Take a Sec... Share with your Friends!!

During a visit with my wife's grand parents, who have lived in the country all their lives, I was reminded at how life was lived not too long ago.  At 80+ years old, they were still picking apples from their apple trees, proudly displayed cherry trees and even offered some seedlings for our Urban Homestead.  Their vegetable garden growing Canadian staples such as Green Beans, Corn and Potatoes looked great surrounded by gooseberries and raspberries bushes.  A quick visit in the root cellar to raid their canning shelf really brought the message back home... you can grow a great abundance of your own food!

The first step in moving towards a more self sufficient lifestyle is to start a vegetable garden.  Starting slow and working at your own pace.  The problem is the world got itself is such a hurry that it forgot the road from whence it came.

As first time gardeners, the key is to start slow.  Do not overwhelm yourself by turning your entire backyard into one huge garden, you will be wrought with disappointment.  There is a learning curve.  Take your time and get a good understanding of what works and what doesn't.  Here's a few ideas to get started...

Start small.  A raised bed garden four feet by eight feet would be sufficient. Start with two of them if you are ambitious.  You can mark off a section of your yard for feet by 12 feet if raised beds are not for you.  You can buy some peat moss and some composted manure to help the health of your soil as well.  Check your local gardening store for soil tests and take appropriate guided action.

Vegetable selection.  Again ask your neighbours or your local gardening store for vegetables that are easy to grow in your area.  In Eastern Canada these are Green Beans, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, Green Peppers, Carrots and Potatoes to name a few.  Green Beans are great and the easiest to preserve by canning, same with Tomatoes.

Preserving yield.  There are many methods to preserve your crop to last you well into the winter.  Canning and freezing being the most prevalent.  You can also dehydrate some vegetables as well.  Being your first few years, you will most likely not have much to preserve and will most likely eating and sharing.  Once you know what and how to grow, as well as how much yield per crop to expect, you can expand your vegetable garden and plan your preservatives to hold you over winter.

If anything at all, gardening brings a sense of community as you share and learn knowledge and produce with your friends and neighbours.  Even though this is being written at the end of the this years growing season, that only means that next years planning is ready to start.  Keep tuned for tips on fall garden prep and cleanup as well as next season planning.

Keep it Green!

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