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The biggest hurdle for most people who want to be self sufficient, is how do I feed my family? Start with a little bit at a time. If you try to take on to much at one time, you burn yourself out. What does your family use? Herbs? Vegetables? Fruits? How much space do you have? Is it full sun or part shade? Are those plants able to grow in your climate zone? Do you need a greenhouse? What is your soil like? Does it need improved?
A simple gardening start is herbs. You can grow them in pots just off your porch or in a designated area in your yard. Think of what you use the most of: Oregano, basil, peppermint, parsley, rosemary, dill, cilantro, etc. If you have sunny windows you can even bring many of those pots inside in the winter and continue to harvest from them. Now choose to grow them instead of buying them! The herbs I listed are easy grow especially if you buy them as plants. Starting them from seed takes a bit more, but that is for another day…
Next the garden. What vegetables do you and your family enjoy? Grow them! Cucumbers are an easy one to grow but take up space. However, have them climb a fence or arch and you suddenly have way room! Tomatoes are also easy and do well with full sun. They are also versatile in preservation and so many uses! Spaghetti, salsa, simple sauce, soup, just to name a few. Peppers also do well in most gardens. Think what kind of peppers? Hot, sweet? What are you using them for? Fresh eating, cooking, as a spice?
Choose a few more plants to try every year. Every year you will become more comfortable with the plants you have and will be ready for more. My aim is to grow all the vegetables we need for the entire year. My first garden (2014) I grew a few tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, pumpkin, and corn. I didn’t harvest a whole lot of the produce because the garden was planted late and the soil was terrible. That fall I cleaned the horse pen out right into the garden! That following year? The plants were healthy and very bountiful! Now I add a little horse poo every fall and my garden continues to expand. This year (2020) I have, tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, snap peas, green beans, carrots, radishes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, onion, and garlic. My herbs are no longer just in the pots by the house but have their own area as well.
The best plants I’ve found are heirloom varieties. You can find all sorts at Seed Savers! The flavor tends to be better and as a bonus the plants produce seeds that you can start next years plants from!
The next few blogs are going to focus around planting with a purpose in mind.
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