DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

1 - 20 of 57 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just got back from the grocery store and most of the food was gone. Out of three stores, all had ZERO toilet paper, bananas, most fresh fruit, nearly all meat, and we only got our first confirmation of corona virus in my city today. I don't think this is going to end any time soon, and I would still like to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as often as I'm going to be able to.

I have never tried to grow anything. I am in south texas, and would like to start growing something to help with what I see is a long term food shortage. I would almost personally prefer to do an indoor hydroponics setup, for the control, but I have never grown anything before.

This has been a great forum for the questions I have had so far, not sure how well this fits here.. Can anyone give some ideas on where I should be starting, what I could grow easily indoors, or even out. Maybe a better section I missed or forums that would be good reads. Expected budget, timeline, effort. Is there anything that's easy to start now and not kill off... Other things you might think of that would help? Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,999 Posts
Have you tried going to a local nursery to see if there are vegetable plants for you to buy? Learning to keep them alive will help you grow from seed. They also have seed.


I really like the Sunset Western Garden book. It gives great instructions and has area tips. There are some Texans here.


Fruit takes awhile. For example you would have to plant a banana tree that would take time to mature. There are some fruit trees that you can buy in nurseries; I think they may be out of season right now.


My stores have plenty of food. I just came from one. Have you tried other stores?


Hydroponic, I don't know much about. Did you try putting the word in the search In DIYchatroom? I've read other threads about it here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I have zero knowledge on growing anything.

The local nursuries seems pretty simple. Theres one really close, I should try there when they open.

For hydroponics, I know my grocery store at one time was getting hydroponic strawberries from a "local" grower, and they were the sweetest I have ever eaten. I was thinking berries would be able to grow, but no clue which ones. There were 12 threads when I searched, and none were relevant.

I went to 6 stores today. 3 HEB (texas grocery store) and just got back from 3 Walmart. They all had most of their vegetables, but 50-80% bare shelves depending on the store. Nobody had toilet paper, and it wasn't until the last one I found bananas.
 

·
Naildriver
Joined
·
12,112 Posts
Hydroponics is a very detailed and expensive way of growing things. It requires too much equipment and a lot of attention to make it worth while. Growing in the ground has been done, well, for a long time and at a good return rate. Prepare your soil. Get soil testing from your local extension service to know what nutrients will be needed for food plants. Select plants that are indigenous to your location. For instance growing bananas may not be "fruitful" in Alaska. Basic plants like tomatoes, squash, collards, peas, beans all can be grown most anywhere, but you need to look up the planting times for your area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I know hydroponics would be more, and more to use, but its sad how much secrecy needs to factor into my decision. I kid you all not, I just went to the grocery store to try and get some of this magical toilet paper. They open at 6 am. I got there 10 till. The security guard took head count and I was just over #300 in line. There was about another 100 by the time they opened. The only reason I was able to get some of the last few packs of toilet paper is because I didn't have a cart and went around a big line of people who were standing there looking dumb. (I don't feel like I cut in line, I just think they were being pacifists and didn't have room to move around. I'm a veteran, I know how to accomplish a mission (of getting butt paper)).

There talking this corona virus is going to be at least a year before we have a cure. WATCH, how everything is suspended for two weeks/ till the end of the month. We're not going back to normal then, we're going to suspend everything again. I swear I'm not a conspiracy person, but they said two weeks to not get everyone in a panic, and give those who get it, time to start before the real panic sets in. I think things are going to keep getting a little worse.

I think most of the people who get it won't even notice it, but the fear were getting (without trying to get political) from just the way this is proceeding here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Nothing wrong with growing vegetables, but one, it takes some time until they're ready for picking and two, you'd have to plant an awful lot to gets tons of it to give you a constant supply. Fruits probably take a year, I think. By the time you have fruit and veggies, this hype is sure to be over, I'd think.
Have you tried shopping online? Might cost a bit more, but it would just be temporary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,702 Posts
A few things need to be put in perspective here. I have no clue how long "this" will last, but we do have some facts.

It's basically all over in China now. Granted, the pundits are saying that's partly because a totalitarian regime can crack down harder. But China also had more initially affected, all at once, with little warning.

The TP thing is just herd instinct. People hear that others are hoarding it, and that there are shortages. We all fear missing out, so we rush out to get ours before it's all gone. But they're making more every day. This "shortage" can only last so long.

Ditto for all the food shortages. How much can anyone really eat? Sure, it's inconvenient. I wanted to make chicken stir-fry but the supermarket was completely wiped out of all fresh chicken. Huh?? Is THAT what people are hoarding? No problem, I'll make pork or beef stir-fry, instead. The butcher department guys were wheeling out big carts full when I was there. That's probably all gone now, too. But again, there's more on the way, and I have other things in the cupboard.

So, although the virus could linger for a while, (in fact, that's what the talk of "flattening the curve" is all about) it's not going to leave anyone hungry. At least, not long enough for any crops you plant now to be harvested. Except maybe those bean sprouts I keep telling myself I should start one of these days...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,862 Posts
I had a large, for a city, garden for quite a few years.


Forget inside hydro.


Green beans, lettuce, radishes and tomatoes are easy.


Potatoes and carrots can be a challenge depending on soil and weather.


Yellow squash and Zucchinis are challenging due to bugs. You will never harvest any if you a no PC nut.



Cukes, corn and melons take a lot of room.


What do you want to know?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,999 Posts
Regarding toilet paper, don't forget there's lots of Kleenex, soft paper dinner napkins and even plaper towels. Cheap washcloths, too. ;D


This will be in the history books some day.
 

·
Naildriver
Joined
·
12,112 Posts
An add on bidet feature to your toilet for about $37 at HD or Ebay will eliminate your need for toilet paper. Face it, buying 144 rolls of toilet paper to withstand a 14 day virus, you got something more wrong with you that you should have seen a doctor about a long time ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Yes the panic is unjustified, but that doesn't mean it won't continue or get worse. I go grocery shopping several times a week. I think I went wednesday and there was no sign. Then on Friday, it was nuts. There may still be plenty of people who don't realize there are shortages. There was nothing on the local news yet, so there may be more people who think they are going to do their normal shopping this weekend and can't. The manager at Walmart told me starting next week they are doubling their order from one truck to two to try and get back some stock. They have that planned for a couple weeks so who knows.

As of now in China, they are still quarantined. The factories are closed, and there's no expected time frame yet. Eventually we are going to run out of what stock we have. Then you have to consider fresh foods that come from other countries that are still in the early stages of the virus like we are.

Yes, I can go overboard, but after 6 stores were out of it, I went and bought a bidet seat. Its going to be here in a few days. I keep reading how its at least a sanitary improvement, so who knows. At the least it should do the bulk of the job and allow me to use less.

Green beans and tomatoes are frequent in my diet, those and a little lettuce would be where I would start if those are easy. My back yard is only about 1500 sq ft total, and most of it is blocked by high trees from the neighbors yards. I might be getting 5-8 hours of sun if I'm lucky, but definitely not getting the first and last couple of hours. I have seen those hanging tomato plants that come easy to do. That might be worth looking into.

I would have to build the garden completely and buy all the soil. I do have a great spot for a tree in the middle of the backyard where the water pools after a heavy rain and then drains, (it would provide privacy from one of the neighbors too, so that has been on my eventual list (probably a peach tree, but need to research more).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,480 Posts
Green beans are generally 50-60 days.
Lettuce is 45-55 days for loose leaf and 75-85 for head varieties.
Tomatoes take 50-60 days for early tomatoes, late tomatoes can be 80 or more days.

Those are general times. They can vary depending on the exact variety you pick and are based on full sun.

A crisis isn’t exactly the time to learn to garden, but you have to start sometime.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,862 Posts
Green beans and tomatoes are frequent in my diet, those and a little lettuce would be where I would start if those are easy. My back yard is only about 1500 sq ft total, and most of it is blocked by high trees from the neighbors yards. I might be getting 5-8 hours of sun if I'm lucky, but definitely not getting the first and last couple of hours. I have seen those hanging tomato plants that come easy to do. That might be worth looking into.

Plant the tomatoes in the spot that gets the most sun. Green beans will do fine on 5 hours of sun and the lettuce will grow with even less.


Pole beans spread out the season for fresh picking. Blue Lake is a one pick crop. I always pulled the plants when they were loaded and planted again. We were freezing them. Both do well in intensive beds. The row concept is for farmers.


None of the above needs that real expensive garden soil sold at the home centers.


If you have access to a truck or trailer you can make your own garden soil with peat moss, compost and either perlite or vermiculite far cheaper than buying the bagged stuff.



A simple little published fact: A raised bed garden is raised because you never walk on and compact the soil. All the crap they sell the newbies to frame it it in is not needed. Google French bio intensive gardening.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Green beans are generally 50-60 days.
Lettuce is 45-55 days for loose leaf and 75-85 for head varieties.
Tomatoes take 50-60 days for early tomatoes, late tomatoes can be 80 or more days.

Those are general times. They can vary depending on the exact variety you pick and are based on full sun.

A crisis isn’t exactly the time to learn to garden, but you have to start sometime.
This seems like the perfect time to learn.. :biggrin2:
It was on the backburner, but I was expecting it to be years before I started. I wanted to figure out what I would do about the back patio first (deck, covered, enclosed?) a walk way around the house, adding a tree, just thought that would be what little area was left and still in a good spot.

My living room has 5 big windows that look out in the back yard. The back fence is about 35 feet away and 50 feet wide. Its on the north side of the property so that's where I'm going to get the most sun. I could easily do a 2'-4' x 40'. It would be nice to do something that could add some variety back there too.

I think shortages may go on longer than a couple months, but even if they don't, it really is a nice excuse to get started on this.


EDIT: Not sure how much I could fit in this space. Its currently just me, but I have family in town I would share anything with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,999 Posts
Growing tomatoes will depend on the sunlight, heat, humidity & potential for mold. Are you near the Gulf?


I'm in tomato country here, but, it gets dry, dry, dry in the late Summer.



"Varieties that have shorter days to harvest intervals tend to do better here in Texas. We have a short growing season for tomatoes in between the last frost of winter and the hot weather of summer. Once daytime temperatures reach the 90s and nights the mid 70s, tomatoes will start to abort their blooms. This is more pronounced on larger fruited types than on cherries. The goal is therefore to get as many tomatoes as possible set before hot weather arrives."


https://www.texasgardener.com/pastissues/janfeb02/tomatorganic.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I'm about 130 miles in from the coast. We can get good rain, but usually don't and a week in a row of 90+ humidity with nearly no rain is common.

I appreciate the link, but most of that went over my head. If that's the easiest thing, I need to dumb it way down until I can get some serious reading done or maybe a local class.

I need something more like ikea directions with: pot, dirt, seed, dirt, water (and better tell me how much and how often).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,843 Posts
If the stores are empty, you will starve before harvest season gets here. In FL there are only a few shortages, like toilet paper and sanitizer products. After this brief period when panic buying is over, I expect stores to restock and get back to normal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
No insult received, I have uno other dummy book. That's about the level I'm looking for. I usually like to spend a lot of time researching. I was planning on doing this in a couple years. This overnight shortage really got me wanting to go from I'll do that later, to wanting to do it now.

The stores weren't empty empty. They were 5% left in the meat dept, 50% left in the produce and most every aisle. They were zero items in the TP aisle, zero bananas, zero gatorades (and this is 6 stores), but this was later on a Friday night (probably the busiest time of the week). Here this was also Friday ending spring break.

I don't think it will be starving type situation, more so that I think it will be limited quantities, and certain stuff is going to sell out quickly. I already wanted to jump in on being less reliant for what I can, and I have had garden grown vegetables before, and nothing beats em.

I'm a disabled veteran. I can go at 6 am 7 days a week, and its just an errand I have time to do. I should be one of the few who really doesn't have to worry. My family in town includes a 1 year old, so I've asked them to let me know if there's anything they can't get that he needs. So who knows If I'll go often. I have the time and ability to help out my family a little extra during this, I certainly will, so I might be there often anyways.

I do think the panic will go on for a little while longer. Unless the stores have horrible management, they had the panic, and ordered more. It takes a few days, and the stores should have more within a week. I think another panic rush will come in if the virus outbreak starts to get serious.
 
1 - 20 of 57 Posts
Top