from Survival Blog:
It’s now been six years since I heard JWR on one of the big talk radio shows plugging one of his books, How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It. I had never been exposed to this type of rationale before. The more he spoke, the more it made sense to me. Since I’ve been known to get too much forward progress before my mind engages, I took a look at the website you are now reading and asked my consigliore (aka: beloved wife) if I was missing something. She undertook a few days of research and after much talking between us, we then asked another relative to look at the same SurvivalBlog site. That relative agreed with us that “prepping” made a lot of sense to the three of us. As suburbanites, we were limited to stocking up on the three B’s– beans, bullets, and bandages. We also started to look at property out in the country. We purchased a five-acre piece of property and immediately started planting fruit trees, since the time for our local fruit trees to mature is about three to five years. We started building in 2012 and finally moved full time the next year.
I mention the fruit trees because it takes time for them to mature and produce fruit. If you are thinking you will just run out to the local big box store and toss the tree in the ground and next summer you have big perfect fruit, uh, I don’t think so. Even now, four years later, the deer and the bugs have conspired to eat our fruit, and while we have joined in battle we did lose some fruit. I haven’t even mentioned fruit tree diseases.
We have some friends a little south of us who had started a full-time commercial farm utilizing high tunnels. This type of plastic covered structure has been mentioned before on this site. Our friends have constructed three high tunnels; their three tunnels are 30’ X 100’ in size. Using this type of structure, properly designed and constructed, will allow you to grow produce almost year round. With something of that size, you may want to use a professionally designed steel framed structure to be able to withstand the snow load and wind load. However, if you want to do something a bit smaller and are looking to save some money, do a search on Eliot Coleman at Four Season Farm, and you will see several ways to save money on your high tunnel construction. He also has been mentioned before here. His website, books, and Youtube videos are priceless. I used the structure that utilized metal conduit with a rebar insert. You probably won’t be able to grow tomatoes and cucumbers in January, but you will be able to grow many kinds of leafy greens, carrots, turnips, and beets during the winter months. My wife makes a collard and greens salad during winter that people fight over. Yeah, turn your nose if you will. We did too, but now we can’t get enough of it. Having said that, the weather will conspire to ruin your best laid plans. The first winter we were here we didn’t realize a snow forecast for six inches would turn into a crushing 20 inches. When we woke up the next morning, that first high tunnel was squashed. AARRGGHH! So I went out and pushed and pulled and got it to where the wife could work it, if she could work an area three feet high. I now have a 16’ snow rake, and I might have to go out every few hours if there is a heavy snow. Then the voles found out there was a warm area in the winter where they could get lots of leafy vegetables from below. The little guys ate my crops, and I didn’t even get a kiss goodnight. AARRGGHH!
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