Spice & Salty discuss why having a bunch of seeds tucked into your preps is not good enough, because without the experience of HOW to garden, storage seeds will do little good... plus an overview of what they do in their gardens, and why they do it.

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Do you have one of those Garden in a Box kits, where they sell you a bunch of heirloom seeds packaged to stay viable in a freezer for a decade or more, so you can grow your own food come TEOTWAWKI? Good; it’s really hard to garden without some seed. I hate to break it to you though…buying a box of seed does not = food production. If you actually want reliable home food production on demand, you need to start gardening now.

One reason comes up year after year: Perennials. For the most food for the least work, nothing beats a planting of fruit trees …starting about 3-5 years after they are planted. Vine crops — berries and grapes — can also be great producers. They have the advantage of also being nice barriers (would that make them berriers?) Strawberries, asparagus, garlic, herbs, and others will also keep returning on their own once established; but won’t produce generously the first year.

Then there’s skill. I have learned so many things The Hard Way, despite having read up before diving in. I’ve lost crops because I didn’t know what conditions they liked, or timing of planting, or companions, or transplanting, or spacing, or what varieties worked in my area, or because I didn’t recognize and know how to treat diseases… I could go on. The point is, doing some reading didn’t make me competent to dependably grow a wide variety of species. If you’ve got a guardian gardening angel, good for you, but most of us need practice.

Then there’s the material side of it. Depending on where you live, good soil might take awhile to develop. A good compost pile absolutely does. Do you know what your soil’s like? What amendments it might need to actually grow what you want? Do you have a way to deliver water, especially if the tap’s not flowing? Do you have the tools you need? How about a way to fence out the critters? Do you know how to build a slug trap using only half an old soda bottle? Try That one, McGyver!

Having a garden also gives you the fodder to practice preservation techniques and find out what your family actually likes in both fresh and preserved foods. Having excess produce can help make positive connections in your community too, if you’re so inclined. It’s not only about surviving, it’s about doing as well as possible no matter the circumstances.