Thursday, August 28, 2014

Index to Forest Gardening Articles

Here is an annotated index of all my Forest Gardening articles I've written over the past few years. Forest Gardening is a very productive style of gardening, and I would encourage folks to try it. Forest Gardening does not take a lot of land, nor does it take the years and years of effort some folks assume it does to become productive.

Introduction to Forest Gardening - Why Forest Gardening? What is a Forest Garden? The basics of Forest Gardening.

How To Make a Forest Garden, part one - Basic considerations; The Overstory layer; The Understory layer; includes species suggestions, hardiness zones, resources.

How To Make a Forest Garden, part two - The Shrub layer; The Herbaceous layer; Other layers; includes species suggestions.

How To Make a Forest Garden, part three - Forest Gardening organizations; Quick discussion of traditional veggie gardening.

Not Just Layers - Other considerations besides just the layers. Could be considered part four of my How To Make a Forest Garden series.

The Pawpaw Tree - A wonderful, often overlooked, North American fruit tree to include in your Forest Garden.

Plants That Build Healthy Soils - Explains and lists a variety of Dynamic Accumulators and Nitrogen-Fixers that you may want to include in your Forest Garden.

Using Grow Bags in Forest Gardening - An easy and fast method to start tree seedlings.

Gardening in Hedgerows and Verges - Make the best use of narrow strips of land.

Forest Gardening Q & A - Answering some of the questions I've received over the years.

Size Doesn't Matter, At Least In Forest Gardening - You really don't need much land for Forest Gardening.

A Great Resource for Forest Gardening

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening-one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment. Click here to order Edible Forest Gardens from Amazon.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse

Here is my review of Fernando "Ferfal" Aguirre's first book, The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. It is the same review (with a few typos corrected) I posted on after I read the book last year. 

Finally, someone has written a realistic survival guide for economic hard times. Unlike most survival guides (at least the ones I've seen) that give lots of wilderness survival tips & bushcraft ideas, and indulge in off-the-grid mountain retreat fantasies, this one gives practical, realistic advice for surviving an economic crisis while living in civilization, not hiding from it.

Based on his experiences having lived through the collapse of Argentina's economy and the socialist dictatorship that has since emerged, Fernando Aguirre doesn't rely on theories of what might happen, but gives lots of concrete examples of what actually happened during and after an economic collapse.

Because of the high crimes rates during and post-collapse, Aguirre gives over a good portion of his book to home security, situational awareness, and self-defense. There is even a section on defensive (and offensive) driving to avoid car jackings, roadblocks, and other dangers of the road.

He also talks about financial problems, such as Argentina's experiences with a shut-down of the banks and electronic financial transactions (think no ATMs or credit card/debit transactions), and the government imposed "corralito" in which the government froze and took over the people's bank accounts for about a year, only allowing very limited withdrawals. He also talks about the reality and dangers of bartering (smashing to pieces many survivalist theories of a new barter economy emerging and replacing fiat money), explains why cash is king even during an economic collapse, teaches the art of haggling, and raises interesting points on the importance of gold and silver (and how to use them).

He discusses many other issues, too - from EDC gear, bug-out bags, and food & water storage, to dogs, real estate, & jobs.

One key theme that runs throughout the book is the need to have the right mental attitude and toughness to survive.

What I like most about the book is that Aguirre backs up everything he says with examples from his own experiences and the experiences of others in Argentina that have lived through an economic collapse. This makes to book firmly entrenched in reality rather than theory, and makes it stand out as the best survival/prepping book I've ever read.

You can follow Tim Gamble on Twitter at

You can follow Fernando Aguirre on Twitter at  

Book Review: Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook
Over the last couple of years, I've been reading every book I can get my hands on that may help me prepare for the very difficult times that lie ahead - survivalist handbooks, homesteading tomes, books offering everything from financial advice to old-time country skills. The book I am discussing in this review fits the category of a "prepping" guide, and is one of the best in that category that I have found to date.

Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton is not a book detailing hard-core survival skills in the midst of a disaster or homesteading advice for surviving over a long-term economic crisis. Rather, it is a book about preparing ("prepping" as some would say) for temporary disruptions in the comforts of civilization.

What would you do if you could not buy any food at a restaurant or grocery store for a week or two? What if the seemingly endless supply of clean water from your local waterworks suddenly ceased for a few days? What if the local Wal-mart, Target and other big-box stores closed their doors? What if the Post Office, FedEx and UPS no longer delivered to your neighborhood? What if you had no gas for your car, and no one else did either, and you couldn't go to work, or shopping, or even to your doctor?

There are a hundred and one reasons why such a scenario might come to pass - from natural disasters to political & economic turmoil. Could you survive more than a day or two without all the comforts of civilization that we all take for granted? Peggy Layton's book will help you prepare for those difficult times.

Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook covers preparing for short-term disasters, with detailed information and lists for everything from an emergency car kit, to a 72-hour emergency kit (aka "bug out" kit), to building stockpiles of food, water, medicine and other necessities. Included in the book is a section on ideas for apartment dwellers and others with little storage space.

But the book is more than just lists of things to buy. Also discussed are how to obtain, store, organize, rotate and use the items. There is a recipe section for what do do with all that long-term food storage, along with information on how to use powdered milk, how to cook whole wheat, tips for using rice and so forth.

The thing that impressed me the most with this book it that it is very detailed without being overly-complicated (many other prepping books I've seen are either too general, lacking needed details, or way too complicated, and boring, for the average person).

The only problem I have with the book is the Resource Guide near the end. Because the book was written back in 2002, many of the web addresses and even physical addresses for the various stores and companies are out of date.

Here is the Table of Contents:


Chapter 1: Preparing for short-term emergencies

Chapter 2:  Storing water for emergency use

Chapter 3: Economics of long-term emergency storage

Chapter 4: Logistics of long-term emergency storage

Chapter 5: Building your stockpile of food & other necessities

Chapter 6: Obtaining food storage

Chapter 7: Implementing your food storage program

Chapter 8: Recipes using stored foods

Resource Guide


Note: This review was originally written in 2011 and published on an older blog of mine. --Tim