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cherry tomatoes

As part of my emergency preparedness, I’m really looking forward to planting a vegetable garden this year. It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to have one, but now I’m in a new house with room in the backyard for a decent size garden. In my imagination, this garden will be my best one ever! But here, I am in a new climate (this isn’t California, for sure!), and I’m not quite sure when spring will start. I’ve been waiting (mostly patiently) for spring and to be able to plant without danger of frost. The temperatures during the day here have been very pleasant recently – but I just heard we are due for freezing temperatures again tonight.

Thankfully, my daughter (who has experience with gardening in Utah) warned me a few months ago. “The seeds and plant starts at the stores are just teasing you. It is too early to plant them…or even to start the seeds inside. When they are big enough to plant outside, it still won’t be warm enough.”  I wanted to start as soon as I saw gardening things available to buy, but I guess that would have been a bit like buying a new swimsuit in March – way too early to do anything with it once I had it.

Instead of getting the garden actually planted, I’ve been working on the “pre-garden” tasks. There are more than you would think!

Why bother with having a garden?

There are so many reasons I want a garden this year. Have you ever tasted a tomato that is fresh from the vine of a home garden? As my mother said, “it’s a whole different vegetable.” – Fresh tomatoes are much more flavorful than the tomatoes from the supermarket! But there are other reasons to have a garden. There’s the “working in the earth is good therapy” aspect and the “kids are more willing to eat things they helped grow” aspect. And there are several emergency preparedness reasons for having a garden. Having a garden means you can add fresh, organic vegetables right from your garden to your eFoods meals instead of buying produce elsewhere – which is much better for the family budget and our world. Also, when you have a garden, there is the potential for more food during an emergency: fresh if it is growing when you need it, or canned or bottled if you had a great crop and are able to store some for the off season. And knowing how to garden is a valuable self-sufficiency skill to have – along with storing seeds that you can use for a garden.

So considering there’s another frost expected tonight, and it’s too early to put the seeds into the ground, what gardening can we do now? There is plenty of preliminary work we can and should do before planting anything. First of all, think about where you will put the garden, and what type you want. Do you want it in the ground or up in raised beds? Or will you be doing container gardening? Each method has its benefits, and you can evaluate them for your situation. You can plan what you will plant where and how much to plant of each kind. Once the ground has thawed, it’s time to prepare the garden spot – dig in the soil, loosen it, get rid of any weeds, and add in mulch or other fertilizer. You can also buy your seeds – but hold off on buying plants that are already started until you’ve got the ground ready and they can go into the ground soon. Personally, I’m leaning towards raised beds for some square-foot gardening this time. I’ve heard those help give a good yield, and I’m curious to try them.

Unfortunately, for most of us, gardening isn’t something we can do year round, so it is important to have food stored as well. Some can be preserved from our own garden during the growing season, assuming we grow enough that we don’t eat it all fresh, but other things are best bought already packaged for when we need it, including eFoodsDirect products.

So join me, while we wait for spring to really arrive, and let’s plan why, when, and what type of garden we want this year. Whether you are growing tomatoes in containers on your apartment balcony or have a large backyard garden with several types of vegetables, you can have fresh vegetables to add to your eFoods storage and enhance your gardening skills – which adds to your personal preparedness. Let’s both continue to dream of the amazing garden we will have this year!

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