Why You Must Learn How To Garden NOW!

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.

veggie garden
veggie garden

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 how to garden to grow your own 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?

In this post, I’m going to tell how to learn how to garden – and give you some resources to help you get started.

I’m not going to tell you everything you need to know about gardening in this post – but rather, the knowledge that you need to acquire (and the tools you need to have on hand) in order to get started.

So let’s not waste any more time!

How to Garden: What You Need to Know

When it really comes down to it, do you know how to garden? Here are a few key concepts and questions you’ll need to have answers to before you get started.

1. Do You Have the Right Location Picked Out?

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?

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!

vegetable garden with raised beds
vegetable garden with raised beds

2. What About Your Timeline?

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?

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).

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!

3. Do You Know What You Will Grow?

Before you start planning out your garden, it is important to figure out what you will grow. This may seem like a simple task, but there are actually a number of factors to consider.

First, you need to think about the amount of space you have available. If you have a small yard, you may want to focus on growing herbs or vegetables that don’t require a lot of room. Second, you need to consider the climate in your area.

If you live in a warm climate, you’ll have a wider range of options than if you live in a cold climate. Third, you need to think about the amount of sunlight that your garden will get. If it’s in a shady spot, you’ll need to choose plants that can tolerate low light levels.

Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you’ll be ready to start planning out your garden!

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.

4. How Good is Your Soil?

If you’re planning to start a garden, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is figure out the quality of your soil.

After all, healthy plants require healthy soil in order to thrive. The good news is that testing your soil is relatively simple and inexpensive. All you’ll need is a soil sample and a basic home testing kit.

Once you’ve gathered a sample, you can then use the kit to test for various factors, such as pH levels and nutrient content. By taking the time to figure out how good your soil is, you can help ensure that your garden gets off to a strong start.

5. Do You Have Access to Water?

Before you start planning and planting your garden, it’s important to take a moment to think about your water access.

Do you have a hose or sprinkler system? If so, how long can you run it each day? Are there any restrictions on watering times or days?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you determine how much water your plants will need and how often you’ll need to water them.

It’s also important to consider the cost of water. If you live in an area with high water rates, you may want to choose plants that are drought-tolerant or select a watering system that is designed to be more efficient.

By taking the time to think about your water access before you start planting, you can ensure that your garden gets off to a healthy start.

6. Is Container Growing an Option?

Container gardening is a great option for those who want to enjoy the benefits of having a garden, but don’t have the space for a traditional one.

There are several advantages to growing plants in pots, including the fact that you can create a custom setup that fits your specific needs. For example, if you have limited sun exposure in your yard, you can choose containers that can be moved around to get the best light.

Additionally, container gardens are much easier to upkeep than in-ground gardens, as they require less weeding and watering. If you’re thinking about starting a garden, be sure to consider whether container gardening might be the right option for you.

7. Do You Know What Growing Zone You’re In?

Figure out what growing zone you’re in. Do you know? It’s important to know because it tells you the last and first frost dates for your area. That’s critical information for any gardener.

The growing season is the time between the last frost in spring and the first frost in fall. Knowing your growing zone will help you figure out how long your growing season is so you can plan accordingly.

For example, if you want to grow tomatoes, you’ll need to plant them after the last frost date. And if you want to grow pumpkins, you’ll need to plant them before the first frost date.

8. How Can You Garden if You Live in the City?

If you live in the city, you might think that gardening is out of reach. However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a green space, even if you don’t have a lot of room.

A vertical garden is a great way to add some greenery to a small space. You can create one using a trellis or some shelves, and then plant flowers or herbs that will climb up.

Container gardens are also popular in urban areas. All you need is a pot or planter, and you can grow a wide variety of plants.

If you don’t have an outdoor space at all, you can try growing an indoor garden.

Some plants do well in warm, humid environments, so as long as you have a bright window, you can start your own mini jungle.

For something really different, you could try hydroponics. This is a type of gardening that doesn’t use any soil- instead, the roots are suspended in water.

Finally, community gardens are a great way to meet other gardeners and enjoy some fresh air.

9. How Much Time Do You Have Available?

If you’re thinking about starting a garden, one of the first things you need to do is figure out how much time you have available.

Depending on the size and type of garden you want, it can take a lot of time and effort to keep it looking good. If you don’t have much spare time, it’s important to choose plants that are easy to care for and don’t require too much attention.

Once you know how much time you can realistically devote to your garden, you can start planning and planting with confidence. With a little time and effort, you’ll be able to create a space that’s both beautiful and enjoyable to spend time in.

10. Will You Start from Seed or Transplant?

If you’re planning on starting a garden, one of the first things you need to figure out is whether you’re going to start from seed or transplant.

Both have their pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the option that’s right for you. Starting from seed is often cheaper and gives you more control over the growing process. However, it can be more time-consuming and challenging, especially for beginners.

Transplanting, on the other hand, is generally easier and quicker. But it’s important to make sure you select healthy plants that are well-suited to your growing conditions. So take some time to consider your options before you get started on your gardening project.

bottom watering seeds: the seeds tray is placed inside a container filled with a few inches of water
bottom watering seeds: the seeds tray is placed inside a container filled with a few inches of water

11. Do You Know How to Plant Your Seeds or Transplants – and How to Harden Them Off?

Spring is the perfect time to start planning your garden. But before you start planting seeds or transplants, it’s important to take a little time to figure out how to properly plant them.

You also need to know how to harden them off. When done correctly, hardening off will make your plants strong and healthy, giving them a head start on the growing season.

A few tips for planting:

  • Be sure to water your plants regularly during this process. The roots are still adjusting and will need extra moisture to thrive.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of stress, such as wilting or yellowing leaves.
  • Slowly introduce your plants to outdoor conditions over the course of 7-10 days. Begin by placing them in a sheltered spot out of direct sunlight for a few hours each day. Gradually increase the amount of time they spend outdoors each day, as well as the amount of sunlight they receive.

12. Do. You. Have. A. Plan.

When it comes to starting a garden, having a good plan is essential. You’ll need to think about what type of plants you want to grow, where you want to grow them, and how you’re going to care for them.

You’ll also need to make sure you have the right supplies on hand. Otherwise, you’ll end up frustrated and your garden will likely fail.

The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. You can find helpful books and articles online, and there are even some great apps that can guide you through the process. Once you have a solid plan in place, starting a garden will be much easier – and more fun!

rusty tools
rusty tools

What Materials Will You Need for Your Garden?

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?

Here are a few more gardening tools and materials you’ll want to have:

  • A wheelbarrow or garden cart
  • A sturdy set of boots and a pair of gardening gloves
  • The aforementioned hoe and rake
  • A great shovel
  • A pair of shears to prune with
  • Trellis and other support options
  • Some raised beds or even a greenhouse
  • Composted manure and other organic fertilizers

Of course, there are items you can use from around the house for the fundamentals of gardening, too. Cardboard can be used as mulch. Eggshells can be used to add nutrients to the garden soil. Even straw can be a valuable type of mulch!

Would you know how to deal with pests, fungus, or weeds? Educate yourself (use the resources I’ll recommend below) then make sure you have pest, weed, and disease control methods in your toolbox like:

  • Mulch
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Neem oil
  • Row covers and shade cloth

Small Steps You Can Take Toward Your Future Garden, Today

Here are a few things you can do to start your garden – even if you aren’t ready to take the full leap and plant a massive array of plants.

1. Grow Some Perennials

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.

2. Make Some Compost

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.

3. Make a Plan

Growing a garden can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! By taking small steps and planning ahead, you can easily transform your yard into a beautiful garden. The first step is to choose the right location.

Make sure to pick a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and has good drainage. Then, decide what you want to grow.

Herbs, vegetables, and flowers all have different requirements in terms of soil, watering, and fertilizing, so it’s important to do your research before you start planting.

Once you have a plan in place, you can start shopping for plants and get ready to enjoy the fruits (or veggies) of your labor!

4. Start Shopping for Tools and Materials

Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a small windowsill, there are plenty of ways to get started. And the first step is always the same: shopping for tools and materials.

For most home gardens, basic tools like shovels, rakes, and hoes will suffice. If you’re planning on growing larger plants, though, you’ll need to invest in some more specialized equipment. The same goes for materials.

If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to buy soil, seeds, or seedlings. If you’re repurposing an existing space, though, you may be able to get by with using compost from your kitchen scraps.

No matter what you need, shopping for gardening supplies is a great way to start turning your green thumb dreams into reality.

two packets of cowpea seeds
two packets of cowpea seeds

5. Stock Up on Seeds

If you’re new to gardening, it can be daunting to know where to start. However, taking small steps can help you get the hang of it and eventually end up with a beautiful garden that you can be proud of.

One small step you can take toward growing a garden is stocking up on seeds. This way, when the time is right, you’ll already have everything you need to get started. You can find seeds at your local hardware store or online.

But first, figure out what you will grow. Some of the best options for beginners include:

  • Pumpkins
  • Beans
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Kales
  • Leafy greens
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Herbs (like basil or parsley)

Again, consider your family’s preferred foods to get started with your list.

6. Learn and Practice

Anyone can grow a garden, regardless of experience or skill level. All it takes is a little bit of time and effort, and you can be on your way to enjoying fresh produce right in your own backyard.

If you’re new to gardening, the best place to start is by learning the basics. Once you have a good understanding of how to care for plants, you can begin to practice by growing a few small crops.

No matter what type of plants you choose to grow, remember that gardening is a lifelong learning process. There’s always something new to learn, so never be afraid to experiment. With a little bit of patience and practice, you’ll be an expert gardener in no time!

7. Find Community Help

Growing a garden can be a daunting task, especially if you’re starting from scratch. But there’s no need to go it alone – there are plenty of resources and community organizations that can help you get started.

Where to Find Gardening Help and Resources

For anyone who is interested in starting a garden, there are a number of resources that can be extremely helpful.

1. Old Farmer’s Almanac Learn-to-Garden Series

This online course is designed for beginners, and will teach you everything you need to know about starting a garden, from choosing the right plants to caring for them through the seasons.

The course is self-paced, so you can go at your own pace, and it’s packed with information that will help you get your garden off to a great start.

2. Ron Finley Teaches Gardening

The Ron Finley Teaches Gardening course is the perfect way to learn about gardening. Not only will you learn about the basics of gardening, but you’ll also get to hear from Ron himself about his own experiences as a gardener.

And best of all, it’s affordable, so you can take the course at your own pace without breaking the bank. So if you’re looking to learn more about gardening, be sure to check out Ron Finley’s online course. You won’t be disappointed!

3. Gardening 101

If you’re thinking about starting a garden, the Gardening 101 online course is a great place to start. The course covers everything from choosing the right location for your garden to selecting the best plants for your climate.

In addition, you’ll learn about soil health, watering techniques, and how to deal with pests and diseases. Best of all, the course is self-paced, so you can work through it at your own rate.

5. Planting the Piet Oudolf Way

Want to start a perennial garden? Planting the Piet Oudolf Way is an intensive course that will teach you everything you need to know about creating beautiful, sustainable gardens that will thrive for years to come.

Piet Oudolf is a world-renowned garden designer, and his naturalistic approach to planting has inspired many of today’s leading landscape architects.

In this course, you’ll learn about Oudolf’s signature style and how to create gardens that echo his aesthetic. You’ll also get practical tips on selecting plants, preparing soil, and ensuring that your garden will be low-maintenance and drought-tolerant.

6. Growing Food Sustainably

If you’re interested in learning how to garden organically, the “Growing Organic Food Sustainably” online course is a great place to start. In this course, you’ll learn about the basics of organic gardening, including soil health, composting, and crop rotation.

You’ll also learn about the challenges of organic gardening, such as pests and weeds. Best of all, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from experienced organic gardeners.

7. Your Local Library

Many libraries offer classes on gardening, and they may also have Seed Libraries, where you can check out seeds for free.

You can also search online for Gardening Clubs in your area, or join an online gardening forum to get advice from more experienced gardeners.

8. Community Members

Local nurseries and greenhouses can also be a wealth of knowledge, and they can provide you with the plants and supplies you need to get started.

In addition, there are often community gardens in most towns or cities, which can be a great way to meet other gardeners and learn from their experience. Wherever you live, there are likely many resources available to help you get started with gardening.

Don’t be afraid to ask friends and neighbors for their help and support as you are getting started!

9. Gardening Websites and Blogs

If you’re interested in learning how to garden, one of the best places to start is by visiting some gardening websites and blogs.

There are a number of great resources available online, and you can learn a lot by reading through articles and watching video tutorials. You can also find helpful tips and advice from other gardeners, and you can even ask questions and get feedback.

gardening books
gardening books

Additionally, many gardening websites and blogs offer online courses or e-books that can teach you everything you need to know about gardening.

Some of my favorite gardening websites and blogs are:

10. Gardening Apps

In today’s world, there’s an app for just about everything – and gardening is no exception. Whether you’re a beginner looking to start your first garden, or an experienced gardener looking for new tips and tricks, there’s an app out there that can help.

Gardening apps can offer step-by-step instructions on everything from planting to pest control, and they can also provide valuable information on the best plants for your specific climate and soil type.

Best of all, most gardening apps are free, so you can try out a few before settling on the one that’s right for you.

So why wait? Download a gardening app today and get started on your green thumb journey!

Some of my favorite gardening apps are:

11. Books About Gardening

One way to learn about gardening is to read books on the subject.

Not only will you learn about the different types of plants and how to care for them, but you will also learn about the different techniques that can be used to improve your garden. In addition, reading gardening books can help to inspire new ideas and help you to develop your own unique style.

While you can get a lot from online gardening resources, books are an invaluable tool, too, especially if you’re looking for more specific information on various topics.

Disclosure: if you visit an external link in this post and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Read my full earnings disclosure here.

Some of my all-time favorite books are:

12. The Local Cooperative Extension

Agricultural extension offices are a great place to start, as they can provide information on everything from choosing the right plants for your climate to dealing with pests and diseases. County fairs and gardening shows are also great sources of information, and they can be a lot of fun too.

13. Gardening Podcasts

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to learn more about gardening, then you should definitely consider checking out some gardening podcasts.

Not only are they a great way to get information from experienced gardeners, but they’re also usually free to listen to. And since you can listen to them at your own pace, they’re a great option for busy people who don’t have a lot of time to spare.

Plus, listening to a podcast is a lot more enjoyable than reading a gardening book, in my opinion.

Here are some of my top picks:

  • The Beginner’s Garden podcast
  • The Joe Gardener Podcast
  • Let’s Argue About Plants
  • Epic Gardening: Daily Growing Tips
  • Gardening with the RHS
  • Cultivating Place
  • All the Dirt Gardening, Sustainability,and Food Podcast
  • Roots and All

Final Thoughts

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!

54 thoughts on “Why You Must Learn How To Garden NOW!”

  1. I totally agree. People ask me why I garden and now have chickens in the city. I tell them, I don’t want to be learning when our lives depend on it.


  2. Companion planting is way to go! I had better yields and no diseases last year. We grew a patch of dill last year and it was a great habitat for lots of different insects. Bees love basil, and its companion for tomatoes. We grow a small amount of buckwheat last summer and bees loved it. You can eat the leaves and they taste good. It grows in less then 8 weeks and Its good cover crop.

  3. Just one point. Don’t put egg shells in the compost unless they have been boiled first. They CAN contain salmonella, which can transfer to veggies (especially tomatoes) and most composts do not get hot enough to kill off the bacteria.

    Otherwise, thanks for the kick up the bum! We all need it from time to time.

  4. I agree. I learned a little about gardening when I was little and have learned just how little I remembered. I have had the feeling that my girls needed to learn too. So when my middle daughter wanted to do veggie gardening for 4-H I was more than happy to let her. We have an extra lot with our property and I gave her about half of it for our garden. This year with no rain and water restrictions it didn’t do very well but our tomatoes just in the last week have revived from nearly dead to blooms 🙂
    I just wish we could keep chickens and a goat here in town. I would gladly build a little chicken coop.

  5. Awesome article!!! I’m pursuing 4 season gardening instead of preserving, but there is a HUGE learning curve on everything from watering to dealing with groundhogs. We also are trying to get in a root cellar so we can increase our winter veg supply. I don’t know if there will be a true food crisis in my lifetime, but I doubt we will ever return to the time when a family’s food was less than 20% of their income.

  6. This is my first year and I have learned that your first year you should probably buy started plants cause I killed all my seeds that I started. I got very excited that they started to sprout and I think I over watered them and that I moved them out of the seed trays too soon. Lesson learned. I also think we are living on borrowed time. Something is coming and I dont know when or how. My DH and I have begun to prepare for this “event.” We are buying a house this spring and we are getting acreage to plant on and we will be getting animals to help our self sustainability. Its a huge task and we are starting slow but steady. love your blog, I hope to learn a lot from it.

  7. I got married last month! I already live on a cattle farm in AR. I am wise beyond my 22yrs but I feel like I need to take care of myself when the world ends. I want a garden, chickens,rabbit, and a milking goat. My freezer is full of pork and beef! Its just convincing my husband on the issue!!!! the hunger games really brought around for me!

  8. Hi Kendra. It is awhile since I last looked in as family has taken most of my time this last year. Illness and passings, but God has smiled as always on our small community. Life does go on.

    I have to agree with you wholeheartedly. Folk need to get into this groove yesterday. Like you and many others, I feel things are happening that will shake the foundations we live on.
    An example of what can go wrong, as you know I have been farming for many a year. We are in a drought in my part of England, have been for over a year. My seed potatoes went in, as usual at the end of March. Well, what followed was amazing, we had three months rain in three weeks. The ground was waterlogged and every tuber rotted.

    Moral of this? In growing, anything can go wrong. Now we will have enough, we will trade some meat for potatoes from a friend who is on higher ground. We will have plenty of other produce, but as folk know, taties are a staple. The loss is too late to rectify.

    I hope your family are all well, God Bless you all lass!


    • Hello my friend! It always brings a smile to my face to hear from you, John. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.

      And I hate to hear that your crop was ruined! But a very good point you make. Even the best gardeners can’t count on an adequate harvest every year. We should be putting up as much as we can while we have it! Those years when there is a bumper crop, and more than enough of a particular crop to go around are the times when as much as possible should be canned/stored. Because next year, you might not get ANY of that crop. I think bumper crops are God’s way of giving us enough to cover the barren times.

      Blessings to you as well.

  9. Hi Kendra,

    As you can tell, there are many of us who have been feeling the same way!

    And as several other people have said, being an experienced gardener doesn’t mean it’s a failproof thing. I’ve been gardening since I was a toddler with my Dad, and I still learn something new every year (and I’m 46…so I know almost 46 things 🙂

    We live on a bit more than 1 acre and moved here 2 years ago so we could raise chickens and maybe some other small livestock. I’m still trying to get my new garden established, since it is very heavy clay. So new gardeners need to know that you may have several years of soil ammendment to get good harvests…another good reason to start now.

    For those who are lamenting the lack of fruit trees mature enough to bear fruit…plant some whenever you can afford to, or have the room for them…but in the meantime plant strawberries, raspberries, grapes, blueberries and other small fruits. They will give you great harvests in much less time than most fruit trees and usually take less care to harvest nice fruit. Most tree fruits will have pests that make it difficult to raise them organically.

    Good luck to every one just starting out. When you spend time in your garden every day and notice the interaction of insects, birds and gardener in a variety of plants…it is really a blessing to behold.

  10. AMEN! Kendra,
    Haven’t been by for a while… sorry…but glad to have stopped by! Doing something is better than nothing..and I am an advocate for teaching our children to garden, it will be needed! Blessings!

  11. Have you ever heard of Les and Jane’s Garden Secrets. Check them out at their website. Looks like a winning way to garden!

  12. This is a GREAT post…you are speaking my mind to a tee. I have believed this for some time now. God gave me 1 Thes 4:11-12 about 5 years ago and this is exactly why. Thank you for spreading the word and encouraging others to be ready. You are right…a pack of survival seeds and how-to book won’t cut it when things fall apart.

  13. For three years now I have had a feeling of “waste not want not” and pushed our backyard garden to the limit. I canned and canned and canned. Then all of a sudden my husband and I were both out of jobs and stayed out of jobs and didn’t qualify for unemployment for 6 months.(My husband finally got a job) Those canned veggies did save us, we would not have been able to eat without them. They were stashed everywhere in the house, but we didn’t go hungry.

    We are moving to the country so we can grow even more. We are getting excited. So yes, gardening and homecanning can save your life when you need it the most.

  14. Kendra this site is such a great help to those who think they are alone trying to do somthing I live in a prepper community and it is nice to know that there are others out there doing what God tells us to in His word Kuddo’s to you and your readers my God bless you in fabulous ways keep up the good work tribulations are quickly approaching

  15. Excellent post. Don’t you just feel like you need to run through the streets yelling this sometimes?

    There are times when I lie awake at night wondering how I can be better at spreading the importance of this message…it can feel pretty overwhelming at times, especially when I still come across people who think I’m quite odd for doing the things that I do.

    Oh well, at least we’re doing our best!

  16. This is such a great post, and a really fascinating read including the comments. My husband and I have had many a conversation on these lines over the last few years, and have started a garden, but we have felt like the only ones even thinking about this stuff, let alone doing anything about it. It is good to know this is not true.

    So far our little garden has had some successes and failures, we had a fantastic crop of cucumbers one year, and had to share with several neighbors or they would have gone bad. Our attempt at watermelon yielded one small one, and our pumpkins failed entirely. Our rhubarb that we rescued from neglect from the previous owner is finally going strong this year, we hope to be able to harvest next year. We’re hoping that our apple trees fruit this year too!

    Definitely a learning experience.

  17. THANK YOU so much for sharing this. I live in the city, and anything rearding homesteading has been completely foreign to me growing up. In the past year however, Its been on my heart to learn and grow in the direction of sustainable living. I’ve been wanting and ‘planning’ on starting to garden the past year, so this post is EXACTLY what I needed to read and confirm what was on my heart. Thanks again kendra!

  18. Kendra, your statement… “I feel like we’re living on borrowed time.”… I totally agree! I believe that those who are waking up and making an effort will find that their investment now will pay off big someday. I don’t know how that will look, but it could be as simple as having something to eat while others are standing in bread lines to BUY bread (not a handout).

    I’m also gardening with a couple of other thoughts in view as well… 1) permaculture; 2) sustainability ; 3) old age! Seriously, I need my garden to be mostly established so that it is easy enough to work as a senior adult! In my terrain, that means retaining walls, fences, garden boxes, permanent composting areas, etc. These things may wear out too, but hopefully I will have nice young sons-in-laws who can help replace them on occasion!! LOL!

    The point I’m trying to make is that this can’t be like Y2K where we all rushed in and did something for a short time and then ditched it when the supposed “crisis” was over (and I fell for that, too!). That should have served as a warning of how fragile our system really is! I know most readers (and yourself) see that, but if anyone is thinking that this little global economic crises and such are going to be short lived… think again!

    • Amen to that, Amy!! So many believers in particular seem to be feeling led of the Father to start preparing. I think there’s something to that. I think we being warned. And I know without a shadow of a doubt, all of this hard work will reap some major benefits, and maybe even save lives, whenever that time should come. I hope more people head this warning while there’s still time.

  19. Thanks for this post. We started gardening 3 years ago and this year he built me two raised gardens. Definitely something we’re trying to expand and do more of. Looking forward to seeing more on this subject.

  20. Kendra, the Lord has been giving me the EXACT same message: start self-sustainable food practices like gardening and canning, and start them NOW. Dear friends, Kendra’s message on this post is right on. Please, for the safety of your family, heed and obey now. Don’t wait till it’s too late and you’re without options….

    I’ve shared other things on my blog that have been laying heavily on my heart as well in these types of areas.

    THANK YOU, Kendra, for sharing what is laid on your heart, and God bless you!

  21. Great post with all thats going on we need need need to be prepared big brother is trying to stop us at every turn when is enough enough? we are on our way to being self sustained and I have been doing this for years goats chickens gardens food preservation and other stuff. you may not have as much time as you think every square foot of space can and should be used.

  22. Great post. I gardened off and on (mostly off) in our previous house, but started getting serious about it when we moved. The first year we put one in here we were working on a very limited budget so I started off just forming a bed around the deck and down part of the back of the house. The next year we added two raised beds and I even grew a tomato and some cantaloupe in one of the flower beds in front of the house. We did grow enough tomatoes last year to can all of our own diced tomatoes and homemade “Rotel” for the year. I was pretty thrilled about that. This year we scored 8 new raised beds when the hardware store put their raised bed kits on sale for less than the cost of the lumber. I’m itching to get all these extra beds planted this year. We’re excited about being able to grow so much more food this year.

  23. Kendra, right on – amen – yessirree!! Have been harvesting asparagus for the first time from plants planted 3 years ago, have the onions, potatoes and lettuce in and will be putting in tomatoes, peppers and herbs in today. I can’t believe how early we are planting!!! Okra and melons will be coming soon. The blueberries and raspberries are blooming, as well as the strawberries and apple trees, and the peach and nectarine trees are loaded. There is nothing like a garden/orchard!!!

  24. I have to start from scratch here at our property and I want so bad but cant seem to get anyone to help me get the lad ready in time. We will be buying mature fruyit trees this yr though, my husbands friend is helping us he knows a lot about them and where to find and purchase good ones. I might be buying already started plants this yr. I feel overwhelmed by the info I keep learning and feel it is a huge chunk of money to start from scratch and I dont know where to begin. I have books I read stuff but I too feel its important to learn NOW! I really have appreciated your blog in showing us failures and successes. Youve been an inspiration.

    • Abbigail,

      It can be extremely discouraging when you don’t really have money to do the things you feel are so urgent to do. Believe me girl, I know what you mean!! It doesn’t have to be expensive though. A pack of seeds is only a dollar or so. You can start there 😉 If you don’t have a piece of ground ready to plant in, find some old containers and plant in them. Keep an eye on Craigslist for free pots, plants, etc. I see them every now and then. Or old trash cans with holes in them, etc. When you are flat broke, you gotta get creative, lol! My advice would be to just start one pot at a time. You can do it!! 🙂

  25. Yes, we feel quite an urgency too… at the beginning of the post I was sure you’d read my mind! We have been gardening for 26 years and we’re STILL learning. Always something new, somewhere to expand, something to try differently to get a better yield… it’s a never ending learning process.

    Good for you for sending out this warning to help people wake up 🙂

  26. I come from a place and a church that really has a emphasis on being prepared and being self sufficient. for over thirty years (like my whole life) they have been preaching to have not just a small supply of food and water, but a full two years worth of food storage. I had the privledge of being the provident living leader in my church while single. I learned alot from that. But now being married and having children has really changed me. I am striving to be able to take care of them. We have been on a journey ourselves the last few years to have and upkeep our food storage items. This year we are really trying to get the garden going better and raising chickens in the meantime. I love having a husband that grew up on a ranch. He has skills that are handy to have around. We love being able to teach the kids and help them to have some real life experiences. We are far from our goals, but are on our way on this wonderful journey of self sufficent living. These things are important and people are taking notice. My friend Caleb Warnock realeased his new book this fall. “The forgotten skills of self sufficiency used by the mormon pioneers” It went to the new york best sellers list in just a few weeks. Love it. We can change our world one homesteader at at time

  27. Love love love this post! We started gardening a several years ago and still haven’t gotten it down! It seems every year there is some sort of new challenge or set back. Gardening is definitely not something that comes natural to us and has been something we’ve had to study and work very hard at!

  28. Scratch what I said about Harbor Freight, my husband went last night and he couldn’t get his tools replaced.

  29. I have also been reading everything I can get my hands on and spending most of my free time on youtube watching videos on gardening and survival. Unfortunately I live in an apartment right now and can’t even put potted plants outside without someone stealing them, 2 years ago I planted several tomato and pepper plants in big pots. Watered them in the evening and the next morning everything was gone, pots and all. So I am very limited to what I can grow. I do have some shop lights and could easily turn one of my bedrooms into a grow room, but it just doesn’t feel right lol. This summer I am moving, the house is very small and only on 1/10 of an acre, but it’s still enough to plant a small garden and have some chickens and rabbits. I just wish I could go now, there’s so much to do and I feel like time is running out 🙁

  30. About Craftsman tools, they are not covered if they were in a fire. I am not dissing Craftsman at all! Craftsman is good, and my husband had A LOT of their tools. I just thought that I would put it out there.

    But Harbor Freight I know will replace tools if you have a proof of purchase.

    My in-law’s barn burned down two weeks ago so I have been getting a crash course in tools and such.

    Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I have been soaking up gardening information like a sponge. I have books, tools, and seeds. This is my third year gardening, and I am learning more and more nearly every week.

    Crops like Rhubarb, asparagus, dandelions, wild garlic and wild onions are good to have as well.

  31. YES YES YES! GREAT post, Kendra. You echo my sentiments perfectly. AND you are motivating me to do more than I am already doing! Thanks!

  32. I’ve dabbled in vegetable gardening before but am really making a big effort this year. My dad and I built a shelf complete with grow light for starting seeds in my basement, I’m chopping down (another!) tree in my back yard to get more light to grow around our house, and I am just in the process of starting a community pantry garden on empty space in a neighbourhood park. I’m getting my family excited about it, and we will likely plant a garden at my parents’ cottage as well. I have a lot to learn, but I’m extremely excited about it! Yay for homegrown veggies. 🙂

  33. I’ve been gardening for more than thirty years and I’m still making mistakes and learning. What I’m aiming for now is a permaculture- based yard. I’m learning about foraging, too, and advise special care with this. A little knowledge can be dangerous. For instance, I believe I read somewhere that raspberry leaves are toxic when they are wilted, but okay dried.

  34. Something to supplement your garden, or if it fails when you REALLY need food: Planned foraging. About a year ago I got this panicky feeling when reading an article about EMP attacks (weird, I know. But I learned from my panic). I thought, what if this happened RIGHT NOW, and I couldn’t get food anywhere? So I did some reading and searching, and found a few thing near me that could be consumed if I had no other food.

    1. wild onions. They were growing wild, strong and plentiful in our backyard. No time or care on our part. Just growing by themselves.

    2. Pine-needle tea. All you need are pine needles and clean water. It’s very high in Vitamins C and A.

    3. Dandelions and dandelion leaves. Excellent in salads, can make an entire salad of just dandelion leaves. The flowers make a YUMMY jelly, too.

    4. Prickly pear cactus. The spiny part of the cactus is flat like a beaver’s tail. It tastes like green beans but with the slimy texture of okra. The reddish/purplish “pear” (fruit) part tastes sweet and citrus-y. Also very high in Vitamin C.

    5. Blackberries or dew berries (they look similar). These grow on their own with very, very little cultivation. We have several vines in our backyard that grow wild and produce copious amounts of dew berries every (late) spring.

  35. Great post! This will be my fifth year gardening. And it does take practice! Each year comes something new (two years ago I was pregant with my twins…let’s just say I produced more weeds than anything)! This year I am going to try companion planting. I already have several plants going inside (45 tomato and 27 pepper). It is a great feeling knowing that I started those seeds and they are growing! (I did this last year too and these produced way more tomatoes than the plants I had purchased at the store the previous years.) Looking forward to another year and hope to have a much better garden than the last two years! Thanks for the encouragement!

  36. Great words, Kendra. I get quite riled up when I read an article or hear people say how easy gardening is and when the time comes they’ll just throw a few seeds in the ground and cover them with dirt. It’s not rocket science, but if you want to feed your family, it takes know-how and hard work!

  37. This is my second year gardening. The first was a HUGE learning curve. We did not harvest much compared to what we planted. 5 tomatoes off of 27 plants. That is an example. You say that gardening is not hard, but I think that for people who have never gardened, there are challenges, and a learning curve. I have moved my garden this year, expanded it, prayed over it. And I read about 40 books about gardening from my local library.

    It looks much better. I feel that it will be better this year. But I agree. Now is the time to get your training. You wouldn’t want your learning curve to happen on a year when you depended solely on this.

    This year my goal is to harvest and to save seed. I am trying to learn how. Some plants are easy to save seed from: beans. Others require more actual interaction on my part: squash.

    • Crafty_Cristy,

      I guess I need to clarify what I mean, lol. Gardening isn’t hard, as in extremely difficult labor (it doesn’t HAVE to be, anyways)… however, there is definitely a HUGE learning curve! In that regard, it is “hard”, as in not as easy as it seems!! There is a lot to learn, but I truly believe that practically anybody can do it. 🙂

  38. You’re right. I’m 3 years in (container gardening and I’ve moved as well), have a very shaded yard, and I’m still working on getting good yields for what I have planted. We’ve got: 4 lemon tree, 1 lime tree, 1 plum tree, a couple dozen strawberry plants, onions, garlic, mint, fennel (dead LOL), and tomatoes so far.

  39. Awesome post!! And I completely agree!! I have tried gardening for 3 years now; and as you said….it takes LOTS of practice!! Thanks so much for sharing!! I love your blog!!

  40. Thanks for writing this. Sometimes I wish I had gotten more serious a couple years ago, but like you said – start by doing SOMETHING. Gardening is not hard but it takes real-life experience to learn what works and what doesn’t.

  41. Well said!!
    I couldn’t agree more and fully intend to “go for it”. I’m working on creating a forest garden as much as I can, and then perennials, fruit bushes and the like. Even here on a boat where I am for the next 4 months I am sprouting and have got a sourdough going, both requiring experience and learning as you say. Hurrah, love this blog. X


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