Sunday, April 04, 2010

Prepare: Gardens and Reality

This weekend, I spent more time on my garden. It's nice to grow flowers, but I like to grow things I can eat.

I put in strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, and peppers. Some of my seeds that went straight into the ground did not come up, so I transplanted pots grown in the house. I put in four more types of herbs in containers on the patio.

Other seed plants are coming up nicely; spinich, cucumbers and green beans. The ground will have to be tilled soon for the corn and I built three more raised beds.

The grapes took two hours per plant not including soaking and ground preparation. It's the way that it is when you are setting up new "mini arbors" each year.

I am just getting started. I have to track down some new dwarf fruit trees because my normal supplier is out. I was able to snag another mini orange tree though and I am darn glad to have it.

I am no Old MacDonald, but I have been growing food in my yard for over fifteen years. It took a few years, research and lots of trial and error to get it right. And I am still learning.

Let's take a look at the convential prepper now.

He may have his can of non-hybrid seeds from Waltons as recommended online, along with his copy of Bartholomew's "Square Foot Gardening". Figures he's set now and once the SHTF, "The Ladies" will put in a garden (when they are not making him home made bread and beef stew) and oila! A well producing garden full of all the food he will need to get through lean times.

What a moron.

Is the ground ready? Has the soil been amended? Or is he going to drop those seeds in the ground and expect 100% success? Has he grown anything else besides a fat gut watching "Red Dawn" for the fiftieth time? Will he eat what he grows? Will the seeds work in his zone? Or will they wilt in the sun or drown from overwatering?

Forget the seeds. If someone has never grown anything, then seeds will only be a waste of time. Build one raised bed, buy some tomato and pepper plants and keep them alive for a summer. Then try seeds and trays next year.

What about books? "Square Foot Gardening" is swell, but also look for something else written locally. Years ago, my mom gave me some of her gardening books. One featured a guy getting his SPRING garden ready wearing a Carhardt coat, knee high rubber boots and a sweater. Down here we garden in the spring in shorts and a t-shirt. The book was fine if you lived in upper state New York and were putting in some rhubarb, but was virtually worthless where I live.

Here's the deal with gardening. It's fun, rewarding and there is nothing more secure than picking a dozen tomatoes from your garden and eating them fresh for dinner. But it's also work and frustrating. There is more failure than success. And if your kids are counting on that food, you had better get it right the first time.

Forget that can of "miracle seeds" and "square foot shortcuts". Start now, learn, research and work at it. One day in the garden is not enough.

Practice now.

Good luck,

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