Garden of Eatin’
By Lee Pitts
I grew up in the garden, so I’m the perfect authority to help you grow your own “survival food” experts tell us we’re going to need because of the upcoming “Putin food shortage.”
Unless you’re planning an indoor garden, the first thing you’re going to need is something to till your soil. My go-to piece of equipment has always been the rototiller. As a kid I spent hundreds of hours behind our Craftsman rototiller.
Based on a quick look on the internet, Craftsman rototillers at Lowe’s start at $229 all the way up to $899, but they look like toys compared to the rototillers I used. They have the “made in China” look to them too, so you might want to explore other options.
Just a quick piece of advice: I got in hot water whenever I tilled on windy days when my mom put the newly washed clothes on the clothesline. The “clean clothes” came out a little gritty and the sheets were coffee-colored. So, it’s important to coordinate schedules with the washerwoman or washerman. For any youngsters less than 40, a clothesline is several strands of rope or wire strung between two posts we hung our clothes on to dry. I’m told clotheslines still exist in more primitive societies.
If you’re planning a huge garden you’ll want something more substantial than a rototiller. Looking through farm papers I see where you can buy a red, blue, yellow or green tractor for between $500 and $500,000. Personally, I like the look of the used Big Bud tractor I saw for $300,000, which was built in 1982 in Havre, Mont. It has 760 horsepower produced by 16 pistons and has tires bigger than our first home. The only drawback I can see is it has a 1,000-gallon fuel tank which would currently cost over $6,000 to fill up based on the price of diesel in my part of the world.
After you have tilled your soil, you’re going to want to lay out your garden, which will consist of several semi-straight rows and mounds. You’ll have a tendency to want to plant a big garden but just keep in mind this snippet of sage advice: NEVER plant more than your spouse can weed.
Your next decision will be if you want to plant seeds or transplants. Seeds are much cheaper, which might be a big consideration if you blow all your dough on the Big Bud.
You’ll want to plant your green beans, corn, cabbage, carrots, beets and lettuce in rows. The vegetables you’ll grow the best will be the ones you don’t like to eat, like lima beans, but it’s still obligatory every garden must have beets, Brussels sprouts, radishes and carrots. These will all end up being eaten by your livestock.
There used to be a contest for the gardener who could grow the most disgusting carrot looking most like, well, you know, but I don’t think they have the contest anymore because it’s sexist and not “woke.” Whatever that means.
For any urbanites new to gardening, you should know there are no such things as bacon, steak or french fry seeds. Although french fries do come from potatoes, I’ve never been able to successfully grow them, although I could grow fabulous yams, the most disgusting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, other than the snail my brother dared me to eat. If you insist on growing your own french fries it will probably necessitate you relocating to Idaho. This is also true of growing hot peppers, which my wife has the hots for, but I have found they don’t achieve their full degree of hotness anywhere but Hatch, N.M. – the capital of HOT.
On the mounds you should plant your pumpkins and an assortment of squash. This will present your hardest challenge yet in growing a garden: getting rid of the squash. Be on the lookout for any vehicle not locked as a potential zucchini recipient.
If you follow my advice, you may have enough survival food but by the time you pay for the Big Bud tractor, fertilizer, water and labor, you’ll have invested $5,000 per ear of wormy corn, overripe zucchini, perverted carrot and squishy tomato.