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If the economic situation deteriorates, we will all be faced with difficult decisions. Our economy is running on low, and many professionals are saying the whole situation will be getting worse before it gets better. If we are lucky and a vaccine is successfully developed for Covid-19 by 2021, experts say we will still face at least one more round of Coronavirus later in 2020 and into early 2021. To make things worse, there will be flu season right on top of the Coronavirus.

I am not all about doom and gloom. However, when the likelihood of economic down turn and thoughts of the safety and health of my family, I will not sit back to see what happens. These signals tell me it is time to do everything possible to insure we can deal with the challenge or challenges ahead.

The first step to take should be to inventory everything that’s already in-place for preparation. Food, water, warmth and safety items should be checked. Then new items, or outdated items, should be added or replaced as needed. When doing this upfront inventory work, be sure to work from your survival plan checklist. Get your free checklist here.

If basic supplies are needed, go to a trusted supplier first. Supplier list here.

If one or both of these were to become a long-term issue, you do not want to stand in-line or hope the government will save your family. You will want to have ready sources of food that are in your control. You will want to make sure you have a good supply of long-term food. This is also where your garden comes in handy. The end goal is to be able to produce enough food for your entire family. When possible, you could also grow more so you can provide some help to your closest neighbors or other family members.

But how can you make sure the right food is available? Even a bigger question is how to grow a garden? The answer is easier for me than most. I must admit, I grew up on a farm. Our family garden was about 3-acres in size, and some years my parents added 2-3 acres of crops to sell as a way to provide extra money for the family. We also raised chickens for eggs and meat, rabbits for meat, cattle for milk, butter, cream and meat. We grew a variety of berries and different fruit trees as well.

When my wife and I married, we worked our way into having enough land to do more of the same. I have found one of the best options for refreshing skills on how to successfully grow your own food is to not look forward, but to stop and look backwards in history. Like my parents, most of us have ancestors who faced hard times. If they were to survive, they needed to have skills to grow their own food. Food was not only for sustaining a hungry family, it was also extremely valuable for trading or bartering.

For those who have a family garden already, great decision! For those who have not previously done gardening, give it a try. It can be a very relaxing & rewarding activity. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your plants grow and then reaping the rewards of their bounty. There is something special about the taste of freshly picked fruit and vegetables.

To get started, consider some of the easiest vegetables. These include lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers. Strawberries are also fast growing and very productive producers in many climates. Corn is another easily grown crop. There is nothing better than freshly picked corn on the cob. Many herbs are also easily grown and add much flavor to your meals. Start with Basil; it hardy and very tasty. As you gain knowledge and confidence, expand your herb garden to include a wide assortment of plants.

Preparing for your first food garden is amazingly easy to do. Select an area in your yard that will be devoted to your garden. Most vegetables love sunlight, so be sure there is sunlight. Many people enjoy raising their garden in a raised bed. A well-built raised bed will last for years. For those of us who cannot bend over easily, having a raised bed also removes the pain and frustration of trying to bend over and stay bent over while working.

If a raised bed is not for you, another way to make it easier on your body is to find a light, short and easily moved stool. Many find working from a sitting position helps to reduce aches and pains associated with planting plants and seeds, pulling weeds, and harvesting the bounty of your garden.

A few recommendations:
🡺 Be sure your soil is full of the nutrients your plants require. I use a blend of steer manure and garden soil mix to top off the soil before planting each year. I blend the mix into the garden soil before I start planting seeds and plants.

🡺 I recommend you use Heritage seeds. These are harder to locate and may cost a bit more, but knowing my children, grandchildren, and other family and friends are getting real unaltered food is worth the extra effort.

🡺 Be sure to keep your garden weeded. Many weeds will grow much faster than the plants themselves. Soon they will be taller (Blocking sunlight.) and will be competing for food and water with your garden plants.

🡺 Check the soil around your plants daily; especially during hot, sunny days. For plants to thrive, they need water.

🡺 There are many different bugs and animals that will gladly move into your garden and start eating. In most years, our biggest competitor is slugs. They especially like lettuce, spinach and swiss chard. They will go after any tender young leaves without a second thought. Each year we prepare for the battle we know we will face before planting season arrives. Birds, gophers, moles, squirrels are also intruders we remain on the lookout for.

Good times or bad, gardening is the perfect way to provide healthy nutritious food for your family.

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