Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Garden. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Garden. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gardening 101

This is the first in a series on Gardening starting with Soil Basics from a guest writer, avid gardener and noted C&W DJ.

If you haven't started a backyard garden yet, it's never too late!  But, the first step is really the most critical:  soil preparation.  If you begin with good soil and maintain it periodically, you will be blessed with a bountiful harvest!  If you would like to take time to prepare and create a fast garden in the interim, consider raised bed gardening. It's easier on the body than bending over!  You would be surprised how many plants you can fill in a 4' x 4' space, or even in buckets or troughs or whiskey barrels you've drilled holes into the bottom.  You can add bags of organically rich soil immediately, but the cost can add up.  Choose something you can use later to plant flowers in so they aren't useless once your permanent garden is complete.

JR Note:  Properly designed planters also serve as cover

As my Dad always said, "Plant it several times in your head and once in the ground".  Yep, I hate to admit it, but that ol' farm boy was usually right!  Map out an area on your land or in your backyard that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.  Research the minimum requirement of sun for vegetables you desire to plant.  The ground will need to drain well, but not be on too much of a slope as to cause the water to run off rather than soak in. Become a designer knowing which tall plants need to be planted so as to not shade low growing ones depending on where you choose to plant & sun coverage. Learn which plants make good companions and grow well together.

You can do a number of things to prep the soil and we will cover just a few here.  You will want the area loose at least 6 to 8" deep, a foot for root crops such as potatoes or carrots.  Hard, compacted soil takes too much energy for the roots to break through when they should be focusing on taking root and shooting up!  You can take a sample of your soil to your County Extension Agency to test, often have a special tool you can borrow to get a good sample.  Follow their recommendations to adjust to the correct PH for best growth.  Each terrain has special needs, be it rocky, sandy or lovely red clay!
Their suggestions are to be added to already prepared soil that's somehow loose already and not compact.  Ah, enter the tiller!  I had nightmares while using my Dad's monstrous tiller that it would tilt over on me while I was on a hill, pin me underneath it while I baked in the Texas sun until help arrived.  I purchased a Mantis tiller and those worries disappeared!  It's a lightweight workhorse but it still works hard.  Keeping your garden tilled for a few months before planting will help control weeds. 

Another excellent way to break the soil down naturally is by incorporating the practice of wood chip gardening.  I stumbled across a man's revelation of using God's example in the forest of natural decomposition in his garden and I was ecstatic to say the least!  Watch his one hour documentary as soon as you can at 

He is an awesome example of allowing the natural organic process to work for you so you don't have to work as hard!  The only drawback to his method is the initial wait.  I had a huge oak tree cut down and used the wood chips in my garden about a foot deep and it takes a full 8 months to decompose.  But when it does, you have "black gold"!  The best soil for your garden!  You can contact tree trimming companies and they will usually dump a load at no cost or just for the cost of the gas to get to you.  Spread it and wait!  Yea, I know, we don't like to wait these days.  That's why you have a smaller raised bed garden in the interim or start the wood chips in the fall and hope they are ready by spring planting season!

Some old timers swear by cover crops.  It enhances soil fertility.  Your local feed store can help you decide which nitrogen rich crops you need in your area.  They are typically planted in the fall and left until spring allowing the soil to recycle and renew.  Permitting the ground to remain unplanted for a season has many benefits and should be done every third year along with annual crop rotation. Spaghetti gardening takes time and patience too.  You place wet newspaper or cardboard, soil, repeat, water and let it break down.  This needs to be very thick and takes time to decompose. Any soil, even once it's adjusted, ideally needs an addition of good, organic compost and/or manure, preferably a 50/50 mix or more on the organic side.

Plants will thrive in loose, fertile, moisture retentive, rich organic soil. This is the key!!
You will benefit wildly by adding composted materials and pure manure.  But the manure must be aged, not "hot" or fresh as it will burn your plants.  Horse and chicken manure are absolutely the best addition to your garden.  You can buy bags or get with a friend who has horses, ask them for their manure!  Not a fun thought I realize, but boy, oh boy!  Your garden will be the envy of the town!  Aged manure is likely the quickest and most proficient way to guarantee you will have an abundant crop.

Build a compost bin or tumbler and start filling it with manure, kitchen scraps, grass clippings and leaves and it will be an excellent addition to your garden; dare I say, the most important.  Over time, this is much more economical than buying bags of manure.  Many cities now offer free compost from the city recycling program when you show them your water bill.  Take a trailer and load up!  It may not be the best compost, but it's the best free compost!  Again, having your own compost bin ensures you know what items are going into the process.

You can have an "okay" garden or you can have an "Oh my, what did you do to get your squash to grow 12 feet?" garden.  It's all in the soil prep.

To begin quickly, dig a hole, add a fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro or Osmo-Cote, sprinkle some granules before placing the plant and then around the base of the plant.  It will feed the plant up to 3 months.  Keep any weeds or other unwanted growths away by quickly plucking them by the roots.  They suck the water away from your precious vegetables each time you water!   You can always add bags of "good" vegetable soil initially, but to ensure a productive garden area over the long run, the intermittent addition of rich, organic material is the key!

Oh, and don't forget to water! Try to only water the base of the plant, not the leaves.  It's easy to decipher the base of certain plants such as peppers, tomatoes, okra and lettuce but hard to find the base of trailing plants such as cucumbers, squash, watermelon, peas & beans.  The water from municipal sources contains chlorine and other chemicals not found in water from above, so try to only water the roots or even better use captured rain water (where legal)!  Place a stake or a stick at the base when you plant initially before the plant takes off.

This will get your garden off to a good start and have your friends thinking you are a gardening wizard.

Happy gardening!

Diane Day
DJ on 105.7 KYKX & 104.1 - The Ranch, Longview/Tyler Tx and
Realtor @ Summers Real Estate Group


For additional information see the following links:

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Fall Garden

Fall garden planting starts in August, and can yield some good healthy food for gardeners. If you have never gardened, now is a good time to start your first Practice GardenThe ability to Growing your own food from seed is a skill that can prove priceless.  

A few dollars worth of Survival Seeds could prove to be the best investment you have ever made.  Most households have a few yard tools, but if not, there are a few Budget Garden Preparations to consider buying.

Its not hard, just get started viewing some of our links here.  Start by reading our Practice Garden post; finish up by reading Budget Garden Preparations.

For additional information see the following links:

Also check out our Prepper Livestock series 

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Budget Garden Preparations

During World War II, the United States was forced to ration food. It was the family Victory Gardens that pulled the hungry nation through.
Two percent (2%) of the US population feeds the other 98% as well as millions of other people around the world.  This makes our food supply chain very fragile.  Many things could disrupt it.

Every adult who is responsible for the lives of others should have the following gardening preps:
  1. Garden Hoe - top quality and sharp - $57
  2. Round point shovel - no plastic nor fiberglass - $40
  3. Garden Rake - 16 metal teeth - $30
  4. Vegetable Heirloom Seeds - sealed and kept frozen; rotate them each year - $16
  5. Fertilizer - use compost or 10-10-10 sparingly - $12
  6. Quality Garden Hose ($35) and metal water sprinkler ($8) IF you don't have one already.
  7. Gardening Book -  The Vegetable Gardner's Bible is a good choice - $20
All tools should be good quality, heavy duty, with hard wood handles that can be easily replaced and no plastic. Preferably Made in the U.S.A.  The hoe is the tool you will use the most so having an extra one is a good idea.  Doing so will also allow two people at once to work in the garden.

I recommend alternating your seed source each year to provide diversity.  Date each container of seeds when you put them in the freezer.  Don't discard old seeds as they are good for 2-5 years although the germination rate decreases.  I plant or spread my old seeds some where, in the woods, in a meadow, along the back roads, creek or river in hopes of having a hidden food or seed supply in the future, if ever needed. Some plant seeds or plants around their apartment hedges and in the flower beds with a small stake so the lawn care people don't pull them up.

Compost is a great natural fertilizer, but if not available, a commercial time release 10-10-10 fertilizer is good for beginners as it will reduce the risk of burning your garden up from over fertilizing.  Experienced gardeners will use different fertilizers for different vegetables and based on the results of soil tests.

There are a number of good Gardening books on Amazon.  Get one that is rated four stars or better with a low percentage of 1 star ratings.  The more ratings by verified buyers, the more reliable the rating. Get a hard copy book, not an electronic version. 

The one time investment for quality tools is less than $200, then $15 for fertilizer and then less than $20 per year for the seeds for a operating cost of $35 each year for a productive hobby and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of fresh healthy food.

Beyond this, an electric Garden Tiller is a great addition to help prepare your soil.  Start breaking up your garden plot by February before the grass and weeds start growing, then again a month later.

Don't wait! Enjoy fresh grown vegetables this year.

For additional information see the following links:
Blog Table of Contents

Gardening Links
Gardening 101– Soil Basics
Green House for year-round food supply
Vegetable Planting Dates
Vegetable Days to Harvest

Seeds for Survival
Preppers Garden

Prepper Livestock series
DIY Solar System

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Growing Your Own Food From Seed

The Value Of Sustainability Today
Today’s economy has a dramatic aspect to it. The moment you think things have become stable, something strange knocks everything out of whack again. It wouldn’t be so bad if you had the resources to weather the storm in some degree of comfort. But the vast majority of people just aren’t in such a position, and are further hampered by debt.

There needs to be a way of escaping things like debt, reducing living expenses, and increasing the solidity of your current situation. One thing that is characterizing many households today is the sustainability movement. This is a kind of living wherein individuals try to concoct solutions that preclude government reliance.

In terms of energy, three modes of electrical production are becoming more mainstream for residences: solar energy, wind energy, and water energy—all three of which can be installed on a property that has a fast enough body of water nearby and regular wind for about $15k, depending.

Something else that is quickly becoming a characteristic of the modern household is a vegetable garden—something which bears its own elegance. There are plants which will grow in just about any environment, and don’t necessarily require a deluge to maintain. Certain cacti can grow in almost any environment, and many seed-bearing plants with nutritional benefits (like hemp) are likewise easy to grow.
Husbanding Your Garden
As you might expect, a market has developed due to this shift in consumer sensibilities. While it may take a few years to get a garden’s growth at such a level where it regularly produces enough for your household, this gives homeowners not just a useful hobby, but a means of deferring costs related to nutrition.

It is possible to remain healthy from an entirely vegetarian diet sourced through a garden. Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds—these all have protein and fats necessary for health. Tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, squash, peppers, onions—these are just a few available plants you can husband toward healthy, regular yields annually.

To get started, you want to do your homework beforehand, know the seasons of your local community, and source your seeds from a purveyor that understands the market, and what that market is demanding.

At you can find seeds provided through a top-tier operation; according to the site: “Seed Needs consistently ships thousands of seed packets on a weekly basis. The vast majority of our seed products are packaged based on customer demand, and are stored in a temperature-controlled environment for maximum freshness.”
Comprehensive Sustainability
Now imagine a possible scenario: after five years, you’ve got a garden that is regularly productive and has facilitated its own micro climate which requires much less intervention than it did from you previously. Additionally you don’t need energy from “the grid”, because you use solar, wind, and water energy.

What you save in electricity pays for the garden. If you’re savvy with plumbing, you may be able to use nearby water-sources as means of irrigation, cutting out your water bill. The coup de grace? A crypto currency mining operation in the basement. Double down on architectural developments and install a prefabricated structure on your property.

If you are savvy, you have the potential to live entirely off the grid without losing money or health while yet providing a service to society that returns you assets. It’s conceivable you could do all this for well under $100k, and be without the bounds of debt in under ten years.

Yes, it will take a lot of work—but it’s not something entirely impossible. Still, you may not want to go with so comprehensive a venture. It may be wiser to start small—with a simple vegetable garden in your backyard, or hung from a planter in the window of your apartment.
For additional information see the following links:

Monday, July 4, 2022


 Delivered by Owners of Military Style Firearms, preserved by the US Constitution.

For more information, click below.


Why we are ALL Preppers (for skeptics) 

Training – Children:

Home Schooling for Preppers

Advanced Prepper Resources:

Me Maw’s Goulash
Flatbread Recipe

Sustainable Meal Planning - Breakfast 
Sustainable Meal Planning - Lunch
Sustainable Meal Planning - Dinner
Sustainable Meal Planning - Snacks
Sustainable Meal Planning - Nutrition
Sustainable Meal Planning - Calories   

Understand Best By Dates 

Green briar (cat briar)

Disaster Preparations:


Firearms and security:

Investing for Preppers (Financial Security)
Security Patrol Pack (or Bug Out pack) 



Prepper links for skeptics:
Why we are ALL Preppers (for skeptics) 



Wilderness Survival:

Survival Pack (Security Patrol or Bug Out pack)
Green briar (cat briar)





Blog Table of Contents;  
Or click on a label below for similar topics