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Homestead/Backyard food production and preservation.

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Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - 10:08am
bob
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Xanadu, FL
Joined: Jun 15, 2011
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here's a fun idea

grow fingerling potatoes in a bag!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IukPa3J4QBs

the video quality isn't the best, but the idea's fantastic! those synthetic, non - woven bags that the grocery stores sell as re - usable shopping bags, and similar ones that come with bulk foods in them (this example used a basmati rice bag) are great grow bags! now even the urban preppers can taste fresh produce. if all you have is a sunny balcony, you can raise some veggies in bags. i don't see why this would be limited to potatoes. sun, water, and a bag of good soil, that's all it takes.

patriot family, for a daily driver van, check out chevvy astros. some of them have "AWD" which is full time four wheel drive. they quit making them about 2006, but they seem to be as immortal as the old vw bugs. i have one with almost a quarter million miles on it. cosmetically, it's an ugly duckling, but mechanically, it's flawless. i took it out west last summer, florida to utah and back, on a camping trip. no problems except it kept showing a "check engine" light. i had a really good mechanic along with me, and we checked everything. nothing wrong. we finally figured out it was the gas cap! i was using the wrong one, and it didn't seal properly. evidently, it's a pollution regulation that we must have tight fitting gas caps! thanks, nanny state! the GMC "safari" is a clone of the astro. the most significant differences are the labels.

treefrog land and cattle co.
Mon, Jan 19, 2015 - 11:33pm
Jack Spratt
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Portland, TX
Joined: Jul 7, 2012
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treefrog, you are a wealth of information!

I've been saving basmiti bags for years. It's time to do something with them. 

Also, I built a 'box ' with sides of slats I could grow potatoes vertically a few years ago. I began the box with compost and soil from WalMart, the cheapest I could find. They grew somewhat, but never produced anything. As it turns out, the 'compost' I BOUGHT was nothing more than cattle poop from incarciated/medicated feed lots. A friend of mine that was starting a garden told me about the deal when he planted his tomatoes and peppers, and that's why I bought it. In the end, he had the same results. Plants grew somewhat, but no fruit. We both learned a lesson.

Her pointing out the importance of good soil is important.

It's the reason I started growing some of my own meat as well. The biproduct is essential to the garden, and if you can keep the biproduct reasonalbly 'pure' it's a big asset.

That said, I'm going to use some of those Basmati bags as well as other bags I've saved and give it another try.

@ Patriot Family Congratulations on your impending setteling in. There has never been a time in human history for people to become more self sufficient. YouTube has replaced what many grandparents can no longer share.

Sieze the opportunity and enjoy the adventure of reality.

As far as quail go, they are like most animals. The biggest 'chore' is to keep them with clean food and water, after that the next biggest is to keep them out of their own crap and a way to use the crap.

Feel free to ask any specifics about them. I'm on my 10th hatch and have struggled through a lot of challenges, though they weren't all that much.

I did learn to not leave the cage doors unlatched or some birds will be gone the next morning and things like that. Solved that by putting the hinge of the doors on the bottem instead of the top. An open door is obvious now and hasn't happened since.

God Bless your move.

In Liberty,

Karankawa

'

"Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves."
Wed, Jan 21, 2015 - 1:08pm
bob
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Xanadu, FL
Joined: Jun 15, 2011
1555
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avocado blossoms

"mexicola" and "brazos belle" have a few blossoms open. these are the first of the year here. many more buds coming along on these and other varieties. 

"...and visions of guacamole danced in their heads..."

treefrog land and cattle co.
Thu, Jan 22, 2015 - 11:14am
s dewald
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dallas, TX
Joined: Oct 13, 2011
1135
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Bad compost

I learned that lesson two years ago. A lot of pastureland is treated with Dow's "Milestone" herbicide, which does not break down and is found in compost made from manure. It will pretty much stop any broadleaf plant from growing, and needs 18 months or more to break down. Do not trust any "compost" or manure unless you made it yourself. Golf course grass treated with the stuff ends up in municipal compost piles, BTW.

This year I did the green manure thing in the fall. Oats, peas, and mustard. Back in mid Dec I tilled it all into the hard clay soil. Last weekend I hoed some dead leaves and biochar in the soil and there were no remnant of the plants, just black spongy soil. Either worms or bacteria ate the whole thing in a month (TX, so it's above freezing mostly). Can't wait to start planting in this new soil.

Sat, Jan 24, 2015 - 9:07pm (Reply to #105)
Jack Spratt
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Portland, TX
Joined: Jul 7, 2012
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Bad compost, how much can you trust the 'meat' that produced it?

It saddens me how low Americans have come to accept marketing for nutrition. That said, I'm encouraged that a growing number are waking up.

I felt stupid, as did the guy that mentioned years ago about the great deal on "compost". It's our brainwashed culture and though I've considered myself awake at times knowing much of the corruption, I realize I've been duped repeatedly.

So today a friend came over to help me execute a plan that has been in the works for some time. I live in an HOA within a small town. It's incorporated and corrupt as any other budding incorporated berg.

I have an area that is unseen from the street and have been saving all of my trimmings/weed pullings for the last 1 year plus back there. Much of it has broken down on its own in various degrees but there were still some pretty big piles.

I've also saved all of the manuer from rabbits and quail I started growing this year. And somebody left 8 pallets too close to the road on trash day months ago.

Today it all came together. I now have neat compost bins nearing 5 cu/yd of fresh, source known nitrogen rich rabbit and quail POOP, layered with some green, some brown, some partially broken down plant material. All w/o herbicides/chemical fertilizer etc. If it produces 1/3 of that in finished compost 6 weeks from now I'll be very happy.

@ Optics, much of the weeds that wound up into the compost bins came from a bed of hedges that grow prolific weeds in the Winter (TX also). 

On the green compost idea, I've ordered seeds for a Crimson Clover cover crop to plant next weekend to both keep the weeds down so my HOA says off my ass, as well as more biomass to compost. A nitrogen fixing one as well.

People knew how to do this years ago, we have been brainwashed, and our 'peers' think we are nuts if we don't just buy things from the big box store like 13-13-13 or if you are organic, buy chemical 'manuer'.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Hopefully we are waking up.

Karankawa

"Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves."
Sun, Jan 25, 2015 - 8:19am (Reply to #106)
SilveryBlue
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Auckland
New Zealand
Joined: Mar 7, 2013
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Compost

Although I haven't done compost for many years (don't have room) I used to be fairly good at it. You need to get to know your soil in your microclimate. Manure is good as are the green nitrogen fixing crops. Balance is key if you have small quantity.

I want a small farm/lifestyle property and am cudgeling my wits as to how to achieve it. The first thing I would do is hook up the kitchen waste disposal to a sump/filter arrangement for collection into the compost bin. Munged leftovers = almost instant compost & gives the worms a real treat.

 sigh. a dream at this point.

Sun, Feb 15, 2015 - 1:29am
Jack Spratt
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Portland, TX
Joined: Jul 7, 2012
1611
6770

Update

I started raising rabbits and quail about a year ago, or at least got serious about it.

Since then I've learned alot even after doing a lot of research.

It's well worth it in my opion. After a year of learning, I can produce from incubator to full grown 10+ once quail that fit with any poultry recipe with meat I know the origin.

And my garden has finally benefitted from the 'produce' of the quail. My rabbits have contributed as well to that effort and in the last year I've raised the parents and they have produces 12 offspring that will be processed soon.

In my neighborhood I'm worried about the noise the young males make when they start crowing. It even gets on my nerves but I've had no complaints from neighbors (most of them old and probably can't hear well, but in an HOA they complain about everything they can). So I butcher the small males from each hatch when they get on my nerves and keep the 2-3 biggest ones to take care of the girls as they have reached puberty.

I figure nature does this automatically with the loudest males so I'm just playing the part of nature, but protected them to have the opertunity.

The rest is just how much meat do you need, how many eggs do you need, and balancing nature.

Quail are wonderful birds to raise but they eat a LOT of high protein food, at least the domestic (breeds) I've started. While they are still very cheap compared to other organically raised fowl, they aren't free. And they won't do well with scraps out of the kitchen like chickens will.

I started raising rabbits in April of last year. 3 does and a buck I bought at 5 weeks old. I lost a doe that was pregnant but learned a lot. That said, I have 12 offspring from the two remaing ones. 4 that are of processing weight, and 8 that are catching up quickly. And I expect to breed the two does again before it gets hot here.

There is no reason for people to go hungry or be a slave to corporate fascism. Doing so removes oneself from the reality of where food comes from.

I'm so tired of people asking me how hard it is to eat meat I've raised ... while they have NO PROBLEM eating corporate 'raised' meat.

Raising your own food is a link to nature, and an idea that has been stripped from our humanity by something very evil.

God Bless,

Karankawa

"Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves."
Wed, Mar 4, 2015 - 11:26am
bob
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Xanadu, FL
Joined: Jun 15, 2011
1555
10390

bulk staples

i don't have a clear vision of the future (who does) and don't know just how a tshtf crisis can hit, how severe the dislocations may be, nor how long they may last. 

with that in mind, i think it's wise to look at worst case scenarios and how to survive them. having a kitchen garden for fresh stuff is a good idea, but how about bulk supplies of staple goods - the bulk of the larder. you have a year's worth of groceries stored? what are you going to eat in the thirteenth month? the fortieth month?

the answers to this problem will vary with climate and location. i have been working on a combination of solutions for "treefrog's long term survival chow," looking for answers adapted to the florida panhandle. i think the best approach is a combination of continuous production and preservation. particularly preservation methods that do not require electricity

cereal grains: this is a survival technology older than history. grains are the basis of the modern diet in most of today's cultures. grains keep well without refrigeration (when the electricity fails) as long as they are kept dry and protected from vermin. i have test plots of wheat, rye, and barley planted as winter grains. soon to plant plots of spring grains. so far, of the three, barley looks the most promising. 

nuts: pecans do well here. most varieties require spraying with ag chemicals to produce well. amling and mcmillan varieties don't. i have planted amling and mcmillan. i have several varieties of chestnut, almonds, hazelnuts, and more black walnut than anyone would want. black walnut is delicious, but a real pain in the ass to crack. almost as bad as hickory. nuts store well, and are very nurtitious. constant war with the squirrels! 

potatoes: potatoes do well here, but storage isn't easy. they like dry and cool for storage. we have warm and humid. 

sweet potatoes: sweet potatoes like warm and dark for storage. dark is easy to manage. sweet potatoes aren't all the yellow-orange ones you are used to. beauregard and jewell account for 95+% of the sweet potatoes in the supermarket. there are lots of other kinds. white, starchy (non sweet) ones you might mistake for white irish on your plate. even purple fleshed oriental varieties. sweet potatoes are well adapted to the south, and are easy to store. i'm currently raising beauregard (most common) hannah (white starchy) and boniato (white flesh, semi sweet) "cuban sweet potatoes." sweet potatoes actually have a protein content! they're better for you than irish potatoes, they're easy to raise, produce in quantity, and the tender tips of their vines are good as a green in stir-fries.

pumpkins: most pumpkins are vulnerable to squash vine borer and are hard to raise here. those belonging to the species cucurbita moschata, however, will make a crop here. cushaws, and latino varieties of "calabasa" work well here. there is also a pumpkin called "seminole pumpkin" or "seminole squash" that is native to south florida. go seminoles! you can get a calabasa at most any latino produce market. save the seeds to plant next year. any leftover pumpkin seed are tasty fried in a little oil. sand hill preservation center has seminole seeds. pumpkins keep well. i once had a seminole pumpkin last 18 months. it was very tasty, but a little dry

fruit: fresh and dried fruit will keep you healthy. a solar drier is easy to make, a flat, glass topped box with some strategically placed vent holes. tilt it up to face the sun, and make holes in the bottom and top edges. the sun will heat it up and convection will pull the moist air out. plums, mangoes, bananas, pineapples, papayas, and figs are easy to dry, and once dried, keep for long periods. avocados don't keep well, so i planted early, midseason, and late varieties. i should have something ripening from june to january. guavas don't keep well as fresh fruit, but they produce all summer, and they're easy to make into jam.

rutabagas: fall planted rutabagas store well all winter through, mulched, and left in the ground - pulled as needed. early spring planted ones are good for a while, but get a bitter taste when the weather gets hot. then they go to seed, giving you seed for the next fall planted crop. pretty much the same pattern with cabbage

collards. collards, a non - heading cousin of cabbage planted in late summer, yields all winter if you pick only two or three leaves off each plant each time. the tiny immature leaves are a favorite salad green of mine. frost improves the flavor. like cabbage and rutabagas, it will turn bitter and go to seed in the summer.

treefrog land and cattle co.
Sat, Mar 14, 2015 - 2:54pm
bob
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Xanadu, FL
Joined: Jun 15, 2011
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fresh fruit department.

the greenhouse has declared that it's spring already. three varieties of avocado have bloomed and set fruit. two are still cranking out blossoms. three more varieties with buds swelling, no shortage of guacamole in sight. three varieties of mango in bloom, two more pushing buds. the raja puri banana is looking like it may put on a full bunch in late spring, or early this summer. other nanners? a definite probably. timing with nanners is the key. if they blossom by july, they are certain to have time to ripen. if they blossom after mid august, it gets iffy. both types of guavas are pushing buds, pineapples are putting on new growth, but the papayas and coffee have issues. they are sensitive to not just frost, but anything below 40 - 45 degrees. maybe i need to rethink my thermostat settings next winter.

a fresh fruit glut looks likely this summer and fall. that's a high quality problem. if i work it right, maybe i'll have a dried fruit glut.

treefrog land and cattle co.
Sun, Mar 15, 2015 - 1:35pm
waxybilldupp
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Flyover land
Joined: Aug 10, 2011
776
6958

Maple syrup question ...

I am tapping 3 maples in my back yard this spring for the first time. First time for them and for me. Kind of a "proof of concept" thing. Not expecting mass quantities of syrup when I'm done. Just want to go thru the process and see how it works.

My question: These trees (2 sugar and 1 red), are about 15-20 years old, and about 10" in diameter at the base. I've gathered 2 gallons of sap this week. About 2/3 of a gallon has come from 2 of the trees combined. The other 1-1/3 gallons from 1 "overachiever tree". How far can I push the "overachiever" tree? Since these trees are still fairly young, is it possible to take too much sap and damage the tree? This is all completely new to me. I'm collecting the sap daily and storing it in a refrigerator until I'm ready to boil it down. Targeting 3 gallon of sap before next step. Any feedback is appreciated. TIA

Wax off
Mon, Mar 16, 2015 - 4:52pm
Chris
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Seattle, WA
Joined: Mar 10, 2012
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Spring is here!

I have a month off between jobs beginning 4/1. So we are fencing in a 1/3 acre chicken field where we will populate it with egg layers first, then with meat birds in a separately fenced area. We have a few turkeys to throw into the mix. Quite a few trees for them to get out of the heat. 8 foot fencing (6 feet heavy duty wire, three strands barbed)

Building the coup as well. We need something a little bigger and insulated for winter, and we plan to take advantage of deep bedding techniques on the floor so that it's a natural compost additive when aged properly. Looking for plans now. Lots of choices out there! My neighbors have done very well with an old pop up camper and heat lamp. Not sure how our plans for a miniature barn style coup painted red with white trim would go over.

Goats - we'll be hitting up Katie Rose for advice on goats. We have another 1/2 acre field to fence off for them. Plus it will block off a "road" through our property that ATV riders and Jeeps sometimes try to use in the summer. No recorded easement, and it doesn't meet the qualifications of a prescriptive easement, so no access.

I have two home sites above us that are exempt from our timber management program. Each has a swale with moist, beautiful soil near it. Those are getting fenced off for additional growing area. Already have several 3-5 year old blueberry bushes with more on the way.

I don't think I understood how much work this was going to be. Or how much I'd need a real tractor!

Seller of high quality, Thrive brand freeze dried storage foods: www.freezedriedpantry.com
Mon, Mar 16, 2015 - 10:39pm (Reply to #112)
bob
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Xanadu, FL
Joined: Jun 15, 2011
1555
10390

@patriot family

here's a gardening/chicken trick you may want to consider:

fence two garden plots and build your chicken coup between them. odd numbered years, chickens range on plot "a" and you garden plot "b." even numbered years, just the reverse. you will need to have a suitable door arrangement to manage the migrations. not rocket science.

each spring, you get a garden plot that has had a year's worth of chicken manure distributed over it, and scratched into the top couple inches by the chickens as they peck out weed seeds every day. the chickens get a new range full of gardening leftovers. win-win, no?

treefrog land and cattle co.
Wed, Mar 25, 2015 - 11:36pm
Hammer
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Somewhere over the rainbow
Joined: Jun 14, 2011
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This will definitely happen

"I found a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works." - Alan Greenspan, October 2008 WTF ! Now you tell us !!!
Tue, Apr 7, 2015 - 7:09pm (Reply to #114)
Ed
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Raising your own meat

Karankawa, I have been impressed with your journey into raising your own meat and have commented here before. I have always been a hunter and usually have venison in the freezer in the Fall. I seem to expand my garden every year, and this one will not be the exception. I am about to pick up a few rabbits and start raising them for meat. I had questioned you before about the quail, but I was/am hesitant because of the need for 'high protein' feed. Just today, as I was researching feed for the rabbits, I came across duckweed. Apparently, when dried, it is 35-40% protein. I immediately thought of you and your search for a high protein feed for your quail. And the rabbits can eat it too! Have you looked into duckweed as an option. From what I've read, it is pretty easy to grow.

All the best.

Wed, Apr 22, 2015 - 9:28am
s dewald
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dallas, TX
Joined: Oct 13, 2011
1135
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Garden update

Second year with biochar, first year of using all my own compost (to tumblers), my-grow minerals, and tilled green manure. Even though I got a late start planting tomatoes by 2 weeks, the plants are bigger than they usually are on Memorial Day, and it's the third week in April.

A local restaurant is serving my Swiss chard. The chef almost fainted when I brought some in freshly cut. He also uses my parsley and oregano to make chimichurri sauce.

Thu, Apr 23, 2015 - 3:08pm (Reply to #116)
Jim Beam
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@opticsguy - You might be

@opticsguy - You might be interested in growing some French Triple Curl, it has a great flavor and translocates all sorts of minerals efficiently. Nice looking Chard by the way, just lovely. We grew Bright Lights in Cocina rock and it was delicious. That tomato flower looks healthy as well does your entire garden, nice work~!

All my seedlings/starters spent the night in the garage as snow arrived yesterday, hopefully they'll be back outdoors in a few days, we had a bit of a late arctic tongue dip in and although no real freeze, put a 1/2 inch on the ground overnight. It's still snowing... lol.

Congrats on impressing the chef and for contributing to you and yours health, vitaility and wellness~!

Thu, Apr 30, 2015 - 10:27am
bob
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Xanadu, FL
Joined: Jun 15, 2011
1555
10390

first saturday in may. watch out for thorns!

treefrog land and cattle co.
Thu, Apr 30, 2015 - 11:09am
Jim Beam
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"Walk away" is the perfect

"Walk away" is the perfect action K. Our food security is wholly dependent upon it.

Good for you~!

Tue, Jun 9, 2015 - 5:48am
SilveryBlue
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Auckland
New Zealand
Joined: Mar 7, 2013
1608
5595

Air pruning Papaya

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPxj8e2r7H0&index=4&list=PLBcWprMIwYYizRYZra6RRbe_mrPdnXu4G

How to make the most of your Papaya grown in a pot.

I thought myself a decent gardener, but am loving these ideas for making the most of a small space! Plus the commercial tips.

Also check out his self watering "wick barrel" systems. Ingenious. Have yet to check out the hydroponics stuff.

Apologies if already posted/shared laugh

Edit: video does exist

Fri, Aug 21, 2015 - 2:14am (Reply to #120)
Jack Spratt
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Portland, TX
Joined: Jul 7, 2012
1611
6770

Thank you.

The quail and rabbit efforts have been an oustanading success. I haven't bought meat in months. I have always been a hunter and was used to searving up shot animals that have evaded everything in nature until I showed up. They came home shot after the time it took to get them there.

I really can't add much more. But I avoid meat from the grocery at all cost having my own. Yes, I'm likely sure that some of my feed to the rabbits and quail may contain gmo's. But this all goes in steps. I'm taking mine

If you are interested, and patient for when I check back, I'll give you the BEST marinade recipe for poultry and rabbit I've found.

God Bless,

Karankawa

"Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves."

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