Have you ever thought about how you can garden but are looking for a simpler way of keeping vegetables without canning, freezing or dehydrating? Check out Cygnet Brown’s new book: The Survival Garden Plant a Garden for food to last all winter that you won’t need to can, freeze or dehydrate.
I think that I would grow vegetables even if there weren’t good reasons for growing them. I love gardening.
The only thing that I like better than writing about vegetable gardening is the act of gardening itself. I absolutely love gardening! I love the faith that I have that when I put the seeds in the ground. I love the excitement of seeing those green first leaves as they push through the soil. I love watching that first flush of growth as the little plants sprint to see which one will grow the fastest. I love watching blossoms appear and am even more excited when the first fruits start to form. Those first fruits seem to take the longest to ripen, but then every ounce of energy goes into the fruits and what seemed to take weeks for the first fruit takes a matter of hours for fruit that comes on later. Finally the day comes when I can pick what’s ripened. I love it when I can use what I pick for that evening’s meal, or I can put it up in freezer or with the canner.
However, not only do I love the process of gardening, but I love the fact that there are some very practical reasons for growing a garden. Here’s a few reasons you might consider.
By learning to do food gardening, you become less dependent on the grocery store. The next economic downturn could mean a loss of your job. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your food system is more secure because you have a garden that you can fresh vegetables? A long-term crisis could take 10 years or more to recover. You need to eat during this time. When you grow your own food with your health in mind, use water catchment, recycle home and yard wastes by composting, and save your own seed, you develop a sustainable food source that can get you through that rough patch.
Aquaponics systems are interesting, but not always practical and can be quite expensive and require special skills to set up. Starting a traditional vegetable garden just requires a few hand tools. A shovel, a rake, a hoe, a watering can and a place to start a compost pile is all you need to convert a small spot in your yard into food production.
In addition, aquaponics systems need electricity in order to function. In case of an EMP or even a short-term blackout caused from grid overload or ice damage to the electrical system, all your plants and fish will die. Unless you have a home electrical plant such as solar or a gas generator, this system is not sustainable.
A food stockpile can be expensive and hard to rotate and maintain as it grows. It isn’t a bad idea to have some food storage stockpiled, but space is limited and once it is gone, it’s gone. You never store as much as you think you have. What seems like a lot of food during times of plenty ends up being far less when you need to use it.
By raising your own garden, you know more about where your food came from and how it was handled. There have been numerous recalls on fruits, vegetables, meats, and processed foods where salmonella and e-coli have been blamed for illnesses and deaths from consuming those foods. Most of the time, these illnesses are caused either by animal waste from CAFOs (a potential subject for another future article) or from workers who didn’t properly keep their hands washed. When you raise your own garden, you have control over the sanitary conditions upon which they are raised.
In addition, many crops are grown using GMOs in which the primary reason for creating the GMO is for allowing the use of the herbicide glyphosate (brand name-Roundup) in the fields where the crops are grown. Recently 2 billion dollars has been set aside for individuals who have contracted Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma because there is a strong probability that glyphosate causes this type of cancer. In addition, this chemical kills earthworms, and other healthful flora and fauna in fields. These organisms help create the symbiosis required for the plants to absorb the nutrients into the plants that we eat.
The nutrient density of food has decreased anywhere from 15 to 65 percent in the past 65 years. The reasons for this have a lot to do with the way that our food is grown. In many cases the same crop has been grown on the same land for years. The farmers add nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to the soil and the plants will grow and produce a crop, but since the farmers are not adding micronutrients, the plants lack the nutritional value. When you grow your own food using homemade compost created from household and yard wastes and adding other organic amendments, you’re not just feeding the plants, but you’re feeding the soil as well.
Even plowing itself has been linked to the decrease in food quality. When a field is plowed and it rains, nutrients are washed downstream. Exposed soil is also subject to other aspects of weather. Exposed soil is subject to rapid change in the weather. Plants planted in exposed soil are more likely to succumb to frost and heat alike. When growing your own garden, you can avoid these pitfalls when you mulch your garden or even use gardening methods like the Ruth Stout method, Lasagna Gardening, and Back to Eden Gardening to name a few of the most common.
Food for Thought
When you grow your own food organically, you can become part of the ecosystem rather than an enemy of it. You start recycling yard wastes and household food wastes back into your garden through composting. You learn that it’s not about feeding plants, but about feeding the soil.
The more you learn about growing your own food in a responsible way, the more you’ll learn about how what you do affects the world around you. You’ll lower your carbon footprint because tankers and trucks won’t need to haul food from where it’s grown to where you live. You’ll feel a connection to nature. You’ll see yourself as doing something positive for the environment.
You’ll learn that home grown food really does taste better. When was the last time you ate a fresh ripe tomato right off the vine or sweet corn picked at the peak of sweetness and cooked within minutes of picking? It is an experience no human being should miss.
Where Do You Start?
Start where you are right now, doing what you know how to do and then research what you know you don’t know. I am writing this in the middle of the summer, but It doesn’t matter what time of year you are reading this. You can start your garden at any time and in any place. Matter of fact, right now I have the seeds that I will use for my fall garden that I am currently growing on my patio. I have had gardens all my life and I have learned that even if I don’t have a yard, I can start growing plants in an apartment or on a balcony.
Make a list of what you know about growing your own food and then start researching what you still need to know. One resource I suggest is my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. To learn more about this book, Click Here.
This month, in many areas of the country, signs of spring are in the air and with that comes the first symptoms of spring fever where gardeners start dusting off their garden tools and get to work.
In honor of gardeners everywhere, I have dedicated this month’s blog posts to helping gardeners get started.
I have been a fan of organic gardening since reading my first issue of Organic Gardening Magazine when I was twelve years old. The principles of organic gardening always made sense to me. The ideas put forth by organic gardening principles offer solutions to many problems of modern life.
This week I am offering a 25% discount on digital copies of my book Simply Vegetable Gardening. From today through March 10, 2018 instead of the digital book being $2.99, it will be just $2.24 for a copy! Get Yours today before the promotion expires! Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/517230 to download your copy today!
Coupon Code LY88C
Autumn Leaves are a Wonderful Resource You Should Never Burn
We often face problems in the autumn with the leaves that fall from the trees. In our hectic busy lives, we often don’t have time to deal with them until spring. When spring comes, we often pile them up and set a fire to them. This is a mistake. Here’s an article that I wrote on Hubpages.
Stop Environmental Pollution of Burning Autumn Leaves-Use Them Instead
It is easy to make compost. Basically you need green materials (fresh green grass, manure, chopped kitchen garbage) brown material (leaves, shredded paper, chipped wood), soil, and water. In an area of your yard that is convenient to both the kitchen and the garden, layer a couple inches of each type of item listed above and let set several months, and turn the pile every couple of weeks. If you get more than an inch of rain every week, you won’t have to water the pile, but if you do, be sure to soak the pile well one time per week.
I often question whether I have enough of the right trace minerals in my compost, so I often add kelp powder to the pile along with the other ingredients.
Kelp can be used in other ways in the garden as well. I like to use it directly as a planting nutrient. I simply sprinkle kelp to the bottom of the planting hole when planting both seeds and plants.
I also add kelp to goat and chicken feed for two reasons. The first one is to guarantee that the animals get the nutrients that they need. Many illnesses that animals get are related to nutritional deficiencies. The second reason is that the kelp in the animal manure will be passed on to plants.
Kelp is beneficial in other ways too and I have written about it in my book Help from Kelp. It is available
and in print
When we had a woodstove for heating, we put all our wood ashes in the garden. In addition to working the wood ashes into the soil to add the nutrients, if certain vegetables are attacked by plant eating insects, wood ashes can be sprinkled on the leaves. The wood ashes don’t taste good to the insects, so they avoid the leaves treated with the ashes. For some reason, one application is enough, but it can be reapplied after a rain.
In the absence of wood ashes, DE can be used in the garden as an insect repellent. Just dust it on the plants. For more information on how to use diatomaceous earth, check out another article in Hubpages:
Why I use Diatomaceous Earth in My Home and Garden
Although wood ashes and diatomaceous earth do keep insects off your plants, you can over do it and as I wrote in my article, not all insects in the garden are bad, good insects do exist.
Not All Insects in the Garden are Bad
In addition to Help from Kelp I have another book Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard You can get this book for free in a digital format at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/617019
Or if you prefer a book in print go to http://www.lulu.com/shop/cygnet-brown/using-diatomaceous-earth-around-the-house-and-yard/paperback/product-22638910.html