So, I did a thing, finally. (part I)
I’ve always wanted to start a garden. Maybe it wasn’t always for the sheer joy of getting my hands dirty or for a hobby-craft in and of itself, but the benefits in both health, money savings, and preparation education. A few years ago, almost two, to be exact, I bought a new home with some land. I had planned on blogging all about it however, I was busy and yadda yadda yadda. I definitely will be doing so soon to cover a lot of the nightmares I came across but in the meantime, lets get back to the story. I bought a home that sat on almost 4 acres. I fenced in about an acre directly behind the home for my dog to run wild in (which he doesn’t) and to the side of my home, I have about 2.5 acres or so of field. I finally had a place to grow and grow big if I wanted to. My first plan was to use some of the un-fenced area to grow a large community garden for the us and the other 12 homes to share in the labor and fruits. It is a great neighborhood with great people and we all moved in around the same time so I’d gotten pretty friendly with everyone. Unfortunately due to other issues on the lot, which I’ll cover later, I never got to that.
You see, most people by default will realize the savings but when it comes to health, I’m hoping that the benefit of having vegetables readily available and the excitement of growing them myself will urge me to eat more of them. Yes, I currently eat vegetables and enjoy most of them however, I find myself going back to old habits of eating canned vegetables since they store longer which in turn is bad for my health due to all of the high levels of sodium that is used in canning for preservation. I rarely think about buying things like zucchini, squash, fresh green beans, etc. when I am at the store. Also, I’m hoping that my dislike for letting things go to waste will encourage me further to eat more of these as they produce to prevent them going bad.
In regard to “preparedness”, those of you that know me, know that I fall under the “prepper” category. No, I’m not one of those “Doomsday Preppers” who has a bunker buried deep in the yard (or do I? 😉 ) but I am one to know that preparedness doesn’t always have to mean the end of the world has to come before I am able to benefit from such preparedness. This year seems to be able to give me numerous examples to choose from but I’ll lay out a few.
– Many people lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While there has been some government assistance provided to most individuals, it usually falls short of meeting the true needs of most families. Imagine if you could save hundreds of dollars a month on groceries while you live off of your garden stock and frozen/canned fruits/vegetables you’d been growing. No, starting in the middle of a pandemic isn’t the best time considering most vegetables require 45-70 days to harvest, but had you already been growing (hint hint), you’d have been able to spend less on groceries and more on other things you are short on…. or at least make sure your bills are paid to protect your credit and such.
– Not only could you feed yourself or family but you could also help feed others whether it’s other family outside of the home, neighbors, etc. There is always the possibility that if you had such a surplus, you could sell/trade your surplus to others and make a small side income.
– You could possibly spend less time at grocery stores around more people and more time in your yard with your family both reducing exposure and raising your time with loved ones. This would also be a great opportunity to teach your kids, if you have them, about the benefits of gardening since a lot of their activities have been cut short too and there’d be somewhat less wailing and gnashing of teeth to get them to stay home and learn some things.
Anyways, I finally took the leap from planning and plotting what I “may do soon” which never came, to actually implementing a basic garden. I decided to start with a few raised beds and see how the first year went. I also started very late in the summer by the time I got time to buy the materials, build them, and eventually get enough compost to fill them. Thank God for my girlfriend on the last one because due to the hours of the dirt store, it was hard with my schedule to make time to do it. She, being the wonderful woman that she is, used one of her days off she had scheduled to run errands, to also make a couple trips to pick up a few cubic yards for me.
To be continued….