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FOOD SECURITY FOR FAMILY PETS

Tam Cordingley, SAAB, Realtor Kennels & Horse Farms

 

You were motivated in Part One but NOW it is time to take action. Even in winter you can have fresh vegetables if you have south-facing windows.

 

Again, I want to remind you that if you think you don’t like vegetables perhaps it is because you’ve never raised a plant! You love your animals so I know you want to “do” for them and dogs thrive on fresh foods but you can also “cure” meats for dogs, cats, birds or other meat eating pets.

 

 

If you missed Part One Food Security which was simple starter information that will also save you a lot of money the link is included below.

 

One of the hardest things for me to do is thin crops. Carrots, for example, are seedling plants that need about an inch between them, likewise radishes. The tiny carrots and radishes seem so defenseless when yanked out of the soil but chickens love this tender treat. If you have no chickens, seedlings are good in the compost pile or in a green blender drink.

 

Plant what your family eats. If no one likes your produce your effort will go for naught. Greens are the easiest, they sprout fast, are hardy, and can be harvested at almost any stage. Green veggies can be as simple as lettuce or the huge variety of oriental greens available.

 

Peas, onions, and potatoes all grow early. Generally, they are planted mid-March and harvested before the summer crops go into the ground. Potatoes and onions are especially well suited for container growing. Plant deep and keep adding straw all spring. You can begin harvesting new potatoes often by June.

 

Beans are another easy and versatile crop. They can be planted as soon as the ground warms in the spring and planted every week or two until mid-August. There are hundreds of varieties both bush and pole. Green, yellow and red, even some striped. Some beans be harvested in as little as 45 days after planting. Pick daily, they will continue to bear over a longer period.

 

Eat what you can and preserve the rest. It is time to replace the plants when the yield drops significantly.

 

Bush beans or pole beans? Both have their strong points, bush are faster to bear, pole will yield food over a longer period. Bush beans don't need support while pole beans need a strong climbing support. Many varieties will grow to 6 to 10 feet tall. When you are tired of beans and the freezer and cupboards are full of beans you can simply allow the beans to mature and dry on the vines. Then shell them and, after saving enough seed for next year, dry them well and you have dried beans for the winter dishes.

 

 

My personal favorites are the oriental long beans or noodle beans. There is something about harvesting two or three of these 18 inch beauties and making a meal for one person. They are almost stringless and come in beautiful colors, red, green or lavender.

 

Squash is another summer crop that bears extremely well. Summer squash comes in many varieties and colors. They do great until the squash bugs get them. Our best remedy for squash bugs is to flush them out with water and run them into a jar half full of soapy water. Check the leaves, underneath as well, for the shiny orange brown bug eggs. If you find them remove immediately. I like to plant squash in different areas of the garden to avoid these voracious bugs. Also squash may be planted from spring to early August. They are best when picked young. If one, or many, get past you and get too big they can be either shredded, made into zoodles, or stuffed and baked. Any type of stuffing will do.

 

Tomatoes and peppers are more warm weather things. Wait until the ground is warm and weather has settled before planting outside. Provide growing support. These also come in a dizzying array of types and colors. For canning a determinate variety is best. It will grow and produce fruit all at once. For a daily harvest an indeterminate variety is preferred. Keep fruit picked for best yields. Preserve what you don't eat.

 

 

Cucumbers and melons are grown just like squash, both summer and winter. There are too many other crops to address each one individually, but your best friend is a good, organic, seed catalog. It will provide information and inspiration. The only caveat is to shop wisely. The beautiful pictures and great descriptions will tempt you to over-buy.

 

One crop we shouldn't overlook is Jerusalem artichokes. These are healthy, easy to grow, and perennial. Two more we can grow from current produce are potatoes and sweet potatoes.

 

Creature Comforts For Preppers

The essentials are food, water, and shelter but there are some things that make life better. Some of these are salt, pepper, mustard, sugar, mayonnaise, vinegar, toilet paper, soap, and oil. Buy two or three rather than one when you do your shopping. Store the excess. If all goes well these foods can be used in daily life.

 

If the worst occurs, you can continue your daily life in comfort. Prepping is a lifestyle and an attitude rather than a one-and-done chore.

 

 

DO NOT STORE GLASS JARS OR BOTTLES ON OPEN SHELVES. A rim on the front of the shelves is mandatory. What a shame to have all your vital food supply fall off the shelves and break during an earthquake, explosion, or vandalism.

 

Don't forget your pets. Bird food can be grown and so can dog food. Dogs and cats can and will eat pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, and the scraps left over from butchering. Dogs and cats will also thrive upon, eggs and milk. In all things, think about life in the 1800s.

 

See Part One Food Security For Family and Pets

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