One of the best things about growing a vegetable garden is having access to a ready source of food in the case of an emergency. From green beans and tomatoes to carrots, kale, lettuce and more, a backyard garden can give us a sense of security, as well as a steady stream of delicious veggies in the event of an apocalyptic disaster. Whether you have cultivated a garden for years or are just developing your green thumb to grow a food supply, there are several common mistakes that people make that may seem like they are good for your garden, but can actually be harmful. The following four things should be avoided as much as possible.
While you might think that zombies or marauding citizens would be the biggest threat to your backyard food supply, it is probably that innocent looking canister of fertilizer you have in your shed. Many people naturally think that if a little fertilizer is good, a lot is great, but this is not the case. Fertilizers should be used sparingly and only if you have found out that your soil is lacking vital nutrients. While some plants, like corn, tend to do well with a bit of a fertilizer boost, this can usually be accomplished by adding compost to the soil, instead of a bunch of commercial fertilizers.
Buying Large Plants
If you are purchasing some vegetable plants at a local greenhouse or home improvement store, it might be tempting to select the biggest ones that already have little veggies forming on them. However, it’s best to purchase smaller, younger plants and let them do most of their growing and blooming in your own garden. In some cases, the developing fruits and veggies will fall off during the transplant process, so whenever possible, focus on the smaller selections and allow them to mature in your soil, not the little pots at the store. This will provide you with the heartiest and most reliable source of food that you can use in case of an emergency.
Planting Too Close to Windows
Although it’s nice to keep an eye on your garden from your window, the windows themselves might be causing harm to your carefully-tended plants. Some windows can throw heat onto the garden and surrounding landscaping than is healthy for the garden.
If your crops are close to the windows and you notice that the plants are showing signs of sunburn or are wilting faster than they should, you may want to boost your watering schedule, or add awning over the windows.
If your windows are on the older side and the budget allows it consider replacing your windows with models that won’t throw off as much light, like energy-efficient, vinyl replacement windows that may not radiate as much heat as traditional glass. As a bonus, new windows can boost the security of your home, which can definitely come in handy in the case of a World War Z situation.
Yes, it can be very frustrating to come outside and find your prized lettuce crop virtually destroyed by caterpillars or other six-legged creatures. While many gardeners keep a bottle of bug killer on hand, try to resist the urge to use pesticides. In addition to knocking off the bug bad guys, most pesticides will also kill the plethora of beneficial bugs and arachnids that call your garden home—including bees, spiders. The better approach is to figure out which pest is doing the damage, and come up with a plan of action to eliminate just the one insect. You can speak with an expert at a garden center or look up tips and advice online.