Friday, June 27, 2014

Why do I vegetable garden?

When you vegetable garden, you are investing a lot of time, effort and energy into this endeavor. You do it for the health benefits that come from working the soil as well as eating your bounty. You do it to share the harvest and to preserve for the future months. It takes time to learn what works and what doesn’t.

You certainly do not learn it overnight. But failure is bound to show its ugly face from time to time, due to bad weather like heavy rain and wind, incorrect planning or scheduling like planting too early or too late and other problems like pest control issues (weeds, insects and diseases).

You will get used to common practices in the garden that are mainstays such as composting. Every great garden has a compost heap within the garden or at least nearby. 

A good gardener will use EVERY resource made available to them like materials that will keep feeding the heap. Look for stables in your area for a constant supply of manure. Raise your own livestock to supply yourself with your own manure. I raise rabbits and it’s one of the best manures around, in my opinion!

As our world is changing politically, our government is making it harder to get our money’s worth, so look for heirloom varieties of seeds that you can save seed from, for each succeeding season. Collect and share seed. It’s a great way to make friends and to try new varieties that have never grown in your garden. 

Share your bounty with others and it will come back to you. I practice paying it forward on a regular basis, and have been blessed in many ways because of it.

When it comes to harvesting, do it at the right time. Your plants produce the best tasting produce when taken from the plant at the right time. Harvest too early and you have to ripen veggies inside the house (if they will ripen off of the plant), loosing flavor and sacrificing nutrients. Harvest too late and you lose the benefit of those same nutrients too.

In regard to processing, harvesting properly is one of the most important steps in your effort to provide for your family. Learn what type of processing works best for each vegetable. Canning is not always the answer. As well, neither is dehydrating. Find out what works best for the veggie you intend to process and also what works best for you. Find a good, tough, vacuum sealer. This will become one of the best tools in your kitchen.
At the end of the day, I can say that most every day that I’ve done something related to my garden, has been a wonderful experience. Don’t let failure keep you from growing a garden every year. 

Don’t let someone else change your mind just because you miss the mark. I’ve had more failures than I would really want to admit, but they haven’t stopped me. I now have a 7,000 square foot garden and it produces all sorts of good things for my family and me, so GO FOR IT!

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