[Homestead] Preparation for WTSHTF questions
lurine at softcom.net
Fri Dec 12 00:38:10 EST 2008
O.K., we aren't in the desert but we are certainly close to as hot (110
average during the summer) and definately as dry.
I solved all my gardening problems (crappy soil, lots of rocks, real hot,
real dry, rabbits and moles an gophers and ground squirrels and did I
mention crappy soil and lots of rocks?) with two things: cats and old
freezers and fridges! The cats have reduced the d*mn ground squirrel
population by at least 50% and the rest have moved to the neighbors <g> The
fridges and freezers are the most marvelous things in the world! The first
year we leave the doors on them, drill holes in the bottom and fill them
with leaves and horsey gold <g> and "stuff" from the garden. Add a little
water and mostly close the door on them. Few months later we have bee u tee
ful compost! Then we take the doors off and DH puts the doors on sawhorses
and I put a welded wire hoop over them, plastic and use it like a mini
hoophouse to start plants in and to harden plants off that I started in the
house. They're also great for raising lettuce, spinach and even radishes
in. They're insulated, so I don't have to worry about the cold. I also use
them as cold frames by not filling them as high with composted goodies and
putting an old window over the top.
Then, youngest and I paint them to look like bricks or stone and a couple of
the old avocado green ones we've painted white picket fences on.
Now, the neat thing about fridges and freezers is that people give them
away! Same with the windows we use to make some of them into cold frames!
Plus, you don't need any tools. The composted goodies in them you dig by
hand! I just keep adding to them each year when I'm done gardening and by
spring they are just perfect for the next year's crops!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Leslie" <cayadopi at yahoo.com>
I have to start somewhere.... so as I am close to the point where it is time
to invest in supplies that will produce wealth (sustainable food supplies),
I would love some input from the homesteading perspective. I.E. I'm not
expecting to have much currency in the future in order to replace supplies.
Therefore, my choices of allocating my funds in this area are critical.
Regardless of whether I go on a scavager hunt, obtain at flea market, or
drive 100 miles to town and pay full price - I need to know WHAT is
important to get, and which are priorities.
I have ordered a couple of used books dedicated to organic gardening in the
desert, and they should be here soon. Any input is appreciated, as books
aren't necessarily written from the homestead point of view.
PLASTIC COVERED TUNNELS
I've seen pictures over what appears to be cement mesh wire. Bev told me
that plastic in the heat has a rather short shelf. It probably also has a
short life in high wind. It also costs $ to replace.
Are homesteaders using plastic tunnels?
What alternatives are there?
Any ideas to contruct an economical one so I can have a place to start the
liners for srping planting?
Pros/cons. I could stack cement blocks, depending on how much $$$.
For the raised beds, would I be just adding the local soil (of which I have
acres) plus manure/compost or what?
In the raised beds are you growing in rows? or in something called a X # of
plants per square foot method.
Any suggestions on the most economical?
I'm in very dry conditions, and I know watering will be necessary.
RABBITS & OTHER MUNCHING CRITTERS
How deep to bury the fencing material in the sand?
Is there a way to make the fencing "moveable" for tilling times?
There are a lot of jackrabbits and cottontails here. I haven't seen any
antelope in my immediate area, but I have about 20 miles north. I have seen
coyote on the property (rarely).
About how many years do they last, and would it be a worthwhile investment
to buy extras (i.e. picks, shovels, hoes, machete, etc.) and/or extra
What tools would be a priority.
I'm currently using a gas engined rotor tiller, which I know is not
sustainable in worst case scenario, but it was a b-day gift from dad.
Where does one even get an old fashioned plow and harness system these days?
BTW the neighbor keeps a mule in with her 2 cows and sheep and chickens. I
asked why, she said the mule protects the other animals from predators (I
assume she means the coyote). True? and is anyone using a mule for plowing?
I'm thinking the biggest problem I would find would be obtaining enough
water to grow enough alfalfa for larger animals, so that isn't a first
choice. But any ideas on how to plow the gardens up without a gas powered
engine would be VERY much appreciated.
POTATOES GROWN IN HAY?
Has anyone tried that?
I did find out tire method ok in the desert too, I was worried about heat
from black tires cooking the spuds...
I can buy a lot or a little, but what I'm wondering is what is critical, and
which items have people found will need replacement.
Oh, my brother does have one of those old grinding stones to sharpen farm
tools - a task my grandfather gave me when I was a kid.
Is anyone growing their own as feed for chickens? There is limited
vegetation and bugs here, and I know chickens eat grass, bugs, etc.. What
else can I feed (grow myself) to feed the chickens. I can grow alfalfa here.
One thing I haven't figured out is field corn sweet corn grown to the dried
stage? Or it is a different variety altogether. What kind of corn becomes
Is anyone growing? Anyone converting it into flour for bread?
And is anyone making their own yeast?
Anyone raising bees? There seem to be plenty around here naturally, but I'
thinking in terms of honey for the yeast in bread.
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