Got Food? For How Long?

If you don’t know how to provide food for yourself and anyone else that is depending on you by now, it may be too late to learn. You may just starve. Cheery thought, isn’t it?

What will millions of people do when the just-in-time deliveries of food stop? Stop as in never to be seen again? Seriously, what will happen? Right now there are so many trigger points leading to a collapse, the slightest wind could cause them to fall, and where they will land is anybody’s guess. The destruction that will be left in the wake of that landing will change the face of the world, permanently.

Let’s say you are preparing for disaster/collapse/anarchy/chaos and have a lot of food stored. That’s great. What are you going to do when it’s gone? We ask ourselves that. Regularly. So, what are you going to do when it’s gone? Turn into one of those starving zombie people that will do anything to take the food that belongs to someone else? Go to any lengths to stay alive? Is that your plan? I truly hope not.

Do you have plans for replenishing your food supply as you eat it? How will you do that? What if the stores are all closed and there are no more seeds? What if the electricity is off forever? What if there is no gasoline or diesel for all of the gardening equipment you currently depend on? Do you have canning jars, lids, rings, canners and a way to use them minus electricity, propane or natural gas? Do you have a root cellar? A solar dehydrator? Think ways to produce and preserve food and add those to the list.

Now think of how many people you plan to feed. Can these people help with the work that will have to be done to replenish your food supply? Will they be productive members of the group? 

Do you have livestock or access to a meat supply? This is assuming you have been able to protect these animals from other folks that need food as well. Hunting by now will probably be out of the question. The sheer number of hungry people will have seen to that not long after the collapse. Remember, any food you cook, especially meat will draw people like flies if they are within smelling distance. Just how good did that Thanksgiving meal smell while it was cooking today? Makes your stomach growl, doesn’t it? What if you and yours were starving and you smelled a meal cooking? The draw to that food would be irresistible, just like it would to others if you were the cook. Always remember that.

There will be many articles posted today about ways to use leftovers from Thanksgiving meals. Some of them will talk about making turkey broth from the carcass or other ways to extend the food supply from existing ‘leftovers’. Read them, ponder them, then try to apply them to a collapse situation. How many more meals can you get from the things you cook besides the original? Now think about the ingredients. Do you have plenty? Can you replenish those ingredients? How? How long will it take to grow that stalk of celery you want to put in your turkey soup? You want carrots, too? Do you have a place to grow them in abundance? Can you store them, can them, dehydrate them or preserve them in a ready made soup? What else to you need to provide adequate nutrition to live and work in a collapsed society? 

Lately I have been pondering how to provide food for the men that will be out hunting or patrolling for protection and security. What is an efficient, reusable, durable means of sending food? What kind of food? How much? Who will provide it? What about water? We used to put maple syrup in our coffee. What does that have to do with this conversation? Well, I kept the little jugs the syrup came in because they are very sturdy. They are big enough to hold a small meal of soup or dehydrated food and water. These jugs would be relatively easy to transport, clean up and reuse. 

Where would the water come from? That’s another thing to think about, a source of water that is easily accessible and potable. Are you going to need to filter your water? If so, can you for the long haul? 

I know that regardless of how much thought and preparation we put into being able to produce a food supply that is independently sustainable, there are things we will not be prepared for. There just will be. There will be times when we want to kick ourselves for not thinking of something that would make that work more manageable and productive. We have some friends that have had to face forced evacuation from wildfires and extended power outages this year. They took it in stride and learned from the experiences and the opportunity to practice and test their preparedness. It’s a great time to learn when failure is still an option.

As we give thanks for our many blessings, we continue to study what is approaching over the horizon. We enjoy this time in the sunshine, but can see the approaching darkness, thick with evil intent. The difficulty is in not knowing what shape or form it will take when it arrives at our door. This evil is a changeling and will manifest itself differently at different locations, for what will work in the country will not work in the cities and suburbs, and vice versa. Study, ponder, pray and pay attention. Do everything you can to be ready, for keeper of the gate has welcomed the invasion of those that will help take your freedoms, which is another topic in itself.

Until next time – Fern

41 thoughts on “Got Food? For How Long?

  1. Rebecca, I know what you mean when you say you hope you are doing enough. I don't ever feel like I have done enough and there is always more to be done. Thank you for sharing your efforts. It may be just what someone needs to read to improve their own situation.Fern

  2. A bartering shop would be a great addition to any location right now, Grammy. Lucky you! Please let us know how it works out, what they carry, etc. That would be very useful information.Fern

  3. I hope you don't mind my two cents worth, albeit late. Dick & James Strawbridge, Curing and Smoking.Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrating Cookbook (has instructions on dehydrating EVERYTHING and cooking recipes!)Best,Pam

  4. I just found your blog today as I was browsing the SurvivalBlog, and I am so happy that I did! My little family and I are just starting on our prepping/sustainable journey. I already had a fire lit under my bum, but your post and all of the questions you pose invoke so much though and light that fire even more. I was conversing with someone today and we talked about how while we are so excited and motivated to start this journey, the sheer amount of the things we need to do to secure our family's health and safety can sometimes be paralyzing. I've leveled the motivation with panic out by creating small achievable baby steps as I call them. My husband and I are both farm kids, being raised and still helping on our families' livestock and grain farms – we have a good foundation of knowledge to start with. I am excited to look through all of your posts and follow what you have to say in the future!

  5. Great post, it is so important for more people to start thinking this way! Thank you for sharing your post on Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, as one of the co-hosts I will be featuring your post on Thursday. Hope you come back and share another excellent post!

  6. Prepared Grammy: I know just how you feel. I did serious in-depth research to try to figure this out…but finally realized that without actually \”doing it\”, there was no way to find out just how much you need. Every resource I found had wildly different numbers and each family eats differently. I had managed to accumulate 100 dozen jars, lids for 3 years and a case of Tattler lids and was feeling real good…until I realized that is not nearly enough for us (12 to 20 people)…and that the floors in our house will not bear the weight of even just that many. During this research, came to the realization that we weren't going to be able to rely on canning as our main storage method. Without resupply of lids and jars, just not tenable for a long-term situation. Canning jars would have to be reserved for those special things that cannot be preserved otherwise. The bulk of our food would have to be stored in root cellars, grain bins, barrels, smoke houses, spring houses and \”on the hoof\” – and we would have to get as much of our diet as possible through eating seasonally. Just no way around it, with the large amounts of food we will need, because when it comes right down to it, you will need 2-3 years worth of food on hand to be truly food secure. No matter how good a gardener or livestock grower you are, there will be crop failures and livestock losses.Carol Deppe's book, The Resilient Gardener, is an awesome resource for those of us trying to figure out this subject. She advocates focusing on five main crops – corn, beans, squash, potatoes and eggs – to produce the most nutrition in the least space, with less work, that stores well without canning, cooling or freezing. Really makes sense and helped me focus my efforts. This is a must have book!Another great resource to direct our efforts is history (as always). Find out what folks from the 1800's and earlier in various cultures ate and stored – and how they stored it…then adapt that to what you can grow in your climate and are able to store. It probably won't resemble your modern diet…but you will have to adapt, as you really won't have a choice.When I started storing food, I did it a little differently than most since we don't have much money or room for storage – even using the former master bedroom as my pantry (hehe). Rather than trying to store \”everything\”, I focused on those things that I cannot produce here and don't want to live without (chocolate comes to mind). A little of everything, but mostly what I can't grow. Another way to save storage space and cash is by storing wheat but not pasta, although I love pasta. Why? I bought a nice grain mill, a hand cranked pasta machine and my chickens produce eggs…so I can make pasta forever as needed rather than use up limited storage space and limited cash. Rather than store a lot of dry milk, canned butter, cheese and yogurt, I got Nubian dairy goats and milking equipment, and the equipment to make butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Whatever it is you want to be able to consume after the coming Darker Ages arrive…you need to figure out how to produce it yourself and get the equipment you will need now, while its still available and affordable. And the only real way to figure this out is by doing it. Aside from the monetary and health benefits of producing your own food even now, this really will lessen your stress level because you will KNOW you can provide the food your family needs no matter what comes down the road. PlantLady

  7. I do have help, but some are more capable than others with this skill set. Others have other important skills. We're all working together, and learning from each other. No one wants to be the only person able to do their job(s).

  8. Prepared Grammy,With a family of 12 to worry about I hope you have them helping you with all that goes into feeding a group that size. We (just two of us) hope to be able to maintain a supply of 600 full jars of what we call perishable canning, that is meat, stewed veggies, broths and the like but we also plan on storing our dry goods like beans, salt, sugar, cereal, spices and dehydrated vegetables in jars as well. Probably another 300 jars for that. We purchased a Vacucanner for this specific purpose. (www.vacucanner.com) Even dehydrated food can have storage issues and sealing them in glass jars will help them stay viable much longer. Most of our jars are pints but about 1/4 are quarts with a smattering of 1/2 pints. Meat is something we hope to be able to keep on the hoof so to speak… letting the poultry control bugs instead of taking up freezer or shelf space is one way to store it. When people start the task of building their own secure and ready food supply you can see it is a daunting task and it can be overwhelming. The need of effort from the entire family become extremely important. There is a lot of good information available online and looking around your community can lead you to sources you can take advantage of. Good luck and God Bless.

  9. Grammy – that bartering shop sounds nice! Wish we had one here. Anonymous's reply reminded me of something else; it's not a good idea to can in jars larger than quarts unless you're canning juice. Then you need a large enough canner to accommodate the taller jars – I remember seeing these in an Amish store catalog. Since I can mostly meat, I also prefer the wide-mouth jars. But because there is only the 2 of us I prefer using pints now instead of quarts.

  10. I hear people talk about growing food on an apartment balcony and always enourage them. Get anything in the ground or pots and gain experience. I also suggest the ask the apartment complex for a bit of ground.

  11. I lived in Texas and quit preserving so much food because I gardened year round. Here in the New Mexico mountains I have a short season. If you can use a window or have light fixtures, it is easy to keep a salad garden going inside. I did in a 5 foot wide garden under lights. Lettuce grows great inside, chives, tomatoes are perennials and do fine with good light. I moved here 3 years ago and still getting my sea legs. This summer I built 3 we inch high raised beds from concrete blocks that extend my season, and grew more food. I am adding more raised beds and turning a shed into a greenhouse with translucent panels. I also added a lot of native edibles in the woods, and attracting wild game. As the economy continues to slide, I hope I am doing enough. Please note that Americans now have 42 million home gardens… not fully self supporting but walking in the right direction. I just retired so will expand my garden next summer. I have planted fruit trees and should see fruit within 2 years. I love gardening. Those who live in dry locations should read about Hugelkultur., deadwood hold a lot of water, so does clay. Good luck and happy gardening.

  12. Thank you for all of the advice. I need to take inventory of what I already have, and see how many more I still need. Getting a large dehydrator or learning to dehydrate in the oven is a goal of mine. That will cut down on the number of jars needed. Frank and Fern, I went to town this morning, and noticed the sign for a new business. The last few times I'd driven by, I had seen several cars at a building that had been vacant for years. I was wondering who had moved in, and now I know. It is a bartering shop! I can't believe it! I live in the country outside a small, rural town. I can't go anywhere without overhearing conversations about the state of our country and the need to be prepared for what is coming. Other useful businesses have opened, including a tack store. It appears that my small community is already beginning to come together. I hope and pray that we stay focussed and stay together. Sincerely, Grammy

  13. How many jars is up to you, but if you have the room, store more than you think you'll need. They do break. You won't need many rings because it's a good idea to remove them before storing the filled jars. You don't want to store flats long term, like more than 3 years – the rubber compound gets less flexible with time and you'll see more sealing failures. If you want to store canning materials long term, you might want to try Tattler lids. They're pricey, but reusable. I'm not sure how long they keep in storage tho. If you don't have a pressure canner, get one with a metal-to-metal lid (no gasket) and a weighted gauge. Dial gauges can become inaccurate over time, which is why they should be checked every year.

  14. Prepared Granny, Sharpen your pencil on this one Granny , you will have to do a little math. We can different meat items , beef chunks, hamburger , chicken, pork chunks and turkey as well as fruit and veggies . There are just 2 of us so planning is a little easier than for 12 . We use all wide mouth jars which makes inventory easier . We have re used metal lids with good success , just be very careful removing them . We also use tattlers , plastic lids which are designed for re use again and again . We figure out how many jars of meat , veggies , pickles ,fruit , etc. that we use per week and multiply by 52 to give us a number that we can plan with . We have enough tattler lids for 1 complete year of canning and probably 2 years worth of metal lids . We usually purchase 2-3 packages of metal lids every time we see them , more if they are on sale . The packages are small and don't take up much storage space . If you are feeding 12 you will probably want to can in quart jars . I don't think I would use a larger jar , you want to make sure that the food cooks through , especially meat products .In the garden harvest we don't use as much canned goods ,naturally .In winter time for example we use about 8 pints and 5 quarts per week for 2 people . With a little bit of math you can get an idea what it would take for a group of 12 . We would move to more stew/casserole dishes in tough times . You are looking at storing hundreds of jars & lids for 12 hungry mouths . I hope this will help you in planning .Good luck and happy planning .Bluesman

  15. Grammy, that is a great question. I can think of several factors that would affect your numbers. How much food do you plan to allow per person per meal? Probably not all you want like it may be now. Are you going to dehydrate any fruits, vegetables or meats? That could cut down on some of the canning jars you need. If you store dry beans, for instance, they could be cooked later and would save on the number of jars. If you have the means to store carrots, potatoes, turnips, cabbage, apples and the like fresh, that would also cut down on the number of jars.Here is a link where a person figured how many jars were needed for a family of four per year. 1050. For you that would mean 12,600. Do you have a warehouse? That number to me is overwhelming, and if I break that down to our family of two, that is still 525 jars of food for us. http://www.alpharubicon.com/primitive/howmanycansa.htmIt's a great question, Grammy. I hope some of the other readers share their thoughts, information or resources with all of us. Sometimes when I look at our shelves of canned foods it seems like there is a lot, but then if I really start counting out jars of food per day, I think it would disappear quickly.If you garden, the number of jars needed in harvest months could go down substantially. If you have the ability to produce some food in the winter that would also help. Many folks live in town and are unable to garden, but we can all grow sprouts on the kitchen sink, or find other sustainable ways to add a few more bites of food to the menu. Your question brings many things to mind for me, and for that, I thank you. I hope to read lots of responses to your question. After all, we are all in this together.Fern

  16. I need some advice. I can fruits and vegetables from my garden. I'm going to can some venison, if we're able to harvest another deer. So, I already have a lot of Mason jars and lids. However, I don't fully rely on my home-canned food to meet the needs of myself and my husband. I know that in a TEOTWAWKI situation, I will be doing a lot more canning. My question is, how many Mason jars and lids should I have stored for a family of twelve? I am wanting to have enough for my kids and grandkids too.

  17. Awesome article. Like a previous commenter, the last paragraph is so fitting.By now folks have seen the Black Friday videos. These are the folks who need to read this article. But they are too dumbed-down and distracted. I cry not for them, but for their innocent loved ones dependent on them for protection. Sadly great suffering will likely come to them.Hope (on earth) lies in what will arise from the ashes of this once-great nation. Here virtually every family homeschools their children. If given the opportunity, they will be savvy and just leaders.Montana Guy

  18. Oh, my…I am so honoured! I am an excellent gardener, but am just starting on trying to figure out just how much food I need to produce to feed my extended family and how I am going to manage this feat with just what we have here in the way of natural resources, equipment and plant and animal stock. Trying to get a sustainable cycle set up before conditions get too much worse, because once the trucks stop running, it will be very hard to impossible to get anything. There is a lot more to it than you might think, especially when your very lives will depend upon your success. When what you eat is what you grow, you find that you don't plant a garden once and harvest it once. You will be constantly planting and constantly harvesting – because of course you will be wanting to constantly eat (hehe). People I talk to are amazed that I don't \”put in\” the entire garden Memorial Day weekend then harvest as it ripens. There are spring, summer, fall and winter crops possible – even here in the far north. I plant stuff most every month except Oct., Nov. and Dec. and we and the goats and chickens eat out of the winter salad garden under low hoops all fall, winter and spring. And I never plant a crop just once or all in the same location…I plant some for early cropping then wait a while and plant more for midseason, then wait a while and plant some for late. Aside from extending the harvest period, your entire crop of something isn't vulnerable all at the same time in the same place. Plus, that way you don't have a years worth of a crop all at once to preserve – you can spread the work out over a few weeks or months. Johnnys Selected Seeds website has some awesome planting charts for each seasons crops and succession planting – an invaluable resource. And folks, first you gotta have land with water that will grow food, or you don't have much of a chance to survive the coming Darker Ages. Nobody wants to hear this or think about it – but its true. Every time I read about someone planning on surviving by growing enough food on a city lot or in pots here and there, I want to cry – because that just isn't going to work. Once the trucks stop running, its up to you to feed your family. And to grow enough food you need land. If you don't have land, if you are real lucky, you might get taken on by someone with land and the infrastructure to grow food as a slave, serf or the like – just for the chance to be fed anything. If you aren't lucky, you and your family will starve without the means to produce the food you need.The upside is that growing your own food now is about the smartest thing you can do, even right now, with prices for everything rising so quickly. Every bite of food you can produce is one you don't have to buy. And infinitely better, safer and fresher than anything you can buy anywhere. A lot of what we learn on our prepping journeys is very useful and perhaps critical to know \”at some point\”. But am I going to drag out the book \”When There Is No Dentist\” now? No, I will go to a dentist while I can. But growing your own food is great even in the \”now\”…saves money, you get a better product and you can afford to store more. Plus, you will be gaining the knowledge, equipment and stock you will need to survive the coming hard times.Let's all go plant something edible!PlantLady

  19. Thank you, Bluesman. There are just so many different ways that we can focus on preparing. We can talk about medical, shelter, food, water, protection. We can also talk about planning, long term and short. Your use of wood is an excellent example. There are so many different ways, you mentioned seeds. Some people buy these little cans of emergency seeds, not that it is a bad idea, but some don't have a clue what's in those cans, but by golly they've got them. It's getting colder here everyday, and it's going to get a lot colder. I pray people have a good source of heat and the other essentials that they need. Thank you for your words of wisdom.Frank

  20. Hi Melissa. Protecting ours and our own is just part of life. Most of us were not raised with a protection mentality taught by our parents. When some of us become parents it comes with the job, when we take on animals and livestock it's our responsibility to protect them from predators. If the day ever comes when there is no sheriff or organized law enforcement, then we will need to protect the livestock under our trust. Smaller animals, goats and chickens, can be locked up each evening either in a barn or in a pen, and if need be, much closer where you live. Livestock guardian dogs can and will keep predators away. I also am a big city boy, not suburbs, but inner city. Everything that I do in respect to homesteading and rural life has been learned. As a general rule on this blog, we avoid discussing the use of firearms for protection purposes. We have discussed them before as a farm use tool, but there are lots of other blogs out there that openly discuss the use of firearms in a hostile situation. As you know, having moved from inner city to a rural landscape, most things necessary for a rural life can be learned, and protection of yourself and your livestock can be learned also. I wish you the very best.Frank

  21. Hi, Sandra. I've had the opportunity on more than one occasion to see grocery store shelves empty. No charcoal, no sterno, no bread, chips. It does happen and it's going to happen again. But as of today, it hasn't happened yet, and we still have time to stock up and prepare. Or, we can go buy a big screen TV. Life is filled with choices. Thank you for sharing.Frank

  22. Hi, Bellen. I'm sure you're aware that most areas produce a specific forage guide. Try to locate one if you can. Your county agricultural extension agent might be a good source. In our area, for example, we have wild plants that appear to be wild onions, but are actually quite poisonous. We have poke salad, that if not prepared correctly can make you very ill, even kill you, and cause permanent long-term damage if you live. In Alaska we had a plant that looked like wild celery, grew just about everywhere, except it wasn't celery and it was deadly. Try to find the book you're looking for, and if you have questions about a plant, take it by your county extension agent and have them look at it. Thank you for your comment, take care.Frank

  23. That's all any of us can really do, is keep praying and prepare the best we can. We all have different situations and circumstances. As the AA folks say, one day at a time, and a Higher Power. Take care.Frank

  24. Hi, Fiona. We have large trash bags full of assorted containers stored in corners of attic space. Coffee cans plastic and metal, olive oil containers, peanut butter jars. When I go out to work on a project and I have to take specific nuts, bolts and screws, I find a peanut butter jar works great for toting them along, less chance of losing that one special nut in tall grass. As always, thanks for sharing.Frank

  25. PlantLady, excellent comment, thank you. In the very near future we are going to feature your comment as a post. Some of the readers don't read comments, but we would like for all of the readers to read this one. The items that you cover about time, location, year to year, pests, is excellent information for the new and veteran gardener. Thank you again for the information and encouragement.Frank

  26. Good morning , Ahhh, words of wisdom about being able to survive dark clouds that are on the horizon .It is too bad that the bulk of our population is out purchasing stuff they probably don't need , can't afford and even having fist fights over it too . The black friday events look like a picnic compared to what will quite probably ensue when the delivery trucks stop rolling in to the local stores and the cow chips meet the fan . You make several good points about what to do when the food runs out in a persons pantry . You can become one of the crazed hungry mob or go to your plan A, or B or C , you have made plans haven't you ? Now is a time for planning , praying and discussing how to feed ,clothe and shelter your loved ones .As difficult as it may be to some folks to make logical decisions , now is by far the easiest time to do that . We repurpose everything , containers, food scraps , wood, screws , fencing , clothes, everything ! We try and plant only heirloom seeds and have seeds set aside for 3 years planting . How are you fixed for water, a crucial item if you wish to continue living ? If you have access to water can you purify it and make it potable ? Do you have something to store it in ? Do you have enough to water the garden , you do have a garden don't you ? Here is an example of complete usage . We heat with wood and have the ability to cook with it also . When I cut down a dead tree I cut the trunk into 16\” rounds , then split it , cut all branches into 16\” and save all small branch twigs for kindling , I pick up all wood chips for kindling use also . When I clean ashes from the stove they go to the compost or into the outhouse pit . I like wood to season for 1 year prior to burning and try to have 1 years wood ahead for unseen situations . We try and look at all things for complete and total usage . Your post is full of excellent points , as usual . I pray that folks either begin or continue their thinking and acting along these lines , as if their lives depended on it , it does ! Thanks again for your words of wisdom .Bluesman

  27. I love reading your articles. They always make me think and reassess. I have been learning to garden over the last eight years. I started thinking more clearly about preparation when my daughter was born nine years ago. I am getting really good at herbs and learning which ones are used for what. I recently started growing food (like carrots, broccoli, beets, tomatoes, beans) in containers and in soil. Oddly, my container tomatoes and carrots are still going strong. I realized after reading this article, though, that I have no way to protect my crops. We were considering meat rabbits and goats for milk and milk. I would have no way to protect them. I grew up inner city and chose to live rural. I understand just how awful people can be about stealing what others have even now. I will have to consider ways to protect what we have. Thank you for your articles and God Bless.

  28. I feel bad for those who rely on the grocery store and fill their kitchen cabinets week to week-we see the shelves empty in a matter of hours with just a winter storm prediction. Thoughtful questions everyone should ask themselves.

  29. I have been studying, reading, practicing how to have a sustainable food source to the best of my ability. My reason is two-fold. First is how will I survive if my husband dies and second is, of course, the coming collapse of the world as we know it. I became a vegan for health reasons which helps in the food production factor but living in FL requires a completely different set of gardening knowledge than I've ever faced.I'm concentrating on plants that will give good nutrition and let us 'eat the rainbow'. Trying to grow in the sand we called dirt is difficult but some plants have surprised me with their fast vigorous growth like yard-long beans. And since I always miss a couple I have seeds for the next crop. I'm also studying foraging – purslane is great, grows well and is a good plant source of Omega 3s. There are some other weeds that I'm sure are edible, just need to get a proper identification. A food source most ignore will mean more for me.We are scaling down everything – furniture, clothes, CDs, dishes, pots & pans, craft supplies. If it is not going to help us live a simpler, more self-sufficient life it's gone.In it's place we are gathering hand tools for gardening and repairs, books for info, clothes that will meet our needs – not dressy or be careful not to get it dirty stuff. So-called craft supplies that will benefit us are sewing supplies especially heavy duty thread, hard wearing materials and good sharp scissors and a stone to sharpen them with – another skill set my husband needs to teach me.As I've said before, your posts always make me think. Something I'm always grateful for.

  30. Whew! I need to copy that last paragraph and tape it to my wall! You are so right. Health and family circumstances forced us to leave the place we had expected to be where we would live out our days. Had it pretty well self sufficient. Now starting over with increased age and decreased health we feel so unready!! And there are so many variable factors. Just keep praying and doing all we can.

  31. As we get settled and set up I look at the containers we save and think…we don't need all these and I should tidy up and dump them…then a little voice in my head says…seed containers, spice containers and the like. Storage of \”stuff\” becomes important if you may not be able to get things anymore. Pins for sewing and needles need to be kept dry and rust free. Nuts and bolts, nails and the like need to be secure and dry as well….and out of obvious sight. So I am not throwing the containers away just yet! Oh as to Maple syrup, there are 22 varieties of trees you can collect sap from tha will make syrup. We are very lucky to have 5 Maple trees in our yard. Not Sugar Maple that are the most well know but servicable sap producing Maples! Sweetener will be an issue. Great Post Fern and Happy Thanksgiving!

  32. This very subject is why I became a market gardener. Not to make money – although that is very nice – but to practice growing large quantities of food. Have always been a serious gardener (ok, maybe obsessed), but more on the ornamental side as I had always hoped to have a small nursery after retirement. With the way things are now, food is far more important. And while I am the person the master gardeners call with questions (hence the PlantLady moniker), had no idea of just how much to grow, how many seeds it would take, which crops would provide the most nutrition, which crops to grow when for a balanced diet, timing of planting and harvesting, which crops store easily without refrigeration or canning and just how big the garden needed to be. During my 6 years of elder care, studied everything I could get my hands on to try to figure all this out. Guess what? There is no way to know without actually doing it! Every location is so different as far as weather, general climate, water availability, soil structure and fertility and available resources…and all these factors change constantly. What worked last week, month or year may be totally wrong for the now.So two years ago worked up new ground and started practicing. Last year I started selling at market. This year I doubled the size of the garden and sold at market regularly, added a second location for selling closer to home and started really keeping track of what I grew when, how much I harvested, how much I sold, how much I donated, how much I preserved, etc. Keeping records is necessary…you may think that you will remember, but there is just too much you need to know. And, heaven forbid, after the Darker Ages arrive…what if something happens to you – the only person that knows everything needed to produce enough food? Your family will be oh so grateful to have a written record of how much of each crop is needed, how many seeds to plant to get that much, when each crop needs to be planted and harvested, how to time things so you have a steady supply for fresh eating, how to time things so crops for preserving ripen at the best times (ie. for making pickles, you need cukes, dill, onions, garlic, peppers and apple cider vinegar simultaneously) how to best preserve each crop, how to save seeds and breed crops to best suit your location, provide the largest harvest, resist disease and insects and suit your taste.Then there are the infrastructure needs…do you really want to be starting a garden by digging sod by with a stick? No way – that needs to be done now with power tools. And you need to stock up on good quality shovels, hoes, rakes, wheel hoes, GLOVES – enough for many people. Do you want to wake up one morning and find your only food for the next year has been decimated by deer/rabbits/coons/strangers? Heaven forbid – get fencing now while its available and learn how to set sturdy fence. While things are still available, plant as much perennial food as you can – fruit trees and berry bushes, nut trees, asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, etc. And stock seeds…I get twitchy if I have less than 5 years worth on hand. Also get animals while you can, unless you plan on being a vegan in the coming Darker Ages! Not just for needed food, but also for their manure to keep your garden fertile. Green manuring is ok for the now, but how are you going to cut, chop and incorporate those easily by hand? Easier by far to turn under composted manure and bedding. Get what you need to extend the seasons so you can grow more food – cold frames, hoophouses, low tunnels. The only real way to know what you actually need is to do it. What are you waiting for? You can do it…start now!PlantLady

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