Permaculture and growing food for survival

Discussion in 'Survivalism' started by Manu, 17 August 2018.

  1. Manu

    Manu Señor Member Sustaining Member
    1. Norden
    2. Knights of the Iron Cross

    Have you studied permaculture yet?
    Perhaps the Back to Eden method, which is ordered but similar?

    Growing plants and raising animals, and making things with your bare hands out of what you can find in nature (and the organic seed store, to begin with) is the true way to self-suffiecient living. It requires quite a bit of knowledge and hands-on experimentation with your local environment, as well as a piece of land.

    The process of acquiring funds to buy land is arguably the toughest and least fun part of the journey. But you can spend the same time learning things in theory or small scale while you still live in a city environment, which many of us do or did. You can experiment, even on a balcony.

    I would strongly recommend looking into both permaculture and Back to Eden on places like youtube, but also through books. There are a ton of them to wade through and easy enough to find. First watch videos to get an idea visually, then going onwards to books, to get the details.

    We are in a period of global warming, whether or not it is man-made is another question. In the future, you will need to learn how to grow things using mulch - ground cover - in order to not get hit hard by droughts. Especially if public water no longer works. This is quite likely if it continues to get warmer, even if it is not set in stone. Who knows, maybe I will be wrong and an ice age will hit us brutally. In all likelihood, however, that would take a long time.

    Using wood chips as mulch is a rather intelligent way to feed nutrients to your soil and keep moisture in it. It should be fine pieces and made out of saplings, bush wood or whatever you might call it. You may also use composted hay, grass clippings, leaves or such. But wood chips last longer and are not prone to blowing away. Do not use tree bark. The wood chips take a couple of years to break down into compost, but it is well worth it. Mulch will also transform your soil over time, into deep, loose and rich topsoil. It removes the need to till the earth. Never do that! It kills your land. Together with composting, it is very effective at generating top soil fast, which otherwise takes a lot of time. An inch every hundred years or so. Modern agriculture is eroding away the top soil at an alarming rate, causing entire stretches of once-fertile fields to become a virtual desert where nothing wants to grow. This happens due to the lack of ground cover, which is everywhere in nature but not agriculture, as well as the ever-present monoculture of growing vast stretches of only one thing, often in conjunction with poisons and bad artificial fertilizer with almost no nutrients. The world is becoming a desert and productivity per acre world-wide is always going down due to this. It is just another example of why endless growth in a limited world is impossible. Yet another reason the modern way is bad.

    You could/should also keep chickens or some form of animals in order to get eggs and your own fertilizer. Chickens can be fed almost for free using a maggot dispenser, for most of the year. Meaning a metal bucket with holes in the bottom, where you put intestines, road kill, fish heads or whatever in order to get maggot larvae, which will drop down on the ground through the holes, feeding your chickens. It is good for them, nutritionally. Combine with feeding them (organic) compost and scraps from your kitchen. If you live in a colder climate, you will probably need to buy or grow chicken feed in the winter, but at least it keeps them fed a lot of the time. Letting them free range, within reason, is also great.

    Applying permaculture design to your garden is extremely important. It is important to know your piece of land. Where there is sun, where there is shade, where there is lots of water and where it is dry, what soil is rich or not, where it is acidic and where it is alkaline etc. Different plants require different things. Even such a thing as where you place your chicken coop is important.

    One thing that you should unlearn is the keeping and maintenance of large lawns for no purpose. Grow things in your space. Invite wild things to grow. Learn what plants grow well in symbiosis and help scare away pests from one another. Learn how to get rid of pests using natural pesticides such as garlic or peppermint oil, or vinegar. Learn what apple trees pollinate each other and what kinds of plants and flowers attract bees, such as lavender. Help establish round (never square!) beehives for the sake of having bees around, and not for harvesting their honey. The bees are your little helpers, as a permaculturalist. The goal is to create self-sufficiency through an edible forest, that gives back to nature rather than taking away from or debasing it like modern agrobusiness.

    Me and my wife are out looking for farms to buy almost every weekend nowadays, so we are soon "there", when we can begin to apply what we have learned and practiced in minieture on a larger scale, and gradually become self-sufficient. Establishing one of these food forests will obviously be a bit of an undertaking, but well worth it. Cans, freeze-dried and dry foods will only last you so long in a SHTF scenario. Growing and raising your own food is the only long term solution. If you want to survive the death of the modern world, you will want to learn these things by heart, practice it and hand it down to your children. Preferably far away from the nearest (preferably small) city.

    As for semi-illegal practices, there are things you could - I will not say should - do. Say that you live near public land or land held by some forestry company or the like. Buy bagfuls of non-treated/non-roasted organic hemp seeds and seed very large areas with hemp. The seeds are extremely good survival food and grows like a weed almost everywhere. It is one of those rare foods that contain almost everything you need in order to survive. Fats that are a perfect omega-6 to omega-3 balance, protein and carbohydrates along with plenty of vitamins and minerals. In some countries it is still illegal or very hard to get a license to grow industrial hemp, which is why some have to resort to this. It is just an odd tip. But tons of wild-growing hemp will come in handy for all sorts of things. You can relatively easily make oil for food and even propulsion in diesel engines, cordage, clothes and even plastic out of it, besides eating the seeds. You can also use it to make hempcrete, which is a great building material that does not need electrical air circulation. So don't forget the hemp, seriously. Besides these things, it nourishes soil and increases soil quality. In case it is not legal, seed such large areas that it is not obvious where it came from - you - or practical/easy for the authorities to remove. If it is too large an endeavor, they will not even try. Throw a handful there and a handful there all over the area, or many areas. If the seeds are alive and germinate, you just did really well for the sake of biodiversity and your own survival. No matter what the law says about industrial (or other) hemp. I do not suggest smoking weed here, that makes people stupid. It should only be done for medicinal purposes.

    I would suggest looking first at a guy named Ben Falk on youtube. Some expert may disagree, but what he does obviously works, even in a cold climate.
    Last edited: 17 August 2018
  2. Manu

    Manu Señor Member Sustaining Member
    1. Norden
    2. Knights of the Iron Cross

    We are finally on the verge of buying our farm. We are negotiating with banks and going over the buying contract with the (soon previous) owner. It looks like one hell of a deal and we might be debt free in fairly short order due to low price. We will not let it slip through our fingers, because we will not find a better property. Two houses, more or less wholesome, 7 hectares of southern slope (perfect for permaculture), gravity flow spring water and two functioning deep-drilled wells. Also has a couple of root cellars for winter storage. One well has an electric pump and is connected to a house, the second I will fit with a hand pump and use for watering animals and such. One house is supplied by the spring. One house has a wood-fired stove. Both the gravity flow spring and the hand pump are indispensable in a Grid-Down scenario as well as keeping down costs for irrigation if it gets too warm and dry, as it did this summer. The slope is too steep for commercial farming, but not too steep for people doing things by hand. I will clear the land of brush that has grown up over the last two decades by borrowing a bunch of sheep or goats to graze it down and pull up the roots. In the process, they will shit on it thoroughly and improve the soil quality.

    When the above is done, I will enlist the help of my brother and some friends who are part of my SHTF group and dig farming terraces and steps into the hillside by hand. When it is dug, I will reinforce the terraces and steps with river rocks and cement, making low walls or shelves that will heat up in the sun and keep the plants warm for a while in the evening. It will also enable us to plant earlier in spring and cover the beds with glass, hemp plastic or whatever we will use to make it work more like a greenhouse. I will likely bury logs here and there to decompose and give the earth nutrients. As for planting order, I will take a closer look on permaculture planning in order to scare away common pests and see what works together well in general. It is likely I will have to fence it, since there are roe deer and other potential destroyers of the food supply. I like the idea of not harming nature or using toxic crap, and nourishing the land, but I am not sufficiently environmentalist to enjoy my farming efforts to go towards feeding deer or hares rather than my family.

    The houses will need a bit of work, too, so I expect to not get a lot of farming done in the first year or two. But we will plant what we can and harvest seeds. Trees will also need planting. Fortunately, there are already thriving apple trees, which manes me certain that the property is good for one of my prime farming obsessions. You can do a lot of things with apples and there isn't many fruits that keep for as long simply by tossing them in a barrel.
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  3. Werifesterian

    Werifesterian Senior Member

    Sounds marvelous, Manu! The terracing you describe sounds like what we will be doing—in miniature—in our back yard. What is this SHTF of which you speak?
  4. Manu

    Manu Señor Member Sustaining Member
    1. Norden
    2. Knights of the Iron Cross

    SHTF is a common survivalist term. There are a couple of abbreviations used interchangeably.

    TEOTWAWKI = The End of The World As We Know It

    SHTF = (When the) Shit Hits The Fan

    Basically the great dying event ahead, the inevitable death of the modern world. Exponential and limitless growth is not possible in a world of limited resources. Therefore it will happen, soon or late. I am quite frankly surprised that it hasn't yet. The major trigger will likely be one of two things:

    1. The oil runs out completely. We passed Peak Oil production in 2009. No major new oil reserves have been found. We have another decade of supply at best. At worst, it could happen now. This is why the prices are crazy, but no one is talking openly about it.

    2. Nuclear EMP or Coronal Mass Ejection EMP. Would likely knock out the power grid and all solid state electronics circuits. Everything from most cars to cell phones, computers, relay stations. Basically, we would suddenly be back in the stone age and the supermarkets have food for about three days. And it would take years to fix even if everyone worked together, which they wouldn't. There would be mass panic, looting, shooting, raping and general mayhem in the cities. Then starvation, disease and mass death during the first year. All countryside within the reach of cities would be plundered. A secure distance might arbitrarily be set at 300 km from a real city (500 000+) and 50 km from a city of 50 000 or less.

    Immigration in and of itself may trigger it economically. I don't think it will, then again it might. But things will without a doubt be exacerbated by the immigrants present within our societies, because they will band together and try to take resources that belong to ethnic Europeans in order to survive. Which will make us band together for defense and later extermination, when we hate them sufficiently for very real crimes during the collapse. Who comes out on top? We do, no doubt. We are superior fighters and always were. I simply hope that the rural die-off is far less than amongst big city-people and immigrants. That the crisis does not reach its claws so far into the country.

    Regardless, it will not be fun. It will be hell. From a higher perspective, it is probably necessary. It is probably unavoidable. I hope it never comes and that I and millions of others are tin foil hat delusional idiots. I don't think that is the case, however. Most non-ridiculous survivalists are pretty intelligent people. Some are likely less than socially competent, but the median IQ is (arbitrarily guessed by yours truly) bound to be closer to the 120-140 range than to 110 through 70, which is basically the category in which you will find most blind consumerist people, both foreign and domestic. You will of course find dumb survivalists and intelligent blind consumerists, but there is a general pattern. Far from all intelligent people are preppers, sadly. Many have far too niched interests to see that the house is burning.

    A long answer. But that is basically SHTF.
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  5. Bast

    Bast Member Sustaining Member

    This is great! How far is your potential farm from civilization? Or maybe you aren't as concerned about proximity, since you belong to a good group.

    If I'm still living in the states by my mid 30s, I chose a place I found one summer about an hour's drive from the nearest interstate.
  6. Manu

    Manu Señor Member Sustaining Member
    1. Norden
    2. Knights of the Iron Cross

    It is about an hour away from the nearest interstate/city/town. It is 8 km outside a village. It has one approach, a country road. It is hidden from that road. If two bridges were to be taken down in proximity to the city, vehicles could not come from the interstate to the location.
  7. Manu

    Manu Señor Member Sustaining Member
    1. Norden
    2. Knights of the Iron Cross

    Right, so the (ridiculously small in comparison to everyone else's) loan is almost finalized. We are waiting for the money to get into our account. Friday, monday or tuesday. When this is done, we are sitting down with the seller to make the place ours. Finally!

    Permafrost will set in in about a month or two, it is highly unpredictable. The weather is wet and foggy/rainy until then, so I can't very well do much about the exterior of the houses until spring. What I can and will do is to fix interior things like the chimney and stove, decor, electrical and such. I will also start digging my terraces, while the ground isn't frozen. That way, I can plant earlier. I will rake leaves and throw on it to decompose over the winter to give it a bit of protection from the elements and nutrients. How extensive it becomes initially depends on how hard it is to dig. Worked in landscaping before, so I know right well that it can differ substantially.

    In June, I will clear lanes in the brush for animals to have access as well as take down the largest young trees covering the hillside, and hopefully get a hold of some sheep or goats to do the smaller saplings and graze out the root systems so the brush has a hard time regrowing. I won't touch any valuable trees I find, such as rowan. But my farm proper sure as shit won't be covered by birch and sallow. There is proper forest on the land too, and I won't do much there except harvest some firewood and tap birch sap in spring, when it is abundant. That stuff is healthy and you can do all sorts of stuff with it. Alcohol, even. Or syrup. Northern nature's energy drink.

    Otherwise, we will pretty much spend days out there in winter, barbecuing sausage and such. Just enjoying our own piece of nature. I might build a permanent shelter and fireplace, for such occasions, next year if the time allows. Some kind of log construction with three walls and a roof, for outdoor cooking. Stones or bricks for the fireplace and a large grate with different elevations. Probably a rotating spit for larger occasions. The place already has a high quality fish/meat smoker. God knows I will definitely find use for that.
    Last edited: 17 October 2018
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  8. Werifesterian

    Werifesterian Senior Member

    I have never signed my name so many times as when we bought our house. The stack of papers was imposing and I understand ours was a comparatively simple transaction as such things go!

    What with the fireplace and rotating spit it sounds as if you plan to live in true baronial splendour! I find myself wondering if you plan to have a temple or shrine and what form it will take. Do you intend to follow traditional customs regarding the household spirits?
  9. Manu

    Manu Señor Member Sustaining Member
    1. Norden
    2. Knights of the Iron Cross

    There are a plentitude of local and familial spirits in everything. A shrine is a possibility, perhaps. As far as those things go, I have never been able to afford such a thing, not properly anyway.

    Such a family shrine should be for Remembering and meditation. Much like a museum, in fact. That would be one weird place in my case. Bone tipped arrows and primitive bows and more advanced ones, harpoons, medieval and antique swords from most eras, roman loricas, ostrogothic equipment, muskets, western style revolvers and a Henry rifle, stuffed horses of a few different breeds, a (hopefully miniature) Waffen SS vehicle park ranging from Sdkfz SPWs to Panthers and Tigers, various ridiculously expensive memorabilia, world war 2 guns and flags, medals and uniforms, suits of armor and heraldry... I wish I was a millionaire. As far as temples to gods, I share the old beloef that Nature is their temple and that I do not want to confine them to a building.

    As for landwights, I do try to keep them happy. The place in question has a feeling of good will. Even now that it has gone to seed and old people have died there. But they are long gone. The placr judt needs clearing and fixing up. I assume they will appreciate the place being taken care of again, at long last, in an old-timey way.

    I have a long term plan concerning the erection (don't laugh) of a timber hall in a completely made up nordic style, complete with dragon's head roof ridges, rune-engraved door frames and such. The outdoor cooking area as well as the farming terraces will be integral to this, as I plan to make it a very strange restaurant if the peace continues long enough for it. In the unlikely event that the world doesn't go to complete shit as I expect it to do within the forseeable future.

    I have a ton of plans. If the peace does not hold, as I expect it not to, then it will be a functioning base of operations for those I have gathered and likely those I will gather after the fact. Surviving what's coming will need large organized groups, not just individual stuff. It's sort of a one-size-fits-all thing.

    If there is peace, I dream of being in the Guide Michelin. And yeah, I love cooking and food that much. It has always been quite a passion. I did some chefing before, but I hate the mainstream profession and its stainless steel counters. The stress and mass production of utter shit, even that stuff most think is good isn't particularly qualitative or original. I want to grow permaculture food and have my own animals, catch my own fish and cook everything with fire. Everything from cooking pits to smoking and such. Pickling stuff is awesome, too. I think my favorite chef in the world is Francis Mallmann. Even if his life philisophy is horrid. He gets a lot of things right, but he is pretty sloppy with some. There is an episode on him in Chef's Table. For anyone who loves food, it is one of few in that series worth watching. For anyone who enjoys cooking with fire. I want to have all sorts of fire type foods. I have even studied how to build a pizza oven and have experimented with doughs, quite extensively. If a food is made with fire, I usually love it. If I were an elemental force, I would be fire. Absolutely love it, can't live without it. The opportunity to cook every day using fire and use it for heating and so on? Amazing. I feel like a little kid at Yule just thinking about it. Grew up that way and I miss it terribly, having been cooped up in antiseptic apartments for ten years. That is a bloody prison.

    Yeah, dreams. I will probably curse and scream before too long!
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  10. Manu

    Manu Señor Member Sustaining Member
    1. Norden
    2. Knights of the Iron Cross

    So, an update. The farm is now ours. It is paid for, the papers signed, we got the keys, went there to inspect and inventory it more. Found a bunch of cool stuff like scythes, axes, tools, a woodpile (building material) and a restorable 1950's refrigerator. Lots of work ahead, but a great tension is slowly leaving my mind and body. Doing my duty will now be much easier. The goals are very concrete and doable with hard work. I feel lighter, because I know we will make it now. No matter what comes, it is very improbable that it will cause much trouble all the way out there. Even if shit hits the fan tomorrow, we would survive with the supplies we have already and we would be able to adequately fix the place up ourselves. If it does in a year or two, we would do good. If SHTF in two years and beyond, we will thrive.

    Neither are we alone in this. Me and my techie electrician buddy will go there this weekend to check out the wiring and possibilities for off grid type solutions. Maybe delve into geothermal a bit. But that's for later. Perhaps cut down a bunch of crap (thistles, high grass, weeds, light brush) with the scythes and get a ladder fastened to the roof for the chimney sweep. We should also walk about a bit and determine an approximate area where he and his family gets to grow food, build a cabin or some such etc. He is invaluable to the long term plan and as eager and able as I am but in skills that I lack, so I am quite willing to share. His wife and mine are childhood friends, and I like him well enough. He could easily have been a German panzer officer, very upright, serious and focused. Very much a doer. Not the kind most people invites to a backyard barbecue or spend time with to "chill", but exactly the type I would. Always ready to spring into action, very agile mind. Not a man I would ever like to fight. Too inventive. Pretty happy we "found" them. Good folks are few and far between, these days. They are Christian (protestant), and "my" doctor's family is Russian Orthodox. But I don't believe there will be any issues over that.

    Our team medico visited with us shortly this past thursday, but it was too brief and dark to go out there. He knows our deal is solid now, anyway. I hope he will take it seriously and prep medicine, equipment and so forth. His deal is the same. Use of land equivalent to his family's need and a place for them to go when things go to shit. I hope they will show up regularly and do their part. Having a doctor would be pretty convenient.

    Without involving others via incentive, we would not be able to cultivate and keep seven hectares of land from being swallowed by brush. The five hectares remaining, closest to the houses, is going to be quite enough to keep open, let alone cultivate by hand. I am thinking about letting someone I knlw who has horses use some land for grazing, provided they clear it.

    One or so is wood, the rest is going to have animals and edibles on it. I will keep the alder trees growing on about one acre, the wood is great for smoking meat.

    I am not going to touch our own wood supply much, though, except for when I need to smoke a hog. I am going to keep that close for a rainy day. I have worked out a deal with the seller of the house, who is a local mover and shaker. Good man with a big family of six children. He is going to sell us birchwood by the bushel for a very good price. About half price of what you would find online. Including delivery. Tax free, cssh in hand, of course. Firewood is going to be a major prepping item for us. Having an ample storage space, I think I will have several years supply on hand. It isn't even expensive. One months worth of savings ought to cover the entire deal. Some of it I will keep indoors, some of it in a large woodpile. I plan to stack it well and on pallets to allow for air flow under the tarpaulins.
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