Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prepping in the yard

Prepping in the Yard

     Like most preppers, I want to add to my skills and learn to replace the things I need if and when they are no longer available.  I prep in my yard.  I have a homeowner’s association and a city ordinance that does not allow for farming or farm like gardening.  Seriously, my town thinks the sight of a well tended garden is unbecoming.  Whaaaatever! 

     Still, there are rules and I try to work with them.  The yard guards that stop by and question the broad leaf squash plants in my big flower pot get a response like, “Those? Those are squash blossoms, so come back next week and it will be covered in yellow flowers.”  They smile and wave. 

     If you keep friendly and sympathetic, you can get away with your ‘practice’ farming even under the watchful eye of the desperate housewives! The vegetables are under planted among the flowers.  They peek out of the giant flower pots.  They teach me what I need to know about weather and soil and produce yield by square foot against the time when the yard guards have no say, and I move to better pastures.  

     Sure, backyards are better, but I get no sun in the backyard and I need to practice now.  When I move and I will move, I will garden like a prepper under fire! 

     Until then, I am becoming quite proficient at container gardening and square foot gardening.  The Idea of square foot gardening allows for planting a small area for maximum yield. You set an area let’s say 3’ by 3’ square.  You plant corn at the back, beans in front of that, and tomatoes and plants that vine to the front of that.  It looks full and lush and allows the plants at the bottom to act as mulch in that they take up the space a weed might use if you planted in a farm space.  The amount of water use is less than sprinkling water over a vast area.  It is similar in thinking as container gardening except that it is planned and done in ground.  Look to the website at www.squarefootgardening.com.

     Some tips for close space gardening are; containers require more water.  Harbor Freight sells a 4 pack of watering stakes for about $3 or $4.  They can be sunk into the ground and a bottle of any size can be inserted into it.  The stake has pin holes to leech the water into the root area.  Another method to water through the day is; cut the bottom off a two liter bottle.  Screw on the cap, stab it three times with a filet knife or an ice pick, invert it into the container about three inches and fill with water.  My inverted cut off bottle method allows liquid fertilizers to be added when needed.  Both methods work well to water where it is needed most.

     Containers don’t care if they are in Florida or New York City.  The plants need the required sun and water to survive.  They don’t need a yard with room for a horse.  They need sun, water and some fertilizer.  These zucchini grew over the edge of a ten gallon container and gravity took over, they were 18" and 22"!

     A great arrangement for a large container is to sink a trellis in the center of the pot as you add soil.  Plant an eggplant on one side of the trellis and a squash on the other.  I start my own seeds but plants are available at Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and your local garden shop.

   Train the veggies to grow up as they grow, gently tying them to the trellis.  Surround your veg with 2 annuals like petunia on each side toward the edge of the pot.  Add a contrasting flower to the sides or a colorful croton.  You will have great color and veg to eat.  You will gain great experience at growing along the way. 

   You can grow corn and squash and potatoes in a single pot.  We call one pot the pizza pot.  I am growing tomatoes (roma and beef steak) basil, oregano and thyme in a medium size container.  Test your skills if you have them, teach yourself new skills if you have none.

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