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During Hard Times Should You Know Some Basic Gardening Skills?

Copyright February 19, 2011 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.

Potted Window Plants Occasionally I read advice on the internet from people who do their very best to discourage other people from engaging in any type of gardening activity, or from engaging in a specific type of gardening activity. For example, you may have occasionally read one or more of the following suggestions on the internet:
  1. Don't waste your time planting seeds. Always buy your vegetable plants, and fruit trees, and nut trees from a garden supply store.
  2. Don't waste your time trying to grow some type of vegetable or fruit tree or nut tree. They will probably all die anyway. Instead you should just buy your vegetables and fruits and nuts at a grocery store.
  3. Don't waste your time preparing your meals yourself. Just go to a restaurant and let them do all the work for you.
It is not uncommon for the above advice to be offered by someone who lives inside a big city and who has no place to grow anything, or by someone who does know know how to prepare a tasty meal from scratch.

I personally do not agree with any of the above advice. For example, if you live inside a big city, and if you have a window that gets good sun for several hours every day, then you could still experiment with a few small vegetable plants in some containers in front of that window. All you would need is a small bag or two of "potting soil," and some "Miracle Grow Fertilizer," and some planting pots, or some small plastic containers. Each plastic container should have a hole or a cut in the bottom of the container to allow excess water to escape. Put something under the container, such as a dinner plate, to catch the excess water. You will also need one small package of vegetable seeds, such as radishes.

Radishes are recommended for a small window garden for the following reasons:
  1. Radishes are small and they don't require much space.
  2. Most radish varieties will grow to full maturity in about 25 days.
  3. Radishes may be eaten fresh or added to almost any type of fresh salad. This means there would be no waste, assuming you like radishes.
  4. Radishes will produce more radish seeds if you don't harvest all the mature radishes. Simply allow two or three of the mature radishes to continue to grow below the dirt. Each mature radish will eventually send up a seed stalk and when that seed stalk is mature you can harvest it. Inside the pod at the end of each seed stalk you will find a new batch of fresh radish seeds for your next planting.
  5. If you make a mistake then you will know about it before one month has passed. This will give you the opportunity to try again and avoid making that same mistake a second time. Therefore the learning curve would be very short and the knowledge you would gain could be significant. Plus you would gain some self-confidence in your gardening skills.
  6. If you have children or grandchildren this could be a simple project to help them learn how to grow food from seeds.
Think about this for a minute. One small window pot would allow you to gain some practical hands-on experience with one of the basic fundamental necessities of life -- food. You could learn how to grow vegetables, and how to grow seeds from those vegetables. After you have gained this knowledge then you could repeat this process again, and again, and again for the rest of your life -- if you should ever need to.

Anyone who believes that affordable food will always, always be available whenever they need it at the store, or that their emergency food supply will never, never be exhausted, is betting their life and the lives of their loved ones that the future will never be radically different from the present.

Therefore I strongly recommend that you invest just a little of your time in learning how to grow food from scratch. If you never need this skill then you will not have wasted anything. On the other hand, if your life and the lives of your family members should one day depend on your ability to grow food, then you would already have some practical real world gardening experience that could easily make the difference between whether or not your family survived a serious hard times tragedy event.

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Grandpappy's e-mail address is: RobertWayneAtkins@hotmail.com