Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A garden anyone can grow

                I think I’ve talked enough about the need, will and the reason we might need to know how to survive. Let’s start to talk about the meat and potatoes of the subject. We’ve talked about skills. Exactly what kind of skills do I mean? The list is too long to make it in just one article so we’ll break it down and talk about one at a time.
                What would you consider the bare essentials to survival? Remember everyone is a little different so your lists will not all be the same. If we cut it down to the real necessities of life we must start with food, clothing, shelter and self-defense. Let’s assume that you already have clothing so it will suffice in the near term at least.
                The first, easiest and most obvious thing you can learn is growing a traditional garden. Below is a picture of a few of the things that came out of our garden. What you choose might be different but it will amount to the same thing. 
               We grew other things like beans and okra. I tried to do corn but it didn't go very well. I grew pumpkins, watermelons and cucumbers. We had blackeyed peas and snow peas but the snow peas did'nt produce much. The idea is that we grew a successful garden and we ate what we grew. If you figure the cost to plant against the price of the produce we had, we saved a ton of money over the summer. If you figure in labor...well...it was a labor of love.
              The point is: We learned a few things. We ate better produce than you can buy in a grocery store and we had a good time doing it. We also learned about making things out of it rather than just eating the fresh produce.
The next picture shows one of the most important lessons we learned and by far my favorite:
This is a picture of my granddaughter pushing her wheelbarrow full of fresh picked tomatoes. This garden was a family affair. My granddaughters loved it and that was the best part.
              When we talk about growing tomatoes we first think of salads and sliced tomatoes for sandwiches or hamburgers. What you may or may not consider is all of the things that you can make from tomatoes, so here are a few that I tried and a few that I will soon try.
            Spaghetti sauce with all fresh vegatables. To make it from store bought ingredients it would cost a fortune. Prego is pretty cheap so it is hard to compete, but when you grow it yourself you can make out pretty good. I made salsa, stewed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes with green chilis, tomato sauce. All of this canned and lasted us through the winter. You can even make your own catsup...though I haven't tried that yet.
            In addition to growing the garden, I planted two plum trees, two peach trees, three apple, four grape vines, and a few blackberry bushes. Of course fruit trees won't produce until about 5 years after you plant them.
           Somthing else, Some of you will notice and others will not: This is not the neatest most manicured garden you will ever see. It looks nothing like those gardens we see on the Saturday afternoon gardening shows. You can see the weeds...you can see the flaws. This garden was tended by people who had to work 5 days a week and gardened in the evening after work and on weekends. Still....look at that wheelbarrow full of tomatoes. The point is: You don't have to be the perfect gardner to grow good veggies. Anyone can do it. It does take some work but if you are worried about asthetics then you will have to spend a little more time that we were able to.
           The whole garden was about 50 x 100 feet. Even those living in town could produce a small garden to learn how to do it but the whole idea of the "survival" scenario is to get out of town and on to a small piece of land where you can work towards being more self sufficient.
Thanks for reading!

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