Nearly every prepper “authority” out there will tell you that in order to be truly self-sufficient, whether during a SHTF disaster or even just day to day life, you need a way to produce your own food and that the most efficient way to do that is gardening. I definitely agree with that.
Gardening (along with hunting, fishing and foraging) can help you untangle yourself from the inherently unstable modern food system that most people use to obtain their most basic survival needs. All of these skills should be extremely important to preppers as there could come a time where we have to rely on ourselves and our skills just to put food on the table.
Gardening is probably the most efficient way of producing food. If you’ve got dirt, seeds, water and sunlight, you can grow your own food.
Sounds pretty easy right? I wish!
Every day I see new articles from various prepper websites that preach the importance of gardening, but most of them tend to give the impression that if the world ended tomorrow that you can just throw some seeds in the backyard and in a no time you should have an entire smorgasbord of food waiting for you.
The people that truly could rely on their home gardens to produce most of their food have been gardening for generations and have a lot of experience. They know what they can grow, where they can grow it, what the plants really need and how to maximize their yields. Even then, gardening most likely will never supplement an entire family’s food supply.
I think this fallacy is one of the main reasons why gardening gets glossed over a lot with a lot of preppers. Many get into gardening with no experience, have 1 or 2 seasons of dismal production and simply give up.
In today’s article, we’ll go over the 4 most common reasons why preppers tend to fail with gardening and what you can do to make sure you’re giving your new garden the very best chances for success.
Planting the wrong things
A lot of new gardeners seem to think that they should be able to plant anything and have a bounty of delicious food within a couple months. It doesn’t work like that. The U.S. is divided into “zones”. These zones are determined by numerous factors like average rainfall, temperature, typical soil PH levels and various other criteria.
If you try to plant something that is not approved for your zone, you’re going to have problems. Be sure to do some basic research on the plants you’re wanting to grow to make sure they will thrive in your zone.
Planting in the wrong area
Plants require varying levels of sunlight to be productive. Each plant is pretty specific with its lighting needs. Therefore, you can’t just start putting seeds anywhere. You need to take into consideration how much sunlight your garden will typically get throughout the season and pick plants that will do well with that level of sunlight.
If you try to plant something that requires a lot of sunlight, but you plant it on the shady side of your house or in an area covered by tress, chances are those plants are just going to die or have a very low yield because they’re not getting enough light. On the same token, if you plant something that doesn’t require a lot of light into an area that gets constant sun throughout the day, chances are the plants will be overexposed and won’t be successful.
Planting in the wrong times
Every area has a different “Sweet spot” for when to start planting. Some plants do well at the very beginning and end of the planting season while others grow better during the heart of the summer. Be sure to do some basic research on the plants that you want to grow to make sure that you’re not planting them at the wrong time of the year.
Too little or too much water will kill plants. Plants are the most productive when they’re hitting their “Sweet spot” of water intake. It would be nice if every plant could just come with directions on how much water is ideal but unfortunately that’s just not possible. It could be an especially dry or wet season in your area and some plants just need more or less water than others depending on how you set up your garden bed.
This is one of the main areas where experience comes in. After a few growing seasons, you should be able to get a good idea for how much water it will take for your usual plants to thrive.
Gardening isn’t extremely hard by any means but it does take experience and planning to get it right. Don’t give up! If you’re having trouble getting your garden to be productive, take some time to really research the plants themselves. As long as you stick to it and keep learning, you’ll be well on your way to supplementing a lot of your own food in no time.
Do you have any tips or tricks that could help new gardeners? Please let us know in the comments!