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Gardening - Growing Your Own Food

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Like being financially prepared, preparing for a 'survival' garden also requires planning. The amount of land you have will help determine the type of garden you have. If you have acreage, you can have a larger garden with a larger variety of vegetables. If you live in the city, then you may want to consider container gardening or building a small greenhouse, assuming your neighborhood deed restrictions do not prohibit such a structure.

Once you have decided on the garden size, you will want to consider what type of plants you want. In addition to tomatoes and other common vegetables, you should think about planting vegetables that you can either safely can or freeze to eat later, i.e., pea varieties, bean varieties, corn, etc.

If you have enough room, you may want to have different types of berries or fruit that you can use for preserves or canning. Unlike vegetables that offer seasonal production, fruit trees take some time to become established. So if you are planning on having fruit available, those trees and bushes should be planted either before any thought has been given to survival or with the understanding that they will not be producing for a couple of years at least.

Caring for an open garden need not be a drudge. There are ways using mulch or weed barrier that can keep weeding to a minimum. Hydroponic and container gardening make growing vegetables even easier as you are not having to deal with large open areas.

Seeds or seedlings can either be purchased or started in a 'green house' environment early and then transplanted when the weather is warm enough. Thought should be given to planting enough plants so you can harvest seeds for next year. Once the seedlings are in the ground, attention should be given to watering, fertilizing and composting to maximize growth and production.

Bugs, diseases and the like are always a problem with having a garden. There are many commercial products on the market to discourage pests, however, if you want to have an organic garden without any poisons, there are many ways to accomplish this. There are many good books for mixing up your own home remedies, fertilizers and pest controls by Jerry Baker. We've used many of his recommendations and found them to not only work very well but also the are non-toxic if you have pets.

The tools you need will depend on the size of your garden. If you have a very large space to care for you may want to have a garden tiller. Sometimes, attachments can be purchased for an edger that will convert it into a tiller. These are usually not heavy-duty, but if you have a small space, you may find that is all you need. Hand tools can be used any time, and the basic tools you should have on hand are:

  • Shovels (flat and pointed)
  • Rakes (narrow and heavy duty garden)
  • Hoe (regular and hula hoe)
  • Pitchfork (for removing debris and loosening soil)
  • Assorted hand tools (trowels, claws, pruning shears)

When working outside always work smart by wearing a hat, gloves, avoid working in the hottest times of the day and drink plenty of water.

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