Gardening can be a way to connect with nature, enjoy delicious produce for much less than you'd pay at the market or experiment with heirloom varieties or the latest cutting-edge hybrids. But becoming a proficient gardener is also a way to increase your self-sufficiency and prepare for the rigors of hard times.
As author Carol Deppe, a long-time gardener with a PhD in biology and decades of experience in plant breeding and sustainable agriculture, explains in her new book, The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010, $29.95), hard times can come in a variety of ways. Personal hard times may come in the form of drought, special dietary needs, job loss or lack of time. But they can also come as what she calls "mega hard times," the result of man made or natural disasters that cause major disruptions in all aspects of society.
To help weather the personal hard times, Deppes's book is filled with advice on ways to create a garden with the resiliency to withstand periods of minimal care or climatic challenges and still provide a secure source of healthful food. She also shows how gardening can help those dealing with dietary restrictions and allergies.
To prepare for the "mega hard times," she provides advice on growing five crops on a small scale that could enable you to survive and feed yourself and your family, come what may. Potatoes, corn, beans, squash and eggs provide her foundation for a self-sufficient, nutritionally complete food supply. She deals with each of these crops in detail, covering varieties to choose, techniques for growing, harvesting, storing, and cooking, as well as seed saving.
There is also information on nutrition, along with advice on building soil fertility and watering plants in ways that are environmentally responsible and adaptable to regional conditions. Even if you're not yet ready to begin preparing for the possibility of small or large scale disasters, this book contains so much good basic growing information that just about any gardener will find it helpful.
For more information on this book, go to: The Resilient Gardener.