One of the joys of owning your own home is to be able to do whatever you want with it and making the space inherently you. So many people are joining the self-sufficient revolution or buying from farmers markets, supporting the local produce that they have on their doorstep. But have you thought about going one step further and growing your own produce? It’s a fantastic step towards making a life for you and your family where you don’t need to rely on fruit and vegetables that go off before you get the chance to eat them. And you don’t need to shell out so much money on going organic either, you’ve got organic produce right in your back garden! So, here is how to get your garden ready for a self-sufficient life.
It won’t come as much of a surprise that a lot of planning is required. The first things to think about are the goals. Think about what sorts of fruit or vegetables you regularly consume and aim to grow two or three kinds, and then build up on that the next year. Consider how much you require, your space to grow, which crops will grow where you are, and if you can keep up the maintenance around your typical life schedule. If you work, can you give the garden the care and attention it needs to grow the crops? When families take the plunge to become entirely self-sufficient, it can take up, not just their spare time, but their whole days and nights. If you really plan on making your garden a space to grow every single type of crop you can, it requires the dedication and the time. So make sure to limit the space so you can feasibly do what you can in whatever spare time you have.
Look at what you or your family eats on a daily basis, do you tend to consume the kitchen staples like carrots and potatoes, or do you go for more exotic foods? Either way, it is advisable to check your soil’s pH on a regular basis. It is recommended to do it before planting anything, so your soil is acidic or alkaline enough for your crops or plants to thrive. You can hire a professional soil tester to test the pH for you, or you can purchase a kit, but the best results are yielded from a laboratory. Labs will give more detailed analysis of the soil and will detect free calcium carbonate, also known as chalk or limestone, which isn’t always measured by DIY kits. Once you have managed to get the soil to the right pH, it’s time to start thinking about the crops that will thrive in that environment. You need to strike a right balance between growing enough to feed you and your family, and picking the right crops that you can preserve off-season. So, you could grow summer vegetables like tomatoes and peppers that you can “can” for use in the winter. Don’t forget that fruits can be made into jams, jellies, and fruit leather for use too. You can preserve fruits and vegetables in so many different ways. So learn every type of process, from pickling to dehydrating, or fermenting. Freezing your vegetables is very effective if you don’t have the time to go through the best type of persevering for each fruit or vegetable, but be aware that freezing may end up liquefying them to an extent when you take them out to defrost.
It is a lot of work, but the huge benefits of growing your own produce are many. When you grow your own fruit and vegetables and taste them in comparison to supermarket produce, they taste so much better! As well as this, the cost is a big factor. When you really start to get into the swing of growing your own produce, and you look at the money you will save, it means you can avoid the supermarket where you can, especially as the organic tag on food usually adds quite an extra bit of money to your shopping bill! Not only that, but the convenience in growing food in your own garden means that you are less likely to be tempted with unhealthy foods and can easily whip up a salad using everything from your back yard. But if you have the commitment to see it through, it will be a massive change to you or your family. Everyone will be healthier, and it will make your home look even better than it already is.