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The Victory Garden Thread

Discussion in 'Obsessions and Interests' started by oregano, Mar 8, 2022.

  1. oregano

    oregano My time has come... V.I.P Member

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    NO POLITICS!

    Is anybody going to plant a "victory garden?" That was the name given to government efforts in both USA and UK during the 1940s to encourage people to grow their own food to supplement heavily rationed food supplies. By the end of the war in Europe, victory gardens supplied nearly all of Britain's food consumption. I figure that it will get more attractive the higher food costs go and the supermarkets get increasingly barren.

    My grandfather planted Red Pontiac potatoes. They were a much more hardy spud than the russet, and could be stored at room temperature all winter. I'm trying to figure out where to find some of them. He planted peas, which I loved to eat right out of the pod. I ate so much of his peas that he had to admonish me a couple times! He planted radishes because they discouraged malevolent bugs. He also grew leek onions. Once or twice he tried corn.

    He would cut each spud in half and then put agricultural sulfur over the exposed end before planting, to keep bugs from munching on them. I think he would plant the radishes around the boundaries of his plots, so the bugs would try to eat them and then be driven off by the bitter taste. He also composted, something that is being encouraged by the State of California once again to reduce the amount of rotting organics in landfills and the methane gas created which is a major greenhouse gas.
     
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  2. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I will be doubling my efforts during this growing season and I will be focusing most of my free time to my gardening this year. My primary goal is to reduce our need for groceries as dramatically as possible.

    We're still eating potatoes in March from last year's harvest from our garden, but I will be planting even more potatoes this year. I harvested several hundred pounds of tomatoes last year but I plan on planting even more plants this year. Frozen whole tomatoes are incredibly useful and versatile. I also dehydrate and powder the tomatoes as well as can salsa.

    A new thing this year I plan to do is grow a fairly small patch of wheat (25 feet by 50 feet to start). I've never done it but small scale threshing and winnowing is much easier than I thought. I have a grain mill, so grinding whole wheat flour isn't an issue (provided we have electricity).

    I would consider getting a few dairy goats, but my wife wouldn't go for that.
     
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  3. Gerontius

    Gerontius Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm thinking about it. Might get going on this one.

    People don't realize that victory gardens are a good idea; everyone talks about "oh, you can't grow ALL your food in the yard!" Yeah, true, but you can grow some of it!
     
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  4. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Also, most people don't realize how much produce a fairly small garden can actually yield.
     
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  5. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    @oregano mentioned radishes. They're one of the fastest vegetables to mature (typically 30-45 days from seed) and also one that can be planted early when it's still cool. In the U.S., radishes are only eaten raw and only the root is eaten. The vegetable is so much more versatile than that. Radishes can be fermented and can also be eaten steamed, braised, sauteed, etc. And that's only talking about the root. Radish tops/greens? The greens are excellent cooked. I wouldn't eat raw radish leaves because they are rough/scratchy from the silica-like hairs on them, but when they're cooked, the hairs and scratchiness are eliminated. Turnips are similar in their usefulness and are even more productive in the size of their roots and their greens.

    For someone with a small victory garden, I would recommend planting a lot of radishes with the intent on steaming/blanching the greens and stems and then freezing the greens in small portions which can be used to great effect in soups, stews and as a side dish in the winter. I do that with beets. I have many frozen packages of beet tops/greens that I've been relishing this winter.

    Another benefit of radishes if you let a few go to seed is that you can collect the seeds in the fall and replant the next year. No need to buy new seeds each year.
     
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  6. WasItBob

    WasItBob New Member

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    We grow a good size garden every year and we can a lot. We also raise meat chickens.

    A lot of people out there would be amazed about how much food they can grow from a 8' x 3' garden bed.
     
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  7. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's good to hear I'm not alone in raising meat chickens. Last year I yielded over 250 pounds of dressed weight. All the chicken backs were roasted, pressure cooked and then pressure canned for broth. Many many quarts and pints of chicken broth ten times more flavorful and concentrated than broth from the grocery store. My mom used to call homemade chicken broth "liquid gold" for its value to cooking.
     
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  8. WasItBob

    WasItBob New Member

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    @Magna We raised 200 chickens last year and lost about 15 of them. We freeze most of them whole and then end up on the grill. We do cut up some and freeze them and all the spare parts are smoked and turned into broth.
     
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  9. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Very cool. I raised 50 last year to get the yield that I did. I don't freeze them whole primarily because of the freezer space but also because I grind a lot of the meat into packages that I vacuum seal and freeze. We don't eat much beef so I mix the ground chicken with ground pork from a hog we buy from an organic farmer.

    I house the meat birds in the greenhouse I use for growing our tomatoes, peppers and melons during the growing season. The birds live in there from late September through November and they fertilize the soil in the greenhouse for the next year's vegetable crop.
     
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  10. WasItBob

    WasItBob New Member

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    @Magna We raise them in 4 batches starting in the early winter and before freezing weather.
     
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  11. oregano

    oregano My time has come... V.I.P Member

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    @Magna: what breed of chickens do you raise? I am planning on using red chickens because they are best for eggs AND meat. Rhode Island Reds are the most common, but I know of a feed store that sells New Hampshire Reds which I haven't been able to find much info on. Chicken eggs can keep for a long time if they are NOT washed. Factory farmed eggs are all washed which removes the natural protective coating.
     
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  12. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I purchase a hybrid chick called a Cornish Cross (X). They're bred to eat and grow. They're not a dual purpose bird (not for egg laying).

    I would like to raise dual purpose birds but don't at this time because we don't currently have a chicken coop for them to live in year around. Plus where I live it's winter for half the year so there's no natural food for them during that time. Cornish Cross are fully grown in around 11 weeks. A dual purpose bird can rarely reach the same weight and the amount of time it takes to get a dual purpose bird to weight is twice as long (which means twice the feed expense and feed costs are significant now).

    Do dual purpose birds have certain advantages? Definitely. Eggs for one. Another advantage is that you could hatch the eggs and raise more of the same breed for self sufficiency. You can't do that with a hybrid breed. The chicks hatched from a hybrid breed won't "breed true"; meaning the chicks can gave growth issues and problems. The same holds true for planting any seeds collected from a hybrid plant. The offspring won't grow to be like it's hybrid parent.
     
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  13. Gerald Wilgus

    Gerald Wilgus Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I plant things that modern agriculture has rendered tasteless, like tomatoes, or others that are hard for me to get fresh, like purple tomatillos. Plus last fall planted about 40 garlic, German Red, and a patch of asparagus. Wild veg. we pick from our woods. Wild Ramps is one that we make a vinagrette from. It goes great with roast Asparagus and fish.
     
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  14. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    We have very little space, and no allotment yet. I'm planning narrow planters down the side return at the back, and having courgettes, pumpkins and tomatoes in them, plus some salad. Has anyone done any vertical planting or growing? Like, on shelves or walls?
     
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  15. oregano

    oregano My time has come... V.I.P Member

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    Yes, I am planning a self-perpetuating flock. Cornishes are made to grow fast and then be butchered. I think that there is certainly the likelihood of shortages of baby poultry in the near future, so I am looking at a perpetuating flock. My land is cold for a good portion of the year, but snow is rare at the elevation it's at, maybe one storm a year, and it melts after a week or maybe two.
     
  16. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I agree with you that raising dual purpose chickens is a good idea. I also agree that it's certainly possible there could be a chick shortage any time. Bird flu could happen or demand could easily exceed supply. And if you live in an area that has exposed ground for most of the year your chickens can forage a bit even if it's cold.
     
  17. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I have grown cantaloupe on vertical wire "walls". They grew adequately. I also let a lot of the cantaloupe vines grow/"run" on the ground and I noticed that the vines spreading on the ground grew far more melons than the vines that climbed vertically. I found that interesting.

    If you have limited space you might now want to grow pumpkins. The vines for pumpkins/squash really like to spread just like melons do.
     
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  18. oregano

    oregano My time has come... V.I.P Member

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    At the beginning of the pandemic a local feed store in Sacramento known for its chick selection literally had lines out the door and snaking through the parking lot. They had to open the lot gates early so people wouldn't be parking and standing alongside the road. With the craziness of supply chains any unforeseen ripple could cause people to line up for chicks again. Also I've heard of recent bird flu outbreaks in the Midwest, although I can't remember where, that news was knocked off by the war.
     
  19. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Bringing these issues to light makes me want to redouble my efforts to build a suitable living area (coop and chicken run) and start a flock of dual purpose birds. One reason I haven't is because I have family that lives near me and they've always had a flock of chickens and we're given free organic eggs from their flock regularly.
     
  20. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Reminds me of years ago living in Virginia. In our backyard my father had a large plot where he was growing all kinds of vegetables. Nothing like fresh from the ground to the table! And it was a great hobby for my father. :)
     
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