This spring's weather conditions have been anything but ideal. The weather is too hot already in some areas, too cool in other areas, and the rain has been unrelenting. Many, many conventional crops are not being planted due to flooding and unworkable fields. Many experts are already predicting food shortages due to flooding, livestock lost, and crops not being planted.
While all of that is pretty bad, gardens are taking a hit this year too. The naysayers will say that gardens aren't as important as crops because you can just buy your food at the grocery store. However, many of us rely on our gardens for reducing our food bills, putting nutritious food on our tables, and providing food with no chemicals and bacteria. For most of us, gardening is not a hobby but part of our overall food plan to provide for ourselves and to know where our food comes from.
Therefore, what happens when you have a bad gardening year and how can you plan around that?
Bad gardening years can happen to anyone. Too much rain, not enough rain, not enough warm days, too many hot days, pests (bugs, insects, animals), and more can attribute to having bad gardening years. We start the season with a lot of hope and then watch our hard work try to go down the drain.
How can bad gardening years affect you?
- More work next year to get rid of weeds and make the ground workable again
- Higher out of pocket grocery costs due to less food preserved by canning, etc.
- Less healthy food from the grocery store
- Poorer health from less healthy food and less exercise from not gardening
- Loss of Vitamin D and K from working outside
In this time and age, we shouldn't have to say you will starve or have to beg for food. However, there have been times in history this would have been true. For some people in our country, this could still be the case because they simply don't have the extra money for more groceries. Having a garden has meant the difference between living and starving for a lot of people in history and still is the case for people all over the world. They simply could not afford to have a bad gardening year.
With that in mind, how do you plan around a bad gardening year? There are a variety of ways you can employ to make the most of a bad year:
- Plant a fall garden or some short growing season crops. Green beans, peas, collards, greens, beets and more all are excellent short growing crops that provide good results.
- Shop from local growers and the farmer's markets. This might not be your own food from the garden, but local food beats food from Chile or Mexico that might be heavily laced with chemicals and possibly contaminated.
- When you do have a good year, preserve enough for two years. I do this with tomatoes almost every year. If you feel that you have too much, you should have enough.
- Plant crops in containers to avoid soggy garden conditions if you feel that the year is going to be bad. You can always water more or less, move the plants into the shade if it is too hot, and generally control the weather conditions effect on your plants better.
- If you have a way and the means, you can put up a greenhouse or a hoop house to provide better growing conditions if this seems to be a continuing problem. People also have good luck using cold frames and hoop covers in the garden too until the plants get bigger.
- Increase your edible perennials and fruit trees in your yard or homestead. Once they are established, you will have a continual food source that can handle most of what the weather doles out.
Thanks for reading,
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