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It’s Spring, 2021 — Grow your Own already — Grand Solar Minimum

I’m working on a new ‘preparedness’ website.

It will be free to access and will hopefully give people a comprehensive understanding of off-grid living and 100% self-sufficiency in order to survive the coming COLD TIMES and associated societal collapse.

Below is a taster — let me know if there’s any interest for such a resource, or if I’m wasting my time.

Thanks, Cap.

Grow Your Own Potatoes

Potatoes are the main staple of our homestead.

They contain all the essential amino acids you need to build proteins, repair cells, and fight diseases — eating just five spuds a day would technically keep you alive (although eventually you’d run into vitamin and mineral deficiencies) which explains why for time-immemorial this crop has been grown as a “safety net” in the event that other, harder to grow harvests, fail.

You don’t need as much space as you may think to grow a decent hoard. We have just two potato patches, each measuring approximately 3 x 3 meters (10 x 10 feet), and we “succession plant” — for us, this means planting our first crop early in the season (mid-Jan), our second crop then goes in around May, and our third is sown September-time. This tactic keeps us in potatoes all year round, and we have never run into issues caused by a lack of rotation.

There are so many vegetable-growing myths and old wives’ tales doing the rounds out there, and most are complete and utter garbage. It’s frustrating. Honestly, feel free to throw most of the ‘advice’ out the window, and simply try things out in your local area — climate, pests, and soil can vary greatly even from town to town, let alone from nation to nation.

Below is how we successfully grow potatoes.


Chitting

Before we plant our spuds we allow them to “chit” — a word our young sons enjoy repeating regularly. Basically, the process involves laying seed potatoes in the light to encourage sprouting. The step isn’t essential by any means, but we have found it gives the spuds a head-start, promoting faster initial growth. We begin chitting our potatoes around 4-6 weeks in advance of planting out (so around early December-time for our first crop), and by mid-January small purple shoots will be peppering the potatoes.


“No-Dig” Potatoes

Again, there are wildly varying opinions on how to best grow potatoes.

As always, we shoot for the simplest method, which is “no-dig” devised by Charles Dowding.

At the beginning of each season we “top up” our potato beds with around 10cm (4 inches) of homemade compost, and this will see the bed through the year’s three harvests — there is no digging, and minimal raking.

We plant our sprouting spuds about 15 cm (6 inches) deep into the prepare bed, at a spacing of around 30cm (a foot). We’ve tried many different spacing permutations over the years, but this works best for us — it seems to minimize disease by allowing enough airflow between plants, while at the same time the relatively close proximity of the plants acts as a mulch: their leaves shade the entire patch, helping with moisture retention and temperature regulation.

One tip: as your potatoes grow, you’ll want to check that those near the surface stay covered, exposure to sunlight will turn your spuds green and they can become toxic.


Hilling potatoes

An alternative to the no-dig method is to “hill” your potatoes; if compost is at a premium, then this may be a better option for you.

Dig trenches 15-20cm (6-8 inches) deep at around 45-60cm apart.

Place your potatoes in the trenches –sprouts pointing up– between 30-45cm (12-18 inches) apart, and then cover the trenches over.

When the plants reach around 15cm (6 inches) in height, cover them over again with more soil so that just the very top leaves are exposed. This will encourage new potatoes to grow. Continuing to cover the plants over when they reach 30cm (12 inches) and then 45cm (18 inches) will keep encouraging new potatoes to grow. You can cover them as many times as you like, within reason.


Growing

Potatoes are a low maintenance crop, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you achieve a good quality harvest.

Firstly and foremost, keep your plants well watered, particularly through spells of hot weather.

Potato plants can flower, and if left long enough will produce small, green tomato-like fruit. Flowering and fruiting are not determining factors when it comes to harvesting, though — we’ve had crops that have been ready both before flowering and also well after fruits had set.

Leaves turning yellow and beginning to die back are the best indicators that harvest is approaching — this is also the time to cease watering, which will help to begin the curing process, readying them for long term storage.


Harvesting

Potatoes will be ready for harvest a week or two after the foliage dies back.

To see if they’re done, dig up a potato and rub it with you thumb, if the skin comes off they will need a few more days; alternatively, harvest now if you’re after a crop closer to new potatoes.

If you grew using the no dig method then your potatoes will be relatively near the surface and so you should be able to harvest with your hands; however, if your spuds are deeper you may need to use a fork — do this with care as the fork will easily pierce potatoes and these will not store.


Storage

Cured potatoes will need to be kept in the dark to avoid them sprouting, turning green and spoiling. They will also store longer in cool temperatures. Be sure to leave some dirt on the spuds, too — do not wash them.

The storing process needn’t be complicated, though.

We simply bag our harvest up in burlap sacks and keep them in our under-trailer storage compartment, where they last just fine — the temp fluctuates wildly in there, but it is kept dark, and the potatoes keep just fine.

Also, us growing three harvests a year means the potatoes we dig up never need to store for all that long a time — we never need a spud to last longer than 3 or 4 months, which our storing setup manages with ease.

Also also, be sure to save some back for your next crop.

Grow your own, keep it simple, achieve self-sufficiency; reject the processed poison on offer at the supermarkets, and prepare for the ever-intensifying GRAND SOLAR MINIMUM.

The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING in line with the great conjunction, historically low solar activitycloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow (among other forcings).

Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.

Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.


Prepare accordingly— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.

Social Media channels are restricting Electroverse’s reach: Twitter are purging followers while Facebook are labeling posts as “false” and have slapped-on crippling page restrictions. EV has also been blacklisted by ad networks, meaning the site is no longer allowed to run advertising.

So, be sure to subscribe to receive new post notifications by email (the box is located in the sidebar >>> or scroll down if on mobile).

And/or become a Patron, by clicking here: patreon.com/join/electroverse.

The site receives ZERO funding, and never has. So any way you can, help us spread the message so others can survive and thrive in the coming times.

Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift

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42 Thoughts to “It’s Spring, 2021 — Grow your Own already — Grand Solar Minimum”

  1. ann clatke

    Hi Cap
    Thank you so much, yes please to the veg growing . I live in a flat, but the church I go to has a garden and Ii have Just made a large raised bed for veg, and large growing bags, The ground here is full off bricks and rubble – that Ive been to remove, but I thought this year, because of the current situation I would begin.

    You have confirmed this was right – Its the water situation that would be the main weakness. There are no streams etc, only what the water board provides, Any tips on veg that need less moisture.

    Thank you again- what a confirmation.

  2. Hi Cap, Nice that you will do something that describes how to be self sufficient in these wild and crazy times. You might start with a vegetable that nourishes the brain so that folks can begin thinking with clarity. Check out Rudolf Steiner’s Nutrition and Stimulants book. Best on the ‘stead.

  3. andreas riedel

    Good Idea Allan with the “grow your own” website. Not enough people know about it and don’t know how much fun it is and satisfaction it can give you.
    Andreas

  4. Gretson

    What a great idea to post a potato article in such a way as to cover all aspects of planting,harvesting and the perpetuating idea. If this is a hint of your new venture into homesteading help ,then by all means keep on because we are a large, multi generational family that totally enjoys your outlook. Keep up your good work in climate and the practicalities of living.

  5. For me who lives in a colder climate beans is a great staple. There’s a lot of variety, and they store very well. I can leave the harvested crop in the barn to dry even if the temps drop below freezing. Dried beans that have experienced below freezing simply need a little hydration to sprout, (or consume).

    Root crops go hand in hand with a root cellar. Storage is crucial if your crop needs to last over a cold winter.

  6. Cameron Hitt

    Yes, I very much enjoy these post on survival and self-sufficiency. Would love to follow your other page!

  7. Dirk Goebel

    Hallo, thanks a lot for your “educational and preparing for the cold” information, I follow since anytime and I am convinced! I appreciate your offer about preparedness website, cause this will be one of the most important information for the future!
    Many regards,
    Dirk Goebel

  8. Keith

    I appreciate the simple instructions approach. Thanks

  9. Anonymous

    People can grow this in buckets to on their veranda f.ex. And you can harvest and put the potatoe plant back in the bucket 🙂

    Advantage: You can move them around, also inside in case of snow and cold.

    https://hageglede.no/produkt/spiselige-vekster/settepotet/potatopot-dyrk-dine-egne-poteter/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwjPaCBhDkARIsAISZN7QaKwhjsFCKD3zPf5jWh4S4V6APDdGPWVFhJ6Wts6YkdxAD3Don-T0aArH1EALw_wcB

  10. PJH

    Great article and I love the idea of a preparedness website. In regard to potatoes, I spent many years growing them here in southern NH but most recently had to switch over to sweet potatoes as my traditional spud plants were continually destroyed by plagues of potato bugs/beetles. I tried everything organic first, and when unsuccessful, threw chemicals at them but to no avail. I’ve had great luck with sweet potatoes, however, but I’ve never seen anything aside from young plants available for starting out. How do I get them started myself? Do you know how to successfully kill potato bugs? I’d love to grow traditional potatoes again! Thanks for the info 🙂

    1. Kevin

      I find an old jar fill with water place in a sunny window. Place quarter of a whole sweet potato in the water. Where the eyes are wet they sprout develop shoots with leaves at top and begin to grow straight up out of the jar, over a period of about two weeks the jar fills with sweet potato roots . When 6-8 inches tall gently snap off shoots with growing tips. Each shoot will have its own roots. Wrap in wet newspaper until planting out.

  11. Roger Boswarva

    Good, useful info, Cap. Time well spent.

  12. BlueFriend

    Very good article re: growing potatoes. The details are everything yet most people leave them out…. such as how long before planting date to chit those potatoes, how many crops can be grown per year, how you stored them. Thanks for the info.

  13. David

    Please continue with the new web site.

  14. Awesome! Would love to hear more in a new blog/site! I grow potatoes by the no dig method up here in Northern Wyoming but haven’t tried year round. We have a garden that is an entire city lot next to our house in our tiny mtn town.

  15. Mike from Au

    Hope you do not all think seeds are the ultimate in nutrition ….well ok bacteria are seed too and it is precisely these bacteria that turn beans like soy into Natto or miso the most amazing food known i have ever known through muych experimentation upon myself….

    Seeds are only one tenth of the story…bacteria are the rest.

    It bothers me that there is not more focus on bacteria and what they can do with food sources such as seeds. For example, in my opinion, a kilo of seed that have been fermented by bacillus subtillus to make Natto is only a fraction in terms of nutrition compared to the beans used to grow natto alone. The same goes with the bacteria that ferments beans to make miso.

    1. Mike from Au

      ….dear moderator. It should be clear (Do as you must do and think as you must) that what i meant to say (My fault) was that the beans and the seeds are only a fraction in terms of nutrition when eaten alone when compared to the same weight that has been fermented using bacillus subtilus or the the bacteria used to ferment soy into miso.

      A no brainier and backed up by thousands of years if not more with regards to food processin by our ancestors to this very day..

    2. Mike from Au

      If you want to store seeds forever and improve the nutrition, well then convert the seeds to miso or natto. Fermented seeds are the ultimate in nutrition and longevity of the seed.

    3. Mike from Au

      greatest ever web site. Do as you must with my comment. My appolies for the syntax errors.

  16. Mike from Au

    It was a very off the cuff comment (My first comment here). Miso and natto or indeed any fermented food is infinitely more nutritional than the original seed protein source used during the fermentation.

    Sprouting wheat or seeds is such a waste IMO. Going by history and personal experience, fermentation is vastly more nutritional.

    In this case, the idea of eating insect burgers or vegetable proteins are on a much lower level of nutrition when compared with the same weight of fermented vegetable proteins..

  17. Thanks, Cap – please keep writing! I’m growing our first test batch of Yukon Gold potatoes in a tall bucket, adding mulch as the leaves grow taller, and it seems to be a rather simple process – and harvest time involves simply overturning the bucket! 🙂 Great post!
    Mark

  18. David

    I’ve been “dabbling” at growing my own. Fruit and Veg for years, but now need to really step it up.
    So I would appreciate any growing ideas you have. Look forward to your new site.

  19. Mike from Au

    I would be gladdened if one day i read a title saying “ferment your own already” 🙂
    No expectation of my comment making it through moderation though i am certain beyond doubt that his is the way forward beyond childish mere sprouting of seeds.

  20. Jen

    Yes Cap-preparedness website is a great idea.Too many people out there don’t know what is coming as they believe what media are saying.My family members are like that,but at least I have got them growing some veg as a way of being “more healthy”.As things get worse I hope they will come to understand.

  21. Dianne

    Thank you! Appreciate your information.

  22. Honesty

    ”Watch the flock panic as nations rise and fall.”. Good job cap.

  23. prioris

    Good information on potatoes.
    For me, my body doesn’t do well with nightshades.

    p.s.
    Any tips on how to nurture and protect potatoes during crustal displacement. … LOL

  24. Rob

    Very interested to see your new preparedness website Cap. Go ahead please.

  25. Lee

    Excellent how to post on growing potatoes. The best I’ve seen.

    If you plan to survive starvation without any nutrient deficiencies, consider pemmican.

    Properly made pemmican will keep for decades ( forty years in the case of pemmican made during the Boer war, then consumed in WWII).

    Raw materials for one days supply in the US now can cost as little as six dollars.

  26. PJH

    Hey Kevin,
    Thanks for the tip on starting sweet potatoes! I’ll be sure to give that a try. Any suggestions on how to wipe out potato bugs would be much appreciated. We’ve tried everything including handpicking bugs and squishing eggs. We even tried getting the chickens to eat them. No luck!! I love growing potatoes but between the bugs eating the foliage and the moles eating the potatoes themselves, I’ve become a very frustrated farmer!

  27. curt johnson

    Your thoughts and presentation are informative. Look forward to more. thanks

  28. Betty Mac

    Thank you so much.We live in Australia and I have just started following your blog.
    For several years I have thought that the shift of the magnetic poles was part of the reason for our strange weather.So great to find you believing that also.
    I do not believe in the man- made rubbish.
    Please keep posting advice on vegetables, especially pumpkins and sweet potatoes.
    How can I make a donation?
    Betty

  29. Juglans Nigra

    Sure to be more websites to link to, One I use occasionally is:
    http://alanbishop.proboards.com/
    Which is more useful for the Northern hemisphere growers.

    Perhaps other guests here could suggest links to sites they find useful, not too technical, not over commercialised……sigh.

    my main suggestion: be prepared to try growing “winter” veges during the expected summer…….such as the brassica and onion families. For when the summer just stays cold. Nothing much with a good starch supply will grow in a true winter climate. 🙁

    Also: looking for a source of groundnut: Apios americana in South hemi.
    Good work keeping it all simple.
    W

  30. Paul Jones

    Just showed your “spuds” article to my (very critical) wife. She reckons it is the best information she’s ever read in regard to growing the humble potato, so that’s high praise indeed. Keep this type of information coming and don’t forget those of us who live in tropical climates.

  31. Kern

    in Asheville, North Carolina, we are learning to grow shoots (pea shoots), and microgreens. These do have a lot of nutrients. We grow a lot indoors with grow lights, and have found that outside in our raised beds, the pea shoots do quite well, in colder weather we cover the bed with heavy plastic and some cloth.
    Really interested in a “prepper” site. Thanks

  32. Shobhan

    Wow! I’ve never seen so many comments here! Yes, new website a good idea. I am trying to grow as much food as possible this year. I’ve had bad luck with potatoes the past 2 years, so decided that I’m planting in May this year to avoid the possibility of blight. Hopefully they will grow well this year. I had a great crop of sweet potatoes the first year I tried and again last year was a miserable failure. Hopefully this year I will have better luck. I am amending my soil this year as its has a lot of clay, so hopefully I will get better results. Thank you!

  33. Esther

    Hi Cap, I love this idear of your new website and I think. That will is be a good place to share tips and tricks.. Because of the challenges climate gives us I start to look with different eyes to my garden. The growing seasons change dramaticaly I witnessed this with myself living on a small farm.
    Forvexample last year we had almost no summer.. Despite msm could only highlight the short extreme heat periode….

    There are many things we can do to have better succes in growing our foods. Soil management, choosing the best crops and learning to implement perenials and fruits and trees to eat from. I learn from my failures and try to adapt each year. I am recently moved to another country so my garden I havecto reinvent. I hope your new website will be a place we can exchange and help eachother. Salut!

  34. Ridgerunner

    Nice Article! I’m on a West Virginia homestead and we grow our own as much as we can. We try to keep low carb in our diet as much as we can, and I’m trying a new vegetable this year called Celeriac that can used nicely as a potato substitute. We already use Turnips and Rutabagas that way also. I did put in some potatoes last year that are still up in my root cellar…I’ll prob put them in again to hedge of having more than enough food if things go sideways.

  35. Chester TJ Kalinoski

    A good start. My suggestion: Current back yard food growing methodology was developed in this very recent past Grand Solar Maximum. We all know the cold minimum with VERY DIFFERENT weather patterns will be upon us shortly. Concentrate on your unique knowledge – articles and links on the required NEW METHODS and NEW STRATERGIES for the times to come. You touched upon – Succession & No-till farming. Discuss: creating micro-climates [hot beds & cold frames]; drought & cold-wet management; extremely varying freeze & frost dates, large hail storms, insect protection and shorter growing seasons. Considerations also are: seed variety, soil types, water availability, elevations, sun orientation, in-the-field methods and constructed micro climates. Priorities: Grow calories > grow nutrition > food storage > seed saving. NEVER burn wood down to ashes on a veg garden, instead… in a long shallow trench place twigs & very small chunks of wood – burn out the volatile organic carbons [flames] to glowing coals then snuff-out with water & bury – the resulting carbon holds in-place all the soil fertilizers you apply, they will never leach out! Good luck.

  36. Chris Norman

    I guess your question is answered.

  37. Bill In Oz

    I’m in South Australia in the southern hemisphere. So my best planting times are way out compared to yours in Portugal Cap.
    But that doesn’t matter !
    Th garden blog is great idea !

    PS It also gets us all in touch with what is happening outside our houses & apartments.. Where the real weather & climate is happening

    For example this Summer just ended is the coolest in SA since 2000-2001, Significant crop ripening delays happened for tomatoes, capsicums, egg plants,pumpkins, sweet potatoes, figs, plums, apricots nectarines and peaches in My garden

    So much for Climate Warming…!

  38. Richard

    Hi Cap, great idea. Please continue your good work.

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