How To Build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse-Hoop House Greenhouse



The planning is over and construction on my hoop house greenhouse has begun.  I’ve rounded up all of the materials and it looks like I’m going to end up with about $50 in a 165 square ft. green house. Granted I already had most of the materials because I’m an incorrigible pack rat, but even if I had bought everything new just for this polytunnel It would still only come to about $120 $150 – less than a dollar per square ft.  Due to the fact that we are in the midst of a global economic meltdown, and the future is a bit uncertain keeping the cost of this project as low as possible is an important consideration.

After some research I’ve decided to build the structure of the hoop house out of 20 ft. joints of three quarter inch PVC plumbing pipe.  Some similar greenhouse designs that I’ve run across use 10 ft joints of pipe and then fasten everything together with pipe fittings, but I’m saving quite a bit of cash with the long joints of pipe and by not using any fittings – also overall simplicity is improved.  There is one thing though, you can carry 10 ft joints of pipe in the mini van, but hauling 20′ pipe requires a truck and preferably a ladder rack.  However, you could just cut them in half right at the home improvement store and then put them back together when you get home with the coupling that is built into one end of the 20′ long pipe joints – 10′ pipe joints don’t have the built in couplers – just go to the home improvement store prepared with a saw or pipe cutter.


My hoop house green house is going to be 11 feet wide and 15 feet long, and will be about seven and a half feet tall in the center.  You could make one of these as long or as short as you want, but using this design the width needs to be between 10-12 feet.  11 feet wide just happpened to work out with the layout of my garden which has 3 foot wide beds with 5 ft paths between (the wide paths are so that I can keep it tidy with my riding lawn mower) so eleven feet covers two beds and the path between them.  This width also makes the sides go fairly straight up from the ground for the first few feet – I’ve noticed that in some hoop house / polytunnel designs the outer edges are almost unusable because of the slope of the greenhouse sides.

If your Greenhouse is too Flat it will collapse!

You might be tempted to make your greenhouse wider and lower at this point to get more floor space out of it – but be careful.  If you have snow in your area it will slide off of a high peak a lot better than it will if your greenhouse has more of a flattened shape – and the same goes for heavy rains.  If your hoop house shape is too flattened it will cave in the first time it snows or rains really hard!

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I decided to begin the construction by building the end walls first – even though it would be more fun to throw up the main structure in just an hour or so and make a big showing of progress, I think that in the long run it will be quicker and easier to build the end frames first on my garage floor.


I temporarily attached a joint of pipe to a piece of 1×4 to establish the outline. You might be tempted to make your greenhouse wider and lower at this point to get more floor space out of it – but be careful. If you have snow in your area it will slide off of a high peak a lot better than it will if your greenhouse has more of a flattened shape – and the same goes for heavy rains. If your greenhouse is to flattened it will cave in the first time is snows or rains really hard!

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Pre-drill the pipe and use one screw so that the pipe can swivel to whatever angle it naturally aligns to. For now just let the wood “run wild”

I used pressure treated lumber for much of the polytunnel end frames even though I usually try to avoid treated wood in the garden.  In this case I think it’s called for or else the greenhouse probably wouldn’t last more than 2-3 years without rebuilding the frame.  In any event I’ll try to keep it off of the soil as much as possible.


Build the rest of the frame to accommodate the door size that you want to use. My door will be 5 feet wide, but in most cases 3′ wide would be adequate.If you want a  permanant greenhouse or you live where you will ever get more than an inch of snow you should use “two by” lumber instead of “one by” that is shown here.

READ-The Best 8 Simple But Sure Steps To Miracle Farms : How You Make a Living From a 4 Acre Permaculture Orchard (photo & video)

Leave the piece that runs across the bottom of the door in place for now.  Once everything is set in place it will be easy to cut out with a hand saw.



Mark the final outline once the wooden parts are assembled. Watch out for that screw when you saw to the line!


Now just trim to the line – I used a reciprocating/sabre saw, but you could also use a hand saw or circular saw if it’s all you have. Just make a straight cut in about the right place.

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Now re-attach the pipe to the outside of the frame. I used screws and wire ties because I’m a belt *and* suspenders kind of guy.

The end wall frames ended up being reasonably light and very rigid. BTW, you might notice that the second one is different (simpler) from the first because this is a learn-as-I go process. Both of them work fine though.


Back side of the green house end frame

MUST READ–How to Build an EarthShip: Step-by-Step (Video) – 10 Reasons Why EarthShips Are Freakin’Awesome!0Notice that the plastic that will be the roof and sides of your greenhouse are going to fold over the ends and staple to the wooden parts. If you don’t have enough wooden structure in the ends you won’t be able to fasten the plastic and you will have trouble with it coming lose when the wind blows – and during heavy rain or snow you will be more likely to have problems with the very top sagging and holding water (or snow). If the top sags, it holds water, that makes it heavy and it sags more, then it holds more water… eventually it collapses. You don’t want that

This is the front side because it is all on one plane so that the plastic skin will lay flat on it. The back side has reinforcement gussets that stick out.

And Now for the Plastic

The plastic sheeting that I’m using is plain old non-UV stabilized 6 mil “clear” plastic sheeting from the lumber yard.  There is exactly one  reason that I am using this particular variety instead of special polytunnel / greenhouse plastic – it’s what I have.  I cut a 22′ piece off of a 100′ x 20′ roll that I already had (I’m a contractor) which was about $90 for the roll – so in essence I used about $22 worth of plastic sheeting after you apply the 10% TN sales tax. Had I ordered real green house plastic from a similar sized piece of 6 mil plastic would have been about $71 with shipping. The real deal would no doubt last much longer than the “visqueen” that I’m using, and also probably has better thermal and light transmittance.

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If all goes well maybe I’ll get some of that next year. Also, It’s hard to buy large pieces of heavy duty plastic like this without buying a whole roll, so unless you know a contractor or Mom and Pop hardware store that will cut you a piece you might really be better off ordering some of the good stuff.  On the other hand a big roll of plastic sheet is one of those things that comes in awfully handy some times.

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I just rolled the plastic out on the frame… Notice the falling leaves – I’m racing against fall weather with this project.


and cut it off nice and clean with a sharp utility knife. A scrap of wood to cut over and a sharp knife make this much easier


after stapling the plastic to the front, flip the frame over and fold over the plastic and staple it to the back. Just fold the excess together as you go. Fold in the direction that will be down so that condensation won’t collect under the folds.

Cut the plastic out of the door opening – leave enough to fold double before stapling it to the frame. Notice the cuts back to the corners of at the top.

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Mark out the locations of the door sides on the ground, and drive fence posts or long pieces of rebar at the sides of the door frame.

If you have much wind I would recommend using steel fence posts or rebar that is at least 5/8″ diameter in these spots. My fence posts don’t match because they’re left overs from previous projects – remember, I’m on a tight budget!


Check the fence posts for plumb and bend them a little if they need straightening.

Tie the hoop house end frames to the fence posts with wire ties, wire or rope.

The humongous wire ties made this really quick easy and strong, but If I didn’t already have them I would just use “baling” wire, and it would work as well.

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Once the end frames are in place pull a string to line up the stakes for the ribs.


Drive rebar pins every 3 feet to secure the intermediate ribs…

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At this point it takes about 2 minutes to install the pvc pipes for the intermediate ribs – and the polytunnel takes shape. For a stronger, more permanant structure use more ribs and put them closer together – or even use larger pipe. I haven’t tried it but I bet you could use up to 1 1/2″ pipe – although you might have to bend it into shape on a warm day.


As you can see it’s getting dark, and I’ll have to finish this later.  Total time invested so far is about 2 1/2 hours.  I believe that taking the greenhouse down next summer, and re-assembling it in the fall will probably only take an hour or so, but I guess I’ll see about that.


Since the site location where I’m building my greenhouse isn’t all that level I had to raise up one side of the end frames with some 2x6s that I ripped to fit – later I cut the tail off where it sticks out toward the fence.  Also notice that this means that the PVC pipes that are the intermediate ribs are too low where they hit the ground…

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So I extended them with some scraps of PVC conduit that I had – I never throw anything away. BTW, the gray PVC conduit is sunlight resistant unlike the white – although somewhat more expensive and is less expensive! If you want to do a really good job you could use it instead.  You should probably use the gray conduit instead of the white pipe that I used. You could even opt for schedule 80 conduit which is much thicker if you wanted to go whole hog, or if you needed to make a structure that is sturdier, more permanent or wider.


If you live where it snows or even rains very hard– You need to add a 2″ pvc pipe to the very top of the frame like this:


This 2″ PVC ridge on TOP of the frame keeps the plastic from sagging in snow or hard rain and prevents from collapsing.

I ran a screw up through the ribs into the 2″ ridge pipe, but I also tied a peice of 1/4″ rope around each intersection as well – I don’t trust screws alone in a spot like this.

When I originally built the greenhouse I didn’t use the ridge pole and it collapse under a snow load.  Since adding this feature It has been through several snows with no problem at all.  However when I know snow is coming I have two 2×4 props that I put under the ridge as insurance.

I strung it all together with 1x2s that I ripped out of some slightly used 2×4 studs.  Using full 1x4s (which I later did) or even 2x4s for the top set of these would make the structure stronger.


I used a few wire ties to get everything located, and then drove a 1 1/4″ drywall screw at each joint to secure it.  As you can see by the lay out marks, I first measured and marked all of the locations so that it would go together reasonably straight.

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If you look really close in this picture you will see the wires that serve as X bracing on the sides.


I used a doubled wire that I attached at the top and bottom of the ends using a washer and a screw.


I then used some scraps of wood to twist the double wires together and tighten them up like a rubber band airplane.  You just want them to be snug so don’t go nuts tightening them up.  These wires really go a long way to make the whole structure more rigid and sturdy.


Now for the plastic covering – measure and cut your piece of plastic – you want a little extra in all directions – the piece that I used is 20′ x 22′.


Now for the plastic covering – measure and cut your piece of plastic – you want a little extra in all directions – the piece that I used is 20′ x 22′.


Now roll the 2×2 under one complete turn so that the edge you stapled is facing up under the top layer of plastic sheet.


Now screw a 1×2 on to secure the plastic. By wrapping the plastic around the 2×2, and then sandwiching 2 layers between the 2 pieces of wood you make a very secure connection, and also add some weight to the bottom edges to help keep them from billowing up in the wind.  Do the same thing to the opposite edge, and then roll it all up and get someone to help you carry it to the hoop house and unroll it across the top…


Thusly.  Now you almost have a greenhouse.


Roll under the edges on the ends and staple them securely (Note: now that I have taken this down for the summer, I think that when I put it back up next fall instead of “stapling it securely” I’m going to just staple it a little bit to get it positioned, and then screw battens made of 1×2 or strips of plywood to hold it in place – it should be stronger and quicker), and other than the doors the structure of your polytunnel greenhouse is finished. Total time at this point – about 6 hours.  Everything is a bigger job than it seems like it’s going to be. Rake soil or mulch up to the gaps at the bottom to keep out drafts and (larger) critters.  Cats in particular are likely to be attracted to such a nice sheltered spot with a bed full of soft loose dirt to dig in so pay attention to the details. Rocks, bricks or concrete stepping stones or blocks placed on top of the soil/mulch around the outside edges are probably a good idea.


Here is a forum discussion on alternative ways to fasten plastic to your greenhouse. I haven’t tried the poly pipe clips that are discussed, so I can’t vouch for them, but it looks like a good idea that I would consider.  Here is a picture of a small greenhouse which uses that method:


This greenhouse uses clips made of sections of black poly pipe to attach the skin.


Before I even started on the hoop house I tilled copious amounts of compost into the beds where the greenhouse was going to end up.  So, even though I probably won’t get a chance to put up the doors until next weekend (which is Halloween), I’m all ready to plant some lettuce and spinach for (hopefully) some fresh mid winter greens. One of my goals in building this polytunnel is to have something fresh coming out of the garden or greenhouse all year long. That might be a little optimistic, but I’m going to give it a shot.



Complete Materials list for the “$50 Greenhouse” – As Built

Each      Qty    Total
$4. 23   6        $25.38           20′ x 3/4″ PVC schedule 40 plumbing pipe
$6.70    6        $40.20           1x6x8′ pt – ripped into 1x3s
$4.99    4        $19.96           8′ steel “T” fence post
$2.18    3        $6.54             2×4 stud – rip into 1x2s
$3.97    2        $7.94             1x4x12′ pt
$5.73    1        $5.73             2x4x16′ rip into 2x2s
$7.91    1        $7.91             20’x1/2″ rebar – cut into 18′ lengths
$4.88    .75     $3.66             8″ nylon wire ties – 100
$5.47    .5       $2.74             1 1/4″ x 1lb drywall screws
$6.97    .3       $2.09             16 guage galvanized utility wire – 200′ – for X braces
$2.97    .25     $0.74             3/8″ t-50 staples – 1000
$79.00  .22     $17.38           20′ x 100′ x 6 mil clear plastic
Scraps of plywood for reinforcements – scrounged
$140.27      Total

OK, that’s a bit more than I estimated because I didn’t count all of the minor bits that I just take for granted because I buy them in bulk and keep them on hand.  These prices are what you would pay if you just bought the quantities that you need for this project.  Drywall screws for example are only about a third as much when you buy a 25 lb box like I do being a contractor.    However, you can shave most of the 20 dollar overage by using 5/8 rebar instead of fence posts, and gray UV resistant PVC conduit which is actually less expensive than the non resistant white plumbing pipe that I used – you can also do without wire ties, and use scraps of wire instead, etc.  I already had everything on hand except for the PVC pipe and a couple of pieces of 1×6 lumber.  However, surely almost anyone can get some of this stuff for cheap or free if they put some time and effort into it – so shop around and use your imagination to find what will work best for you.

Admittedly it might be hard for most people to build this for just $50 out of pocket, but then again a serious scrounger can probably do it for even less

READAMAZING PEOPLE :Couple Builds Greenhouse AROUND House to Grow Food and Keep Warm

Hind Sight – What I would do Differently

  1. When I originally built this  hoophouse it collapsed under a moderate snow load but after adding the 2″ ridge on top of the ribs I have had no more trouble – despite several even larger snows.  I do put a pair of 2×4 props under the ridge when I know that snow is coming though – for insurance.

  2. Use UV resistant gray PVC Conduit instead of white plumbing pipe – it should last longer and is actually less expensive

  3. Use UV resistant greenhouse plastic instead of “visqueen” construction plastic – It’s a good bit more expensive, but I’m so pleased with how the polytunnel turned out so far that I’m pretty sure the investment in durability would be worth while.  However, if the extra expense meant putting off the project I would go ahead and use the cheap plastic because  1) The plastic will have to be replaced sooner or later anyway and the difference in cost seems proportional to the difference in life span 2) It wouldn’t be worth putting off having a perfectly usable greenhouse.

  4. I should have painted the PVC pipes with latex paint before applying the plastic sheeting – apparently this makes the poly sheet last longer, and maybe makes the frame pipes more resistant to UV.

  5. Site Selection – As you can see in the pictures my garden is in a clearing in the woods and the truth is it doesn’t get as much sun as I would like for it to – however I can still grow a nice garden – it just doesn’t yield as much as it might.  I can’t really do very much about this, but you should keep in mind that you want as much sun as possible as well as a sheltered well drained spot that is as close to the kitchen as possible so that it isn’t too much trouble to trot out and get a bowl of fresh lettuce for supper. All that being said – do the best you can with the spot you have, and you might be surprised with the results you can get with a little effort.

  6. Next time I think I will use screws and  battens made of plywood strips to secure the main skin to the end walls (I’m not talking about the end wall skin here) so that instead of using 200 staples I will use a couple of dozen screws to accomplish the same thing, but it will make it quicker to put up and take down.  When I do it I’ll add pictures for clarification.

BTW, Stumblers – Thanks for all the thumbs up.  Feel free to hotlink the images or scrape the text as long as you leave the links intact!

Other homebuilt greenhouses:

  • Another PVC greenhouse – quite similar to mine but with a few differences that are very worth looking at.

  • A great wood framed greenhouse design – great construction details.

  • An excellent article on high tunnel greenhouses by The University of Vermont.

The Greenhouse doors are built now and my small hoop house is complete.

The Lost Ways…a true story about our grandparents days! Watch this awesome video!




Other useful resources:

Alive After The Fall (Advice onto handling crisis situations )
US Water Revolution (Have Plenty of Water when others don't have any!)
Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)
Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )
Backyard Innovator (All Year Round Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)
Liberty Generator (Easy DIY to build your own off-grid free energy device)
Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)
Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )
Family Self Defense (Best Self Defense Strategies For You And Your Family)
Sold Out After Crisis (Best 37 Items To Hoard For A Long Term Crisis)

How to Build a Survivalist Homestead-GUARANTEED SUCCESS for Any Type Of Disaster (video & photo)



The author is a retired U.S. Army sergeant with a background in infantry, logistics and administrative and security training. He currently heads his own security firm and is an adjunct faculty member with the University of New Hampshire teaching seminars on home food production.

WHAT Is a Survivalist Homestead?

It is a home in which you can live in a real-world/present-time economy and social order, yet at the same time practice on a regular basis the survival skills you may need later.

All of this is accomplished while still living a normal life-style with access to work, schools, emergency services and stores, etc. But most importantly, you will not be in conflict with criminal, firearm or building codes, zoning ordinances, EPA regulations or planning board requirements.

The survivalist homestead offers one more very important option. That of helping you now to live a better quality life at a cheaper price and allowing you to shift to more severe survival plans only to the extent needed to meet emergencies.

In this video I show you how to survive one EMP attack.


In planning a survivalist homestead there are three concepts which must be incorporated into your thinking from the start and which must be adhered to if the goals are to be met. They are:

  • Plan A and Plan B-Plan A is that part of all planning of your homestead which has to do with dealing in the present/real world time frame. Plan B is the planning for whatever emergencies you feel could threaten you. Both plans must be such that they can co-exist in the same place at the same time.

  • One Effort with Multiple Results- This concept is simply “working smarter, not harder,” fine tuned to an almost absolute. Every effort must result in more than just the one primary result. It allows you to accomplish more goals with less expenditure of time and money, to facilitate the first concept.

  • Reduce, Re-use, Recycle- This concept is taken wholly from the environmental movement. Re-using material and recycling waste allows you to reduce expenses thus build with less cash outlay. This is also a skill you will need in any type of breakdown of social order, where normal access to stores and services will not be available.

Applying these concepts in homestead planning is not the first step. The first step is deciding what you are planning for-what emergencies or crises you might have to face.

This is subjective and no two people will feel that any one set of possible emergencies will be what they have to be ready for.

The process of thinking this through is called threat analysis. Done correctly it can give you an accurate picture of what it is you should be getting ready for.

READ: The Planned World War 3 – A Play in Numerous Acts

At the end of my threat analysis I decided that the following were what I wanted to be ready for:

1. Short term cash flow problems.

2. Severe weather conditions.

3.Economic upheaval on a large scale.

4. Catastrophic world events.Watch this educational video 


The first task in establishing a homestead is to find the land. You can eliminate many present-time and cirsis-time security problems with proper site location. At the same time the property should be located so that you have reasonable access to work, entertainment, schools and emergency services.

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Other important considerations are taxes, community growth plans, amount of land for your needs, zoning ordinances and building codes in the area where you plan to buy.

I chose my property because it was large enough (15 acres), had the right topography, available firewood, garden space, animal space, hunting and potential for water. Also the town has as part of its charter that the community will remain rural with little growth, no heavy industry or commerce and with farming as its main industry.

Crime, in normal times is a by product of growth and population density in urban and suburban life, and increased crime and civil disorder are the first results of cultural breakdown. My location has been chosen to avoid these to a great extent while still having reasonable contact with the real world.

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Finally my location allows me to use firearms, garden, raise animals and build pretty much what I want for now and the future because of the absence of myriad zoning regulations and building codes that are found in so many other communities today.

Security was at the top of my list of priorities in planning my homestead on the land I acquired. A poorly laid out homestead will result in one that is more difficult and costly to secure in both normal and crisis times.

Just locating the house-compound on a hill went a long way in avoiding problems with criminals now -Plan A-and in possible lawless times-Plan B. The compound is hard to see from the nearest road, especially in summer. It is impossible to tell just what is on the hill unless you walk or drive at least half way up the driveway.

By this time a would-be intruder or gang finds that the entire front of the compound area is blocked by a marshland to the east, extending a few hundred yards beyond my property line, and a deep dug pond connected to a series of beaver ponds that run nearly a half mile to the west beyond my property line.

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This fine example of an engineer water barrier is the result of hard working beavers that moved onto the adjoining property the same year I bought my parcel. Within a few years they had backed up enough water to flood all the aforementioned area except my driveway. The total cost to me for this barrier was $600 to have the deep pond dug. This system serves as a second source of water for emergencies, irrigation , swimming, and draws a wide variety of waterfowl, mammals, reptilles and fish which can be a food supply- One Effort with Multiple Results.Video below.


The water barrier freezes in winter. To deny access to the main compound all year round I knew I would have to install some type of fence, which could be expensive. Instead, I stacked brush and tree limbs from land-clearng operations around the top edge of the hill on which my home-compound was located-Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. This created an instant barricade called an abatis. In most places it was around three feet high and as much as eight feet wide.

The next year native New Hampshire blackberries, that grow in abundance in the area, made their appearance and soon formed a living flesh-tearing barbed wire barrier where the brush had been stacked. Unlike a fence that deteriorates and has to be maintained every year, my barrier just gets thicker and stronger without me lifting a finger except to cut it back here and there it also provides a good amount of fresh fruit and attracts animals which, on occasion, end up on the dining room table-One Effort with Multiple Results.

In building my home I wanted a strong dwelling which was also aesthetically pleasing, practical for day-to-day living and would meet all the zoning and building codes and yet would meet the emergencies I plan for.

Solar Heating-I used a lot of rough-cut lumber, stucco and stone inside the house I used one-inch lumber instead of sheet rock for the walls and ceilings because of its structural strength.

The kitchen, living room, dining room and master bedroom are on the south side of the house. This side has large areas of glass windows to allow solar heating during the colder months. The colder the season gets the lower the sun is on the horizon. By Dec. 21, the sun floods almost straight through the south windows, keeping the inside temperature around 65 degrees F. By June21, the sun is now high in the sky, adding little heat to the house during warmer months.

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Because solar gain heating can overheat a house in the day time, there is a need for something to absorb the excess heat during the day and radiate it back into the house later on. This is called thermal mass. It is achieved by having no basement and building instead on a concrete slab, sometimes called a floating slab or a monolith slab.

Free energy is the idea that a low-cost power source can be found that requires little to no input to generate a significant amount of electricity. Such devices can be divided into two basic categories: “over-unity” devices that generate more energy than is provided in fuel to the device, and ambient energy devices that try to extract energy from the environment.

Liberty Generator was created as a remedy to the problem of huge electricity bills that are constantly increasing even higher. There was a need to discover a cost efficient way that we can use to power our houses and be energy independent that would not cost a whole lot of money and that would not be difficult to build.Lets look this infographic.


For additional mass-and protection from gunfire if the need should arise-I built a solid concrete block wall of four-inch thick blocks almost the whole length of the house.

This wall collects heat from the wood/coal stove to prevent overheating of the north side rooms and then radiates it back late at night. This stove except for the Ben Franklin stove in the master bedroom which is used only occasionally, is the only source of man-made heat we have had for the past three winters.

Plans for this year call for the addition of a propane gas heating system. The gas system will be one that does not rely on electricity to function. Once again if the heating system is connected to house current the loss of electricity means no heat. The wood/coal stove will be kept for back-up, cooking and heating, and just for the pleasure of a wood fire in the winter.

The north wall of the house is just the opposite, as far as windows go, of the south wall. The smallest windows allowed by code are placed here. These are the bathrooms, toilet and bedrooms. These rooms remain empty most of the day and do not need as much light. The smaller windows reduce heat loss and restrict entry from the outside.

To further reduce heat loss the north wall is triple insulated. Standard fiberglass was installed, then one-inch rigid insulation over the studs, and 7/16-inch flake board over the insulation there are no breaks in this barrier except the windows, to allow heat to escape or cold wind to infiltrate the house if desired.

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Lastly, all closet space was built into the north wall to create as much “dead space” as possible to further isolate the heat in the house from radiational cooling.

Still Room, Root cellar, Work Shed-Once the main house was up the still room, root cellar, and work shop/shed were added.

A still room was the part of a colonial home where fermentation of home made brews, “kraut” making and pickling were conducted. It was also used to store smoked foods, beverages and other preserved items. I use ours for most of the same reasons and it is also where the water pressure system, well, washer and drier are located.

The dryer is vented through the root cellar by way of a four-inch PVC pipe Part of the system is underground in the root cellar which has a sand floor. This section of pipe has holes in it so condensed moisture can drain into the sand and humidify the root cellar when the drier is used. The end of the pipe has a fixture that allows me to vent the air outside when it is too warm in the cellar or vent into the cellar when it is too cold.


Root cellars are generally constructed underground or in hillsides. Mine is above ground because, with modern insulating materials, it was just cost effective and time saving to do so. In the cellar I can store appropriate food stuffs to last until late spring when the following year’s crops start to come in. This is also a good place to store jugs of water in the event we lose electricity.


The wood storage area at the entrance of the still room holds about a half cord of firewood. With this entrance facing south the sun hits the wood pile every day in the winter, melting snow left on it after it is brought in from outside storage. This means we can bring wood into the house night or day and any weather without making a mess all over the place with melting snow.

The summer kitchen is where all the initial cleaning of garden and animal products takes place. All waste can go directly to the compost heap. Waste water from the sink goes directly to garden irrigation after passing through a grease trap. The contents of the grease trap also go to the compost heap.1

Small shed, 8×7, near the house that I use as a pump/filter house for a koi pond. This building has a 7 foot deep basement made of cinder block which houses an open top settling tank, so humidity will be high. The basement and main floor have a grate between them. I was planning on having an air intake near the ceiling on the main floor and an inline fan in the basement to vent outside. Is this backwards? Do I need the intake coming into the basement and the fan exhausting from the main floor? This building has R-19 insulated walls and R-30 ceiling.

The Well-Most wells are outside the home and at some distance. Mine is unusual as it is in the still room of the main house.


Few people have the well in a building, other than a small pumphouse, because when the pump and pipe have to be brought up for service, equipment and often a truck have to be used to get the 150 or 200 feet of pipe-full of water- and the pump up.

My well is 700 feet deep and a truck with the proper equipment will be needed to haul everything up. For this reason, the door leading to the outside lines up with the well so the truck needs only to back up and start working.

Having the well in the still room also means there is no chance of freeze ups or busting pipes that are at least four feet underground. The well is also constantly under lock and key where it cannot be tampered with. All of this comes under Plan A should a disaster strike that is so far reaching as to reduce our culture’s technology to pre-electrical days, I can remove the pump and pipe and still reach my water in comfort and safety any time of the year-Plan B. I would simply use a container just an inch or so smaller in diameter than the 8 inch pipe well shaft.

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The container has a flap valve on the bottom and is suspended by a rope. As it is dropped through the water, the valve is pushed open and the container fills. When pulled up the force of the water pushes the valve back down and seats it so the container stays full. Though the well is 700 feet deep, the water level is only 35 feet from the top when it is full. This gives me at 1 1/2 gallons per foot, about 800 gallons in reserve.

In New Hampshire, as in most states, you cannot get a building permit without a state approved septic system plan. I applied Plan A by putting in a normal flush toilet as the main one in the home and a composting toilet.


The composting toilet needs no special hook up except for a vent through the roof. When you lose electricity that means there is no well pump either, and thus no flush toilet. But the composting one will still be functional for at least three days.

Producing your own food on a constant basis means you not only have a constant source of reliable food, but you also have the prepared land and facilities, tools and skills to keep going. You can do it all, from planting a garden bed to sowing, raising, cleaning, butchering and preserving your produce, meats and fish.

The most common argument against the whole process of home food production is the time involved, followed by cost. While this is a subject which merits an entire article in itself and there isn’t enough space in this article to go into it in depth,suffice it to say that if you have the resources and time to establish your own home food production, you will find it well worth your while.

It should be said that there is a difference between preparing for the collapse and live there after and just purchasing supplies as to insulate yourself from consequences of collapse. If you dont have a garden in your preps than i dont think you’re really prepping.

I have to admit that the initial efforts to set up garden space and small animal facilities is time consuming though not necessarily expensive. But, the set up time is a one-shot effort.

I have used many techniques-too numerous to include here- for saving time, energy, and money in producing food,and in the end I decided to use Aquaponic System to grow  organic and living food bank.Video below.


In growing tomatoes in the garden area for example, newsprint and grass clippings have been put down in the tomato bed to prevent weeds from growing and reduce the need to water.

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For a few hours work a week in home food production from late April through October, you can raise prepare and put up (store) most of your food for a year. And doing so reduces your cost of purchasing the same amounts and types of food by half or more.

In addition to this you should also know how to calculate food needs, food costs and production costs and some techniques for gardening, animal husbandry and food preservation.

The lessons learned by early homesteaders still apply today.

1. Analyze possible threats to you
2 Choose terrain that lends itself to defense.
3. Plan security around the principles of “Avoidance.” “Deception” and “Denial.”
4. Reduce costs and effort as well as help the environment, by following the concepts of “Plan A and Plan B, “One Effort with Multiple Results” and “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.”
5. Assure yourself good shelter, reliable water and constant food.

Think about this as you reflect on your own plans to survive… now and later.

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12 Healing Herbs You Need To Grow In Your Medicinal Garden


Medicinal plants grown in your own gardens can reduce your dependence on drugs, if not completely eliminate them. But growing random herbs with medicinal properties doesn’t help.

It is a common myth that all herbal preparations are safe by virtue of being natural. This is far from true. A typical example is foxglove or Digitalis purpurea. It has a positive effect on heart function, with the cardiac drug digitalin extracted from the plant. However, ingesting any part of the plant can induce nausea and vomiting, and can even lead to total collapse from digitalis intoxication and death.

Accessibility is another issue, as in the case of rosy periwinkle Catharanthus roseus/Vinca rosea from which anticancer drugs vinblastine and vincristine are obtained. You don’t benefit from growing this plant unless you are an experienced herbalist who can put it to good use. Otherwise, it will just remain a display specimen in your garden. You need to grow plants whose goodness you can access through simple preparations such as teas and infusions, poultices and powders.

Some medicinal plants are to be used for treating specific ailments, while others have a generalized positive effect on our health when used regularly. Many herbs belonging to the latter group have found their way into our culinary scene as flavoring agents. Your medicinal garden should ideally have such plants that have practical uses for the common man besides being easy to grow.

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Here’s a practical guide to a few of the accessible herbs that have stood the test of time:

1. Aloe vera


Aloe vera is well known as a skin-friendly plant. It is one medicinal plant people really make use of, since it is generally safe and requires no processing before use. It is a must-have in every garden whether you grow it in pots or in the ground.

Aloe vera plants grow well in a sunny location in warmer areas where there is not much danger of killer frosts. Being a succulent, this drought resistant plant requires very little care and thrives in poor soil. It suckers freely, so you can start with just one or two plants sourced from a reliable supplier. There are several aloes around; not all of them are edible or have the medicinal properties attributed to Aloe vera.

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The jelly-like, colorless pulp of mature leaves can be applied to minor cuts and burns and to dry, inflamed, or damaged skin due to eczema or other skin conditions. It is an excellent moisturizer with anti-inflammatory and mild antimicrobial effect. The leaf pulp can be eaten too. Regular use can prevent constipation and relieve other digestive problems, including ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

2. Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)


This natural hybrid of spearmint and watermint is widely use in dental hygiene products, mouth fresheners, soothing balms and candies. Quite possibly the oldest medicinal herb to be used by man, there’s evidence that peppermint has been used for thousands of years. Grow it in a part of the garden where the plants are assured of water and give it plenty of room to spread.

Sip a tea made of a handful of peppermint leaves to calm stomach upsets and relieve pain and discomfort due to gas. Carry a few sprigs of peppermint when you travel.  Sniffing on it every now and then will prevent nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness.

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The active ingredient menthol found in abundance in peppermint, as well as in many other aromatic members of the mint family, has a cooling effect on the skin. Make a poultice of the leaves and apply it on the skin to relieve itching and burning resulting from skin allergies and inflammatory conditions. It has mild analgesic action, and relieves headaches and muscle cramps.

3. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)


This perennial herb with tiny, aromatic leaves is a great addition to any medicinal herb collection. Thyme is easy to grow in a sunny location and thrives between rocks and boulders, braving summer heat and winter freezes. The characteristic scent of thyme comes from the volatile oil containing thymol, which gets released at the slightest touch. Many herbs contain this powerful antiseptic phenolic compound, but thyme oil has more than 50% thymol content.

Use an infusion of thyme as a gargle to get rid of bad breath and mouth sores. It can help with tonsillitis and laryngitis. Crushed fresh thyme applied on the neck is said to reduce throat infections. Inhaling the vapors reduces nervous exhaustion.

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The most important use of thyme is to treat respiratory tract infections. Thyme extract is taken orally to relieve bronchitis, chest congestion, asthma, and whooping cough. A teaspoonful of thyme extract mixed with equal amount of honey can be given in divided doses to young children.

4. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)


Rosemary is more of a woody shrub, but it deserves a place in every herb garden for its medicinal and culinary uses. Although it doesn’t look anything like other mint plants, it belongs to the same plant family. From the suffixofficinalis, it is clear that rosemary has been counted as a medicinal plant from long ago, but in our medicinal garden, it is to be used for general health and wellbeing, rather than for specific problems.

Long known as the herb of remembrance, the claim that rosemary enhances memory has had a boost from recent research findings. The carnosic acid in the herb has been shown to prevent brain damage and neurodegeneration of the hippocampus induced by beta-amyloid peptides. These peptides are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. In separate studies Rosemary oil has been found to improve cognitive function and reduce brain aging. Its potential in cancer treatment also has been promising.


Grow Rosemary in a pot or plant several in a line to form an aromatic hedge in the garden. Use the leaves regularly in cooking and herbal teas to derive maximum benefit.

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5. Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)


No medicine chest is complete without chamomile flower heads. They can be made into a soothing tea that can calm a troubled mind as well as a colicky baby. Its widespread use across many cultures and for many ailments is proof enough for its safety and effectiveness.

There’s more than one type of chamomile, but the one we want is the Roman chamomile Chamaemelum nobile.This hairy plant has finely divided leaves and white daisy-like flowers with bright yellow centers, but that description doesn’t help much in telling it apart from German chamomile. That’s why scientific names are important for identifying medicinal plants.

When you grow chamomile, you can make a tea from fresh flower heads or dry them for later use. Take a handful of flowers in a bowl and pour boiling hot water over them. Allow to steep for 15-20 minutes and drain. Have a cup of this soothing brew when you feel anxious or unsettled, or before bedtime in case you have difficulty falling asleep.

A tablespoonful or two should calm babies and young children having colicky pain or stomach upsets. Use it as gargle to relieve mouth ulcers. Bathe the skin affected with eczema several times a day with cooled chamomile tea.

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6. Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)


Pot marigold with its yellow and orange flowers is a delightful addition to any garden. Not very finicky about soil fertility or pH, it can be grown easily from seeds and can be treated as an annual or perennial depending on your growing zone.

The edible flowers can be used to treat almost any problem related to skin. Use a poultice of the petals to relieve sunburn and to clear up acne and blemishes on the skin. Use it as an antiseptic on cuts and bruises. It stops bleeding and reduces inflammation when applied on nicks and cuts. Many skin ointments contain pot marigold extract as the active ingredient.

A tea made of the flowers is taken to get relief from varicose veins and to ease digestive problems.

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7. Sage (Salvia officinalis)


Plants of the aalvia family have a long history of being used medicinally, as is evident from their family name.Salvia officinalis is the common sage that has slightly thick and elongated grey green leaves used in cooking, and for good reason. It can improve appetite and prevent flatulence.


This plant has a hormone regulatory effect on women. A tea of the leaves can relieve dysmenorrhea and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome and menopause.  Inhaling an infusion of sage gives relief to respiratory problems, including asthma. It reduces excessive sweating and salivation too. Sage is neuroprotective, and is used to treat Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression.

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8. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)


This herb is worth growing for the delightful fragrance of its tiny flowers alone, but it can be used therapeutically as a pick-me-up. Inhaling the fragrance of the flowers is sufficient to get relief from headache and depression. The essential oil extracted from the flowers has an important place in aromatherapy.

Add a handful of lavender flowers to the bathwater or place pouches of dried flowers under the pillow to get relaxed sleep. Make the best of the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of lavender by infusing the flowers in water and using it to wash face and damaged skin. It can clear acne and accelerate wound healing.

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9. Echinacea (E. purpurea / E. angustifolia)


The purple coneflower Echinacea is a stalwart in the native North American herbal medicine. It has an immunostimulatory action that enables the body to fight bacterial and viral infections. Commercial Echinacea products are in great demand during the flu season. Regular users swear by their efficacy as vehemently as conventional medical practitioners try to discredit them.

Native Americans used the roots to treat wounds, insect bites, burns, and even snake bites. Now flower buds are more commonly used as a cold and flu remedy. Of the many different purple coneflowers native to North America, E. purpurea and E. angustifolia are the two most favored species. You can grow either of them in a sunny location in your garden. These biennial plants flower only in the second season.

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Use fresh flower buds to make an infusion to prevent and treat cold and flu. A tincture made with alcohol is considered more potent. It involves steeping the flower buds or roots, or both, in pure, concentrated alcohol for 4-6 weeks, and then filtering out the liquid.

10. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)


This is another vigorously growing herbaceous plant that has a weed status today in most places. However, the roots and leaves of comfrey are traditionally used to treat ligament injuries and broken bones, earning it common names like boneset and knit bone. Other uses of the leaf and root poultice include relief from arthritic pain and varicose vein ulcers.

Although comfrey extract has a history of being used internally to treat excess menstrual flow, gastrointestinal problems and stomach ulcers, only topical application is recommended today. The allantoin in the plant can aid tissue repair and regeneration. Gargling with an infusion of comfrey leaves helps relieve sore throat and gum disease.

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11. Broadleaf plantain (Plantago major)


This plant is considered a weed, but it has several medicinal properties including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing ability. The fresh leaves are mashed and applied as a poultice to wounds, insect bites and skin sores for pain relief and to promote healing. The allantoin in the plant is a cell growth promoter. Another bioactive compound aucubin is a mild antibiotic, and the high mucilage content soothes the injured skin and relieves pain.

A tea brewed from fresh leaves is astringent, and helps control diarrhea. The leaves are eaten by people suffering from gout since aucubin increases uric acid excretion by the kidneys.

12. Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)


This tall plant growing up to 2 feet high stands out anywhere it grows. But if you offer it a place in your medicinal garden, you can harvest the leaves and the flowers. They have been used for over 2,000 years to treat respiratory tract problems.

Mullein tea made with leaves or flowers is an excellent expectorant. It is used to relieve cough associated with bronchitis and consumption. The mucilage in the plant helps loosen the phlegm and the saponins help flush them out. When the infection has affected the lungs, mullein leaves are rolled up and smoked to relieve chest congestion.

The roots are used to treat skin infections, including warts and athlete’s foot. Powder the dried roots and apply it on the affected area several times a day. Mullein flower tea is also effective in treating warts.

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Note: All herbs should be used with caution because they contain powerful bioactive compounds. Start with small quantities initially to test your tolerance. Watch out for allergic reactions. People who have ragweed allergy may have similar reactions to medicinal plants belonging to that family.

When you feel good with a recommended amount of a given herb, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will feel better with larger quantities or a stronger brew. To derive maximum benefit out of the herbs you grow, try to learn as much about them as you can. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs Book is a great place to start.

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Market Gardening and Community Farming-How to Make a Perfect Living on 1.5 Acres- Full Guide


“Les Jardins de la Grelinette” is the author’s thriving 1.5-acre market garden in Saint-Armand, Quebec.”

Many people believe that a small-scale market garden can’t compete economically with larger industrial growers. For more than a decade, however, my wife and I have supported our four-person family solely by intensively farming 1.5 acres. We offer our experience here as a road map to help you start your own successful market farm.

We began our farming careers as “WWOOFers” (volunteers with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), and later worked as farm managers on someone else’s market farm. After we spent some time learning abroad, we came home to Quebec to pursue our own farming project. We started small by growing produce on one-fifth of an acre and by living simply — in a tipi!

After a few years, we longed to put down roots in the community and expand our farm, but we needed to generate income. To make payments on a small plot, fund the construction of a modest home, and cover the expenses that surround a growing family and business, we made a decision that might sound contradictory to economic growth: we decided to stay small.


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We wanted to continue relying on inexpensive hand tools and light power tools. We even named our farm Les Jardins de la Grelinette after la grelinette (“broadfork”), a tool that epitomizes efficient hand labor in organic gardening. We’ve always believed that it’s possible — even preferable — to intensify production through smart gardening techniques. Our motto became “Grow better instead of bigger.”

A Biologically Intensive Approach to Market Gardening

We began by investing in a large quantity of organic matter to create rich, living soil. We continue to add compost regularly, while restricting the tilling of the soil to the surface. This method keeps the soil’s structure as intact as possible. By improving the soil’s structure, we’ve been able to sow crops close together, resulting in higher yields and reduced weed growth.

We further maximized our growing space by planting as many succession crops as possible. To make a crop-rotation plan, we had to first determine the length of time each crop would spend in the garden, and then schedule our plantings so we could replace harvested crops with new plants or seeds as soon as possible. With our crop-rotation plan in hand, we succeeded in producing multiple harvests from the same permanent garden beds.

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Use a Walk-Behind Tractor for Maximum Production

We wanted to avoid the investment necessary for maintaining a large, four-wheeled tractor, so we rely on a small-but-mighty walk-behind tractor with multiple detachable implements. Learn about two-wheeled tractor options online.

The soil’s integrity is our top priority, so we’ve opted for a rotary-power harrow (shownhere), which stirs and prepares the topsoil for planting while retaining the vitality of the bed’s subsoil. We also use a “tilther” — a clever tool powered by an electric drill that does a great job of mixing amendments into the soil (available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds). All of our tools, including row covers and two-wheel tractor implements, are sized to work efficiently in our uniform, permanent beds, which are all 30 inches wide by 100 feet long, with 18 inches between each bed.

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Weeding can be extremely time-consuming, so to discourage weed growth, smother crop debris and dedicate our time elsewhere, we cover the soil with black plastic mulch. UV-resistant, black polyethylene tarps do an especially good job of diminishing pesky weed pressure. The explanation is simple: Weeds germinate in the warm, moist conditions created by the tarp, but are then killed by the absence of light. This weeding technique is called “occultation,” and it saves us a lot of work. The great thing about these methods is that they’re relatively inexpensive, especially when compared with the large equipment and expensive chemical inputs used in traditional farming setups.

Remove the Middleman for a Financially Successful Market Garden


Direct selling via farmers markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs allows market farming to be a financially successful career choice in today’s economy. These expanding avenues for direct producer-to-consumer sales allow growers to recover the large portion of profit that’s traditionally scooped up by distributors and wholesalers. For example, most grocery stores take a cut of between 35 and 50 percent of an item’s selling price. The distributor, who transports and handles the product, takes another 15 to 25 percent. This means that salad greens sold for $2 in a store will only bring the vegetable grower about 75 cents. That’s a big loss! Market farmers, on the other hand, can receive all the profit for their product if they’re willing to put forth their own time and effort on marketing, sales and distribution.At Les Jardins de la Grelinette, we favor the CSA model because it guarantees sales and simplifies our production plan .

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Last year, we sold 46 percent of our produce to our 140-member CSA program; 44 percent at two farmers markets; and the remaining 10 percent, which was mesclun mix, to a few local restaurants and a nearby grocery store. We peddled produce to approximately 250 families. Don’t forget, we live in Quebec, where the growing season is shorter than most U.S. regions, despite our application of season-extending techniques. If you live in a warmer climate, you should be able to sell even more.

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Whether you choose to use a CSA model, farmers markets or a combination of avenues, direct selling builds a loyal customer base and develops interdependent relationships with clients. This can take a few years, and you can’t overlook two key components: quality and presence.

When it comes to customer loyalty, quality of the product is vital. Always wash and neatly display your vegetables. Be present at market stands and CSA program drop-off points. Bigger, mechanized, faceless operations will never be able to compete with you if you’re producing top-quality produce and consistently showing up to form an ongoing, positive relationship with your customers.


Small Market Farms Can Be Profitable

Market gardening provides the opportunity to get started little by little. In our first year of production — on less than one-fifth of an acre of rented land — we sold $20,000 worth of produce. The following year, our sales more than doubled to $55,000. In our third growing season, we invested in new tools and settled on our current farm site. By increasing our amount of cultivated land to 1.5 acres, we increased our gross sales to $80,000. When our sales broke the $100,000 mark the following year, our micro-farm reached a level of production and financial success that most people in the agricultural industry had previously believed to be impossible. We’ve only continued to grow since then.For us, $39,000 was enough to provide all the tools and equipment we needed to start a small-scale market garden, including one greenhouse, two hoop houses, irrigation equipment, a walk-behind tractor with implements, a cold room for vegetable storage, and more (see “Start-Up Costs” further in this article for a full list of equipment).

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This may sound like a lot of money, but consider that a bank loan of $39,000, spread out over five years at 8 percent interest per year, meant that our annual payments were about $9,500. Compared with the potential revenue of an intensively managed market garden, these payments were entirely manageable. Plus, this figure is much less than the costs for an industrial farm on hundreds of acres.Of course, this initial investment wasn’t our only business expense. It doesn’t include certain necessities, such as a reliable delivery vehicle, land rental or purchase fees, or utilities.


As you can see from this pie chart, 19 percent of our annual budget is allocated to paying back our loan. The largest portion (33 percent) goes toward paying our two full-time employees. After those two large cuts, we spend the remaining 48 percent of our budget on utilities, insurance, fuel, seeds, soil inputs, packing and promotional materials, and other miscellaneous necessities. All in all, last year’s production expenses added up to $98,914.

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This may sound intimidating, but before you back out, know that our revenue last year was $154,386, for a net income of $55,472. My wife and I have been able to support our four-person family with that level of income — plus, we’re our own bosses, live a life that’s connected to the Earth and the food we produce, eat really fresh, healthy fare, and have winters off. We’re not getting rich, but we believe our work is honorable, and we’re living the life we set out to create.

Advantages of the CSA Model


Guaranteed sales. The main advantage of the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model is that production is prepaid at the start of the season, often before the first seed has even been sown. This model allows the farmer to budget with greater precision.

Simpler production plans. Because members have already purchased the produce, the farmer can plan production based on sales. After determining the number of customers, the farmer can plan the contents of each delivery beforehand. This is even more important for growers who don’t yet have much farming experience to base their year on.

Risk sharing. The idea behind CSA programs is that the risks inherent to agriculture are shared between the farmer and the members. When members sign up, they authorize a contract inviting them to be tolerant in case of hail, drought or any other natural catastrophe. If the season is good, the members will receive more than planned, but if the season is bad, they’ll receive less. For the farmer, it’s similar to taking out an insurance plan on the harvest.


Customer loyalty. CSA models allow farmers to build customer loyalty and tangible relationships between consumers and the farm. Many of our members have been buying vegetables from us for many years now. These people know us, they’ve come out to visit the farm, and they greatly appreciate the work we do. As its name suggests, community-supported agriculture really does have the power to build community.

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Start-Up Costs

Greenhouse (25’ x 100’): $11,000
2-wheeled tractor and accessories: $8,500
2 hoop houses (15’ x 100’): $7,000
Cold room: $4,000
Irrigation system: $3,000
Furnace: $1,150
Flame weeder: $600
Indoor seeding equipment: $600
Hoes and wheel hoe: $600
Floating row cover, insect netting and hoops: $600
Electric fencing: $500
Harvest cart: $350
Seeders: $300
Harvest baskets and scales: $300
Broadfork: $200
Rakes, shovels, spades, wheelbarrow: $200
Sprayer: $100

Total: $39,000

In this video, I will unearth a long-forgotten secret that helped our ancestors survive famines, wars, economic crises, diseases, droughts, and anything else life threw at them… a secret that will help you do the same for your loved ones when America crumbles into the ground.
I’m also going to share with you three old lessons that will ensure your children will be well fed when others are rummaging through garbage bins. In fact, these three old teachings will improve your life immediately once you hear them.




DOOMSDAY IS HERE!! Are You Ready For Disaster? 70 Tips That Will Help You Survive What Is About To Happen To America in 2016


You may have noticed that things are starting to get crazy.

Financial markets are imploding, violent crime rates are soaring in our major cities, and we have witnessed a truly unusual series of natural disasters in recent months. War in the Middle East continues to rage out of control, and Islamic terror continues to spread all over the globe. And many believe that 2016 is going to be a year of political shaking, civil unrest, governmental crackdowns and great economic chaos in the United States.

All it is going to take to plunge our society into full-blown panic mode is a major “trigger event” of some sort. Another 9/11, a new “Lehman Brothers” moment, a massive EMP burst from the sun or a historic seismic event are all examples of what this “trigger event” could look like.
So are you ready for what is about to happen to America? In previous articles, I have urged my readers to focus on the five basics – food, water, shelter, energy and self-defense. If you focus on those five things, you will probably be in pretty good shape during any major disaster or emergency.
In this article, I want to dig a little deeper and give people some more specific tips regarding what they can do to prepare for the times that we are now entering. The following are 70 tips that will help you survive what is going to happen to America…

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1. A lot of the “experts” out there are urging people to get rid of all of their cash. That is a huge mistake. You are going to need cash to pay your bills – especially during the initial phases of the coming crisis. Today, 63 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and millions of them will be severely hurting almost immediately once they lose their jobs or their businesses go under during this new economic downturn.

2. Get to know your neighbors. As the coming time of trouble unfolds, you are going to want to have people around you that you can trust and depend on.

3. Learn how to grow a garden. Food costs will continue to rise and our food distribution system is far more vulnerable than most people would dare to imagine. Any way that you can become more “food independent” would be a good thing.


4. At this point, you should already have several years of emergency food stored up for each member of your family. And don’t forget to store additional food for friends and family members that haven’t prepared and will need to come stay with you.

5. Make a “bug out plan” for your family, and make certain that every member of your family knows what the rally points are in case you all get separated.

6. Every member of your family should have a “bug out bag“. These should contain everything that they will need in the event of a major emergency.

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7. If you are going to “strategically relocate” before things get really bad in this country, hopefully you have already done so by now. If not, you are working on borrowed time.

8. When civil unrest starts really spiraling out of control, it would be in your interest to avoid “America’s death zones” if possible.

9. Always have the gas tanks in your vehicles at least halfway full. You never know when you will need to hit the road in an emergency situation.

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10. Put away some extra fuel for your generator while fuel costs are low.
11. Think ahead about what medicines and medical supplies you and your family will need during a major crisis.

12. Try to stock up on things that will make good barter items when the overall economy begins to totally break down.

13. There are non-electric versions of various appliances. Some examples include washing machines and coffee makers.

14. How are you going to cook your food when the power goes out for an extended period of time? You may want to consider a sun oven if you don’t have one already.

15. Don’t have all of your eggs in one basket. That includes not having all of your money in one location. If you have a bank account, consider spreading that money around to two or three different bank accounts.

16. You will want to keep at least some cash at home in case you are not able to access ATM machines during a major crisis.

17. If you can get out of debt without jeopardizing your other preparations, you should consider doing so. Those that are “lean and mean” financially will be in much better shape – especially during the initial stages of the coming crisis.

18. Physical gold and silver are good ways to protect your wealth over the long-term. As I have warned repeatedly, we will continue to see big ups and big downs for precious metals, so if you are going to invest you have got to be able to handle the ride.

19. Reduce your expenses and get accustomed to a more minimal standard of living. Now is not the time to be spending lots of money on fancy new toys.

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20. If you have the time and energy, starting a side business may not be a bad idea. That way if you lose your job, you still have some income coming in.

21. You need to have a plan for fresh water in the event of a major emergency. Without water none of us can survive, and is imperative that you have a plan to provide clean drinking water for your family when disaster strikes.

22. If you can afford to get partially or totally “off the grid”, that would be a very good thing. Many preppers are discovering that they can do amazing things with wind, solar and water power.

23. Anyone that has spent more than a few hours without power knows how frustrating this can be. You need to have a plan for how you are going to provide power to your home that is independent of the power company.

24. Rotate your food supplies. Eat your oldest stuff first even though it may be tempting to dig into the stuff that you just purchased.

25. If you have a baby, don’t forget the special things that your baby will need during a major crisis.
26. Many preppers totally forget about their pets. You should store the food and supplies that they will need during an extended emergency.

27. This may sound trivial, but the truth is that our entertainment-addicted society would become very bored and very frustrated if the grid suddenly went down for an extended period of time. Card games and other basic forms of entertainment can make enduring a crisis much easier.

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28. In the years ahead, being able to defend your home is going to become increasingly important. When the economy crashes, people are going to start to become very desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.


29. No plan ever unfolds perfectly. When your plan is disrupted, what will you do? It will be imperative for all of us to have a back-up plan and to be flexible during the years ahead.

30. Do not go around and tell everyone in the area where you live about your prepping. If you do, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with “visitors” when everything falls apart.
The following are items that are commonly recommended by survivalist experts that you may want to consider storing in case they are needed during a major crisis or emergency…

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31. Blankets
32. Warm Clothing
33. Gloves
34. Extra Flashlights
35. First Aid Kits
36. Lighters
37. Matches
38. Duct Tape
39. A Shovel
40. A Tent
41. Knives
42. Mylar Blankets
43. Body Armor
44. Salt
45. Propane
46. Vitamins
47. An Axe
48. A Can Opener
49. A Battery-Powered Radio
50. Extra Batteries
51. A Fire Extinguisher
52. A Sewing Kit
53. A Tool Kit
54. Comfortable Shoes Or Hiking Boots
55. A Map Of Your Area
56. A Compass
57. Sleeping Bags
58. Candles
59. A Camp Stove
60. An LED Headlamp
61. Lightsticks
62. Heirloom Seeds
63. Clorox
64. Wood Socks, Sweaters And Mittens
65. Personal Hygiene Items
66. Ziplock Bags
67. A Watch Or Some Other Way To Tell Time
68. Extra Copies Of Your Financial Records
69. Spare Glasses
70. Prescription Medications

Are there any additional tips that you would add to this list?
Please feel free to share your knowledge with the rest of us by posting a comment below.

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The Cluckin’ Basics:5 Strong Reasons To Keeping Chickens for the Next Catastrophe




Thanks to recent natural disasters and other catastrophes, a lot of people have started to see the value of food storage. Of course, if the idea of living on canned ravioli and tuna fish doesn’t sound all that appealing to you, you may consider keeping chickens as part of your food storage.

Not only do they make eggs appear every day like magic, but they also provide you with a fresh chicken dinner while you are waiting to have access to the grocery store again. Unfortunately, chickens don’t remain happy and healthy tucked away on your pantry’s shelf, so here are some tips to get you started.

1. Check the Law Books

Nobody likes confrontation—especially with the police and most definitely not with that nosy homeowner’s association lady (you know the one). So before you bring home those cute little chicks, check out the local laws and subdivision rules to make sure you are allowed to have them. Clear the idea with your neighbors if they are close as well.


2. Select the Right Breed

If you live in someplace like North Dakota, getting chickens that are used to hot climates won’t survive through that long, cold winter. When selecting a breed, research which breed will thrive best in the climate you live in. On top of climate, look at whether the breed is known to lay frequently or infrequently.

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The Rhode Island Red is a popular breed for getting a plentiful egg supply. Don’t forget to check the sex! Roosters don’t produce eggs, and are awfully noisy. Make sure all of the chicks you get are hens. If you’d like to use your chickens for meat, check into how good the breeds are for meat, and how capable they are at foraging for their own food.


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3. Free Range or Coop?

Free range chickens are fun to watch as they peck the ground and give themselves dirt baths, but they also have a tendency to make a mess, wander where they aren’t wanted and get attacked by predators.

If you want to go free range, be sure there is still an outer fence, such as around a yard or field, to keep them contained and that they have some kind of protection from predators.


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A rooster will fight a predator to the death to protect his flock, but your presence can also warn off aggressive animals. Cooped chickens will stay completely safe, but they won’t have access to a free range diet or be quite as fun to have.

4. Food

Stock up on poultry feed for your chickens as they can’t live, generally, on what they find on your lawn (especially in winter). Fresh or dried worms, white grapes, pomegranate seeds and cherry tomatoes are also all good options and provide a nice treat. Chickens also make a nice food disposal, so toss them your leftover kitchen scraps. It’s like turning trash into fresh eggs.

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5. Building the Coop

A chicken coop must be made to be completely secure from outside predators. As such, avoid building the coop directly on the ground where predators could easily sneak themselves up through a hole in the soil. Instead, build a raised coop with a floor. Use a smooth material to build the coop, as it will be easier to clean or paint, and construct outside access boxes, so you can retrieve the eggs without disturbing the hens.


“If my husband had his way, we’d live on a farm,” says Heather Bullard, whose career as a photo stylist instead requires close proximity to Los Angeles. So she and her agriculture-obsessed spouse, Jim, compromised by constructing a chicken coop.


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Since the Bullards’ Riverside, California, backyard barely covers a quarter acre, looks mattered as much as function. Together, the two designed a Cape Cod–inspired structure that’s prettier than many human dwellings—and built it themselves for $1,600, using stock building materials and hardware from Home Depot.

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1Solar powered chicken coop, light, auto open door, etc.

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Egg Skelter. For those of us with fresh eggs, it keeps you using the oldest first and never mixing them up.

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Coolest Chicken Coops

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What people have learned building their coops…..good ideas

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The Green Wall – The Best System Project:Vertical Garden Bottle -Full Guide



Together with my friend Gilbert VAN DAMME (Zaffelare, Belgium) I have set up some successful experiments with vertical gardening in “container towers”.

We are using all kinds of recycled containers, e.g. plastic bottles, pots, buckets.  The containers are stacked into “towers”.

Today, I will describe the way how to start a “bottle tower”, illustrating the different steps with some photos:


Step 1 :We leave the lid on bottle

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Step 2 : We cut the bottom part of bottle


Step 3 : Bottom part of the bottle


Step 4 : With a sharp object (here scissors) the wall of bottle No. 1 is perforated at 2-4″ (5-10 cm) from the top of the lid


Step 5 : A second perforation (drainage hole) is made diagonally across the bottle No. 1. Below the 2 holes a small reserve of water is kept in the bottle. Through these drainage holes a possible surplus of water can be evacuated


Step 6 : Bottle No. 1 is filled with potting soil (or a mixture of dirt and manure) up to 1-2″ (2,5-5 cm) of the edge of the bottle


 Step 7 : Bottle No. 1 is the bottom bottle of the future tower

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Step 8 : For the next 3 bottles (No. 2, 3 and 4, without the 2 drainage holes) we take the lid off and cut the bottom part


Step 9 : After filling the 3 bottles (No. 2, 3 and 4) with potting soil, they will be put upon the bottom bottle of the tower


Step 10 : A tower of the 4 bottles


Step 11 : The bottle tower is kept upright with a couple of simple wires


Step 12 : We use the top part of a bottle (No. 5, without the lid) as a funnel and push the bottleneck into the soil of the upper bottle No. 4


Step 13 : A bottle No. 6 will be used as a watertank on top of the funnel (Bottle No. 5). Therefore, a small (1 mm) perforation of the lid is made

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Step 14 : Bottle no. 6 is the top bottle, used as a watertank, water running slowly through this small hole


Step 15 : Watertank bottle No. 6 is pushed into bottle No. 5, the funnel


Step 16 : The whole tower is now gradually moistened by pouring water in the top bottle No. 6 with its perforated lid. Water drips into the funnel (Bottle No. 5) and through this it infiltrates into the potting soil of bottles No. 4, 3, 2 and 1, where a possible surplus of water will be evacuated through the 2 drainage holes in the wall


Step 17 : Water runs slowly from the watertank (Bottle No. 6) into the funnel (Bottle No. 5) and from there into the soil of Bottle No. 4


Step 18 : Water running slowly from the watertank (Bottle No. 6) into the funnel (Bottle No. 5)

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Step 19 : With a sharp knife we cut a horizontal slit and two vertical slits in Bottles No. 4, 3, 2 and 1


Step 20 : Thus a small “window” is created in Bottles No. 4, 3, 2 and 1


Step 21 : With a finger one can push a small cavity in the potting soil


Step 22 : The rootball of seedlings or young plants can be planted in the “window” of each bottle


Step 23: Pretty soon new roots will be formed in the humid potting soil and the young plants will start their growth without to be watered regularly, because the complete tower is almost not loosing water (almost no evaporation)



Step 24 : It takes only a couple of weeks to see all the species of vegetables and herbs, planted in the “bottle windows”, developing into fantastic fresh food, full of vitamins and mineral elements


Step 25: A remarkable kitchen garden is born with minimal means and efforts. It can be set up at any location in rural and urban areas, a very effective tool in the combat of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

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The Best Guide: How to Prevent Plant Diseases In Your Garden (photo & video)


Garden Disease Prevention Basics

It happens in the best of gardens. Your plants are growing beautifully, and then you notice some of them are being consumed by pathogenic (from the Greek pathos, meaning suffering) microorganisms. The good news is you don’t have to be a plant pathologist to prevent many of the diseases that threaten a food garden, because disease-resistant varieties that are grown in soil enriched with organic matter usually stay healthy when the going gets tough.

Cured compost helps plants prime themselves to better handle challenges from diseases while improving the soil’s tilth. Providing enough water to avoid drought stress helps, too. Many gardeners include seaweed sprays in their garden’s preventive health care program, which provide nutrients for both plants and beneficial microorganisms.

Still, some leaves will shrivel and entire plants may sometimes suddenly collapse. To offer the best help to troubled plants, first you’ll need to know how different types of diseases tick. Seeing is believing. In late summer, most gardens offer some examples of common garden diseases, such as leaf blemishes and fruit rots, stem and root infections, and viral diseases spread by insects.

Caterpillar Trichordestra legitima insect pest, plant eating bug, Striped Garden Caterpillar larvae moth, Noctuidae, on plant that also has leaf rust disease, orange spots on leaves

Caterpillar Trichordestra legitima insect pest, plant eating bug, Striped Garden Caterpillar larvae moth, Noctuidae, on plant that also has leaf rust disease, orange spots on leaves

Garden Fungal Follies

Let’s start by looking at your tomatoes, especially the leaves closest to the ground. That area stays damp longer than the plant’s high branches, and the leaves down there are getting old — two factors that make them prime victims for early blight (dark brown patches) or several other leaf spot diseases, including gray leaf spot and Septoria leaf spot. All are caused by fungi that busily release millions of spores, which spread to new leaves by the time the colonies become big enough to see. If those new leaves are damp and temperatures are right, the spores germinate and penetrate the leaf using enzymes to melt entryways into plant cells, and a new leaf spot is born.


Leaf blemishes come in a variety of colors. Among your squash, you may see some white patches of powdery mildew, which is caused by spore-producing fungi that weaken plants by robbing leaves of their ability to perform efficient photosynthesis. You might see streaks of cinnamon-like rust in your corn, or patches of orange rust powder on bramble fruits or beans — more examples of spore-producing parasitic fungi. If you grow fruits, the velvety brown patina on your shriveled peaches or plums is caused by brown rot and Botrytis. Other spore-producing fungi turn strawberries and grapes into moldy mummies.

Caterpillar insect pest damage to tomato vegetable, showing eaten hole in red orange vegetable

Caterpillar insect pest damage to tomato vegetable, showing eaten hole in red orange vegetable

Resistant varieties are available for many of these diseases — especially powdery mildew of squash family crops and various blemishers of beans. (There are no highly resistant varieties to help prevent tomato early blight, grape powdery mildew, or brown rot of peaches, plums and cherries.) Once an outbreak is underway, you can slow its spread if you move in byinn_05-33137a31during a period of dry weather and clip off affected leaves, fruits or branches, but only if the foliage is dry. Fungal spores usually arrive in the garden on the wind or on insects’ feet, but nothing spreads spores faster than a gardener mucking around in damp, diseased foliage or fruits.

Judicious grooming followed by a cleansing drench with a fine spray of water will reduce the number of spores present on the plants, and should you catch an outbreak early, there are several sprays that make good follow-up treatments. Or, the sprays can be used as preventive measures, if past experience makes you think an outbreak is likely.

When exposed to sunlight, plain milk diluted in water (one-half cup milk to 2 cups water) briefly changes into a disinfectant compound that’s murder on fungal spores yet gentle to plant leaves. You should see results after two sprays applied three days apart.


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Baking soda (1 teaspoon per quart of water, with a few drops of liquid soap added to help it stick) is an old and trusted intervention, but it’s hard to get good coverage on plants with hairy leaves. A product called GreenCure alive(sold wholesale as MilStop) is based on potassium bicarbonate, baking soda’s first cousin, held in suspension through a unique process developed by Ken Horst, professor emeritus of plant pathology, at Cornell University. New fungal colonies that are just beginning to grow (and are still too small to see) suffer shriveled hyphae (the fungal counterpart to roots) when exposed to bicarbonate sprays.

Some research indicates that compost tea sprays can reduce disease, but I don’t recommend using compost tea as a foliar spray on food plants. The bacterial load in compost tea is unpredictable, and may include salmonella, E. coli and other microorganisms that can make you extremely sick. If you want to stage a microbial war against leaf-spotting or fruit-rotting fungi, it is much safer to use Serenade or anotherpackaged biofungicide based on Bacillus subtilis — an aggressive naturally occurring bacterium that destroys many types of fungi.

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Various fungicides containing sulfur and copper are allowed for restricted use on organically grown food crops, but copper can wreak havoc on your soil’s food web. Once it drips into the soil, copper does not break down or leach away, and even moderate copper levels are toxic to earthworms and many soil microorganisms. Sulfur is safer for soil life, but sulfur sprays often injure plant leaves, especially in hot weather, and prolonged use of sulfur could make soil too acidic.

Tomato Black Krim cracking open while growing - vegetable plant problem due to lack of water then a heavy rain, irregular irrigation

Tomato Black Krim cracking open while growing – vegetable plant problem due to lack of water then a heavy rain, irregular irrigation

Garden Soil: Trouble Down Below

Fungi are essential components of any healthy soil food web, but some soilborne fungi such as Fusarium and Phytopthora species are on gardeners’ most unwanted lists. Different Fusarium strains attack tomatoes, onions, basil and many other plants, first by stripping off the roots’ outer tissues (causing the plants to grow slowly and turn yellowish), and then by clogging up the plants’ stems, at which point you see a steady wilting.Verticillium wilt often looks similar, only without the yellowing, and the same complex of fungi that cause “damping off” of seedlings can emerge as the culprits behind plants that collapse due to sudden root rot.

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Numerous plant varieties are available that offer good resistance to these and other soilborne diseases; the best way to find resistant varieties is to buy seeds from the better seed catalogs, which list specific disease resistances. You can further reduce problems by adding compost to your soil and rotating crops so they are not planted in the same place more often than once every three years. Promptlyremoving plants that exhibit symptoms of root problems (for example chronic thirst and little or no new growth) also will reduce the number of destructive fungi left behind in the soil.


Soil biologists have identified several microorganisms that can outcompete or even attack pathogenic fungi in the soil, and some have been developed into organic fungicides. These products are especially useful in greenhouses, where soil diseases spread like wildfire, or when starting seedlings. Here are four examples:

• SoilGard (Gliocladium virens), a product that inhibits fungal growth, emerged from research into ecological controls for damping off at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md.

• MycoStop (Streptomyces griseoviridis) harnesses the ability of naturally occurring bacterium to maim and kill Fusarium and some other soilborne fungi.

• RootShield uses the fungus, Trichoderma harzianum, to outcompete fungi that cause roots to rot.

• Contans (Coniothyrium minitans) does a number on Sclerotinia fungi, reducing the numbers of fungi capable of causing stem and root rot of lettuce, cabbage family crops, and many other edible plants.

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Plant Diseases on the Wing

Plant pathogens can’t fly on their own, but the tiniest of them all — viruses — often travel for miles inside the bodies of leafhoppers, aphids, flea smd_tr13beetles, whiteflies and thrips. These insect carriers, or vectors, also provide entry holes for the viruses when they puncture leaves or stems with their mouthparts. Once inside a plant, viruses interfere with the plants’ inner communication systems and instruct them to grow in odd ways that serve the virus rather than the plant. Squash family crops infected with cucumber mosaic virus show thick, brittle leaves mottled with patches of dark green and yellow, but when the same virus hits tomatoes or peppers, you see thin, stringy leaves.

Beans stricken with curly top virus develop spirals of flowering stems that fail to set fruit. Some plants do outgrow viral infections, but most decline slowly and rarely produce a good crop. If you see plants that “don’t look right,” it’s best to remove them to prevent viruses from spreading to neighboring plants.

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Viruses can travel only as far as insects can carry them, so they tend to be local or regional phenomena. Once you learn that a certain virus is prevalent in your area — for example pea enation virus in the Northwest or maize (corn) dwarf mosaic virus in the South and East — growing resistant varieties is your best defense.

In cases where genetic resistance is not available, you may be able to exclude insect vectors with row covers, though really tiny insects often find ways to breach even these barriers. Alternatively, you can deter them with aluminum-coated reflective mulch such as Brite’Nup or with sheets of cardboard covered with aluminum foil, shiny side out.


Insects are confused by the light-mirroring effect of the mulch, so they stay away until the plants become so big and leafy that they cover the mulch. In numerous research trials from Florida to California, reflective mulches BL_207have proven their worth as viral deterrents, often resulting in huge increases in the productivity of cantaloupes, pumpkins and tomatoes in areas where viruses are rampant.Do not expect to emerge from battles with garden diseases without a few scars — and a new appreciation for the power of prevention. Wisdom comes with experience. After you have grown a food garden for a few seasons, you’ll know which diseases are most likely to appear, and that puts you in a much better position to prevent them in the first place.

Simple Prevention Strategies

You can prevent many potential garden diseases by using these strategies:

• Wide spacing and trellises let in sunlight and hold foliage high, so damp leaves dry off quickly. (Most diseases need moisture to cause infection.) In addition to serving as the plant’s primary energy source, sunlight kills many airborne microorganisms that land on stems and leaves.

• Mulch limits the splashing of soil microbes onto leaves.

• Compost worked into the soil or used as a thick mulch enhances plants’ ability to respond to disease challenges.






HOMESTEADING AND LIVESTOCK: How To Make The Best Winter Checklist (photo & video )



We live at 9,750’ elevation and receive significant snowfall each winter. Our snow season can also run 6-7 months in duration. When we bought our property back in the 70’s the HUD report said we averaged 264” of snow each winter. Weather patterns have changed since that report was made but we still have substantial amounts of snow so it is still wise to pre-prepare for the annual event in advance. I have a check list that I go through prior to the first snow because once snow starts it is usually too late to make preparations.


Firewood: A Top Priority

First on the list is do we have enough firewood since we heat our home with a woodstove. We burn anywhere from 9 to 11 cords of firewood a winter. A cord is 4 feet high, 4 feet wide and eight feet long. I always take inventory to make sure that we have the necessary amount on hand but I like to keep an extra 2-3 cords un-split on hand in case we require more. I cut those logs to 48 inches long and keep them nearby and accessible. Our wood shed holds almost 6 cords so that firewood is always dry in case we have wet snows.


Maintenance Objectives

Has the necessary maintenance been done? Has our chimney and wood byinn_05-33137a31stove been cleaned and checked for problems? Are the exposed exterior portions of our garage, wood shed and house plus the board walk and picnic table all sealed or stained as needed? Are all the yard tools hung in their proper place and equipment put away so it is not buried or inaccessible when the snow arrives? Have the driveway markers been put up so I don’t run off the driveway with the tractor/snow thrower when the snow builds up? Have I gone down the driveway to pick up loose rocks and sticks so they are not picked up by the snow thrower? Has the snow thrower been serviced and ready to go? Are the garden boxes ready to be covered with snow and prepared for next season? I usually plant my spinach in the late fall so when the snow melts in the spring it will sprout and is hardy enough to withstand the late spring frosts and snows. Are garden carts and wheel barrows stored properly? Have I shut off outside water and drained the garden hose? Is the pantry adequately stocked?


Grounds and Property Checklist

I usually do a last minute inspection of our property to make sure all the branch piles have been hauled off to the community burn site or mulched. Once covered with snow it will be too late to deal with this contingency. Are the raspberry, currant and gooseberry plants all trimmed back as they will be covered with 6-8’ of snow and ice?

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Have I stored the utility trailer in a place where it can be accessed? Have I disassembled our mist system we put up each summer as part of our wildfire mitigation? Are the log splitter, wood mill, pressure washer and mulcher all serviced for storage so they will be ready to go next spring? Are the water cans and water storage containers emptied so they don’t freeze and split? And lastly have I found the snow shovels and put them in a location where I can get to them when needed?


Items to Be Checked Off

Then there are things like the tractor and our vehicles that need to be serviced and made ready for the winter months. We take our vehicles to a mechanic to get them ready but the tractor I do myself. When it is 10 degrees outside with the wind is blowing it is not a good time to try to service a tractor.


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We have our vehicles serviced in town but I like to put a good coat of wax finish on the exterior before it gets too cold. After going through my mental and written check list I always manage to forget a few items that when discovered usually have to wait for springtime and hopefully are not that important.


Winter Project Checklist

When the snow finally arrives I like to have the assurance that I have done all I could before hand to be ready for single storms that may dump up to 6 alivefeet of snow. We make sure there is emergency water on hand where it won’t freeze. During the winter is also when I do my inside projects. This winter I will use the lumber I recently milled out to make two stand up closets for our clothes. I also hope to make two interior doors and a new solid wood front door. I also use that time to clean and sharpen chain saws I use through out the summer. I clean, sharpen and adjust my wood working tools as well as those tools I use for mechanical projects and outside hand tools.

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Anyone who may have the mistaken impression that homesteading in a semi remote area where climatic conditions can be harsh might be mistaken. There are endless tasks that constantly need to be addressed and what I have learned is no matter how well prepared I am I always manage to forget some obvious and vital preparation that it is too late to deal with when the snow starts flying.

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Getting ready for our long winters requires a lot of work. I have found that by doing most of the preparation done before winter starts it leaves time for those inside projects as well as spending time snow shoeing and sledding throughout the winter. The least amount of snow we have received has been around 120 inches and the most has been around 340 inches. When living as we do being prepared is clearly a virtue not to be ignored because of the hard work required in getting ready.




The Best Guide For Dehydration. How To Preserve Fruits, Vegetables And Meats.Everyone Should Know How To VIDEO



Why dry?

Drying (dehydrating) food is one of the oldest and easiest methods of food preservation. Dehydration is the process of removing water or moisture from a food product. Removing moisture from foods makes them smaller and lighter. Dehydrated foods are ideal for backpacking, hiking, and camping because they weigh much less than their non-dried counterparts and do not require refrigeration. Drying food is also a way of preservingseasonal foods for later use.

How dehydration preserves foods

Foods can be spoiled by food microorganisms or through enzymatic reactions within the food. Bacteria, yeast, and molds must have a sufficient amount of moisture around them to grow and cause spoilage. Reducing the moisture content of food prevents the growth of these spoilage-causing microorganisms and slows down enzymatic reactions that take place within food. The combination of these events helps to prevent spoilage in dried food.


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The basics of food dehydration

Three things are needed to successfully dry food at home:

  • Heat — hot enough to force out moisture (140°F), but not hot enough to cook the food;
  • Dry air — to absorb the released moisture;
  • Air movement — to carry the moisture away.

Foods can be dried using three methods:

  • In the sun— requires warm days of 85°F or higher, low humidity, and insect control;  recommended for dehydrating fruits only;
  • In the oven;
  • Using a food dehydrator — electric dehydrators take less time to dry foods and are more cost efficient than an oven.

Preparing Fruits and Vegetables for Drying

How To Dehydrate Fruit and Vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables can be dried (Table 1). Use ripe foods only.

Rinse fruits and vegetables under cold running water and cut away bruised and fibrous portions. Remove seeds, stems, and/or pits.

Table 1. Fruits and Vegetables Suitable for Drying
Fruits Vegetables
Apples Beets
Apricots Carrots
Bananas Sweet corn
Cherries Garlic
Coconuts Horseradish
Dates Mushrooms
Figs Okra
Grapes Onions
Nectarines Parsnips
Peaches Parsley
Pears Peas
Pineapples Peppers (red, green, and chili)
Plums Potatoes

Most vegetables and some fruits (Tables 2 and 3) should undergo a pretreatment, such as blanching or dipping.

Blanching is briefly precooking food in boiling water or steam, and it is used to stop enzymatic reactions within the foods. Blanching also shortens drying time and kills many spoilage organisms.

Table 2. Blanching and Drying Times for Selected Vegetables
Vegetable Blanching Drying time
Method Time
Beets cook before drying 3½–5
Carrots steam 3–3½ 3½–5
Corn not necessary 6–8
Garlic not necessary 6–8
Horseradish not necessary 4–10
Mushrooms not necessary 8–10
Okra not necessary 8–10
Onions not necessary 3–6
Parsley not necessary 1–2
Peas steam 3 8–10
water 2
Peppers not necessary 2½–5
Potatoes steam 6–8 8–12
water 5–6
Pumpkin steam 2½–3 10–16
water 1
* Dried vegetables should be brittle or crisp.


Table 3. Blanching and Drying Times for Selected Fruits
Fruit Blanching* Drying time
Method Time (mins)
Apple steam 3–5 6–12
syrup 10
Apricots steam 3–4 24–36+
syrup 10
Bananas steam 3–4 8–10
syrup 10
Cherries syrup 10 24–36
Figs not necessary 6–12
Grapes: seedless not necessary 12–20
Nectarines steam 8 36–48
syrup 10
Peaches steam 8 36–48
syrup 10
Pears steam 6 24–36+
syrup 10
Pineapples not necessary 24–36
Plums not necessary 24–36
* Fruits may be dipped in ascorbic acid or citric acid in place of blanching.
** Test for dryness by cutting the fruit. There should be no moist areas in the center. Times are estimated for use of the dehydrator or oven methods.
+ Drying times for whole fruits. Cutting fruit into slices may shorten drying time.

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Steps for steam blanching (fruit and vegetables):231

  • Use a steamer or a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid that contains a wire basket or could fit a colander or sieve so steam can circulate around the vegetables.
  • Add several inches of water to the steamer or pot and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Loosely place fruits/vegetables into the basket, no more than 2 inches deep.
  • Place basket into pot (fruits/vegetables should not make contact with water).
  • Cover and steam until fruits/vegetables are heated for the recommended time (Table 2 and 3).
  • Remove basket or colander and place in cold water to stop cooking.
  • Drain and place fruits/vegetables on drying tray.

Steps for water blanching (only):  


  • Use a blancher or a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Fill the pot two-thirds full with water, cover, and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Place vegetables into a wire basket and submerge them into the boiling water for the recommended time (Table 2).
  • Remove vegetables and place in cold water to stop cooking.
  • Drain and place vegetables on drying tray.

Steps for syrup blanching (fruits only):

  • Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, and 2 cups water in a pot.
  • Add 1 pound of fruit.
  • Simmer 10 minutes (Table 3).
  • Remove from heat and keep fruit in syrup for 30 minutes.
  • Remove fruit from syrup, rinse, drain, and continue with dehydration step.

Dipping is a pretreatment used to prevent fruits such as apples, bananas, peaches, and pears from turning brown. Ascorbic acid, fruit juices high in vitamin C (lemon, orange, pineapple, grape, etc.), or commercial products containing ascorbic or citric acid may be used for dipping. For example, dipping sliced fruit pieces in a mixture of ascorbic acid crystals and water (1 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals per 1 cup of water), or dipping directly in fruit juice for 3 to 5 minutes will prevent browning. Fruits may also be blanched as a means of treatment.


Drying Fruits and Vegetables

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Natural sun drying

DIY dehydrating with the sun! – Big sun drying rack!

Sun drying is recommended for drying fruit only. Sun drying is not recommended in cloudy or humid weather. The temperature should reach 85°F by noon, and the humidity should be less than 60 percent. Outdoor dehydration  can be difficult in Virginia and other southern states due to high humidity. All food that is dried outdoors must be pasteurized.

  • Dry in the sun by placing slices of food on clean racks or screens and covering with cheesecloth, fine netting, or another screen. Food will dry faster if racks are placed on blocks and the rack is not sitting on the ground.
  • If possible, place a small fan near the drying tray to promote air circulation.
  • Drying times will vary (Tables 2 and 3).
  • Turn food once a day. Dry until the food has lost most of its moisture (fruits will be chewy).
  • Fruits should be covered or brought in at night to prevent moisture being added back into the food.

Drying with a food dehydrator

Healthy Snacks! (Dehydrated Fruit and Veg)

  • Place food dehydrator in a dry, well-ventilated, indoor room.
  • Arrange fruits or vegetables in a single layer on each tray so that no pieces are touching or overlapping.
  • Dehydrate at 140°F. Check food often and turn pieces every few hours to dry more evenly.
  • See Tables 2 and 3 for drying times.

Oven drying

  • Dry food in an oven that can be maintained at 140°F. Leave door 2 inches to 3 inches ajar. Place a fan in front of the oven to blow air across the open door.
  • Spread the food in a single layer on racks or cookie sheets. Check food often and turn pieces every few hours to dry more evenly.
  • Drying time will vary (Tables 2 and 3). Do not leave oven on when no one is in the house.
  • Oven drying is not recommended in households where children are present.

When food is dehydrated, 80 percent of the moisture is removed from fruits and up to 90 percent of the moisture is removed from vegetables, making the dried weight of foods much less than the fresh weight (Table 4).

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Table 4. Pounds of Dehydrated Food from Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits (20 lbs) Dehydrated weight  (lbs)
Apples 2
Peaches 1½–2½
Fresh vegetables (20 lbs) Dehydrated weight (lbs)
Snap beans
Beets 2
Squash (summer) 1½–2
Tomatoes ¾

Pasteurizing Sun-Dried Fruits

All sun-dried fruits must be pasteurized to destroy any insects and their eggs. This can be done with heat or cold. To pasteurize with heat, place dried food evenly in shallow trays no more than 1 inch in depth. Fruits should be heated at 160°F for 30 minutes. To pasteurize with cold, fruits can be placed in the freezer at 0°F for 48 hours.

Conditioning Dried Fruits

Dried fruits must be conditioned prior to storage. Conditioning is the process of evenly distributing moisture present in the dried fruit to prevent mold growth. Condition dried fruit by placing it in a plastic or glass container, sealing, and storing for 7 days to 10 days. Shake containers daily to distribute moisture. If condensation occurs, place fruit in the oven or dehydrator for more drying and repeat the conditioning process.


Storing Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Cool-dried food should be placed in a closed container that has been washed and dried before storing. Home-canning jars are good containers for storing dried foods. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Dried foods can maintain quality for up to a year depending on the storage temperature. The cooler the storage temperature, the longer dehydrated foods will last.

Reconstituting Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Reconstituting Dried Mushrooms

Dried fruits and vegetables may be reconstituted (restoring moisture) by soaking the food in water. Time for reconstituting will depend on the size and shape of the food and the food itself. Most dried fruits can be reconstituted within 8 hours, whereas most dried vegetables take only 2 hours.

To prevent growth of microorganisms, dried fruits and vegetables should be reconstituted in the refrigerator. One cup of dried fruit will yield approximately 1½ cups of reconstituted fruit. One cup of dried vegetable will yield approximately 2 cups of reconstituted vegetable. Reconstituted fruits and vegetables should be cooked in the water in which they were soaking.


Making Safe Jerky

How To: Beef Jerky Made Easy

Jerky can be made from almost any lean meat, including pork, venison, and smoked turkey. Jerky made from meat is of particular concern because dehydrators rarely reach temperatures beyond 140°F. This temperature is not high enough to kill harmful microorganisms that may be present on meat. Before dehydration, precook meat to 160°F, and precook poultry to 165°F. For best results, precook meat by roasting in marinade.

Meat preparation

To prepare meat for jerky, make sure that safe meat handling procedures are followed.

  • Clean: Wash hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat. Use clean utensils.
  • Chill: Store meat or poultry refrigerated at 40°F or below prior to use. It is important to thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator. Never thaw meat on counter tops.

Slice partially frozen meat into strips no thicker than ¼ inch. Trim and discard any fat. Meat can be marinated for flavor and tenderness. Many marinade recipes can be used, including this recipe taken from Andress and Harrison, 2006.

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Simple Meat Marinade Recipe

  • 1½ – 2 lbs lean meat
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp hickory-smoke flavored salt

Combine all ingredients. Place strips of meat in a shallow pan and cover with marinade. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to 2 hours or overnight. Heating meat to reduce chances of food-borne illness should be done at the end of marinating. Bringing strips and marinade to a boil for about 5 minutes will accomplish this. Drain.

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Drying meats


Drain strips on a clean, absorbent towel. Place strips in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch or overlap. Dehydrate at 140°F until a test piece will crack, but not snap, when bent. Remove dried strips from rack and cool.

If the meat strips were not heated to 160°F in marinade prior to drying, you may want to do this in an oven after drying. Place the dried strips on a baking sheet and cook at for 275°F, or until meat reaches 160°F. This process adds an additional safety step to the process.

Storing meat jerky

Linda’s Pantry How To Make Homemade Beef Jerky For Food Storage

Meat strips should be packaged in glass jars or heavy plastic storage bags. Jerky can be stored at room temperature for 2 weeks in a sealed container. For the longest shelf life, flavor, and quality jerky, store in the refrigerator or freeze.

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