Sunday, November 1, 2015

I got seeds

My earliest memories of gardening involve my grandmother's massive garden and a fistful of prickly okra. There were many a summer night spent shucking a mountain of corn with my assorted cousins outside under a tree... I'd like to say it was a magnolia but I don't know for sure any more. I do remember there were fireflies and lots of them. I remember my grandmother and aunt and more assorted cousins up in the big house stripping corn from the cob and canning and freezing like a team of corn processing tornados. I remember the sticky aftermath, every surface in the kitchen coated in corn bits and starch, and the smell of the bleach used to clean it all up. And I remember looking into that freezer full of frozen corn and the shelves covered with gleaming glass jars of corn and being filled with an odd sense of satisfaction that we all made those.

Actually come to think of it all I remember is corn. No clue what she did with the rest of the haul.

Gardening is in my blood, and I've been doing it in one form or fashion since I was old enough to poke a stick in the ground and toss a seed inside. And yet I'm far from an expert gardener, and some years I feed more birds and grasshoppers and escaped chickens than I do ourselves. So when I hear a newly minted prepper proudly state they've bought a bunch of seeds and talk about how when TSHTF they will plant a garden and eat just fine, I can't help but roll my eyes. And if they called those seeds "survival seeds" I will struggle not to cough "douchebag" immediately after. 

What I know that those deluded fools do not know is that gardening is a lot of fucking work with a huge learning curve. Playing Farmville four hours a day for a year does not make you a master gardener. Corn is not ready to harvest in twelve hours. Pigs do not generously donate bacon and go back to oinking and making baby pigs. And you don't just plant your first garden when the world goes to hell and expect it to save your ass.

For starters most warm season crops need 90+ days to produce anything and that's assuming conditions were ideal. And by ideal I mean damn near perfect. No swarms of grasshoppers, no eyeball sized hail, no drought, no monsoons, no chickens getting out and scratching an entire row of corn up. And most importantly, no operator error. 

I've been doing this nearly 30 years and I still kill my plants through stupidity from time to time. This year I killed two beautiful zucchini plants that had been producing like mad and the best spaghetti squash plant I had. How? I figured if spraying squash bugs with soapy water would kill the squash bugs, pouring a gallon jug of it over the plant would get the ones I didn't see. It did, and it also killed my plants. Good thing I had others planted but still. And then I was advised by one of these "I'll Garden When It Happens" preppers that my chickens will eat the squash bugs. You know nothing Jon Snow.

If gardening is part of your prepping plan, don't wait until everything goes tits up to get started. Start now.

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