Two Letters Re: How Does Your Garden Grow? (After TSHTF)

Hello JWR,
I enjoyed the recent SurvivalBlog article titled “How Does Your Garden Grow”. I like the idea of gardening, but it takes time and a lot of trial and error. I have pursued sprouting as another gardening method. It’s easy to do. I bought my seeds and sprouter from Sprout People. – Ken S.

Hi James,  
We have spent six years getting our garden established and working. Fenced and footed in concrete. Electric wire around the outside to keep out the raccoons. An above ground watering system to each of the 16 plots. Four raised beds 24 inches high, 3′ x 8′ inside dimensions built of reinforced concrete. We had poor soils (silty sandy loam) with a deep layer of blown in soils from the 1930s on top. We have added some 400 bags of steer manure over the years. Last year we applied 4,000 lbs of composted steer manure from a cattle yard. We have adequate water for the garden.   This year we have raised 180 lbs of potatoes. 4 cabbages 4 kohlrabi 4 gallons of strawberries 2 tomatoes 4 gallons of small onions. Our corn crop is failing, our cucumbers are drying up under watering, our okra did not sprout well and those that did during five replantings all died except for two plants. We expect no production from the okra this year. All our beans sprouted well and grew but did not produce any beans and have withered and died under watering our 21 sweet potatoes are looking good but production will only be know in the fall our peppers are stunted and the leaves dried under watering our tomato grew initially mostly in pots and have produced only two tomatoes and look stunted now under watering we have moved the potted tomato plants under the shade of a tree and they are looking somewhat better. If we had to rely this year on our garden we would have starved.

To all those who say “grow a garden and have food”, I say poo bah! You cannot depend on a garden no matter how much physical planning you do. No matter how much water and soil amendments you add. No matter how much care you give the garden to weeding and watering regularly.   The outdoor elements will take away your safety system in an instant. A garden must be only a backup to stored foods.   We have applied the best management we know how to our garden this year. It is really scary to do the best you can with adequate tools and knowledge and still fail.   You must have stored foods. You must be ready to migrate to areas where conditions are more conducive to getting production from the land.   I have seen starvation in West Africa, the Sahel, during a tour of duty with the Peace Corps. It is something that I do not want to see happen to my family. I do not intend to be a parasite under failing political, financial and infrastructure systems.   A regular reader, – JWC in Oklahoma