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Dave Robinson

Currently the nation’s economy is experiencing an all-time high. Fortunately, all signs point to continued high numbers. However, whenever the economy does take a downturn the vegetable seed companies have an upturn. Planting a vegetable garden is viewed by many as one way to push back against high food prices and an uncertain economy. Many preppers consider a garden as a hedge against high prices or the interruption of the grocery supply line in the event of a disaster. Also, most preppers consider a vegetable garden to be a healthier alternative to veggies raised and harvested in Peru or some other faraway place.

Obviously gardening is a long-term project not to be rolled out the day after an earthquake or economic collapse with the expectation of a ready food supply. But it’s not too late to start thinking about adding gardening to your disaster preparedness plan. If you’ve never tried growing your own vegetables it can be not only a rewarding hobby but could potentially feed your family if needed.

Just to be clear, I am certainly not a Master Gardener by anyone’s definition. I'm barely an amateur gardener. But if the idea of vegetable gardening interests you, contact your local extension service or check online for information. According to my local extension office website, their program offers a basic, practical course in plant science and horticulture. Classes usually include basic botany and plant psychology, pest identification and control methods, soil management and plant nutrition and diagnosis and control of plant problems.

Something to consider before you plow up your backyard is the raised-bed concept of gardening. Building a raised-bed enables you to confine your garden space to a specific area controlled by the framework of the raised bed. Other benefits include the ability to control the soil or planting medium you prefer, enhanced draining ability, and raised beds tend to warm up faster, possibly giving you a jump on the planting season. There are plenty of books and online resources to glean for information about raised-bed gardening.

Another item to consider is a sprout kit. A sprout kit usually contains a collection of seeds suitable for raising edible sprouts like beans, alfalfa sprouts, salad greens and a wide variety of fresh goodies. There are several versions available and many come with the hydroponic growing apparatus needed to raise healthy, nutritious, organic sprouts. Sprouts can be grown in just a few days and are rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes and fiber. They provide a quick supply of vegetables for use in salads, sandwiches and stir-fry. They may be steamed and even used in some baked goods. Prices for a sprout kit run in the $20-$80 range, depending on your preference.

So while you’re laying in supplies, don’t forget that vegetable gardening can take you just one more step closer to the independence necessary for surviving calamity. As always,send your comments and questions to disasterprep.dave@gmail.com. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com.

Dave Robinson is a retired Bandon postmaster, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.

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