This is a need to do on any preppers list. Growing your own survival garden can not only save you money it could save your life.
Each year when spring rolls around my wife and I begin planting our survival garden these are the things that we will eat, can, dry and freeze to help feed us during the winter months. We will have more on canning, drying and preserving for future use in a later post.
Depending on how our garden does we save a few hundred or more on our annual food bill, and have a pretty well stocked pantry
Preparation actually begins in the fall after the last harvest has been preserved and put up for the winter, we begin with putting our garden to bed and the best advise I can give is read this article from The Old Farmers Almanac .
Then we start planning for the next year so lets start here.
Planning Your Survival Garden
We begin by reviewing our garden logs from earlier seasons this is just a loose leaf notebook with information about what worked for us and what didn’t. What we added to the soil, water, rain fall, temperature, seed types, date planted date harvested size of harvest a lot of this information has come in handy over the years. Did the Blue Lake bush beans do better than the Contender or the Provider, where they on drip or flood irrigation keeping good records helps us to a great harvest every year.
We will then look at our garden maps since we use raised beds 4 foot by 20 foot by 2 foot deep we simply draw out squares on the paper and number them 1-36 yes we have that many beds and we put up a lot of food, once we have done this we just make notes in our note-book, Bush beans bed 1, Kale bed 2, Chard bed 3 and so on.
After we have finished the planning stages we begin ordering seed we do our best to find organic non-GMO seeds. We have had good luck with My Patriot Supply Heirloom Seeds and SeedsNow. I can’t tell you what to get so find what you like and try to get what you can eat now and preserve and keep for later. Things like beans, corn, carrots, peas and other vegetables can be preserved or eaten fresh from the garden.
Building Your Raised Beds
If you’re not building raised beds you can skip to Prepping the Soil in Part 2.
If this is your first garden try to get the beds built in the fall so they will be ready to plant in the spring
Our beds are 2 feet deep 4 feet wide and 20 feet long that is 2880 Square feet of garden space plus we have another 25 acres in corn and other grains and pasture for the animals corn is rotated annually to fields that have been planted to alfalfa or other nitrogen fixing crops and the animals are on the grass most of the spring and summer months.
OK back to the beds 2x4x20 many of ours are made from scavenged barn wood, cinder block and some purchased redwood 2x12x16 we found in the cull lumber rack at LOWE’S got it really cheap. Yours don’t have to be this size what ever you feel comfortable with.
I just screw the ends of the lumber to a 3 foot 4×4 set 1 foot in the ground and reinforced with 3 foot 2×4 every 5 feet also set 1 foot into the ground this keeps the sides from bulging out make sure to place your long boards inside the corner 4×4’s and reinforcing 2×4’s the short end boards can be on the outside this makes it easier to get a tiller in there in the fall.
We will usually dig out about a foot of top soil from inside the box and layer the bottom with straw or wood chips this is just to help with drainage it will all get dug up later anyway you don’t have to do this it’s just what we do, we then then layer on some raw manure and the top soil dug out before not all just sprinkle it on top I almost forgot moisten the layers as you go keep layering with manure, leaves or straw, grass clippings top soil until the bed is full if you have some black plastic cover it and let it cook for a week or so then go out and turn it over, you should only have to do this once or twice then just let it sit for the winter.
I didn’t plan for this to be this long so I will let you absorb this and next week I get into prepping your soil, planting and harvesting.
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