The power grid was definitely not in operation when the world’s first organic food producer, Adam, tended to the original garden. He had Father God, mother nature, his wits, and elbow grease. That was all he required initially to coax food from the ground. Eventually he lost a rib, but gained a co-op partner in Eve. Pretty good trade off. One might regard it as the first farmer’s union.
In some ways, I garden like Adam. Surely there are parallels between a survival gardening approach, and the methods that he may have used. Before the fall of man, the garden was watered by a river that flowed from Eden (Gen 2:9). Eventually, the irrigation would have to come by the sweat of Adam’s brow. As formal aqueduct systems had yet to be invented, that probably meant crudely redirecting water from the river. Or possibly it meant a rain catchment system much like survivalists and the self sufficient employ today. The sun shone then pretty much as it does today. The wide variety of animals provided plenty of manure that was free of antibiotics or chemical byproducts. All things considered, it was a straightforward and efficient system. In this way, grid down gardening resembles the way God first taught man how to grow food. Most who use the term “back to the land” probably don’t realize just how far back that saying truly reaches.
The conventional meaning simply implies turning away from industrialism back towards a self sufficient lifestyle working the land. This ideology however, often still requires a good amount of dependence upon industrialism. Without it there would be no manufacture of tillers, engines, or oil refinement to supply the gas and the petroleum for the plastic based products. The amount of industrial aids are innumerable. I myself procured a wonderful galvanized watering can recently at an antique store. Adam never had one of those.
In the strictest sense however, “back to the land” is more in line with the growing practices Adam undertook rather than the implements he used. That’s my view anyway. Some growers in fact have already mimicked this original agrarian style of gardening. While I dabble with it, others have undertaken it on a much larger scale than my tiny rectangle. Their motivations possibly vary from mine, but the desired outcome is practically the same. It has even been adorned with a slick marketing name ; “Back To Eden” gardening. It’s a really neat idea!
The immediate appeal for myself is that at its core it acknowledges God and His creation. In a darkened culture which increasingly pits itself against its creator, you don’t see that much anymore. This is especially true when it comes to products, fads, or design”systems” with retail interests in mind. The cherry on top is that I believe “back to eden” methods establish a best practices for those who garden as a means of emergency preparedness.
Additionally, I add what I have to work with at my disposal: coffee grounds, eggshells, kitchen scraps, compost, wood ash and urine. These components and others could be sourced in a grid down world
A common remark in the EP community is that if the power ever went out, the Amish wouldn’t even notice. That is because they have generations of experience growing food without it. If terrorists hacked, extorted, compromised or destroyed the power grid today, we would all be desperately trying to learn the old ways. Essentially, that is Back to Eden gardening …… or grid down gardening. Growing from scratch you might say!
We are approximately a month away from the last frost date in my zone. Some cool hardy crops already have gone in. Although my garden is being summoned from the gradually warming days of April, it is still slumbering for the most part. But as I do not employ a hoop house, I have to resist the temptation to sow prematurely. This is the status of my plot. It is reminiscent of Eden to some degree.
The leaves from last autumn were collected and spread before the snow returned. This provides a 12″ – 18″ deep blanket of fluffy, organic material. When it compresses over winter, it serves as the following year’s mulch keeping the weeds at bay. Ultimately the leaf cover composts re-injecting the soil with organic matter. This is the bulk of my fertilization and soil management efforts. Additionally, I add what I have at my disposal to work with: coffee grounds, eggshells, kitchen scraps, compost, wood ash and urine. These components and others could be sourced in a grid down world.
While I know that I should get a soil test, it’s falls under that “round tuit” category. Our area was potato fields 100 years ago. By this grace, we bought a plot that presumably already had good soil. So maybe these amendment practices of mine are providing deceptive results. The lawn was only first tilled in 2014. The rate of annual nutrient depletion hinges on many variables. Without testing, its impossible to know for certain how much is taken out each growing season. For example, if I made no effort to rebuild the soil, how long would it take to convert it to lifeless dirt? Maybe you can tell me in the comments section. What I do know is that so far I have seen no indications of reduced production.
This brief video was taken a month ago. I recorded it to simply show what my plot looks like at present. You can clearly see the wood ash.
I must make one thing clear. My survival gardening approach is a work in progress. I make no claims about it’s long term effectiveness, nor boasts of authority on the subject. Will the leaf compost, coffee grounds etc regenerate enough nutrients to replace what the produce extracts? I believe so. But let’s give it a few years of experimentation while the grid is up, and see what happens.
So, what do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
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