I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately asking for advice for preppers wanting to get into growing their own vegetables, on route to becoming self sufficient, healthy and prepared. It’s not easy but if I can do it then surely you can too. Here are some of my favorite tips to get you started. Feel free to add your own in the comments box below:
* I think the first rule for anyone starting out with a homesteading garden is to focus on growing only what you intend to eat. There is little point growing tomatoes if your entire family does not like them!
* Know what will grow in your location – starting a homesteading garden in say the South West you can probably get away with a lot broader varieties of fruits and vegetables than you can say starting your gardening in South Dakota – where of course you will need to focus on my robust vegetables and legumes (beans)
* Having a successful homesteading garden takes effort at first and accept that there will be a learn curve. The first year my family started pretty much everything but our tomato crops failed. learn from your mistakes and accept that it will take time to get good at this
* It is wise to start with a limited run of vegetables and scale up over time. A small well cared garden when you are starting out will yield better results than a large one given less focus and attention
* Once you narrow down what plats you want to start with its best to invest in non hybrid seeds. Non Hybrid seed (often called Heirloom seed as well) is seed that has been naturally pollinated – this difference between this and hybrid seeds is hybrid seeds lack nutrition in the final fruit or vegetables and you cannot save the seeds from these plats to be used again in next seasons garden
* If you have a limited amount of space for your garden look into “container gardening” You can plant your veggies on your balcony, deck or patio using this method. Containers also make it easier for you to control the soil, light, water and fertilizer.
* Again if you are limited in the amount of space you have for your garden you way want to investigate vertical gardening – using trellis’s to grow crops up not sideways The best plants for vertical gardening are Peas, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Asparagus pumpkins and sweet potatoes. You can even buy prepackaged “grow walls” at many home and garden centers now!
* For those who still live a city you can get your start right on your own balcony start with herbs, the best ones to start with oregano, parsley, thyme, basil, rosemary, dill and some smaller vergetables like cherry tomatoes and peppers.If you choose to plant cucumbers they will each need their own pot so that they are not overcrowded.
* Consider putting wire over your veggies to stop your pets digging in your vegetable gardens, my dogs love to dig in the toiled soil,especially when its hot.
* Look into “companion planting – Its about how certain plants can protect each other from pests and diseases, if done right you can get away with using no pesticides on your plants. There is a book i cannot recommend enough called “”Carrots love Tomatoes”
* If you cannot get companion planting to work for you please look into organic alternatives to pesticides to keep bugs and other predators off your plants – its just not wise to dowse the vegetables you plan to eat with such toxic chemicals!
* Once you get into your second year of homestead gardening make sure you rotate your crops, so that you do not deplete the nutritional value of your soil (which happens when you plant the same crops in the same soil year after year) So don’t plant the same plants in the same spot year in year out.
* Consider canning. Its a great way to make your vegetables last the winter months and its easy to do. Easy but not the cheapest, however you cannot put a price on knowing exactly what is in your jars! There is something deeply fulfilling about preserving fresh food for later.
Once you spend some time on your garden and start to see results you will never go back to store bought veggies again!