Jonny Lindner

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Survival Gardening -- Ways to Fail and My Successes

In a long term disaster, water and food are going to be in short supply.
The time to hone your gardening skills is now, not after a disaster.
Follow my trials involving my first attempts at Survival Gardening.

raised bed garden

OMG where to begin.
Many successes but equal number of failures with some surprise endings.
Disclaimer: I have never planted anything in my life before now.
Well, only once. Watermelons that never gave a hint of growing.

In the photo to your left is my first attempt at a raised bed using
2 X 12's. Basically a 3 X 12 foot raised bed using Lowes garden soil.

Front to back are Potatoes, then onion, next on right Tomato plants,
on the left Bush Beans, and in the rear Cucumbers.
5 gallon buckets contain test container potatoes and Okra.

Results?
Potatoes were total fail. I think I waiting to long to plant and watered too much.
Onions were success. I got smart and thinned them to favor best ones.
Tomatoes? Semi success. I should have thinned them much earlier.
Bush Beans total success.
Cucumbers? Semi success. I should have thinned them and grown on a trellis.
Those on the trellis thrived, those on the ground didn't.
Potatoes in container. Total Fail.
Took advice from internet and sprayed with soapy water for bugs. Killed them dead.
Okra in Container?
Jury still out but should have thinned to just one plant instead of two.
Not seen? Another failed attempt at Watermelons.
This is Florida and I can't grow watermelons? What's up with that? WTF?

However, I think my biggest failure was not obtaining a growing guide
for my area before I even started. Zones do matter, trust me on this.
Also, it should be noted that there is a difference between say, zone 9a and 9b.
Try and find out EXACTLY which one you are.

My other mistake was planting too many different items.
For a raised bed that size I should have planted, at most, two items.
There just wasn't enough of a crop to actually be useful.
If the bed had been half tomatoes and half bush beans,
it would have been much different. Enough harvest to mean something.

My next attempt with some items in the fall, will be based just on the guide for growing in my area.

I tore up all the old plants and have planted almost the entire bed with Sweet Corn and a second attempt at Okra (just two plants)
Corn and Okra are growing great. I will be thinning the corn to favor the healthist. 12" apart is best.

As a side project I decided to try some fruit trees.
3 Peach Trees (one is dead already, one iffy, one doing great.) Hint: Don't buy fruit trees from Lowes or Home Depot.
You're much better off with a local nursery. They most likely care about their product.

2 Apples trees (both doing fine) and two Mulberry Trees (doing great). Ordered these online at Ty Ty Nursery in Georgia.

As another side project, I laid down a bunch of hay, a neighbor had, in an area approx. 40ft by 40ft about 12" deep for now.
This was only done to prepare the soil for sometime in the future. My land is very sandy, drains well, but no top soil to speak of.
At the very least I can alway try the Ruth Stout Method of farming. Google it.
I figure, over time, the hay will help prepare and make better soil.
But then came the surpise.

All the items I had taken out of the failed garden, I just threw on top of the hay I had laid down.
Basic composting for lack of a better word.
This included another load of hay and normal grass clippings. Even small tree branches.
No watering other than rain and no attention paid to it what so ever.
So yesterday I looked and I have potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and okra coming up with no input from me at all.
Will this turn into something useful, only time will tell but just shows that mother nature will find a way.
If you don't do anything else, get a roll of hay delivered and spread it out. Think of it as future gardening.

Experiments I'm trying:
I was able to obtain some Everglade Tomato Seeds. Google Everglade Tomato
These appeal to me as they grow wild in many places and take no care. (I'm good at that)

My second experiment is the Moringa Tree Called "The Tree of Life"
Called by many the one crop that could feed the world. Everything edible and some say medicinal properties.
These may take a while before they get shipped. Moringa Seeds

Both my Moringa and Everglade Tomato plants seem to be doing fine so far but I don't have a great history. lol

The key point to make here is, start learning gardening now. Even if it's just container gardening.
After disaster strikes is not the time to find out your land just plain sucks for growing anything and
with a little knowledge beforehand, the result might have been much better.
Storing seeds away only works if you actually know how to grow things.
Lastly, only purchase Heirloom seeds. If it doesn't say Heirloom, it's not.
If a friend or neighbor has seeds, this is actually the best way as they have been successful in your area.

One last important point to make. Only grow what you will actually eat.
Example: I grew tomatoes even though I don't eat tomatoes. Total waste of garden space.
The Everglade Tomatoes are more an experiment than anything else. Maybe I'll like them.

I also don't get the point of growing some types of herbs.
It's so easy to store purchased herbs long term without taking up valuable garden space.
If you feel the need for fresh herbs, do them in a container.

Thanks to all of you for your support.

Just an added note. I recently purchased some Heirloam seeds on a strong recommendation.
20 year shelf life and very well packaged with growing instructions. $16
Survival Garden 15,000 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds

Total Failure in my survival Garden
Weed

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