Know how to grow all the food you need in your backyard? Check out this Homestead Handbook to get started. This 11 Chapter series will walk you through all the backyard gardening details for you to create raised garden beds and grow your own vegetables for survival. Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get your hands dirty, this is going to be fun.
The Homestead Handbook: Start A Backyard Garden
Welcome to “Back Yard Farmer: How To Grow All The Food You Need in 3 Square Feet of Land”! The purpose of this guide is to help your family become independent, self-sufficient and healthy by turning just 3 square feet of land in your yard into a productive garden.
Millions of Americans have transformed their family lifestyle by becoming successful gardeners. While this may seem like a lofty goal to some, this step-by-step manual is meant to guide beginners and experts both through the process of building and harvesting their own garden crops.
Did you know that about fifteen million people a year who would like to become gardeners simply never start because of all the talk of hard work, time, and expense? If you are one of these millions, this guide will help you kick that doubt! This activity should not be hard work—it should be fun for your whole family, and you’ll learn how to grow all the food you need to survive!
Keep reading to find the other chapters in this series on how to grow all the food you need!
Square Foot Gardening
It first became popular back in 1981, and revolutionized the way people in America garden. Many gardeners became dissatisfied with the traditional “single row garden”, which is a technique that is typically what beginning gardeners are familiar with. But there are lots of issues with single-row gardening. It takes up far too much space and sometimes doesn’t yield much food. Gardeners are encouraged to spread both enriched soil and fertilizer over the entire garden in a wasteful manner when plants are only in tiny rows. And of course there is the watering of such a space, another wasteful endeavor, especially if one is living in a western state. Gardeners familiar with this technique will surely share their stories of how plentiful and hearty the weeds in their gardens became thanks to this wasteful style! Hoeing such weeds is exactly what the three-foot rows between plants are for, but what if there was an easier way? What if you could arrange your garden in better way for the soil and seeds while also allowing the garden to act as its own weed-prevention?
Another issue with single-row gardening is how your plant and food yields are arranged. If you have a 20-foot long single-row garden, how likely is it your family is going to want to eat an entire 20-foot row of tomatoes or peppers? Unless you are a farmer or planning to sell your extra fruits at a market or to friends, this makes for a waste of time, space and money. Your garden should reflect your family’s lifestyle, its eating habits and its space.
— Homesteading (@HomesteadingUSA) January 17, 2016
The problem is, all the “experts” on gardening, from academia on down, will swear by the single-row method, simply because this is how gardening has been done in the past. Tradition is all fine and well, but it’s time to acknowledge the restrictions and needs on the modern family, and upgrade the practice of gardening to fit those needs. If you’ve ever driven by a large scale or commercial farm, you will recognize the single-row technique, because this is what farmers use. But these farmers are purposely intending to grow huge surpluses of a single crop, and typically have the room and money to “waste” on the previously mentioned supplies. Unless your family is planning on going into the farming business, it’s time to ditch this tradition in favor of something with actual efficiency!
Let’s do an experiment. How many lettuce seeds do you think are in the tiny paper envelopes you purchase at your local gardening store? 20? 50? 100 or more? Try over 1000! Were you planting these in a single-row garden, the experts would tell you: plant many, many seeds, and when the plants sprout, spend the time and work to go through and spread the plants out every 6 inches. That means you will be uprooting the very lettuce you just planted and sprouted, all to make room for others. What a waste of time and money and energy! If plants only need 6 inches of room to be healthy, then having 3-foot gardening rows is also a waste of time. Instead, one could plant in two or three rows, 6 inches apart in all directions, and have a much more space-friendly and controllable yield.
Thanks for joining us on our homesteading journey! We wish you the best success learning how to grow all the food you need in backyard raised gardens, and hope you grow all the wonderful nutritional vegetables you can, to your hearts content.
Need some seeds to get started on your garden? Check these out!
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