FOOD CRISIS The Lazy Man’s Guide to Survival Gardening

The shops have always been there for us. guess what? We're already in the grips of an economic recession. our caring governments will be there to look after us. feeding our families becomes much more important. doesn't it? Besides. Every day we hear news that make us raise an eyebrow 2 . Gardening to live or at least to not go hungry or Survival gardening is something few people in the modern western world would ever contemplate. That sort of thing only happens in poor countries. Things like hyperinflation and/or economic collapse could never actually happen to us. Maybe that’s what most of the people think. Whenever we need food. Well. we just go and buy some.2 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng Tough times call for important decisions As we are getting closer and closer to the end of the days of the dollar as reserve currency for the world. and feed us. especially here in the western world. with corrupt governments. we have people in place to prevent that sort of thing from happening and if it does all go wrong. and you might think we'll always have money to do that.

one option is to try and build a food stockpile that includes enough store bought canned vegetables to last your family 3 . Obviously. or it is just a waste of our time contemplating and learning such skills that we may never need? During a time of crisis. The type of food that will be the hardest to come by will be fresh fruit and vegetables.3 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng and wonder about the security of our financial futures. and just recently the press has been talking about the sobering topic of global food shortages. there may be assistance available (eventually) that can provide some basic food items such as rice or beans. Gold and silver prices are growing like never before. Of course. is the concept of survival gardening worthy of our attention. you need a good supply of vegetables in order to eat the best possible diet. So. you will be able to provide your family with fresh produce without having to rely on help from outside sources. By having a survival garden as part of your emergency preparedness. There is continuous chatter about the impending collapse of some of the major currencies.

A great benefit is that the food that you grow. you can eat some of each harvest. gather and can yourself will probably be much healthier than store bought canned goods.4 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng for a while. The longer the food sits on a shelf. Gardening – The easy way I know. I know! Gardening can give you a headache when you don’t have enough space for the plants and your soil is hard as a rock. That is because you can control the amount of salt that is used and you will not have to worry about additives. Also. 4 . If you start your garden now. A survival garden is one way to make sure that your family will be cared for during various types of emergency situations. the less nutritional value it will give to those who consume it. you must consider shelf life of your goods. This is a good idea. then you will have an ongoing source of food. and store some for emergencies. but if you have a survival vegetable garden.

.Ease of cultivation.Helps plants grow better. The advantages of raised beds are obvious: . . . especially for those with limited mobility. Or. A raised bed for vegetables can be as simple as raking the soil into flat-topped mounds several inches higher than paths. there is an easy way to have the garden you’ve always dreamt of. For root crops such as sweet potato. for deeper beds.Digging is not needed. particularly in areas with poor drainage. you can box soil with landscape timbers (raised bed). it is much easier to provide needed space for the edible plant parts to grow. Depleted soil can be quickly removed from a raised bed and replaced. believe it or not.5 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng Well.Reduces soil compaction and prevents damage to soil and plants from foot traffic. This limits the chance of root rot diseases.Replenishing soil is easy to do. . . 5 . carrots or malanga. This helps to overcome the build up of disease or nematodes.Lessens the risk of plants becoming water logged.

6 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng . fruits and most flowering plants will need at least 8 hours of full sun each day. while some bedding plants such as begonias and New Guinea impatiens will need some shade. bearing in mind the requirements of the plants that will be planted.By using peat-based and organically enriched soils. Do not place a raised bed near trees or large shrubs since the roots of these plants will probably grow up into the soil in the bed. Vegetables. Avoid using herbicides if at all possible since there may be delayed effects months later. since it is 6 . not broadcast over the entire garden area. Things to consider Location Before constructing any raised beds consider whether the location chosen is appropriate.Saves resources. Avoid areas where fire ants are a problem as they are liable to nest in the soil. fertilizer is applied only in the beds. . the pH is in the “ideal” range for most plants. Use herbicide only as a last resort.

verify that it is compatible with any food crops that will be planted. ideal bed height can be from 6 .12" tall. Materials 1.Planting beds for growing vegetables or ornamental plants can make small-scale gardening easy. 2. masonry or synthetic lumber. The length of each bed depends on the site and your needs . since this totals 100 sq ft of surface area. • Dimensions: A bed width of 4' or less is a comfortable size for most people. For most purposes. 7 . a round number that simplifies calculating fertilizer applications or planting density.7 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng both expensive and potentially toxic to people and non-target plants.25' is useful with a 4’ width.The walls of a raised bed can be constructed from wood. If you do use an herbicide.

8 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng • Paths: The use of foot wide walkways at 12 -15' intervals can be provided to give easier access to each side of longer beds.more if wheel chair access is necessary. Bed walls can be constructed out of wood. A more functional system for establishing raised beds is to use a permanent retaining structure. Board Wood Pre-drill the ends of each board and attach them to each other with galvanized metal braces and screws to form the 8 . with a covering of mulch to aid in keeping the soil in place and conserve soil moisture. Before building the beds. masonry or synthetic lumber. a raised bed can be just a mounding of soil surrounded by stones. Construction At its simplest. make sure the site is level. Make major dividing paths at least the width of a wheel barrow .

Do not use nails as this could split natural timber. the blocks can be mortared together. You can simply lay the block on top of the ground without further preparation. If masonry other than standard construction blocks is used (e. the bed can be as shallow as 6-8”. Masonry As stated earlier. Matt Stone or Anchor Wall Stone) follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Do not use keyed blocks to build a bed of more than 2' in height. Soil Soil is one the most important elements when considering a garden site. the first course should be laid 4-5" below the soil surface.g. For added strength. Bed walls that are more than 2' in height or are to be used as garden seats (capped with plastic lumber or treated wood) should always be mortared. Purchase a good quality potting soil for the raised bed.9 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng corners of the bed. You can 9 . which is the height of a standard cinder block. though for synthetic lumber it is possible to use self-tapping screws without predrilling. Align each course of blocks with a level in a staggered pattern with construction re-bar driven into the ground at each corner to hold the bed in place. Where building a deeper bed. leaving spaces for drainage.

it needs amending with builder’s sand or perlite. As an alternative. Only when you are ready to plant should soil be added to the beds.10 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng use compost as well or a mixture of compost and potting soil. Before adding soil. buy a good quality soil. Fill the beds with soil to within 2-3’ from the top of the bed and level the soil without compacting it. Both of these products are easily found at most garden centers. Planting 10 . which can be bought by the truckload (don’t use fill dirt or muck soil). remember that the bottom of the bed should be lined with landscape fabric. Well drained soil is a must for any successful garden. For large beds. Soils should remain crumbly when moist – if it forms a sticky ball when compressed in your fist. use several layers of newspapers or old carpeting over the ground.

11 . Also. spinach and root crops.11 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng Because the soil is improved and there is no need to walk between plants. seed can be scattered randomly or sown in shallow furrows two or three inches apart. Within wide beds. It is an excellent soil amendment. This works well for lettuce. and table scraps such as meat and fats. Disease-free plants and weeds without seeds make very good materials to put in your compost pile. to use the planting area more efficiently. Thin plants enough to allow growing room. This increases the yield per square foot. fill the holes with soil so that they can be planted as well. and can be generated on-site for free and is easy to do. Compost Compost is the product of the decomposition of organic wastes under controlled conditions. Avoid using animal waste other than horse or cow manure. plant in blocks of plants instead of in rows. If “cinder blocks” are used. vegetables can be spaced more closely.

There is increasing interest in using seeds from “heirloom” varieties. ensure that the varieties chosen are resistant to the more common pests and diseases prevalent in your area. Vegetables It is recommended for a new vegetable garden that transplants be used rather than growing from seed. choose plants that appeal to you and are suited for the aria where you live. since they are claimed to produce better tasting vegetables. Contact the Extension office for lists of recommended plants and varieties. At a later date. Plants 12 . This is a more reliable means of obtaining a successful harvest for beginners. What to Plant Basically. including the construction of composting bins. is available from your local County Extension Service. and thereby sustaining enthusiasm as the garden becomes established. if there is an interest in growing vegetables from seed.12 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng Advice and published materials on composting.

The same applies to home grown seeds since most will not necessarily come true to type. Bananas are another popular fruit crop that can lend a lush tropical look to any garden. Papayas are popular and can easily be grown from seed. Irrigation of the Garden 13 . They do take some space. however plants commonly decline after 2-3 years due to a viral disease and for this reason it is usual to replant every 1-2 years. and removal of established banana plants can be difficult. Fruit Raised beds created for growing vegetables can also be used for fruits such as pineapples (12 -16 months to harvest) and strawberries. some of which can also provide shade and landscaping interest. The size of the garden and the plants already present will determine the number and types of fruit that can be planted. There are however many fruit bearing trees from which to choose.13 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng grown from such seeds will usually need more attention as they do not necessarily have the resistance to pests and diseases.

If you are using city water on your garden. especially during our dry winter months For most gardeners this will mean using city water. drip irrigation on timers). though in some instances well water is used especially if a full irrigation system is installed. For this reason lawn sprinklers are a poor choice because water is 14 . soaker hose. The system used to irrigate the garden can range from a simple hand held watering can to an installed automated irrigation system (micro-jets. do not use any that passes through an installed water softener since this could increase the salinity of the soil (reverse osmosis and magnetic systems are safe). drip tape.14 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng A reliable means of watering a raised bed garden is essential. Whichever system you choose it is important that water is not wasted (water only the root zone) and not lost by evaporation.

Too much soil moisture causes plant roots to die through lack of oxygen as a result of poor soil aeration. Incorrect soil moisture can cause damage to your plants so be careful to the following: .15 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng broadcast over a wide area. . Plant leaves become pale green and wilting occurs if the soil is waterlogged. Wet foliage is therefore unavoidable and encourages disease. and should be maintained at a depth of 2-3" but not touching plant stems or tree trunks. 15 . Soil that is too moist encourages root and stem diseases. Mulching Organic mulches are highly recommended for all plants including most trees (except citrus) and shrubs. with plants exhibiting scorched leaf margins.Too little water causes wilting. Drying winds can also exacerbate the problem. and these will cause plants to suddenly wilt and die. Dry soil can also cause nutritional problems since with less water uptake there is a reduced uptake of available soil nutrients. Remember to renew mulch as it decomposes.

16 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng There are many organic materials that can be used for mulch: • Pine bark makes an excellent mulch. • Avoid products that compact down easily (e. • Wood chips can temporarily deplete soil of available nitrogen. However. 16 .g. finely shredded bark) or form a crust when dry (peat). Pine bark nuggets are long lasting and good for keeping down weeds. • Landscape fabrics can be used. If wood chips are used they should be no smaller than an inch and add fertilizer after the mulch is spread. There is some concern over arsenic leaching out into the soil. Inorganic materials such as marble chips. Points to consider about inorganic mulches: • Inorganic mulch materials are not as effective in retaining soil moisture and contribute nothing to improving the soil. which breaks down slowly. as this type is more resistant to penetration by weed roots or shoots. some weeds are able to grow through them. Use landscape fabrics that are thermally spun bonded. • Avoid using colored wood chips as mulch on food crops. whereas shredded pine bark is less liable to float away if flooded and is less expensive. gravel or plastics also can be used for mulch. Such materials repel water and interfere with soil aeration.

Plant Nutrition Most plants will require fertilization at some time during the year. Use with an irrigation system (e. Injecting fertilizer into the soil is inefficient and may pollute ground water. Organic fertilizers can be used and have the advantage of slowly releasing nutrients as they breakdown in the soil into a form that can be used by the plant. while phosphorus (P) is bound so there is less need for this fertilizer component. Slow-release fertilizers are preferable in most instances since they help to slow the rapid leaching of nutrients. such as a 17 . Fertilizer spikes and banding could damage roots by chemical burning. Nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) are rapidly leached out of soils.g. Fertilizers should be broadcast over the plant’s root zone. In a few cases.17 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng • Non-woven black plastic mulch is useful for growing certain vegetables and pineapples. a soaker hose). You may need to add a quick-release traditional fertilizer if plants are showing nutritional deficiencies.

In many instances nutrient deficiencies as well as excess fertilization can kill plants. water and nutrition and are therefore less susceptible to disease or insect 18 . as well as polluting our water. such as leaf color and shape. Pests and Disease The first principle in controlling pests and diseases is to follow good gardening practices so that plants receive adequate light. magnesium sulfate. as well as abnormalities in the developing fruit.18 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng nutrient-deficient plant where more rapid availability is necessary. For details on the symptoms of nutritional deficiencies and fertilizer recommendations. or so weaken a plant that it is more prone to insect attack or disease. or manganese sulfate) may be needed. individual chemicals (potassium sulfate. reduced fruit and vegetable yields. consult your local Extension office. causing excessive plant growth (more prone to insects and diseases). Plant nutrient deficiencies can often be diagnosed by symptoms that affect the plant’s appearance. A word of caution – over fertilizing plants can be very detrimental. Some micronutrients can be applied as foliar sprays if needed.

Be especially careful of what and when material can be sprayed on food crops (Read the Label).e. such as an insecticidal soap or ultra-fine horticultural oil for insect pests.19 The Lazy Man’’s Guiide to Surviivall Gardeniing The Lazy Man s Gu de to Surv va Garden ng attack. contact your County Extension Service. • Choose disease resistant varieties of vegetables. Also. use least toxic materials first. • Disease problems on vegetables can often be reduced by watering plants in the early morning and keeping moisture off the foliage. • If you must spray. 19 . many pesticides (i. keep in mind the following suggestions: • Do not spray chemicals without first knowing the nature of the problem. • More toxic insecticides can make the problem worse by killing natural predators and parasites that help to control pest populations. For handling pests and disease in your garden. Use least toxic pest controls before resorting to more toxic pesticides. If you need help. so avoid spraying when bees are active. sevin) are highly toxic to bees.

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