#108 - Gardening Series Introduction
I have decided to start a garden back up and put my greenhouse back to use once again. I have a very small yard at my current house, so I have to garden a little differently than I have in the past.
I know that a lot of other people live in cities and areas where they do not have a very big yard, so I decided to take you along with me on this journey so that perhaps I might be able to help someone else who has a limited garden area see that a garden can be acomplished just about anywhere.
I will be using raised beds for my garden and utilizing high-intensity gardening methods to enhance the available harvest in a small garden. I will also be utilizing intercropping techniques where multiple crops are planted together to benefit each other and allow more production in a smaller area. With high-intensity gardening we can grow more in less space meaning more food for your family in a very limited area like a small backyard.
With high-intensity gardening, you are able to easily produce between 5 to 10 times more food in the same amount of space. Some vegetables like tomatoes do not work well with high-intensity spacing (unfortunately, I have tried) but greens like spinach, kale, and lettuce, zuccini, squash, brocholi, potatoes, carrots, and similar foods work very well in a high-intensity garden.
I know people are going to bring up the "organic" question, and yes, I will be gardening organically to a point, but an "organic" label on food does not always mean what most people think it means. A lot of the "organic produce" that people purchase from the grocery stores are not really organic at all.
I will be utilizing organic and natural methods of growing as much as I am able to, but I am not producing food to sell that I am trying to get "certified organic", so I am not going to get too hung up on that. My purpose is to be able to produce food for my family, plain and simple.
I like to do canning as well as using other food preservation techniques for my long-term food storage, but I would much rather process and preserve produce from my own garden than from the grocery stores or farmers markets which is just getting too dang expensive.
If you have been paying attention lately we have had a very bad year when it comes to weather with all of the storms and flooding across the United States. This is going to be severely impacting the food production of the country, which will result in food prices going up very soon.
Many farmers still are not able to get their crops in this year and the year is half-over already. A lot of those farmers have already given up for this year and are not even going to try to plant anything at all and will wait until next year and try it again. Some have just completely given up on farming all together.
It is now more important than ever for people to start gardening and producing their own food for their families. Especially for those of you who are into disaster preparedness and prepping. You can not wait until a SHTF situation happens and then think that you are going to take the can of "heirloom seeds" that you bought and stockpiled in your preps and plant them in the ground and you are suddenly going to become a gardener overnight. It doesn't work that way. Gardening, like anything else, takes time to learn. You will make a lot of mistakes along the way, but making those mistakes is how you learn.
This will be my first time gardening outdoors in Hawaii, so I am sure there will be a learning curve as to what will grow and when it will grow. Here in Hawaii, we do not have a normal gardening season like other areas on the mainland where we plan in the spring and harvest at the end of summer or fall before it gets cold.
I know winters can be very difficult to grow in, and yes we have some bitter cold winter nights here when it can get all the way down to 60 degrees at times, brrrrr.
But seriously, it basically stays the same temperature here all year. The only difference between summer and winter is the temperature is about 10 or 15 degrees higher in the summer and it is more humid and rainy in the winter. So that will afect the growing "season" but I am not sure exactly how yet, but I shall soon find out. Theoretically I should be able to garden year round with multiple harvests of various vegetables throughout the year.
This will also be my first time not gardening in the ground. I have decided to use raised beds fr my garden because my yard is basically filled with useledd dirt, and not soil. If you have not gardened or farmed before you may not realize it, but there is a huge difference between dirt and soil. Basically to make it simple, dirt is dead and soil is alive.
If you plant a garden in dirt, you will be lucky if anything at all grows. The "harvest" if you are lucky enough to get one at all, would not be winning any awards.
Dirt is generally made up of clay and sand with no organic material at all. If you smell it, it will basically smell like clay and generally has a greyish brown color. Here in Hawaii we have a lot of what is known as "red dirt" which is a type of clay that is caused by the ancient volcanos which are scattered throughout the islands. It is more of a rust colored dirt that stains just about everything that it touches and is very difficult to deal with and try to keep cleaned off of vehicles, houses and everything else.
The red dirt is used to dye "Red Dirt Shirts" which a lot of tourist buy when they are vacationing here (thats about the only thing that red dirt is good for besides growing pineapples, lol).
Soil on the other hand very much alive. It is a dark rich black color which is full of organic material and beneficial bacteria, earthworms and insects. If you smell it, it will remind you of a forrest floor after a spring rain. It is just loaded with everything that plants need to grow.
Instead of trying to convert my dirt back into usable living soil, which would take at least two or three years to accomplish, I will be setting up raised beds ontop of my dirt. Over time, the nutrients from my soil will filter down into the dirt below the boxes to refresh them and reinvigorate the yard around the raised beds.
Even though I have grown gardens for many years, I do not by any means claim to be an expert or know everything about gardening. I learn something new everyday that I garden. Hopefully I will be able to utilize the posts and videos in this series to share some of the knowledge and gardening tips that I have gained over the years with you as well as new information that I come across as I experiment with the new raised beds.
Join me on this new adventure into the great unknown of gardening.
Until Next Time,
Aloha & 73