Growing and Raising 100% of your Food



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gardenAt one time or another, every prepper will ask him or herself:  could I become 100% self-reliant in terms of proving food for myself and my family?  And most of us will say, no, that is not possible.  Today I would like you to re-think that proposition because, with time, planning and a bit of luck, that is possible if not always practical.  But let me start at the beginning.

Food Production Systems for A Backyard or Small Farm

A few weeks ago I invited some like-minded friends over for a survival meal made from my items in my food storage and a viewing of the DVD:  Food Production Systems for a Backyard or Small Farm .  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 plus a 3 minute trailer.Food production systems

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

Section 3: Garden
Garden location
Size – how much area do you need?
Bio-Intensive gardening overview
Watering the garden
Sun and shade
Bugs and insects
Vegetable varieties and seed saving
Getting started

Section 4: Rabbits
Housing and protection
Watering systems
Other resources

Section 5: Home Butchering
Butchering a rabbit
Tanning hides
Butchering poultry
Other animals

Section 6: Poultry
Chicken breeds
Housing and egg collecting
Predator protection
Getting started

Section 7: Dogs
Why dogs?
Dog training
Size and breeds
Final thoughts

Section 8: Perennials: Orchards, Food Forests, and Edible Landscaping
Locations and micro climates
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
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 leuceana

As you look through these topics, you will see that almost every aspect of food production is covered.  From figuring our 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 hand on efforts to attain sustainability, dirty fingernails and all.

Something of Value for Newbies

The 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?  Watch the DVD again and pick up information that was over your head when you watched it the first time.  The material is timeless and the resource DVD invaluable in provided references to the more esoteric how-to’s and why-for’s.

If I can site 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.

The DVD also 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 the Square Foot Gardening book that I love so much.

That said, after watching this DVD I am going to rethink my seed-starting process and do a better job of composting.

The Final Word

If 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!


PS:  After writing this review, I was informed by Marjory and Jon of the following:  “The DVD set is being re-packaged under the name Grow Your Own Groceries.  In addition, it will be bundled with the John Jeavons’ book, How to Grow More Vegetables, which is essentially a must have for it’s information on soil fertility and efficient plant spacing.  The bio-intensive method is used by Marjory in the DVD, which she mentions and features. “

They assure me that this is exactly the same DVD as Food Production Systems for a Backyard or Small Farm which is still available.

From the Bargain Bin: Survival is all about learning to fend for yourself. Growing your own food, cooking and building stuff are all essential. Here are some the more popular items purchased by Backdoor Survival readers.

Keypad Deadbolt: Need a good strong lock? With this, you will never have to worry about locking yourself out plus, you can secure the deadbolt from inside the house.

Uniden Bearcat 200-Channel Portable Scanner: A hand scanner with ham band that is very portable.

Security Decals – 4 Pack: Security surveillance camera system warning decals/stickers. Increase security whether you have a system or not -no one will know but you.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Not a bad deal. Runs for a year on 3 D size batteries.

Cyalume SnapLight Chemical Light Sticks: Read all about light sticks at Lighting Your Way With Chemical Lighting.

Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets (Pack of 10): 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.

Camouflage Nylon Military Paracord 100 Feet: I need to write an article on the many uses of paracord. Pick your favorite color but be aware that different colors are priced differently. Me? I get the color that is the least expensive although I must admit the camouflage is my favorite.

Streamlight 73001 Nano Light Miniature Keychain LED Flashlight: This small and super-bright light, features a high-intensity, 100,000-hour LED that will last up to eight hours on four alkaline button cell batteries which are included.



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Updated Jul 4, 2019
Published Feb 27, 2012

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4 Responses to “Growing and Raising 100% of your Food”

  1. I’m familiar with the DVD you reviewed here. She has a lot of good tips. like you, I’ve been sticking mainly to books for smaller spaces. But I think it’s awesome that it is being bundled with Jeavon’s book. Can you imagine being able to sit down with both of them over lemonade? Wow…the things you might learn.
    Thanks for the review!

  2. Calling on all preppers. Please save a young family and pass this message on if it does not pertain to you!

    I am new to the preppers basic and advanced skills. I want to learn skills for my family before buying anything of significant value only to find out I wasted it later on. Minimalizing gear, time, skills, only down to the required ones would be my end-goal. So much as to not waste time.
    My name is Tom. I am young (26), and am healthy. I also do not smoke or drink. My hobbies and interests are already gardening, adventuring, hiking, camping, and survival! I need help. There are too many skills to list here, but I want to get started. Whatever your area of expertise is please let me know. I will settle for short brief sessions to an all-out, take me out into the deep dark wilderness in the night. For a month(s). Haha.. well, actually I would! I am not burdensome or stupid. I pick things up fast and can do much of any physical activity required. So I am helpful.

    I am calling on someone who has the time to show me the way unto thy skill. I have endurance and health on my side and have had a prior passion of survival before I realized I should be learning them much sooner. Again, I do not have many resources so I would rather focus on learning and helping someone.

    I would even do things as a challenge over the internet or phone if I could not meet and be with someone in person. I have lived outside in the woods for six months before. When winter came around I had to stop. And this is where I am. I found out, I have zero skills for cold weather! Help me someone! I will bless you in any way I could. I do not intend to be burdensome!

    From everywhere usa. Currently I live in Iowa State.
    [email protected]

  3. Just wanted to say it’s great having you as a neighbor. I’m in Seattle but, my heart is in the mountains. I AM preparing to get there. At 61 I’d better hurry but, everything has to be done in a particular order so that everything has a place. “Thanks” for your site……we ALL appreciate it. Now more than ever. If heed is taken from the words of wisdom here at your site then……we’ve got a very good chance of coming out of this alive. Healthy, happy and safe.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. Once you leave the city, you will never look back. I lived in Bellevue most of my adult life but there was no looking back. I finally feel that I am home.

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