How to Make Your Garden as Beneficial as Possible
It doesn’t take a lot of resources to build a garden that will give you enough vegetables or fruits to last the entire year. However, it does require a lot of planning, along with choosing the right crops, in order to be successful. Let’s take a look at a few things to consider as you create a system that can give you greater food security.
Take some time to think about how many fruits and vegetables you eat in a year. How many potatoes or tomatoes do you go through? How about lettuce, squash, berries or apples? Chances are that it’s a lot less than you think. Consequently, you can arrange your garden so that you don’t take up unnecessary space as you match what you need to what you eat more-effectively. You’d be surprised that a few tomato or potato plants may be more than enough.
It’s also very easy to want to plant every kind of crop under the sun that can thrive in your climate. However, think about how many of those veggies you will actually eat. How many of them can be processed and stored over the long-term? My neighbor brought over some lettuce and squash the other day that looked fantastic. However, the lettuce was very bitter and the squash seemed to have more seeds than meat. Consequently, the lettuce ended up going to waste (they threw theirs out as well) while there wasn’t enough squash to go around.
While it’s important to have space in your garden for experimental crops, it’s also important to plant seeds that you know will produce foods that you will like once harvest comes. Dedicate most of that space for the foods you will eat so that you will end up with the greatest return on your investment.
It’s also important to choose varieties of crops that are resilient and capable of thriving in less-than-ideal conditions. You never know if you will experience excessive heat, drought, viruses or insect infestations during the growing season, and you want to minimize the chances of suffering devastating crop losses. Take some time to research what species will produce the desired results while also being able to withstand a lot of the stress that Mother Nature can throw their way.
Some of us have access to an abundance of water year-round whereas many of us need to conserve our supplies. Consider how much water your crops will need during an average growing season, and this will help you to decide whether or not to make any changes based on available resources. The last thing you need is to waste hundreds of gallons of water on an inefficient crop when it could have been used on a better alternative. While this may sound a bit overly-cautious, every drop of water we save translates into more at our disposal during a crisis.
Finally, make sure that you choose crops that can thrive in the soil conditions on your property. While you can add special soil or fertilizer to supplement what you have, it can be a laborious and costly undertaking. You will need to continually monitor soil quality in order to ensure that a particular crop is getting the nutrients it needs if the soil you have isn’t naturally the best match.
Remember that your garden represents an opportunity to become more self-sufficient while having greater control over what you eat. Take time to think about how you can tailor it to meet your needs, and chances are that you will end up with better yields and a better stockpile come harvest time.