In This Article
- Compost, Compost, Compost
- Bees Are your Friends
- Transition to a No-Dig Garden
- Use Lots of Mulch
- Save Your Seeds
- Increase the Growing Season
- Go Vertical
- Better Your Soil Quality
- Harvest Rainwater
- Maximize Your Space
- Grow in the Shade
- Watch Out For Pests
- Don’t Bother With Old Seeds
- Succession Planting
- To Conclude
In this article, I will be showing you ways to make your garden grow 3x more food.
You have just learned the basics of prepper gardening from our 55 Crops For the Best Prepper Survival Garden and Gardening For Preppers (The Mega Guide) but realize that your garden isn’t producing much food, and it is taking too long to produce food and crops.
Don’t worry, we have all been in this situation before. Here are the absolute best tips to make your garden grow 3x more food.
Compost, Compost, Compost
First and foremost, if you want to create stable, vibrant soils, you must provide food for the soil microbes that live there. Compost and other organic matter are used to make food or herbs.
Making your own soil amendments from products that would otherwise go to waste is a no-brainer, whether you’re making worm compost or composting cardboard boxes.
It not only adds plant nutrients and beneficial microorganisms to your soil, but it also helps with water preservation and drainage, as well as reducing the amount of garbage you send to the landfill.
When making your prepper garden, you should be composting as much as you can. Here are a list of things that are compostable:
- Grass clippings, leaves, and brush trimmings
- Animal manure (preferably organic)
- Fruits, vegetables, peelings, pasta, cereal, coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves, and tea bags are all acceptable non-animal food scraps (preferably without the staples)
- stale wine
- Pet bedding from herbivores (rabbits, hamsters, etc.) ONLY.
- Wet or dry cat or dog food
- Sweeping and vacuuming dust
- Lint from the dryer
- Herbs and spices from the past
Bees Are your Friends
Most people understand that pollinators are critical to plant reproduction. Since much of what we consume is either fruit or seed, bees and other pollinators play an important role in what we eat.
Cross-pollination is required for flowers to produce more seeds. More flowers and plants can flourish as bees cross-pollinate. A bee gets the nutrients it needs, and your garden grows more flowers and plants as a result.
You can, of course, promote bees by purchasing expensive wildflower packets, but there are also less expensive options. Simply leaving plants and weeds to flower can provide forage (you didn’t want to mow the lawn anyway! ), and leaving dead wood around can provide shelter for solitary bees as well.
Of course, we don’t have to tell Tree Hugger readers this, but the best way to help bees is to avoid spending money on pesticides that destroy them.
Transition to a No-Dig Garden
This is always difficult for conventional gardeners to understand, but there is a compelling case to be made for switching to a no-dig vegetable garden.
Proponents of no-dig gardening claim that by constructing raised beds that are NEVER stepped on, heavily mulched, and fed by top dressings of large quantities of organic matter, they preserve essential soil life such as worms, bacteria, and mycorrhizal fungi, all of which play a role in preserving soil fertility.
No-dig gardening is hotly debated in gardening forums online, but as a dedicated lazivore, I can confirm that it significantly reduces the amount of physical labor required for each “unit” of harvest while also increasing the amount of carbon contained in the soil.
Use Lots of Mulch
Mulching is an excellent way to conserve water, kill weeds, and keep soils from drying out or eroding. It also keeps soils warm, allowing more nutrients to be available to plants when they are needed.
Of course, you can buy mulch from a garden store (I’ve been using bales of pine straw this year), but there are also plenty of free products that can be used.
Newspapers, cardboard, grass clippings, and shredded leaves are all useful in their own way. If you have enough plant material growing in your yard, you can also experiment with chop-and-drop mulching, which involves simply cutting back excess growth and letting the cuttings fall as mulch.
This one is definitely not for anyone, but if you supplement your plant’s nutrients with store-bought fertilizers of some sort (organic or not), you might want to look into a local source.
Tomatoes grown with urine outperform their conventionally grown counterparts, according to studies. Urine is high in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which are essential nutrients for plants and the key components of common mineral fertilizers.
Much of the information I’ve found suggests diluting 1 part urine with 9 parts water. (Many people recommend actually peeing in a watering can and then filling the rest with rainwater from your rain barrel.)
Save Your Seeds
Saving seeds is not just a fantastic way to save money each planting season for the frugal. You can also breed unique varieties of plants that have adapted to your specific climate and conditions, as well as co-evolved with the micro-flora and -fauna that inhabit your soils, over time.
That should mean less outbreaks of disease and pests, as well as, higher yields for your crops and herbs. It’s also worth noting that taking cuttings will help you increase the amount of plants you’re growing—tomatoes, for example, can be grown from the side-shoots you usually pinch off during pruning.
Increase the Growing Season
You can extend the growing season near the end of the growing season by simply bringing some of the plants indoors to your garden shed or greenhouse.
For example, if the tomatoes have yet to ripen and the weather turns cold, all you have to do is cut the vines and hang them indoors in a warm location. The tomatoes will begin to mature and ripen, resulting in a more fruitful crop.
Install vertical trellises and poles along the sides of the raised beds and train vines of beans, melons, and other plants on them. This will help conserve garden space while also ensuring healthy plants.
Fungal diseases would not affect the vertical plants. Harvesting is also simplified since you will be able to identify the crop of vegetables much more quickly.
Another way of saving space when planting vegetables is to stagger them. Instead of planting them in straight rows, plant them in triangles.
This will enable you to plant more in the same area while still ensuring that all of the plants get sufficient sunlight, water, and nutrients to grow to their maximum potential.
Better Your Soil Quality
The most effective way to increase vegetable garden yield and the yield of herbs is to improve soil quality which will in turn, create healthy plants. This can be accomplished without a lot of effort by covering the vegetable garden plot with compost and hay at the beginning of winter.
By the time you’re ready to insert your plants into your garden, the compost will have been worked into the soil by snow, rain, and insects, ensuring nutrient-rich soil for your vegetables with less effort on your part. The higher the composted soil layer, the healthier the plants.
Collecting rainwater is another activity that saves money in and of itself by lowering your water bill. However, it is probably less well known that rainwater harvesting can also support the plants in your garden.
The advantages of harvested rainwater include less pollutants, the fact that it is held at a lukewarm temperature and therefore does not shock plant roots as tap water can, and the fact that it is not treated with chlorine, a chemical that can kill soil microbes and inhibit plant development.
Maximize Your Space
You should interplant or change up the plants in your vegetable garden to make the most of the space available. Compatible plants can be grown together to keep weeds at bay and vegetable plants to take up all available space.
For example, if you plant corn, pole beans, and squash together, the corn stalks will support the pole beans while the squash will grow on the ground between them. Tomatoes, peppers, and basil can also be grown together, as can carrots, radishes, and onions.
Grow in the Shade
Increasing efficiency entails making the most of any available room, including shadier areas. They’re ideal for leafy vegetables like lettuce or Asian greens, as well as slow-growing vegetables like leeks and parsnips and hardy fruits like blackcurrants and gooseberries.
Watch Out For Pests
To avoid pests in their tracks, take a preventative approach to ensure that you can maintain healthy plants. Place barriers over vulnerable plants, for example, to shield them from flying insect pests, or reduce a nuisance slug population by eliminating hiding places, such as upturned pots or long grass in and around growing areas. Then, every few weeks, go out in the evening while slugs are eating to pick them off and dispose of them by torchlight.
Make room for flowers in the vegetable garden as well. Flowers such as alyssum, calendula, and poached egg plant take up little space and increase productivity by attracting predators such as hoverflies and ladybugs, which control pests such as aphids, mites, and mealybugs.
Don’t Bother With Old Seeds
Planting old seeds that will not flourish is a waste of time and energy in your prepper garden. Until planting, check the viability of your garden seeds to determine how much seed to over-plant in each hole. It is preferable to plant too many and thin them later if they all grow than to have none grow at all.
Many crops, such as lettuce, radishes, beets, greens, and carrots, germinate in a matter of days. By succession planting and sowing a few new rows every couple of weeks, you will ensure a continuous harvest.
You can only eat so many radishes at once, but by practicing succession planting, you can ensure that radishes are still growing and ready to eat when you want them.
Now that you have learned tips to make your garden grow 3x more food, you have just improved yourself.
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