7 Ways To Grow Potatoes Having (A Variety of Growing Methods For Your Tubers Can Make For a Bountiful Potato Harvest Year After Year)

Potatoes

A few years ago, I was planting potatoes of the German Butterball variety, using a variety of planting methods. Through the course of the growing season, the benefits and drawbacks of each became quite clear. Read on to discover which of the seven growing methods worked best, and which ones were subpar.  [Read more…]

How to Grow a Compact Potato Grow Box – Try This For Yourself And See How this Simple System Can Give You A Fantastic Amount Of Potatoes In A Amall Space

potatoes

You don’t need a lot of space to grow a substantial amount of potatoes, and using a box is far easier than growing them in the ground.  You have a couple of options to consider in terms of how to construct the box that will allow you to take advantage of different harvesting methods.  Let’s take a look at the basic design and how easy it is to construct.  [Read more…]

U.S. Approves 3 New Genetically-Engineered Potatoes

Potatoes

Genetically-Engineered Potatoes

Over the last few years, potatoes have been losing importance as a food crop. The crop’s prospects in the starch and chemical industry, however, have been growing for quite some time. For starch potatoes, taste isn’t what’s important. Instead, emphasis is placed on the quality and composition of the starch. An optimised starch potato could be making its way to fields in Europe soon. This new potato cultivar is genetically modified. [Read more…]

Five Key Foods For Survival

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Five  Key Foods For Survival

If you had to focus on just 5 key foods for survival, what would they be?

Why even discuss this type of question?  My website’s focus on how to organize things in 5 key dimensions.  The rational is the number “5″ is an optimal number to manage against.   A list of 4 or fewer items doesn’t provide sufficient coverage and details.  Six or more items start to become unmanageable.  Despite our modern thinking and use of electronics to conduct multi-tasking, the human brain works very well when focused on once subject at time.   This is true for men in general.  If my wife asks me what I’m thinking, the response will be commonly, “nothing”.  This is hard for women to accept, but men are often think about nothing.  It’s not because men are dense, stupid or simple.  It’s just that men will periodically give their brains short rest, then return to the task at hand.  If you ask me to focus on one thing at a time, the task will be completed with strong quality.  Ask me to concurrently juggle 5 things at a time, all five will get finished with poor quality.

[Read more…]

Food Security: Ramping Up The Amount You Harvest

dfmAs preppers we are far more aware of what’s going on around us than the population at large.

We are rightly concerned about the future, and food security for the future occupies our minds on almost a daily basis. We know we cannot store enough to keep our families fed indefinitely. Our choices, especially after a collapse of any sort will be limited.

Over the past four years I have tried different methods to increase my yields, and logged the results. This year my garden will be planted according to those results.

Summarizing, this is what I have discovered:

  • Raised beds are easier on the back, and they heat up about two weeks earlier than the soil.
  • Using raised beds allows me to really enrich the soil, as you would with the no dig method where organic matter builds up over the seasons.
  • Building raised beds need not be expensive. I am using the one metric tonne bags that sand and gravel are delivered in. They are robust, cheap and make what is normally hard work very  easy. At 39 inches tall they are suitable for those who have problems bending.
  • Combining my own version of square foot gardening with the no dig method has given me the best results. I have produced several times the amount of food in half the space as compared to conventional row gardening.
  • Bug control is far easier on the raised beds than in conventional row gardening.
  • Sprouts and sweetcorn do not do well in such high beds, the wind breaks them. Peas and beans likewise.
  • Potatoes do incredibly well even when grown in a black rubbish/garbage bag.

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The secret to the success of the Bennett method is successive sowing and intensive sowing at the same time.

I fill the bottom of the bags with a layer of hardcore, bricks, rubble, stones, anything you have to hand. This gives them stability and aids drainage. The fabric they are made of is similar to weed control membrane, and this prevents weeds growing in from the bottom.

Next I fill them to within six inches of the top with a mix of compost, well rotted leaves, well rotted manure and soil. That done they are ready to use. I have mine located at the far end of the garden in a large U shape with four rows in the centre of the U, leaving room between for a wheelbarrow.

One bag at the end of each row is rolled down and filled to six inches to accommodate potatoes. Earthing up is simply a case of unrolling a little more bag and chucking in some soil.

Once the last frosts have gone I sow directly into the bags, across the entire width of the bag. The seeds are placed much closer together than in conventional gardening, and I don’t thin out, they wouldn’t thin out in nature so who am I to argue? My gauge is the size of the seeds. The larger the seeds the further apart I plant them.

I sow another row every week, no more than a couple of inches away from the first row. I do this until I get to the back of the bag.

This produces a huge amount of produce in 9 square feet, my version of square foot gardening!

Obviously with larger crops that need space, such as courgettes (zucchini) I wouldn’t sow in rows, I would put three seeds per hole six inches in from each corner. The extra seeds cover any that fail to germinate. Using the same theory cabbages would be planted 4 inches apart and the same distance between rows.

I genuinely couldn’t believe the amount of produce 18 square feet gave me when I first piloted this, but the proof was in the eating…and the reduced grocery bills.

Pest control is easy, just planting a small pot of strong smelling herbs in the corners of the bag is enough to deter carrot and onion flies by simply brushing the herbs to release the smell before you pull up lunch.

Making smaller U shapes allows for wheelchair or seated access meaning gardening really can be open to all regardless of age or physical ability. We are all getting older and anything that we can do that allows us to continue food production is in my opinion a good thing.

This spring a hardy kiwi vine will be planted at the back of one bag to scramble up the fence, (the variety is ‘Jenny’ for anyone who wants the name) Making holes in the side…carefully, a small cross with a sharp knife, allows such as strawberries to be grown off the ground, and herb pots soon cover the bag making an attractive and useful display.

I also intend to put cheap bamboo screening around the bags to make them a little more aesthetically pleasing this year. Bright blue bags with ‘Jewsons’ emblazoned across them is not exactly pretty, but they are exceptionally strong and very cheap.

Even in a small garden, one bag stood up a corner will give you 9 square feet of growing space, more if you put herbs through the sides on the bottom half of the bag.

Providing for our families is becoming increasingly difficult with rising prices and weather issues looking set to cause food shortages. Anything we can do to increase the amount of food we get from our gardens has to be considered.

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SOURCE : undergroundmedic.com

Grow Sweet Potatoes — Even in the North

Sweet Potatoes

Grow Sweet Potatoes

An ideal staple crop for those seeking to meet most of their food needs with homegrown produce would be nutrient-dense, offer high yields, and have excellent flavor and storage qualities. A crop that fits this bill perfectly? The sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes are more nutritious and store better than any other root crop — they’re easy for home gardeners to keep for a full year. And while many people think of them as a Southern crop, you can in fact easily grow sweet potatoes in northern climates. [Read more…]