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Planning a Survival Garden

We are starting to get our seed and gardening catalogs. We love pouring over them, but not just because we love to look at the lovely pictures, and envision harvesting the food and setting our table. We know there's a very real chance that the prices of food will continue to increase, and the quality will decrease.

Have YOU thought about your garden for next year? Really thought about it? If the prices of produce and staples continue to rise, do you want to offset your grocery bill by growing most of your food? Here's some questions to answer:

So it's time to start asking ourselves (and yourselves) questions:
  • How much room do you have to plant? Step outside, and look around. Potted tomatoes and peppers might do well along the driveway. That empty spot on the front "lawn" might love an apple or filbert tree. What about windowsills that get 4-8 hours of sunlight in the Summer? Or a corner of your living room where you can place a grow-light? Can you share some space in a neighbor's yard or in a community garden? Look at all of your possibilities.

  • What about for permanent plants, like berry bushes, fruit and nut trees, and asparagus or rhubarb?

  • How much time do you have? (you work full time, spouse does too, kids have lots of activities & summer camps, etc.)

  • How much energy do you have? (you're disabled or can't bend or kneel, you have an exhausting job, your kids and spouse doesn't help, you're sick, etc.)

  • Look at your last several grocery lists. What is on there that you can grow?

  • Do you want to grow a little of everything you eat, or lots of one or two things?

  • Can you look at the PLETHORA of seeds available and limit your purchases to one or two of each vegetable?

  • Is it worth it? Factor in containers, potting soil, tools like garden spade, seeds, dehydrator, water, etc.

  • Are you willing to learn - not just about what to plant, but how to increase a harvest, keep out pests, prevent diseases, PLUS preserving your harvest by canning, dehydating, freezing, and so forth.

  • Do you have the money? Sure, you MIGHT be able to do a bare-bones garden for almost no money, but can you feed your family on possibilities? Then you need to preserve the produce, by canning, dehydrating, freezing, etc.

  • Think about the food groups: starch/grain, vegetables, fruits, calcium, proteins, and fats. Can you provide a good variety in each? Make a list. Figure out how many different plants you can grow to provide enough healthy variety to your diet so you don't get bored with just what you've grown/produced.

  • What you can't grow, can you provide in bulk? (Wheat, Rice, Salt, Olive Oil, etc)

  • What about non-edibles, like cotton, bayberry bushes for candle wax, etc.... have you considered them?

Get the family together and talk about this. No, it's not too early to start planning, and it's not too late. No matter where in the world you live, you can start a garden now or soon.

Note: we live in the Northern Hemisphere, in Colorado in the United States, so most of our information will be geared to Summer (June, July, August). Refigure it for your location, if necessary.

As to our personal lives.... we don't know where we'll be this coming Spring. If we haven't sold our house yet, we'll still be here, unable to plant because, really, who will buy a house with a small yard that has a cornfield covering the backyard? However, we hope to sell the house and move to a farm by April. So, we're planning our seed and tree and bush purchases on that assumption.

What about you? Be sure to request your catalogs right away to start your own planning.

This blog will discuss the different kinds of fruits and vegetables, composting, companion planting, indoor, outdoor, composting, and more. In addition, we'll talk about canning, dehydrating, recipes, camp-cooking, and basic survival info. We hope that we can help you make your decisions and guide you through this exciting period. Feel free to ask questions!


Anonymous said...

I come at gardening from a survival and homesteader perspective. I used to own an organic CSA farm. When I posted my seed orders on my blog, I got several people thinking I was an idiot for buying so many seeds or wanting a good sized garden. I forget not everybody thinks like us! Seeds are a very cheap insurance policy.

Here are my lists...

NVG-WmsFam said...

I agree about the "cheap insurance policy". But last year I went so far overboard that we had about 13 varieties out of the 23 tomato plants growing - and unfortunately our labels faded in the first week, so we were clueless most of the time about what we were growing. I'd rather have too many seeds than not enough. Thanks, Wendy. Vikki/Doug