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Old 02-28-2013, 12:34 PM
 
Location: SC
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John Kohler on YouTube points out that it makes sense to grow what is the most expensive to buy in the grocery store that is also the most nutrient dense. Fruit and especially berries seem to always be the most expensive.

I've decided to concentrate on growing as much perennial fruit as I can
I just got a couple Kiwi trees. One male and one female and I'm wondering the best way to situate them and what type of a trellis/arbor system to use that they won't end up destroying. Does anyone have any experience with this?

I've learned that there is a right way and a wrong way from YouTube videos. However the only example of the right way uses chain link fencing and showed a grove of about what looked like 50 trees/vines. I'm only going to have 4 at most. I was thinking about something along the lines of a pedestal type clothes line system with wires-- instead of rope or whatever clothes lines are made of these days. Would that provide enough support?

Also has anyone had any success growing berries in containers?

{If anyone is curious why I'm focusing on fruit, I've recently discovered from Dr Robert Morse N.D. that fruit is the most healthful thing we can put in our mouths . It turns out the myths about "all the sugar" in them are wrong. It is refined complex sugars that are bad but we actually need the simple sugars in fruit to fuel our bodies -- even diabetics do. Not only that but they keep our lymphatic system moving which the SAD diet just clogs up and creates an over acid body and tumors and cysts and an overall state of ill health.

Fruit and some greens and some vegetables are supposedly the easiest for us to digest and assimilate the nutrients from AND the best way to keep our lymphatic system moving which is our body's sewage system.

As a result of learning all of this I've changed my provisioning strategy an am no longer worrying about stocking up on grains, dairy or eggs or meat or fish. I may still eat them once in a while but they won't be staples.}
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:11 PM
 
Location: SW MO
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Good thinking, emilybh. Berries in particular are chock full of anti-oxidants, are desirable to most people(especially picky kids), and are too pricey(and poor quality) in the grocery store for the average person to make them any significant part of their diet. We grow blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, elderberries, boysenberries, concord and red reliance grapes, apples, peaches, strawberries, lemons and oranges for our own consumption. This in addition to a well-rounded garden that is growing in size and scope every year.

We are stocked on sugar, flour, and other staples of the modern diet, but are working to get mostly away from eating such things, concentrating on meat, eggs, nuts, fruit, and veggies. I can tell you that there is a marked difference in my energy levels and sleep quality when avoiding flour and sugar in my diet. I used to have to reposition several times per night due to pain in joints and muscles. Now, I sleep like a baby, waking up at dawn in the same position I fell asleep in, ready to get up and go, without the soreness and stiffness I used to suffer first thing in the morning.

The best variety I have found for container growing of blueberries is the TOP HAT, a wonderful producer(at least here in MO). Strawberries love a container, and they are easier to control that way. Raspberries can be grown in a container on a trellis, and I suspect most other cane fruits, as well. Not sure about grapes, as they have massive roots systems that sometimes go six feet below ground. I am growing oranges and lemons in containers, the trees are in my dining room right now, as they will not tolerate our winter weather. Got a good crop of lemons off my tree this year.

As far as kiwi, you may try using cattle panels. We use this system for our grapes. I measure a rectangle 6'x20'. Then, along the 20' sides, I drive a concrete form stake(the metal pipe stakes with the holes drilled in them) every four feet, leaving 4 inches sticking up. To the inside of these, I lay treated 2x4's(you can get 20' ones, or use two tens, and screw them together where they butt up), and screw them to the stakes using deck screws in the holes provided. Then, I take 4'x16' cattle panels and, putting one 4' end against the 2x4 on one side of the rectangle, I push the panel into an arch and set the end I am holding into the frame. I then use metal pipe strapping and deck screws to secure the panel. I do this with five panels, giving me a 20' long x 6' wide hoop that is about 5.5' high. Then I use cable ties to secure one panel to the next, at 5 or six places along the arch, to provide stablity. We have 6 grape plants on one of these hoops, and have had heavy snow and ice buildup on the entire assembly, with no movement or broken plants. Makes it easy to put netting on the whole assembly, too, to keep birds and wasps from attacking the fruit. We get a massive amount of grapes out of these six Concord plants every year, using this system, and have had no problems with downy mildew or black rot, because when the plants are trained on the hoop, they get both plenty of sun and a lot of air movement.

Last edited by countryboy73; 02-28-2013 at 01:41 PM..
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:25 PM
 
Location: A Nation Possessed
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All I can say is that there is a reason our ancestors stored and preserved food. Relying on a "garden yielding my entire diet just in time" is as foolish as relying on the "just in time model" from the grocery stores. I beg you to study and read of the problems our forefathers had in the past with food and what motivated them to find methods for storing and preserving. I promise you that it was not an evil design, laziness, or a random choice. He/she who does not learn from past tragedies and failures is bound to repeat them.

You are constantly posting here about your methodology for nutrition and it always strikes me as being an "all my eggs in one basket" plan. That's simply dangerous. As long as nothing ever happens economically/socially (that's bad) and as long as none of your crops ever fail or have diseases or are never attacked by insects, you might get away with it. But it's a situation that could end in disaster if all is not perfect. That's why our ancestors supplemented the sorts of things you like to discuss here with back-up plans.
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:49 PM
 
Location: SW MO
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ChrisC, your caution is well-advised. I have been in this game so long, many times I do not even think of telling folks about needing to store the harvest. It just goes without saying to me, that one grows more than they eat, and then root cellars, cans, freezes(assuming one has the infrastructure in place to keep freezers operational, and a plan to preserve the contents if they fail), smokes, dries or pickles everything they can't eat immediately. It is good to have some calorie-dense food storage(grains, sugar, beans, etc.) for those times when one needs to fill gaps due to an illness, crop failure, etc. But man cannot and should not live by bread alone, or even a good portion of the time(unfortunate, since I LOVE bread!). Our nation is fat, sick, lethargic and soft, due to easy living and too much food. The only reason there is too much food, is because the VAST majority of it is in the form of grains and sugars. It's ramping up our rates of diabetes, cancer, and a host of other diseases unheard among hunter-gatherer types before and after the advent of agriculture.

Since I started cutting flour and sugar out of my diet, the amount of food I consume has skyrocketed, and I am hungry more often. I eat all the time, but my weight is stable. What HAS changed is my energy level and how I feel. I feel great, I am sleeping great, and I am a veritable energizer bunny. By contrast, I can eat a biscuit and gravy with my bacon and eggs, and I feel like taking a nap all day, and do not get hungry until supper time or later. Do I still eat breads and sugars and dairy? Yup. I am a lifelong lover of all things fried, sweet, cheesy, etc. One does not break 40-year habits all at once. But I am getting more and more inclined to pass up the bread or dessert. or pasta than ever, because I am beginning to like how I feel and how I sleep more than I like the foods that steal that from me.

Ever wonder why they tell us we can never get the nutrients we need from diet alone, and must take supplements to get them? It's because of what we eat and how much we eat. We eat nutrient-deficient foods(grains and sugars), that fill us up and keep us full, allowing us to eat a lot less overall while still gaining weight. This leaves no room for an insatiable appetite for nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs and meat. By cutting out flour and sugar(and limiting potatoes, another favorite of mine), I have become an eating machine. I eat all the time. In fact, were I to stop gardening, raising livestock and hunting, my diet would be financially unsustainable! One cannot afford to eat like this from a store, and why should they want to? Pay top dollar for sub-par examples of the food in question? Far better to grow what you eat and preserve the extra for winter. Many greens, broccoli, cauliflower and peas can be grown in winter with cold frames and hoops. and sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, apples, several varieties of squash are all excellent keepers if one has a root cellar or other cool, dark place to store them.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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Another good way to grow kiwi is to espalier them, either against a wall/fence or on a wire trellise (like grapes) and train each vine to one main stem with 1-2 left & right leaders. Put the male in the middle of the female 5-10' apart (per nursery recommendation for your variety). It might take a few years for them to fill out and start bearing fruit, depending on your climate. Espaliering them on a south-facing wall can even create a micro-climate 1-2 zones warmer than the surrounding garden (if that makes a difference to your area). You can grow pomegranates the same way, and obviously grapes.

Any of the dwarf berries will work great in 5-10 gallon containers, or in a straight row in a foot-wide raised bed against a fence (for brambles like raspberries). Strawberries are probably one of the easiest to grow in a pot, planter or small bed. You can even grow strawberries under raspberries/blackberries. Blueberries usually require soil that is just a little more acidic than even the other berries appreciate, but some cranberries can tolerate it.

Other good "container" fruits are dwarf trees. There are lots of citrus & apple dwarf varieties that stay smallish as long as they aren't potted up. My sister has a dwarf meyer lemon in a 20 gal pot that yields over a bushel! Many of those dwarf varieties, especially those that are intended as potted trees, are grafted with more than one variety on the same trunk so they will cross-pollinate and you can have more than one type of fruit. You can do this with avocados as well. If your potted trees won't winter over (you lose one hardiness zone in a pot!) make sure you get trees and containers that can be moved inside in late fall... nothing sucks more than trying to bring a 9' tree in a 38" pot in through a standard door!

Other perennials to consider besides trees and berries are rhubarb, artichokes, asparagus and several herbs (oregano, rosemary, etc). And don't forget your nut trees if you're planting fruit trees!

Now, for those of us unlucky enough to have winters so severe (Zone 4 or lower) that most perennials (including fruit trees & shrubs) will not winter over even under mulch and covering, you might have to focus on either growing perennials as annuals or grow varieties that can tolerate being grown in pots (or dug up) and/or severely cut-back every fall so you can bring them indoors. Some perennials can tolerate being confined, mutilated and molested while other can't (you can dig up asparagus crowns and store them dormant in a root cellar, but artichokes don't like that at all). Many berries can be grown as annuals if you get the right kind... "everbearing" berries normally fruit on primocanes (this year's growth) so they can be mowed to the ground every the fall, the roots dug up and stored dormant (or heavily mulched), and then replanted/uncovered in the spring... summer bearing berries fruit on floricanes (2nd year growth) so all the primocanes need to survive the winter, which makes them rather difficult in extreme cold climates.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:26 PM
 
Location: Southern Illinois
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Originally Posted by emilybh View Post
As a result of learning all of this I've changed my provisioning strategy an am no longer worrying about stocking up on grains, dairy or eggs or meat or fish. I may still eat them once in a while but they won't be staples.}
In a survival situation I would def be worrying about protein. Eggs would be your easiest source. Back in the old days folks didn't eat chicken every day like they do now b/c they needed the eggs and chicken was served when she got too old to lay. The indians put meat in their pemmican for a reason and I've often thought that real mincemeat would be just as nutrient rich b/c it actually has real meat in it and it has tasty spices. I'd lay in some of those spices too.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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Originally Posted by stepka View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by emilybh View Post
As a result of learning all of this I've changed my provisioning strategy an am no longer worrying about stocking up on grains, dairy or eggs or meat or fish. I may still eat them once in a while but they won't be staples.}
In a survival situation I would def be worrying about protein. Eggs would be your easiest source. Back in the old days folks didn't eat chicken every day like they do now b/c they needed the eggs and chicken was served when she got too old to lay. The indians put meat in their pemmican for a reason and I've often thought that real mincemeat would be just as nutrient rich b/c it actually has real meat in it and it has tasty spices. I'd lay in some of those spices too.
I, too, worry about anyone who starts discarding animal products in their provisioning strategy. Animal products are very calorie and nutrient dense foods. Livestock, even small livestock like chickens and rabbits, are vital to self-sufficient and sustainable food production strategies. You don't need huge amounts of space-hogging grains to feed small livestock either (not even in severe climates), as most are quite sustainable with garden surpluses, cover crops, weeds and trimmings. If given the choice of dedicating 60 sq ft for a single standard fruit tree or for a small flock of chickens... I'd take the chickens.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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When planning for food self-sufficiency (either by stocking or growing), having the largest variety of all major food groups is essential. Each major food group provides different amounts of macro and micro-nutrients in our diet, and the more variety of foods we can consume within each of those food groups, the least likely we are to suffer from malnutrition and starvation. The concept of dietary diversity and improved nutrition is the primary basis of all nutritional guidelines in every nation... even if different countries don't agree on how many calories per day or what foods are classified in which group or what amount constitutes a serving or how many servings of each are recommended, they ALL agree that eating a variety of foods over a period of time provides the best nutritional profile.

Grains/starches primarily provide carbs, fiber, and B vitamins. Fruits (including tomatoes!) primarily provide carbs, fiber and Vitamin C & antioxidants. Vegetables (leaves & roots) primarily provide vitamins and minerals, with some fiber and carbs. Animal products primarily provide protein, fat, vitamins A D E & K, and minerals.

In many nutritional systems root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, beets and turnips are classed in with the grains because they are very starchy and calorie (carb) dense compared with other vegetables. Legumes, nuts and seeds are weird to classify because they are starchy, but are also relatively high in protein and fat (even if not entirely bio-available to humans)... ostensibly, they could be classified in every group except fruit.

So, when planning to produce your own food, the key is to balance the variety of each food group you grow/raise with the calories and nutrients each provide, given the space/season/preservation limitations you may experience in your area. Potatoes pack a wallop... high calorie, nutrient dense, good yield for the space, relatively easy to grow, multiple harvests possible, and good keeping qualities... but I wouldn't dedicate my entire garden to just potatoes. But given the calories/sqft yield, I would choose potatoes over grains every time if I had to... the nutrient profiles are similar, but potatoes are much easier to grow, harvest and preserve in a limited space. But, since you need to have crop rotation for soil health anyway, you're better off agriculturally and nutritionally growing a little of a lot than a lot of a little.

Perennials are beneficial because you don't have to keep planting them every year. However, they aren't "plant and forget" because they often require as much or more annual maintenance (feeding, watering, pruning, dividing, pest & disease prevention etc) as a garden full of annuals a year. Perennials also have the drawback that they often require years to produce appreciable yields, and one bad year can result in no harvest and/or dead plant. Annuals can be replanted if they are killed, you can succession plant several crops in the same space, you can rotate them if you have a pest or disease issue, etc. So both should have their place in your plans if you can provide the correct growing conditions and maintenance.

1000 sq ft per person will provide the majority of fruits & veg for an entire year... since most small livestock will eat thinnings, weeds, scraps and cuttings it's likely that you could also support 25-50% of your protein & fat needs with meat and eggs in that space. Expand your space to 2000 sq ft per person, add some medium livestock like goats/sheep/hogs, and you'd have enough space to garden for you and your animals (and your soil health) as well as provide pasture & browse for your livestock, and you'd provide nearly 100% of all your major food groups. [Note in harsh climates with short growing seasons, you may need up to 4000 sq ft per person, with more dedicated to pasture & fodder crops]

ETA ^^ that's just GARDEN, you may need more space for pasture, hay, orchard and field crops (like grains).
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:18 PM
 
Location: SW MO
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1,000 Sq. Ft. might do it for you, IF you have optimum soil conditioning, optimum water and nutrient availability, AND you have a plentiful supply of grains, meat and other foods to keep the garden merely supplying side dishes for each meal. MAYBE. We grow close to half an acre of berry bushes, fruit trees, grapes, root crops, greens, herbs, beans, squashes, and other vegetables, and we still have to get things from the store occasionally. This, in spite of using raised beds with a base of composted horse manure, mulched with composted tree trimmings from the power line trimmers. We rarely water(don't need to), have no weed competition to speak of, and the plants have incredible soil to grow in. We plant them pretty densely, too, because the nutrients are there to support it.

This will not always be the case in a crisis scenario. People who rely on a store to get blood meal and other fertilizers will suffer an ever-decreasing yield from their garden, absent a good program of fertilization and soil amendment. The work required to keep a garden viable(especially here in the Ozarks) will grow annually. I know people who gardened for their groceries back before they were hauled in by truck from other places. They remember working almost non-stop on gardens of multiple acres to feed just their family. And these folks know how to garden when it counts. Some of them HATE gardening because of their childhood memory of it. When your survival depends on it, the fun disappears from gardening. Days on end of hard or tedious work, followed by even more days of drudgery in the kitchen, preserving it so that you can eat when the snow flies. And trying to eat 365 days a year, multiple times per day, is going to require more than a 1,000 sq. ft. area, in my experience, and that of everyone of the old timers I know.

As far as stock, it takes an acre of GOOD pasture per cow/calf pair, or you can run two nanny goats with kids on the same acre. And you will still need a source of hay for the winter. Chickens are low-maintenance in some cases, and rabbits don't require a lot of space. But they need feed, and simply feeding them greens on't put the meat on them. Or on the chickens. There is a LOT that goes into feeding oneself from the sweat of one's brow. In fact, it would be easier for me personally, absent competition and given my experience and tool kit, to forage, hunt, fish, and trap my food, than to raise it. But there WILL be competition for game, and probably wild edibles, too, if we ever have to garden for keeps. So I work to become proficient at raising what I need, against such a time as it might be necessary.

Last edited by countryboy73; 02-28-2013 at 10:28 PM..
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
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Originally Posted by countryboy73 View Post
Far better to grow what you eat and preserve the extra for winter. Many greens, broccoli, cauliflower and peas can be grown in winter with cold frames and hoops. and sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, apples, several varieties of squash are all excellent keepers if one has a root cellar or other cool, dark place to store them.
What are you using to control insects, bugs and fungal/viral diseases on your plants? There are areas of the country, like where I live, where the crop pests are highly reistant to both organic and non-organic pesticides. Even the healthiest plants fall victim. Tomatoes fall victim to several diseases and way before the frost. We lost all but one fruit tree to Fire-Blight one year and finally the asparagus beetles killed off the asparagus bed the year after it started to produce. The squirrels chew right through the bird net over the last pear tree so we seldom get even one edible pear.

Where I live the commonest pests are white-fly, spider mites, cabbage worms, corn-ear worms, squash bugs, cucumber beetles and several fungal diseases. And the common animal pests are deer and rabbits. Squirrels and birds get 99% of the fruit and berries. Some kind of blight killed off the berries one summer. We have not replaced the berries or fruit trees.

We seldom get enough rain in summer and the plants don't do as well with municipal watering, not to mention that gets expensive.

So you see, not everyone can grow a successful garden for themselves.

Last edited by =^..^=; 02-28-2013 at 11:07 PM..
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