Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eight Essential Human-powered Garden Tools for TEOTWAWKI

This week over at The Prepper Project... I take a look at what you need to farm if the grid collapses:

"Ever consider what life might look like if fuel became rare… super-expensive… or both? Ever think about what the grocery store shelves would look like if shipping was disrupted? Ever wonder what would happen if an EMP took out the grid?

I have (usually while clutching a tumbler of Jim Beam and hiding under a mattress along with my 3,000 cans of baked beans).

With a single jolt to our supply lines, a lot of what we rely on for daily life would no longer be reliable – and food would be at a premium. Gardening, at first glance, seems like it wouldn’t be that hard without technology and fuel. But when you consider that most gardeners are relying on mowers, tillers, tractors, RoundUp ™ and chemical fertilizers, we’ve got a problem.

Could you manage even a quarter-acre garden without gas? (read the complete article)"


As a side note on this post, one of these days I think I'll buy a Clarington Forge spading fork/shovel pair. I use a spading fork so often (and break one every year or so) that investing in a really good one might not be a bad idea.

Incidentally, in case you're interested, here's my favorite type of machete. Worth $6, for sure. Heh.

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3 Comments:

At May 10, 2013 at 10:31 AM , Blogger Leon said...

Errr... father of six? I had no idea :)

Hey, I guess the internet ate a couple of my questions or something ... Here's the one I'd really like to know the answer to -

"Another question - we may have someone who will donate tractor time to make a bunch of swales on the BSF but that means that we'll need to plant tons and tons of N-fixers/pioners to hold the soil fast.... Any recommendations as to the species and sources for cutting/seeds/etc ? Must be able to take care of themselves after the establishment period. If animals can eat them that would be a bonus."

Thanks!

 
At May 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM , Blogger Survival Gardener, AKA David the Good said...

Oh boy. Finding nitrogen fixers here isn't easy.

What I'd do is this:

If it's spring or summer, go to the store and buy raw peanuts, black eyed peas, and an assortment of various beans, then plant those. I'd also mix them with an assortment of wildflowers and any other seeds I had lying around. If I had Tithonia diversifolia cuttings, I'd stick them in everywhere.

If it's fall or winter, I'd grab lentils, chickpeas, dry green peas and fava beans, then plant those. I'd also throw in winter rye grass and some tough brassicas like turnips, radishes and collards.

There are a few good native nitrogen fixers, but they're not easy to find. One of my favorites is the "coral bean," Erythrina herbacea, which is a lovely perennial that has great roots and also attracts hummingbirds. On the down side, it's poisonous... but it's a good native.

If you can get a hold of velvet beans, those also work really well, though they're not a native. They'll die in the frost, but until then, they really spread across the ground and are good n-fixers. They re-seed to a certain extent - and they can also handle a lot of drought.

As for leguminous trees... they're really tough to find here, except for the non-native "mimosa" trees.

I'm just launching a nursery, incidentally, and I could get you at least the Tithonias if I have about a one-month lead. I have velvet beans right now, and I'll have coral bean starts later in the year.

 
At May 13, 2013 at 9:12 AM , Blogger Leon said...

Thanks!

Mimosa - Albizia julibrissin? Sounds a lot like what we need - probably good fodder too. Do you have a source?

Super glad you're starting a nursery - we planned to start one at BSF too but between you and people I know down in Ft. Myers we should be covered :)

Annuals would be very difficult to maintain on that scale ... but probably a good idea for the first year. Mexican sunflower definitely goes in and I even know where to get some cuttings. I'll check if we need more and let you know.

Erythrina herbacea sounds lovely - need to do more research though whether it'll be poisonous to livestock.

Can you send me an empty email to leon@bigsmallfarm.org please - can't find your address.

 

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