Survival Farming Guide: 10 Things To Know

Having a renewable source of water, food, and other materials is one of the only ways to successfully survive a large-scale disaster. And I hate to tell you that the store down the street or that website you order from is not a renewable source of supplies. 

Let me present you with a question I have asked other upcoming preppers in the past. 

“Where do you get “X” product, that you need?” Fill in the blank with whatever product you like but I will use meat as an example Across the board, the answer is almost always, “I buy it from the grocery store.”

The follow-up question is, “Where would you get your meat if all the grocery stores in the regions were gone?” Again, the answer is almost always, “I do not know.”

Some people might find an issue with this question and think it is a bit farfetched, and I might be inclined to agree if it pertained to items that people wanted, like a T.V. But not knowing where to get basic needs if they are not sitting on a shelf in front of you is a pretty big problem. 

When there is a shift in how the world operates, possibly due to a disaster, one of the few solutions to making it through is to have a survival farm.

Now a survival farm is not just for “the end of days,” but it is a great way for removing the shackles of dependency and it can also be an incredibly rewarding way of living.

What is a Survival Farm?

A survival farm is going to look and operate a bit differently than farms you may be familiar with today. Modern farms are usually extremely large and may only produce one or two things in mass quantity to sell. For example, a farm that plants hundreds of acres of corn or raises thousands of chickens.

Unless you have big ideas and equally as deep pockets, a survival farm is not going to resemble that. It’s going to be smaller and be able to produce several things so that a person can live sustainably off the fruits of their labors.

It is unlikely that a single farm will be able to produce everything that might be needed but the basics, like shelter, water, and food should certainly be covered.

Below is a guide, think of it as a getting started guide, of things to consider and ideas for putting together your survival farm.

10 Need To Knows About Survival Farming

There are a lot of things to consider and that go into having a successful piece of property that you may not know, which in part is why you are reading this guide and that is a good first step. 

But this guide is more of an overview. For example, later in the guide, I will touch on raising animals, however, I will not go into great detail…

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8 Top Survival Lessons from Antarctica

When Antarctica is brought up, the name that usually comes to mind is Admiral Richard E. Byrd. But in fact, he was not the first person to reach the South Pole. That honor falls to a Norwegian explorer  named Roald Amundsen. His party of five beat out their closest competitor by five weeks. Even more amazingly they returned safely home, while their competitors’ party died on the return trip.

That’s because Antarctica is probably the most inhospitable terrain on the planet. With the Sahara Desert in second place. After all, more people have succeeded in living with the desert than in the cold of Antarctica. Thanks to its relative abundance of wildlife, shelter and lack of frostbite.

Yet, despite this, Antarctica has also been populated for over a century.

That’s because, while there’s no native population, unlike the Arctic, scientific research stations have been operating in Antarctica since 1898, with the largest, McMurdo Station, able to house as many as 1,258 residents.

3 Second SEAL Test Will Tell You If You’ll Survive A SHTF Situation

Still more incredible is the range of animal species that live in Antarctica. Including penguins, seals, orcas, snow petrels, krill, albatross and more.  

So, in the face of such hostility, what can we learn about survival from these various animals, explorers and residents?


The human animal is a highly adaptable creature. While modern man is accustomed to his conveniences and won’t want to go without them, humans elsewhere in history have found ways to adapt to their environment. This ability to adapt is an important part of our ability to survive.

I distinctly remember seeing video of some Arctic or Antarctic expedition back when I was in elementary school. One of the things the explorers were struggling with was a vitamin D deficiency. So, to counter it, they were running around outside, almost naked, so that their bodies could absorb sunlight and create more vitamin D. While you or I would think it impossible to survive outdoors in those temperatures, they were able to do it.

If you look at your own body as you go through the year, you’ll notice that it adapts to the seasons, specifically to the cold of winter and heat of summer. While you might find yourself feeling like you’re freezing when it gets down to 40°F in the fall, by the time spring rolls around, that will seem balmy. Likewise, that springtime “heat” of 80°F may have you sweating, but by September, you’ll be calling that a “comfortably cool” day.

From a survival point of view, living in heated and air conditioned places is detrimental to our body’s ability to adapt. But the good news is that living that way doesn’t seem to cause any permanent damage. Once we learn to do without them, we’ll adapt just fine.


The first successful expedition to reach the South Pole didn’t happen without a lot of preparation. The explorers first established a base of operations at the…

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Fencing Out Deer Requires Effort—But It’s Worth It

It might be too early to claim a complete and total victory—there are probably a couple more isolated “battles” left to fight. And I know the opposition may never completely surrender.

But that’s okay. Because on the whole, I think my fencing has finally allowed me to win the war against deer in my orchard.

Initial Invasion

The process began in 2018, when I planted a bevy of young plum and apple trees to serve as the foundation of a new orchard. The chosen locale was at the top of a sunny hill, in an open field surrounded on three sides by forest.

It’s here where the snow first melts in the spring. The ground warms quicker here than the surrounding lowlands. And I often see deer here, sometimes in herds of 20 or 30, grazing on the brown turf as winter transitions into spring.

Deer have roamed in large numbers across my farm for years. They make themselves at home in my gardens and orchards.

In the past, the luckiest fruit trees have survived their annual winter prunings from the teeth of the neighborhood ruminants. But others just gave up the fight, either from over consumption or from antlers scraping off bark.

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Read more: Learn how to use graph paper when planning your orchard!

The Battle Begins

Suffice to say, I wasn’t about to let my new orchard become a preferred stomping grounds for the local deer population. The first year, I put up temporary fences around every tree, using T-posts and welded wire to do the job.

The results pleased me. Deer still roamed between the trees, but they couldn’t actually reach them to inflict damage.

During the second year, I continued to build temporary fencing around each new tree. I also began work on a formidable perimeter fence to enclose the entire orchard. Across the front of the orchard field, I used wooden posts and welded wire to create an attractive entrance.

Then I ran black plastic deer fencing through the three woodland sides of the orchard. I used trees as fence posts in order to reduce costs.

Read more: Learn more about the author’s early fencing endeavors against invading deer!

Fixing the Fencing

My perimeter fencing performed reasonably well during its first winter. But an ice storm caused some damage, and a deer did get in at one point—I found the tracks.

So in year three, I threw my full attention into improving and strengthening the perimeter fence. In any location where the fence sagged or suffered damage during the winter, I added T-posts. I reinforced the black plastic with welded wire and made sure everything was as strong and tight as it could be.

And I also took a gamble. I planted over a dozen new trees during the third year, but I didn’t erect…

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Video: Creating a Woodland Blewit Mushroom Garden

To cut down on mowing—and make my land more biodiverse—I’ve been converting sections of my lawn into extra perennial flower beds, vegetable plots, and even mushroom gardens. One area now includes oyster mushroom logs and lion’s mane totems.

And I recently inoculated my old potato patch with woodland blewit mushroom spawn. (Check out the video for the whole process. You’ll also get an update on the mushroom garden surrounding my decorative pond.)

Read more: Watch a video on installing a decorative pond! 

Known as Clitocybe nuda or Lepista nuda, woodland blewits are choice edible mushrooms. They naturally occur in moist, shady conditions and can thrive on many types of organic matter.

“The food source for a blewit is leaf litter and decomposed woody debris,” notes Tavis Lynch, a field mycologist and the author of Mushroom Cultivation: An Illustrated Guide to Growing Your Own Mushrooms at Home. “Pine straw also works really well for blewit cultivation.”

To set up my blewit patch, I first cut back the weeds and turned over and broke up the soil. Next, I added pine needles and leaves from last season. Then I crumbled up my blewit spawn and sprinkled it over the planting bed.

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After that, I added a layer of finished compost, straw and less finished compost. I topped this with another layer of blewit spawn and more mulch, straw and spawn.

Read more: Grow your own lion’s mane mushrooms using the totem method!

Although we were about to get a good rain, I watered the planting bed by hand. I followed up with one more thin layer of finished compost. Finally, I topped the whole thing with plastic sheeting to help lock in moisture.

I’ll keep this in place for a couple of months, peeking beneath it periodically to make sure my blewit patch isn’t too dry.

Now, if I’m lucky, I might have my first harvest as soon as this fall. Still, it can take up to 18 months before blewit spawn begins to fruit. “Blewits are a lot less predictable [than other mushroom types],” Lynch says. “But, when you do get blewits, you’re not just going to get four or five. You’re going to get 400 or 500.”

When I start to see what I think are blewits, I’ll need to make sure they are, indeed, blewits. Before cooking up my haul, I’ll consult some of my mushroom guidebooks and make a mushroom spore print. (A woodland blewit spore print should come out a pinkish-buff color.)

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Guide to Caring for Livestock on Your Homestead –

People purchase livestock for many reasons. Some might want them as a pet. Others see them and buy them because they’re cute. However, when you’re living on a homestead, livestock is necessary. As a homesteader, it’s your goal to live a sustainable life while providing for yourself and your family in the best ways possible.

Caring for livestock is no simple task, but they provide a wealth of benefits. Besides giving you meat on the table or milk in a glass, you can use their manure as fertilizer, grazing animals aid in pest control, and others can help you better manage your land. They take a lot of work to care for them properly, but the benefits you reap are worth it.

If you’re just starting with some new livestock, you’re thinking of purchasing a cow or goat, or you’re an experienced homesteader and just need to brush up on your knowledge, then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s your guide to caring for livestock on your homestead.

Ensure You Have the Finances to Support the Livestock

A single animal costs more than you might think. Think of all of the things you need to care for it — including housing, feed, water, veterinary care, and transportation. It all adds up fairly quickly, so you need to fully ensure you have the necessary finances to support however many animals you want to purchase.

Set aside ample income for your livestock. They are an investment that is highly beneficial as a homesteader, but they will cost money over time. While owning livestock can bring in revenue, it may take a few years of barely breaking even to support your homestead.

Livestock is not significantly more cost-effective than store-bought meats or dairy products. You’re paying to care for them, whereas at a grocery store, all you have to do is pay however much a pound of meat or gallon of milk costs.

The cost of care and butchering is, of course, included in that price, so in reality, you break even more than make a profit. However, homesteading is all about sustaining and providing for yourself, and by raising livestock, you’re doing just that.

Decide How Much Livestock You Need

Before investing in livestock for your homestead, you should decide how many cows, sheep, pigs, goats, or other livestock you need to sustain your family entirely. Determine what it is you’re looking for in livestock. Some animals provide you with food, and others can provide you with milk. If you need both, then you may need more than one animal.

For a single person, you likely only need a few animals. However, if you want to make a living off of your livestock, you’ll probably need more than one in that case as well. For example, a dairy cow can provide you with a calf each year for meat purposes as long as you breed the dairy cow. For profitable income, you will more likely need a herd of dairy…

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Flowers Nourish The Soul At Buzzed Blooms Farm

“For us, farming meant food,” says Austin Graf. He looks back on growing up on a small farm with a kitchen garden and some beef cows. “Farming was our way of helping make ends meet.” Those early roots helped pave the way for Graf’s journey to running Buzzed Blooms, a sustainable and seasonally-focused flower farm in Manchester, Tennessee.

He says that he’s always felt “the connection to the land and wholesome food” that comes with farming. However, he never really saw it as a viable career—until serendipitous circumstances ushered him into the field of flower farming.

We spoke to Graf about the sustainable dynamics of micro-farming and accepting the calling of a flower farmer. We also touched on the nourishing nature of blooms.

Indebted to Patchy Cows

When Graf pinpoints where his interest in farming began, he credits the role of what he calls “patchy cows” in the story.

While accompanying his dad to meet livestock brokers, Graf recalls how they’d “give my dad a hard time. The whole county had black Angus beef cows. But our farm always had the most colorful patchy cows around.”

He adds, “My dad did that for me. I felt bad for all the other cows that nobody seemed to like.”

Read more: Check out these 5 miniature cattle breeds that are perfect for small farms.

From Patchy Cows to Fainting Goats

Graf continued to take his early farming steps, and his interests transformed.

“As I got older, patchy cows turned into spotted Nubian dairy goats that I hand-milked morning and night throughout high school,” he says. “I learned to make homemade cheese and soap. I got chickens for fresh eggs. And I continued gardening.

“Then I started discovering livestock preservation and adding rare breeds to our farm to preserve them from extinction,” he continues. “At one point we had a full dozen Tennessee fainting goats. It was just what I loved.”

Serendipitous Flowers

These days Graf runs a flower farm. The career choice, he admits, came “by pure chance.”

After graduating college and taking a gig in marketing, Graf found himself growing restless. He missed the farm life.

Graf persuaded his brother to let him use a 10 by 20 foot garden. He then “threw some dahlia tubers in there. They were on clearance at the grocery store, so I thought why not?”

When everything else but the dahlias in Graf’s garden perished, he did a little research and “stumbled across flower farming.” Graf discovered that cut flower production was actually the second most profitable crop per acre in his state. This, he thought, could develop into a lucrative avenue.

“Suddenly everything I’d ever known about farming changed,” he explains.

After starting with a packet of zinnias, Graf received an offer for what seemed likes a “dream job” that would require giving up the garden. “I chased the dream,” he says. “And guess…

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From The Herb Garden: You Must Consider Comfrey!

Comfrey is an herb worthy of consideration in gardens of all sizes. Its usefulness in the apothecary, in the compost or as a fertilizer makes this herb one of the most valuable plants that any gardener could grow.

The common comfrey, Symphytum officinale, is a perennial plant in the borage family, native to Europe but now widely naturalized throughout western Asia as well as most of North America. Spread by seed, it can quickly overtake an area, especially if not harvested or properly managed.

A hybrid, Sympytum x uplandicum, or Russian comfrey, has gained in popularity amongst gardeners and permaculturists alike. It’s a sterile plant that does not produce seeds, so you propagate this Russian variety through root division or by stem cuttings.   

Using Comfrey in the Garden

Even just a handful of plants will provide the gardener with endless value. Rich in silica, nitrogen, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron, add comfrey leaves to compost bins as a natural activator. Or you can shred them and utilize as a nutrient-dense mulch around fruit trees, tomatoes and other garden crops.

The long, dark taproots dig deep into the soil. They extract nutrients inaccessible to many other garden crops.

You can also brew the leaves into a potent liquid fertilizer often referred to by gardeners as simply “comfrey tea,” which is easy to make!

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  • Harvest comfrey leaves until you have enough to fill a 5-gallon bucket.
  • Allow the leaves to wilt in the sun for one or two hours, then pack them into the bucket.
  • Fill the bucket with water and loosely cover.
  • Allow to ferment for several weeks, stirring every few days.
  • Strain out the plant material and dilute the ‘tea’ with water at a 10:1 ratio.
  • Use as a foliar spray on your garden plants.

Read more: Improve your soil with these homemade fertilizers!

Comfrey in the Apothecary

Herbalists have made use of comfrey for centuries, prescribing the herb for a wide range of ailments.

Modern practitioners avoid internal use due to the herb’s high pyrrolizidine alkaloid content. (The compound which is considered toxic and potentially damaging to the liver.) But topical applications are still commonly used.

You can craft a simple herbal salve from comfrey leaves to treat all manner of external ailments, including:

  • cuts
  • scrapes
  • insect bites
  • bruises
  • sore joints

You can easily make this product by infusing dried comfrey leaves in olive or sunflower oil. Then just blend the herbal oil with melted beeswax. (If you’d like to go deeper into herbal salves, I provide more detailed information in my book The Artisan Herbalist.)

Read more: These 7 healing herbs can aid you with pain relief.

Growing Comfrey

Comfrey is easy to grow and very vigorous. It does well in full sun or partial shade. Once established, in fact, you might struggle to fully remove it!

Even the smallest piece of…

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Everything to Know About .22 Rat Shot (Snake Shot)

Ever hear of .22 rat shot (also known as snake shot)? People will often ask me what this seemingly odd cartridge is good for. Let’s take a look, but first – the shells themselves:

Also, if you find this article informative, consider my book:
Rimfire Rifles: A Buyer’s and Shooter’s Guide.

Now, on to…

My Chipmunk Problem

It was a mid-March morning. Spring had nearly sprung. The day dawned clear and cold, but the sun was still strong enough to ease the chill. Stepping out onto my front porch, a few robins had reappeared and the taste of spring was indeed in the air. Life was good – that is, until I spied… “The Hole.”

rat holeThe Hole – again. Time for lethal measures…

At first I thought, I was seeing things, but nope, it was for real. Fresh dirt was strewn around the small garden beside the house foundation, and a cavernous new excavation had materialized – again!

The latest gopher shenanigans had shades of the old Caddyshack film. In theory at least, my hole-digging nemesis had been terminated the previous fall. That hit had taken some planning, too. Turns out chipmunks become elusive once the “wanted” posters go up.

My wife and I exercised our share of tolerance, refilling the fresh hole that appeared like magic several times each day. Although normally more of an aggravation, the overriding concern was its location. Chip’s front door was hard up against the foundation of our house, directly above the flexible water line that runs from our well.

After a week of tolerance, the prospect of a noshed line and expensive excavation nixed what little compassion remained. It was time for Chip to contract Swiss cheese disease. The trick involved avoiding any collateral damage!

Operation Chip Shot

A rat trap or poison would’ve been hard on our loyal Labrador so I settled on a more discriminate solution: the same .22 Marlin Model 39-A lever-action that had served other permanent eviction notices. Why not a modern airgun? That’s a good pick, too, but chipmunks are furtive little rascals that seldom sit still for long.

Also, this one was apparently sneaky, having never been spied in the act. The numerous others on our property caused no harm, so a total chipmunk cleansing was ruled out. Instead, the plan involved a stakeout at the crime scene. The adjacent concrete foundation and a stone walkway did raise concerns over ricochets, so I went with a proven close-range enforcement solution – a shotgun – but for this purpose, the Marlin would stand in – with a particular type of shell.

I positioned a lawn chair on my porch a few yards from Chip’s doorway with a gas grill serving as my “blind.” The next morning, shortly after sunrise, I slipped into position with a .22 LR rat shot cartridge chambered in the Marlin.

B after an hour of shivering, there was no sign…

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How High Can a Goat Jump and Can They Jump a Fence?

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As I’m researching goats for my homestead, I’m constantly hearing goat owners talk about how their goats keep jumping the fence. To me, it seems like a lot of work to go herd them back in so often. So, is this really a thing? Can goats jump fences?

You may be surprised to hear that a goat can jump 5 feet high and an average fence is only 4 feet high. In your mind, you might be envisioning goats leaping over fences effortlessly. However, this isn’t the case as their front legs are weaker than their back legs and they often need assistance from humans in order to make such acrobatic displays of athleticism possible.

It is important to know how likely your goats are to jump a fence. You should also consider what their jumping ability and distance are, as well as if there is a way to stop them from jumping the fence in the future.

Can a Goat Jump a 4-Foot Fence?

A 4-foot fence is great for housing sheep, alpacas and other smaller livestock but it’s not ideal for some goats.

Some goats are able to easily jump fences that stand at 4ft. This is especially true for pygmy or dwarf breeds of goat, who will often use other animals and structures as a ladder in order to get higher. Ensure you check your fence line regularly because these little creatures can be very sneaky!

Goats come in various breeds and heights so the ability to jump a 4-foot fence varies depending on its lineage or what it has been fed for most of its life. This makes sense when you think about how many factors can affect their weight: genetics, diet regimen during growth periods like weaning time in terms of food type and quantity as well as snacks they have had some access too throughout childhood will all be playing an active role in determining just how high up off the ground that animal could go with ease if given enough room at hand—or hoof?

Since smaller goat breeds are a popular choice, many homesteaders have to invest in better fencing and measures to keep them in. Larger goats weighing a couple hundred pounds will naturally not be able to jump as high, but can do more damage to the fence due to their heavier weight.

How High Can a Goat Jump?

Pygmy and Nigerian dwarf goats are two of the most agile breeds in all of goat-dom, to say the least. Their tiny frames make them light on their feet while also allowing for fast climbing! You won’t be able to keep these little guys penned up too well though; so it’s important you have a proper fence with an adequate height that’ll stop any pesky jumping off from happening.

Some homesteaders say that it’s very easy for them to hop over a 5-foot fence, while others say theirs can even jump higher than this! There are many different…

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Goats or Sheep for Homestead? Here’s How to Choose

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Choosing the right live stock is one of the first steps of creating a proper homestead. Choosing between goats and sheep can be most confusing as their differences might not be that apparent to inexperienced eyes.  So, if you are struggling to choosebetweengoats or sheep for homestead then this article may give you some closure. 

If you have to choose just one, goats are the better option for your homestead. Sheep and goats are both important assets to have on any homestead, but the choice between them often depends upon your preferences. Sheep can be difficult work with at times because they tend to be flighty creatures who don’t like being held or touched by humans; this isn’t such a problem for farmers that simply want wool from their flock. Goats, as intelligent animals, will require more of an effort when it comes to training them than sheep do – however in return you’ll receive meat (sometimes), milk production if bred correctly during mating season has passed, mohair which is valuable textile fiber used for making fabric** and other textiles****.

If you want to make an informed decision, you can find more details if you just keep reading.

Goats vs. Sheep – Which Is Better for Homesteading?

Whichever option you choose, it’s going to benefit you ultimately. But it also depends on the facilities you have at your homestead and the efforts you’re willing to invest. 

Sheep are perfect for small homesteads in the rural area. They’re straightforward to deal with besides being smart and intelligent. Moreover, they suffer from fewer illnesses compared to goats. They’re relatively more docile than goats, who happen to be the king of troublemakers. 

Besides, sheep will always eat grass as they are grazers. Goats will also turn to grass, but not with the consistency of sheep. They will also prefer to eat shrubs, twigs, and other leafy greens. You won’t be successful trying to keep them off of anything in their line of sight. Fortunately, that also includes weeds!

Sheep, on the other hand, will mostly eat grass except for areas on which they relieve themselves. 

You will hardly find a day without commotion with goats around. They make incredible companions and care a lot for their owners. However, they are a master of the art of escaping and try to jump over your fence. So, you’ll also have to keep fencing costs in mind if you choose to get goats for your homestead. 

With sheep you have to keep their wool sheered in the summer to keep them from overheating. But goats can’t stand wet places, so you’ll need special shelters for these animals too. Sheep are typically scared of new people and environments, due to this fact they don’t like being held or restrained either.

So, you’ll find better comfort in handling goats in this situation. That includes vaccination, deworming, and trimming the nails. Plus, the dairy products and meat of goats are healthy and have a lot…

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