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The Dollar Value of a Garden

Note: This post was written by guest author Stephanie Dayle, who I know through the American Preppers Network. I have known Stephanie for a while now, and I admire her work for its authenticity. You can find more of her writing on her blog, The Home Front.

How Much is Your Garden Worth

One of the most self-sufficient steps you can make is to start a garden and relearn that life-saving skill that at one time all Americans knew; how to grow your own food. But have you ever wondered if you are really saving any money working away the summer in your garden? I even hear preppers claim that they aren’t really saving any money. Society has become so good at avoiding what seems like “work” that we can reason our way out of almost anything, can’t we? Even something as beneficial as gardening. So, let’s address this issue.

At face value, the National Gardening Association (NGA) estimates that the average garden plot of 600 square feet produces an average of $600 worth of produce. But some people would think that’s a fairly conservative figure, especially if you take the value of local organic produce into account. That figure may be closer to $2,000 per 600 square feet (Off the Grid News). Now if one uses those numbers; a single acre could theoretically produce nearly $50,000 worth of organic veggies, fruits, and nuts per season (Off the Grid News).

How is that figure for you naysayers?! No that figure isn’t based on 600 square feet producing a couple of tomato plants, and some cucumbers or squash that you’ll only snack on during the summer. It’s based on that 600 square feet producing absolutely as much as possible, and you preserving what it produces – and then eating that during the winter instead of running to the grocery store every week. Also bare in mind that when food prices go up, so does the value of a home garden.

Read more: 10 Reasons to Start Gardening NOW!!!

Water Costs Money

Making use of rain catches, and/or a drip system you can significantly reduce your watering cost in the garden. The rain gutters on your home can be run into rain barrels. When the spring rains slow, you can then use that water to supplement what you are already using for your garden.

Read more: Alternative Strategies for a Disrupted Water Supply

Good Seeds Cost Money

Invest in heirloom seeds and learn the skill of saving seeds. This way you will have a renewable garden every year, except for specialty items. Hybrid seeds are what is most commonly sold in most stores unless they are otherwise marked. Hybrid seeds are not genetically modified, but they are seeds that resulted from the crossing of two different inbred parent plants. So the resulting offspring may or may not reproduce. Therefore saved hybrid seeds may not grow, and if they do the resulting plants may not be as bountiful as the original parent plants that you enjoyed so much.

While there is no real harm in growing hybrid seeds, heirloom seeds tend to be the better option for cost saving and sustainability.

Fertilizer and Pesticides Cost Money

By going organic, you avoid chemicals that could be harmful to you and your pets in the long run… and you also lower your costs.

Compost, the “gardener’s gold” can be made by you for nothing but a little time. A quick search over at the APN forum will provide you with all the information you need to have your own bountiful organic garden. It may take some time to get your soil in line, but once that is done you will be reaping the rewards of a little hard work for years to come.

Read more: 15 Simple and Inexpensive Homemade Fertilizers

Your Time is Worth Money

Think of your garden as an investment on the above mentioned garden value. Nothing is free. Rather than spending your time your time inside on the computer, you could be outside enjoying the weather and getting a little exercise.

Instead of running children around to activities that they don’t enjoy nearly as much as they enjoy spending time with you; spend the time outdoors in the garden with them. Teach them how to care for plants, veggies, and ultimately themselves. I don’t think you can put a dollar sign on an entire family learning a survival skill and spending time together. To me, that is money well spent.

Preserving Food Costs Money

You can find most of the equipment you need to freeze, dry, and can your own food at fairly affordable prices in thrift stores on Craigslist and at yard sales. Most of this equipment is reusable; there is no reason to buy new if you don’t want to. Again, this will be an investment. Every year you grow a garden and put away food, that equipment will pay for itself.

When it’s all said and done, growing a garden and storing the food you produce is one of the best things you can do to bring your monthly food bill down. And doing so will help to protect you and your family from possible future food shortages. Don’t just store food away for emergencies – use it everyday. In the winter, eat your home canned and dehydrated veggies instead of buying them at the store. Some experts say that the average gardener can cut their monthly grocery bill by more than half by making wise use of their garden produce.

Read more: 10 Reasons to Consume More Local Food

Learning from the Past

It’s estimated that during World War II over 20 million Americans planted victory gardens due to a massive effort to take the pressure off the food industry so that they could produce cheaper food for our military overseas. Those gardeners helped to ease the sting of food rationing. Victory gardens provided almost as many vegetables during that time as the food industry produced during normal production.

Gardeners who didn’t have room for their own victory garden made use of containers, vacant lots, building rooftops, balconies, and other public spaces. Today, gardeners are starting to do the same thing again – discouraged by skyrocketing food prices, tasteless pesticide-laden food, and bio-tech vegetables.

Learning how to garden is easy once you make the decision to do it. Contact your local extension office and garden clubs for classes and free information on how to grow a garden in your area.

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COMMENTS(0)

  • JennieWalsh says:

    How far will the tyranny and destruction spread? I think that everyone should be aware of Breatharianism and Safe Solar Gazing as well as growing and supplying one’s own food. Google: Breatharianism—
    Henri Monfort-A Breatharian Shaman and follow the video links to see and hear from many who are living happy and healthy lives FOOD FREE meaning WITHOUT FOOD! There are, at last count, about 40,000 people throughout the world who are living food free.
    Also google: Hira Ratan Manek and see and hear his many lectures on SAFE SOLAR GAZING for energy and supporting a healthy FOOD FREE life.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Jennie,

      A while back I tried the program – uh, 40 days of looking into the sun in the evenings… building up the seconds of time. I didn’t quite make it thorugh, and well, gotta say I still love the physical and sensual pleasure of eating.

      But I’ve got to ask you – are you a successful breathatarian? Are you able to live well without food? What are your experiences. Please write more! I want to hear from you.

      Thanks.

    2. Awhile ago a friend of mine went on a trip to the Himalayas.
      While trekking through the mountains, he came across a beautiful valley with a few building nestled in a particularly beautiful spot. So he decided to stop there for the evening and hopefully find a place to eat and sleep.

      As he got closer he was very surprised to see that one of the buildings was a restaurant. Thanking the gods for his good fortune, he hustled up the last few hundred meters, looking forward to a good meal. He couldn’t make out the sign on the front of the restaurant and couldn’t smell anything cooking, but decided to visit anyway.

      He looked around and noticed no one was eating anything, but they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. He found someone who could speak english and asked them about the food. That got a great laugh. It was a breathatarian restaurant!

      Sitting back down, he did notice that the atmosphere was fantastic. He then saw someone walk by with a clothes pin on his nose…

      His English-speaking companion told him the man was fasting.

      Walking up to the man, my friend introduced himself. The fasting gentleman told him that his name was…

      Pierre.

      1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

        Thats a good one!

  • txoutback says:

    Selling whole farm foods for profit is a nice idea, but the U.S. economy, laws, and regulations systems make it pretty much impossible to make a living at it.

    However, you CAN grow enough of your own food to save plenty of money from the grocery bill….and when you figure in the savings on your medical bills from the benefits of eating a non-industrial diet…. You’ve saved more money than you ever thought you’d earn selling from your garden! That’s the trick to it!

    Finally… food security. You know you wont die as long as you can capture water, grow some herbs and veggies, and keep those hens producing. No matter what, you dont have to rely on corporate supply chains to stay alive.

    Move Forward, Every Single Day!

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Thanks David, well said.

  • John Fry says:

    I recently obtained a refractometer to measure Brix levels in food. It turns out that all of the organic and conventional produce we’re buying in town measures Average. Suspected that anyway, but no I have proof.

    For me, the highest priority behind growing your own food is to increase the nutritional value, via mineral content and other factors. So-called organic soils out there are obviously not being amended properly. Our taste-buds get conditioned to Average food. I’m looking to grow Good and Excellent food by using all the resources available.

    Still very much on the learning-curve, but having a blast growing spinach, kale, chard, peppers, tomatoes, squash, herbs etc. Some local projects and the seven Garden Towers I have planted at home are at: https://picasaweb.google.com/111116731502754994156/GardenTowersOfAustin?authkey=Gv1sRgCNWGvuKD98HFqwE

    Thanks for the article.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi John,

      How are you? Yes, I want to get one of your towers to experiment with. You know, I’ve been eating store bought organic food for – uh, 15 years now? – and I can tell you it ain’t what it used to be. Most of the big organic brands have been usurped by the big multinationals; Kelloggs, Nabisco, Pepsi, etc. Anyway, the quality isn’t there anymore. Just the expense.

      Mineral and nutritional content is all important.

      Hey, thanks for commenting.

    2. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hey John,

      Just thought of this. You know, I’ve been wanting to get nutriet values tested for my garden veggies and I’ve been looking for a lab to do it. Its been surprisingly difficult to find a lab.

      Any suggestions? I guess you’ve decided on the BRIX measurements…

  • Grog says:

    Good points and good thought inducing. Resources and research are good things, Once a decision/plan is made go with it, but Observe, record and review, thus good things get better, so so things get improved upon, and those things that are not prodcutive, get left behind.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Grog, I am working on setting up a system for keeping track of your palnts and animals – how they grow, what happened, etc. I am hoping to set it up so its available here on the ent for everyone to share.

  • Gail Gardner says:

    Even back when I was making $100 per hour cash in advance I believed growing food was more important than working during those hours. It keeps you in shape, gets you some much needed sun (8-70% of Americans are deficient, depending on whose stats you believe), and makes sure you eat if prices skyrocket.

    We do not know when inflation will ramp up. Food prices have been climbing for years, often disguised by smaller packages and less in each package. The drought significantly reduced food supplies worldwide and especially in the U.S. What you see on the grocery store shelves is all there is. Look in the back and prove that to yourself. Maybe a few pallets back there – but no storage to speak of and anything that stops the delivery trucks = no food in the stores!

    Most important of all though is if you grow it you know what is in it or on it. If you think that stuff they sell in stores that comes in packages is healthy, you’re deceiving yourself. Look around at the people who grew up growing their own food and ate all the foods we’ve been told were bad for us (eggs, whole milk, bacon, biscuits and gravy). They lived to be 70,80,90 and were not overweight. They’re burying their children in their 60s, 50s and even younger.

    “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” works.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Gail, thanks so much. You know, I just did a blood test and found out – yes – I am really low in vitamin D. And it is so simple – just get outside in the sun… well, it turns out that getting it on your belly is the best way.

      Anyway, thanks so much for your post. So glad you’ve got the priorities you do. I appreciate your contribution here.

  • Rick says:

    One thing we are doing is growing enough to share with our neighbors. Once they taste how vegetables are supposed to taste, they will be hooked and start growing some themselves. With more people growing, there is more variety. Barter, trade, share, donate, meet your neighbors…. Quit paying for something you can easily produce yourself. BTW great article.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Thank Rick, and you are absolutely right – community makes it so much more fun and interesting.

  • smacko says:

    Thanks for the article 😉

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      You’re welcome.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Smacko,

      I am watching this video now – but PLEASE add a description of what the link is about.

      1. Kelly says:

        How do you watch the video? I followed the link but there was nothing to go to the video on that page…I would really like to see it. I have felt like a hippie my whole life, LOL. Would love to watch. Please tell me how. Thanks

        1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

          Oh, I don’t know what happened. It was a good movie. Gotta love those hippies… Does anyone know what to do about that link?

    2. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Smacko,

      Wow, just finished watching that video. Yeah, I really resonate with the characters. I’m too young to be an old hiopie, but I supose it is never too late, huh?

      I want to go to the next Fairy congress.

  • JJM says:

    I grew up in the country with a large family garden and small orchard every year. Moved away and did not plant anything for 10 years. Started again with empty land behind my fence with great crops for couple years then less and less using commercial fertilizers. Stopped gardening again for several years but used the empty land to dump grass clippings, tree trimmings, etc. When bulldozers cleared the land, recovered my ‘compost’ and dumped 1 large wheelbarrow on each 10 sq ft of designated garden plots in back yard and dug it well into the (mostly) clay soil. Good crops every year with very little commercial fertilizer and new compost added. Now trying to experience pest control with diatomaceous earth and fungus with baking soda. Doesn’t hurt to plant garden friendly flowers and to let broccoli and radish to flower to help attract pollinators.
    Learn now OR if you are forced to garden you will be disappointed by failures.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Right on JJ! Thanks for posting.

      1. Leslie Parsons says:

        Yes, this is the most troubling thing, to me, about so called “survival seed” collections. Your skill as a gardener is the key to your survival. If my entire seed collection disappeared tomorrow, I would be able to pull some seeds together over a couple seasons, from plants I could buy in a super market. They wouldn’t be my favorite cultivars, nor well adapted to my scorching Texas climate. But, I could grow food. I wouldn’t have the diversity I enjoy now either, but food is food.

        On commercial fertilizers: Chemical fertilizers KILL the beneficial micro-organisms, living in healthy soil and/or introduced by the compost you apply. There are natural, dry, granular fertilizers available that have the same shelf life and storage requirements as the chemicals. In a long term survival situation, you can pump up your nitrogen levels quickly by using fresh urine. Garden on, Buddy!

        1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

          Yes, good post. Thanks.

          Urine is the way to go for nitrogen.

          Do you have any suggestions for how to get phosphorus without buying it? I have a big crop of onions that never bulbed very big and traced it back to a phosphorus deficiency. Phosphates are being mined for the commercial production and of course, like almost everything else, it is a finite resource. If you have any suggestions on that, please let us know.

          1. Leslie Parsons says:

            Manure compost is rich in phosphorus. Very small amounts of rock phosphate can correct an imbalance, in an organic garden and is permissible under organic certification. It is the massive use of inorganic fertilizers that damage soil life.

          2. Marjory Wildcraft says:

            Thanks Leslie.

            Nice.

            How about Potassium, while we are at it. do you know of easy sources of potassium?

            For those the don’t realize it, the three biggies in plant nutrition is the famous N-P-K you see on fertilizer bags.
            N – nitrogen
            P – phosphorous
            K = potassium

            N is readily available in your urine, animal manures, legume cover crops, etc. Leslie is saying here phosphorus is readily available in manure.

            So what about potassium?

          3. Leslie Parsons says:

            Question: Did other crops grow in that space. If so, and the other plants grew without a problem, small onion bulbs can be caused by planting the starts too deep. Are your onions oval/elongated? The bulbs of most cultivars are very round or even flattened horizontally.

            Also, if you are visiting a friend who has heavy clay soil, you might ask for some. Heavy clay soil can be a challenge, just as loose sand can be trying. The up side of clay is that it is mineral rich and very available to the micro-organisms who deliver it to your plants. A lovely gift from a friend, instead of a harmful mining operation! Very nice, you don’t need much, and someday soon, you will carry the gift of those valuable minerals around in your bones and throughout your body!

          4. Marjory Wildcraft says:

            Hi Leslie,

            Yes, I’ve grown hull-less oats, kale, celery, and spinach in the same little garden area with the onions. I am wondering if I did plant them a bit too deep. They are elongated. And I had applied generous amounts of rabbit manure compost to the area before planting. The rabbit manure compost was on top of some soil from Gardenville, and the native soil underneath all that is mostly sand.

            I planted them too deep the year before and thought I was planting fairly shallow this time, but I guess you have to plant really, really shallowly.

            I got the idea about needing phosphates by calling John on the weekend gardening show and he told me Malcolm Beck was the one who figured out that a pinch of phosphates at planting time really caused the onions to bulb big.

            Hah, I love onions and in the Bio Intensive method they consider them calorie crops.

          5. Leslie Parsons says:

            Potassium is available in rocks, soil, seaweed, plants and manure. The NPK model is the standard in chemical agriculture. In the organic world, we work with complex systems, and therefore, we nourish our soil with a complex array of nutrients and beneficial organisms. To reduce the miracle of the natural world to 3 elements is very short-sighted. The organic gardener approaches nature with respect – aware of the great mysteries we have only begun to understand. What a magnificent adventure for us!

          6. Marjory Wildcraft says:

            Thank you Leslie,

            I appreciate your insights.

          7. Leslie Parsons says:

            Based on that history and the fact that most gardens fed on manure are rich in phosphates, I will guess that it is the planting depth. Next season, plant them just deep enough to keep them from falling over! Mulch them after they have clearly taken hold. The elongated onions don’t seem to keep very well either. I think you will have big fat onions next season.

          8. Andrew says:

            I have read that Fireplace ash is rich in potassium. Don’t know for sure though.

          9. Marjory Wildcraft says:

            Yes Andres, ashes are rich in potassium. You have to be careful about the alkalinity. In some places it is a good thing. But in the Texas Hill Country (for example) the soils are already very alkaline so ash is not that beneficial.

            There is always something! LOL

  • Michael Seamans says:

    found interest with the pieces on solar sun gazing and breathaterianism. I believe Man in his original state did not require solid food for nurishment; all of the material Universe is composed of light in it’s many manafestations. E=MC2. Breathatarians are spiritualy pure and absorb nutrition directly from the source. After all when you eat whole living fruits and vegitables, you are eating trapped sun vibrations; breathatarians just get their nutrition directly from the source: sunlight and air.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Michael,

      Yes, I conceptually get that. And there is something about absorption through the blood vessels in the eye…

      Are you a breathatarian? Are you able to go without eating solid food? Really, I would love to meet someone who is actually able to do it.

  • Leslie Parsons says:

    I am not certain that I save money growing my own food, because I haven’t done the math! However, I will never stop growing, because I adore the luscious, fresh produce and clean, healthy eggs, with bright orange yolks. Today, when I visit a fancy downtown market, the produce looks, to me, like something I would throw into my compost bin. When I give produce to family and friends, they treasure it – even those who would not buy organic in stores. I work at The Natural Gardener, in Austin, Texas, helping other gardeners grow their very best garden and do it all organically. Life is good.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Leslie,

      Oh lucky you getting to work at the Natural Gardener with John. I listen in every weekend to his radio show – damn all those commercials!

      But you’ll have such awesome events that go on there. The Natural Gardener really is the best garden / nursery store in the entire US IMHO. If anyone else reads this and gets a chance to visit, you’ll love it.

  • Jeff says:

    At the end of the day … and the end of our lives … doesn’t all come down to the “quality” of the lives we’ve shared?

    Sorry, Jennie Walsh, I love the taste of ‘Mother Earth’ way too much to restrict my diet to the Sun.

    A few weeks ago, I found myself sharing a commercially produced pizza with a couple of friends (first time in years). My God, I had forgotten how obnoxious canned mushrooms are; and I’m a mushroom LOVER! It prompted me to perform an unscientific taste test. I prepared food – scrambled eggs – with Portabella mushrooms (not my most favorite, but readily available from my tests). I conducted my test with (1) canned, (2) fresh but commercially grown, (3) fresh but ‘organically’ grown, (4) fresh and personally grown, and finally (5) personally grown and DRIED.

    If you are a mushroom lover and love how it enhances your food, there really is NO comparison. There is a reason why the great chefs will pay $600/oz for the truffle fungi. Between each of the above 5 tests, the flavor was enhanced – progressively – by 2 to 10 times! Really!

    And there are few better sources for Vitamin D than a properly grown and prepared mushroom (increasing 1000 times when done right). And when DRIED, all that Vit-D and other critical amino acids can be locked in for over a year (critical here in Minnesota).

    Now I could try to put a dollar figure on my home-grown mushrooms, but how do you measure bursting flavors on your tongue? How do you quantify the extension of a quality life? And when it comes to feeding only healthy food to my loved ones, there is no price too high.

    This weekend, I took my 8-year old grandson Morel hunting. The glowing look on his face beaming excitement with every new ‘brain-shaped’ dome he found was PRICELESS. I couldn’t get him to leave the woods. “Papa” he said “this is better than Easter eggs”. His I-pod didn’t play a single video game for the rest of the 3-day weekend. Everything was mushrooms, walking in the woods, propagating spores, cleaning and drying and eating our prize (a couple 100 Morels).

    Great article Marjory & Stephanie. And a lot good comments. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Jeff,

      I spent last winter in S. Oregon and came to realize the truth of how delicious wild, or homegornwn, mushrooms can be. Oh my!

      Yes, you post is awesome.

      What do you think of this headline;
      “The Best Minimum Wage Job On The Planet, With Health Benefits Better Than Any Fortune 500”

      Or if you’ve got suggestions, let me know. I am trying to come up with a title that says it all.

      Thanks so much for your post.

      1. Jeff says:

        Marjory – that list of headlines could and probably would be extensive. It’s nearly impossible to paraphrase the entire health movement into a single statement or phrase; but your “Minimum Wage Job …” does a very good job!

        It might be interesting to open this challenge up to your entire membership — like the ‘Apocalyptic Crash’ survey. I bet you’d get some entertaining responses and amazing insight.

        A few – just off the top of my head:

        “Why call it Fast Food – it only slows you down?”

        “I’ve ‘eaten’ and I can’t get up”

        “I’d like to teach the world to grow – in perfect harmony …”

        “This is your brain … this is your brain on processed food” (Images are required to make the point).

        “More GMOs = more HMOs”

        And the last one today is an intro to one of my favorite (true) stories:

        “Are you smarter than a 2 year old?”

        My 2-1/2 year old grandson said to me the other day (across the dinner table): “Papa, did you know that poop comes from food AND that food comes from poop … isn’t that weird?”

        I responded: “Matty, I did know that – and I think it’s amazing. So, Matty, if food does come from poop, do you think we should be flushing all that wonderful poop down the toilet.” He thought for about 30 seconds before answering a resounding “NO”.

        So what do you think – are the educated, adult politicians, civic leaders and policy makers in the most advanced country in the world – are they as smart as a 2 year old?

        I think not !!!

        1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

          Really good suggestions Jeff. You’ve got me laughing.

          And the collective age of politicians… sigh. Yes, 2 years old.

    2. JJM says:

      Jeff – When I grew up in MO I loved hunting and eating Morels!! But even in our best season 100 would have been great. I don’t know if they grow in SE TX, but if I find any, how do you propagate them to increase quantity for next season??

      1. Jeff says:

        JJM & Dr. John:

        It’s pretty much “feast or famine” with Morels. Some years, I’m all but skunked. Which means hours and hours of walking through the beautiful Spring woods with nothing or little to show for it but … a Wonderful Walk through the Woods. Not a bad “worse case scenario”!

        A lot has to do with Mother Nature, the timing of the season, the necessary amount of rain followed by the necessary amount of sun. The mycelium (the mushroom’s network of roots) is ever-present (for most mushrooms it’s underground or inside of dead or dying trees). The actual mushrooms that pop out of the mycelium are nothing more than the ‘fruit of the fungi’ – and is NOT necessary to sustain or propagate the actual living organism.

        Having said that – there are a few clues or pointers when it comes to Morel hunting (at least for the upper-midwest: MN, WI, MI). Morels seem to parallel the Lilac season. Some people swear by the Flowering Dogwood tree, while others simply start looking on Mother’s Day (but that excludes the impact of Mother Nature).

        As the Lilacs start to bloom, watch for a day or two of a good soaking Spring rains, then wait for the next warm period. And start walking. Old growth forests are best – not so much because the trees are big and old – but because the mycelium patches are large and established. But I’ve seen a Morel pop out of a brand new urban flower garden because a commercially sold WOOD CHIP contained a strand or two of Morel Mycelium!

        They say Elm is the favorite wood for Morels, but I’ve seen it thriving in just about any kind of wood – from Oak to Apple. Most Mycelia propagates both through its network of roots AND through the dropping of spores. Humans are not the only animals that love Morels; deer, rabbits and birds also enjoy them. They ingest and excrete undigested spores. So when walking through the woods, I like to stick to the deer paths. It makes walking easier and finding Morels more likely. PLUS – I usually enjoy an encounter or two with my four-legged friends.

        Because of the symbiotic relationship between deer, morels and apples — I have had very good luck in OLD, abandoned apple groves. When you find that first Morel, keep looking. There is almost ALWAYS more hiding near-by. Remember or even log your Mycelia find; the network of roots will not die for many many years. So even if Mother Nature skunks you one year – that same patch will bloom again in subsequent years.

        Also, collect the Morels in a paper bag. Then immediately after emptying your harvest, attempt to spread the invisible spores where you can easily find them in future years. But be patient !! it WILL take YEARS. You don’t want to soak Morels too much (if at all); but if you do, use unchlorinated water and dump that water in the same place you scattered the bag of spores. If you trim away any of the Morel meat (too dirty to clear or bug infested) throw those scraps in the water as well.

        When the Lilacs stop blooming (2 to 3 weeks) so do the Morels.

        Good Luck

        1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

          Jeff, what a beautiful post. Thanks so much for the information.

          I love to eat mushroom, but not that big on really knowing how and a bit afraid of not getting it right. LOL.

  • Jeff says:

    Oops – I mistyped. The Perigord Black Truffle bring $500/lb. Sorry. Still, it speaks to the flavor of this amazing fungi.

    1. Dr. John says:

      Jeff- Living in MN as well, I’d be fascinated to learn how to ‘hunt the elusive ‘shroom.’ Do you teach others? I actually like canned mushrooms (they’re chewy, like rubber bands-lol) but yes, fresh mushrooms are great.

      Marjory- enjoy every one of your emails, videos, etc. We decided when we moved to our (soon to move out of) house in the suburbs, 13 y. ago, to make our yard as ‘edible’ as possible. Two apple trees, grape vines, raspberry bushes, rhubarb, etc. Well, we ate the apples (grudgingly) but more or less shared them with the bees, waited for the grapes to produce (but never staked them, more or less just let them grow wild) and hoped for some miracle. We planted cucumbers, and tomotoes in pots, and watched as they grew sickly and died. We had to learn why. Our ‘turnaround’ in the area of gardening, happened two years ago: a fried in our kids’ Homeschool co-op got my wife to learn to can- and BAM! Jams that were so RICH in FLAVOR, I could not believe it! Tomato sauces that were out of this world- and the neatest part- a return to the cyclic ‘attunement to nature’ by knowing, ‘Oh, it’s CANNING TIME!’ have made a Laura Ingalls Wilder mom out of my very suburban wife- and the (teenaged) kids like to help now, too!

      So, last year, we amended the soil of a now-disused sand box, with peat moss, manure, etc. and grew some veggies- great raised bed, with a nice, drainable soil. We learned-you practically have to start eggplants, cabbages, brussel sprouts, etc. in February indoors, to get anything real in MN. by August, but the tomatoes bred for this short ‘up north’ season, sure enjoyed their time in the sandbox- and no problems with ‘soggy bottoms’ on the tomatoes like when we did the ‘potted plant on the deck’ thing, due to adding nutrients mid-way through the growing season… and having amended soil… we’re learning.

      We’re now moving out of the city, now that my wife can retire to a ‘lakeside home,’ and we plan to make both our new house’s front yard, and back yard, a ‘moveable feast’. We know more now how to help fruit-bearing plants produce, (want to try plums, cherries!) and have learned what works (and doesn’t) for avoiding pests… like those damned Japanese Beetles (DON’T put up a scent lure, it makes them come to you, and never leave!) and how to help a grape bear fruit, etc.

      I think the biggest thing is to realize that God’s bounty is there for anyone who is willing to ’till the soil’ and learn to grasp the ’round of the seasons,’ like the old hymn says- “All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.” We’re enjoying learning to be more attuned to this, and we are thankful.

      1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

        Beautiful success story Dr. John. Any chance you can post a photo or two?

        Yes, it does take some figuring out, doesn’t it? I always start out by trying to do the least amount of work, and keep having failures until I get it successfully LOL.

        Your writing brings hoje, yet agian, how important the soil is. “All true wealth comes from the ground” is true now as ever.

        Thanks for writing, and do please try to get a phot up. I would love to see it.

  • Estella says:

    You can also deal with Cellulitis Joint. For those of you who don’t know, milia look like little pimples or whiteheads. The goal of these supplements is to improve circulation. Less inflamed skin, reduced oiliness with increased vibrancy and youthfulness.

  • Troy Brooks says:

    Such a wonderful resource Marjory! Yes, we are living in trying times. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Wishing you all the best in your endeavors. I always tell new Gardners to start small and then build on that progress. Ron Finley said: “Growing your own food is like printing your own money!” Let the shovel be your weapon of choice!

    I look forward to reading and benefiting from your experiences in the near future.Thank you so much for your time and efforts. May you and your family continue to be blessed in all of your endeavors!

  • Dear Ms. Wildcraft.
    Some where here there was talk about eating Bamboo roots. Tho I’m not a big fan of Bamboo over-taking this country. I Got to wondering. If one had an acra of bamboo. Would that produce enough wood stove fuel for a Northern winter with each yearly growing seasons ?
    Does any-one know how well Bamboo burns ? Can it be used in place of wood ? Heck ! we can’t go trees that fast.
    So; How about it ? Grow your own wood stove fuel.
    Thank you.
    http://www.inquisitr.com/631933/doomsday-preppers-casting-call-at-doomsday-expo-in-denver-interview/

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Shannon,

      The Chinese have a saying that if you have a plot of bamboo you are wealthy. It is food, fuel, and construction material.

      I don’t have a lot of experience with using it as fuel. I have eaten the shoots that I harvested (yummy). And when I lived in Asia I saw scaffolding made of bamboo which was preferred over stell scaffolding.

      You’ve got the basis for a really good projec6t there though – bamboo is quick growing (yes, invasive in a lot of places). It is a surprisingly hard wood…

      If anyone has experience with bamboo, please chime in!

  • Thank you Ms. Wildcraft,

    You should get six stars for your involvement in your site. I do research. At this time, I am not selling a thing. So the above is just populating a trade name, OK?
    I saw bamboo burning in a stove and I learn that it takes about three years to grow. then up to 33% is cut for use. It would be cool to burn 33% each year for a small home heat and make Bio-char at the same time. That would come in handy for gen. crops and to be burn in its-self. It seems that there maybe a Methane problem that I don’t under-stand from the storage of Bamboo chips ? Any-ways… three years growth Vs. fifty. Why briquets ? OH, YA! Build a small house for the kids, granny, (crap! were next) or storage. You very right. Bamboo is cool. The be-low Charlette makes a good case. There’s nothing like basic’s. Well, may-be what I have too.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Czs3kI8Rk4

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      OK on the trade name – but what is that for? Just curios.

      Anyway, yes m is awesome. And check out that youtube link on bio-char that was recently posted int he comments section. I am thinking of posting the video myself for everyone anyway.

      YOu know, I just realized, I use leuceana – a fast grow legume tree – for firewood. I also use the leaves as rabbit food, and I eat the seed pods. The wood is very light weight and burns quickly, but is excellent in a rocket stove. One leuceana is quite prolific.

      Biggest drawback is it only grows in southern climates and I am talking with Permaculturists in more northern areas for other species that work like that.

      But leuceana is a lot like bamaboo in terms of usefulness.

  • Tallan Acalin says:

    Dear Shannon Bradley; & Ms. Wildcraft

    If you want an easy to make Wood stove alternative I would suggest keeping all of the Shreded documents that you produce on a monthly basis & combine them in a Small to medium water bucket with Sawdust & Water. then you use a Battery powered drill & a Paint mixing blade until you have a Paper machet consitency. Then place it into a mold & Press it !
    I would suggest using 2 Small Coffee Can’s welded together with some small holes drilled into the outside of the double can, with removeable bottom & top also with holes drilled & parden the french but Press the shit outta it until you have a small round Log. then carefull remove the damp log & allow it to dry in the sun or in a Dry area for several day’s !

    PS It’s like making your own Fireplace Prestone logs without the harsh chemicals that the store bought ones contain. & depending upon the type of Sawdust used it will determine how fast or slow they burn, as well as the scent that fills your house & you won’t have to worry about some bum going thru your trash cans to commit Identity Theft ! As you’ll be using all of the junk mailings & Shredable documents in your house.

    There was also a friend of mine that suggested the use of small peice of Cardboard around the size of nickels & mixed into an old Pot with the remanents of old Candles & other types of Wax to make long burning fire starter logs as well. I still haven’t tried the last on yet, But he uses them when he goes camping in the northern calif. Mountains with a little kindeling & foraged fire wood !

    Enjoy the ideas !

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      That is a really good suggestion. Hmm, make your own firewood logs out of old paper.

  • thomas gili says:

    would anyone know what veggies I could grow in a backyard that has a lot of shade from large trees.i would like to start a garden even bought the dvd.

  • Walter says:

    I discovered 2 new ideas this year: 1. oven canning of dry goods to eliminate bugs and extend the shelf life of oatmeal, grains, pasta, packaged mixes and anything else that bugs love to chew on. 2. Salad in a Jar. When I don’t have enough of something for either a meal or a canner full, i.e., spinach, collards, swiss chard, I wash and dry the greens, pack them tightly in half gallon jars and vacuum seal them with the food saver attachment. When the lettuce is getting ahead, I pack that into wide mouth half pt jars and seal. Each jar is enough for two small salads in this household.

    These greens will keep beautifully in the refrig for at least a week during which time I can gather enough more greens to make it worth while getting a canner out. 2 half gallon jars packed full of greens = 2 pts in the canner. By carefully opening the lids, they can be used over and over again. Check the websites on these. I found them both to be real time savers.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Walter, I really appreciate those two tips.

      Thanks.

  • Henry Roop says:

    Really a lot of good info here, but wanted to note that I hauled around 1/2 ton of rotting acorns, decayed wood, and rotted leaves and added to my 800 sq. ft. garden, and two raised beds for tomatoes, carrots, onions, oyster grass, beets, all that require loose loamy soil. The garden area was mostly clay 3 years ago, and now its a decent spot. I’m retired, and grow about 1/3 my food. This year looks more promising as everything is growing so quickly. Corn I grow in the flat garden. I was disappointed in my black raspberries tho, they were only half as big as last year, I may need to trim out a bunch of plants, they became quite evasive.

  • David R.(Canada) says:

    June 19, 2016

    I believe most people, including producers, have forgotten what “organic food” means. Most think it’s just not using chemicals. There’s much more to it that that!
    It’s supposed to mean that it’s grown in a sustainable manner (very few large producers do this).
    It’s supposed to mean that the producer uses non-chemical fertilizers.
    The soil is supposed to be re-mineralized. Composting does NOT do this adequately.
    All inputs such as water, are supposed to be clean (China seems to be completely ignoring this rule).

    It’s quite obvious that the only way you can get all of this is to grow your own.

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