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About This Site

TheSurvivalGardener.com is the official gardening blog of author David The Good. It’s all about growing the most food for the least amount of work. If you want to know how to garden and feed your family no matter what happens, this site is for you.

I highly recommend you sign up for my newsletter HERE – there I cover in-depth stuff I may not post here on the blog, plus you’ll see when I put out a new book and all that cool stuff.

Back in August 2012 this site started as FloridaSurvivalGardening.com and rapidly grew in readership until it was obvious that just covering Florida wasn’t enough – it was time to go international. In August 2015 we migrated to TheSurvivalGardener.com to welcome in serious gardeners worldwide.

Who Is David The Good?

david the goodDavid is the author of four books, a radio producer, painter, garden writer, musician, naturalist, teacher, and mad scientist with almost 30 years of gardening experience. Some of those things he’s even good at.

David is also a scary extremist Christian who attends the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

He also has an AWESOME YouTube channel:

Confession: David is not a complete organic purist, though he refrains from pesticide use (with the exception of Amdro for fire ants) and truly hates RoundUp. Almost all of what he grows is fed with compost and natural fertilizers such as manure, fish emulsion and bone meal – yet he’s been known to get frustrated with slow fruit trees and throw on some 10-10-10 now and again.

In May of 2016 David The Good moved from Florida to the equatorial tropics to experiment with a new range of crops and gardening methods.

Primarily, David The Good’s gardening is based on old-fashioned farming mixed with permaculture and lots of experimentation. He loves strange and exotic perennial crops, reads voraciously, uses lots of Latin and spend lots of time wandering through the wilderness looking for interesting plants and animals he can document and share with you.

Providing healthy food for his wife and children is a major focus of David’s gardening efforts… and if you follow along, you’ll learn to feed yourself as well.

To get started, check out the survival plant profiles for super-easy crops, plus subscribe to my YouTube channel to see a wide range of helpful videos (and some completely bizarre and non-helpful ones).

This site is supported by the sale of books and some advertising. If you click through and buy anything off the Amazon or eBay links, David makes a few cents. (Thank you for that!)

You can also e-mail David your questions and he will try to respond personally or here on the blog.

Now is the time to start gardening – let’s grow tons of food together!

 

Note: 

In order for David to make huge piles of cash, he may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for the endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Florida Food Forests, Inc. (the terrifyingly evil corporation that owns this site) is also a participant in the Amazon Associates Program and the eBay affiliates program, both advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking. All that means is that if you buy something through one of his Amazon or eBay links, Davy G gets a little bit of $ and it costs you nothing extra. Please use his links so he can roll around in piles of hundred dollar bills when he’s not digging up sweet potatoes.

David-the-good-books-revised

61 comments

  • I can't access my email program on my laptop, but wanted to invite you to our Earrh Day Fest. Karen Epple, karenepple@yahoo.com
    We are looking for some great groups, like you folks,, to table at the event. No fee to participate, for non-profits, but we are asking for a small donation for vendors. We'll have a great time and share our vision for a better world. Please join us!

    We will have some help to schlep stuff, if you need it.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/611446085621976/?ref=3&ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&feed_story_type=308

  • Just found your site through your publishers blog. Bookmarked.

    I noticed you live in Florida, so I was wondering if you've heard of Green Deane over at EatTheWeeds[dot]com. I noticed a few of your blog posts where you asked people if they knew what a plant was, so that's why I thought of Green Deane and his forum where we frequently post pictures of plants we don't know.

    Regards,
    Shane

  • Hey David,
    I have been following you since I caught your video on the food summit. I really appreciate your Florida gardening knowledge since I live in Central Florida and have started collecting plants for my garden -Chaya, Perennial Tree Collard cuttings, Sunchokes… I always had an interest in the exotics so it is nice to know what grows here well and what does not.

    My boyfriend and I would like to plan a road-trip to purchase a few plant you might have and meet you if possible. We are looking to purchase Mexican sunflowers, cranberry hibiscus, Seminole pumpkin seeds, and coffee plants to name a few.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you,
    Jan Blush

    • Hi Jan – I sent you an e-mail. Thanks.

      • I Just got back to read your reply, sorry your e-mail must have gone to junk mail and I missed it. ; (

        Please resend if possible and I will check and put you on the safe list,.
        (junk e-mail dumps automatically at 30 days.)

        I really enjoyed your new book on Florida Gardening, thanks for writing it.

  • John- it seems sometimes that there are 2 kinds of pploee in the world- 1) those who decide to learn from every moment and 2) those who are compelled to always comment negatively and complain about every moment. Great job at handling the # 2 s.I appreciate your videos and? learn something every time.

  • I relate to your bio in so many ways. We, meaning my husband King Davy and I have been working towards self suffincey for over 40 years. 23 years on a 40 acre homestead in NC foothills, and 17 years here in the Dominican Republic. As you say, we have also been mostly organic. Termites and ants being our biggest problems. I have been feeding some neem leaves to the chickens in a small house that had a problem with both these pests. The problem has now been gone for a couple of years. I also mulch my gardens with neem and have had absolutely no insect problems. We use a lot of mulch and I just add the neem leaves strait from the tree. We are still working at self sufficiency, which is really the same thing as survivalist when you think about it. We raise our own meat,(sheep), poultry, (turkeys & chickens for eggs), and fish, ( mostly for fun). Permaculture is a new word for tree crops. We practice 2 and 3 story agriculture. One of the biggest challenges is growing veg in the hot summer. I have trouble growing enough leafy greens. Now we are looking to stop feeding store bought animal feed. Starting duck weed and hopefully soldier flys very soon. Projects never end even in your 70’s.

    • Hey Marilyn, that all sounds great. Those are the types of things I’ve been working toward. I’d like to know how you’ve been feeding your fish and what kind etc. I understand that pigeon pea leaves and some other are great fodder for chicken and goats and the like to help with feeding them from your garden.

  • David,

    I recently picked up your book Compost Everything, and I found it to be a great read. As such it got me thinking about a local problem we have here in Texas.

    We have a massive feral pig problem. They rip up lawns, gardens, small trees, bushes…you name it. They are practically a vegetarian Tasmanian Devil. I have on occasion busted a couple with the rifle, but that presents a problem in itself. Unless they are small they are completely unfit for eating. The larger ones are extremely nasty both in smell and behavior. I usually soak the corpse in diesel and just let it burn, as the only thing that smells worse then a live pig is a dead and rotting pig.

    So onto my question. Could you use that corpse in the same way you describe in your melon pits? Bury the pig, throw in some logs, and plant a tree over the top?

    • Absolutely. I actually know a woman who did that with a horse and planted a tree over it. Works quite well.

      Pigs really are pests.

      • I wanted to provide an update. I planted the first pig this weekend, as I got rid of a 300lb pest. I had to dig a 2′ x 6 trench about 4 feet deep just to seat the pig. I may have to find a better way to deal with the pigs as digging that trench was pretty rough going in the clay we have here.

        I tossed in some limbs from a tree clearing and also dumped in some ash from a bonfire we had on site to increase the carbon content.

        Going down to the nursery tomorrow to pick out a tree to plant over it.

      • I almost forgot. The wife thinks I have gone insane but I see compost everywhere now.

        I have been saving up meats and other “undesirable” scraps, in a separate container. Even the dogs and the cat hav been pressed into service for my mad quest for compost.

        On the weekend we dug a matrix of “post” holes about 30″ deep. The “undesirables” plus some leaves go in the hole with about 12″ of dirt over the top.

  • David, I just viewed your metal detector saga and thoroughly enjoyed it. I just know you’ll hit paydirt soon….maybe a bucketful of old coins. Good luck!

  • David – my moringa seeds planted about a month and a half ago are a foot tall now. Should I start giving fertilizer? If not what should I be doing to ensure they do well over the winter. Can’t wait to see them grow in the ground as they are doing so well in the pot. Blessings – Lori

  • David, Do you still have the water chestnuts available??? I have the perfect place for them!
    Thanks, Betsy

  • David, I enjoy your site and you tube site. They are both great and very informative. I live in Southeast Louisiana and I’m wondering if I can use hay instead of straw for mulching and compost. Straw is not easy to find here. I have heard hay is not good to use can you help clarify this for me?
    Thanks,
    Steve

  • My husband and I recently bought five acres and were looking forward to getting a garden started. We had some chicken manure mixed with leaves and wood shavings that we transported from our old house ( along with the chickens) but not enough for more than one raised bed. We were thus horrified to read your post about the dangers of bringing onto our homestead manure or compost from elsewhere. I have 30 tomato seedlings that need transplanted and without buying in compost, I have nothing except ordinary unamended bottom lands clay to plant them in! Help! What should we do in the short term?

    • I would plant them in the clay and feed them with cottonseed meal, fish emulsion, blood meal, bone meal and other goodies. Some kelp meal is also great. You really don’t need that much in the way of compost to make tomatoes happy. You can even feed them with diluted urine and get good results, as crazy as that sounds. I just visited a garden where a homeowner was diluting urine 10-1 with water… and his tomatoes were HUGE.

  • Hello David,

    I recently bought a five acre property a little over a year ago in Indian River County. Not living there yet still anchored in Miami. Working on moving the family there so that my children can grow up with a more solid grasp on life the way it was intended. Last Summer I discovered the local tree service in action and was blessed with roughly 1000yards of wood chips. So I did what any crazy man would do and began planting on a much larger scale than I ever thought possible time frame wise. Due to my limited knowledge of gardening and lack of an army of workers I feel I am coming short of the full potential of the resources that I have been given. None the less I have been growing and planting alone by hand like a mad man. I have learned a lot and have had much success with my experiments. The problem is that I am beginning to feel burnt out and so have asked for guidance regarding the issue. Reading your blog and getting a small view into your world has been insightful to say the least. Thus I have been compelled to inquire about a fresh point of view from someone other than myself. Knowing no one in my world that understands fully what I am attempting to accomplish I beseech your guidance. Sorry for the drama been isolated on the farm for a week by myself planting and I get a little caught up some times. To date I have planted around 100 fruit trees some from seed, cuttings, and grafts, about 30 bananas in 12 varieties, and various other plants and edible perennials in various food forest type environments. Mostly the things I plant can survive if I’m not there to tend to them for a month or so. As per the information on your web site I understand you are undergoing a transition right now but any thoughts or input on the matter would be much appreciated.

    Thank You for your time

  • steffunny della

    hay david!

    where yat? a former louisianian now living in LA (lower alabama) and interested in possibly visiting your nursery.

    thanx!

    steffunny d

  • George Wolcott

    Dave;
    I am interested in cultivating a 5′ strip around my pool cage. I would like the plants to provide privacy as well as food, any suggestions?. I live in Sarasota, Fl.
    Thank you

  • i read with great interest your comments regarding straw bales and the hidden dangers thereof; i have several very old bales of *rice straw* from the fields north of Sacramento, where an enormous amount of rice is grown. obvious question is whether said rice straw would be safe, being an aquatic plant, it shouldn’t require the same suppressor contaminants used on straw…your thoughts?

  • Hey – I found you on the net while searching info on growing sugar cane. I bookmarked you and have been back several times since. I just ready your book, “Totally Crazy East Florida Gardening” good read! I live in Dunnellon and bought a 2 acre homestead property. I didn’t start with tree, I started with critters. I got pigs and chickens in the area I plan to put my garden next year. This year I settled for a smaller plot and brought in 2 trailers of horse manure from a friend up the street. In your book twice you say not to use horse manure but never say why. I did look up your blogs on manure though but is there something specific about horse manure? I didn’t grow weeds… plants are doing well except eggplant getting eaten by bugs and ALL my corn was eaten by worms.. I WANT PLANTS!! Where can I find you? No info on your site about contacting you.

    • Glad you found me. I have no problem with horse manure provided it’s A: well-buried so the millions of weed seeds don’t come up and B: you know the horses never grazed on ground that was sprayed with Grazon herbicide or another persistent poison… and they never ate any hay from any farmer that did. That’s almost impossible to find now. Horse manure is Russian roulette at this point. You can contact me at: david @th es urvival gardene r.co m (take out the spaces).

  • Hi David, I don’t know of a way to contact you will questions so, I am sending this email/comment.
    I live in Norther Virginia zone 6/7. I have been proceeding nicely with numerous failures in the garden and have discovered lots of things not to do. I have a mostly shaded back yard and would like to plant something under the shade of my mature maple tree. I there any food crop you can recommend? I am new to the gardening and don’t know if I can plant anything in the shade of a tree and expect it to grow. Thank you. I love all the things you do and can’t wait for more.

    • David The Good

      I’ll throw up your question in tomorrow’s post and see if anyone has some good suggestions. Thanks for stopping by.

  • My Lake Worth, FL home has room for a garden and I’m looking for seed sources for rainy season bearing plants. I’ve been successful with Asian Long Beans, Chinese Eggplants, and Everglades Tomatoes. Now I’d like to find seeds for Seminole Pumpkin and an heirloom variety of maize. I want to investigate the two Native American techniques of the milpas plant grouping and terra preta soil. Any suggestions, thoughts, advice, or comments are welcome. Thanks in advance.

    • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange are two of my favorite seed sources. They carry what you’re looking for. As for biochar and soil, look up skillcult.com.

  • Hello David,

    Just stumbled across your YouTube channel when I was searching for growing peaches from seeds. You have a fantastic site!.
    I have some lime/peach/nectarine seeds. Can I still plant them now? And maybe move them into my winter garden when it gets cold? I live in Central Europe so its going to be winter by end of October.

    Thanks for your advice.

    • Hi, glad you found me. Definitely plant the limes right away. And don’t let them freeze. As for the peaches and the nectarines, you could plant them directly in pots now and just leave them out in your garden to be stratified by the cold.

  • Hello David, We just found your website and it is very good.

    Anyway, we have a suburban homestead in Houston. We grow more than we can eat. However, my dear wife Tingting wants to grow lots of tropical fruits, lychee, guava, mango, avocado, sapote’s etc, etc. So we just bought 2.5 acres near Naples FL. It is upland and quite sandy so we know we have a lot of prep to do.

    Anyway, just wondering if you will be homesteading or have a nursery that far south, or will continue your website.

    Ted

    • Thank you, Ted. Naples is a great place to grow. I will continue my website. However, I sold my nursery and now live outside of the United States. Check out ECHO in Ft. Myers as soon as you get a chance.

  • Hey David,
    Just found your site (through your video on the impromptu visit to the mnfr’r of C-Head Composting toilets). Subscribed and I look forward to the education (and entertainment!) you provide.
    I just read your reply to Ted Bensen’s comment (above), and it jumped out at me that you no longer live in the U.S.of A. I just started getting familiar with your site, so forgive me if you have already documented the move. I am considering the whole ex-pat thing, so naturally, I am so very curious… WHERE did you move to?

    Thanks in advance for your reply!

    • Glad you found me and welcome!

      We aren’t sharing our exact location; however, we’re in Central America.

      • … David, it’s not polite to keep secrets… now tell us where this Eden is! Just kidding – a quick observation would be that you do not have to fear of local militia so you are in a safe country with English speaking people, with lots of land probably a fraction of the cost of USA, you never look like you are sweating bullets though like in FL and the area looks like it has hills and character… So, GOOD for you! How is the water?
        clean, available? Amenities? Running water, modern bathrooms, toilet paper? Have any animals? Goats? How are the cigars? How is the economy?
        Cost of living? Witness protection? (just kidding)… My point – How is the new land – without telling us the location, do a video about what its like picking up and moving to a far away land to pursue your garden dreams. And how you chose to leave and get where you are.

  • david, would you or anyone that you know, might know where i can obtain, some chaya seeds or stems to plant in a nursing home, which i’m making them a butterfly garden? thankyou kindly joel, cheerios mate

    • Hi Joel,

      Try looking up local permaculture and gardening groups. If you can find plant geeks, they’ll have some. The Mosswood Farm Store in Micanopy likely carries chaya as well.

  • David,

    I have read your material and much of the other available comments/research on composting. I have also reviewed your recent warning on the source of straw.
    Can hay be used instead – for compost if a pile temperature of 120f will it kill off the grass seeds – for bale gardens what can be done ?
    The field from which the hay is taken has not been chemical treated for at least 10 years and only strip grazed for 30 years.

    Edward

    • Hay or straw can be used safely if you KNOW that land has never been sprayed. I would compost the hay. The straw bale gardens, unless you know your source perfectly, are too risky in my opinion. However, I would consider deep mulching with hay and throwing a top layer of leaves over them to suppress germination if I wanted to go that way. Good luck and thank you for stopping by.

  • Hi David. Found your ‘7 rainwater system mistakes’ video, and would like to use it in my RWH course as a bit of a quiz or review section. I like it since you’re not too serious and you get the points across.

    My course is with Gaia College in British Columbia, and is accredited as an ARCSA (American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association) Accredited Professional Workshop equivalent. It is also offered jointly by Royal Roads University in BC and by Seneca College in Ontario, for credit in their CE programs. Can we collaborate on it?

  • David:
    can you explain how you built a compost for worms out of an old dishwasher and what size holes did you drill init.

    thank you

  • Jefferson Saunders

    Greetings David. I moved from the Pacific Northwest in the USA to a 7600 sq ft walled compound in SaiGon Vietnam. The place is all layers of clay, peoples trash, litter, brick, tiles and construction rubble. And we flood a bit in the rainy season. But that doesn’t stop me. Your materials and video are great and encourage me to stay with the project. The people here say I can not grow this or that …. As I slowly clear and rebuild the ground I also plant such items, “that will not grow here”. So far I have proved them wrong. They think I am crazy for saving seeds from a dinner meal, grafting, green stick, salvage, cloning and rooting anything edible or flowers. Other than pigs and chicken which my dog would tease or eat. Now I will work on growing grapes thanks to your ideas. I did loose a few fruit trees from this years extremely high ground water. But like you, the branches are very useful. Thanks for sharing and I will continue to grow what can not be grown.

  • Jefferson Saunders

    Greetings David. I moved from the Pacific Northwest in the USA to a 7600 sq ft walled compound in SaiGon Vietnam. The place is all layers of clay, peoples trash, litter, brick, tiles and construction rubble. And we flood a bit in the rainy season. But that doesn’t stop me. Your materials and video are great and encourage me to stay with the project. The people here say I can not grow this or that …. As I slowly clear and rebuild the ground I also plant such items, “that will not grow here”. So far I have proved them wrong. They think I am crazy for saving seeds from a dinner meal, grafting, green stick, salvage, cloning and rooting anything edible or flowers. Other than pigs and chicken which my dog would tease or eat. Now I will work on growing grapes thanks to your ideas. I did loose a few fruit trees from this years extremely high ground water. But like you, the branches are very useful. Thanks for sharing and I will continue to grow what can not be grown. Open to visitors.

    • From the Pacific Northwest to Vietnam – you sound like me!

      I would love to see photos if you get a chance to share them. Sounds like great work. One day I would love to visit.

  • Yo homie, the url on your /about/ page is misspelled.

  • Just saw your video on Prepper World Summit 4. Loved it. Really love your alternative use for the broad fork. Maybe if you have time you can make a YouTube video on how to attach it to the car bumper. I’ll bet people move out of my way on the freeway!
    Enjoy seeing you and Rachel together, you two make a good team. Looks like you are having fun.

  • I found your site after purchasing your book “Create Your Own Florida Food Forest”. I’m not in Florida, but thought your book would be helpful for my climate. It has been and has given me many ideas to adapt to my garden. I’m in the wet tropics of northern Australia.

    One line in your book really resounded with me, it was where you referred to “slithering death monsters”. I love that line, and I take it to heart. My garden is full of ‘slithering death monsters’. Some of the most venomous snakes known to humanity, live in my area and regularly visit my garden. Coastal Taipan, Eastern Brown Snake, King Brown Snake, Red-bellied Black Snake, to name a few.

    As you can imagine safely establishing a food forest under these circumstances can be challenging. Piled up branches or prunings could conceal slithering death monsters at my toes. So positioning such mulch must be carefully thought through. Being older I can no longer get to my feet quickly, so no kneeling, all gardening must be done from a standing position for a quick get away when needed (and there have been a few). Harvesting amid lush leafy growth requires its own strategies. I was once chased from a garden bed by a snake that did not appreciate my seed harvesting activities. I also do not recommend setting foot outside after sunset.

    Oh yes, “slithering death monsters” resonates within my being.

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