August 14, 2015 at 12:29 pm #43099
I’m bringing this thread up to the top for all the new members that might not have gardens now, but would like to start gardens.
If you plan to plant a new garden in the spring now is the time to start planning and preparing the site. Turning the soil over in the fall will give the soil the opportunity to decompose plant material and return nutrition into the soil. Initial plowing or rototilling in the fall will make cultivation in the spring easier and reduce weed propagation. For a big garden some means of machinery is necessary to turn the soil over due to the enormous amount of labor required to do it by hand.
Read the original post by Tweva and download the pdf at the bottom of her post.August 14, 2015 at 6:50 pm #43110
Adding to 74’s comments, for non-gardeners, it is critical that you get a planting bed established now while it is easy to do so in a mechanized way, whether you do it yourself or you hire someone to do it. The initial breaking up of the sod is a lot of work. I would also include a soil analysis by your local Extension Service or comparable agency. I have a new garden space this year but didn’t get the soil tested. Some items have done very well despite benign neglect on my part, some items I don’t know how well they’ve done because nibbling critters interfered, and some items didn’t do well at all. I am now going to do what I should have done last year and get some soil samples tested. I am also going to get some soil samples from the yard in areas where I have been planting fruit trees and bushes, again on account some items are doing better than others.
The other reason to get a garden going now is that not every fruit or veggie likes every micro-climate. Best to experiment with what does well in your space now when it doesn’t really matter.August 14, 2015 at 8:41 pm #43114
Good advice, all.
I must have missed this thread.
We planted potatoes as an experiment. Yukon Golds. Back in the Spring, we marked off an area 10×20 and tilled it. It was rough, even with a gas-powered tiller. Wishing we had tilled last Fall… would have made life a lot easier.
Once we got rid of most of the rocks, we hoed the rows 18″ apart and planted each seed potato 12″ from each other down the rows, about 3″ deep. Covered them up, watered them and let them go…
Short version: They sprouted. We covered them halfway with a mix of dirt and compost. As they grew taller, we kept covering them. Then came the Potato Bugs. One or two, then a scourge. We sprayed once every 14 days with Malathion. When the plants grew flowers, we clipped them of so they would not divert energy away from potato production.
The plants eventually turned brown, then withered and died off. We thought we did something wrong – having never planted a potato in my life. What the hell did I know? Maybe too much rain? Optimum water is one inch every three days. We got 6 weeks of rain. I thought it was a giant failure. All our work for nothing.
Couple weeks ago, my wife and her twin sister decided to take a look. They started digging. Lo and behold, we netted 20 pounds of potatoes per row! Most of them were between baseball and softball size.
That translated to 60 lbs total, give or take. We saved out the smallest ones as next year’s seed crop, crated them up proper and stored them right. After a two week wait (recommended, so the skin thickens), we made dinner using those same potatoes… and they were awesome! Tasted way better than storebought…
Potatoes. Other than keeping tabs on the water and spraying every 14 days, they’re more or less no maintenance… didn’t really do much weeding. Didn’t need to. And no problems with pests, other than those damn potato bugs… my son tried pulling them off by hand and smashing them with a rock, but unless you got many hands, that’s a big job… Depending on how bad they are, you could spend a good portion of every day smashing potato bugs and not see an end to them…
You can grow them vertically in stacks or in a normal garden. Good return on investment. You’re gonna need some slat crates to store them in, with newspaper in between layers and a cool dry place for the full crates…
This coming Spring, we’re going to double the size of our potato plot. Might even go vertically. Don’t know yet.. highly recommended…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1August 14, 2015 at 11:00 pm #43115
Potatoes and buttermilk. A lot of good recipes out there. Survival food diet for the irish before the famine.August 15, 2015 at 1:06 am #43117
If I could make a suggestion; use the best looking and larger size potatoes for seed. In the spring cut them up to make several chits. If you use small potatoes you could end up growing small potatoes. No matter what the crop plant is you’re going to harvest for seed, always use the best plants and the best looking seeds for planting.August 15, 2015 at 3:14 am #43120
One person (who knew a lot of Irish history) claimed they grew potatoes because the men left for jobs in other countries, and once planted, the potatoes kinda took care of themselves until harvest. Of course, then came the blight and potato famine. Nowadays, potato bugs. But they are still an excellent source of starch without having to thresh, winnow and grind like grain. And the skins are a source of Vitamin C.August 15, 2015 at 8:16 pm #43145
That sounds like good advice. Thanks.
One of the things I remember reading about was that after the New World was opened up and the potato actually lost it’s stigma, lots of places switched from grains to potatoes.
Simple reason – war. It was relatively easy to trample your enemies’ grains with cavalry or just burn them. Then you’re hosed. But potatoes could survive cavalry and even fire.
The Irish potato famine happened because of the Irish themselves, believe it or not. The blight only hit one particular kind of potato. There were several other kinds to choose from to plant, and historically, those other kinds were planted. But the Irish favored one kind in particular and gradually that’s all the grew. When the blight hit, it wiped out almost all the potatoes. If they had kept the variety thing going on, it wouldn’t have been nearly as bad…
That, and the situation was made worse by the deliberate withholding of food that could have relieved the problem…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1August 15, 2015 at 8:42 pm #43146
What I’ve read through the years is to not plant the same crop in the same place season to season. Growing the same crop over again in the same place will promote disease and pests. Coincidentally my new garden was in a spot that has been dormant over 50 years. I have had zero pests and no diseased plants.
I let my poatoes plants blossom and mature. They germinated and now I have potato seed balls that can be used instead of using potatoes for seed.October 17, 2015 at 7:47 pm #44431
For the past five years we have been growing potatoes in raised beds with great success. This next year I am going to get some different types to plant out in some of the open field I will be turning over. It will be interesting how much we will be able to harvest.
As for other gardening I have found corn it too labor intensive for what you get. If I were to plant a bunch of it then it would be not only for the corn but also for livestock feed, but it takes up a lot of room. Squash of all types will just about grow by itself. Beans are great so long as you don’t have gophers. We would plant four rows to harvest one. With raised beds we harvested about 200 pounds in the same space. Peppers and onions also take pretty little amount of time. So long as you have heat then you can grow tomatoes. We haven’t had enough until this year. In the past it was always the small ones. This next year it will only be heirloom ones for canning.
Regarding preparing the garden whenever one area of the garden is completed I clear it out. I then have it prepped and ready to plant. I always have a bunch of compost and planting material in reserve. This year I plan on prepping and setting up about another ½ acre which will be in reserve for the future. I cannot imagine having to prep everything by hand. So for the time being I will cheat and do as much as I can with tractors for now……..
October 17, 2015 at 10:35 pm #44435
- This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by Realist.
Smart move prepping a garden area even if you aren’t going to use it. The initial turning over and breaking up of the sod is not a task to be done manually post-SHTF if it can be avoided. You didn’t mention deer. Are they not a problem where you live? I’m thinking post-SHTF most critters will quickly be diminished via everyone hunting for food, but until then deer are a big issue here.October 18, 2015 at 3:50 am #44447
No problems with deer in our area only gophers. We do have deer they just are not a problem because all the vineyard growers in the area kill them to protect their grapes………..
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