Category Archives: gardening

How Herbicides can Kill Your Garden, Even If You don’t Use Them

herbicidesA friend of mine recently tried straw bale gardening and had a dismal failure.  This caused him to do a bit of research and he found an article in the current (January/February 2016) issue of Backwoods Home magazine, on a product called Grazon, one of many aminopyralid herbicides used on hay and straw field to kill broadleaf weeds.  That may explain his failure.

Grazon or other Aminopyralid-containing herbicides are sprayed on pastures and fields of straw and hay because they  only kill plants such as horse nettle, pigweed and blackberries not the feed grass. After it is applied, the cows, horses and other animals graze on the grass, ingesting the herbicide which passes through their systems and into their manure.…

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Fifteen uses for five-gallon buckets

five-gallon buckets

Five-gallon buckets are cheap, easy to get and one of the most useful items to have at your home or bug out location.  Personally, I always try to keep extra buckets on hand.  My buckets are mostly food grade, but I have some non-food grade that I mark and save for other uses. Here is a link to a post that will tell you how to identify food grade buckets Food Grade Buckets and Why You Need Them.

Uses for five-gallon buckets

  1. Storing food, used with Mylar bags, they are one of the best ways to store large amounts of dried foods such as grains, legumes, sugars or dehydrated foods.
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Grow Bags Can be a Useful Tool for Hidden Gardens

grow bags

Some of our raised planters

A couple of years ago we started to experiment with raised bed gardening.  A large part of the reason was that with age and arthritis it gets harder to bend over.  After looking at all the options, it turned out that is was cheaper to purchase livestock drinking troughs and use them for planters.  So far it has worked out great.  Here is a link to how we did it Some Easy to Make Raised Planters.  Now we have added grow bags to our gardening.

A while back, I was in a gardening store located not to far from my home. …

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Growing and Preserving Figs

figsWe have a large fig tree in our back yard.  For the amount of space and the limited care it takes, it produces way more fruit than any other fruit tree of which I am aware.  It will produce two crops every year. The first crop develops in the spring on last year’s shoot growth.  The main fig crop develops on the current year’s shoot growth and ripens in the late summer or fall. The main crop is generally superior in both quantity and quality to first crop.

Fig trees can be raised in many different parts of the world, depending on which variety you grow. …

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Treat your plants to natural calcium, Eggshells

eggshellsMy vegetable and flower soil looks like it has the measles. I have mixed the soil with eggshells. The eggshells have a lot of nutrients that the plants need. Your eggshells are recycled and you have cheap food for the soil. The calcium from eggshells in garden soil moderates soil acidity while providing nutrients to plants.

I gathered up a bunch of eggshells from breakfast and baking. It doesn’t  take long to gather a couple of dozen I rinse them in cold water and put them on a cookie sheet in the oven. You then sterilize them in a 200°F (93°C) oven for 30 minutes.…

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Digging Bars Should be Included in Your Preps

digging bar

Here are mine, a four and a six foot.

This morning I got up early and planted a couple of fruit trees before it got to hot.  Now the area in which we live is in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the soil can be very rocky in places.  One of the holes went pretty easy; the soil was good and still contained enough moisture to make digging easy.  But the other one was hard and I needed a digging bar.

Now I spent a fair amount of time helping others with prepping and digging bars are something I don’t see too often. …

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Raised Beds make for Easy to Maintain Gardens

raised beds

They all can be water just by turning one hose on.

Summer is here and it is time to have your garden planted.  Now I am not a gardener, I like the produce, but gardening is something I do under protest.  Now my wife likes to garden.  However, in recent years she has had some problems with being able to bend over to work on the garden and needs raised beds.

So this last year we put in some raised beds and they have worked out well.  Because of the cost of redwood, we ended up buying some Rubbermaid drinking troughs for cattle. …

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Keeping Deer Out of the Garden

deerSummer is rapidly approaching and it is time to plant our garden.  I have lived in this house since 1987 and last year for the first time, I had a problem with deer attacking my garden.  This year I expect them to be more of a problem.  With the drought, many of their food sources are not available and they are getting desperate.  We are seeing them in the neighborhood already.

I live in a semi rural area and there is a stream and a large blackberry patch directly across the street from my house.  Last year they ate all the flowers and buds of my wife’s roses. …

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Gardening For a Fistful of Dollars

Here is a guest post by Joe on the subject of how to make extra money by gardening.   This is a great way to learn new skills, while increasing your own preparedness.

Howard

For those of us suffering from weeks-long periods of cold, grey, weather, there’s nothing like pictures of bright red vine ripened tomatoes, plump green pea pods and crisp, fresh orange carrots to make us think of spring. Of course, the publishers of seed catalogs know that.

In fact, the need for green (at least for those of us in certain parts of the country) is so strong that by the time the seed catalogs start rolling into our mailboxes, we’re more than dreaming of spring, many of us are absolutely lusting for it.…

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Gardening in South Africa When I was a Child

gardeningI have been talking to my father about gardening, when I was a child in South Africa in the 1950’s One thing that most people here would never do is use human manure for fertilizer.  Back then we would take the waste from an out door toilet and dig it directly in the ground to fertilize the garden.  We never put it directly on the plants it was always spread prior to planting.  One thing that I can remember is that we always got a great crop of volunteer tomato plants.

Today I know that most people would never think of using human manure in this manner, however neither one of us could remember anyone getting sick from it.…

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