My first attempt at gardening came when I was about ten years old. My dad had always kept a garden so I thought it would be cool to give it a shot. That is, until I realized that there was actual work involved! I gave it up almost immediately. My dad, on the other hand, has kept his garden going strong every year.
A few years back, I began to really take seriously the idea of a total economic collapse. My solution was to throw a few seed packets into my Bug Out Bag and to have some packets tucked away at home, just in case. Thankfully, last year I had the idea to actually plant a garden in order to get some actual experience under my belt. I live in an apartment, so I am very limited as to how extensive I can get with my gardening.
The first thing I thought to do was to get one or more of those Topsy Turvy upside-down planters that I have seen advertized on TV. I went to my local Wal Mart and didn’t see any there. But what they did have there was a Tumbling Tom tomato plant. It was a tomato plant spilling over the side of a pot, meant to be hung outside on a porch or from a pole. I thought it was pretty cool, so I took it home and hung it up outside on my patio.
Next, I built a garden box. due to my limited space on my patio, I made one that is 4′ x 6′ and filled it with soil. I planted pepper, tomato and squash plants and carrot seeds. The mistake that I made was that I tried to cram too much into such a little space. The tomatoes came out great, as did the squash. But the peppers never bore fruit and the carrots were just plain pathetic.
The real success came with a big risk that I took. I decided to dig up some soil in the back yard about the same size as the garden box. I planted broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers. It turned out that only the cucumbers sprouted. But they grew like crazy! They took over half of the patio and even reached the apartment building! I got so many cucumbers that I had to give a lot of them away to family and coworkers. And some of them were huge! Good thing the apartment management never said a word about it.
As for the plants that didn’t do so hot, I believe that overcrowding and my using old seeds were the culprit. Next time I plant, I will allow for more room per plant. But I will also be more selective as to the seeds that I use. From what I have heard and read, almost all of the seeds that are commercially available are the hybrid GMO (genetically modified) type. This type of seed produces fruit that cannot be used for their seeds. If planted, they will not grow anything, or perhaps may produce another generation but not a second. Another problem is that studies have shown that GMO foods have been harmful to animals. It even causes infertility. I believe that these foods may also be harmful to humans. I will be doing much more research on this subject. My advice? Buy non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds. They are also called heirloom seeds as they produce good seed each generation, just like God intended.
My approach to gardening will be different this year as I am looking to move out of this apartment in a couple months. Sure, I am still set on finding a Topsy Turvy or two to grow some tomato plants in. But I will be using some space at my dad’s place to continue my gardening experience. I may even bring my garden box over there and use it again. In any case, I am expecting better results there due to the available space.
Another thing I want to try this year is what is called guerilla gardening. The basic concept is to plant a garden wherever you can find available space. Some people use empty lots in a city. I am looking at an area where I go hiking that very few other people even know is there. I plan on finding a small clearing off the beaten path with decent sunlight where I can grow some cucumbers, squash, maybe even some watermelons. Whatever I plant, I am looking forward to this experiment as I think it will closely resemble what gardening may look like in a worst case scenario.
Even if the S never hits the F, I believe that gardening is a good skill to develop. It’s what we were originally programmed to do. It can save you money on food, especially when coupled with some good preserving and canning skills. Plus, growing your own garden, you can make sure that you are eating quality food without worrying about consuming something that is possibly harmful to you. One of the best reasons for gardening is just being closer to the land. It gives me a much better appreciation for the life-giving process started by God Himself in the beginning.