A vegetable garden is the perfect example of a sustainable resource. By growing your own crops, you can continue to develop food and cultivate seeds for future growth and expansion. For eager preppers, vegetable gardens ensure you always have food growing, helping you to rely less on supermarkets and even more on yourself and your land. Here’s a quick guide on how you can start harvesting your own vegetables!
When most people think of a vegetable patch, they only consider digging into the earth itself. While it’s good to get in the weeds and experience nature up close, a higher or raised vegetable bed is easier to reach. This also helps separate your actual crops from the ground, avoiding contamination from the likes of weeds. As we’ll soon discuss, this also helps you regulate the individual PH levels for each bed too. These beds can be easy to make, as they need only be large containers, wide enough to plant crops and deep enough to allow roots to spread happily. A good example should be something waist high and these are typically made from wood or other sustainable materials.
Depending on what you want to grow, you will need the right PH levels. In nature, everything is either acidic or alkaline. If the PH level is over 7 are alkaline (the higher the number, the more alkaline it is) while things lower than this are considered acidic. For truly sustainable crops, you need to match the crop to the soil. Potatoes, for instance, thrive in a lightly-acidic soil between 5.3 and 6.0 PH. As such, there are various ways to improve the quality of your soil, including composts and mulches, to either add or subtract the relevant acids or alkaline substances.
A good prepper knows to never throw anything away until it loses all value. When it comes to the garden, nearly all organic matter can be used in some fashion. Compost is the easy to make, while mulch can be made through similar means. Depending on the materials and properties of the waste used, this can even influence the PH levels and add vital nutrients. This makes your home more sustainable overall and you can even use leftover clippings, dead plant matter and more from the garden to sustain the next generation of vegetables! The same goes for leftover food in the home – today’s dinner really can be tomorrow’s fertilizer!
As already mentioned, it’s quite easy to support your production with organic, natural boosts. A key part of sustainability is only using organic materials, so as not to provide further damage to the environment. Compost is easy to make, while wood chippings, grass cuttings and other mulches can all be used to provide the added boost. Don’t buy calcium powder in the shops, for instance, when bone meal is readily available elsewhere! If you can’t make something yourself, there’s always someone with excess materials (many butchers and abattoirs have plenty of bones they can’t use, for instance!) so don’t be afraid to ask. It might cost a small amount but most people will be happy to let you take their excess waste off of their hands and, in return, you get to stay green and organic.
Save and Store Seeds
They say you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket and you shouldn’t plant all your seeds in one garden, either! Another key part of sustainability, as well as being prepared for anything, is expecting the worst. What happens, for instance, if you have a bad harvest and lose many of your plants? For this reason, it’s worth setting up your own seed bank. The majority of garden plants produce more than one seed – while others such as tomatoes and potatoes can be cultivated without seeds at all – giving you amply opportunities to gain additional seeds. Don’t plant all of these straight away! Store some of them in a safe environment. These will help you when you urgently need to plant new crops, or perhaps help a friend or even donate to a larger, national seed bank when you have some spare!
As you can see, it’s a lot to take in at first, but the basics are quite simple. Learn what soil your plants need, dedicate an area of your garden to it and use organic means to grow and develop your supply! There’s no need to panic, as vegetables take a while to grow, giving you plenty of time to learn and develop your gardening skills.
Tim Sparke is the CEO at 4pumps and for several years, he has been an active advocate of organic farming and sustainability. He also has a passion for writing and he writes the blog at 4pumps.
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