Just get out and do it.

Welcome to my blog, Garden for Your Life! This site will be mostly about my garden, but you can build one just like it in your back yard too. It can be bigger or smaller, just get out and do it. You can do it for fun. Your can do it for your health. You can do it for fresh food in these troubled times. The point is to get out and do it for whatever reason that you need.

Over time I will cover topics like canning and preserving your harvest, soil and beds, bugs, what to plant and when, and much more.

I've been working on this garden on mine and improving on it for over five years now. I will continue doing that for many more. You can too, just get out and do it.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

To Prep or not to prep? Ok lets get started with a garden.

So your Christian and worried.  Do you really need to prepare or just depend on God to provide?  Well, has He given you the means to prepare?  Do you feel the Need to prepare?  Does it just make sense?  How about your Christian duty to others?  If your not prepared just like the rest of the sheeple, what testament do you present?  If the stuff really hits the fan will you and yours survive or die like the rest.  Will you depend on the government to save you, thus becoming a bigger slave to the government?  Don’t think that will happen?  Its happened before.  Pharaoh had a persistent dream.  Seven fat cows and seven starving cows.  No one could explain it to him except a slave called Joseph.  Yep that one.  He told pharaoh that there would be seven good years of harvest in his land and seven years of famine.  He should save all that he could to save his kingdom.  That is just what he did.  The famine came and there was no food except in Pharaoh’s house.  The starving people gave all they had and became his slaves to survive.  We are only slaves to Jesus who payed with his blood to keep us.  Thus we need to prepare for hard times.  Both to survive and help others in Jesus' name.

I’m going to leave the bullets and Band-Aids for another time.  Lets talk about starting your own garden to grow some of your own food.  So lets get going while times are fairly good so we can build up our soil for a good garden in bad times.  Here’s a hint, it takes a couple of years to build up your soil for a good garden.  More on this in a bit.

To be or not to be, that is the question.  OK the real question is in ground garden beds or raised beds.  Which is better?  It depends on you and the conditions where you live.  Do you have a big lot, acreage, or a small back yard with lots of concrete? If you have a large lot or an acre or two you may just stay in ground, especially if your using a tractor or big tiller.  For a small lot or just concrete you may just want to go with raised beds and half oak wine barrels.  If your old like me go with the raised beds. 

Part of what may help make your choice may be your soil type.  The soil in most yards can be classed as a mono-crop land.  Its good for only growing one thing, grass, and then only if you use lots of fertilizer.  This soil is poor with few natural organisms and organic matter.  In most of these new gardens your going to need to add amendments to make good growing soil.  In my first couple of years my crops were ok.  I decided to go with a raised bed to help contain my garden and save my old back.

 Both of these pictures above are of my garden.  With the addition of the proper soil amendments my garden grew great in ground.  After Hurricane Ike left me with plenty of wood to work with I made raised beds out of it.  It took some effort to build (not much) and effort to haul garden soil (much more), but my garden is much more contained.  This old back of mine finds it lots easier to weed and harvest too.  These beds can be made out of a variety of materials.  All my were beds are easily made out of three or five inch by six foot cedar fencing.   This is a good rot resistant material and easy to work with.  You can also use cypress and TREX a plastic decking material.  These beds are very easy to work with a small garden cultivator.  Leave space to walk around the beds.  Use at least two feet so you can run a mower around them.

An in ground garden may be easier to work with a larger tiller or a tractor if you have a large plot.  I borrowed a large tiller to break the ground and till in the soil amendments initially.  No woodworking (minimal) skills are needed and you can easily change your layout year to year or season to season if you are blessed with multiple growing times like here in SE Texas.  About the only real problem with in ground growing is if you have really rocky, hard, clay, or other bad soil.


As long as you have decent soil to work with its really not a big deal.  If you are new to gardening You may want to start out in ground like I did.  As you expand and learn more upgrade to a better layout and build more permanent raised beds.  You can buy your materials cheaper in the off season and pre-assemble your beds if they are not to big.  When the next season hits you are ready to go.

Get to the bookstore or library and start looking at your gardening books.  Buy the books that are about YOUR region.  A couple of years ago I bought ‘The New Square Foot Garden’.  I went with the books soil mix and my plants love it.  You can get the vermiculite from a insulation company and save big bucks. 

Ok, you got the garden in, so off to wally world or a big box store to get plants.  Hold on a minute!  Time for a little research.  What do you want to grow and what variety grows best where you live?  Most big box stores get a shipment of plants from a central supply and send them out to all their stores.  All the stores here in SE Texas get raspberries year after year.  The problem here is that raspberries don’t grow well here.  Oops!  Blueberries and blackberries do.  The problem is that they ship all varieties some of which don’t grow here at all.  Find out what grows well and have that written down with you when you shop.