Preppers: Gardening And Diminishing Returns
Kevin Felts 01.09.18
There will come a point in time when people are forced to return to basics. This could be after a nuclear war, a new viral plague, etc, but sooner or later something will happen. When it does, people will turn back to the land to grow their food.
Some preppers, such as myself, are stockpiling seeds. We are ready for the day when we have to plant a garden for subsistence.
Over the past few years I’ve experimented with different-sized gardens, and working them by hand. What I found is that a small garden can be just as productive as a larger garden. How large is large? The large garden I planted was 1/2 acre.
First thing someone is going to say is, “a half-acre ain’t much.” That is very true. However, it is a lot to work for a single person by hand. It is not just weeding, but also fertilizer or composting.
Once a garden reaches a certain size, people working with hand tools can no longer maintain it. The less fertilizer you have, the fewer crops you get in return. Wouldn’t it make better sense to focus the fertilizer, manure, compost, wood ash, etc, on a small garden so the plants can get the nutrients they need? Or would you rather spread the fertilizer thin and have low returns?
Several years ago I had a small garden that measured around 20 feet X 30 feet, and a couple of raised beds. I had more beans, cucumbers, and squash than I could eat. Food was being given away to neighbors, and brought to work for coworkers to have. The garden was tilled, planted, and then worked by hand for the rest of the season.
A couple of years ago I planted the half-acre garden. Just like the small 20 X 30 garden, it was tilled, planted and worked by hand. The garden became overrun by weeds and was not very productive.
The small garden required less fertilizer, work, and time than the large garden, and was almost as productive as the larger garden.
This makes it evident that one person can only maintain a garden up to a certain size. As a garden increases in size, more people would be required to work it. With power equipment, such as a tiller, keeping weeds out of the garden is much easier than by hand.
When a tiller is used to de-weed the garden instead of doing it by hand, production goes up. However, my experiments were to observe how production relates to manpower.
While a prepper may have thousands of seeds, seeds are dependent upon how many people are available to maintain the garden. If you over-plant, production levels off. Under-plant and you do not get enough food. The key is to strike just the right balance for your situation.