Wednesday, April 9, 2014

GROW Like Your Life Depends on It

Today I'm getting serious with you.  I can live without TV, computers and the many other "modern conveniences."  What I cannot live without is food and water.  

Food prices are skyrocketing.  Plain and simple.  California produces a significant amount of produce and cattle and they've seen the worst drought in 100 years.  Beef prices are rising due in part to droughts last year and then a horribly cold winter.  Add to that the rising cost of feed for livestock and you've got a recipe for disaster.

"Organic" produce at the market is ridiculous.  Joining a local CSA or buying club is one option to combat rising costs.  Farmer's Markets are another option.  
Still, someone still has to grow that food.  With the death of so many bees due to harmful chemicals and GMO crops, the time to grow your own and grow as organic as possible is now!

Organic Blue Lake Bush Beans straight from the garden
I have written here many times about the benefits of growing your own food.  Today let's talk survival.  A few weeks ago I asked a lady "Do you grow your own fruits or vegetables?"  She scowled at me and said "I go to Publix (grocery store)."

What if there was no grocery store?  What if food was being rationed?  What if food got so expensive that you could not afford to buy enough food to feed your family?

Do I have your attention yet?

I'm not saying you need to go out and tear up your entire lawn...even though I would if I could.  Starting with a few veggie and herb varieties that you enjoy eating would be a great start.  Do you have a space 4X4 that you could dedicate to growing?
Do you live in an apartment or condo that you could plant 3-5 containers on a patio or windowsill?

Let's get started!  Below are a few images to give you an idea.

from Vegetable Gardening
from Gardening for Squares
 If you plan on using Raised Beds, you can build your own, used recycled materials or check out Garden In Minutes.

NOW is the time to plant your seeds.  If your area is still cold, check out Seed Starting Indoors.  If you need a good grow light, check out my Indoor Growing page.  Organic dirt can be purchased in bulk from most nurseries.
Coconut Coir Pellets make seed starting easy and semi-mess free. 

Plant what you like to Eat
If no one in your family will eat cauliflower, then don't plant cauliflower.  Varieties such as zucchini, acorn squash and watermelon are heavy producers so plant accordingly.  Varieties such as carrots, beets and radish will only produce 1 veggie for 1 seed so plant accordingly.

Succession planting is a great way to plant for continual harvest.  For example, planting 100 beets at one time might not be a great idea unless you eat a lot of beets or plan on canning.  Instead, plant 10-20 at a time every 1-2 weeks for a continual harvest.  The same can be done for carrots, radish, leeks and onions.

Plants take time to Grow
Below is a short list for different varieties of veggies and how many days they take to mature.  Most of these varieties can be grown in square foot gardens and even in containers if space is an issue.

Beans            55-65
Beets             55-60
Broccoli        48-75
Carrots         70
Corn              90
Cucumber     60-70
Eggplant       80 
Greens          40-60
Leeks            100-110
Peppers        75-90
Pumpkin      100-110
Radish          25-30
Squash          55-60
Tomatoes      60-90
Watermelon 70-90

Don't forget about Wildflowers!  Adding wildflowers to your garden can attract pollinators which may increase your garden output.  Some wildflowers such as Yarrow and Coneflower have reported medicinal properties.  
Check out 5 Reasons to Plant Wildflowers.

There are so many varieties of Basil!
Herbs are another great addition to the garden.  Basil is one of my absolute favorites and it is a companion plant for many of my veggies.  Again, plant what you will use.

As I've said before...Plant Non-GMO, Heirloom Seeds for a safe and cost-effective garden.  Heirloom Seeds have been passed down from generations.  They are typically hardier varieties and you can SAVE SEEDS for years to come.

There you have it!  If you have additional questions or would like a bit of help deciding what to plant or how to plant, please feel free to ask.

Sign up for our E-Newsletter


Unknown said...

Enjoyed your post and I am a believer in growing garden food. I grew up gardening and then took a break for several years but am back at it. In fact right now I am involved in starting a community garden in our town so more people have a chance to grow their own food! Would love to have you stop by the Four Seasons Blog Hop and share!

Marla said...

Hi Mary,
Good post! I am a believer in growing your own food or buying local if you can't grow on own. The raised beds you mentioned work great are easy to maintain and the plants grow very well. Thanks for sharing. Marla

Becca said...

Neat ideas for gardening with a small space, Mary. And I agree. What would we do if we COULDN'T just buy what we need? I want to become more self-sufficient in that way.

Kathi said...

Good morning, Mary! I've featured your post at this week's HomeAcre Hop. Congratulations.

Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

Lisa Lynn said...

So true! Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again today!

Betsy Pool said...

Thanks for the inspiration to get started planting!! Thanks for sharing at Take it on Tuesday!!
~ Betsy @ Romance on a dime