Thursday, May 17, 2012

Grow your own apples and vegetable garden

  You can't go wrong here! Thanks Andy SRN

One of the best things to have before shit hits the fan is a garden. Nothing can be more beneficial than having fruit and vegetables that you grew freshly in your own backyard.  Also if you need seeds or survival seeds buy some from here 

The only way to be fully prepared as far as growing plants is concerned is to practice, practice, practice.  If the economy takes a turn for the worse, then the gardening knowledge and skills acquired from practicing will come into play at this time.  Initially, when beginning to plant a garden, start small and work your way up.  Have a small garden plot or do container gardening if you are short on space.  Make sure the seeds that are purchased are heirloom or non-GMO varieties.  The seeds from these varieties will continually produce.  As opposed to hybrid varieties that will only produce for one season.

With each gardening experience will come more wisdom on how to handle a larger garden.  When researching what types of fruit and vegetables will be grown, think about what your family will need for an entire year.  Keep in mind that if you are lucky enough to have any livestock, grains and grasses will be needed to be grown for them to consume.  Any size family will have to have multiple plants.  One plant per family member would be essential if you had a small hobby garden.  You must think on a larger scale.  You are planting a survival garden.  And this is exactly what it means – to survive.   Plant enough plants to have for food as well as to have left over for canning and preserving for the winters.

Survival Seeds

These seeds that were chosen were based upon their yield quantities, *ease in growing, nutritional content and for the season they are planted in.
  • Barley -Can be planted in the spring and winter and has the best results when planted early in the season.  This grain has loads of health benefits and a variety of purposes.  Such as feeding livestock, grinding the grains for flour, as well as making beer. Barley is high in dietary fiber and magnese.
  • *Beans - Beans should be planted in the early summer.  One of the easiest vegetables to grow.  Beans have different varieties such as pole beans and bush beans, kidney beans, etc.  Pole beans begin and end earlier than bush beans.  In comparison, pole beans give a high yield production.  A stake is needed for the pole beans.  Staggering your plantings will give continuous yields.    Beans are very high in fiber, calcium, Vitamins A, C and K.
  • *Broccoli - Plant seeds in mid to late summer to be ready for the fall harvest.  One of the easiest vegetables to grow.  This plant has a tendency to give yields past it’s first harvest.  And can take light frost with no problem. Broccoli is a good source of protein, Vitamins A and K.
  • *Carrot - Carrots prefer cooler weather and should be grown in the fall, winter and early spring.  One of the easiest vegetables to grow.  High in beta carotene and vitamin A.
  • Cauliflower - This vegetable is a cool season vegetable.  It harvests over a short period of time and cuts out a high head yield.  High in dietary fiber, Vitamin C and K.
  • Corn – This is a warm weather crop and should be planted after last frost.  Has a good amount of proteins, calcium and iron.  The plant will produce two ears per stalk.
  • *Cucumber - This is a warm weather crop.  This is one of the easiest vegetables to grow.  There are large varieties and smaller varieties for pickling.  Continuous picking increases the plants production.  Cucumbers are good sources of Vitamins A, C, K and potassium.
  • Eggplant – Eggplants are warm weather plants and should be planted after last frost.  This night shade vegetable is high in fiber, antioxidants, and a good source of vitamins B1 and B6.  This is a very versatile vegetable to cook with.
  • *Lettuce – Plant two weeks before last frost as well as in the fall 6-8 weeks before the first frost date.  One of the easiest vegetables to grow and one of the earliest crops to harvest.  There are many different varieties that offer different nutritional content.  This plant grows quickly and harvest can be extended by taking a few leaves at a time.  Lettuce is packed with essential vitamins and proteins, iron and calcium.  Vitamins such as A, B6, C, and K.
  • Melon - Plant 4 weeks after the last frost as these fruits are intolerant to cold weather.  Cantaloupes and Melon varieties need lots of space to grow.  Getting the dwarf size of these fruits can save space.  One melon plant will produce two melons.  Good source of fiber, B6 and folate.
  • Okra -Plant 2 weeks after last frost. This vegetable has a variety of uses such as in soups, pickled or canned.  High in vitamin A, K and folate, and calcium.
  • *Onion/Garlic - One of the easiest vegetables to grow.  Plant onion in mid to late October.  Onions can be pulled earlier and used for green onions.  A good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, folate and potassium.
  • Peanuts – This is a hot season plant and should be planted in April until Early June.  Peanuts are a good source for healthy fats, Vitamin E, protein and antioxidants.
  • *Peas – This is a winter loving plant who is resistant to frost.  One of the easiest vegetables to grow.  There are many varieties of the pea plant, such as shelling, snap, snow and sugar pod.  Most varieties are fast growing.  This is a good source of protein, fiber and has a good source of 8 different vitamins including vitamin A,  B6, and K.
  • *Peppers- Grow after the last frost.  There are many varieties of peppers as well as choices on if you want them to be hot or mild.  Sweet peppers are one of the easiest vegetables to grow.  The more peppers are harvested, the more the plant will produce.  Peppers are high in Vitamin A and C.
  • Potatoes- Plant 4-6 weeks before last frost.  1 plant yields 5-6 young potatoes.  Potatoes are high in fiber, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Vitamin C.
  • Pumpkin- Start pumpkin seeds in the late spring.  Pumpkins require lots of room for the vines to grow.  Pumpkins are packed with vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate, iron, Vitamin A, C and E.
  • *Radish – Can be started 4-6 weeks before last frost.  Many have had success growing radishes in the fall as well.  One of the easiest vegetables to grow.  They are very tolerant of weather conditions.  Radishes are high in Vitamin B6, dietary fiber, Vitamin C and iron.
  • Spinach- Spinach grows best in cool weather.  However, there are some varieties that like warm weather.  Many call this a super food based upon it’s large array of vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, iron, thiamine, thiamine and folic acid.
  • *Squash – There are both summer squash and winter squash varieties.  One of the easiest vegetables to grow and most are prolific producers.  Picking squash regularly encourages a higher yield.  A Good source of Vitamin A, B6, C, K, and dietary fiber.
  • * Tomato- Plant tomatoes in the late spring and again in the late summer.  One of the easiest vegetables to grow.  Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, C, K, E, Potassium, thiamine and Niacin.
  • Turnips/Rutabagas – Seeds should be sown in late May or early summer.  Turnips are fairly disease free and easily cared for.  The greens as well as the root can be eaten.  Turnips are high in B6, Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium.
  • Wheat- Winter wheat can be planted from late September to mid October.  This is the preferred variety due to the nutritional content as well as the protection it gives the soil in the wintertime compared to spring wheat.  Spring wheat is planted in early spring.   This is one of the most commonly used food crops in the world.  Wheat is high in copper, zine, iron and potassium.  Planting a 10×10 plot will yield between 10-25 loaves of bread.
Other seeds to take into consideration are crop cover seeds such as hairy vetch or clover.  These crop covers loosen up soil as well as gives the soil nitrogen to feed the plants for the next season.  These crop covers are also food for livestock such as cattle, sheep and rabbits.  When the crop cover is mowed, the cuttings can be used as a natural mulch.

Having a wide array of food choices when times get tough will keep spirits up, nutrition high and give each person a high amount of energy.  Do research and find the best plants for you and your family.  Become familiar with planting cycles at a local level.  Finding pertinent information regarding soil conditions, natural fertilizers, and germination of seeds can get you ready for a good planting season.  The more prepping you do on this, the better your family will eat when they need food the most.


How to grow apple trees 

Sun exposure: Full Sun
Soil type: Loamy
Soil pH: Neutral

Bloom time: SummerFall
Ever wish you could have an apple orchard in your backyard? You can—in the space of a single tree—if you plant a hedge of dwarf apple trees or an apple espalier.
To get started, let's talk about selection criteria first:
  • Look for disease-resistant trees that give you the ability to grow organic fruit or to use fewer chemicals. Maintenance is easier, too.
  • Plant dwarf or semi dwarf apple trees for ease of care and harvest. Dwarf trees won't take over the yard!
  • Buy dormant, bare-root, 1-year-old trees, is possible. Dwarfs and semidwarfs will bear in 3 to 4 years, yielding 1 to 2 bushels per year. Standard-size trees will bear in 5 to 8 years, yielding 4 to 5 bushels of apples per year.
  • Apples do not fertilize themselves; ideally, plant at least one other variety that blooms at the same time.
  • Choose the right rootstock (foundation). For dwarf trees, make sure that the rootstock is specified. A Bud 9 is a common, hardy tree that's easy to train for USDA Climate Zones 3 to 5. The M9 is probably the most widely planted rootstock, though it would die in frigid winters.


Spring planting is recommended in central and northern areas. Where fall and winter weather is generally mild and moist, fall planting is successful.

Climate Considerations

  • Not every apple grows everywhere. Each variety has a specific number of days needed for fruit maturity.
  • Tree tags don't always tell you where the variety grows best, but many catalogs do. Also, check with your county extension agent for a specific recommendation for your area.
  • As a general rule, if a tree is termed hardy, it grows best in Zones 3 to 5. If termed long-season, apple quality will be best in Zones 5 to 8. Check your zone here. 
  • Each variety has a number of chill hours needed to set fruit (i.e., the amount of time temperatures are between 32 and 45 degrees F). The farther north you go, the more chill hours an apple variety needs to avoid late spring freeze problems. Check tree tags for chill hour information or ask the seller.

Site and Soil

  • Choose a sunny site. For best fruiting, an apple tree needs "full sunlight," which means six or more hours of direct summer sun daily. The best exposure for apples is a north- or east-facing slope.
  • Pay attention to the soil. Apple trees need well-drained soil, not too wet. Soil needs to be moderately rich and retain moisture as well as air; mulch with straw, hay, or some other organic material to keep soil moist and provide nutrients as they decompose.
  • Dwarf apple trees are notoriously prone to uprooting under the weight of a heavy crop, so you should provide a support system for your hedge. You can grow your trees against a fence, or you can provide free-standing support in the form of a trellis.


  • Cross-pollination occurs between varieties, so you need at least two different varieties, not just two different trees.
  • If you lack space for more than one apple tree (or do not want more than one), the pollen came come from somewhere else. You could graft a single branch of another variety onto your tree, rely on a nearby neighbor's tree or crab apple tree, or snip of a flowering branch from another variety at bloom time and set it into a bucket of water at the base of your tree.
  • For best results, include a 'Grimes Golden', 'Golden Delicious', 'Red Delicious', or 'Winter Banana' in your planting. These varieties are known pollinators.
  • Nursery catalogs will provide pollination charts.


Minimize Pruning of a Young Tree

Pruning slows a young tree's overall growth and can delay fruiting, so don't be in a hurry to prune, other than removing misplaced, broken, or dead branches. There are several techniques to direct growth without heavy pruning. For example:
  • Rub off misplaced buds before they grow into misplaced branches.
  • Bend a stem down almost horizontally for a few weeks to slow growth and promote branches and fruiting. Tie down with strings to stakes in the ground or to lower branches.

Prune a Mature Tree Annually

Once an apple tree has filled in and is bearing fruit, it requires regular, moderate pruning.
  • Prune your mature tree when it is dormant. Completely cut away overly vigorous, upright stems (most common high up in the tree).
  • Remove weak twigs (which often hang from the undersides of limbs.
  • Shorten stems that become too droopy, especially those low in the tree.
  • After about ten years, fruiting spurs (stubby branches that elongate only about a half-inch per year) become overcrowded and decrepit. Cut away some of them and shorten others.
  • When a whole limb of fruiting spurs declines with age, cut it back to make room for a younger replacement.

Thin Ruthlessly

  • Thin or remove excess fruit. This seems hard but this practice evens out production, prevents a heavy crop from breaking limbs, and ensures better-tasting, larger fruit crop.
  • Soon after fruit-set, remove the smallest fruits or damaged ones,leaving four inches between those that remain.


Apples are prone to pests. Here are some pointers:
  • Keep deer at bay with repellents or fencing; deter mice and rabbits with wire-mesh cylinders around the base of the tree.
  • Sprays may be needed for insects, although one of the worst culprits, the apple maggot, can be trapped simply enough by hanging one or two round, softball-size balls, painted red and coated with sticky "Tangle-Trap," from a branch in June through the summer. Reapply the sticky goo a time or two, as necessary.
  • Fend off diseases by raking apple leaves, burying them beneath mulch, or grinding them with a lawn mower at season's end.
  • Pruning reduces disease by letting in more light and air.


Harvest Patiently. After all this pruning and caring, be sure to harvest your apples at their peak of perfection.
  • Pluck your apples when their background color is no longer green.
  • Different apple varieties mature at different times, so the harvest season can stretch from August to October.
  • At this point, the stem should part readily from the branch when the fruit is cupped in the palm of your hand and given a slight twist around, then up.
  • If the apple is overripe and soft, use for cooking!
  • Apples keep well for about six months at temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees F.
"Baked apples have an excellent effect upon the whole physical system, feeding the brain as well as adding to the flesh, and keeping the blood pure; also preventing constipation and correcting a tendency to acidity, which produces rheumatism and neuralgia." –A Tip from The 1898 Old Farmer's Almanac

Recommended Varieties

Beyond climate considerations, how will you use your apples? Do you love to bake apple pies? Or, perhaps you just want apples that taste far better than what you could buy in a grocery store.
  • A young dwarf tree produces about 1 1/2 bushels of fruit—and even less when the tree is part of an apple hedge. So, if you're interested in baking lots of 'Cox's Orange Pippin' apple pies, you'll need to plant several trees of that variety to get enough fruit.
  • If you have no particular culinary goal, try planting one each of different varieties that ripen over the entire harvest season. Then you can enjoy regular apple tastings and still have enough fruit on hand for a "mess" of cooked apples.
  • Plant disease-resistant apple varieties such as 'Liberty', 'Jonafree', 'Macfree', and 'Williams Pride'.
  • Seek out the advice of local orchardists about the varieties that will do well in your area. Do the bulk of your planning from an easy chair, with a half-dozen nursery catalogs in your lap!

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