The Survival Gardener By Dee B.
You can stock years’ worth of food, but eventually you’ll need a renewable source.
The obvious solution is a garden. But while gardening isn’t the proverbial rocket
science, failure could be just as fatal as falling out of the sky. How can you
ensure that your garden – and you – will survive?
Location, Location. Find out your first and last frost dates if you’re in an area
where that’s a factor. In the south, what dates will summer temperatures or
conditions such as drought make growing certain crops difficult or impossible?
Check your soil. Is it compacted and difficult to work or full of rocks? Does it
hold water like a sponge or will rain run off before your garden can take a drink?
Have a soil test done to determine if any amending needs to be done. The
availability of water throughout the growing season, hours of full sun on your plot,
days in the growing season all contribute to your garden’s success or failure and
will vary depending on where you are.
Go Natural. Purchased fertilizers and soil additives can boost your garden’s yield,
but what will happen when you can no longer buy them? Start now by building healthy
soil. Avoid man-made fertilizers. Make a compost pile for yard waste and kitchen
scraps. Compost both feeds your garden and improves your soil. Use mulch such as
wood chips or hay to cover bare ground to retain top soil, keep in vital moisture
and suppress weeds.
Make More Plants. Grown your own from seed saved from heirloom varieties. Learn to
propagate new plants from those existing in your garden by taking cuttings.
Keep Your Options Open. Traditional in ground gardening isn’t your only option.
Try raised beds in an area where the soil is poor or difficult to work. Containers
allow you to move individual plants out of adverse conditions, whether it’s an early
frost or a torrential downpour or the intense heat of summer. Hanging planters keep
crops off the ground and away from damage there. Other options include hay bale
gardening or recycling old rain gutters into vertical gardens.
Do it Now. Garden for fun or for the food it puts on your table. More importantly,
garden this year for the invaluable experience you’ll have should the time come when
you need to grow your own food to survive. Discover what works and what doesn’t.
If this season’s tomatoes are lost, you’ll have learned from the process of growing
and losing that crop. If you wait until you’re relying on your garden to feed your
family, there might not be a next season to try again.
Enjoy the experience. Not only will you be better prepared to garden successfully
when you need it, but you’ll be taking part in a process that will feed your body
and your soul.