3 April 2020

Coronavirus - From A Practical Survival Approach (10)

Tip 1. Gardening
Do you have a vegetable garden to supply some, or most, of your food? If things were far worse than where we currently find ourselves, with food becoming scarce, imagine the peace of mind if you could simply walk into your back garden and harvest your own vegetables...

Apart from the practical element of providing food, veg gardening can be great exercise, very therapeutic, incredibly satisfying, and keeps you right in touch with nature.

1. You probably do not have an acre of land to garden, but you probably have a back garden, a front lawn, a flower bed, window boxes, a flat roof, a balcony, an indoor sunroom, or something! Dig it up and plant it up!

2. Do you need the pavement or driveway that wraps around your house? Do you need the tarmac driveway that leads up to your house? Can you build veg boxes or throw down some topsoil on the tarmac and create a garden? Park the car at the bottom of your driveway.

3. People; sometimes individually, sometimes collectively; plant up areas of waste ground/common ground/park land. This is grey area - as you do not own the land - but it is being done. You become veg squatters.

4. Make a deal with someone nearby who owns land that is not being used. Perhaps you garden their field and in return you give them a percentage of your crops.

Good veg gardening is an awesome skill and a real art form. However in it's basic form it can also be pretty simple - just do it, make mistakes, learn, grow and harvest. Be organized, plan ahead, save seeds for the following year, and most of all wage war on slugs!

Getting started - advice from an experienced gardener is best of all, or a good book, or a good website.

You can dig a bed (photo 1). You can mulch the lawn with rotten hay/silage, seaweed, grass cuttings, old carpet, plastic sheeting; and plant down through the mulch (photo 2). You can build a raised bed (photo 3). You can build a veg box (photo 4).



Scrape back a circle in the mulch for each plant. Avoid seaweed touching the plant as the salt will burn. Make an x cut in the carpet or plastic sheeting and plant through the cut. The benefit of mulching is very little digging and prevents weeds. Beware of plastic sheeting flapping in the wind and uprooting your plants.

Potatoes are a nice crop to begin with and this is the time for planting.

Although you do not want to be dependent on a single crop, apparently in the 1800s one acre of potatoes could feed a large Irish family for a year.

I strongly recommend to buy organic seeds/plants, be organic, don't use pesticides, look after the soil and the earth - which is nurturing you.

I have always found the main pest to be slugs. They can be devastating. The only cure I have found personally for slugs is to hit the garden at night, pick them off, drop them into a container of boiling water to kill them, then into the compost heap where they can do some good, or feed them (dead) to the hens/ducks.


Homework:
Convert your space for veg gardening
Get composting, digging, planting
Start small, keep it simple
Think ahead to winter and spring crops

Be vigilant for slugs

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