How To Prepare Your Ground for Planting Season
7 steps that will help you get ready for growing food off the grid
Preppers and those which want to live off the grid typically begin with controlling their food supply.
This means that you will have to grow your own food.
Now, this can be done through an aquaponics system or through traditional farming methods.
Where I would strongly encourage you to look into an aquaponics system, I do realize that even with such a system standard planting is a necessity.
Here are 7 steps to help you prepare your ground for the planting season.
7) Find a spot with natural irrigation
The first thing that you need to worry about when you are getting ready to plant a crop is the location.
It is not always beneficial to stick a garden in the spot that has the most room. A “put it where it will fit” approach is not good.
Instead, you need to survey your land for any areas that have a slight decline.
You do not want a steep decline as that will affect the roots and wash out the seeds, but you do want to have a land selection that can provide you with some natural irrigation. You want to avoid:
Areas that have water build up from rain or other water run off
Places which do not receive any shade throughout the day
A location which receives no sunlight throughout the day
6) Make the boundary according to the intended crop
As your crop will be the main way in which you provide for the survival of your family, you need to maximize your chances of being able to yield a crop with substantial produce.
When you purchase the seeds for harvesting (or when you take the seeds out of your survival kit), read to see how far apart each row needs to be as well as the distance between each seed.
Once you have determined the maximum space needed then stake off a square that is 2 feet larger than what is needed so that you can easily walk around your garden.
5) The first turn
The first turn of your ground should be done several weeks before planting season.
Ensure that when you turn the ground that you till the soil to a depth that is slightly deeper than the planting depth.
The point of the first turn is to loosen up any roots and debris which may be in the soil.
This is why you do the first turn early. It allows time for unwanted roots under the surface to die and for you to pick out all the other debris.
Your goal with the first turn is not to oxidize the ground but to make it to where it is just the soil.
4) Turn and Turn again
Some people may disagree, but the results speak for themselves. You need to turn your ground several times before the planting season.
The first turn should sit for about a week or two in order to kill off any of the surface roots.
However, after this first turn, I would turn the soil about once a week.
Look for small rocks, roots, twigs, weeds, and other items which would hinder your plants from growing properly. Also, check the soil to see if any areas get particularly dry or wet.
You want to try to ensure that the soil remains consistent throughout the planting area.
Areas which are too wet may have shading that is blocking the sunlight.
Areas which are too dry may not be getting irrigated properly due to rocks or other debris in the soil.
If needed regrade the land so that the soil is more favorable.
3) Add your fertilizer and compost to the soil
The final step in prepping for your off grid living gardens is to integrate your fertilizer and compost into the soil.
Most plants will tell you the ideal mixture for the best produce.
You will want to find the plant that has the lowest tolerance and cater to that plant’s needs.
For example: if you have a plant that says it can handle a 70:30 ratio and another that says to keep it 40:60, you will want to go with the 40:60 ratio.
Remember, you can always add to the rows later, but if the soil is already conditioned wrong before the seeds are planted, your odds of a good crop are bleak.
When adding the compost and fertilizer ensure that the soil is mixed in roughly. You do not want to use compost which has seeds, fungus, or could otherwise damage the seed. Preferred a clean compost (or topsoil like compost.)
2) Build your rainwater irrigation system between the rows
As a survivalist, you are already capable of capturing your own rainwater. Now, you are going to make that rainwater work for you.
Using a 50-gallon container set it up at least 16” above the ground on a secured platform.
Next, cut a small hole on the lower side of the container.
2 inches should be more than enough.
Attach a shut-off valve.
Depending on the number of rows, cut off from the turn off valve with perforated pipes. Ensure that the pipes decline slightly and that the end of the pipe is at least a foot from the end of your crop (to keep from water accumulation).
1) Plant NON-Hybrid seeds
Off grid living means that you can sustain your life without having to go and get seeds every year. Ensure that you do not plant hybrid seeds.
Hybrids may give you big juicy produce, but they do not give you any seeds that you can use in the future.
Organic seeds from a local vendor are best to use.
If you have to purchase your seed, buy from a feed and seed store rather than a commercial retail store in order to get the best results.