I have some garden skills we need to learn and teach others. I have had a garden my entire life. Sometimes the garden produces so much food we are posting on Facebook to come to our home and get some free vegetables. Then some years we can’t grow zucchini. Come on, Linda everyone can grow zucchini. I haven’t been able to for the last two years. As you may know, I live in Southern Utah and we have the worst soil, it’s called rock-hard red clay. After a couple of years of planting stuff in large oversized pots, I finally invested in some raised garden beds. Here’s the deal, it took me forever to find some acceptable, not too expensive 18-inch raised beds. You need your soil tilled or loamy at least 18 inches deep to grow tomatoes. Mark and I had to put them together, which was easy. I wish now I had invested in some spikes that will hold the pieces of wood in place that are safe to use for gardening. Live and learn.
If I were to build my dream garden, I would build the beds two feet tall by 12 feet long. Did you notice I said beds, as in plural? I am way past the farmer or homesteading life by owning 5 acres or even one acre. I wouldn’t mind a 1/2 acre plot, we have had a 1/2 acre yard before and it’s just the right size for Mark and me.
Have your soil analyzed if possible then you will learn what additives should be added to make your soil produce the best possible fruits and vegetables.
Prepare your soil correctly, these are some garden skills for my area I learned at a local nursery. Our soil needs a lot of additives such as Azomite, Coco Coir Block, Worm Casings, Organic Bone Meal, Organic compost, and Vermiculite. I have learned I can’t add a lot of coffee grinds (free from your local coffee shop) because it produces too much nitrogen. Use sparingly, I learned that after I tried to keep the stray cats in the neighborhood from using my garden as kitty litter every day. You can buy most of these at your local big box stores as well.
My favorite items for my soil:
Azomite Micronized Bag, 44 lb
FibreDust Coco Coir Block
Unco Industries Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer, 15-Pound
Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic Bone Meal, 3 lb.
Espoma VM8 8-Quart Organic Vermiculite
Buy only Heirloom Non-GMO seeds that you can save and use year after year. Let’s strive to keep Monsanto out of our gardens. Every seed you save from the best plants holds a connection to both the future and the past generations. This is why the tomatoes we buy at the local grocery stores no longer taste like tomatoes. They are genetically modified organisms, in most cases. No flavor and they are sprayed with chemicals to ripen in unnatural ways. If you buy organic food at TRUE organic stores or farmer’s markets they should be good.
We need to go back to saving seeds so we can hand them down from our generation to the next generation. We need to take control of our food and learn and teach our communities how to grow a garden. Once you feel the earth in your hands you will be hooked, I promise. There is nothing better than a freshly picked tomato that is not genetically modified.
I highly recommend buying seeds from this company: SEED SAVERS We must save our seeds while we can because Monsanto is distributing seeds to so many companies where we can not save the seeds because they are only good for ONE PLANTING. Please watch the Netflix show “GMO-OMG, Is this the end of real food”, it tells the story about GMO foods we are eating. It will be worth your time.
Only buy the seeds that say: USDA/Organic from a reputable company. Seeds are cheaper than buying plants.
The winds where I live can pick up unexpectedly and I wanted to have really good tomato cages, so I got the cages shown above called Sturdy Cages from a gardening center in the Salt Lake City area. You can get some good sturdy Lifetime Tomato Cages, Heavy Gauge, Set of 4 on Amazon for a pretty good price. I purchased my “Sturdy Tomato Cages” at Glover Nursery in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have always said: “buy right the first time.”
Set up a watering drip system, if possible, to save on water and keep from over watering the plants. Mark and I purchased the black flexible tubing from our local nursery with 360-degree spray nozzles with a slow drip.
If you have kids or grandkids they will love to help you plant the seeds, watch them sprout, and then grow the vegetables during the growing season. If you want to see a fun face check out how the glow when it’s time to harvest! Make sure the kids get a chance to pick the vegetables so they can learn the blessing of harvest time.
Once you get your garden to mature hopefully you’ll harvest enough to dehydrate or can for future meal prep. Nothing like serving meals that came from your homegrown efforts. No wonder our ancestors made it their focus. It meant life or death for them, in many cases. You’ll also sleep better at night knowing what you’ve accomplished and that the food is more healthy for you since you know what went into the soil. This can become a worthwhile hobby or neighborhood project if planned out and done right.
We must learn and teach garden skills to our kids and grandkids to make our families self-reliant. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless you and your family.
Earth Easy website (one of my favorite websites)