Category Archives: Gardening

Illegal to Grow Crops in Utah with Rainwater


I recently attended a two-day Utah Division of Water Rights certification class. I was distressed to discover the antiquated state of Utah’s water rights regulations. Just to give an example, …

According to the Utah Division of Water Rights, it is illegal in the state of Utah to grow crops with water that falls as rain on your land. Yes, I did ask for clarification on this regulation, and it is the last question on the recorded two day session if you want to go verify that the answer from the Assistant State Engineer was indeed that using rain that fell on your land and soaked in to grow crops is illegal according to the Utah Division of Water Rights. (I also learned that nearly any water-usage can be made legal if you have enough money, by the way.)

This sounds like a regulation/law you’d find in a Jonathan Swift novel or the writings of Voltaire, not the modern laws of Utah. It amazes me that people that would have no problem explaining the “Velocity of Money” have no idea that the same applies to water, and have made rules that prohibit regenerative technologies like Permaculture, Gray Water usage, and Sustainable Agriculture from being applied in Utah.

Not only do most Utahns not know of these rules, I’m sure they would be shocked to learn of them.

Extra Food On Hand


I had a conversation with a friend, a few years ago, about storing a little extra food around the house in case of emergencies. We both agreed that emergencies happen that prevent us from getting food from the store. Earthquakes and hurricanes are big, grandiose examples of emergencies that shut down access to stores, but smaller emergencies like blizzards, or an identity thief emptying your bank account also happen all the time. As I said, she and I completely agreed that stuff happens.

Extra Food
Many common foods will not store well, if you’re looking for a little extra food to have on hand in an emergency.

I have a good variety of food on-hand, including everything from 45 pound pails of hard white wheat and popcorn, to canned soups and chilis. She knew I had a good variety, and said, “I’ll be fine, too, if there is an emergency. I have five pounds of roasted peanuts. I’ll just snack on those until I can get to the store.”

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Cold Frame Tips for Preppers


The first few years I grew tomatoes, the plants got big enough that the little tomatoes formed, and then the hottest days of summer hit. When it gets into the 90’s and 100’s in Utah, tomatoes stop growing. They don’t start growing again until the weather drops to the 80’s in the late summer and early fall. As a result, tomatoes don’t ripen until just about the first tomato-killing frost.

Having no tomatoes until just before the frost doesn’t put food on the table for an entire summer. I might as when just use freeze dried tomatoes if I can’t get a longer harvest season.

I thought about jumpstarting my tomatoes by sprouting them inside under grow lights in late winter or early spring. However, growing plants under electric lights seems to be against all my prepping instincts. Grow lights don’t work when there is no power.

My second option was buying or building a small greenhouse. We have strong winds in Woods Cross, so I’d need to spend some money to have a greenhouse that wouldn’t collapse or blow away. The price was just too much for me.

Finally, I learned about cold frames. Cold frames are mini knee-high greenhouses. I realized that Cold frames were the tomato seedling growing tool I needed.

Start your growing season a month early by using coldframes.

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Growing Potatoes in Buckets


Potatoes require less water than most plants in a typical garden. You really need to make sure that you don’t rot the potatoes or cause fungus on the plants. I like keeping the watering down to about once per week. However, doing so when planted with water hungry plants  is nearly impossible.

My solution is growing potatoes in tall sturdy buckets. Potato buckets allow complete control over water, sun and weather. And, repurposing buckets as potato buckets is a great use for old pales left over from grinding wheat into flour.

Sprouting Potato
Place the sprouting potato in the prepared bucket.

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