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Guest Post: The Advantages Of Greenhouse Gardening For Survival

Tyler Durden's picture


From Brandon Smith of Alt-Market

The Advantages Of Greenhouse Gardening For Survival

I receive letters often that contain questions on the limits of growing your own food in colder climates like Montana and the rest of the "Redoubt", and sometimes, even broad accusations that regions like this are "incapable" of sustaining food production.  Usually, these claims come from people who have never lived here, never built a sustainable garden, or never put any real thought into how to do so effectively.  There are numerous methods for growing vibrant gardens in less than perfect weather, and growing in colder northern areas with longer winters is absolutely possible, given the gardener has some brains.  In the video series below produced by The Survival Podcast, they showcase a very straightforward no nonsense experiment which proves that with a little ingenuity (and rudimentary greenhouse methods) you can indeed grow vegetables regardless of the temperature or the region in which you live.  Anyone who says otherwise simply doesn't know what he is talking about...




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Mon, 04/09/2012 - 11:04 | 2327968 bankonzhongguo
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Its sad when a financial blog posts stories on sustainable food production, yet when one considers food inflation these last couple of years - you're "up" if you are not buying retail.  Each season things get a little weirder, yet each season the family farm expands to new and tasty heirloom things.

Trying searching out the movies; Food, Inc and Hungry for Change.

They will get you thinking AND DOING positive things that your trading account will not be doing for you and your kids.


Starting using your whole home property as a food source.  Its fun, educational, instills some survival skills, improves your health and food (and the skill in growing it) is a great hedge against the insane ass clowns driving the country into the ground.


Mon, 04/09/2012 - 11:58 | 2328184 krispkritter
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I'm working on my food forest...everything that goes in the ground has a use or produces something edible.  Back when I permitted this place the county said I had to have 'green cover' and plant trees(I have a couple thousand already) and gave me a recommended list. I tossed it and planted blueberries, cherries, and peach trees. Idiot inspector didn't even know what they were. But you can't find a commercial nursery around here that stocks anything but what's on the list(for the most part).  The small (largely)organic nurseries are full of fruit trees and berry bushes, etc.  Geoff Lawton and Sepp Holtzer are great studies when looking into Permaculture.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 11:19 | 2328030 LarryDavis
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Mon, 04/09/2012 - 11:35 | 2328100 kekekekekekeke
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THIS is one of the only reasons that makes me want to buy a house rather than rent.  I live in apt but considering settling down and buying a home just so I can do what I want with the land. Are landlords generally cool with you doing this sort of thing in the backyard?

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 17:46 | 2329445 Lednbrass
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Some are, Im renting while deciding on a cheap place to buy and in exchange for bringing over some fruits and veggies they let me use about 6500 sq. ft in the yard.  I also have sharecrop arrangements with people but there is some risk involved there.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 11:40 | 2328125 ItsDanger
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I have my own garden for vegetables mostly.  It takes a lot of work/time to get it right.  Climate is a big x factor.  its not that easy.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 11:59 | 2328185 RallyRoundTheFamily
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All of my plants had trouble IMO with pollination (cukes\tom\squash mostly)

Many flowers but few fruits.






Mon, 04/09/2012 - 12:03 | 2328210 francis_sawyer
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Your problem (as I mentioned earlier), is not having enough attraction for bees...

My suggestion is to plant a lot of rosemary & lavender plants (& the like) to help attract early bees... Those herbs are very easy to grow & are perennials... Once you have the bee problem solved, you'll have less problems... Otherwise, you'll have to get in there with a toothpick & hand pollinate all those plants you mentioned...

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 13:50 | 2328639 RallyRoundTheFamily
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I will have to try that !

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 12:21 | 2328286 Not Too Important
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SoCal. No worms, no birds. Few snails. Rad rain, rad ocean, rad air.

I don't really see much benefit, whether organic or not, at this point.

I don't eat seafood, apples from Washington, produce from Mexico or parts south.

Mostly symbolic, I think.

Does Scotch distillation remove rad? Oh, f$%# it.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 16:05 | 2329167 francis_sawyer
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Time to emblace the hollor...

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 22:17 | 2330177 WillyGroper
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I have very few honey bees left, but do have mason bees. You can build living quarters for them with tubing, such as bamboo ends about a penny in diameter. Place it by your garden & let them go to work.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 12:18 | 2328261 rufusbird
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I removed the lawn in my backyard a number of years ago and convered it to vegetable gardens. My six year old grandson has helped me plant vegetables and water and harvest for the past two years. He had the joy last summer of planting, watering and harvesting giant sunflower plants with seed heads so big he could hardly hold them. Last week he watered the gardens by himself. I suspect this experience is worth more than I realise. I enjoy the time I spend with him doing this, more than the time we spend together when he is playing video games or such stuff.

In the summer time I put the extra vegetable in plastic bags and put them out by the sidewalk in my front yard with a sign to give away to my neighbors. For the past several years I have had about half of my front yard in vegetables like tomates and peppers and onions and garlic, carrots, etc. Many people have told me they come by on their walks just to see what's going on with my gardens as the seasons change. The brocolli and Brussels sprouts sure got a lot of attention last winter. I think this has generated some good will in the neighborhood. Now I have a woman who brings me lemons from her tree. I use them to make hot lemon tea every morning.

People are always asking me what I use for fertilizer. I only use one thing for nourishment. Steer Manure mixed into the beds every year.


Sun, 04/15/2012 - 21:29 | 2347580 ForTheWorld
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You might enjoy watching this then: One Man, One Cow, One Planet. It's about biodynamics in agriculture and how to replenish the soil and make it fertile again (which is what you're doing).

Sun, 04/29/2012 - 10:11 | 2383519 rufusbird
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I did enjoy that short video. Quite an inspiration for shuch a short clip. And informative. Now I want to go to India!

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 13:00 | 2328452 DaveA
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I'm going to buy and join two old buildings that bisect a city block. On one side, the sign will say "Welfare Office", on the other side "Quality Meats".

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 14:27 | 2328799 daxtonbrown
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I've got my starter survival garden going, but it takes practice. Especially in hot Nevada with caliche soil.

And the birds. Damn the birds, they love my citrus trees, strip them bare. Gonna get the litle fuckers this year.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 16:09 | 2329179 francis_sawyer
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& fret not... In a real apocalypse, just remember to practice your 'shooting' beforehand... (which will come in very handy since you will have birds coming to visit your trees)...

4 & 20 blackbirds baked in a pie...

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 19:08 | 2329661 rufusbird
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Last year I had trouble with bird for a while, until my grand kids cut the top off of a 2 liter bottle. They turned it upside down, covered it with paper mache in the shape of an owl and painted it up with water colors and put two feathers for the eye/ear tufts. I sprayed it with water sealer and put over the top of a stick in my garden and even the blue jays stayed away for the rest of the season. Of course I did move it around now and then. Try it. Pay some kids a couple of bucks, give them the materials, and some pictures of an owl and put them to work. They will have fun and it will teach em something to boot!

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 15:13 | 2328993 Anonymouse
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I highly recommend The Survival Podcast.  Been listening since Episode 1.  Got me off my butt to get guns, ammo, shooting practice, and enough food to feed my family for 3 months.  It's not about doomsday.  It's about being prepared for anything whether it comes or not.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 16:17 | 2329184 MrSteve
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If you're serious about getting into gardening and making it work, look into Seed Savers Exchange and deal with other serious plant-growing and seed growing people.

Many Olde World seed varieties which are not commercially available are available through Seed Exchange. The expertise and resources in this immense community are yours for the accessing. Scout out a local member through the catalog or via a local plant nursery operation if you need some personal introduction and assistance. Growing seeds from plants that are tuned for what you want via natural and gardener-assisted selection is just plain smart.

If you don't know what you're doing, work with people who have proven they know what they are doing. Rodale Press, Mother Earth News and every state agricultural extention service have more info than you can readily absorb. As Yogi Berra said, you can look it up.

Many old folks would love to have someone ask them about gardening ideas and suggestions. Try it at your church or community center or the crackerbarrel where vastly experienced humans hang out.

Even if you are troubled to be able to dig up soil, etc , there are techniques with black plastic sheeting etc, raised platforms for large pots or beds, etc. It ain't just bustin' sod anymore!

 Google the topic: Square Foot Gardening and you'll find a lot of info. The book by that name details everything in a very simple manner, including intense utilization of resources with succession plantings, etc. It's your gardening expert in a small book.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 16:20 | 2329225 mahalopamala
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So great!  the best carrots, radishes, sweet potatoes and spinach I ever grew were in my specially created 12" deep raised bed- 6" sand and 6" "Mel's Mix" - recipe for the mix is in Square Foot Gardnening.  Excellent resources MrSteve!


Mon, 04/09/2012 - 21:15 | 2329970 MrSteve
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My brother once expressed interest in honey bees so we gave him a starter hive kit and a pound of Italian honey bees for Christmas. The next Spring, he was keeping bees in a big meadow behind our grandfather's house. The honey was mostly goldenrod plus.

He got to the know the state beekeeping inspector, a Cornell phD bee expert who starting advising him on the best tricks, care and timing, etc of the bee trade and also introduced him to other beekeepers. 

There are strong networks for people who want to grow sustainable skills and small scale farming operations, you only need to ask around for some help and they will show up.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 18:39 | 2329575 Shigure
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Thank you so much for this post.  I now have a use for my old gerbil tank, can't believe that I didn't think of it myself.  Thanks also for all the very useful comments and links, very helpful and supportive folks :)

Tue, 04/10/2012 - 13:50 | 2331873 ovigia
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a great wiki about these issues

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!