As we try and stay warm during this cominf cold winter season probably very few of us are thinking of gardens or growing our own food – but maybe we should be! When God cursed the ground it was for our sake, so when He said we were to eat our bread by the sweat of our brow perhaps He was pronouncing a blessing on us. At the very least it was instruction on how we were to live, but today too many of us , if we exercise at all, pay to “work out” in the gym instead of working out in the garden.
It is time to change that!
Great and wise men have said every family should have a garden, and that we should “Grow all the food that you possibly can on your own property…grow vegetables and eat those grown in your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters.” Spencer W. Kimball
Evidence all around us points to the wisdom of those words. Today much of what we eat comes from places we know not and contains things that sometimes harm us. And a diet of fresh vegetables and fruits would eliminate many of the chronic health problems plaguing our society
I suggest now is a good time to begin preparing for your own garden next spring. Why? Because it makes sense to follow wise counsel at any time, but also because like someone recently said, when times get tough you’re not going to want to live just on rice and beans and wheat.
In talking with a motivated Mittleider gardener I asked how he became interested in gardening as an important component of his family’s preparedness regimen, and his answer was both humorous and instructive:
“Years ago my wife and I were going over our Preparedness list, basically taking an inventory of where we were in the process, and I asked her “what are we going to eat”, to which she replied “well, we’ve got wheat, beans, and rice . . . “. I thought about that for a few seconds and then said “so what are we going to eat”? She repeated “we’ve got wheat, beans, and rice”, and I responded again “so, what are we going to eat!”
“As we talked about this we decided that we really needed to have an on-going, fresh and sustainable source of nutritious food if we hoped to maintain any degree of long-term health and activity, and so we determined that we had to get serious about growing a garden.”
And here’s “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say. His wife became a Certified Master Gardener, and for 30 years she worked diligently at trying to grow food for their family. However, until recently their success was very limited, even though they tried every method they could find. Their amazing success sfter finding the Mittleider Method of gardening is truly inspiring, and it is documented in some excellent short instructional videos at http://www.ldsprepper.com. I recommend you go there and see for yourself what they’ve done (and what you can do) in the back yard of a small lot in a gated community, with homeowners’ association rules dictating what your yard can look like.
So, what CAN we do in the winter in order to be prepared when it comes time to plant our gardens? Let me describe several important things you can begin doing immediately:
Certainly, planning next spring’s garden is important. And the Garden Planting Details Schedule lists most all of the common garden vegetables and then gives you valuable information in 14 categories including when to plant, where to plant, how far apart to plant, whether to plant seeds or seedlings, how long you can harvest, how much yield to expect, and 8 other important categories of information to guide your decisions. This is available free in the Files section of the gardening groups listed below, as well as in appendix B of The Mittleider Gardening Course book.
Other important areas of planning you should be covering this winter include ways to lengthen your harvest time, and this can be accomplished by growing your own seedlings, and by protecting your plants in the garden.
Seedling production is surprisingly simple, but requires following closely the basic laws of plant growth. Soil temperatures must be in the 70-85 degree range for optimum germination and growth; maximum light must be applied immediately upon emergence; soil must be damp but not soaking wet; and plants must be fed a balanced nutrient mix on a regular schedule – preferably with every watering.
Protecting your plants from the cold (and heat in mid-summer) can be done simply with hoops and clear greenhouse plastic immediately over the plants (low tunnel), or using something larger, again with hoops and plastic sometimes called high tunnels. A third way, costing more but allowing you to grow crops vertically and increasing yields by 4-6 times in a given space, is what I call the in-the-garden greenhouse. These are built using a set of T-Frames tied together by 2 X 4’s and again covered by clear greenhouse plastic, and they can be used to grow seedlings in late winter/early spring and then to grow ever-bearing crops clear into the next winter. Gardeners in southern-tier states even use them to grow successfully year-round.
A family of 4 can live out of a garden of less than 1/20th of an acre! So start planning and preparing now, and expect to have your highly productive sustainable garden in place and growing by the time your neighbors begin even thinking about their gardens.
Short videos demonstrating many steps in the gardening process are available free at. Start there, and if you feel you want to join one of the Food For Everyone Foundation’s free gardening groups to learn more and share with others, simply go to either https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/MittleiderMethodGardening/info or https://www.facebook.com/groups/2304852529528161/
So, what are YOU going to eat when the stores are all closed? If you’re serious I will give you some very exciting and important details next time.