As I’ve been working on getting this year’s garden going, it has weighed heavily on my heart that I emphasize to everyone the importance of learning how to garden right now.
Right now. Not next year. Now, before your lives depend on it. Because, frankly, deep down inside, I truly believe that one day our lives will depend on it.
I believe that 100%. And I’m acting on it. Maybe it won’t be in my lifetime. Maybe it’ll be in my children’s (though I doubt it’ll take that long). But this is the number one motivating force behind all that we do here.
And if you’ve been feeling like something is coming… like you need to be getting prepared for harder times… you cannot let another year go by without getting your hands dirty and beginning to learn to grow food.
Having a pack of survival seeds and a gardening “how to” book is NOT good enough.
I’m telling you right now: Gardening takes practice. I’ve been attempting to raise my own food for three years now, and every year I face new challenges and make new mistakes. If we had depended on any of our previous gardens to survive, we would have surely starved. Even this year, I can already tell that my garden won’t be near good enough.
If a food crisis were to hit in a week from now, what would you do?
Do you already have a place in your yard where you can plant things? A spot full of rich soil, turned over and ready to plant in?
Do you have containers and compost you can start seeds in?
Do you even have any seeds? Do you have enough seeds to grow enough food to feed your family for at least a few months? A year?
Do you have any gardening tools? A hoe? A rake? A hose or watering can?
Would you know how to deal with pests, fungus, or weeds?
Do you own any gardening books??
What would happen to you if all of a sudden your family depended upon whatever you could grow yourselves?
Would you know how to start seeds? How to save seeds? How to store seeds properly?
Would you know when to harvest your crops? And how to preserve them? Do you have the necessary tools to preserve your food?
These are things that you seriously need to be asking yourself. And you need to stop daydreaming about your future garden, and start making it a reality!
Start with making a list of everything your family likes to eat. Then get online, find out which varieties grow best in your area, and order seeds or plants.
Find a place in your yard that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight, break up the sod and start amending that soil. Or build raised beds. Or get a bunch of large containers to plant in. Do something!
Bulk up your personal library with books on gardening, seed saving, and preserving the harvest.
Make sure you have some basic gardening tools. I’d HIGHLY recommend Craftsman tools. They have a lifetime warranty, and Sears will replace them no questions asked (I’ve exchanged two old messed up tools for brand new ones, no problem).
Start a compost pile. It isn’t hard. Just find a corner of your yard to start throwing uncooked produce scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, leaves, weeds and anything else organic. Turn it over every now and then, and before long you’ll have some awesome planting material ready and waiting.
Start putting in perennials NOW. Berry bushes, herbs, asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb, strawberries, fruit trees… squeeze in as much as you possibly can, wherever you can. Most of these things take at least three years before a harvest, so get them established now.
I hear from so many people who tell me that they’d like to have a garden one day. Or that they feel like they need to be preparing, but aren’t sure what to do. Listen up, dear friends!
Even if it’s just one tomato plant you purchased at the garden center, you have to start somewhere, and that’s a great start. But start making serious steps toward learning a little self-sustainability. And start now. Because, I feel like we’re living on borrowed time. I don’t know how long we have, but I know we don’t have time to waste.
Don’t wait another season, another year. This is the year to get down on your knees (in more than one way!), to get dirt under your nails, sunshine in your face, and plants in the ground. This is the year to harvest your first home grown produce, and to feel the satisfaction in knowing that you can take care of yourself and your family no matter what.
Gardening is not extremely difficult. But it takes time, and it cannot all be learned in one season, or two, or three.
So, get on it people!! Spring is upon us. No more excuses.
Get out there and grow some food! Learn how to garden now!