New garden guy here, couple questions

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by Resqdan, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Resqdan

    Resqdan Archangle

    I am new to gardening, at least gardening for food and upping my storage.. so any advise you have would be very helpful. Right now my garden is fairly small as i am trying to get a handle on what i actually want and need.. this season there was not even much left to put in to storage, so i have a long way to go and as i have discovered on this site if a person taps into the knowledge on here he can save a lot of time and frustration..

    I am just curious what you do to control bugs and fungus.. and how do you plan on doing that after TSHTF.. i keep enough chemical on hand for a couple of years but is there something more natural i could stock up on or try to see if it works in my area anyway..

    I also ordered some Heirloom seeds that came all nicely sealed in a mylar bag.. I put them in the freezer.. but it doesnt sit well with me.. should i take them out and plant them and create my own supply of seeds.. and when i plant them what do i want to do.. just save some seeds from the crop i produce and do that year to year, or is there steps i must perform to ensure everything happens, or does mother nature take care of it all..

    If there is a gardening book or site i should buy or visit.. let me know
  2. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I have used a variety of natural things to control bugs...cayenne pepper mixed with vegetable oil for one. Not sure about fungus....I know if you smoke keep your hands washed before going in the garden and never smoke or drop any tobacco or products thereof in the soil.(Mosaic fungus kills everything) I learned that one the hard way! I have even brewed beer in a 5 gallon carbaloy and used it in the garden to boost the plants much like a liquid fertilizer.
    In hard soils I had found a mix of things including liquid dish soap to loosen the soils to allow for good root growth.
  3. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    I recommend the following books:
    The New Square Foot Gardening
    Backyard Homesteading
    The Back to Basics Series
    And for seed harvesting:
    From Seed to Seed

    As for seed storage, freezer is fine, but make sure they stay frozen. Seeds are actually designed to enter dormancy in extreme cold. When you take them out to use them, open the seed packet, taking out only what you will be planting, and spread them out on a moistened (not soaking wet) paper towel. Immediately reseal the seed packet and return to the freezer, so the other seeds do not get condensation on them. Allow the seeds on the paper towel to thaw gradually for a few hours and wake up before planting. I have kept some seeds like this for nearly a decade and still get an 80-90% germination rate. Post SHTF - seeds stored in a dry, low oxygen or oxygen free environment will suffice for years of storage.

    I did a blog post on composting that is a primer for beginners. Compost is a solid backbone to a prolific garden.

    Also, borax powder - 20 Mule Team Borax is what I use - spread around your plants kills bugs and snails just reapply after a rain or watering the garden. I make home-made pepper spray out of 8-10 fresh whole cayenne peppers, buzzed up in a blender and add 2 cups of water. Let this sit for a day then strain the chunks out and put in a spray bottle and apply to your plants (shake a little before spraying to distribute the capsicum oils in the water). be cautious with this stuff and make sure you spray it when no wind is blowing. Otherwise, you will find out why it is so effective at rendering people helpless.

    Cornmeal juice is awe inspiring as a fungal control spray. Cornmeal Juice is a natural fungal control for use in any kind of sprayer. Make by soaking whole ground cornmeal in water at one cup per 5 gallons of water. Strain the solids out and spray. The milky juice of the cornmeal will permeate the water and this mix should be sprayed without further diluting.

    As with anything, these non-chemical treatments are effective, but never as effective as pure poisonous chemical sprays. The upshot is they are effective without adding chemicals and toxins to your food.

    I hope this helps. This as with anything: YMMV.
    tulianr, dataman19, tacmotusn and 4 others like this.
  4. carly28043

    carly28043 Monkey+

    dragonfly and Falcon15 are right about the cayene spray. The borax will also work well. It basically dehydrates the bugs. It's good inside for fleas, roaches and spiders. Boric acid from the pharmacy has the same effect. The liquid dish soap is good for bug removal as well as feeding the soil. Marigolds planted in your garden will repeal pest. Any strongly scented plants such as garlic, onions, geraniums, lavender, and rosemary planted along the edges of your garden will help reduce pest. This includes rodents, moles, and cute furry offenders.

    Falcon15's composting primer is excellent. One thing to add is beware of feeding the pile with any evergreens. Most are too acidic for vegetables. The is especially true of pine trees. I keep a seperate pile that I feed with pine for use on my blueberries and strawberries.

    When using heirloom seeds try not to touch them with your hands. The natural outer coatings are more fragile than modified seeds. The oils in your skin can damage the seed and reduce your germination rate. I usually manage to remember this about 70% of the time.
    tulianr and dragonfly like this.
  5. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    My wife and I have been growing a garden for years, we never freeze our seeds, nor do we do all the things most of the books tell you that you have to do. We work on the KISS method. We dry our seed that we take from the best plants then we store them it baby food jars, or quart jars. Every year we save about a 3yr supply. When we get the seed from the fall harvest and dry it then we take the left over seed from the previous year and feed it to the chickens so every year we get a fresh batch. Seed to Seed as mentioned is a great book to have. The Resilient Gardener is also good, we don't agree with everything in the book but we don't have a book that we agree 100% with. You will find that what may work for someone else may not work for you. This will take years to figure out what works best for your soil, climate, and about a hundred other factors. We exspeariment with different things every year so work better than what we normally do some don't. Just start small and work your way up, don't start with a 2 acre garden (yes we have had 1 that size) it will just cost alot of money for seed and you likely will get very disapointed. Like I said just start small learn what works and what don't. Then you can exspand as you see fit. Now is the time to learn not when you really need it.

    tulianr likes this.
  6. carly28043

    carly28043 Monkey+

    I use jars too. I use leftover paint on the outside so that i don't have to worry about light.
  7. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    in beneficial weeds you left off the mint family
    you also left out diatomacious earth and wood ash

    adding organic matter to your soil will help it retain water and minrals
    just dont use sawdust from black walnut trees

    a good mulch on top keeps the moisture in and helps keep fruits off th ground
    a hoe may be more work but does less soil compacting at tiller depth and doesnt destroy the worms, yes your garden needs worms, they live off your organic matter and make into nutrients the plants can use
    chemical fertilizers,. even miraclegrow, tend to kill your microbial life in the soil
    its just like pouring salt on your soil, a good way to kill things
    compost is best, rotted manure is 2nd, fresh manure is 3rd for the top fertilizers
    xspecimen likes this.
  8. Rebel46th

    Rebel46th Monkey+

    Companion planting

    You can also do some research on "companion planting" with your veggies and that has helped me cut back on some pesticides and fungicides.

    Seeds Of Change
    Companion Planting

    There are many sites to look.

    What Carly28403 said about the marigolds.
  9. strunk

    strunk Monkey+

    Also look into neem oil or tea trea oil.

    Obviously, you've got to wash your crops very thoroughly when employing these methods.
    chelloveck likes this.
  10. Matteo10572

    Matteo10572 Monkey+

    A lot of good info from everyone so far.
    • I like to Mix a spoon full of dish soap into the Pepper spray and I use Habaneros that I grow rather than cayenne.
    • I use Aspirin solution 4 tabs per gallon to kill off microbes in my soil about a month before planting.
    • I then introduce the correct bacteria into the soil a couple weeks before planting by using water from my fish tanks to irrigatethe garden.
    • I would recommend guttering into tote tanks to catch rain water and keeping fish in them. It is great for the garden, you can eat the fish if you want to, and means you will always have a store of water on hand in emergencies, and cuts water expense.
    • neem oil is very handy against powdery mildew.
    • Fish emulsion is a great fertilizer and won't burn plants.
    • I recommend planting things that have a high yield per plant. OKRA for example will produce lbs and lbs of fresh okra all summer (here in Texas)whereas planting lettuce will only give you one head per plant.
    • Also plant things that you like to eat preserved so you can enjoy them later. Cucumbers, okra, turnips, radishes, peppers, onions, Kohlrabi etc. all pickle very well. I give jars of homade pickles as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Everyone asks for them once they taste them.
    • Cotton burr compost from a source that doesn't use bad chemicals is worth adding to your soil.
    • There are other things too but thats all that I am thinking of off hand.
    Good luck.
    tulianr and weegrannymush like this.
  11. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Some seed saving tips

    For a seed saving reference book I recommend "The Seed Saver's Handbook" : The Seed Savers’ Handbook | Seed Savers

    and further general information can be found on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Gardening Australia website: and

    I also recommend highly Linda Woodrow's "Permaculture Home Garden" it should be obtainable from Amazon.

    The Permaculture Home Garden by Linda Woodrow | Penguin Books Australia
    tulianr likes this.
  12. xspecimen

    xspecimen Monkey+

    I use a pepper spray has well. I stay away from chemicals. It does make it difficult combating weeds and bugs. My problems are with deer and rabbits. I plant Marigold around edge of the garden. I do toss out moth balls around the perimeter but not in the garden itself.

    I never freeze my seeds either. I dry them and store in jars.
  13. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Freezing seeds is generally not a good idea.

    Unless seeds are acclimatised to freezing conditions as part of their growth cycle, freezing will generally do more harm than good. Keeping seeds cool, dark and dry is generally the best idea. Seeds are actually live organisms. It is best to store seeds in conditions that won't cause them to germinate prematurely.
  14. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Great tips. I never knew you could use neem oil for powdery mildew. I battle powdery mildew every year.
    Also the aspirin tip is interesting.
    Yard Dart likes this.
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