Suburban Survival Gardening Guide

Urban Suburban Indoor Balcony City

The last few decades have seen unprecedented interest in farming and gardening techniques centered around self-sufficiency and survival. The organic foods movement, and other recent trends, reflect an increasing interest in the quality and growing conditions of the food we depend on. Whether motivated by necessity, or by a desire to create the highest quality possible food, many people are responding with creative, space-saving techniques to promote their own self-sufficiency.

Apartment Gardening
     
   
 

Survival Gardening Guide
GROWING NOTES
The challenges to self-sufficiency are considerable. By one estimate, the average person requires more than 450 pounds of vegetables, 365 pounds of fruit, 250 pounds of grains, and 150 pounds of meat or similar source of protein. Such quantities present a significant challenge to the vast majority of growers. In addition to the physical resources necessary for such an endeavor, growing on such a scale requires considerable know-how. Becoming self-sufficient is likely to be a gradual process of careful observation and execution. Such a movement will likely require several years of diligent persistence, gradually taking on more and more along the path to independence.

 

Establishing self-sufficiency, whether in an urban or rural setting, is undoubtedly enhanced by cooperation and creativity. Forming relationships and trading with other growers is one way to maximize yields. From an efficiency perspective, it makes more sense to focus on just a few crops rather than the wide array encompassed in a typical diet. By focusing on fewer crops and establishing communication with other growers in your area, cross-pollination can also be minimized to help ensure varietal integrity from saved seed.
 

   
 

Suburban locations are intermediate to smaller urban spaces and more expansive rural lots, and generally have an area of approximately 10,000 square feet (~1/4 acre). This added space allows for considerably more growing options. Unlike urban areas, which might offer only minimal outdoor space, suburban lots open up a much more broad range of growing options. Raised beds make a good choice for most suburban gardeners, thanks to the relatively little effort required to ensure a high-quality growing medium. Additionally, a well-activated compost pile on the corner of your property is essential to create high-quality soil from year to year. If space permits, a small greenhouse equipped with heat mats and lights can be a tremendous asset as you begin to start your seeds just prior in the growing season.

 

Carefully planned suburban gardens are neither limited by space, light, or water. The best results can be achieved by working to generate a growing medium that will truly nourish your plants and promote the most complete development. For this endeavor, a compost pile or bin is absolutely essential. This gives you the opportunity to create your own high-quality medium that can be superior to anything available commercially in garden stores or elsewhere.

 

Ensuring a strong and supportive growing medium is a process that requires consistent effort. As plants grow and develop, minerals and nutrients are taken up by the plants and must be replaced. Additionally, water passing through your growing medium will gradually leech away nutrients, carrying them deeper into earth. Soil should be amended annually, and fertilized consistently throughout the growing season. Most fertilizers and soil amendments will clearly indicate the proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium; macronutrients which are essential to proper growth, development and metabolism. However, these are not the only constituents as calcium, and micronutrients boron, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, sulfur and zinc are all important to plant health and produce quality. For best results, use amendments and fertilizers composed only of organic constituents.

 

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