tmac wrote: ↑March 19th, 2023, 11:08 am
But what production models/methods and scales will survive?
What was the Egyptians’ production method that allowed them to produce and store excess food?
ok, so I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I have a 1967 ford 3000 diesel tractor. I need to open the engine and see if I have a broken lifter (that's the sound it's making). Parts for this tractor are plentiful and cheap, because they used them all over the world. They are still heavily in use in India, I suppose, because a lot of parts come from there. Anyway, it has almost 0 electronics on it (battery and starter / lights, and a dashboard). And being a diesel, I could probably run it on vegetable oil.
But then BigGov came up with "we need to ban propane!" and it's not much of a leap to see that they could probably ban gas and diesel too.
Tilling the garden is the big thing everyone does with their tractor around here in the spring, so I've been thinking: "how can you productively feed yourself without a big tractor to clear the planting beds every year?" I started searching for farming methods that don't take a lot of machinery, and I've settled on the "no till" method as one way I'm very interested in.
Besides, I'm also reading that tilling tends to break up beneficial bacteria in the soil - you're basically ripping a gash in the earth that it then tries to heal itself (usually with weeds). Of course, I also believe the scriptures that very clearly state that man is meant to till the earth, so...trying to combine those two in a beneficial (beneficial = growing crops) way.
But there is "no free lunch" - if you till, then you have to provide amendments (fertilizer). If you don't till, you have to provide amendments (fertilizer). Since Russia is the biggest supplier of nitrogen used to make fertilizer, it seems like something we should try to limit in case it suddenly becomes scarce or pricey. Plus, a bag of fertilizer (in my mind) is like pill-popping the soil (BigPharma) = not natural. And if there's one thing these BigGov types have exposed about themselves, it's that they don't give a lick about the environment (war in Ukraine/ East Palestine OH / flying to their environmental conferences in big jets) - they don't really care about human life (or life in general, apparently). So it's best to come up with a method that you can do independent of any craziness going on around you (supply lines = not necessary).
Really it seems to boil down to mulching and composting - any method you look at, you are going to need tons and tons of mulch and compost. You could buy it, sure.....for now. So in a SHTF, it seems like your best bet is to make your own mulch and compost. That's where I'm focused right now.
Turning tons of compost with a pitchfork seems like a lot of work, but thankfully, there are other methods - one that is extremely interesting to me is Rye grass - you grow it, then mow it , then tarp it to kill off the roots, and voila! planting beds without tilling. For clay soils, there are cover crops with tap roots you can grow to break up the soil with their tap root, then you mow them (or scythe them), tarp them, and the tap root decays, but leaves a structure and path for nutrients in the soil to follow.
The more I read, the more it seems to me that we (modern humans) know almost nothing about soil health.
and you folks out west have the additional burden of storing water, so you'll need extra parts for irrigation lines and tanks and stuff.
Storing / processing
you also need a place / method to store what you've grown: canning supplies (and backup supplies - o-rings, extra lids, seals, - the old adage: "two is one, and one is none" seems to hold here). root cellars, solar powered fridges and freezers, extra parts for all of them. organized seeds, keep careful track of what you eat so you know how much to plant. Since we eat a lot of grains - cereals, crackers, spaghetti, bread, we want to ensure we have every piece of equipment needed to process grains. grinder (we have 1 electric and 2 hand cranks), scythes, winnowing tools, etc.
what to grow:
I think in terms of calories and nutrients - nothing has 100% of what you need (eggs come close), but there are a lot of foods that are packed wtih nutrients. It should be easy to grow, easy to store, pack a lot of calories, and resistant to disease.
- Sweet potatoes are probably #1, IMO, for a survival food. Nasa did a program to evaluate growing them on Mars after researching caloric and nutrient density. everything on the plant is edible - roots, leaves, vines, flowers.
- Wheat. It's just grass. stupid easy to grow. humans have been growing wheat since time began. nutrient dense. stores practically forever. 200'x10' plot should be enough to give you 2 loaves of bread a week for a family of 4 for a year.
- winter squashes: pumpkins, acorn squash, etc. store very well, lots of calories.
- fruit and fruit trees: apples are very versatile - vinegar, shampoo, applesauce, apple chips, cider, juice. Can substitute applesauce for eggs in muffin recipes. blueberries and all berries that stain are great antioxidents, anti-cancer, vit c, plant them once then just prune and mulch every year.
- corn - like wheat, very versatile, stores well. A bit harder to grow, but probably worth it.
- beans: pinto, black, navy - very high in protein. if you can't get meat, you might do with beans instead.
- chickens - meat and eggs from the same animal. their poop is useful as well - lots of nitrogen. so much that you should use it sparingly so it doesn't "burn" your plants.
- bees: humans have been keeping bees as long as they've been tilling the ground. honey stores practically forever. Hives are easy to make with just a table saw - instructions all over the internet. propolis can be used as toothpaste, wax for candles. plus they pollinate your garden, so....
just ideas off the top of my head....