Category Archives: Organic Gardening

How to keep pests out of your survival garden

naturalnews.com
2 July 2020
Zoey Sky


(Natural News) For a homesteader, a garden does more than add beauty to your property. When SHTF, your garden can provide fresh produce so you can keep your family healthy and well-fed.

But maintaining a garden means you also need to know natural and effective ways to protect your plants from garden pests. (h/t to BeansBulletsBandagesAndYou.com)

Why chemical pesticides are bad for your garden

Pesticides are used to eliminate organisms that can invade or damage crops.

There are different kinds of pesticides, such as:

  • Fungicides, which are used to protect harvested crops and seeds from fungal rot.
  • Herbicides, also called weed killers, which are used to boost crop yields.
  • Insecticides, which are used to eliminate insects and their eggs.

Ideally, pesticides should destroy its target pest without causing negative side effects to humans, other plants, animals and the environment.

But while some commonly used pesticides come close, they are far from perfect. Using pesticides in your home garden can still negatively affect your health and the environment, which you may not want to risk when SHTF.

Synthetic pesticides are created in industrial labs while organic pesticides, or biopesticides, are made using naturally occurring chemicals.

Avoid using the classes of synthetic pesticides detailed below to keep your crops safe for human consumption and to avoid harming the environment.

  • Carbamates are insecticides that affect the nervous system like organophosphate. However, the former is less toxic and their effects wear off more quickly.
  • Glyphosate, commonly called Roundup, is a herbicide used to farm genetically modified crops (GMOs).
  • Neonicotinoids are insecticides used on leaves and trees. The EPA is studying neonicotinoids because they cause harm to bees.
  • Organophosphates are insecticides that target the nervous system. Some organophosphates are banned or restricted because of toxic accidental exposures.

Organic and sustainable methods of insect control

Companion planting

Companion planting involves growing certain kinds of plants in your garden that offers benefit to your other crops. Some plants can keep out certain insects from your garden.

For example, marigolds and nasturtium help repel squash pest insects. Meanwhile, borage, which deters tomato hornworm and cabbage moth caterpillars, should be planted near strawberries and tomatoes.

Physical methods 

Physical methods are cheaper than buying various products, but they often require more of your time and energy.

  1. Hand-picking – Some bugs that are big enough can be easily picked off of your plants, but this may not be the best option if you’re busy with work or other tasks around your homestead. You may also want to consider other options if you have health conditions that may prevent you from working in your garden for too long. (Related: Home gardening tips for preppers: Get rid of squash beetles with this item from your pantry.)
  2. Neem oil – Neem oil tastes bitter and smells like a mixture of garlic and sulfur. It helps repel garden pests like insects, mites and fungi-like powdery mildew. You can spray neem oil on plants for pest control because it won’t harm beneficial insects like honeybees and ladybugs. Neem oil is also safe to use around humans and pets.
  3. Row covers – Row covers are less labor-intensive. Floating row covers are light, air- and somewhat light-permeable strips of material that you can put over the plants to physically block the insects. Using row covers at night also helps deter rabbits. Note that row covers shouldn’t be used on flowering species that need flying insect pollinators. Make sure row covers are light enough to not crush your crops, but are tight enough to keep out flying insects.

Recipe for homemade insect spray

Try the recipe below to make a natural insect spray for your home garden.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • garlic cloves, mashed or chopped
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 bar of soap, grated

Steps:

  1. Boil the water in a pot along with the cayenne, garlic and onion. Add the grated soap and stir.
  2. Remove the pot from heat when bubbles start to rise or after 2 minutes.
  3. Cover the pot, then let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.
  4. Strain the mixture before using.

For small applications, store the mixture in a sprayer bottle.

To cover larger areas, use tank sprayers that are pressurized by pumping air. Use a tank sprayer with a long wand attachment so you don’t hurt your back while spraying low plants.

Tips on using sprays

You can tweak the homemade spray by using other ingredients you might have at home, like chopped hot pepper if you don’t have cayenne.

Replace the grated soap with liquid soaps or dish detergent. The soap helps the mixture to stick to the leaves since some plants wax their leaves to shed water and deter fungi, but this also sheds homemade insect spray without soap.

Use these natural methods to help your crops thrive and keep your home garden free from pests and harmful chemicals.

Sources include:

BeansBulletsBandagesAndYou.com

Healthline.com

WestCoastSeeds.com

GardenClub.HomeDepot.com

Home gardening basics: 24 Plants to grow in a bucket garden

naturalnews.com
25 June 2020
Zoey Sky


(Natural News) Bucket gardening is popular among urban preppers because it allows you to grow assorted herbs and vegetables even if you live in a small apartment. Also known as container gardening, this method is a great way to start your own garden if you’re a beginner who doesn’t want to feel overwhelmed with a full-sized backyard garden. (h/t to UrbanSurvivalSite.com)

Why bucket gardening is perfect for urban preppers

As an urban prepper, you need to be more creative with your preps, especially if you don’t have a lot of storage space. With bucket gardening, you can maximize every inch of space in your home or apartment by growing plants in small to medium-sized containers.

If you live in the suburbs or out in the country, bucket gardening also offers other benefits, such as being portable. If you’re worried about not being able to look after your crops after SHTF, simply move the buckets closer to your house.

Bucket gardening is also affordable. If you don’t want to spend money on buckets and assorted containers for your garden, you can upcycle common household items or look for containers in flea markets.

What to grow in your bucket garden

You can grow different plants in a bucket garden, but some crops are better suited to container gardening. Below are some plants that you can easily grow in a bucket at home

  1. Beets
  2. Broccoli
  3. Cabbage
  4. Carrots
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Collard Greens
  7. Dwarf Banana
  8. Dwarf Orange
  9. Eggplant
  10. Garlic
  11. Kale
  12. Lettuce
  13. Mustard Greens
  14. Okra
  15. Onions
  16. Peas
  17. Peppers
  18. Potatoes
  19. Radishes
  20. Rice
  21. Strawberries
  22. Sweet corn
  23. Swiss chard
  24. Tomatoes

Containers to use in your bucket garden

Drill or poke holes in the bottom of all growing containers for proper water drainage. Add an inch of gravel at the bottom of your bucket or chosen container to improve drainage.

Ideally, you should use sturdy five-gallon buckets to grow your crops. But if you don’t have access to buckets, you can use other containers such as:

  • Old laundry baskets
  • Large tin cans
  • Plastic 55-gallon drums
  • Plastic food tubs
  • Plastic pots
  • Plastic storage tubs
  • Terra cotta pots
  • Toy bins
  • Trash cans (Drill holes on the sides for small plants to grow out of.)
  • Troughs
  • Wooden barrels

If you want to use a container that’s not included in the list above, feel free to do so as long as it has good drainage and it is big enough for the plant you wish to grow.

Things to consider before you start container gardening

Before you buy seeds and assorted containers for your garden, sit down and determine how you’re going to use your harvest. Are you going to plant enough for one person or a whole family? Do you want to have enough veggies left so you can preserve food for when SHTF? How much space can you use for your container garden?

Once you answer these questions, you can figure out how much space you should take up and how to proceed with your bucket garden. (Related: Remain self-sufficient during the coronavirus pandemic by growing vegetables in buckets.)

Preserving your harvest

Even with a bucket garden, you can have enough left over to preserve in your survival stockpile. You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment if you want to preserve food. You can set up your own solar dehydrator and use sunshine to dry the herbs or vegetables.

If you don’t mind spending money on useful equipment, you can purchase an electric dehydrator that you can use for herbs, fruits and vegetables. Alternatively, you can preserve food using either pressure canning or water bath canning. A residential grade dehydrator costs about $75 to $150 while the home canning equipment needed to use both the water bath and pressure method of preserving food costs around $200.

If you plan to store preserved food in Mason jars or vacuum-sealed bags, don’t store more than one meal’s worth of food in them. If you open a storage container more than once, the food inside gets continually exposed to moisture, which reduces its longevity.

By starting a bucket garden, you can grow food even in a small space and provide your family with fresh and nutritious herbs and vegetables after SHTF.

Sources include:

UrbanSurvivalSite.com

TheSpruce.com

Almanac.com

Eco Liberty Conclusion: Container gardening the way to go it you live in apartment or flats that you don’t have land to dig up for a garden. Or when you do have land but you’re renting and the Landlord will not let the dig up the ground for garden; container gardening will be the only option that will not upset the Landlord. Or you just want to grow plants in containers in general.

Terra Preta – Amazon Soil Mystery – What We Can Learn From Ancient Cultures -w- Matt Powers

Matt Powers is an author, educator, and entrepreneur focused on radically transforming the K-12 experience for children everywhere by aligning their education with current regenerative science, natural principles, and clear ethics: earth care, people care, and future care. https://www.youtube.com/user/permacul… The Permaculture Student Online http://www.thepermaculturestudent.com… Coolest/Wettest January-June On Record In The US https://realclimatescience.com/2019/0… What type of soils are found in the amazon rainforest? https://socratic.org/questions/what-t… Amazon Jungle Once Home to Millions More Than Previously Thoughtn https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2… EM-1 Effective Microorganisms Microbial Inoculant Soil Conditioner Concentrate Quart https://amzn.to/2NzCYSL LeakCon2019 Live-Stream Replay On Demand https://bit.ly/2TTbPIq Prepare With The Ranch – http://preparewiththeranch.com Leah and I are two humans who no longer support the inhuman, oligarchic empire model destroying our planet and our true nature as human beings. As activists we decided to do something about it, so we opted out of our former lives to begin anew. We are currently transforming pristine alpine wilderness into a self-sustaining homestead and organic farm in preparation for the upcoming collapse. We plan on developing and executing every single step of the process in open source format for the benefit of all humanity. With our backgrounds in academia and the sciences (climatology, geology, physics, biology, chemistry, and more) we hope to uncover the lies perpetrated by the mass media. It will be presented here and on our website in a systematic and thorough process. As you can imagine, this is a multifaceted, lifelong project, and we are so passionately excited to take the next steps towards self sufficiency and our dream! Won’t you join us? https://www.patreon.com/OppenheimerRa… LeakCon2019

Biodynamic Agriculture – Who Was Rudolf Steiner? – (CSA) Community Supported Agriculture

Biodynamic agriculture is a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts drawn from the ideas of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Initially developed in 1924, it was the first of the organic agriculture movements. It treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, emphasizing spiritual and mystical perspectives. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodyna…

Who Was Rudolf Steiner? Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), founder of the biodynamic approach to agriculture, was a highly trained scientist and respected philosopher in his time, who later in his life came to prominence for his spiritual-scientific approach to knowledge called “anthroposophy.” Long before many of his contemporaries, Steiner came to the conclusion that western civilization would gradually bring destruction to itself and the earth if it did not begin to develop an objective understanding of the spiritual world and its interrelationship with the physical world. Steiner’s spiritual-scientific methods and insights have given birth to practical holistic innovations in many fields, including education, banking, medicine, psychology, the arts and, not least, agriculture.

https://www.biodynamics.com/steiner.htmlhttps://www.britannica.com/biography/…https://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/stei… Check Out Our New Channel Magnetic Reversal News For Updates https://bit.ly/2Sic1os LeakCon2019 Live-Stream Rebroadcast On Demand https://bit.ly/2TTbPIq Leah and I are two humans who no longer support the inhuman, oligarchic empire model destroying our planet and our true nature as human beings. As activists we decided to do something about it, so we opted out of our former lives to begin anew. We are currently transforming pristine alpine wilderness into a self-sustaining homestead and organic farm in preparation for the upcoming collapse. We plan on developing and executing every single step of the process in open source format for the benefit of all humanity. With our backgrounds in academia and the sciences (climatology, geology, physics, biology, chemistry, and more) we hope to uncover the lies perpetrated by the mass media. It will be presented here and on our website in a systematic and thorough process. As you can imagine, this is a multifaceted, lifelong project, and we are so passionately excited to take the next steps towards self sufficiency and our dream! Won’t you join us? https://www.patreon.com/OppenheimerRa… Oppenheimer Ranch

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Vertical Gardening on a City Balcony ADAPT 2030 GSM Update

Knowing that we will need to transition to grow our own food in the near future, I have set up a vertical grow tube system and traditional grow beds on a south facing balcony in the middle of an Asian city. This urban garden is taking food growing to a mechanized level. Here is a progress update of what was accomplished after 30 days from no leafy greens to enough for each meal i a month and plants are not at full maturation yet.

Organic fertilizer can be used to increase crop yield in plants grown in rotation

Natural News
13 November 2018
Janine Acero

(Natural News) A study published in the journal Biological Agriculture & Horticulture assessed soil nitrogen oxidation through field incubation, and analyzed the rate of nitrogen release by commercial fertilizers compared with farmyard manure compost.

For the study, a three-year organic crop rotation was set up in a field with sandy loam, with a cover crop of rye and vetch for green manure. In the first year, the researchers planted potato and lettuce, followed by Swiss chard and turnips in the second year, and Portuguese cabbage and carrots in the third year.

Nitrogen (N) mineralization was assessed by field incubation in response to green manure (GM); GM with 20 and 40 t/ha (tonne per hectare) farmyard manure (FYM) compost (C20 and C40); and GM with 1 and 2 t/ha of commercial organic fertilizer (CF1 and CF2).

The second season crops lettuce, turnip, and carrot treated with C40 produced higher yields compared with all other treatments. Most of the commercial fertilizer was mineralized or oxidized during the previous crop.

Swiss chard, grown in 54 days, produced higher yield with CF2 treatment compared with C40. Continuous compost and GM application increased N availability and compost mineralized N recovery during longer growing season for potatoes (124 days), and short growing season for cabbage (56 days).

These findings indicate that the fast nitrogen release of commercial fertilizers increased the yield of the first crop of the year, but the slowly released nitrogen of farmyard manure compost increased the yield of both crops of the year, plus a lower risk of soil nitrogen loss.

Nitrogen-rich fertilizers

Plants thrive in nutrient-rich soil, and nitrogen is an important component in growing plants. Here are some of the best natural fertilizers with high nitrogen content:

  1. Alfalfa pellets — Alfalfa is chopped and pressed into small pellets, with each little pellet releasing the nutrients slowly over a few weeks to months. They act as a natural slow release fertilization program for plants that need an extra boost.
  2. Bat guano — Bat excrement is a nitrogen-rich fertilizer that works well when mixed with sawdust or other wood product. Bat guano is highly concentrated, so a little bit goes a long way.
  3. Blood meal — This is another high-nitrogen fertilizer that you can get from your local abattoir. It is usually dried and purchased as a dark red powder. This is usually used for crops that require a rich soil or added to slow compost as an activator. Note that the smell of blood meal can attract wildlife or your neighbors’ pets.
  4. Chicken manure — This fertilizer is readily obtainable, especially if you have backyard chickens. Used judiciously, composted well with the deep litter of the chicken house, this is one of the absolute best of all high nitrogen fertilizers. Note that chicken manure can be extremely hot in the first stages of decomposition, and can burn tender seedlings with both the heat of decomposition and the salts that it contains.
  5. Compost tea — Add a couple of shovels full of compost to a nylon stocking, and steep it in a large water-filled bin. Stir it daily for a week or two and dilute before using. Avoid using compost tea on leafy green crops that you will eat raw, as it can be a source of E. coli or other bacteria that can cause digestive problems. (Related: 8 ways to make healthy organic soil for your garden.)
  6. Horse manure — One of the best natural fertilizers, horse manure contains a good percentage of smaller particles that can add valuable organic matter to the soil.

Did you know that fish emulsion is another nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer? Learn more about different kinds of organic fertilizers and their effects on crop yields at GreenLivingNews.com.

Sources include:

Science.news

TandFOnline.com

O-Garden.ca

HobbyFarms.com

Soils treated with organic fertilizer are healthier; produce stronger plants

Natural News
13 November 2018
Janine Acero

(Natural News) Come to any local gardening center and you may see rows and rows of plant- and animal-based fertilizers that boast of faster growth, beautiful blooms, or abundant produce from your plants. But which type of fertilizer can actually deliver these promises?

A study published in the journal Biological Agriculture & Horticulture assessed the effect of plant- and animal-based soil amendmentsin the overall quality of organic produce.

The researchers investigated the influence of plant- and animal-based fertilizers on organic matter content, soil respiration, crop yield, and phytochemical content of globe artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) heads. The researchers used one plant-based and three animal-based certified organic fertilizers as experimental treatments:

  • alfalfa meal
  • blood meal
  • chicken manure
  • fish meal

The research team assessed and compared the soil respiration and organic matter content of soil with plant-based amendments (alfalfa meal) and soil treated with animal-based fertilizers (blood meal, chicken manure, and fish meal).

After two years, researchers found soil respiration and organic matter content to be higher in soil with plant-based treatments than soil with animal-based amendments. In addition, artichoke heads grown in alfalfa-treated soil were also found to have higher concentrations of phytochemicals than those grown in soil with animal-based fertilizers. The downside is that the cost of the alfalfa meal was higher than that of the animal-based treatments. (Related: Organic fertilizers made with moringa promote the healthier growth of wheat.)

In terms of crop yield, those from soil treated with chicken manure was higher compared with alfalfa-treated soil. In the first year of the study, yields from both chicken manure and fish meal treatments were higher than the alfalfa treatment.

These findings suggest that plant-based soil amendments can be an ideal choice for improving soil quality and phytochemical content of crops, but for organic farmers whose main concerns are crop yield and overall cost, animal-based fertilizers may be the ideal option.

Vegan organic fertilizers

The best way to ensure that you have the best fertilizers for your plants is to make them yourself. The following list features some vegan organic fertilizers that you can easily make in your own backyard:

  • Compost — A compost pile is a staple in any good garden, if you have the space. A good compost pile is full of nutrients, nitrogen and beneficial microorganisms that keep your garden healthy. Making your own compost pile also encourages a healthy population of worms which is another benefit for your plants.
  • Hay mulches — Mulching is simply covering the ground with layers of organic material. Mulching will add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes, and will also suppress weeds and encourage worms in your garden. You can apply mulch while your garden is on a break for the winter, or you can do it while your plants are growing, as long as you don’t overwhelm your plants.
  • Liquid fertilizers — You can make liquid fertilizers with comfrey or nettles and other composting plants. These fertilizers are an excellent source of nitrogen. Treat your garden with some wonderful liquid fertilizer with this quick guide and an advanced method of making your own compost tea out of nettle.
  • Worm castings — Worm castings improve the soil and increase your garden’s fertility. Purchasing them from a store sure is the easier option, but it can be harmful to the worms being cultivated for the product. You can encourage a natural worm population by simply providing the right environment for them to thrive in. You can do this by providing a cool, damp and dark environment with plenty of nutrients for them to enjoy, such as a compost pile or hay mulch.

Learn more about the various factors that affect crop yields at Harvest.news.

Sources include:

Teaching children to grow their own food greatly reduces obesity, study finds

Natural News
28 August 2018
Russel Davis

(Natural News) Teaching children the basics of gardening and food production may stem childhood obesity, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. To carry out the study, a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis examined more than 400 children aged nine to 10 years old at four schools in California. The children were stratified into two groups: one that received gardening lessons, and the control group.

The study was conducted under the Shaping Healthy Choices Programme, which instructed children to grow and harvest their own vegetables. The produce were then used in cooking demonstrations or were taken home. The school canteens were also instructed to use produce grown from the gardens, which were then featured in newsletters that were sent home to the children’s families.

According to the study, children who enrolled in a gardening class were more likely to shed pounds within a year. The research team also found that schools with gardening classes had lower proportion of obese students. The researchers inferred that gardening lessons may help curb obesity in children by teaching them about healthy foods such as fresh vegetables.

“The BMI and waist-to-height ratio were greatly improved in intervention groups, with the overweight or obese population declining from 55.6 to 37.8 percent at the Northern California intervention school. The dramatic decrease in BMI, although unexpected in this short time frame, demonstrated that the SHCP was effective due to positive health messages and reinforcing nutrition concepts throughout the school and home environments,” said lead author Dr Rachel Scherr in Daily Mail.

Studies show the importance of gardening against childhood obesity

A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that a community gardening initiative resulted in a significant decrease in obesity rates among low-income Hispanic American children. The intervention, called Growing Healthy Kids Program, involved a weekly gardening session, a seven-week cooking and nutrition workshop, and social events for both children and parents. As part of the study, the researchers assessed pre- and post-program height and weight data from 95 children aged two to 15 years.

The research team found that 17 percent of overweight and obese children attained significant improvements in BMI classification. The study also revealed that 100 percent of children with a normal BMI at the start of the study were able to maintain their weight after the initiative. In addition, the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables grew by 146 percent following the gardening program. Furthermore, the researchers noted an increase in the children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.

“Findings from this pilot study are consistent with previous studies reporting an increase in availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables among families participating in community gardens. Although there are limitations because this is a pilot study, this strategy seems to be promising for addressing childhood obesity, particularly among low-income Latino immigrant families,” the researchers wrote.

In another study, researchers found that lack of access to gardens may increase the odds of childhood obesity. To carry out the study, a team of researchers from the VU UniversityMedical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands pooled data from the Millennium Cohort Study with a total cohort population of 19,000 children. The research team found that children who did not have an access to gardens between the ages five and seven years were 38 percent more likely to become obese by age seven. Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood and having a lower educated household were also found to raise the odds of childhood obesity. The researchers also noted that children belonging to higher educated households living in disadvantaged neighborhood were still at an increased risk of childhood obesity.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Sources include: