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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beginning a Garden for Life and Survival



     In recent years the ideas of victory gardens and homesteads have enjoyed a resurgence as people look to find different ways to save a little money, be more "green", or just as a way to get fresh vegetables.  However, gardens are important for survivalists as well.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our newest gadgets, bug out bags, and survival caches that we forget to think about those other long term plans for when all those things run out or stop working.


                                      

     In recent years the ideas of victory gardens and homesteads have enjoyed a resurgence as people look to find different ways to save a little money, be more "green", or just as a way to get fresh vegetables.  However, gardens are important for survivalists as well.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our newest gadgets, bug out bags, and survival caches that we forget to think about those other long term plans for when all those things run out or stop working.

     A garden is something that can be grown just about anywhere.  It is easy to plant a garden in your backyard.  However if you're in an apartment you are not left out of the gardening scene.  There are many different ways to do container gardening, and vertical gardening can create beautiful wall decorations that are also edible.

     Being skilled in gardening gives you a leg up after shtf, because rather than having to eat only out of cans, and scavenging for food when you cans get low, you can grow your own.  Once you've grown your own, you can also can your own!  For those of us making a survival pantry, this is a great way to get large stocks of food, for pretty cheap.

     So when starting a garden for survival purposes and for every day purposes, there are a few different things you need to take into consideration for your garden.  The first of these is space.  You have to decide where you are going to grow your garden.  Is it going to be outside or inside?  How much light is available in that space?  Are you growing in pots? In garden beds? Are their other options that would work well and would give you more growing space?

     Once you decide how much space and in what you will be growing your garden, you should then make a garden plan.  A garden plan is your blueprint and you will want your plan to be fleshed out before you plant.  If you can get the growing specifications for the plants you want, that will certainly help your plant, because you will know how to space your plants.  You will also know where you should put your plants depending on whether they need full sun, partial, or if they grow in the shade.  A garden plan also allows you to make aesthetic choices as well, so you can pair up plants that compliment each other so your garden is beautiful.

     For those who want a garden that is more camouflaged, a garden plan can also help you do that as well.  That way, if there is a disaster, your garden will blend into the weeds and foliage around it, so that it doesn't present itself as an obvious food source to other survivors who are out scavenging.

     Before you start any of your planting, and even before you finish your plans, there is another aspect that you should keep in mind.  Nutrition.  A garden is a great way to get a large variety of different foods.  However, when shtf, your going to want to make sure that the plants in your garden give you good nutrition for your diet.  It is good to cover a wide range of vitamins and nutrients in the different foods in your garden, this will help prevent a number of different diseases and disorders such as scurvy, rickets, and night blindness.

     Once you have determined what types of plants you want in your garden you should determine the variant of plant that you want and whether you will start from seeds or from already started plants from a local nursery or gardening store.  With any plant you want in your garden, there are going to be numerous different varieties.  You can choose these varieties based on the qualities of the plant, as well as on whether the plant is organic and or an heirloom variety.  When I am choosing plants for my garden, I tend to use heirloom plants, because I can be sure that those are not genetically modified varieties or a plant, and because you can also save the seeds from your crops for future use.

     Once you decide on the varieties of plants, and you decide on whether or not you want seeds or already started plants, you should figure out exactly when you want to start your garden.  This will depend on whether or not you are starting from seeds.  When you start a garden outside you need to consider what planting zone you are in.  I have a post on that here.  Once you determine what zone you are in, you will know at what point you should begin planting outside.  For those of you starting with seeds, you will need to start earlier than that.  How much earlier will depend on what types of seeds you have, but these directions are easy to find on seed packets.  If you are going to save seeds it may be helpful to keep your seed packets so you have those directions for future use. 

     Once you have gone through these beginning steps you have the beginnings of a garden.  It you do have to take care of it, and keep an eye on it.  A garden is an easy thing to start but it does take time and effort to make sure your garden thrives.  However in the end it is worth it for the fresh produce, the money that can be saved, and the new skill learned that will help you in the regular world, and when shtf.

~Sara

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