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And every single one of us can help.

As we drove along Route 7 yesterday towards Steubenville I spent most of my time gazing out the window along the river. There are many smaller towns through this area with houses clustered in areas between power plants and steel mills. I could see yard after yard on both sides of the river and barely a garden in sight. All the way up and all the way back I literally saw two gardens. Most of the yards were a decent size, plenty of room for a garden, a few chickens, some fruit trees, but all I saw was grass. There may have been a few more gardens way in the back however these towns are only a street or two deep as they fit just between the river and the road so I doubt I missed much.

Ohio has a high unemployment rate, prices are high, wages are low, the steel mills are being hit hard. A small garden could be very helpful to most of these people.
 

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You are not mistaken!
I have posted about this before.. that foks just don't do it.
(of course, I got jumped on, but still)

I guess I am a radical, but I think that if you have the space and are of good health you should, by all means, do something to feed yourself.
There are very few gardens anywhere near me and we are a rural and historically farm-y area.
It is those darn 'younger generations' (such as my own) that are just spoiled. They would rather relax and watch tv than to do a little work. Even if it is just a few hours on the weekends or on their days off.
I am going to use this to my advantage, however, and sell them fresh food this summer:)
I have also thought of starting a 'gardening' service where I would put in and HELP maintain the gardens for those who are interested but lack the knowledge.
We will see.
I am hoping that the economy and the current state of industrialized food will reawaken the instincts in folks to gather from their own space.
 

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You are certainly correct that gardening needs to be done by many more. Even if only used for fresh eating and not laying by would be of great benefit.

I was bemoaning just last night that children of today often don't even have a pile of dirt or sand or open area in which to push their toy tractors pulling implements. As a child I spent many an hour on my knees building roads, farm fields, etc. and especially liked the soft earth where the old laying hens had scratched around for dust bathes and for insects.
 

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Yes education is needed. Unfortunately, with handouts as readily available as they are, People will not lift a finger to help themselves. We need to stop giving these people (those that are able to do work) handouts and give them a hand up. Those that aren't able to help themselves could be helped by those that live around them.
 

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I do think most of the young people are too spoiled with having everything available in a supermarket. I was just thinking of my MIL's property in the suburbs. very large and when they bought it years ago it had 3 different apple trees, pears, peaches, plums, a large grape arbor, rubarb & strawberries, and a chicken coop. well it wasn't 'cool' anymore to garden, so they took it all out...not one fruit tree left. (hated to clean up fallen fruit) I often wonder if she wishes she had it all back, cause she does now have a garden. what I would give to have a yard like that one was! it had been all beautifully planned (they have the original blueprints), by the original owner.....who would have just been so sad to see it all torn out I am sure.
 

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You kow.. I take back or alter what I said.
It is not just my and younger generations.
I feel that is the explosion of convenience foods.
My SF always had a big garden and my mother canned and froze all summer long.
No longer!
I go to her house and the fridge is full of bagged salad greens and frozen foods etc.. overflowing with it. I know she must throw half of the stuff away because no one can eat 5 bags of various greens before they all go bad.
I have chided her and told her she could easily have the greens in a pot on the east facing deck or a garden in the yard of the McMansion, but she would rather just grab it at the store.
I do not know what the cure is for that.
 

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We're feeding half our neighborhood and church out of our turnip patch this winter....lol. Someone gave my husband a free sack of seeds, so we have a huge patch now. We invited everyone to just stop by and get all they want at any time. You guys wouldn't believe how many people stop by quite often. Then we take bags of them to church and never have enough for all that want them. I just don't understand why they don't plant a garden if they love fresh things so much. A few of the women are too old to run a tiller, but many aren't.
 
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We're moving to a farm. It has a perfect spot for a garden. My problem is fining someone who will rototill it up for under $200. That basically wipes out any money we'd save. I could buy a good used one, but that's around $200 too. Then you add in a good hoe, seeds, water, and my time and well, I'm beginning to see why folks don't garden. I mean, why do all of that work for something that's not a sure thing when I can pay a little more and go to the store and get what I want when I want it?

I'm still going to put the garden in...and probably a webcam as I can already see folks "borrowing" some produce.
 

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My problem is fining someone who will rototill it up for under $200.
I gardened several years before getting a rototiller or hiring it done. Thankfully the soil was pretty good loam and not tight packed clay with rocks, etc.

With the rototiller I added great quantities of amendments which made it even better. When I moved from one county to another I said that I would give $1,000 if I could take my garden soil with me in place of the fine sand I'd be gardening in at the new location. Did I ever eat my words. Sand grows wonderfully if you apply plenty of water and fertilizer and it doesn't take long to add the organic matter amendments to change the structure for the better.

Yes, a spade works well until the time you can get something better.
This is where I'm at today having advanced from machine to machine:
 

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well, Tonya -ask yourself this question -what did folks do to break up a garden BEFORE the advent of rototillers? :shrug: The answer is that many of them broke it up by hand - with a shovel and a rake. Its called double-digging and its doable -not pleasant - and depending on your plot of ground - it can be backbreaking - but gardening DOES NOT have to require expensive equipment but it does require sweat equity.

You don't have to hire someone OR buy a rototiller - you can always rent a rototiller - in our area they go for $25 for 2 hours - plenty of time if you've got everything PREpared and ready to go. Or you could get creative and barter for the tilling. Or buy a tiller and print out business cards and go into the tilling business - it might just be the wave of the future!

Many of us garden not so much because of the cost savings but to insure a safe and quality product that does not leave a huge carbon footprint. Indeed somethings are not "worth the time and effort" and are available cheaply or require too long a growing season - so I don't grow them - onions for example. And besides, the quality difference is negligible - as opposed to the IMMENSE difference in the quality and taste of a homegrown tomato. Some things are worth the effort.
Then there are people who physically can't till or dig themselves and need someone else to do it for them. Yes, you can do raised beds, but those are also more expensive.

I'm about 6 months pregnant, and when the yard is dry and doesn't have snow on it, I am still turning sod. If any of my parents or step-parents or my husband's parents knew about it I would get my rear end chewed out for it. I also know plenty of people who can handle slow and steady chores like weeding and harvesting if they can do it a little at a time, but would never be able to go out and spade sod or even handle a tiller for two minutes.

Just another thing to consider.

Kayleigh
 

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It either has to become fashionable or absolutely necessary for survival first. We haven't reached that point yet. Those of us who do it anyway, it's either tradition, a hobby, or a way to stretch dollars and ensure a safer, more nutritious food supply.

There are many reasons people garden. Fortunately, most of them don't include survival . . . yet.

But it's true what everybody says, that it's best to start small. Taking on too much and having it flop might turn you off to gardening altogether.

Dig small beds at a time - and they can be staggered throughout the months if you time your plantings. By the end of one season - depending on the area - you could have six or more new beds dug if you made one per month. Start a flat of seeds for the next while digging. Just some thoughts, so it all doesn't seem so overwhelming.

We went ahead and sprung for a tiller our first season. We needed to move the garden and had to break sod. We wanted to go big, and the cost of renting one was about the same as purchasing new. Ten years later, we haven't regretted that choice.
 

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even starting small is good. that's what I did, because all I have for tools are a shovel, a maddox, and a wire rake. no help from hub, because he's always so busy with his own projects. I see that changing this spring, tho. I'll have to bribe him...it won't be pretty. LOL it amazing how far you eventually get, just can't do it all in one season sometimes. :) the soil gets easier and easier to work with the more you add compost. besides the benefit of food, it sure is good exercise!
 

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I hope people will wise up and start thing think "garden" this year. It is expensive if you have to buy everything at once ( or have someone till the whole thing for you). When you look at the cost of a pressure canner, freezer, jars, flats, containers, sugar, seeds, water, tools - it can be overwhelming to try to get it all in one year. Many just can't do it, so they don't try anything.

I encourage people to start with one bed - investment is soil ammendments, and a weeding tool, and their time (usually I donate the seeds/plants for their first year). Plan on just a bit for fresh eating. During the year, build more beds and AS THEY CAN, buy tools and equipment.

Iencourage them to not do it all in one year. If you try to do 3000sq ft in one year - you will NOT come out ahead. But if you average the cost over several years, it won't be long until you can come out in the black! Now is the time to start. Not next year.
 

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Put me on the educator list!!! I just went to a homesteading workshop but it was more geared towards folks with farms. I live in the city (granted I have far more land than most city dwellers - just over an acre) so I thought I would start holding little monthly classes at my house so people can see what they can ACTUALLY do. We start in January so that they can see what can be done year round. At first, it'll be a little bit like a work-exchange program - everyone will get a task to do to repay me for my time. Only 5 folks are interested right now, so that works. Maybe in the future, I can actually charge for classes! The one I went to was $100 and there were at least 15 people there. That's good money! But for now, I just want to help people learn what to do!
 

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You can grow quite a few things without tilling a plot. Do some container gardening! Pots of tomatoes, herbs, lettuce mixes.
 

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we have such horrible hoppers that if i DO get anything to grow, they come eat it all in a day or two. so, i support our local farmer's markets. i can't grow things, our soil is terrible, the hoppers are the only ones eating well, and for the price, our local sellers can't be beat. i buy often from neighbor kids. i even put some up, it doesn't save money, but oh, the taste of fresh corn when its 10 below can't be beat! i also didn't do well with chickens, so i buy fresh eggs from a neighbor. but i do other things and sometimes trade. works for me
 

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When I want to add a new garden I don't dig it. I wet down the spot, put wet newspapers over it, add grass clippings on top and cover with plastic and let the worms do the work. When the worms have finished their job digging will be fairly easy even in heavy soils. Also, I don't dig a whole garden all at once. I do a little at a time.

This year some young people from our church came and helped till, put up the anti-rabbit fence, hill potatoes, etc. My dh is a pain in the backside about asking for help because no one does it good enough for him. I've told him that he needs to accept we need the help and not worry about it being perfect. The only other choice is to stop gardening and I'm not willing to do that. Growing old is not fun!!!!!!!!
 

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You know, I was thinking after the holidays, about starting a post to ask - what do you plant in your garden to have a "complete" garden? We usually just do some tomatos, peppers, squash, a few things like that. I was wondering how to expand, to grow some staple things to preserve. I was particularly thinking about beans to dry, and does anybody grow and dry corn anymore? And, how would you use said dried corn? What are good potatos for home-growing, and is there a mail order source for seed potatoes? Ditto, onion sets?
I want to have a bigger garden this year coming up, and hope to "pick the brains" of the many experienced gardeners here!
 
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