Let's catch up

Well, it’s been awhile since my last post. I apologize! I am also going to focus my posts more towards their purpose; self-sustainability/ self-reliance. I will do my best to avoid politically charged posts unless they relate directly to the idea behind this blog. From time to time I may post about how the US as a country/community should and can also become self-sustainable/ self-reliant. With that said I will proceed to providing you with useful information.

Let’s catch up. This year I had great improvements in my backyard vegetable garden. I built a more organized layout with a fence to keep out pests, namely a woodchuck that had been enjoying use of my garden. I found that woodchucks are far more clever than I had given them credit for. He/she found the fence to only be a small obstacle in the trip to a wonderful meal. I quickly solved this with a live trap (have-a-heart) and removed him from the property to a nice waterfront piece of public land. Once that problem was solved the garden took off.

I would argue that one of the easiest and beginning steps in the path to self-reliance is a backyard garden. Now for those of you without a backyard don’t get your panties in a bunch. Container gardens are just as effective and can be indoors or outdoors on a porch/deck/patio. All you need for either is some good soil with mixed in compost (preferably compost you make yourself), seeds (that are GMO free and non-hybrid), and natural or simulated natural light. Be sure to plan, well before planting, on which items to grow and when they need to be started.

If you choose to use fertilizer I would recommend a product called “Neptune’s Harvest.” For me being from New England I get an added bonus on top of its outstanding fertilizing abilities. Neptune’s Harvest is made in Massachusetts so I am purchasing a product made in close proximity to my location. I used this fertilizer in a method called foliar feeding. This is spraying the liquid fertilizer directly onto the plants leaves. This is best achieved using a pressurized container that allows the liquid to come out in a very fine mist. I purchased the one I use at Sears. It is more commonly used to apply insecticides.

My garden is an insecticide and pesticide free area. I figure that one of the major benefits of becoming self-reliant is being able to control things that involve your life. This is very important when thinking about food and what you ingest. There are many organic and “safe” products out there to protect against pests and any other aliments that may harm your garden. This year I had some problems, but I did some research and will be applying my findings next season. I will be trying to attract natural pest predators to take care of any problems. These would be typically, ladybugs, lacewings, trichogramma wasps, etc. There are ample websites explaining how to attract these protectors of the garden, but you can also purchase them online.

As your garden begins to produce the pride of harvesting something that you have grown yourself is indescribable and very rewarding. It is more than likely that towards the end of the season you will notice you have more vegetables that you know that to do with. There are a few things that can help with that. It is always nice to give to others so giving your neighbor some extra harvest is nice and can strengthen local community. Another is to allow some fruits and vegetables to go to seed and harvest the seeds for storage or the following planting season. This will require some knowledge and I choose to purchase a book called “Seed to Seed.” In something like that you can learn the ins and outs of seed saving. The method I used this season to handle extra harvest is canning. The most effective way for me was mason jars and a “ball” canning kit found in stores such as Target. The secondary benefit to canning is the ability to store the food over a relatively longer period of time. This comes in handy for the “survivalist/ prepper” as well. The last method I am going to mention would be drying or dehydrating. I think this would be best used for herbs, but I may get into trying this in a future season.


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