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Start a Garden: Even if You Think You Can't!

Flavor you can't get from the grocery store!

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I'll never forget the excitement I experienced when I finally purchased a home with a backyard. I always wanted my own rose bushes, and now I could go to the local nursery and select the colors and types of plants for my beautiful backyard floral pallet. I was thrilled to have fresh cut flowers in my home and breathe in the scents they provided.

I soon noticed that aphids loved my roses as much as I did, and I had to learn how to control them without harming bees or the environment. This was my introduction to organic gardening, and as I began to expand my preparedness plan beyond a simple strategy for dealing with earthquakes (I lived in California then), my friends encouraged me to grow my own food. I added aromatic herbs to my garden beds, such as various typed of oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme. I placed mint and spearmint varieties in areas where they could take over. Other than cutting the rose bushes back in winter and spraying them with my soap-mixture of home-made bug deterrent, my garden was pretty low maintenance. Growing food, however, seemed a daunting task.

My grandparents lived near Santa Cruz, California, and they practiced a lifestyle that we would call "prepping" today; back in their day, this was a common lifestyle. Grandpa tended the garden, and Grandma prepared the bounty for the family meals and did the canning. While I have very fond memories of enjoying the harvest, and watering the garden with my cousins, Grandpa did all the hard work; the tilling, planting, weed management - all the tasks that made this process feel overwhelming when I considered giving it a try.

After much encouragement from my friends and neighbors, I decided to try my hand at growing tomatoes and a few other vegetables; after all, I lived near Gilroy and Watsonville, the garlic, strawberry and artichoke capitols - the soil here was rich, and it would be silly to waste this resource. The climate was perfect, as we had a long growing season. I could plant as early as March and could harvest through October.

I decided to go for it, and my hobby became a family activity. We fenced off the area, and my husband tilled the soil. With the "help" of my young sons, we placed the young plants in the dirt. Once we had a harvest, my labradors even got into the act, and dispersed seeds around the yard for new plants to spring forth, as they loved to eat tomatoes as well!

We had a bumper crop. I had to quickly learn various means to preserve our bounty. I dehydrated sliced tomatoes, froze stock for use as a soup base, and learned to can the tomatoes and the sauces I made from them. Gardening and growing my own food, and preserving the bounty became a passion for me. One experiment became a hobby and then a lifestyle.

Eventually, I decided to share my experience with others, and had my first radio show, then wrote books on the subject. I love to make guest appearances on podcasts, radio shows, live events and share what I continue to learn with others. I also have a podcast about preparedness, as self-reliance is a means of resilience during hard times. Self-reliance and forming a community of self-reliant citizens is also a crucial path to the preservation of liberty, which is being attacked on multiple fronts. This traditional lifestyle is at risk, so now, more than ever, it is time to learn and educate others.

Please join me on this journey and kindly consider making a donation to support our efforts.

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