Why it’s a good idea to have an edible garden
Our Economic State: Let’s face it. Our economy is in the dumps. As of June 1, 2012, 8.9 % of our population is unemployed. That’s 12.7 million Americans without a means to feed their families and themselves without outside help. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, food prices continue to rise. According to the US Department of Labor (USDL) – Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices have risen 2.8% in the last 12 month (as of May 2012). And according the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), food prices are expected to rise between 3% – 4% per year. Now, these percentages may seem like low numbers, but it really adds up. Imagine if you were taxed an additional 3% on foods each year. Still seems low? Between 2005 – 2008, USDL reported a 217% increase in the world food prices. In just 3 years, what would have cost $2 now costs $4.34.
Disaster Preparedness: TV shows like Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Shelters have made people more aware of disaster preparedness. Some folks really took it to heart: modifying their lifestyles to extremes, building fallout shelters, and stocking up on guns and ammo. While these preps can be important in some scenarios, there is one scenario the we need to handle each and every day, with or without a disaster: hunger. In fact, most of us deal with it about 3 times a day. I’d say this makes food one of the top priorities in a survival situation. Now I know most preppers have the food aspect handled with large supplies of dehydrated, canned, or vacuum packed foods, but if the disaster is long enough, those foods will eventually run out. But even before the foods run out, wouldn’t it just be nice to supplement your freeze-dried foods with some fresh food? Military guys what I mean. Eating MRE’s for 16 days straight sucks, period.
Eating Healthy / Organic: you know better than anyone that producing your own REAL food is the way to go. Grow your own food and avoid the trickery in today’s supermarket foods labeled “Organic”. And unless you have a fat wallet and don’t care about costs, growing your own food can lead to substantial saving on your food bill.
Home Food Production
Whether you have a huge backyard or a small patio in an apartment complex, growing your own food isn’t as hard as you think. In fact, edible gardens are fairly easy, the hardest part is just going for it. It can be as simple as get a pot, fill it with soil, add seeds, and water.
About two years ago, I took the plunge and went for it. I live in Southern California in a house with a decent sized backyard. Unfortunately, the soil is hard packed clay and at first it was very discouraging. I tried many different techniques to amend the soil, but in the end I went with raised beds for my vegetables. You can see the complete build in my raised bed article here.
On the other hand, my buddy Adam lives in an apartment with backyard that can’t be dug up for gardening. His solution? Container gardening. The cool thing about container gardening for edibles with that it requires less work to start and maintain. It’s totally portable and works perfectly for people without a lot of space. Plants not getting enough or getting too much sun? Just move it. For anyone wishing to have an edible garden with limited space, take a look at Adam’s container gardening solution here.
Whether you raised bed garden or container garden, you are going to produce some of the best tasting vegetable you’ve ever had. In fact, you’ll likely produce much more than you can eat. So what do you do with it? You can give them to neighbors (which helps build stronger communities) or you can follow these simple steps and pickle themor just slice them and sun dry them for use later. Home grown vegetable tastes so much better you’ll wonder if you can eat store bought veggies again. Nutrition levels are higher and if you use non-GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds and no chemical insecticide, you know exactly what your putting into your body and you’re body will thank you in the long run.
And let’s not stop at vegetables. Most cities will allow a homeowner to have a few chickens. My city allows for up to five chickens (just hens, no roosters) with the proper permit. Chickens are easy to take care of and don’t have a strong odor like most people think. They produce approximately one egg per hen per day as early as 4 months old. They steadily produce eggs for about 3-4 years. They eat your table scraps and as an added bonus, chicken poop is an excellent fertilizer for your garden! If you’re interested in backyard chickens, take a look here for my “how to raise backyard chickens“.
So if you’ve even thought about the idea of producing some of your own food or just need a way to save alittle at the grocery store, consider planting an edible garden or raising chickens. It’s very rewarding, not just to your wallet, but to your overall sense of well being. To see more pictures of the vegetables in our edible garden, check out “Mixed Vegetables” in our photo album. Good luck with yours!~ John, Modern Bushman>