How To Increase Your Garden Production Each Year

By: Curtis Wayne 0 Comments   8/11/2017

A few years ago I was curious about how much money my time gardening was worth. 

Food prices have remained relatively low in the US and it does not seem like it would be worth the effort.  When I calculated the dollars per hour, I was surprised to find my gardening time was worth about $22/hour.

Inflation is going to continue to drive up food prices for many years to come, which means gardening will become one of the best uses of your time.  

If the US Federal Reserve achieves there goal of 2% inflation each year, in as little as 5 years your time will be worth, $24-25/hour.  This is close to the average hourly wage and without taxes.   

Gardening is likely to make a big comeback as inflation cuts deeper and deeper into the average family budget in the years ahead.  But so far the marketing tricks like smaller packages and bundling services like gas and food has been able to hide inflation.   

When these tricks no longer work, people are going to return to gardening in mass.  Here are three ways to increase your garden production each year.  

3 Ways -  

  1. Seeds/Plants - Different plants grow better in different areas across the country.  Research what plants/trees grow in your area.  Try new things each year, keep the high producers.  Ask other gardeners in your area to get some good ideas, sometimes they will even give you a few plants of their own (like Raspberry or Rhubarb plants).  Be careful when buying seeds/plants from retail stores that open “temporary” greenhouses just for the spring season because their plants are usually grown a long way from your area and those plants are unlikely to grow very good in your climate and soil.  Also, the temporary employees usually have little knowledge about the plants they are selling.  A better option is to find the local growers; like greenhouses, tree farms and farmer markets and ask them what grows well in your area.  
  2. Weeds/Water – There are many ways to deal with weeds.  The best way is to think about the soil as not wanting to be uncovered.  If you uncover soil, it will quickly try to cover itself with weeds.  When you uncover the soil and plant your seeds and plants, always find a way to cover the soil around your plants as quickly as you can.  You can do that with wood chips or dried leaves or newspaper or landscape cloth.  The better you cover the soil the less weeds you are going to have to deal with.  I don’t like to use chemicals to control weeds because the chemicals will end up in the food.  Regarding water, each season is different.  Some years when you get a weekly rain you may not have to water that much at all.  Other years, you may need to water 2-3 times per week.  The best way to water is to only water your plants and keep the soil around them covered so that water stays in the roots rather than evaporating.  Try not to use sprinklers because they will water the weeds along with your plants and it takes a lot of water to get a small amount to your plants.  The best strategy is to either manually water each plants or setup a system (like with a soaker hose) that slowly waters your plants.   
  3. Bugs/Animals – Again, I don’t use chemicals in my garden, so look for natural ways to deal with bugs/animals.  First, you can over plant so that you have enough food for both you and the bugs/animals.  Second, you can build a fence to keep out the larger animals like rabbits and deer. Third, you can use nets to keep the birds out of your garden.  Fourth, you can use other bugs against each other.  For example, when I grow potatoes I usually have to deal with potato bugs.  I found out that spiders like to eat potato bugs, and it turns out daddy-long-leg spiders like tall grass.  Leave a small strip of grass grow tall next to your potatoes and let the spiders in the tall grass eat the potato bugs.   

These are just a few strategies to increase your garden production each years.

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