Summer Harvest Starts in Earnest
I’m going to suggest that the most critical part of gardening is food harvest and storage. Therefore, you should leave the rest aside while you learn to harvest and store food that is readily available.
That food you can buy at the market, or pick from public sources. I strongly suggest learning what wild foods are commonly available, and how to avoid poisoning yourself with them (many do have toxins, like the Taro, the lamb’s quarters, the Cherry, and so on.)
Then once you have that, the rest won’t be a waste.
While it's great to know what to eat that is growing wild, and I heartily recommend it it's a very good idea not to entirely depend on them. Not only will the obvious things get stripped, but they may be removed or damaged. One of our two sources for elderberries was sprayed with a defoliant this year, for example, so we got one. Fruit and nut trees come down in storms. Ponds dry up (one near up had it's dam destroyed by a massive fallen oak.)
That being said foraging is a good backup. Study the food sources in your area: i was absolutely shocked that the people in the EMP "what if" novel "One Second After" never used acorns for flour, since that part of the world is full of oak trees (Cherokees mixed it with a bit of wood ash to cut the bitterness). Transplant things like cattails (for their tubers, etc.) to a local pond. Plant wild rice. Know what's edible. Do it now.
I see storm clouds on the horizon.
I offer a picture of my Sauerkraut. That is one big cabbage worth. The Kimchi fermenter is new from Korea so I didn't want to buy more cabbage than the vessel could hold. Red cabbage was not available.
The shape of the fermenter suits the yacht. I have 3 more on the way. From
I made a mistake and flavored the kraut with coriander instead of dill. As you know, coriander tastes like liquerice and I thought "Mmm. Liquerice flavored kraut? Adventurous. "
It is delicious.
I'm on the last day of a 6 day fast but I sneak a teaspoon full of the juice when the pangs become unpleasant. Very moreish. I'm sure cancer cells don't like sauerkraut, there being no sugar at all.
More good suggestions Michael and robshelper. And good advice, Wendy!
Michael, I have had similar thoughts about the need to focus on preservation skills with what time I do have. I could have the best garden in the world, but if the veggies go bad as fast as the ones I buy at the store now, we're in deep trouble.
Arthur, I hope your quip about cancer cells was generic…i.e., I hope you are ok.
… watch out for any mold infection on your kimchi. Aspergillis Niger, black mold, seems to love kimchi, and it is infamous for causing cancer (liver? Pancreas? I forget which one right now).
Don’t believe it when people say you can just scrape the surface mold off. With that particular product, It’s all bad, if it’s at all bad.
Likewise, Wendy, tannins are toxic. Going from acorns to flour isn’t a simple matter, be it through geophagy or washing. Better to learn now, or assume it is not in your toolset later.
We are building two root cellars this fall – one for squash and potatoes, one for apples (and other crops that give off ethylene gas, which would spoil potatoes). At 7,600 ft elevation in the Rocky Mountains (Zone 3), we have a very short growing season. Our hope is to store enough winter root vegetables to feed many families if/when TSHTF.
Root-cellaring is a great alternative to investing time & money into canning and freezing supplies. As others have mentioned, just be sure the fruits and vegetables are blemish-free. (Eat, can, or freeze any fruits/veg that are blemished.) And inspect them regularly throughout the winter.
See if a local segmental bridge job was erected near you. If so, see if the precaster has any rejected segments. If you can get it to your place, and unload it off the truck — and with some creativity, that shouldn’t be hard — then you could get a serious root cellar rather cheaply. Other options might include burying a conex.
If we lived in the western part of our state, near the Appalachians, a root cellar would be on my list. Sadly, root cellars are not an option for some of us. Areas with high water tables like Florida and our part of SC (absolutely NO ONE has a basement here) might try sun drying. It's hot enough. We are sun-drying tomatoes, figs and peppers.
Sadly, root cellars are not an option for some of us… with high water tables
You can build your root cellar above ground!
"Earth bag" construction lends itself well. Fill bags with clay, stack them in a circle, offset half-a-bag and repeat in a smaller circle, driving rebar through them now and then, resulting in a "bee hive" dome. Pile soil up around the sides.
Another high-water technique is to buy a new cement septic tank, cut a doorway in it, and pile earth up around and over it. These guys are built for high side-loads.
With either technique, consider putting your above-ground root cellar on top of a small mound of earth, to improve drainage — sort of a "root non-cellar."
I saw this thread a few weeks ago and I thought I would do another quick video (of my 0.2 acre suburban lot). My video in the spring is linked here.
I am getting lots of squash, grapes, peppers, raspberries and peaches. The peach trees in the video started and chest high sticks in the fall of 2012. So just shy of three years later I am getting lots of peaches.
When I made this video, I found a video (April 2015) I meant to post about my watering system for my square foot garden beds (works great). I thought I would share that as well
Thanks for watching