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27-02-2012, 21:17   #1
evilmonkee
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Self Sufficient Gardening / DIY Gardening

As many of you know, I enjoy a bit of GIY!

Now, I don't believe in buying every little thing from a supplier, quite the opposite, I believe in buying the bare minimum. My own personal interest isn't based specifically in the survivalism relm, but it is intended to be as self sufficient as possible.

So to get the ball rolling, I'm going to quickly detail some of the DIY things I do, I won't go into detail but if you want to know more about something, please ask and hopefully we can get a DIY gardening discussion going!

1. Here's how I analyse my land:

Squeeze test: This includes digging up some soil and squeezing it, depending on how the ball holds/ falls apart, this will indicate the type of soil.

Fertility test: Dig a small hole, look for soil helping organisms eg. worms.
Look at what grows naturally, eg.nettles indicate fertile soil which has many nutrients.

Drainage: Dig a hole, wait for rain . You can fill the hole with water, however this does not mimic natural drainage as the quantity of water is likely much greater than rain.

2. Helper plants / other stuff!

Comfrey: I have a main plant which I grow in a large pot in the greenhouse (this is my main plant), children plants are planted at the sides of the compost bin to drink up the nutrients which are leeched from the bin. Brilliant for fertilizer, tea, compost activator etc.etc.

Nettles: I have a nettle patch growing, I grow them in an otherwise unusable patch in the garden. Brilliant for making liquid fertilizer.

Compost Bin: need I say more?!

A drying system for grass/weeds: As anyone with a compost bin will know, its hard to get enough brown material, I made a raised bed with old pallets, which I fill with grass cuttings, pulled weeds etc. This is covered by 2 old glass patio doors, this creates a drying box to dry out these things before using them as brown matter for the compost bin.

Homebrew fertilizer: Many 2lt milk bottles, brewing nettle, comfrey and tea fertilizer.

Rainwater harvesting system : In the pipeline, currently have 2 old wheelie bins which are awaiting the transformation into this. plus 1 blue barrel.

I also have a few "experiments" growing in the garden, but thats for another post!

Last edited by evilmonkee; 27-02-2012 at 21:21.
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27-02-2012, 22:03   #2
Ophiopogon
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Great idea, this is a particular interest of mine. Do not like wasting money in the garden.

Just read of a DIY ph soil tester, don't know if it works but...

boil two cups of red cabbage, eat the cabbage as it's the water you're looking for. Dissolve a tablespoon of your soil in a cup of clean water. Add a few drps of the cabbage water. The water will turn purplish with a bit of blue if the soil is neutral. Very red for acidic and green/yellow for alkaline.
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28-02-2012, 06:15   #3
fodda
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Originally Posted by evilmonkee View Post
As many of you know, I enjoy a bit of GIY!

Now, I don't believe in buying every little thing from a supplier, quite the opposite, I believe in buying the bare minimum. My own personal interest isn't based specifically in the survivalism relm, but it is intended to be as self sufficient as possible.

So to get the ball rolling, I'm going to quickly detail some of the DIY things I do, I won't go into detail but if you want to know more about something, please ask and hopefully we can get a DIY gardening discussion going!

1. Here's how I analyse my land:


eg.nettles indicate fertile soil which has many nutrients.

I thought nettles grew in disturbed land usually around rubble etc? Poor land?
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28-02-2012, 07:58   #4
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Great idea, this is a particular interest of mine. Do not like wasting money in the garden.

Just read of a DIY ph soil tester, don't know if it works but...

boil two cups of red cabbage, eat the cabbage as it's the water you're looking for. Dissolve a tablespoon of your soil in a cup of clean water. Add a few drps of the cabbage water. The water will turn purplish with a bit of blue if the soil is neutral. Very red for acidic and green/yellow for alkaline.
Sounds like a bit of craic for some day. HAve you a link for it...??
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28-02-2012, 09:05   #5
sfakiaman
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Comfrey: I have a main plant which I grow in a large pot in the greenhouse (this is my main plant), children plants are planted at the sides of the compost bin to drink up the nutrients which are leeched from the bin. Brilliant for fertilizer, tea, compost activator etc.etc.
!
Comfrey has a lot of medicinal uses and I've often used it for poultices on septic cuts. It's one of those plants that come up every year whether you want it or not so be careful where you plant it! Lot of info here http://www.allotment.org.uk/vegetabl...ey/comfrey.PDF
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28-02-2012, 13:28   #6
Ophiopogon
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I thought nettles grew in disturbed land usually around rubble etc? Poor land?
They favour fertile soil and have a high nitrogen content so they are good for a liquid feed(not as good as comfrey) esp for leafy veg and plants. It's the younger plants that are best to make tea with.

The older nettles can be made into human tea and it has high vitamin, folic acid and calicium content as well as being a diuretic and some anti inflammatory uses.

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Sounds like a bit of craic for some day. HAve you a link for it...??
I don't no, I can't even remember where I read it tbh, I just wrote it down in my own almanac. I've not tried it yet either so can't say how it works but just as you said it seemed like it could be a bit of fun as I already know my soil's PH.
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28-02-2012, 13:34   #7
baords dyslexic
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I don't no, I can't even remember where I read it tbh, I just wrote it down in my own almanac. I've not tried it yet either so can't say how it works but just as you said it seemed like it could be a bit of fun as I already know my soil's PH.
And old classic with many online refernces:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_cabbage
http://kidsgardenclub.org/wfdata/fra...pressrel10.asp
http://www.clt.uwa.edu.au/__data/pag...p23_soilpH.pdf

As you can see from some of the links its a good one for kids to try.

Google red cabbage soil ph for more
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28-02-2012, 19:43   #8
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I think its really quite simple if you want to be Self Sufficient in food and live in Ireland you need to grow a Sh!T load of spuds. Thats the long and short of it! Lets say you are working hard outside most of the day and need 3000 (3k) calories so thats going to require you to eat seven and a half pounds of spuds if you don't have any other calorie rich food source. At that rate in a year you'll eat your way through at least 2700 pounds of potatoes, 2700 pounds of potatoes is nearly One and a Half Tons.

OK so thats a big generalisation but if you don't grow potatoes what else are you going to eat that stores well, grows well in Ireland and provides a lot of caloires if the SHTF and you are left to grow your own?
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28-02-2012, 21:14   #9
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I think its really quite simple if you want to be Self Sufficient in food and live in Ireland you need to grow a Sh!T load of spuds. Thats the long and short of it! Lets say you are working hard outside most of the day and need 3000 (3k) calories so thats going to require you to eat seven and a half pounds of spuds if you don't have any other calorie rich food source. At that rate in a year you'll eat your way through at least 2700 pounds of potatoes, 2700 pounds of potatoes is nearly One and a Half Tons.

OK so thats a big generalisation but if you don't grow potatoes what else are you going to eat that stores well, grows well in Ireland and provides a lot of caloires if the SHTF and you are left to grow your own?
I think choosing potatoes as a primary food/calorie source has already shown to have disasterous consequences.
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28-02-2012, 21:23   #10
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I think its really quite simple if you want to be Self Sufficient in food and live in Ireland you need to grow a Sh!T load of spuds. Thats the long and short of it! Lets say you are working hard outside most of the day and need 3000 (3k) calories so thats going to require you to eat seven and a half pounds of spuds if you don't have any other calorie rich food source. At that rate in a year you'll eat your way through at least 2700 pounds of potatoes, 2700 pounds of potatoes is nearly One and a Half Tons.

OK so thats a big generalisation but if you don't grow potatoes what else are you going to eat that stores well, grows well in Ireland and provides a lot of caloires if the SHTF and you are left to grow your own?
I think choosing potatoes as a primary food/calorie source has already shown to have disasterous consequences.
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28-02-2012, 21:31   #11
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I think its really quite simple if you want to be Self Sufficient in food and live in Ireland you need to grow a Sh!T load of spuds?
You'd want to stock up on Sh!t loads of Dithane if thats the plan. I grew about that much last year an about 20% rotted in the ground because of the wet . Been thinking of Jerusalem artichokes, planted a few last year and it went ok.
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28-02-2012, 21:36   #12
baords dyslexic
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I think choosing potatoes as a primary food/calorie source has already shown to have disasterous consequences.
So what else can you grow in Ireland that will provide you with the calorie intake?

And say you've had a while to get yourself sorted out what could you have grown yourself and be eating now at the end of February?
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28-02-2012, 21:40   #13
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You'd want to stock up on Sh!t loads of Dithane if thats the plan. I grew about that much last year an about 20% rotted in the ground because of the wet . Been thinking of Jerusalem artichokes, planted a few last year and it went ok.
Add that to one of the reasons for needing a gas mask

I'm only posing the question about potatoes because it gives an idea of the scale of growing thats necessary to sustain yourself and is feasable provided you have some understanding of how to minimise the effects of phytophthora infestans.
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28-02-2012, 21:56   #14
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It depends on what your resources are (with a polytunnel alot could still be growing, but potatoes are not the only veg that stores esp if you add in canning etc. It does not matter what your knowledge is re blight, banking on one veg would never work.

Also,you wouldn't only be eating veg to make your calories...milk, eggs,meat etc.
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28-02-2012, 22:29   #15
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It depends on what your resources are (with a polytunnel alot could still be growing, but potatoes are not the only veg that stores esp if you add in canning etc. It does not matter what your knowledge is re blight, banking on one veg would never work.

Also,you wouldn't only be eating veg to make your calories...milk, eggs,meat etc.
Sorry I wouldn't make the same point in the gardening forum but because this is the Survivalism and Self Sufficiency forum I'm making a more extreme point than I might otherwise. I'm trying to see what alternatives there are and people think they have when many would start out with nothing and then have to grow something to survive.

btw I didn't mean to sound clever saying phytophthora infestans instead of potato blight, I was trying to find a refernce to the type of blight that destroyed the potato crops in the famine to have died out itself but couldn't find the refernce I was looking for (so I was probably wrong) and editing what I started to write left me with phytophthora infestans
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