Homesteading in a rainforest

Chile 2014 earthquake

Every since the last big earthquake the earth has not been normal. Some may think I am nuts but this has been proven by our wonderful scientists as well as NASA. The last big earthquake actually shifted the earth on it’s normal axis just a very small amount and the result is major changes on the earth to what we used to know as normal weather patterns. Our homestead is in Missouri, in the Ozark region. We have been off grid living in the forest under the canopy now for 5 years. We have spent 99 percent of our time outdoors as is the norm for those living off grid and back in nature. We have raised large organic heirloom gardens for 5 years, carefully learning to work with nature and the weather to grow as much as successful as we can. We do not grow our own food as a sport or a hobby.

For us, it is about survival. It has been our goal to become as self sufficient and sustainable as we can, which as those in the same boat know, is a lifetime goal. In 5 years we have made baby steps. But if there is one thing I can honestly say about the change in Missouri’s weather patterns and atmosphere, in general, it would be that there is definitely been a major change over the past few years and especially this year in particular. Given our position, what I am about to tell you should be taken as pretty credible. We feel that we are no longer in the growing zone that we were in when we first went off grid 5 years ago. Our techniques in the garden are no longer seeming to be successful in Missouri’s climate.

Polar bear

We have had more rain this year than in the history of our 5 year and possibly we could prove, using charts and such, that Missouri’s rainfall is pretty close to record for these last few years. Back when I was a reporter, freelancing, I was tasked by Yahoo Inc. to report on the flooding that was taking place in our area that was record breaking, this was just 2 years ago. Things have not been the same. We feel that the climate of Missouri has changed so radically that we are actually in a longer growing season now and a more tropical setting. The gardening has to change for us, the trees are looking different, those that have been here from the original climate of Missouri are showing signs that they are struggling with all the rain and humidity that used to be only seen on the coastal states.

I grew up in Georgia, I spent most of my life on the coast, I am very familiar with what I am seeing in Missouri now weather wise. This year we planted our garden as usual. We used the techniques and style that has been the normal for our climate and zone for a very long time. But for the 3rd year in a row, things are not normal and we are having to adapt to the changes. Some of the practices I am feeling is the new norm for us are what I know is the practice of those in the deep south, and more tropical climates. We are growing peach trees here on the homestead, we have had success with plants that say they are only tropical and our seed packets as well as our standing seeding knowledge is way off.

climate change

Even the garden has to change. So much rain that our tomatoes are struggling is serious. We hardly have sun and the rain comes and it is even different, more like a tropical steady rain rather than Missouri’s normal rains. We’ve had high winds more than often, as if we are on a coastal state, 60 MPH winds with normal rain storms used to only be heard of in coastal states, states such as Florida. Our ground where there is no grasses, as we are in the forest, now grows a green fungus on it so think and covering that it actually looks like grass growing. Our trees are bending, acting like rubber, the larger ones. Even the animals are acting different around us, as if they sense that somethings are off, and they are right.

Strange for storms and rains to affect our dogs that have been raised in the forest off grid for 5 years when in the beginning this was not normal. So last year we got the normal August harvest of tomatoes and then the big harvest of tomatoes in September and the occasional tomato in October which was also the month we pulled the plants up. This year we have tomatoes almost ready mid June. I have never gotten tomatoes so early. The plants are growing very fast, faster than normal, root crops, such as turnips, beets and carrots are not doing well after they began making their root vegetables. Too much rain, the soil is to saturated and being washed of all calcium. So for 2 years now we have watched our turnips rot in the soil, just go to mush.

Climate change 2

When I mentioned the rains have washed the soil of calcium I am serious. Those that know how to garden well will understand that plants need calcium to stave off rot. So for 2 years now we have watched our tomatoes, Zucchini, and squash grow fruit and then die before harvest time due to either/or blossom rot and end rot. For those that do not understand, the ends of your fruit rot before the fruit has fully grown and the whole fruit dies quickly. This is end rot. Blossom rot means the fruit blossoms are rotting and falling off, therefore no fruit is produced. Tomatoes will get end rot and that is nasty looking holes in the ends of the tomatoes. Usually this will make the tomato edible but ugly and if left on the plant will result in rotting fruit.

The only way to combat this is to add a generous amount of calcium back in the soil that seemingly just such as the calcium addition, keeps washing away. How can you grow a garden where the rains do not stop, soil amendments, are constantly washed away. The soil in Missouri is not adapted to a rainforest, we are living in a rainforest! We are not adapted to a rainforest, and we are struggling because of this. Has this been the plans of the elite, those that are in charge of Geo-engineering the weather of planet earth, so that people have trouble growing food to become more self reliant? Seemingly not to far fetched in my book. We already know the new Patriot Act makes those off grid domestic terrorists and radicals which have been listed as terrorists.

Patriot act

Whether you believe in these conspiracies or not does not matter. What matters is that we have proof of radical changes taking affect on this planet and for those of us that have went back to nature, back to the earth, to raise our families and selves in a way that just makes more since adapting is not a choice but a necessary part of our survival now. We have to relearn what we know based on what mother nature is handing us. The people of this great planet, us, you, them, have altered the planet with our unnatural ways of living and mother nature, not to be undone, has been forced to adapt and survive despite what it means for those living here. If we are to survive, we are to adapt successfully. What does this mean?

It means, if we are going to live in nature and work with nature then we have to accept nature and realize that we can not go on doing what we have known, but that we must look to those that have been doing what we are doing when this climate was theirs. In other words, we have to relearn what we know, and adapt to the changes that are necessary based on our NEW environment. No one ever said life was going to be easy or that nothing changes, we all should know that everything changes and that means even the climates we live in and how we have done something for a hundred years. So in saying all that, we are in a struggle to survive out here and learning what we have to do to garden successfully as well as survival in general, is at the top of our list.

patriot act 2

I am all for learning new gardening skills, I just am at a loss as to where and who to learn from. I am the gardener for the homestead and so it is my duty to teach others and make the harvest come in before winter. We grow a lot of food. We store up a lot and we hunt and forage and trade and barter for the same. Our usual gardening practices are not working well for the climate we live in now. We have to relearn to grow root crops and lost of other types of food. We have, however, already noticed that we can grow cool season crops longer before putting in the hot weather stuff. This year our lettuce, spinach, radishes and greens are all going to seed later, a lot later. We are still eating our first planting of lettuce! It is, however, gotten bitter and bolting now.

We only got one harvest of sweet peas, although we planted 500 plants, we canned up only 4 quarts. The peas grew well, produced a lot, but 500 plants only gave us 4 quarts. Now that may be good, we don’t know because this is the first year we have canned up peas. So if you can shed light on this for us, please do in the comments below this post. It seems our potatoes are struggling to stay alive as long as usual but we did get some good sized potatoes already and we just planted in Spring! Not many, 5 or so, but good size. The potatoes seem to be doing bad now though. We planted melons which, so far, seem to be loving the cool weather and rains, we will see later what happens there. A GOOD thing is, the bugs!

horn worm

We are usually in a fight of our lives with the bugs in the garden, this year, so far, nothing hardly. The Japanese beetles JUST showed up but are not doing any damage, they are, in fact, dying it seems. Raspberries are spot on, but there are some places in Missouri that are reporting a bumper crop of blackberries already, when usual time for harvesting blackberries is July-august. Thanks for reading, we are seeking knowledge, so if you can contribute to that and live in a humid, tropical type climate where it rains all the time or you can relate we would love to hear from you in the comments below.


2 thoughts on “Homesteading in a rainforest

  1. Hi Walker, if you are not doing so already, grow in raised beds. It is extra work, but will help soil drainage immensely. Other concerns would be where the garden is situated; low lying areas will gather water more easily, and if the soil is heavy in clay, that will impede drainage significantly as well. If it is clay heavy, amending with organic material can help restructure your soil; finished compost, sand, and sawdust are good choices, ime. If you harvest animal bones, they can be dried out, ground up and added to the soil to improve Calcium lvls. You could also add dried and crushed up bones directly to your garden soil and it will slowly leech Calcium, ( and phosphorus as well, which helps with plants photosynthesis.) Hope that helps. If you wanted to share some more details, I’d be happy to share my knowledge. ( I have extensive experience with low-teck organic gardening practices, with 3 of those years growing in Hawaii, so I’m intimately familiar with the challenges of growing in high rain-fall environments. Anyways, I enjoyed reading the blog; seems like a beautiful place you have there, and though there may be hardships, and adversity, don’t forget how blessed you are to have somewhere to call Home. Peace to you and yours.

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