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Depression Gardening

With today's economic climate, pulling out some of our grandparents tricks that helped them survive the Great Depression 1, might help us survive the Great Depression 2. If this Depression is anything like the first one, it's going to be a long, dark ride that will last years. Preparing now may help you cope with what is around the corner.

What is a "Depression Garden?"

Depression Gardens are typically urban backyard gardens, and on a larger scale, rural gardens. They are being tended by families looking to improve their personal economic stability. 2009 seems to be the year when Americans realized that our economy was in for a big downhill ride. Saving money is the word for the year(s). And one way to get ahead in this game is by starting your own depression garden.

Even if a miracle happens, you will at the least have some delicious home grown produce. And if things get really bad, your Depression Garden might save on your grocery bill and feed your family.

Community Garden

What to grow in a Depression Garden

Depression Gardens vegetables should be big on bulk. That is, foods you can grow that can be used to supplement store bought foods, or in worst case scenarios, used as a primary nutrition source. These foods should also be able to be stored either through careful drying or canning for future use throughout the winter months.

Potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, onions, cabbage are the prime candidates. It's also good to include a few supplemental plantings of herbs that can be used to spice up meals.

Site location

Select a planting location that gets a good amount (6 hours or more) of sunlight. Almost all food gardens require lots of sunlight. Food production is typically not shade tolerant.

If you live in a area that offers community gardens, get involved early. You can grow much larger crops and enjoy the community-- make friends, and get involved with others trying to survive.

During the first depression, vacant lots were turned into "relief gardens" designed by those that still had jobs to help feed those that didn't have food for the table. These were gardens created by groups of citizens that helped other citizens. It was self-reliance and not government reliance that drove these early efforts.

Eat and preserve your harvest throughout the summer and early fall. Make sure nothing is wasted. Can extra tomatoes, make strawberry jelly, and store potatoes in a cool, dry dark place. Onions likewise can be stored for use throughout the winter.

Community Gardens

How much can you save by creating a Depression Garden?

That depends on the scale of the garden. Smaller, home gardens are more expensive to create and maintain just because of the small scale and the initial expenses. Larger community gardens are more productive. You could expect to reap about $5.00 for every $1.00 invested. According to a National Gardening Association survey, 48 million American households plan to grow fruits or vegetables in 2009, which shows an increase of 19 percent from 2008.

To make the most of your garden plot and prepared soil, for northern climates, plan on having 2 growing seasons. The first starts about 30 days before the last frost free day and includes typical cool season crops. As each of these crops mature, a second crop can be planted in its place and be ready for harvest no later than the end of August.

Start With: Followed by:
Beets Cabbage
Potatoes Spinach
Spinach Tomatoes
Peas Snap Beans
Carrots Snap Beans
Green Onions Green Peppers
Leaf Lettuce Broccoli
Onions (large) Squash

Read 5 Easiest to Grow Vegetables >>

Companion Plantings for Vegetables>>