Gardening for the First Time

This is part of Prepping One Week at a Time series. As you can see I haven’t been diligent in updating you, but I have been learning a lot. Earlier this year I went to visit a friend to show her the handmade cards I had begun to make. Before leaving she asked me if I wanted some plants she was growing in her garden. I laughed because earlier that week I was telling God that I missed the growing season. I knew I was moving soon and didn’t want to start an indoor garden. Then I moved to a house with a nice backyard and wished I had started that garden. But to tell the truth I didn’t do so well at the apartment, nothing really grew. Yet, I still wanted to learn how to garden.

Lettuce & cabbage in my garden

So here I was standing in my friend’s living room, being handed several plants of cabbage and lettuce. I didn’t even think my friend grew a garden this year because she is always so busy. I didn’t see how she found the time. Needless to say, I am grateful she did. So I took the plants home and put them on my patio. I wanted to do square foot gardening, which I had been reading about. After realizing I didn’t have the money to do it, I dug a hole in my yard, added some soil and planted my veggies.

Now, I’ll be the first to say that digging that 2 foot by 4 foot plot was hard work for me. Now are you ready to laugh. I started digging that hole with a little garden tool, a plastic one at that. I soon realized I needed to go to Home Depot and buy myself a shovel, especially if I wanted a hole in this lifetime. I had bought everything else I needed earlier in the week. I used the spacing method from the square foot gardening book since I had baby plants. I wanted them to have enough room to grow.

You would have thought I had conquered the world the way I was standing there after finishing my garden. There wasn’t anything anybody could have told me. But in reality all I wanted to do was take a long hot shower. Let me tell you something. I have a great appreciation for people who have those large gardens full of vegetables, let alone those who own their own land and have fruit and nut trees, in addition to a garden. WOW!

Next year, I am asking for help so I can grow a bigger garden. In spite of the hard work I gain more benefits than I could have imagined. The main one is realizing that God does give the increase and He doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do it.

Benefits of Gardening

I believe everyone should grow a garden, if for no other reason than to see how hard it is. Then maybe so much food wouldn’t be thrown out. I know when I started growing mine I became even more conscious about wasting food. My time is valuable and throwing food out is like saying my time was wasted.

Lettuce in my gardenAnother thing I like about gardening is that I can walk to my garden, pull what I want to use for my meal, then go back into the house and make my meal. I didn’t have to go to the store for that particular meal. Next year my garden will be larger for this very reason. This is the most amazing feeling in the world to me.

Although God has always provided for me, growing a garden has opened my eyes to what it truly means to be taken care of by God. There were days I couldn’t go outside and water the plants. Days later it would rain and I knew God was looking out for me (and every other plant, tree, and grass that needed rain).

I learned how to make different meals based on what was growing in my garden, things I have never even considered before.

Some scriptures have come alive for me, such as “Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing,” or “Give us this day, our daily bread,” or “One plants, another waters, but God gives the increase.” He truly does, even for someone like me who doesn’t know anything about gardening.

My first real attempt at gardening has taught me a few lessons. I kept reading preparedness articles and books that all talk about learning to garden. They said it wasn’t going to be easy the first time out and that it was a learning process. I read one fiction book called “Lights Out” that showed people growing a garden and that’s when I decided I would do square foot gardening. So I bought “All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space.” Then I started thinking “What if there was no way to buy the ingredients for the soil? If I could buy them then how will I store them and how much would I have to store?” I realized I was better off learning to grow food the old fashion way first. So here is what I learned in the process:

Lessons to Learn Before an Emergency

Growing a garden is not easy. It’s best to start now so you can work out the kinks, like realizing you don’t have the proper or quality tools to dig into the earth or you don’t have enough variety of food to grow.

Cabbage in my gardenIf you want to dehydrate or can any food, you have to grow more than you think you can eat. I know this might make sense to some people, but being a city girl and always going to the grocery store to buy as much as I want, this hadn’t occurred to me. At least, I under estimated how much one bunch of something grows. Now I think about how much effort it took to put all of that food on the store shelves. I get breathless just thinking about it.

Learn how to save seeds. If a long-term disaster happened, you will need seeds to continue to grow food. Now is a good time to learn. Even if a long-term disaster never happens, learning how to save seeds and using them will cut down the cost of having to buy so many seeds every year. This can drastically reduce your food bill if you grow your own food and save the seeds.

Learn how to build and care for compost. This is how you will keep your garden full of nutrients, but everything doesn’t go into compost, even if it is edible. Some things can actually ruin compost like meat or milk products. Here’s a list of some things not to compost or read “ How To Compost: Everything You Need To Know To Start Composting, And Nothing You Don’t!

Learn how to gather water if it’s in short supply. Sometimes, during a disaster the ability to get clean water is hard. If your garden is intact then you don’t want to lose it because you didn’t have clean water to water your plants. There’s too much hard work that goes into gardening. Plan ahead and save your garden in the future. Learning how to collect rain water, using gray water (only in an emergency in my opinion), and purifying water can help reduce your water bill now. Give it a try.

Future Gardening

Cabbage in my gardenI will definitely increase the size of my garden and the plants I grow. I will continue to read books about the subject and on the individual plants I want to grow. Growing a garden is important to me. Knowing where my food came from and what was used to produce it is freeing. This is one of those hobbies I wish I had grown up learning. I encourage you to learn how to garden. It’s amazing watching how what you planted God increased right before your eyes. He made everything so perfect.

I would love to hear from you about your gardening experience and any books, videos, or websites you found helpful. I’m particular interested in growing potatoes (white and sweet), onions and squash. Any information about those please let me know.

What are you doing to prepare for disasters? How long would you be able to live without power or limited power? I would love to hear about the tips you’ve found useful while preparing.


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