Thursday, January 28, 2010

Growing your own food

Last summer was the first time I ever grew my own food using heirloom seeds.  I planted some Buttercrunch lettuce, Golden Bantam corn, snap peas, and bush beans in a 1200 sq. ft. section of my yard. I had some tomatoes and melons planted but those damn wild geese ate them. 

I recommend that everyone learn to garden as soon as possible.  Although it is not difficult there is a learning curve and only by experience can you learn the right way of growing crops.  You don't want to be in a situation where society collapses and you never even planted a seed.  Your crop could be lost and you could starve, especially if you did not store any food for emergencies. 

When I starting gardening I decided not to use traditional fertilizer or even organic fertilizer such as manure, blood or bone meal.  I also decided not to plow or turn over the soil. Instead I utilized Ruth Stout's permanent hay mulching system to provide the needed nutrients to the soil along with soybean meal.  I did apply some lime before I placed the hay onto the ground since New Jersey is known for its acidic soil.

Why am I gardening this way?  Of course its all about being prepared.  I'm preparing the soil now so I won't need any fertilizer, even soybean meal, in order to grow food. Rotting hay, mulch and other vegetation are natural fertilizers and in time your soil will become rich in the vital nutrients necessary to grow good vegetables and fruit.  What are you going to do when the collapse comes and you can't buy fertilizer or have access to manure?  Of course you can store up some fertilizer but I rather spend my money on storing food.  You may be asking where am I going to buy hay if there is a collapse?  That's easy.  Grow it yourself.  Instead of buying hay next year, I intend to grow some oats that I can use as a cover crop and as a mulch. 

There were some downsides to using a mulching system last year such as a large infiltration of slugs.  I think the reason it was so bad was because it rained almost every week last spring/summer.  So much rain along with mulch is a breeding ground for slugs.  Hopefully this year will be a little dryer.  I was able to control them but I had to buy a special product to kill the slugs.  The beer technique just was not enough although a lot of slugs did get drunk!

In addition, since I used heirloom seeds I was able to save some of the seeds from the Buttercrunch lettuce I planted.  Lettuce is easy to grow and saving the seed is just as easy.  This is one of the major reasons Big John sells heirloom seeds through his website Survivalist Seeds. If you don't have seeds, now is the time to buy from Big John.

We all must learn to grow our own food in order to Be Prepared.  No matter how much food you have stored it will run out in a long term collapse if you do not learn to resupply it. 

Below are some photos of my 2009 garden:

I found a patch of wild blackberry growing on part of my property.

Snap peas

Buttercrunch lettuce


Buttercrunch lettuce in bolt

Seed pods from Buttercrunch lettuce

Harvested Buttercrunch lettuce seeds

Live the Motto - Be Prepared


  1. Food grade diatamatious earth is good for getting rid of slugs and other pests. And it's non toxic.

  2. I am really enjoying this blog. Don't laugh but what is a cover crop. I am thinking it's something to hide the garden. Sorry city slicker turned country bumkin. Just learning!

  3. Love this post! Gardening is a huge part of our lives each summer. We do use manure, courtesy of the chickies, but if it weren't available we'd probably go the cover crop route as well. Right now, we're trying to rebuild farmland soil and after 5 years, we're beginning to see a difference in texture, richness and the number of worms. I've never tried a cover crop, so I'll be watching to see what your results are.

    Hey's an article on cover crops for you.,7518,s1-3-81-789,00.html

  4. Hi Shelly, thanks for reading my blog. The link Andrea provided gives good basic info on cover crops.

    Andrea, it's all about building the soil, the microbes and the worms!

  5. Dave,

    I think this specific blog is great. I live in a townhome in an urban area and only have a very small amount of space and no soil to work with (deck built over a few years past) so I'm trying this technique call Square Foot Gardening. A Civil Engineer who became frustrated with traditional gardening/farming techniques created it ( So far it's easy and I'm looking forward to testing this spring/summer.

    Cheers, Ray

  6. Ray, thanks. Let me know the results of your square foot garden.

    I'm always looking for an easier way to garden, that's way I'm using the Ruth Stout method. Don't want to till the soil or worry about pulling weeds all day.