We start off with the ultra short course on survival gardening today because it could become an important issue one day.
If You Don’t Have a Green Thumb, read on:
Lots of people tell us they don’t have one. We usually beg to differ. There is a simple checklist that can keep you out of trouble. Ready?
- Plants need the right temperatures.
This is all over the web. If the temps are too cold, the plants wont grow. But, if it is too hot, the same thing holds true.
Short story to illustrate:
Got the deep water hydroponics going and I noticed that the tomatoes weren’t taking off like they should. Set up a temp and humidity meter to see what was going on.
OMG: 115F Hot enough to end growing.
Opened all the vents on the top of the greenhouse, set in a fan and down came the temps:
I reset the 115 off the record high/low function by just removing the battery for a few seconds…
Keep your plants under 100F if you can – in a greenhouse in East Texas, that’s not easy, but can be done. Small fans and open doors and vent hatches.
Wind is light to moderate amounts is good for plants and will make them grow faster, although with slightly more water use.
2. The second “secret” is getting the pH (acid/alkaline balance) right.
Show and tell:
Here are a few of the basic tools of the trade for adjusting hydroponic and soil pH.
In hydroponics, you put half a clear vial of nutrient solution in and toss in 3-4 drops of the indicator (small bottle, middle). If the pH is too low, then you add some pH UP (big bottle, right). Or, if the pH is too high, in goes some pH Down (*not shown). Once you get used to the manual way, calibrate a $12 pH meter and go for it that way.
To test soil, put a little dirt in the small tube and add water. Shake the bejeez out of it. Let it sit overnight to settle. Add the drops and note the color. Or, you can use pH test strips on the ground after some rainfall…
3. Plant often, but SMALL
Our dirt garden this year is not really big, there being just two of us. Still, the squash and the “dirt tomatoes” are going great guns…
Dirt toms left, squash middle, yard-long beans right.
We’re holding something of a contest between the hydroponics and the dirt toms. Right now, the dirt toms are in the lead, but the hydroponic toms are catching up as the heat has come down.
Plant often and in small batches is the point. I will put in new starter seed in the greenhouse to “hatch out” at least half a dozen more times over the course of summer and into fall..
Say the SHTF and you run out and plant 200 cauliflower and 100 heads of lettuce. Who are you going to feed when it all comes up at once?
Better: Plant continuously for a continuous-yield garden.
4. Fertilizer is Good, But…
The soil works fine. The major adjustments are to bump up the pH and to use the smallest bit of alkaline in watering solution in order to keep the pH working.
Sure, you can fertilize like mad. But there is high risk in fertilizing if you don’t have practice.
Back when our neighbors were doing goats (and we ran 30+ head too) coming up with goat poo was real easy but it’s not very good. The BEST was rabbit poo which came off the floor of their rabbit barns and it was tilled into our garden, good to go.
Other sources, like, oh, chicken poo, are too hot. You need to mix it in with compost and we don’t like too much of that back-breaking work stuff… Do your Famine Avoidance Garden when you can still get things from Amazon before Ebola goes wild and we all have to stay indoors and eat canned goods…
5. Water the Smart Way
There are two ways to water a garden: Get a 2-gallon plastic watering can (4-5 year life cycle) and fill it from your garden faucet. OR…
- Get a fancy water-safe hose
- Hose retractor/winder
- Then because you will haul the hose over the front half of your garden breaking plant stems, then you buy a bunch of…
- Hose stakes which you will be putting in for each row.
I penciled it up once: $7-bucks for a plastic watering can from Amazon OR about $35-50 worth of “special” hose, retractor, ground stakes and nozzles…
Seriously, in a TSHTF situation do you really thing there will be pressurized water forever? Say what, bubba?
6. Stealth-ize Your Garden
So few people come up our street (maybe one car a week or two that doesn’t “belong”) that we don’t bother. BUT if you are thinking survival garden think about a small swimming pool. Yeah, more cost, higher insurance, but if TSHTF, its about the only place you will be able to get 30,000 gallons of usable water. And the 2-gallon watering can, leaving 5,000 gallons in the pool for whatever, with 2-gallons on 25-feet will either a) water a large garden all year pretty easily. Or, if you insist on row gardening, Or 59-miles of row crop one time.
7. Forage for Free Food
Care to guess what this is? Came up on its own on the fence between the garden and the greenhouse:
We are hoping (since it flowered nicely) that it will set a fair bit of fruit because it’s a prickly pear cactus. The recipe for prickly pear cactus jelly (here) calls for 3-cups of the pear’s juice and we are a might skeptical about whether it will produce enough. Care for a tablespoonful?
OK, some things to think about if the production of food were to hit the rocks worldwide. Would you survive? (If yes, will there be a lot of incoming fire in your direction?)
Chronicle Project Notes
Although the Chronicle Project continues, they aren’t making a lot of noise (or keeping the website up) right now.
BUT they are still working the ongoing translation of ancients texts to figure out what Self-Defining-Hebrew has to “correct” in the modern (often tainted translation) Bible.
Along the way, one of the key learnings is that humans are designed (planted species, right?) to work in a regular rhythm with the moon which bought forth a most curious email from Chir Tyreman this week:
“Hey G, need your help.
A lot of people who follow scriptural lunar Sabbath and not the instituted Fri-Sat Sabbath use “Phases of the moon” from the Google Store. They use this to know when the 7% new moon is up to start the month. Last night (earlier this week – g) when I was looking at the moon, I noticed that it was way more lit then it should be as we are holding Sabbath Thurs night to Friday night this month. Sabbaths can be foretold as they come two days after the moon is half, full, last half etc. The app said the moon last night was 50% lit. it was not, it was 61% lit. That means Sabbath should be on Wed-Thurs night, not what we are doing this month of Thurs-Friday. That means people who use the app are a day out and this becomes a real problem as the year advances, which I won’t get into.
This site is accurate:
Now the question becomes; how does an app that has worked for 8 years suddenly not work. Just plain weird.
I know people who follow your site also follow our work, so I thought you could do a little bit on this as I have no way of letting anyone know the problem.
Thanks if you can help.
Sure! Damn fine question why it would quit working, although the more conspiratorial “first thought” runs to the idea of demonic energies not wanting too many humans aligned with the ‘good guys..” But a Strange on.
And a Personal Woo Woo
The strange dream to work with for me came Thursday morning.
I was in one of my “dream realms” and I was getting leave one position and go into another one in July. Same line or work, and all, but just the same, it was pretty damn interesting because there was a definite “Everyone will be doing something different by the end of next month…” vibe to it.
Not sure what it means, but off to the greenhouse to rescue the waterboarded and sweat-lodged tomatoes now…
Come on back Monday and bring all your friends…