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Monday, March 5, 2012

A Question of Survival

I just stumbled across a blog about survival; how to be prepared in the event of a catastrophe.  I think this is something we all wonder about now and then.  If the power goes out for more than a few hours; there is a hurricane/tornado/tsunami/flood and we can't get out; the car breaks down while on some long forgotten road in the woods; and of course, my favorite, the zombie apocalypse.  All of these things are possibilities yet too few people are prepared for them.  I've met very few college students that kept more than a package of ramen and spare bottle of barbecue sauce in their cupboards. 

The topic made me consider some of the reasons that I garden.  Yes, I grow plants because I like them, because they are pretty, and because my veggies taste better than store-bought veggies.  I also grow a garden because it's good for the planet, and my family's health.  I'm putting in plants, not concrete; I'm not using harsh chemicals to care for my plants; I'm growing veggies that come from healthy soil, and are healthier for us.  I'm also saving on my grocery bill, though the upfront costs are steep.  If I weren't partially gardening for aesthetics my costs wouldn't be so high though. 

But, in the back of my head, behind the thoughts of "oooh pretty!" and "mmm, yummy!" are thoughts of survival.  I'm thinking to myself "bring it on, zombies! I've got enough dry pasta and canned tomato sauce to last a year, I can build a good high fence from the scraps of deserted mobile homes and be stocked up for months!"  I'm also thinking if the world economy crashes I have something stockpiled that is very worthwhile in a barter economy.  I have seeds, knowledge, and a shovel that wasn't made in China. 

Now if only I were allowed to have chickens I would be in great shape for the coming apocalypse.  At the very least I know that in the event of a natural disaster (which really isn't very likely here in Oregon) I will have adequate food and water supplies to get my family through a week at the very least.  We might have to eat a lot of beans and rice, and strawberry jam, but we'd survive.

Survival is one of the reasons I grow organically too; organic methods of gardening are far more sustainable in the event of a collapse of the economy.  I make compost, and need no other fertilizers; don't use pesticides except for the slugs and I could hand pick them if needed; a rain collection barrel or two could water my small plot for several weeks; and this year I'm moving away from hybrid plants and planning on saving as much of my own seed as possible.  Not only does this all reduce my costs of gardening but it also ensures that my garden will go on, even if all of the garden supply stores go under.

Does the idea of survival inspire your garden at all?  What else inspires you to plant and design the way you do?

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