I was looking for a rainbow... and I found gold.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

On a personal note, I find it interesting how studying about Y2K, and then FOR Y2K, and now preparing for Y2K, will change the rest of my life. Has already changed me. I could not remember Y2K as a "non-event" even if it were one. I'll remember it as the turning point for my entire perspective on reality and living sanely.

I drive to work every day and I look at the lawns. At the roadsides. I have realized that there is no shortage of ability to have food in this country. Only shortage of an interest in the work. Here we are spending millions in this country on poptarts yet so few people will grow strawberries in their backyard. I could plant, via the square foot method, HALF of the lawns in my little town and we could all eat for the rest of our lives without buying any of those products again. But bred outside of farmland, accustomed to dependency on somebody else handing them food if only they've some money, few people find any reason to bother.

I'm buying all these miniature and dwarf fruit trees -- and potting them. I will never give them up, and if I move, they go with me like my kids. I am going to be gardening like a maniac. Even my gardens are portable. But I will never not garden, and be totally dependent on the food supply line, again. I am getting some HAM radio stuff so I can communicate with friends in other states who are hams (communication being a huge part of my life). I will never allow myself to be totally dependent on power-phone for that again. Eventually I am acquiring some weapons, ammo and safety equipment for them. I will never be without personal defense or hunting ability again. I am setting up a cachement system on my roof. I will never pay the water company for horrible chemical water when there's rainwater I could have free to use, again.

Y2K is making me grow up.

Making me face and take more responsibility than I ever have.

In short, all this reading and now preparing is doing more than change what I spend money on. It's changing more than just my free time duties or my plans for the future. It's changing ME. How I feel and how I live -- and who I am.

I think it's a tremendous improvement.

PJ in TX

P.S. The title is from a song I wrote when I was 16. :-)

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 12, 1999


PJ...good post. Tell me more about the portable garden and the fruit trees. I'm starting my garden this coming weekend. Corn, squash cucumbers. Starting out small. I noticed all of the front lawns too and thought the same thing. What fruit trees are recommended for containers? Thanks


-- Quietly Lurking (Quietly@preparing.com), April 12, 1999.


Congrats on your independent attitude. The reason more people don't have veggie gardens is because it's mind numbingly hardwork!!

Spent yesterday planting a 60'x30' plot that was tilled w/little John Deere with spouse. We got about 1/3 through planting when we ran out of seeds and had to go to store for more plus mulch. My patient, kind husband hotwired the plot and finished the compost bin that's in the corner of the plot.

I can't believe the small, tiny size of some of the seeds we planted. We still have to plant other 2/3rds of garden. I wonder what all this work will produce...will the bugs or critter of some kind eat it? Will weeds overtake it? Ranching bets farming anyday.

I wouldn't want to have to rely on this for food as if it was our only choice esp. if it fails to rain (like last year).

Quoting my husband: "Y2K sucks!"

-- texan (sore@ranch.com), April 12, 1999.

Yep, this staying alive thing is pretty difficult.

First, it takes a *lot* more than your average front lawn space to keep a family alive.

Second, you like cute cuddly bunnies? Fascinated to have a doe in your yard? When you're planting food and these cuddly Bambi's start munching on your food, your perspective takes a reversal.

Birds too. We used to throw seeds for the birds when we lived in the city. NOW, we have an owl in one of our trees, and bird netting to keep our seeds IN THE GROUND, thank you very much.

I know lots of city folks excoriate hunting, and guns, and other non- citified things.

Now that I live in a rural area, it becomes a different "animal". You normally think of guns as a defense against lions, and bears, and perhaps other humans.

In actuality - they're more useful against rabbits, deer, gophers, birds, you name it. Certainly more humane and cost effective than a trap.

Jolly isn't a very good farmer.....yet.

-- Jollyprez (jolly@prez.com), April 12, 1999.

Gardening in buckets isn't all that difficult. Take a 5 qt. ice cream bucket (or something similar), cut a 1-2" hole in the bottom. Fill it with dirt, potting soil, whatever you want to use for your "garden". cover it with the lid. Turn it over and plant tomatoe seeds or a small seedling in it. Give it a few days to "settle in" and then turn the bucket over and hang it from a tree or patio roof. You can take the lid off for watering purposes. The plant grows down and the tomatoes hang off the ground and don't rot before they ripen. You can do the same for strawberries, but put holes all around the sides for planting the starts. Happy gardening:)

-- winna (??@??.com), April 12, 1999.

Sorry, I was going to include this and forgot. You can do your gardening in small portable planters. There are not too many vegetable plants that go very deep in the soil, so you don't need to worry too much about not having more than 10" for a planter. Or just use more buckets for things like broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, etc. Planters can be used for radishes, onions, lettuce, etc. Use large 5 gal buckets for potatoes. I don't know that I would try squash or corn in planters or buckets. Those get too large to move easily. Just make sure that there is drainage in the bottom, or your roots will rot.

-- winna (??@??.com), April 12, 1999.


There are smaller dwarf fruit trees (reaching 6-15' depending on type), and then there are sort of mini-trees (these still can reach 5') often used as patio/houseplants, that grow all kinds of fruits.

The mini's I've seen at Gurney's come in lemon, lime, orange, banana, tangerine, fig, pomegranate, two kinds of guava. Available at http://www.gurneys.com for around $6 each (shipping basically included). These may not fruit for awhile though, I don't know. I'm asking them.

The dwarf fruit trees come in every kind that regular trees have: apples, pears, apricots, plums, cherries, etc. If you buy the largest size in deluxe version which are the priciest but should fruit soonest, most of them are around $23-$28 each.

All tress: Some you gotta have two for pollination, some you can grow alone. See catalog.

The hardiest fruit-bearing item looked like the Hardy Kiwi, says it grows in almost any weather, any soil, is sweet, has more Vit C than citrus, etc. I had a thread with detail on this and now I can't find it on the board or archives darn it.

They also carry lots of fruit vines, both thorned and thornless, for trellising on fence or whatever.

texan: Yes, I've said that too. Mostly when I think of all the money I'm spending....

Jollyprez: square foot gardening averages about 5times the yield per foot of traditional agriculture. Some number of university ag. refs to back this up but I don't have them. Also mega vertical gardening increases yield per sq'. CITY yards wouldn't hold food for most people. In the rural outlying areas where I'm at most people seem to have pretty decent (at least 1/2acre, usually more) yard space.

I'm not a very good gardener, yet.

winna: I simply love the idea about gardening "upside down" for tomatoes and strawberries! The fruit don't fall off from their own weight? Don't plants try to grow "up" toward light, does that make any difference?

Note: our planters will vary from 8" deep to 2' deep depending on what we're planting in them. Things will grow in that or they will not. The soil here isn't an option, so we'll see!

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 12, 1999.

Good post. I feel ths same way. My life is slowly changing for the better. I, too, will never be unprepared again, we live in a time that tomorrow is an uncertainity. I can not keep the people of Kosovo out of my mind and the feeling it could be us next.

I started my garden. I experiment each year. This year I am growing potatoes with the tower method. I am also growing them by tilling the soil, dropping the seed potatoe and covering with straw. When they are ready, just roll back the straw and you have nice bunch of potatoes. Sure beats digging them up.

Cucmber, squash and zuccuni will be grown on construction fencing. It is heavy duty plastic that allows the plant to grow up. It is so much easier picking the vegetable and keeping the garden free of weeds.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), April 12, 1999.

Congratulations PJ !!!

From a fellow Texan who really didn't start to grow up until after his 40th birthday, welcome to adulthood.

It's one of the best feelings aroung, this self sufficency, isn't it?

No, none of us will ever be *totally* self sufficient, but every step is a step in the right direction.

-- Greybear, who likes the feeling of standing on his own two hind legs.

- Got Arms?

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), April 12, 1999.

I have always grown flowers. This year am doing veggies. I figure it's my last year to experiment and get it right. It's been really interesting. Started potatoes in March in a industrial size garbage can. Put seed potatoes in top soil, when the vines get 6" cover again with dirt, vines 6" cover with dirt. They're almost to the top.When I do my last 'cover with dirt', I'll plant bush beans on top (something to do withcompanion gardening). We tilled up an 8'x16' part of the yard for an in ground garden-- haven't done much with that yet. Have started some thing in pots--tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, lettuce. Had a prob with the lettuce don't know if it's squirrels or bugs. The lettuce got about 2'high and was eaten to the ground, replanted and was eated before it even got that high. The lettuce pot will be moved inside until I figure it out.

-- duffyo (duffyo@mailcity.com), April 12, 1999.

Good to commune with you again, PJ--you too, Greybear and youse other guys toose. Winna, your hanging garden sounds great! I expect by the time the plants get heavy enough to cause problems, the root ball holds them in. You're right--why NOT do this with a tomato, which is a vine crop anyway? We do it with vining plants in hanging baskets!

Must mention that you should be able to get gently used pots very cheaply at a landscaping business--a local landscaper sells me his for 10c/gall (12" = 30c). And some nurseries will sell you (brand new) those large black plastic pots they use commercially--very reasonable price. I've just finished potting up some tomato plants; now I need more for some kohlrabi and other plants. Don't have time to grow from seed this year, not with the house on the market, but I'll be buying seed for next year.

My parents both came from families who grew their own veggies. Dad only quit when mother died--he was 77 at the time and had no power tiller or any such modern stuff. It's only in the last ten years or so I've been able to grow food and I find it very difficult compared to growing in a temperate English climate.

Water: I highly recommend the rain barrels sold by Gardeners Supply (gardenerssupply.com). They've gone up in price about 20% since I bought mine last fall but they hold 75 galls, have insect screen, safety grid, overflow, and thumb-operated drain hose. I'd like to get a couple more--we'll have to see. Pricey at $110, or $100 ea for two or more. But must have that water. . . Prior to the barrels I had been using two 35 gall Rubbermaid trash cans, emptied and stored in plastic bottles as they filled--but only for my flowers. I don't dare risk the water on veggies. The water from the rain barrels is said to be free of chemicals.

No, I won't grow enough to keep us from starving, but I'll be able to add a pleasant supplement to our emergency food which will give us good vitamins and minerals from fresh veggies.

Which reminds me of one last point--learn about composting! You might have to rely on your own soil amendments.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 12, 1999.

Might mean you'll have to move out of your parent's basement, what with all that growing up and all...

-- Proud2baPolly (Proud2b@polly.net), April 13, 1999.

Thank you ALL for the information. I better get busy. I've planted flowers in the past, so trying vegetables is going to be a challenge.

Quietly planting in Texas....

-- quietly lurking (quietly@preparing.com), April 13, 1999.

But don't terrible things happen if you put any of the carrot seeds in upside down? 8<)

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 13, 1999.

I have gardened all of my life. I have a garden in the back 40 and then I have my potted garden. We have a 30X40 patio that I have covered with large pots. Right now I am harvesting beets, turnips and vidalia onions. As I harvest these pots I plant corn in them. Corn does real well in the pots. The biggest thing with pots is that you must water them far more often. In addition to pots you can take a 6 ft length of 8 to10 inch diameter pvc pipe and put a piece of small square hardware cloth on one end. About every 10 to 12 inches cut a 3 to 4 inch diameter hole in the pipe all around the pipe. Fill with peat moss and some potting soil. Hang it from the eves of house. Underneath it put a 5 gal container of mixed up Miracle grow and an old kettle to use for a dipper. Plant your lettuce in the holes and pour the miracle grow mix in through the top. You will soon have a lettuce field occuping very little space. Lettuce needs to have some shade in the heat of the day so pick your hanging place accordingly. Again you must water just about every day. The excess will run thru the pipe and back into the bucket.

Got pipe and seed?

-- Taz (Tassie@aol.com), April 13, 1999.

Taz, I love your idea for growing lettuce! It reminds me of hydroponic gardening. I get the basic gist of it, but would you email me any more particulars? I wonder if this would work on my back screened-in patio. Also, if you have to water it every day, how high is it off the ground? Thanks.


-- jhollander (hollander@ij.net), April 13, 1999.

Jolly - you're right on about the deer. This morning over breakfast I watched with mixed emtions as the local herd wandered right though the newly tilled vegetable garden area. Looks like they have changed their run by about 75'. Means another (solar) electic fence. Already have one around a flower gardern. On the other hand, this new run would be an easier shot... Hmmm...

Duffyo - around here to the the lettuce might fall prey to rabbits, deer, or damnable WOODCHUCKS. Those chucks decimated my brocolli 2 years ago. 12 beautiful heads just reaching prime, gone.

Greybear - I still need woodchuck recipe, got one? (the buggers are trying to undermine the deck, again. They aready did in the phone line once..)

Old - Ever see the Organic Garding issue (during Mike McGraths editing) with the dead woodchuck picture? Talk about getting the more genteeeeeel readers upset.... Of course those who like to be able to eat what they grow thought the whole thing a hardfought victory for the gardener.. And now for the bad news - studies in Europe (Netherlands or Scandinavia - I think) are coming up with pesticide contaminate rain water.... It really sucks. I believe the theory is they are evaporating from fields and coming back down in the rain.

In dry times, hard times, and conservation minded can argue for intelligent use grey water (bath, washer but NOT toilet)use in irrigation. Save the water, grow your plants


-- john hebert (jt_hebert@hotmail.com), April 13, 1999.

Sir Robert,

Carrots!!! Oh my, I'm too easily amused. Great observation. How about a contest to see who can grow individual carrots to spell the word C A R R O T S. 'Basic' level entries could be 7 individual carrots with 'Advanced' achieving the word in script with 4 or fewer carrots... Ok, I came up with the contest, who has the prizes?


-- john hebert (jt_hebert@hotmail.com), April 13, 1999.


As to cooking woodchucks, my only experiences consist of skinning and cleaning then roasing over a nice bed of coals. Not much recipe to it.

They wern't bad.


- Got a Skinning Knife?

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), April 13, 1999.


Thanks, got one in the trap right now and was trying to figure out what to do with it. Wonder if I can convince the Mrs... Probably should come up a post Y2K marketting plan/slogan. How about: Woodchuck, its not just for breakfast anymore.


-- john hebert (jt_hebert@hotmail.com), April 14, 1999.

PJ--here is the post that listed your wonderful info on mini-fruit trees, and more (thanks.) If this link doesn't work-- look in the uncategorized category under "Seed Sales Boom..." near the bottom of the post.

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and- a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=000hjD

-- yoyo (dovetailer@earthlink.net), April 14, 1999.


May I have your permission to use your very first post on another Y2K discussion line? I like it very much :)


-- Mercy (Mercy@preparenow.com), April 14, 1999.

I prefer the "dot matrix" method of printing "C A R R O T S" -

Just put enough seeds (right side up!) in the places where you want the text to be, and put dirt where you want the blanks to be. Water. Wait a while. Climb a ladder over the dirt and look down, squint a little, if neccessay.

Presto! Instant letters.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 14, 1999.

Sir Robert - Ah, pragmatic dot matrix carrots - does have a simplicity in its favor and in the speed department a clear winner. Hmm, it does present a an oppportunity for us to teach children some math an science. However, I'm still partial to ongoing learning opportunities in math and science found in a wild, goofy,(and hopefully fun) contest.

PJ - It was pointed out to me that I'm getting off topic in my posts. Sorry about that, I think I'm getting burnt out on Y2K and becoming way too distractable. You started a good thread - you'll find that there is no contest between the store bought stuff and your fresh picked goodies. I highly recommend Organic Gardening magazine. I think if you pick up a couple issues, you'll find it a valuable resource. Good Luck in your efforts


-- john hebert (jt_hebert@hotmail.com), April 14, 1999.

(Re a question above) Any post I've put here is public, you're welcome to copy it anywhere.

I read this board for the 'tidbits' that happen unexpectedly... in any given thread. Sometimes I can read for an hour before finding something that makes me say, "Hey, that's useful. Think I'll look into that."

But when you're trying to cram 10 years of education into months, everything helps!

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 14, 1999.

I must the caution the potential "dot matrix" carrot planter that - the last time I did that (t'was about 12 at the time) the greens were Awe-inspiring: many, many beautiful, complete, bushy green tops neatly growing in the row. Right next to each other, real pretty.

What I didn't realize - in my joy at growing what was apprently million (well thousands maybe) of carrots, none of which I wanted to thin out" as Mom recommended - was that the roots were equally close to each other. With no room to grow.

So I got LOTS of carrots. LOTS and LOTS of carrots. LOTS and LOTS of smallest, most twisted "little-bitty" tiny carrots you ever saw. These little couldn't have averaged any longer than 2" and no more than 1/4 at the top.....but there sure were a LOT of of them.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 14, 1999.

Yes Sir Robert, thinning is a painful process. I still hate doing it. It seems so wasteful... However, no need to actually let them go to waste - among other uses, itsy bitsy carrots make a nice additions to cream of vegetable soup. Don't even have to waste the greens - cut like parsely and included in the soup they add a surprising sweetness soup...


-- john hebert (jt_hebert@hotmail.com), April 14, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ