What does your Armageddon garden look like?


DrMike27

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Seeing as though COVID-19 is really changing the world around us, and even seeing the small disruptions to the supply chain it caused, I want to know what *you* would grow in your garden if you HAD to rely on it for food?

I would most likely base my garden around beans--contain proteins, easy-ish to grow, and you can dry/store them for quite some time.

What about you all?
 
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Meadowlark

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Interesting question...but my answer would be not very different, if at all, from what I grow today. Buying store bought onions is barely better than doing without. Same for beans, same for potatoes, same for corn, same for etc. etc. We already grow a very high % of our veggie staples in our garden.

One thing I haven't tried to grow in the garden that might be necessary in a supply interruption would be small grains wheat , oats, and corn for corn meal.

I think I would lean towards barter, i.e. trade some of my excess for the grains or whatever else we might need....but barter might be difficult depending on the cause of the interruption.

Interesting topic which deserves more thought.
 
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I like purple hull peas and would do lots of them. They can be eaten green like a green bean, even the leaves are edible like greens. I can freeze them and have had good results freezing them raw without blanching. Not a hybrid so some seed can be saved for next crop. They are delicious, productive, pest free, and grow all summer long in our relentless heat. I’d likely add some pole type bean in there too, but not sure which one yet.

Some sweet type and heat type peppers, Not all that easy to sprout, but I could up my game in that department if the chips were down. I’m still going to want some flavor when or if things go from bad to worse. Jalapenos are very easy here. Bell peppers too. Something non hybridized in there.

Potatoes would be nice, but I haven’t grown them yet. They are on my list. Filling, nutritious, lots of calories, productive. Keeps well.

Eggplant, another fill the belly one that’s pretty versatile and grows well in our heat, even mid summer heat. Baba ganoush

Okra, a heat lover, we got heat here, go with what works where you are.

I’m going to try and grow some tomatoes come what may.

I’d sure like some winter type squash of some sort. Working on my first attempt at spaghetti squash. If I pull that off, that’s what I’ll do as my long keeper type. Yellow squash as my summer type.

Kale, Tuscan kale is our favorite. Not demanding, cold hardy, good nutrition, versatile, lasts all fall and winter, Easy to grow from seed.

Bok Choi, another non demanding, fast, nutritious and easy one to sprout from seed in winter cool season. We love it anyway grilled and in stir fries.

Spinach, super fast and nutritious, easy to grow from seed, great cool season green.

Carrots, good storing potential, nutritious. Easy to grow from seed. Not so pest prone.

Onions. Some type. Maybe a multiplying.

A turnip, beet and/or radish. Tops are edible, plus the root. Easy from seed.

Some basil, rosemary, mint, lemon grass, cilantro, parsley, the need for flavor isn’t going to disappear.

Wild cards, sugar cane to make sugar. Once was grown commercially on the land I’m on. Why not again? Rice does extremely well here. I might have to research that. Have access to year around water. Rice stores well and with potatoes, starches are accounted for. Sweet potatoes, a southern staple worth looking into.

I live on a lake full of fish. Got protein covered. Related Neighbor and ally is loaded with citrus. Check that off my list. Mushrooms like super delicious chanterelles grow wild all summer. Blackberries wild nearby. Pecans around.

I‘d miss dairy, though. Might Have to get some laying chickens, too. What about coffee? No coffee, then I’m out!
 

DrMike27

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That's quite the list! I tried Egyptian walking onions last fall/winter and exactly 0 of them germinated. Problem was probably that I started them from seeds instead of sets. That would be ideal though if you had something like that where it just multiplied itself. I have asparagus growing for me and if it holds that should be a solid 15-20 years of production.

How would you deal with pests? Being in Arizona, I'm sure I have some of the same bug/pest problems you do in TX.
 

Meadowlark

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Just for fun, I thought some might be interested in what an annual supply of summer vegetable staples looks like for our typical family of 2.

Its one thing to theorize, but a long way from theory to fact...growing the supply is one thing (it takes room and lots of time and attention) and storing it is quite another. Both are equally important.

First row on the left is potatoes.....that should be about 220 pounds of red new potatoes at harvest depending on how much robbery I do before then. The second row is onions both yellows and reds ...that should be about 200 pounds at harvest. The third row is a variety of beans, limas, bingos, asparagus, and snap beans pole and bush.

annual supply of beans, onions, and potatoes..JPG


No food supply would be complete without pintos...easy to grow, easy to store.Also shown is our annual supply of crowder peas. One double row of each for an annual supply.

annual supply of pintos.JPG



Then there are the tomatoes. We need about 30 quarts to last a year in addition to what we eat fresh in season.It generally takes about 20 to 25 plants to supply this quantity.

annual supply of tomatoes.JPG



Add in some jalapenos and bells and chili for flavor:

annual supply of peppers.JPG



Our corn hasn't started yet, but normally I do about three plantings one month apart of five 25 ft rows. Okra is another of our staples and that along with varieties of cow peas will await hot weather.

Of course winter is a whole different game in varieties and storage....but that's another story.
 
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Meadowlark is pretty much already prepared for things going even more downhill.

I’d could stand to lose a pound or two and that’s surely going to happen if I had to rely on my garden for sustenance.

Pests, number one and one A are squirrels and rabbits, both equally delectable, but I’ve yet to convince my city raised wife of that idea. I cover the susceptible crops with nylon netting and that’s worked keeping those pests at bay. The tomato horn worms attack my tomatoes and peppers, don’t look quite so appetizing as the rodents. But, they are easy enough to pick off before things get too bad. I get other little worms and beetles, but none have really been devastating to a crop. Haven’t had the squash vine borers yet.

Usually, it seems most plants get attacked with more vigor as their prime season wanes. I haven‘t sprayed anything that’s a synthetic pesticide so far. I do have this Sesame Oil spray I might try if I can’t manage picking off whatever it is. Aphids tore into my Siberian Kale last winter, but mostly ignored the Tuscan kale. That’s one possible approach, plant something the pests like as a sacrifice to preserve something else.
 
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I think only good will come out of this on several fronts. One important lesson, will teach people the importance of NOT living paycheck-to-paycheck.

I do wonder how it will effect the wet markets around the world, especially in the case of the illegal exotic animal trade. I'm hoping it really hurts and stops poachers.
 

NigelJ

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What does your Armageddon garden look like?
A blasted beach with bits of melted glass where the heat has fused the soil particles. maybe a few bits of twisted melted metal. Fortunately I won't be there to see it.
 
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Wonder what amount of land in cultivation is needed to sustain one person? I read a little on it and one number that was mentioned was 1/3 an acre, this from medieval Japan. Lots of variables I know, but what number sounds reasonable to the various seasoned gardeners out there, any ball park guesses?
 
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Planning for a survival garden is complicated by global warming. Here in the Piedmont of Virginia for 2 years now we've had summers too wet and cloudy for the usual crops to do well. Tomatoes yielded poorly, peppers barely at all, winter squash rotted in the field. There was no snow this winter and little frost, so we may get an explosion of insect pests within a few weeks, notably Japanese beetles. We're right now making another attempt to plant a bit of everything, to feed ourselves as much as possible, hoping the climate will cooperate.

If one intends to survive from garden food, the first thing to consider is protein, which requires a complement of grain and beans. Corn is the easiest grain to grow and process, wheat, rye and barley are difficult to process. Also feasible are amaranth, quinoa, sorghum. Hulless oats are another easy crop.

It is a good idea to learn which of the plants in the local ecosystem are edible. Many herbaceous plants in the Spring have edible leaves, including dandelion and chickweed. Acorns can be processed into bread. Hackberry trees produce fruit which is an excellent food, once extensively utilized by Homo erectus. There are many wild Allium species which are edible. There are a number of good books which list the edible wild plants in different regions of the country.

We've been trying to grow food for the chickens so we're not dependent on commercial feed. i had a sorghum patch going last year, but the deer wiped it out the night before I was going to harvest it. This year it will be behind deer fence!
 
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I’m a bit of a hunter/gatherer also and live on a few acres with a lake full of fish. Land produces abundant chanterelles mushrooms in season. Muscadine grapes, Turks cap, hackberry, wild onion, volunteer loquats, Lots of acorns, but I haven’t resorted to eating those yet. I do eat the palmetto fruits, one of the 85% of the population that those taste good to. I forage for blackberries, my avatar is a proof of that, have dug up cattail roots and enjoyed those boiled and salted. Pecans grow all around me and can be gathered in abundance.

I’d look to growing Rice. It can be done small scale. It’s grown commercially here and a hotter climate might actually work to its advantage. Sugar cane was once a big heat loving crop here and another likely I’d do. Sorghum is interesting as it’s still a huge commercial crop grown just down the road.

The Milder winters we’ve been having have actually been advantageous here, at least in the near term. Winters still cool, but without any killing frosts as a rule. Three years ago, we got some mid twenties, but the last couple of years nothing but a minimal frost. I had a great winter season with abundant spinach, bok Choi, lettuce and kale. Okra and the hot loving crops just have a little longer season as it currently stands, not that that trend will necessarily continue. The In between hot and cold crops still very viable. Citrus thrives here and we enjoy abundant grapefruit, lemon, satsuma and blood orange harvests from our neighbors. We work out a barter system, I provide fish and various vegetables for the citrus.

We’ve always had various garden pests to contend with, never really been consistent killing frosts this far south since the last ice age. Whatever the climate throws at us, we will have to deal with it, if things really go to pot, CO2 output will likely fall below what the earth can handle on its own. The bad deal is disruptive rainfalls and any major sea level rise, I’m at 21 feet asl, so that’s a big issue, but not one I’m likely to live long enough to experience.
 
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I'm more in favor of upping my potato production, as you can live off them pretty well. Greens (spinach,cabbage, chard) are next on the list, followed by winter squash. Peas and beans grow very well here, so they come next. Anything else is just for variety!
 

Meadowlark

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Wonder what amount of land in cultivation is needed to sustain one person?

My garden sustains two people in veggies easily (100 ft x 40 ft) with a lot of extra surplus produce for family and neighbors. Also, it is sustained through constant use of cover crops(365 days a year) for rotation, soil building, weed control, insect control etc. such that no artificial fertilizers are required/needed and almost never requires the use of pesticides. The use of rotational cover crops would be mandatory IMO for permanent use of the same garden soil....but recognize that it does require certain % of space devoted to "non-production" cover crops at all times.

Staples produced annually for two plus include: potato, tomato,beans of various types, corn, peas of various types, okra, carrots, radishes, turnips, peppers of various types, beets, broccoli,cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, chard, various melons, cucumbers, various squash, and several others I'm sure I can't recall just now.

The garden soil is not only in constant replenishment state from cover crops but also on occasion from cow manure...we run up to about 40 head on the ranch, for a cash source but of course could easily provided beef protein. . I have 5 well stocked ponds covering 7-8 acres and very capable of supplying fresh high quality fish protein to many people. Near the garden are multiple fruit trees , berry patches, and grapes.

Its a "system" that without question provides abundant high quality food year around. We have absolutely zero concerns about survival here, although we are not preppers.....we choose to live life abundantly.
 
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Lol literally it looks like a pile of crap because I put a yard of black kow out there. Maybe by this afternoon I will have some pics to put up. Becky bought some plants so here we go...
My garden sustains two people in veggies easily (100 ft x 40 ft) with a lot of extra surplus produce for family and neighbors. Also, it is sustained through constant use of cover crops(365 days a year) for rotation, soil building, weed control, insect control etc. such that no artificial fertilizers are required/needed and almost never requires the use of pesticides. The use of rotational cover crops would be mandatory IMO for permanent use of the same garden soil....but recognize that it does require certain % of space devoted to "non-production" cover crops at all times.

Staples produced annually for two plus include: potato, tomato,beans of various types, corn, peas of various types, okra, carrots, radishes, turnips, peppers of various types, beets, broccoli,cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, chard, various melons, cucumbers, various squash, and several others I'm sure I can't recall just now.

The garden soil is not only in constant replenishment state from cover crops but also on occasion from cow manure...we run up to about 40 head on the ranch, for a cash source but of course could easily provided beef protein. . I have 5 well stocked ponds covering 7-8 acres and very capable of supplying fresh high quality fish protein to many people. Near the garden are multiple fruit trees , berry patches, and grapes.

Its a "system" that without question provides abundant high quality food year around. We have absolutely zero concerns about survival here, although we are not preppers.....we choose to live life abundantly.

What are your thoughts on using pond dredge or fish poo basically for fertilizer? I would imagine the gathering process would silt up a pond.

IMG_20200406_175750_resize_10.jpg
 

Meadowlark

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A coupe of thoughts, yes, "fish poo" should be effective but the costs (time and money) to gather it, move it, apply it etc. would seem to me to be far exceeded by other natural sources like the black kow. If its in a pond of any size, you will need a track hoe/back hoe to gather it and something else to move/apply. I've cleaned out several stock ponds and that stuff is very, very difficult to work with. Hard to describe how difficult that material is to work with. Secondly, yes it will completely muddy the pond in the process but they usually clear pretty quickly.

I'm talking about stock ponds now but if you mean to take it out of a small ornamental puddle (pond) then not as much work but still not enough material to make it worthwhile, IMO. I use Tilapia to keep my ponds clean...and they do a terrific job while at the same time providing forage to grow big bass and bluegills and keeping filamentous algae under control. Works for me!
 
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Meadowlark

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Much much worse, from what I know about yazoo clay.
 
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These gardens change a lot based on climate, soil and latitude. I lived in New England for a while and there Blue Hubbard squash was a big thing. Keeps a long time. There were some long keeper tomato varieties, same for apples, and other crops that were known for being able to be stored in a basement for months. But, not much in the garden could hang in there through a New England winter, kale for a while, maybe a few carrots. Here on the Texas Gulf of Mexico coast, most winters offer prime time for growing lots of things in the cabbage family, plus other greens like spinach.

Fermenting food was what a lot of people once did to preserve food. Some still do. A little brine, a jar, a dark corner, some time and we get things like sauerkraut, kimchi and Tabasco sauce. I‘m assembling some fermenting supplies so I can make some shelf stable pepper sauces and other things with my produce.

I wonder if any of y’all have tried growing peanuts? They are grown commercially throughout the south into New Mexico. What a great source of calories and nutrition and a long keeper.
 
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These gardens change a lot based on climate, soil and latitude. I lived in New England for a while and there Blue Hubbard squash was a big thing. Keeps a long time. There were some long keeper tomato varieties, same for apples, and other crops that were known for being able to be stored in a basement for months. But, not much in the garden could hang in there through a New England winter, kale for a while, maybe a few carrots. Here on the Texas Gulf of Mexico coast, most winters offer prime time for growing lots of things in the cabbage family, plus other greens like spinach.

Fermenting food was what a lot of people once did to preserve food. Some still do. A little brine, a jar, a dark corner, some time and we get things like sauerkraut, kimchi and Tabasco sauce. I‘m assembling some fermenting supplies so I can make some shelf stable pepper sauces and other things with my produce.

I wonder if any of y’all have tried growing peanuts? They are grown commercially throughout the south into New Mexico. What a great source of calories and nutrition and a long keeper.

My wife was born in New Hampshire, grew up in Maine. She does not share my love of boiled peanuts, nor understand the depth of my enthusiasm for boiled green peanuts. I would not care to grow them without access to a plow. I use a shovel enough already. I would like to grow them for my own use now that you have mentioned it and made me hungry!

I understand lactobacillus is commonly available in stores as a probiotic, though its in the air as well. What other agents work for fermentation? I know acetobacillus is common in the older breads like sourdough, and assume something similiar would be at work in fermenting veggies like peppers?
 
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