potatoes. There is small room left for my herbal spot and a couple tomato plants and a small lettuce area. The other 16×16 is mostly snap beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, radish, and a few other items….

        We buy all our sweet corn from a local Farmers Garden and then freeze it. We also buy about 300 lb local beef and put in freezer as well.

        If people only knew what food inflation and shortages will do to them, I think they would get going as well. But most will wait and then stand in very long lines at some market-place. Good luck to all….

        • When youve got a couple generations living today who have never had to do without a meal,who never went to the store and found it lacking or never found their cupboards bare and had to do without…well it(hunger) becomes an abstract concept…something that happens to others but never to them(cause it never has so far)it becomes hard to get folks to make take it seriously…like the IT guy above…they just cant make the connection in their head to there being no food available or a lack of it even so they cant take it seriously…cold hard world out there that has little room in it for failure or sympathy the fiat will fail whilst good food in your belly will keep you going another day…

          • Might want to can the corn and beef.

      18. Already have green beans, potatoes and sugar peas growing.

        • Already been harvesting beets, lettuce, radishes, carrots, spinach, broccoli and got my first red cherry tomato. Tomato plants are two feet tall with green tomatoes in bunches. Grapes are setting fruit and growing like weeds as are the nectarines, oranges, tangelos, lemons and limes. One of the things that make SoCal nice is the gardening weather.


        Native Americans used to garden with the 3 sisters – corn, squash and beans. They planted corn and when it sprouted, planted pole beans around each stalk of corn so the beans would go up the corn. They planted squash (pumpkins, winter squash, and vining types) in between the rows. This conserved space and also reduced the amount of weeding required.

        You can also garden in individual bags of potting soil. Just lay the bag on its side. Punch a few holes in the side that now acts as the “bottom” of the “container”. Create a small hole in the top for your plant. Tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, etc. can be grown this way. Just be sure you choose varieties with very compact growth habits.

        • That’s an excellent idea! I’m gonna try that and see what happens with a few tomato plants or something. Thanks.

      20. Intensive gardening:

        Basically put it is using every inch of available space. Traditional
        gardening had neat rows of veggies, evenly spaced with rows between,
        and lots of bare earth showing. Intensive gardening plants crops
        together, sharing the same spaces, with little to no dirt showing at
        all. Carrots and onions and nasturtiums surrounding tomatoes and
        peppers, bean teepees covering thickly sown beds of leafy greens,
        radishes in between cabbages and broccoli, Corn planted with beans
        and cucurbits…herbs and self-seeding plants growing here and there
        also help to improve things. Mints help to improve the flavor of
        tomato and pepper and eggplants, they also attract beneficial

        When one crop is ready to fade out, you cut it off at soil level, and
        put in another crop right in the bare spot. If you plant a few
        seeds a week, rather than using the whole packet at once, then you
        can harvest enough produce each week, without having too much at
        once. The same holds with most veggies. Even potatoes can be
        planted early, mid and late season. Planting pole beans and vining
        tomatoes and cucumbers will extend your harvesting season, too.

        All in all, intensive gardening is just using every square inch of
        soil to plant in, by growing vertically, succession planting,
        companion planting, etc… It can take some trial and error to get a
        really good system, especially if you want to rotate your crops as
        well. Once you have hit on a good system, however, you will find
        that your fertilization, watering, and pest control problems nearly

      21. Companions in the garden

        Asparagus: parsley and tomato–avoid with onion
        Bean: anything but onion
        Beet: cabbage, kohlrabi–avoid with runner bean
        Broccoli: bean, celery, dill–avoid with lettuce, strawberry, tomato
        Brussels sprouts: hyssop, mint sage, rosemary–avoid strawberry
        Cabbage: bean, beet, celery, dill–avoid grape, strawberry , tomato
        Carrot: bean, leek, onion, pea–avoid dill
        Cauliflower: bean, beet, celery, mint–avoid strawberry, tomato
        Celery: bean, cabbage, leek, onion, tomato
        Corn: morning glory, bean, lupine, melon, pea, squash
        Cucumber: bean, broccoli, celery, radish, pea, lettuce–avoid rue and sage
        Eggplant: pea, tarragon, thyme
        Horseradish: potato
        Kohlrabi: beet, onion–avoid with beans and peppers
        Leek: carrot, celery–avoid broad bean, broccoli
        Lettuce: beet, cabbage, pea, radish, strawberry
        Melon: corn, peanut, sunflower
        Onion: beet, cabbage, carrot, lettuce, strawberry–avoid peas and beans
        African Marigold (tagetes erecta) reduces nematodes
        Anise (Pimpinella anisum) deters aphids, fleas, cabbage worms
        Basil (Ocimum basilicum) variety of pests
        Bean (Phaseolus) reduces corn armyworms
        Borage (Borage officinalis) Japanese beetles, tomato hornworms
        Broccoli (Brassica oleacea) reduces striped cucumber beetles
        Carrot (Daucus carota) deters onion flies
        Catnip (Nepeta cataria) deters ants, aphids and many more
        Celery (Apium graveolens) deters cabbage butterflies
        Chive (Allium schoenoprassum) black spot on roses, fruit tree insect
        Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) deters Colorado beetles
        Corn (Zea mays) reduces striped cucumber beetle
        Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) repels Colorado beetles
        Dill (Anthum graveolens) repels aphids and spider mites
        Eucalyptus in general an insect repellent
        Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)deters aphids
        French Marigold (Tagetes patula) deters Mexican bean beetles;nematodes.
        Garlic (Allium sativum) Japanese beetle; in general an insect repellent
        Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) repels flea beetles, insect larvae
        Lavender Cotton (Santolina charmaecyparissus) deters corn wireworms,
        southern root worm
        Leek (Allium ampeloprasum) deters carrot flies
        Marigold (Tagetes) deters nematodes, cabbage pests
        Milkweed (Asclepias) deters aphids/ attracts butterflies
        Mustard (Brassica nigra) reduces aphids
        Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) A trap crop for aphids
        Onion (Allium cepa) deters Colorado beetles, carrot fly
        Petunia squash and potato bug; bean beetle
        Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis) asparagus beetle, tomato hornworm.
        Potato (Solanum tuberosum) deters Mexican bean beetles,
        Radish (Raphanus sativus) cucumber beetle, root fly, many others.
        Rue (Ruta graveolens) deters beetles and fleas
        Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) bean beetle, cabbage moth andothers.
        Sage (Salvia officinalis) cabbage worm, cabbage moth, root maggot.
        Savory (Satureja) deters Mexican bean beetles
        Southernwood (Artemesia abrotanum) deters cabbage moth, carrot flies
        Soybean ((Glycine max) deters corn earworm, corn borers
        Tansy (Tanecetum vulgare)ants, aphids, beetles, cabbage worm.
        Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) cabbage pests and whitefly
        Tomato (Lycoperiscon lycoperiscum) loppers, flea beetles, white fly on cabbage
        Wormwood (Artemisia) rodents, slug, snail and many more.

      22. most people work for a living and do not have enough time as the Deyos do to play farmer jack. Hey don,t forget to buy all their books so they,ll have more time for their prestigious gardens few can or ever will accomplish. Just more people making a living off the prepper survivalist communities. Most do not have the time and assets for such a lifestyle. I say do with what you have. And do not structure your life following others such as the Deyos.

        • I have a full time job. I do all the tilling and row making on the weekend. The rest I do after work. An hour or so a day just walking through the garden in the evening with the wife, talking and pulling weeds is relaxing. It does not take as much time as people make it seem. Maybe if you are a farmer, and do it for a livivg. If I loose a little to bugs, bvut get enough for us, it does not have to be all work. As far as the comments on what will and what will not grow, if something does not grow in your garden you can try different varieties, and different seasons. The important thing is you have to get planting now to see what grows in your dirt. If you wait and buy whatever seeds are in Home Depot or Lowes, you are going to find out most of the varieties they sell will not grow in your yard. You have to experiment while you can or you are going to be SCREWED.

        • My father had a full-time, very hard job, but he still had a huge garden. We never had to buy many vegetables from the grocery store. My mother canned hundreds of quarts of tomatoes, green beans, peas, potatoes, squash, and pickles. We would have tomatoes by the washtub full to can. I know because I peeled a lot of them. The potatoes would be put on shelves in the shed out back. The onions would be tied in bundles and hung up in the shed.

          In all the years I was at home, the garden never failed us even once.

          If you don’t have time to have a little garden, then you don’t want to eat really fresh vegetables badly enough.

        • My husband’s Godfather used to work all day in the factory, eat dinner, and then walk a mile to his garden plot and garden and/or harvest each day. There is time if you want there to be time. Doing a small plot now to get good vegetables teaches you what works.

        • But yet somehow the same people who “have no time”find time to attend sports events and movies and social events…its a matter of priorities…dont wanna grow? fine…but bashing others who do is silly…

      23. Every system seems to have a weak link. For aquaponics, you need fish food and energy to recycle the water, for example. OK, you could get solar panels and a charge controller and inverter to run the pumps, but still have to get fish food.

        Same with chickens I guess to a point. Although you can feed them table scraps and let them free range and debug your farm land, still have to get some chicken feed to supplement.

        With these gardens, even with raised beds, it would be nice to have a gravity fed irrigation system. I’ve followed some of the LDS prepper’s You Tube Video’s for example, but he seems more intent on selling /promoting the Mittlieder gardening system with its special fertilizer you have to buy and “technifying” his garden rather than true sustainable self sufficiency. He also seemed to suddenly abandon the Back to Eden wood chips beds, although it is interesting on the concept of crowding your vegetables to out compete with weeds.

        But it is good to see this kind of topic re emerge. I am almost ready to buy some land and set up shop here in southern MS and LA.

        • and also I might add, the chicken poop is great fertilizer, as is horse manure …which somes out of…. horse’sass.

          • Make sure that feed your horses eat or straw that is used for bedding isn’t treated or hasn’t come out of a sprayed field. Certain pesticides will kill your garden if contained in your compost. Whole gardens have been wiped out like that……

      24. I’m going to put in the same stuff I did last year. Had a bumper crop of peas, and tomatoes. Potatoes did well. Sweet potatoes, and onions did Ok. Squash sucked.
        Bumper crop of beans, squash, bell peppers and cucumbers two years ago. Canned the hell out of them.
        Dehydrated Peas, Corn, Potatoes, Sweat potatoes, Bell peppers, onions. last year going to do it again this year. Takes up less space.
        I have friends with fruit trees so I will be canning and dehydrating fruit also.
        If you remember our group will put in a garden for themselves and a extra crops for the group.
        I’m going to try corn again this year. I heard that human hair will keep the CRIDDERS out of the crops. I’m thinking about buying some Yoty PEE and put it around the garden.
        I have one idea Aim Small Miss Small

        • Hair will work until it rains. My mom has a hair salon, and gives away lots of hair. If…IF you have room, I saw a trick in a hunting channel for the deer. You put sticks or posts around the garden, and at 1 ft and 3 ft height run a white string around it ( I forget hour thick needs to be. It wasn’t as big as clothes line they used. Then 1 ft inside this perimeter place a few more stakes/ posts and run a white string 18-24″ height. It screws with depth perception of e deer and supposedly they won’t jump over into garden.

          • Thanks

        • @Sgt. Dale

          You might need to hand pollinate the squash if they’re blooming but not bearing.

          • Thanks

          • @ Archivist,
            ok, ok, I know it is good advice, but man… that has all the makings of a great dirty joke somehow.

            • Squash blossom sex.

              Another thing. If you have too many squash, you can eat the blossoms. Pull off the petals, roll them in seasoned flour, and fry, preferably in bacon grease. Then you have a nearly vegetarian fried fatback.

        • Sgt. order some neptunes harvest fish/seaweed and spray. it works well on deer, they will move on. have grown produce for years. stick with neptunes as its from the atlantic.

        • ive had great luck with human hair(from barber shop) and reflective Al pie pans. A good thing to keep birds out are toy rubber snakes that are life size.

        • I had some serious deer issues until I read about a double fence. Apparently deer have piss poor depth perception so the double fence just freaks them out. And I can attest that it works for me. Now we aren’t talking big fencing here…I literally have two runs of 24″ chicken wire 3′ off the ground and about 30″ apart and they stay out of our 50×60 plot.

          Coons are another matter…havahart trap if you are squemish and have the time and gas money to relocate them, connibear if you want to get in the cap business.

      25. Also learn about NATIVE vegetation that you can safely eat around your home. After SHTF the water may not turn on, and if you cannot get a safe water source to irrigrate your garden it is worthless. Native food is hardy to your region, learning about safe food growing around your home, this should be also like your life depends on it.

        • love poke and dandelion salad light vinegrette

      26. Good article. We are on our 3rd year gardening. Still learning. Have a combination of raised beds, fenced garden and pots. Why? Because we are finding different things grow better in each. Fenced garden included corn, beets,peas,carrots,greens and squash. This year we will plant some green beans next to the corn. Once corn is 10″ high we will plant beans next to the corn and grow like the Indians did(no need to stake the beans). Hopefully it will work. In the raised beds we have lettuce,onions,strawberries,herbs,potatoes and more green beans. Have 2 large raised beds for the beans and herbs. Three small raised beds for potatoes,onions and lettuce. Pots hold our various tomatoes. Found tomatoes do better in pots for us. In addition to the garden we have fruit trees and blueberry and blackberry bushes. In southeast TN long growing season and plenty of water. DH has spent several years amending our garden soil and it is now black gold and very easy to “work up”. We compost and it goes liberally where we plant our corn. We have 3 of the 50 gallon rainforests with hoses attached to each which we use to water. We have over 100 acres so space is not an issue, but we have all our raised beds,garden and pots in close proximity to the house for practical reasons. As a side note we put in a two acre pond this year in front of the house. DH put the blue gill and catfish minnows in today. Hopefully in a couple of years we will be ready for the fish dry. Trust me folks if these two former “office donkeys” can garden you can too. But do not wait till shtf hits to start,it takes trial and error,planning and work. Good luck to all.

      27. Outside sitting by a pitfire with a steel drum half full of grass clippings, leaves and rabbit manure sitting in the hot coals cooking down. Tomorrow we will feed this mixture into veggie rows. Radishes, leafy greens and potatoes seem to enjoy this mixture quite well. Wifey dont like the smell so she’s indoors with the baby while I’m outdoors enjoying the beautiful star filled sky.
        Tomorrow its dirt in the fingers.

        • Ya i know the feeling. I,m sitting beside my closets filled with storable food and P.M.s and nestled in between it all are a couple of can of survival seeds, just in case i have to sweat and labor hard for my food. and while i,m sharping my ka-bar and keeping my powder dry, i,m getting ready to watch rambo on the big screen. such a comfortable feeling isnt it. nite.

      28. I wrote this in a past post, but felt it totally applied to this post as well. Please disregard if you already read it.

        Also, you may want to check out this site called if you are starting a garden. A “newbie” in my gardening group told me about it and I checked it out. It is a free service (at least for now) and can help you lay out your garden, tells you what will grow in your climate, when to plant, when to harvest, etc. with some other pointers as well. If you are a seasoned grower it is probably not for you but if you are new to the game, it is worth a look.

        Now back to my previous post:
        I have been growing with a series of raised beds on my over-sized city lot with a ton of success. I am part of a gardening group and also have some extra plots at a community garden in the neighborhood (this is another thing to look into if you want to try your hand at gardening but either don’t have the land or the desire to till up an area in your yard). I have also found the community garden to be a wealth of knowledge. People grow all types of produce and are happy to offer advice and help whenever needed. You can also see first-hand what works and what does not.

        One thing I have been learning about recently is the value of re-mineralization when it comes to growing. While our community garden does not allow any type of chemical fertilizers or pesticides (which is great in my opinion), many gardeners utilize a variety of natural nutrient inputs (castings, compost teas, etc.). I have learned that nutrients and minerals are actually quite different – and plants need both. The minerals I am referring to are essentially natural rock dusts.

        I started utilizing rock dusts like Andesite Mineral Complex, Azomite and Glacial Rock Dust in my raised beds and garden plots after I was introduced to them by some fellow growers and the results were incredible. I am not referring to pH balancing minerals like lime either which are different. One of the most important factors is that of nutrient density. The fact of the matter is, an apple is not an apple is not an apple when it comes to growing. There are pesticide laden conventional apples, commercially grown organic apples and apples grown organically in re-mineralized soils (think hobby farms and backyards) and the differences are undeniable. Just like humans, plants need a very wide variety of trace elements to achieve their maximum potential – and provide you with maximized nutrient density in the process.

        As I have a limited amount of space, it is of the utmost importance that I grow the most nutrient-dense food as possible. Additional benefits are better production, better pest resistance, etc, etc., etc. Don’t take my word for it either – feel free to do your own research.

        While maximizing production in small growing areas is important, maximizing the value (in nutritional terms) of what you are growing is equally as important.

        I would encourage everyone to grow something – be it in a container, small raised bed or large garden. One more point to note is that the learning curve is much steeper than most think. Good soil isn’t developed overnight – mother nature just doesn’t work that way. If you wait to start growing until things begin to hit the fan, you will be way too late. It is one thing to grow a garden when you can run to the grocery store if things don’t work out. It is completely other thing to grow a garden when you need every item out of it to survive.

        • Epson salts. Not just for soaking your feet but does wonders in the garden.

      29. sgt. dale – You may consider trying a few of these things to help keep deer and other varmits out of your garden:

        1) human hair – you can get this from most barber shops. you can either scatter it around the ground or put it in some home made panty hose sacks and then hang it around your garden. the human scent can help repel some animals.

        2) soap – carefully cut up a bar of soap and drill a hole through the middle of each piece and then hang it around your garden. i have a friend who is a christmas tree farmer and does this to keep the deer from eating his trees and says it works quite well. i don’t know if some brands of soaps are better than others so you may want to google it

        3) predator urine (e.g. coyote, etc.) – this can be effective but tends to be expensive as a longer-term solution and also can wash away with regular rainfall.

        4) fencing – you don’t need to go with expensive chain-link fencing either. your run of the mill plastic construction fencing (they make it in green so it doesn’t look as bad as the orange stuff) works pretty well. However, if you are going the fence route, you want to dig a trench around your garden at least a foot down and then bury some galvanized chicken wire (or something comparable) to prevent the animals that like to dig (woodchucks, etc.).

        results may vary but the first two are very inexpensive to try.

        hope this helps.

      30. I know here where I live (texas) and I’m sure in other areas, a lot of people watch the pecan trees,, when they start to bud, the freezing temps are gone for the year, Pecans trees will never bud until then,,,, I guess they know,,,, lol….there never wrong

      31. At Urbanfarmer…I use epsom salt,,, awesome stuff,,,, my container tomatoes were huge last year,,,,, I use that stuff on everything, green peppers, flowers, palm trees etc,, no more miracle grow ever again,,,, 2 tablespoons per gallon jug of water,,,,, amazing stuff for ur plants and you to

      32. Yeah its me again….I just wanted to say a BIG thank you to Mac and everyone on this site, because of everyone, the past three yrs ( when I found this site) we got a house with a huge fireplace,(warmth & cooking if needed) acerage,, planted many fruit trees, learned to garden,, and canning ( won first place in county in public tasting contest) stocked up on 6mths of canned food, stored 300 pds of rice, beans in wine bottles with bay leaves, got a big swimming pool ( can use water to flush toilets, were on septic system, so our drinking water won’t be touch) got chickens,, OTC meds and got the book that was mentioned here (Doctors without boarders).. even asked for a generator for my B day last yr ( got it)……next we are working on a well…….All of this because of this site,,,, Thank you…..I don’t comment a lot, but I faithfully read this site and all comments every day …I sleep better , and feel alittle more calmer in what will come our way, knowing my eyes are wide open….THANK YOU all for sharing you info with us all,…

      33. Please find space for a few medicinal herbs – garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage etc. Maintaining health & sanitation in a collapse is important and gross as it sounds in many areas lice, vermin, and pestilence will run rampant.

        I learnt years ago when I had a garden backing onto a river that a few pots and baskets of mint around my kitchen door meant I could keep it open in summer without being visited by the midges so prevalent around water at dusk in the UK. Mint tea is wonderful for a baby with excess wind. Thyme is wonderful for mild urinary tract issues. Burning sage after illness cleanses the air in a room used for sickness. bay leaves help deter weevils in food storage. Little things like this can make all the difference to your quality of life where everyone is struggling.

        Most herbs can be grown in pots or window boxes so need not take valuable space from your gardens, though with clever companion planting some can help protect your crops from insect damage. Finding all your cabbages have been munched over night won’t be funny after shtf.

        For those in colder regions don’t overlook the humble turnip, leek, or kale as winter crops that can withstand deep frosts and can be left in the ground. The Scottish and the ir many recipes for “neeps” are legendary. As people get richer historically turnips become regarded as animal feed by peasants now grateful for more variety, but the these crops kept our ancestors thru many a grim winter season after other posher crops had failed in the autumn.

        This is a UK site but has many varieties of heirloom seed from places like Russia and the Czech Republic so are designed for shorter growing seasons. New EU rules mean they may not be around too much longer, so some of you in Northern regions may find it helpful to take a look at their offerings now.

      34. Another reason to garden now is to understand how much you need of various veggies. For us freezer space is limited and saved for meat and corn. Canning and dehydrating are our primary preservation methods. We love green beans and grow a lot of them. Squash is so prolific that we had to back off on it,plus does not preserve particularly well.Tomatoes do well here and we can and use a lot. This past winter we used over 30 quarts of tomatoes and 40 quarts of green beans. Still have pickles left so we are not planting any cukes this year. Also still have some dehydrated green peppers so may only plant two pepper plants this year. But you get the idea,it is all about knowing how to stock for sustainable living. Without doing the garden now we would not know these things.

        • Winter squash will stay good all winter, if stored properly; plus you can freeze or can it.

        • My mother canned yellow crookneck squash every year, using the Ball Blue Book. She would open a jar in the winter and fry them with some onions.

      35. My 94 year old, depression era raised, remembers it well, mother-in-law has two words for the garden they actually survived from … “beans and potatoes”.

        She said the woods were “all hunted out” … and of course they planted other things … but they ate a lot of beans and potatoes during the winter because the potatoes kept well in their makeshift root cellar and the dried beans were kept in mason jars.

        Please pray for us … we are praying for you.

      36. City Gal alert!!!!!!!!!

        Can you feed chickens quinoa and amaranth? We don’t have room for a field of corn and most people in the UK wouldn’t recognise these plants if you beat them with them. Quinoa is a wonderful food for those like my son that can’t tolerate dairy. I was wondering if we can give the left over stalks to the chickens at the end of the season to pick out the last few grains?

        1st ever eggs for chooks are going in the incubator this week. So please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but if I don’t ask I won’t learn.

        • I think chickens will eat just about anything that looks like a seed or grain, and quinoa is healthy, so I’d say give them some and see.

      37. hey Mac,
        thanks for posting this article! I was surfing around the other day on break @ work, and came across an interesting gardening method but for the life of me, cannot recall the name. it started with an H and sounded German maybe? anyways, you dig a trench and put in logs tree branches, then cover with sod FACE DOWN, then there are some more layers of grass clippings, manure, etc & of course soil. it actually ends up looking like a hill or mound. you plant on the mound & along the sides. which makes it nice for us older folks (less bending). the article said if it’s watered well the 1st year, it will continue to self water & feed for years. have you heard of this? I saved it to my computer…at work! should have written the name down, my apologies!

      38. I probably won’t spell it right but Google will recognize it. Heugulcultue. I’m interested in that also.

        • that’s IT, LAG!! thank you!! has anyone here had success with it?

      39. Just yesterday I attended the Small animal & goat auction at Koskonog MO. Lots of folks there grow & raise their own produce & animals for meat eggs & milk. For many their income is so low its a necessity to produce a large portion of what they eat. Its early in the season and none where selling garden produce yet but there will be some soon. I bought a bred 6 year old registered Nubian milk goat for $150!

      40. Consider growing some hot peppers like cayenne, or better yet, habaneros– the hotter, the better! They can be very prolific, and you can bring them indoors in winter for a rapid start next spring– they are tropical perennials! Dry and grind the fruits for hot pepper.

        The famous herbalists like Dr. Christopher and Richard Schultze call cayenne ‘The KING Of Herbs’ – because it universally helps many conditions, moves the blood, and blasts through blockages. They swear a tsp of cayenne pepper drunk in a cup of hot water (or put in an unconscious person’s mouth) can stop a heart attack. I believe it.

        It also will stop bleeding very rapidly. Last night, while preparing dinner, I cut my finger nearly to the bone with an impressive amount of blood. My quick-thinking daughter grabbed our home-grown, home-dried-and-powdered habanero/cayenne mix (extremely hot!) and poured about a teaspoon on my finger. I was expecting to hit the ceiling, but, amazingly, it barely stung — and the bleeding stopped almost instantly with pressure.
        After a few minutes, we wiped off most of the pepper (leaving it in the wound), covered the cut with raw manuka honey (natural antibiotic and healing agent), wrapped it with gauze and tape and the next day, it was fine and no pain. Looks like it will heal well.
        A foundational book for preppers and survivalists :
        Curing With Cayenne: The Untold, Unknown, and Unpublished Facts About How to Cure with the Greatest Herb of All Time!
        by Sam Biser with Dr. Richard Schultze $12. worth FAR more!

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