Gardens are on the rise in the Garden State, with home-growing becoming the more viable option. No one ever expects the occurrence of a Pandemic that will not only change our everyday lives, but more importantly, how much and if you will be able to feed your family. These days with Prepping Culture and Survivalism becoming the ever-growing norm, we make it a point to have rations tucked away for unexpected situations, such as a blackout, or inclement weather that may prevent travel to the local market, but it is always with the notion that it will be short-lived.
Observing nearly every consumable commodity become depleted and the cost of scarce goods skyrocket to exorbitant prices, has really put things into perspective for many. Although we were blessed to make it through this calamity comfortably, we still found ourselves asking those harrowing questions, "If the Pandemic had lasted months longer, would we have been able to survive on what we had"?
These unprecedented times have definitely encouraged us to better prepare for unforeseen future events more autonomously. With the vast array of methods for preserving and storing highly expiratory foods like bread, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables, such as canning, jarring, drying, freezing and freeze-drying, home-growing to amass for the unexpected is becoming the more reliable route and most cost-effective option. In turn, this enables markets to conserve goods for individuals who are unable to home-grow.
Building Our Garden
Usually we fill our small garden annually with a few of our favorite herbs and select vegetables, most of which is completely consumed by fall with our family of four. These eye-opening times have encouraged us to expand our gardening efforts, so that we may have fresh fruit, herbs, and veggies abundant throughout the year, and no longer as the mere springtime hobby. We began by overhauling our 8 ft. wide by 10 ft. long garden and expanding it to 15 ft. wide x 36 ft. long. We raised the ground a few feet, graded it off, filled it with Upright grown compost and tilled the ground 2 feet down. To reinforce our garden and further secure our harvest, we installed 2 x 2's (cemented 1 1/2 feet down) around the perimeter of the garden and installed 12 foot deer fencing (1 foot of the fencing is in the ground to deter garden moles and gophers from tunneling), as we reside in a doe-eyed deer and furry friend zone.
Constructing Raised Boxes
While our fluffy newly composted ground is the ideal panting ground for just about anything, we went ahead and built (2) 1 1/2 ft. high x 4 ft. wide x 8 ft. long. raised beds for optimal growth of certain vegetables likes Beets, Carrots and Potatoes, and I must say it is easier to build than you would think. While Cedar is always the best choice, as it is naturally rot deterrent, it can become quite costly. As an alternative you can substitute Cedar for a more cost-effective option like Douglas Fir and prevent rot by coating it with Linseed Oil. Not only does the oil seal the wood to prevent rot, but it really brings out the woods natural color.
Planting the Garden
Finally we were ready to begin planting! Shown in the garden plan below is the abundance of Fruits and Vegetables we were able to plant. To keep the garden fun, as well as to attract bees to pollinate the flowering fruit, we planted Mammoth Sun Flowers (one of my favorites) throughout the garden.
In the Fall, the use of inorganic mulch and the placing of black plastic and tarps over the garden will serve as a suitable winter ground-cover, to keep the garden and beds weed-free.