Growing Hedge Rows for Privacy and Security

We’ve all heard that particular proverb. Good fences make good neighbors. For those of us reading this venue, we all have a specific mindset that probably keeps that at the forefront of our minds. We have our space. We have our preps. We have spent time and effort placing a lot of emphasis on keeping ourselves one step ahead. So how do we keep out everyone else?. Better yet… how do we keep prying eyes out? Still best, how do we create our sanctuary without drawing any attention to ourselves whatsoever?

We can build a fence, but a fence can be cut. Fences cost money. …Money that perhaps we would like to spend on other things. We could conceivably dig a moat, but if our land isn’t flat (let’s face it, it’s probably not). A moat also isn’t much of a deterrent unless it’s filled with something particularly unsavory, like crocodiles or piranhas. Furthermore, a moat is going to take a lot of effort, probably employing heavy equipment, and again, costing a great deal of money.

What we really need is something that serves as a hardy physical and psychological barrier, screens what is behind it, costs very little, and mostly takes care of itself. Maybe it could even get more robust as time goes on… Impossible, you say? Perhaps not.

In Europe, one long standing tradition of creating a fence against neighboring property is to plant a hedge. Now before you scoff, push out of your mind the juniper bushes freshly trimmed at waist height. What you want is something a bit more robust. Something wooly and wild and impenetrable…

A customary European hedge is initially a row of one particular type of woody shrub or tree planted about 1-2 feet apart. Once the tree reaches approximately 10 feet in height, an axe or hatchet is used to notch the tree at the base so that it can be bent over, and it is laid over at about a 35 degree angle from horizontal. When the entire row is done this way, the branches are woven and tangled together to form a rough and difficult to penetrate screen. As time passes, new vegetation grows up through the toppled trees and adds height to the hedge, further screening from the neighbors. This was primarily designed to contain livestock.

What we need is a system to keep out a much more ingenious invader than neighboring livestock. We want something that will stop anything short of a bulldozer or perhaps a tank. And best of all, if it’s all the same, we want something that looks nondescript and uninteresting to the passerby. If the hungry refugee has nothing to stop and look at, he likely will keep on going. The roving gang isn’t even going to slow down if they see nothing of interest. So what we need is something much more robust than the European hedge.

European hedges are often grown from the local native shrubs and trees. Locally, here in the midwest US we have several tree species that would work especially well for this type of application. Your local flora may differ a great deal where you are. My particular favorites for my location are the honey-locust, Osage orange (notably named the “hedge tree”, locally), and western red cedar. All three of these are known throughout the region as a pest. They are all fairly prolific and fast growing. The best bet is to look around and see what grows where you don’t want it to. Those will grow into the most robust living fence you can imagine.

I have not made these three tree choices lightly. These trees are chosen because of their quick growth ability, resistance to insects and blights, and ability to interplant very closely with other trees. Hardwoods such as Oak, hickory, and especially walnut, tend to crowd out other trees with chemicals secreted by their roots. However, you can interplant fruits such as mulberry, apples and pears among the locusts, Osage, and cedars.

Now, plant your trees spacing them out in a row approximately 12 to 18 inches apart. Water them. Fertilize them if necessary. Let them grow to about 5 feet in height (tree tubes may help them achieve this height but are by no means necessary). Make sure that all trees are trimmed of most side branches and splits split trunks are pruned to one side or another. This makes the final arrangement easier.

Once the trees have reached the appropriate height ( I said 5 feet, but this is not necessarily the case) you will need to notch the trunks approximately 3 inches above ground level. To notch the trunk, you should take a sturdy knife and carve approximately 2/3 of the trunk out. Alternate which side of the tree you notch, as you will be weaving the trunks together.

Once you have notched your trees, beginning with one pair, lay your trees over to about 30-to-45 degrees crossing in the middle. Go to the next set, doing the same, making sure that you achieve a true weave (in front of one, behind the next, etc). Once done, make sure that where the trees cross the second row is done in the same manner. What you end up with should look a little something like a chain link fence.

Next you need to wait for the tree to grow some more, and repeat the process as it gets taller. Since trees don’t grow at angles, it’s likely that either your initial stem will grow straight up, or perhaps a side branch will take the initiative to take off. But either way, you will be trimming from a ladder and weaving in the same way.

Obviously, one should grow other things outside the wall. Poison ivy, stinging nettles, thick brambles and rose bushes all serve as a primary deterrent long before anyone actually comes to the hedge. Making it look natural helps all that much better. Eventually your hedge will bush out and look less like a giant lattice and more like an impenetrable wall of vegetation.

Like anything, this process can be as big or as small as you want it to be, and it’s all about how much you put into it. I envision two hedges side by side about ten feet tall. The inner hedge mostly fruit trees and honey locust, while the outer hedge is made up primarily of cedar and Osage orange. Between the two is a wall made up of old tires with one sidewall cut out, filled with sand. The tire wall is about 5 feet tall and serves as a bullet stop for stray small arms fire. Above the tire wall the two hedges have been intertwined to hold it all together. The occasional observation post (OP) has been fashioned into the design and only accessible from the private side (inside) of the wall.

With a setup like this and an alleyway to a locked gate, access could be controlled in such a way that the vagrant who wandered in would automatically be covered and unable to escape. In the same respect, anyone who attempted to raid a place reinforced in such a way, would encounter a lot more resistance than they would want to, if in fact they even knew it existed.

Obviously this process takes time. Lots of time. And that is its primary downfall. Time may be something we all lack in these uncertain and trying times. It also takes a lot of work. Hard work. Expect to have scars. Consider that as better than the alternative.

For those of us who may have that place in the woods, and are just biding our time, this might be a thing worth doing, even if just for facing a public road. If one life is saved because of this information, then it has all been worth it. Good luck and God bless to all of you.

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Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 1:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Growing Food in Times of Scarcity

Today I got a call from a very good friend and one that has contact with some pretty prominent people. He was so sad, scared and worried, didn’t want to pass on bad news but felt he should let me know. One of his close friends has a good source of information plus a high security clearance informed him that over the summer you would see more and more deployment by the military, come the end of summer into the early fall there “WILL” be martial law. The food source is being dried up gradually. Food will become so scarce and expensive families will be going hungry. This will be the start of a civil uprising and the military will be called into service to quell the looting, stealing, killing and destruction of property. This is all planned. Believe it or not but at least take the time to prepare for it just in case.

I am not telling you this is the gospel but I know where the information came from and it is certainly a credible source.

People, it more than likely cannot be stopped.. WAKE UP…You can still protect your family from most of the hard times with some planning. Do you want to see your children’s eyes with hunger in them? Do you want to be on your knees begging for food ? I don’t and I won’t.

It is the beginning of spring now. Plant every square inch of land you can find, buy pots, buy dirt, buy food and put it away now while it is still here.

Those of you that say you don’t have room… MAKE ROOM.. there are so many ways to increase space for your gardens, use your imagination.

How about a wall of food? simple, use PVC pipe, hook it to a rack or your fence or your patio supports. I have done this before just to see if it worked and to dress up a area of our patio that was not that attractive. I used 6″ PVC pipes 10 feet long. just packed with good dirt and wired screen over the ends to allow drainage. Drilled holes in the pipe and planted. I grew flowers but vegetables can be grown just as easily. Just think.. put the smaller plants on the top tier, larger ones below. The only drawback is watering which with smaller containers you have to do regularly or you could just install a drip system?

gardening

gardening

How about planting your potatoes, asparagus and peanuts in bags? Easy to do and so much more prolific in production. Find some of the Tyvec we used for banners and signs during the campaign, cut into 4′ lengths, stitch up two sides making a sack, poke holes for drainage in the bottom and add dirt. Plant all those potato eyes in the bags, add more compost or good dirt. As the plant grows add more dirt and when they are ready to harvest just dump out the bags, there are your future dinners. One bag can produce up to 30 pounds of potatoes. Do the same for Peanuts. The bags can be lined up alongside your garage, house, any out of the way place. ( Don’t try using paper bags they will of course fall apart when wet)

How about all of those hanging baskets you saved from last years flowers? Cut holes in the bottoms and use coffee filters to keep in the dirt. Plant your cukes, squash, any vining plant in these and watch them grow. Easy to harvest and prolific producers as long as you keep them moist and fertilized. Ever heard of the upside down planters? Make your own.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday starting some seeds for the garden. Easy and relaxing work. I splurged and bought some new 6 pack containers which comes with a bottom tray and a top clear plastic dome cover to protect the seedlings from being washed away by heavy rain, cold, etc.

I like to use a sterile medium, Peat Moss and Perlite, it is free of diseases and bugs and insures a good start to your little plants. Use one part Perlite with 20 parts peat and you will have a perfect medium for starting anything.

starting seeds

starting seeds

Get your hands dirty and fill your little pots with the mix, leave about a half inch on the top of each section. Put in your seeds ( usually 2 seeds per container) add more soil to cover the seeds and press it down to insure good contact with the medium… Make sure you wet your peat mixture down before filling the containers. Peat is hard to wet totally and takes some mixing by hand to insure it is wet all the way through.

Then just cover and wait for nature to take its course:

starting seeds

starting seeds

Tim brought in a truck load of ruined hay to mulch our garden with and will get that on the garden tomorrow. Then the real work begins.. planting peas, beans, okra, peppers, eggplants and all the greens I love so much.. collards, kale, mustard and broccoli. These will do well even with some cold nights left to go.

Please people stock up your pantry, have enough food for your family for at least 6 months. A year would be better but I know how much it costs. Don’t listen to the experts, buy what you normally eat no need to stock up on items that are recommended but you rarely eat. Make sure you have enough salt, sugar, oil, coffee, tea, chocolate and spices of all kinds. These will be the things people forget to store up on and will become good items to barter. Flour is already becoming scarce in our area, corn meal the same, Meat will become so expensive it will be out of reach for most of us but by buying now and canning it ( freezing is ok but if your power is cut off your meat will spoil so I just can it all) I must have 10 cases of hamburger canned, beef stew, Chicken “N” dumplings, Pork Chops, vegetable soups and spaghetti sauce all ready to go. Just open the jar and heat and eat. So much better than the store brands and you know exactly what is in them. Roasts can be canned also very easily. If you don’t have a pressure canner yet get one by hook or crook. It will be a Godsend if things go sour and I think they will shortly.

Think about building a dehydrator, easy to build, I used one of those closet bags for hanging suits etc and replaced the plastic with screen wire. Added shelves and I can hang it outside in the fresh air with all the vegetables on it to air dry. The Indians did it hundreds of years ago and it is still a good idea. Dried food lasts a long time, can be stored easily and is ready to just add water and heat and eat.

Everyone is busy buying all the expensive water purifiers.. why? Build one.. easy.. look at how a alcohol still is built, make a small one. You will be making distilled water in no time. I made one out of a old pressure cooker just take off the jiggler and attach a metal or glass tube ( The first one I made used Aquarium tubing )to run to your water bottle. fill the cooker, turn it on and just watch the water start coming out of the spout. All the impurities will remain in the cooker and only pure steam will be put out to condense back into water. Add a pinch of salt to make it have some taste and you are in business.

When you go to the flea markets, yard sales etc make sure to snap up any and all canning jars and lids, you will need to can your produce for the next winters use.

Please take heed and start today. There is no time to lose and if you wait you may be one of the ones that are just begging for help from our wonderful Government which means you have to obey. You have to comply, you have to agree to be what ever they want you to be or you could just be left to starve !

DO NOT make your plans known to your neighbors unless they are also doing the same thing. When the SHTF there will be so many people on the streets looking for food for their families you will be a target. Just remember even a honest hardworking Christian will turn to anything to feed his children. He will steal, lie, even kill to keep his children from starving. Wouldn’t you?

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Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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