Grow Your Own GroceriesA couple of years ago I invited some like-minded friends over for a meal and a viewing of the DVD Grow Your Own Groceries. The four of us watched the DVD from start to finish with many pauses for discussion points and to take notes. So what did we think? Well first of all, let me say that this is a pretty amazing DVD in that it covers so much in just a couple of hours. And while the DVD itself does not go in to extensive detail about the various topics, the included resource DVD does. Perhaps it is best to start with an outline of the DVD itself.
Section 1: Overview Why we began this journey Soil types and climate of the site
Section 2: Water Water sources and qualities of water How much water do you need? Rain water collection systems Wells Ponds
Section 3: Garden Garden location Size – how much area do you need? Bio-Intensive gardening overview Fertility Watering the garden Wind Sun and shade Bugs and insects Vegetable varieties and seed saving Getting started
Section 4: Rabbits Housing and protection Watering systems Feeding Breeds Reproduction Other resources
Section 5: Home Butchering Tools Butchering a rabbit Tanning hides Butchering poultry Other animals
Section 6: Poultry Chicken breeds Feeding Watering Housing and egg collecting Predator protection Getting started
Section 7: Dogs Why dogs? Dog training Feeding Housing Size and breeds Final thoughts
Section 8: Perennials: Orchards, Food Forests, and Edible Landscaping Locations and micro climates Watering Fertility Using geese for fertility Tree varieties Planting and care of trees Getting started
Section 9: Other Essentials Calorie crops Solar food dehydration Home made herbicide test Fire ants Injuries Hog panels and tee posts Water levels and mapping contours Rocket stove and hay box cooker In The Wake; a manual for outliving civilization Propagating leuceanaAs you look through these topics, you will see that almost every aspect of food production is covered. From figuring out your water needs, to selecting chickens and your coop, to determining the correct type of fruit trees for your orchard – there are practical tips that every one can embrace. (Personally, though, I did fast forward through the butchering section.)
So what is my takeaway?The author, Marjory Wildcraft is a down to earth, practical lady that has learned what works and what does not work through trial and error on her own homestead. She is not a Hollywood actor hired to make the DVD sparkle visually. Instead, she walks us through her own hands-on efforts to attain sustainability, dirty fingernails and all.
Something of Value for EveryoneThe most valuable part of the DVD for myself and my dinner companions were her tips for beginners:
Plan your garden. What is your climate? What grows well in your area? Ask other gardeners in your community for advice while you are in the planning stage. Start small or you will be overwhelmed and will give up. Even starting with a few pots on a deck is better than nothing. Determine your water needs in advance and install water systems (she shows you how). Beginners should start with nursery starts and not seeds (now that was surprising!) Do not be afraid of failure. It takes trial and error to figure out the nuances of what will work in your geographical area and your circumstances. Plus, it takes time to develop the proper technique Grow for calories. If you are looking for 100% self-reliance, calories are important Chickens are for egg-laying and not for meat. Unless you can handle 90 chickens at a time, that is.And for the more advanced gardener? In viewing the DVD a second time, I picked up information that I missed the first time around. The material is timeless and the resource DVD invaluable in providing references to the more esoteric how-to’s and why-for’s.
A Few CaveatsIf I can cite any negatives it would have to do with the fact that a lot of emphasis was given on dealing with the very hot climate in the south – in this case it was Texas. I feel the DVD could have used a section of gardening and producing food when the growing season is short such as here in Washington state. Also, the DVD assumes that you have a decent sized area for a garden, say 10 x 20 or larger. Those limited to a smaller plot or containers would be better off sticking to books, such as Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening that I love so much or a book on vertical gardening. That said, after watching this DVD I was motivated to continue to at least try and to continue to be religious about composting. As I mentioned in the the beginning, with a bit of knowledge I can always barter my labor working in someone else’s garden for part of their bounty.
Back to My Own SituationI am at peace now that I have recognized that my garden has limitations. As I said in the beginning, I still can have a healthy crop of herbs and greens which will be supplemented by an ramped-up plan to add to my bulk and freeze-dried food storage. Two of my blogging colleagues have come to similar conclusions. Bernie Carr, the Apartment Prepper shared this:
After trying to grow a garden for three years, I have realized that a garden is also subject to too many factors beyond my control such as weather, insects, soil conditions etc., and may not yield enough food to support the family. I have concluded that my food storage would be the main source of food in an emergency. I still think gardening is a worthwhile skill, and I still count it as a great hobby.She wrote about her experience in this article: Why You Still Need Food Storage Even Though You have a Garden. Another colleague, John Wesley Smith at Destiny Survival said:
Not everybody can grow their own food due to physical condition, lack of space, money, etc. In fact, not everybody who gardens or keeps small livestock can be totally self sufficient. It is important, however, to know about and patronize local farmers markets, get to know fellow gardeners who are willing to share/barter, etc.
A Special Offer for Backdoor Survival ReadersWhen it first came out, I paid $69 for the Grow Your Own Groceries DVD and resource disk. Right now, the set is available to BDS readers for $27.75 which is a 25% discount off the current price. This is a great deal on a fabulous resource with tons of useful information – not only about gardening but about rabbits, chickens, water conservation and more.
The Final WordIf you have never done any gardening, do not shy away from this DVD. There are so many practical, no BS tips that this DVD can take you from beginner to expert over a period of time. As a matter of fact, Marjory indicates that failure is part of the process and even she is still learning. Wise words from a smart lady. Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation! Gaye Click Here To Vote For Me at Top Prepper Websites! Did you know you can vote daily? If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon. You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ and purchase my book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage from Amazon. In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.
Almost Free: At the time of this writing, this whistle is a only under $1 with free shipping. How bad can it be? 3 in 1 Survival Whistle with Compass Thermometer
Is this worth 74 cents? You bet!Bargain Bin: For your discernment, here are some items that are popular with BDS readers. All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space: This is the book every vegetable gardener or wanna be vegetable gardener should own. Even will my failures, I still go back to this book – hoping I will do better next time! Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10): I do believe in helping my neighbors in the community so a supply of these will be handy to hand out to those in need. You will be surprised at how warm these will keep you. Be sure to test one out in advance so that you have the confidence to trust the blanket in an emergency. Rothco 550lb. Type III Nylon Paracord: An ideal all-around utility cord in the field, paracord is tough and long lasting. It is made from 550-pound test nylon and features a seven-strand core for maximum strength. Also, it is manufactured in the United States. Note that some colors may be more expensive than others. Need ideas? See 44 Really Cool Uses of Paracord for Survival. 12 Color Pack Bandana – Assorted Colors: This is the #1 seller in the bandana category. As of this writing, the price is $11.99 for the entire dozen. Heck, I think that beats Wal-Mart and flea market pricing. Be sure to read How to Use a Bandana to Save the Day. Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp. I paid $12 for this knife last week and today it is $8.95 so I ordered another one. It was worth $12 and of course is a steal at $8.95! Magnesium Fire Starter: This Campers’ Magnesium Emergency Fire Starter is about $4. UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers: The UCO Stormproof Match Kit is waterproof and holds 25 matches as well as spare strikers. The matches burn for around 15 seconds and are windproof, waterproof, and even continue burning underwater. An integrated striker is attached on the side of the match kit, and can be replaced when worn out. 2 Pack Survival Kit Can Opener, Military, P-51 Model: These can openers makes great addition to any survival, fishing, hiking, or camping pack. They are lightweight and robust and they just work.
The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 45% off sometimes a bit more.
Every family should have at least one Tote-able Toilet. I have priced purchasing the bucket and toilet seat lid separately and found that it was more economical to pick up this kit. I have filled my portable potty with sanitation supplies plus, of course, plenty of TP.
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