There are lots of reasons to live a self-sustainable lifestyle and in particular to grow your own food. One reason is that it is satisfying to provide for yourself and your family – to grow, harvest and eat your own produce. There is something incredibly fulfilling about this process and it seems to make your vegetables and fruit taste even better than shop-bought goods.
Providing your own food is also wise in case of any number of things that could affect how easy it is to acquire food. Consider what would happen in the case of economic collapse, for instance. And that doesn’t seem all that farfetched at the moment does it? Recession, depression, national shutdown in the US! With these events now part of everyday life it would be wise to have some stores of food to fall back on in case stores were closed, or some economic disaster led to riots and looting, and you couldn’t even go shopping if you wanted to.
If a war broke out it could be useful to have your own garden of fresh food too. Not a Middle Eastern war but one close to home, or even within its boundaries. Many countries in the past have turned to rationing and in the Second World War lots of people did plant their own veg and fruit gardens to provide extra food. War could also affect imports, of which many countries are heavily reliant today – another reasons to grow a variety of food yourself.
Another reason to be self-sufficient is the mounting food prices in shops today. And these prices are only going one way so it makes economic sense to grow your own, as well as being a shrewd move in case of any number of national or global calamities.
With this in mind, let’s look at a few top tips to help you grow a self-sufficient garden.
Plan your goals
When plotting out your plot you should firstly think about what you would like to grow. Consider the vegetables and fruit that your family eats now but also think about what will give you a good yield and provide large amounts of food. Don’t forget to plant things that will give you much needed flavour in your self-sufficient meals, such as garlic and chillies.
Be kind to your plants
To grow delicious food you need to really nurture your plants. Make sure they are planted where they will get some sun and be generous with your hose pipe and give your plants a drink if it hasn’t rained.
Grow as much as you can
If you really want to be self-sufficient you should grow as much food as you can. Vegetables and fruit can be used in a multitude of ways for myriad different meals, combined in endless ways. And if you have excess that you won’t eat you could even sell it to make some extra cash.
Keep your garden safe
Usually this just means from bugs and birds that might try and nibble through your prized cabbages or runner beans, but if society has collapsed and food is in short supply you might have to worry about people too! So, build a strong, high fence around your allotment and put up warning signs to frighten off any would-be intruders. Something like ‘Beware of the dogs’, or ‘Trespassers will be shot’ will do the job, even if you don’t have a dog or a gun.
Sam Butterworth is a writer, a fan of home-grown food and a believer in the considerable advantages of self-sufficiency. He is currently growing a selection of vegetables, herbs and spices and is looking forward to trying them out!