Now is the time when we are thinking of starting our gardens. The growing season in Michigan, depending on where you are, starts at the end of May and runs mid way through September. With survival in mind plan your garden. This post is going to go over what type of seeds you will use and how to plan for your family.
Most people who garden purchase plants or seeds from the local garden center. If you plan to start most of your garden by seeds, plant them inside now to let them get a good start. By the time the end of May comes they will be ready to put in the ground. As far as seeds go there are two types of seeds you can purchase.
Hybrid seeds - Hybrid seeds are a cross polinated seed that is genetically produced and chemically treated to produce vigorous plants. Seed produced from these plants will rarely give more vegetables of quality the next year. Not really what a survivalist is looking for.
Heirloom Seeds - Heirloom seeds are what some people refer to as True Seeds, they are open pollinated, not chemcially treated and not genetically modified. The result of using heirloom seeds means you the same quality plant year after year. The seeds are not sterile seeds which means you can save the seed from your vegetables and use the seeds year after year. The plants will be better acclimated to your enviornment, since they were produced in your climate. This is what the surivialist is looking for!
Using Heirloom seeds means once you have a good seed collection going, you won't need to purchase seeds or plants the next year - a self sustaining garden! You will have to keep in mind to plant extra vegetables. Those extra vegetables are what you are going to save your seed from. For cucumbers, for example, you would carefully cut a cucumber from one end to the other. Scrape the seeds out of the cucumber, wash them off in cheese cloth, set them on a counter and let them dry for about two weeks. After two weeks your seeds should be good and dry. Put them in a small brown envelope, label and date the envelope, then store in a cool dry place. Some people store their seeds in the freezer, I personally just store them in a cupboard and have had no problem. I order my seeds from The Seed Saver's Exchange. The directions for saving seeds are on the back of every packet.
Planning what you are going to grow in your garden.
Planning a garden is usually alot of fun. You go through your seed catalog and dream about what you are going to plant. When it comes down to actually filling out your order keep in mind what your family eats. If none of them like Green Beans, don't plant any. Plant what you eat and eat what you plant is my philosophy. Every year I do plant something new just for fun, but we usually end of eating it. As you plan your garden think of food you can preserve. The first year I planted a garden I planted alot of Lettuce, much more than my family could eat. That was alot of wasted garden space for two reason's. The first one, I planted way to much, the 2nd reason is you can't preserve lettuce. Instead I could have planted carrots, beans or more tomatoes.
The following year I planted my garden with these things in mind. We tend to use alot of carrots. I use it as a vegetable for dinner and in various soups I make and can. We also eat alot of green beans, you can bet the 2nd year i planted beans on the circumference in my garden, and in every flower bed I had. I always grow Beefsteak tomatoes because they are excellent on hamburger's or just to eat. I plant a 2nd type of tomato called Amish Paste because it is an excellent tomato to make spagetti sauce and tomato sauce. So as I plan my garden i try to keep in mind what vegetables we use, but also vegetables we use in other things.
Every year I plant potatoes. You can make quite the meal out of potatoes and rice! There are companies that carry seed potatoes. I encourage you to check these companies out. I personally purchase organic potatoes from our local fruit market to plant. There are no shipping costs and organic potatoes are not chemically treated. Potatoes are amazingly easy to plant. You just cut the eye off the potato, with a chunk of potato along with it and put it in the ground.
Here is a few links to a few Heirloom companies. I don't endorse any of these companies but these will give you a good start to researching Heirloom seeds