Over the last two weeks, I have been trying to share some of the things I have learned and gone through as we journey towards self-sufficiency. A big piece of self-sustainability is making and growing your own food.
And honestly, I can’t recommend how to be a good gardener. Two years in a row I have attempted gardening from seeds. Both years with nothing to show. As a result, I’ve frequented my local farmers market more than my garden.
In the first year, I did a little bit of reading. My garden yielded nothing, literally. Although, I did find some carrots in the garden bed the following spring, the garden couldn’t be considered fruitful by any means.
In the second year, I did a bit more research and I began to compost. My composting began as a vermibin. A vermibin is a large sealable container with air circulation holes. The bin is filled with worms, needs to stay moist, be mixed, and can be filled with fruits, vegetables, eggs, coffee, tea, and yard scraps. The compost didn’t work as planned. Spiders ate my worms and the compost did not work as quickly as it needed to. However, the bin does work over the course of a year, from spring to spring, so it provides nice compost for the start of each season. During year two, I also had a late start to the season after being out of town for the month of June. Fortunately, we had an unusually warm fall and I was able to grow a few plants. The tomato, bell pepper, and jalapeños grew tall, but they produced miniature fruits. So again, I deemed my garden from year two to be completely unsuccessful.
This is the beginning of year three. It will be the year of the garden. I have done a great deal more research. I have spent time researching our climate zone, planning with a much more experienced gardener, building raised beds, and creating a larger compost (or at least I’ll be doing this as soon as we’re in the new house). Additionally, I hope to do some volunteer work with a local CSA farm, Community Supported Agriculture farm, to learn more. I also plan to plant ½ seedlings and begin the other half of my garden from seeds myself. With the exception of the seedlings and chicken wire fence I need to build, I do not plan to invest a significant amount of additional money. I do; however, plan to invest a significant amount of additional time and I am hopeful this year’s results will be much more successful.
Gardening plays an important role in our end goal and I am really hoping for a successful year. But given my history, the only advice I can provide to anyone else is to keep trying. I am hoping research will help my garden as much as it has effected my cooking abilities.