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mart1, Did you make any changes to your selections based on the above recommendations? Just interested.
 

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The only person whose opinion should really be paid attention is if its a neighbor where he is going to have the garden that would have same growing conditions. The rest of us, we can give ideas, but truly for few years at new place, its trial and error. You have to learn what works in that location.

The biggest mistake is somebody buying canned seeds for the apocalypse and doesnt open his sealed seeds until that happens. Gardening isnt something you are going to get right first year out of the shoot. Takes working with the soil, improving it, and lot learning over the years.
 

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Discussion Starter #43 (Edited)
I am thinking of dropping the corn due to major raccoon issues. I'd have to use electric fencing to keep them out and the fence charger is going to be in a different location for the sheep. Do raccoons go after field corn? Due to a couple of recommendations here against them, not go with any five-in-one apple trees, just regular apple trees. I just received 2000 sea buckthorn berry seeds for planting, the best Omega-3 source plant due to no anti-nutritional factors or toxins. Just received some Vroma fava bean seeds, the most heat and aphid resistant variety. Fava beans have almost four times the protein and calories per unit area of other beans, and are a heavy nitrogen source for the soil. Going to also plant some Elba potatoes since they seem to be the most blight resistant variety in case the perennial ones don't work out, and Sarpo Mira potatoes just aren't available in the USA. I've made an Excel file of high yielding or interesting crops, but since everyone doesn't have Microsoft Office, I've attached it as a screen capture. I think it is an interesting thing. The capitalized stuff are desireable factors and the red texts are issues. The listing is in order of kilocalories per square meter of garden. For example, note the difference between navy beans and corn for the same garden area.

Crop Data.jpg
 

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Yes, raccoons go after field corn during the short time it is in the "milk" stage. But despite the extremely high raccoon population here, they don't seem to destroy the whole crop and I never had 'coons in my popcorn. Squirrels are a different story. They steal whole ears (yes I am sure it was squirrels, saw them in the act), take sunflower heads, strip peach trees before the peaches are ripe, dig numerous pits in flower pots and are general nuisances. Their only saving grace is that they are mighty tasty and make good gravy.

Have you eaten black walnuts? You either love them or hate them. They have a much stronger flavor than regular English walnuts. I love them, can eat them plain by the handful. My daughter likes them only in banana bread. Everyone else here hates them. Try them before devoting several large patches of land to black walnut production. You also need to find and print a list of juglone tolerant plants. Many plants can't survive in the root zone of black walnut trees, tomatoes being the most sensitive.
 

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You never know with raccoons, what they will like. And it can vary year to year. This year had big crop wild persimmons. Usually coons go crazy on them, see persimmon seeds galore in scat they leave behind. But this year, nope, they didnt seem interested. Same with apples, some they love, some they leave alone. Its not just the sweetness that matters to them. I still dont have much apple production though have some. And of course I am moving so have to start over, just not lot fruit trees in the south. They love the Pristine apples that are summer apple. they are ok but mostly cause they produce. Not super wonderful to eat.

Whereas they left the Antanovka alone. I left some Antanovka rootstock ungrafted to see what kind apple they produced. Antanovka is unusual for an apple as it breeds pretty true from seed. The rootstock are from seed. Big tap root so survive cold and drought. By way Antanovka finally ripened here around November. Tree ripened they have that true apple flavor missing in super market apples. Hint of sweetness, but more like a Granny Smith left to tree ripen which is nothing like the green baseballs in super market I still liked them and with diabetes I do better with the less sweet apples. Not this year, but next will be ordering bunch rootstock to plant at new place. If you want a cheap apple, buy Antanovka rootstock. Either leave them ungrafted or graft them yourself. Grafting apples is super easy with high success rate. Other fruits not necessarily so easy to graft successfully. You will need to cage apple trees. If you have deer, they will mow them down uncaged. Once they get large with tougher bark on trunk then deer wont girdle them. They will try to prune the branches they can reach, but tree will live.

You might pay attention to hickory trees in the area. The wild ones are PITA to try and crack and pick out the center. But the Indians just crushed them and boiled into a soup and then strained out the shells through piece cloth. Hey if you are needing nutrition. Acorns can be eaten but most have high tannic acid, you would need to boil drain, repeat to leech out the tannic acid. Look at Chinese chestnuts?
 

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I cant find his first video, but this Rob Greenfield not only talks the talk, he walked the walk for a year, living entirely off what he could grow and forage. Including harvesting his own salt from ocean. Now he did this in Florida so had year round growing season. But talked about how he was from Wisconsin and thinking about doing this there. If you are interested in watching his videos might start with his first one if you track it down. He didnt seem to group them.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Apple trees are a definite choice. Liberty apples are the most disease resistant, but require other varieties for pollination. So I'm looking for the next most disease resistant type. Everyone loves beans, but my above posted chart shows that sugar beets and chufa yield over 14 times as much carbs per unit area as navy beans. Other than favas, beans are not high yielding, and to a degree that is more significant than most people realize. In a famine, it could become a rather critical issue. Calorie density is more important that most people realize. To get 2000 calories a day, you'd have to eat almost five pounds of potatoes per day. That's getting close what the volume of your stomach can process. Baked winter squash and steamed brocolli have their good points, but the truth is that your stomach can't hold enough of either to keep you alive. The winter squash, Gilfeather turnips, ground black walnuts, sunflower seed, and some sugar beets would mostly be given to the sheep (and pigs if I also get them) for winter feed. For us: meat, fava beans, mashed potatoes/gravy, kale salad, and black walnut pie. I've also eaten mulberry leaves cooked in a crockpot. A bit chewy, but edible and 20% protein dry weight. A bit of dried mulberry leaf would be a great addition to bump up the protein in potato soup.
 

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Apple trees are a definite choice. Liberty apples are the most disease resistant, but require other varieties for pollination. .
Liberty is not a big producer, also needs tree pruned in an open fashion so sun can get to places it needs to. Its nice if you want a speciman organic apple tree you dont have to spray. Look at Pristine. Its resistant to every disease out there, fast growing, and very productive. Just remember its a summer apple so not the tastiest and doesnt keep long time, you would need to dry it, can it, or whatever. Oh and if you are going to go for grafted trees, pay attention that your rootstock is as hardy as your scion. You also want full size trees if water is problem. Dwarf trees need more care and watering. Doesnt matter if its fenced backyard in suburbs, but it sure does if you are out in rural area without plentiful water. Thats why I got interested in Antanovka with its deep taproot, I dont have lot summer water available, sometimes my well goes dry in summer. Once Antanovka gets established it seems to survive even in severe drought summers with no watering.

Some apples are self fertile, some need a different variety pollinator. Devil is in the details. Usually commercial apple orchards will plant some crab apple trees to act as pollinator for those that need a pollinator.
 
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Discussion Starter #49
Stark's says Pristine is an early apple ripening in mid-July. I plan on using a solar dehydrator for the apples, so that would fit in well with summer dehydration. My water table is about 12 feet down with several creeks and a spring. If anything, too much water here.
 

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Oh an old southern favorite, Kieffer pear. These things are as maintenance free as it gets. Still see gnarled old one on older homesteads. I rather like the crisp flesh, but lot people been spoiled with soft super sweet pears like Bartlett.
 
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Stark's says Pristine is an early apple ripening in mid-July. I plan on using a solar dehydrator for the apples, so that would fit in well with summer dehydration. My water table is about 12 feet down with several creeks and a spring. If anything, too much water here.
Yep water is a biggie so long as you dont get floods, you are golden. Again rootstock is as important as the scion. When I moved here 30 years ago, planted a full size Snow Apple, (antique variety). It got big enough to produce bushel apples one year. Then few weeks later it fell over. Yep, dogwood borers liked the rootstock it was on, nothing bothered the upper part of tree. they destroyed root and nothing i could do in middle of summer to save it. If it had survived until it went dormant, would had chance of grafting scion from it. Course back then didnt know that much about apples. I frankly just figured apples werent good idea here and gave up on them for twenty years.
 

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My list had: squash, turnips, beans, potatoes, kale, sugar beets, sunflowers, corn, mulberries, and strawberries. All researched for suitability in my climate. If these are "gimmicky", then what isn't?
I also am in zone 6B Cumberland Plateau of Tn. I grow peaches Georgia Belle, and Blood Red Indian both older heirlooms that seem to be able to beat the notorious late frosts of my area. Also grow both the Choctaw and Sand plums. Both native varieties. Sand plums especially bloom late and are hardy in my sandy soils and I get crops every year with a minimum of spraying and fuss. Native Catalpas provide fish bait from the Catalpa worms and chicken feed if necessary. Two Mulberry trees. Blackberry and grape on the fences. 2 large established asparagus beds. Blueberries do very well, as do Nanking cherries. I also have Service Berry trees also a native edible. I have 6 Chicago hardy figs. in the more wooded part of my property 4 large hickory nut trees and 8 large oaks. At the edge of those shaded canopies are shade loving currants, gooseberries, Pawpaw trees and Cornelian cherry which is actually a shade tolerant native dogwood and Highbush cranberry ( viburnum) These are all hardy and pretty well care free. I get reliable crops pretty well yearly with no care. In a damper area of the garden I have 4 large elderberry. These are both edible and medicinal. Also in the damper area is the native Mayhaw a small native tree that makes great jellies. I also grow rhubarb and a large strawberry patch.

In the veggie garden I grow Mustard greens every year and can as a winter and early spring green, Jade green beans which I can about 100 quarts every year. Jackson Wonder lima beans and Taylor dwarf horticultural beans are regional favorites. I also plant Pink Eyed Purple Hulls and Camelia Red Beans. Cajun Jewel Okra, Cylindra beets, Purple Top turnips, Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage, Green Onions. Straight neck squash, Costata Romanesco zucchini. Minnesota Midget Cantaloupe, Jericho lettuce, Royal Golden Watermelon. Tomatoes Big Rainbow, Paste tomato Roma, and Reisentraube which is a plum tomato for salads and drying. All of these vegetables are open pollinated, many heirloom and I have years worth of seeds stockpiled and years experience and know how to grow, preserve and prepare each and every one. .

Potatoes Kennebec an all purpose white and Red Pontiac which I can as a new potato.

Storage onions and Garlic every fall.

2 full freezers and a solar dehydrator.

A couple deer in the freezer every year. Son brings me a couple hogs for hams and sausage. Chickens for eggs and meat. 2 pairs of rabbits for meat and fertilizer and 6 ducks for bug control. Full wood shed, rain barrels and a well.

Worked for the last 40 years.
 
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