Could Your Survival Garden Make You Sick?

“Backwoods Home Magazine” for March/April 2016 (Issue #158) includes an article on how you can keep your survival garden from making you sick.

Maybe you’ve never had a problem. You’ve been gardening for years, even decades, and nobody in your family has ever caught a foodborne illness from what you’ve grown or canned.

Besides, that stuff only happens with large farming operations who sell to grocery stores and chain restaurants. Right?

But before you think such a thing couldn’t happen, consider the topics the article covers. Pay attention especially if you grow for a local farmers market.

  • Sources of contamination
  • Good agricultural practices
  • Manure
  • Compost
  • Go vertical and mulch
  • Wildlife
  • Water
  • Harvesting
  • Storage and transport
  • Keep good records
Check out the following exerpt, then read the complete article by clicking on the llink below.


Prevent foodborne illness with safe gardening methods

By Donna Insco

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website, “CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.” According to the CDC, produce was implicated in nearly half of the reported cases from 1998 to 2008.

The reports are troubling. In 2006, a multi-state Escherichia coli (E. coli) outbreak in spinach sickened more than 200 people and led to the deaths of at least three. Celery was implicated in a Listeria outbreak in 2010. In 2011, 147 people in 28 states contracted Listeria from whole cantaloupes from Colorado.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. 1-800-835-2418.

When you’re looking for gardening seeds and supplies, check out the Survival Gardening page in the Prep Mart.


Cap’n Dave Previews Permaculture and the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit

It’s hard to improve on Mother Nature when we grow our own food, so why try? My guest on this week’s DestinySurvival Radio is sold on a way of growing food that works with Nature, not against it. Join me for Cap’n Dave’s preview of permaculture, weather, and the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit, which took place March 7-13, 2016.


Profile of Cap’n Dave

Cap’n Dave has been on DestinySurvival Radio with me before, and he always has plenty of insights to share. In case you don’t know who he is…he’s the one holding the fish in the photo below.


Cap'n Dave holding a large fish


Cap’n Dave was born and raised (in, on, and under) the Chesapeake Bay of Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where his Dad taught him fishing, hunting, gardening… and the myriad skills of a self-reliant outdoorsman. He grew up loving all aspects of the outdoors, from geology to biology; from shooting sports to surfing, from backpacking to SCUBA diving (just to name a few.) In the early 80’s he became a SCUBA instructor and also a US Coast Guard certified Boat Captain.

Moving to North Florida in the late 80’s, Cap’n Dave began a career in professional aviation, which has spanned the years since then, and has included instructing; flying freight for the world’s largest Fed Ex Feeder airline; then corporate and executive flying; and flying the Governors of Florida on State Aircraft. He’s back to giving flight instruction. Included in his years in aviation were stints with McDonnell Douglas and Boeing as an Instructional Designer and Educational Technologist. He has a life-long love of exploring wilderness caves underwater, too.

Cap’n Dave has earned a Certified Permaculture Designer credential from University of Florida Ag Extension; and took a refresher from Geoff Lawton and the Permaculture Research Institute. He currently practices these skills at his 6–acre Permaculture paradise near Tallahassee.

Cap’n Dave happens to be one of the speakers with the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit. We fill you in on that, and lots more, during our conversation.


Prelude to the Main Conversation

At the beginning of our conversation, I asked Dave how things were going at Cap’n Dave’s State Park. That’s what his friends call his place. View my previous post with photos here. You’ll see more photos below.


Chicken on Dave's wrist

Worf clings on


As we talked Cap’n Dave was multitasking. I asked him if he was watching Chicken TV, which is how he describes the entertainment provided by his chickens.

But he was doing something else this time. In true permaculture fashion, he was trimming blueberry bushes with the intention to feed the trimmings to his rabbits.


Preview of Permaculture

It’s hard to define permaculture. Cap’n Dave says dozens of explanations have been put forward. It’s more than organic gardening.

Permaculture entails a set of principles designed to use the processes of nature. It blends old ways with modern science to make the most of what nature has to offer.

You don’t have to have a six acre place like Cap’n Dave. You can practice permaculture on any scale, even on an apartment balcony.

There’s a growing interest in permaculture methods as people become more conscientious about eating clean, wholesome food and maintaining good health. Getting plugged back into nature has its appeal, too.

Growing our own food fits well into the preparedness way of life. And perhaps there’s a bit of nostalgia involved as well.

But the reward is in the results.


8 foot okra

8 foot okra

Kale beds

Kale beds

Vegetable garden

Vegetable garden


And here’s another benefit. Overall, permaculture proves to be economical. Dave and I touched on that near the end of our conversation.

Cap’n Dave recommends Toby Hemenway’s book Gaia’s Gardenas a good “introductory drug” if you want to discover what permaculture is really about.


Sunchoke harvest

Sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke) harvest


Preview of the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit

Last spring in 2015 Dave and I did an episode of DestinySurvival Radio to talk about the Home Grown Food Summit, presented by Marjory Wildcraft’s organization. This year I asked him to talk about the 2016 Summit because he’s one of the presenters.

His presentation is about weather and how you and I can learn to predict weather by looking out for repeatable patterns in nature. Listen for our discussion later in our DestinySurvival Radio conversation.

Other presenters include…

  • Geoff Lawton of the Permaculture Research Institute on Property Purchase Checklist
  • Sam Coffman on Increasing The Potency Of Backyard Herbs
  • Greg Peterson of Urban Farms University on 3 Steps To Jump-Starting Your Urban Farm
  • David The Good on Extreme Composting: The Movie
  • Ira Wallace on Growing Great Garlic
  • Jeannette Beranger on Picking Heritage Pigs
  • Ralph Rhoads on Worm Farming
  • John Moody on The Butcher, The Baker The Homestead Law Maker
That’s just a sample of the speakers and topics featured at this year’s summit. There’s sure to be something of interest for you, whether you’re gardening, tending to an apple orchard or raising chickens and goats.Click here for more about the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit.


17 foot sunflower


Putting It All Together

As you might guess, there’s more to what Cap’n Dave and I talked about. For example, take note of how he turned a predatory raccoon, who wanted his chickens for food, into a means of providing food for those same chickens.


Dave's chicks

Dave’s chicks


I encourage you to hear our chat by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for March 3, 2016 (Right click to download.)

The 2016 Home Grown Food Summit ran live (and free), March 7-13. If you missed a presentation you wanted to see, or if you want to get the whole package, you can purchase it. Start by clicking on the ad below.


Home Grown Food Summit 2016


Having Survival Seeds is a Must for Your Survival Strategy

Having a backup supply of survival seeds is prudent because we simply don’t know what lies in the future concerning our food supply. It may sound like hype to say we may have food shortages, but these days it seems like more of a possibility than ever before.

Having long term storage food is critical, but one day the only way to have garden fresh produce may be to raise it yourself.

What you want is a package of storable seeds that contains heirloom garden seeds. That means non-hybrid, open pollenated varieties. That allows you to save seeds from your plants and have seeds for the next year’s garden.

You’ll want to store your heirloom seeds in a cool dry environment because each 6° drop in storage temperature may double the life of most seeds. It’s recommended to put them in a refrigerator or freezer.

Even if you don’t garden, you can use a package of survival seeds as a barter item to exchange with someone who does garden. Of course, if you are a gardener, surely you won’t find yourself in need of bartering for survival seeds, will you?

Click on the ad below for Mountain Valley Seeds. Then search for, or click on, Storage Seeds to order the package that’s right for your survival garden.


Mountain Valley Seeds


Build a Greenhouse on a Budget in Six Steps

In the January/February, 2016, “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #157), Jennifer Poindexter describes how she and her husband built a budget greenhouse in six steps. The design is simple. And you won’t believe how little money they spent.

Check out the following exerpt, then read the whole article by clicking the link for it below.


Build a simple, inexpensive greenhouse

By Jennifer Poindexter

Since my family is homesteading on a budget, the task of building a greenhouse had to be done as inexpensively as possible. Luckily, my husband is extremely crafty; he built and designed our greenhouse for around $100. It works great! Here’s how we did it.

Step 1

We built two 4×20-foot framed garden beds to start this project. We didn’t buy any wood — we keep all of our wood from other projects in order to repurpose it and save money. With a two-foot walkway running lengthwise between the beds, the overall size of our greenhouse is 10×20 feet.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. 1-800-835-2418.

If you can afford to add the element of stealth to your greenhouse, check out Secret Greenhouse of Survival, by Rick Austin.


Currants and Gooseberries in Your Survival Garden

My first exposure to gooseberries was as a child when my grandmother often made gooseberry pie for one of my uncles. She new what he liked. I didn’t care for it back then, but my tastes have changed.

Currants?Well, that’s another matter. They’re too tart for me. Or maybe I haven’t had them prepared so they’re at their finest.

But what about currants and gooseberries in your survival garden or edible landscape? If you’ve got either one of them on your land, you’ll want to see the helpful primer in an article by Sylvia Gist in “Backwoods Home magazine” for September/October, 2015 (Issue #155).

Ever heard of gooseberry fool? There’s a recipe for it in the article linked below. You’ll find a recipe for gooseberry pie there, too.

An exerpt follows with a link to the full article. The link will open a new window, which means you can come back here to explore the additional resources mentioned in the article.


Currants and gooseberries

By Sylvia Gist

Currants and gooseberries all belong to the genus Ribes (pronounced “rye-bees”). There are varieties of currants and gooseberries native to Europe and North America, along with some developed by breeders. The jostaberry is a cross between the gooseberry and the black currant. Ribes are very cold-tolerant, so northern regions are particularly suitable for their cultivation.

Currants and gooseberries may actually be prohibited in your area due to their ability to host white pine blister rust, which can kill off white pine trees. The fungus must spend some part of its life on leaves of this genus, and the black currant is particularly obliging. There was a federal ban in the 1920s and a lot of resources went into trying to eradicate all gooseberries and currants, particularly in places where white pines were the mainstay of the lumber/logging business. In the 1960s, the federal ban was lifted and the responsibility shifted to the states, some of which still ban importation. The websites or catalogs of various nurseries will tell you whether they can ship a particular plant to your state.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. 1-800-835-2418.


Additional Resources


Build a Self-Watering Survival Garden for Small Spaces

Below is a video demonstrating how to build a self-watering garden for small spaces. All you need is a few pop bottles, a plastic storage container, some paint and a fitting or two.

This selff-watering garden uses a passive form of hydroponics. And there’s more than one way to water your plants, as you’ll see.

This 23 minute video came to my attention quite a while back, but I lost track of the info I needed so I could share it with you. I’m happy to pass it along to you now, with the hope it will be useful for you.

One of the advantages of a system like this is you can set it up any time. Consider putting one of these together if you’re limited on gardening space. Or, do as the man who put the video together, and make a few of these to give as gifts to others.



Extend Your Growing Season This Fall with a Lean-To Greenhouse

It’s not too early to think about a way to extend your growing season for the fall. Consider building a lean-to greenhouse.

The July/August, 2015, “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #154) includes an article describing how Dorothy Ainsworth and her son Eric built one. An exerpt is below with a link to the full article.


Build a lean-to greenhouse

By Dorothy Ainsworth

Just thinking about a greenhouse can stimulate the senses. In our minds’ eyes, we can see the filtered light shimmering down on rows of greenery, feel the moist warm air, smell the rich soil, and even taste a juicy tomato.

A greenhouse is a protected and controlled environment that costs only a few hundred dollars if you build it yourself. Your first ripe tomato will cost $800, but it’s worth it — your greenhouse will allow 365 days of gardening a year. Summer and fall plants will yield for an extra season, and new seeds can gain a head start for spring planting. Frost, snow, rain, and wind can’t touch your precious plants and flowers, or you. You’ll get your initial investment back within a year, and then it earns its keep forever after.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. 1-800-835-2418.

You may also want a copy of Secret Greenhouse of Survival, by Rick Austin.