Monday, June 17, 2019

Outdoor Growing in the Super Grand Solar Minimum

This is a hard one to write. I have grow food in the dirt and hydroponically for years. I think I have really good ideas when it comes to indoor and outdoor growing.

Its time to get serious folks. The time for discussion is over and its time to actually do some work. Discussing growing and all the really cool ways of growing is over with. This is about you eating or not eating so get off your likes and dislikes and start doing some serious things like actually (actually) growing food. 

Before we get started, I want to discuss the problems. The biggest is where you live, and how bad the SGSM will be. It is my hope that I will be able to grow food to eat during the summers and have enough to store so I don't have to use up all the stored foods I prepared before all this started.

That should be you objective as well.

I am going to repeat again the possible problems of growing food outdoors during the SGSM.
Thoughts about growing food during the SGSM outdoors.

There may be years or seasons that food cannot be grown because of:

  • Heavy cloud cover
  • Very wet days and seasons
  • Heavy frost
  • Too cold
  • Severe weather
  • Very short growing seasons
  • Wind and hail damage
  • Mold damage
  • AND then there are bugs!! Insect and human types.

Summers will not be like other summers you have experienced. It will be cooler and shorter for sure in a lot of locations. Growing foods that take a long time to grow many not work. I like to thing about what Indian's did, they grew squash. It's possible to collect seeds from plants that are cold hardy and also produce in shorter time periods. I will list some of them later. If you are now just thinking about growing food, then the time is short. Get your seeds now as they may not be available later. One other comment about squash is that some of the winter varieties can store all winter in your house. Summer squash is great, but don't store well. They will have to be dehydrated or canned.

Outdoor Growing
So lets build your garden beds. I know what I am going to recommend might not fit well with what you are doing but you probably have a garden started already. The recommendation I am making is really for those who don't have a garden or just have a small one. To set the mind set, at this point I am thinking about gardening in the SGSM. My garden will be well protected from the cold, and require a minimum amount of work Also won't fit looks wise like its part or a $500,000 home with beautiful landscaping. If you are at this point of thinking then you are truly lost.

God Bless Ruth Stout

This garden can be build in one season and you can start growing in 6 months. Its called the Ruth Stout method. Its a no dig, minimum maintenance garden. I don't plan to look pretty during the SGSM and my garden wont either. It will just work. My garden started with any type of green matter or animal manure (no human, cat or dog) I could get my hands on. I even went to Home Depot and purchased sacks of processed cow manure. we have two horses which also supplied great quantities of manure. The trees dumped copious amounts of leafs. I collected them all. The dirt here is really rocky, but this method really doesn't care because I will never use a shovel on the soil. You could do this on the worst soil around and still be successful. 

The first step is to arrange all this collected matter onto cardboard beds (kills weeds). I dumpster dive for my cardboard. After you have built up the bed with 4 or five inches of your collection of green matter, manures and anything organic, put a layer of hay about a foot deep over the beds. - then you wait. If in the fall, let the beds cook. Add water if its very dry. In the spring (about 6 months later) you can plant. To grow potatoes (get the short season ones) just roll back the hay and toss your potato starts on your new soil and then recover with the hay. Water if necessary, but this method saves water and you may not have to water at all if you received rain while it was cooking. I just did a large garden doing this, and even after 3 months, the soil being created under the hay look amazing.  

Planting in a Ruth Stout garden is easy as pulling back the hay and inserting your starts into the new soil after which you need to pull the hay around the start. For seeds, part the hay and plant. Wait for germination and growth and then pull the hay around your new plants. If you wish, you can add compost to your plants, but always under the hay. After awhile you will have to add new hay as it decays and becomes your new soil. This method works even if you don't add compost. At harvest time always return the plant back on to the soil. That way you will be adding organic matter all the time.  Its not pretty but it works,
Advantages of a  SGSM Ruth Stout garden:

  • No digging.
  • Creates new soil.
  • Can be put into production quickly.
  • Way less work and minimal weeding.
  • Less or no watering may be needed.
  • Protects the plant roots from heat and cold.
  • Works well on useless or very poor soil.
  • Frees up time to do other survival things
  • Works well when growing winter crops which can hide in the hay.

So what can you grow in a Ruth Stout garden? In normal times and in normal weather just about anything from corn to tomatoes and every thing in between.  But the question we should be asking is what types and cultivars should we have seed for during the SGSM? I will have a seed list at the end of this section. Growing from seed in the soil will be tough as it will be a slow start. Try to only grow from starts as these give weeks of gained time and speeds up growth in the garden. So here are some examples: Make the beds wide enough so you can work each side easily. (4 ft. ??)

  • Plants that have a short growing season - perhaps 50 days or less.
  • Cold tolerant plants,
  • Plants that grow in low light levels.
  • Plants that you have starts for that were grown in a small greenhouse or protected environment. Get them as large as practical.
  • Grow a large numbers of plants that have high nutrient levels.
  • Vegetables that can be stored (potatoes, carrots squash and other things).

Vegetables crops that will grow in light to partial shade are: arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, Chinese cabbage, corn salad, endive, escarole, garlic, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, leeks, mustard, New Zealand spinach, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, sorrel, spinach, turnips, and watercress.

Vegetables that will tolerate light to partial shade include: bush beans, summer squash, and determinate or bush tomatoes adapted to cool regions or ready for harvest in 55 days or so. 

Herbs that will grow in light to partial shade are: angelica, basil, catnip, chervil, chives, cress, horseradish, lemon balm, mint, parsley and rosemary.

The problem with any of the above is how many days to maturity? Many of the leafy vegetables can be eaten before maturity. Note, the problem should not be shade but very cloudy days with some or reduced light. Tomatoes could be a real problem so just choose the small ones, The large beefy ones may not make it (pick them green). 

Green tomatoes really store well. One harvest season I probably had 50 lbs of green tomatoes. I put them in a cardboard box in a cool place and covered them. I made sure that they did not touch each other. They all eventually matured, and we ate the green ones as well. It took over two months to eat them all. You might think about growing green tomatoes for storage, Grow the starts indoors as large as possible before planting.

* * * * 
Growing food may become a crap shoot during the SGSM
* * * *
A home work assignment: Go through or order seed catalogs. With a felt tip pen mark seed that you may be interested in. Make sure its practical and pay close attention to the days to maturity and the possibility of storage. Look at what I have recommended (i am not a cold weather growing expert) and then order your seeds. Think 7 years of seed. Seeds store well when they are very cool or even frozen. Order a paperback book on seed saving.  Its very easy to do and practical. You don't have much time left to prepare. While you are working at your day-to-day job, never forget what is coming and how far behind you are.

Do something every day to prepare. Look at those around you. Do they know what you know? Probably not and would they even believe you? Stay focused and make a check list. If you live in New York or the East Coast I would think about moving, You will know soon enough. Even the blind and deaf will understand by 2020-2021.

You will have that many years to get ahead by starting now while things are relatively inexpensive. Here are my suggestions on seed. They are based on 70 days ( a bit over two months) of warm growing weather. Use your greenhouse to extend your growing season and grow your starts. Using starts can get you growing two weeks into the growing season or more. There are more vegetables that you could grow so you might want to add to this list. I don't have corn on the list. While fresh corn is good, it takes a lot longer to dry it. Also wind can damage corn. I will let you choose the cultivars. Just do your homework.

  • Bush beans  - All are mostly 60 days
  • Pole beans - 63 to 65 days
  • Beets - 35 to 65 days
  • Cabbage - 65 to 100 days. May not get full heads but cold hardy
  • Carrots - 60 to 100 days, but carrots do well in colder weather if protected. Can even be dug out while covered in snow.
  • Collards - 50 to 70 days but are cold hardy. Highly recommended
  • Celery - probably not, but cutting (Chinese) celery would be OK
  • Cucumbers - 50 to 75 days. Poor nutrient value but good tasting!
  • Egg Plant - 60 to 65 days
  • Kale - 50 to 60 days - Cold weather hardy. Highly recommended 
  • Leek - Grow in the greenhouse
  • Lettuce - 50 to 65 days. You can pick leaf lettuce as it grows over time.
  • Melons - 70 to 100 days. Iffy?
  • Mustard  45 to 60 days. Can be eaten at any stage. Always grow mustard.
  • Peppers - all types 65 to 100 days. Very good for you and can be dried
  • Pumpkins - 65 to 120 days. Iffy?
  • Radish - 25 to 65 days. This should always be grown. Can eat as a microgreen or a full grown plant. Really healthy eating.
  • Spinach - 25 to 45 days. Always grow this. 
  • Summer squash - 50 to 65 days. Always grow this. I like the large round zucchini
  • Turnip and turnip greens - 55 days. Good for you
  • Winter Squash - 60 to 110 days - Always grow the long storage types like Waltham Squash.
  • Tomatoes - 65 to 120 days. Require a lot of heat and sun shine. Grow smaller type tomatoes. Think about growing larger tomatoes and harvest green. They store well (up to two months or more) in the house.
  • Herbs - Grow a large variety in pots. Bring in if it gets too cool or cold.

OK, so you are at the end of this blog. Now go out and get started on your garden. If you have well you are ahead of the game. You wont need that ticket I gave you. Below is a sort of crappy picture of a few of the vegetables I grew in my Ruth Stout Garden. The garden is 8 months old and I planted at 6 months. No digging, only a little weeding and only watered 3 times. 

See you the next blog - Dennis

Super Grand Solar Minimum Radio and Survival Equipment Store at this URL


All the equipment in my store is used personally by me or recommended by me.

I have updated and enlarged the Surviving the Super Grand Solar Minimum book. I also have the SGSM book and three others at this URL. They all come in a PDF format.

I am plan to keep the paperback book (older version) which was very popular at Amazon at this URL for a bit longer.

Need Seeds?

These are my two of my recommended seed suppliers at this URL

1 comment:

  1. For me tomatoes are essential which is why most of the ones I grow come from cold areas such as Siberia and other sections of Russia. I originally bought many of my seeds from Tomato Fest dot com, they have a section called "colder climate". I save the seeds every year of the tomatoes that do the best here in Minnesota. One plant that I recommend is Jerusalem artichokes. They are actually related to sunflower and look like them, but what you eat are the bulbs that form underground. You can use them similar to potatoes. If you cover them well, with for example straw or layers of cardboard, you can dig them up in the middle of winter. They are a good food source for people who suffer from certain conditions such as diabetes. I can't mention why because I am not a doctor and can't provide advice, but people can look it up. You can eat them cooked and raw, they taste nutty. They survive Minnesota winters without the cover, and spread. Always look for plants that are for colder area than the one you live in. I also have a food forest/wildlife habitat, with many types of fruits and wild edibles for my area. Those are not recognized as food by most people, looking to steal food, so get at least one book of wild edibles in your area, one of my books includes recipes and you can find many more online. I found out about you from Ice Age Farmer today. Again nice site.