Friday, December 5, 2014

Eat Healthier, Grow Your Own Foods, know your Seeds

A Beautiful Backyard Home Garden. 

We all remember that last roadside stop we made and picked up those fresh grown vegetables, took them home and made one of the most delicious meals we have ever had.

We all want that level of flavor in our meals, flavors that are often the result of the gardening techniques used the chemicals avoided, and the freshness.

A Small Garden can still be a Good Garden

Well, you don’t have to own a large tract of land to grow at least some of your own foods and herbs.
Many people, living in homes on very small pieces of land are able to grow a surprising number of plants, herbs and other foods.
In fact, I know of people who only have a small area on their apartment patio who, through careful planning are growing seasonal foods and year-round herbs for their personal enjoyment.

Of course, the smaller the size of your land, the more inventive you must be to make the maximum use of your own personal garden.

Make an Annual Garden Plan

What I am saying is that anyone can have a garden of some size, if they take the time to make an annual plan and I say annual plan because, regardless of how much space you have, there are things that grow better at different times of the year.
And to be the most efficient gardener you need to have a plan that helps you plant and harvest certain seasonal foods year round by utilizing your garden space to its maximum.

How big is your Garden?

Even if you live in an apartment with very little floor space and only a few windows for light, you can grow a surprising number of vegetables and even your favorite herbs in pots.

Think about it; your own Cherry Tomatoes, Sage, Rosemary, Parsley, Thyme, and many others of your favorite vegetables and herbs, all grown in a few pots that you place strategically near your windows for the best access to sunlight.

With planning, these potted plants will grow year round and provide you with wonderful, healthy and natural flavorings when you cook your favorite dishes.

I know of people living in apartments in cities that have a small outdoor patio gardens.

A Patio Garden

Specifically, there is one lady I know of who decided that she wanted to have a functional garden more than she wanted to have a lot of pretty flowering potted plants.
Her patio was not very big but it was large enough for her to build a small 8-foot by 8-foot garden. See the chapter called, How to Build a Patio Garden.

So, even better, let’s say that you do not live in an apartment but have a home, in the city and there is a small space, a very small space maybe that you want to use for a Garden.
If you have read the instructions for How to Build a Patio Garden, then you can relax a little. Building a small outside garden is much simpler than dealing with the constraints of a Patio.. See the chapter called How to Build a Backyard Garden.
Of course, you can grow whatever you in your garden and you should grow what appeals to you and your tastes. But, there are certain foods that are recommended as being the best for a Survivalist when it comes to getting the most nutrition for your investment in space and labor.
See the chapter called; Recommended Crop Foods for a list of these important priority foods for the Survivalist gardener.

Knowing your Garden Seeds

When you get ready to plant your garden you need to know the differences in the types of plants and their seeds.
By this I mean that you need to know the difference between what are called; Heirloom seeds, Hybrid seeds and GMO or Genetically Modified Organism Seeds.
You should remember that some plants are popular for their flavor, their hardiness, their resistance to pests and diseases and some are just popular for their productive output.

Heirloom Garden Seeds

First of all, there are the heirloom seeds. These are the seeds of plants that have been planted for centuries and the seeds from each year’s plants are saved to be replanted the next year.
Many heirloom plant seeds are so popular that they have been used continuously for 100-300 years and certain ones, even longer. Most heirloom seeds are popular for their flavor and are typically used in family gardens and some small market gardens.

Hybrid Garden Seeds

Hybrid Seeds are seeds collected from a hybrid plant. So, what is a hybrid plant? A hybrid plant is one that has been made from combining parts of two different plants.
For instance, many fruit trees, grape plants and others will be the result of combining the hearty root stock of one plant with the preferred fruit bearing properties of another.
Many commercial plants are hybrids.
The problem with using a hybrid plant is that it will not produce the same type seeds for the next years garden and unless it is a perennial like the examples above, it must be re-produced each year.

GMO Seeds

Genetically Modified Seeds are the seeds of plants that have been modified scientifically to get certain enhanced characteristics.
Certain foreign characteristics are implanted into the gene of a plant, such as antibiotic resistance, along with other desired traits.

The yield of a GMO Seed is not greater than that of an unmodified plant, and only a few vegetables and plants have been approved by the FDA, such as; Alfalfa, Corn, Cotton, Tomatoes, Squash, and Potatoes, among others.

GMO plants are preferred by commercial growers and at the same time, rarely used by gardeners.

Open Pollenated Plants 

There are open pollinated varieties of Heirloom plants but a few of the other varieties are also “open pollinated”. Open pollenated plants will grow each year and the gathered seeds, when replanted will produce the same variety, year after year.

Organic Certified Seeds

Organic plants are produced under very strict standards and seeds from plants that are labeled as “Organic” are not necessarily heirloom, but are certified to have been grown under these standards.

by Don Bobbitt