The Bible is full of wisdom and instruction given to the Israelites to help them govern and lead successful lives. A section of scriptures in the sixth chapter of Proverbs is one example of God’s wisdom that will prove critical to those people in these last days.
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
Not only is this scripture good advice, it is a warning. Like our foreparents of old, we must consider the ways of the ant, and gather nourishment for difficult times to come. It isn’t fun to consider some of the heavier prophecies of the scriptures, but as believing Israelites, we must take heed to the advice and warnings given to us by the Father. This understanding prompted me to take action.
A couple years back, I began cultivating skills with this scripture and others in mind, starting first with a humble garden that the Lord blessed tremendously. The harvest was bountiful, and although I used and gave a lot away, a portion of the crops went to waste. I hate WASTING! This motivated me to think of ways to preserve what the Lord blessed, and I started researching food preservation and canning. I realized that if I could successfully learn how to grow food and preserve the increase, I’d be truly serving my lord’s house, and the Nation. I was considering the ant and applying.
Below I’ve provide tips and resources separated into two primary categories; Gardening Tips and Preservation Tips. I’m further into my gardening journey than I am into food preservation, and will likely update both lists over time.
Each of these tips have greatly benefited me in my journey. Some I learned the hard way, and others I found through general research. Feel free to incorporate what will work for you. There are some of my Amazon Affiliate links below, for which I may receive a small commission to operate this site, at NO cost to you. Feel free to use them or find something locally. I’m happy to provide the information all the same!
Know the frost dates for your area.
Knowing the frost date for your area is critical to your garden’s success. This will dictate when you need to start certain plants indoors, and when it is safe to transfer those plants and plant seeds outdoors. This resource from Almanac.com allows you to plug in your zip code and will return results for your specific frost date.
Make sure your plants have adequate spacing, and clear all weeds and brush surrounding them.
Last season I positioned by tomato plants too tightly together, which served as a breeding ground for pesky stink bugs. I ended up losing about 40% of my tomato plant harvest. Fortunately I planted my plants in large pots and was able to add space between the plants toward the end of the season, when I learned what was contributing to my problem. I also removed a significant amount of brush along the fence line, which was a harboring ground for the stink bugs. Pots make it easier to address spacing, so keep this in mind when planning your layout. If you do opt to plant into the ground or a bed, make sure there is plenty of space, and no brush to hide pests.
Create a natural pest repellant
It will be nearly impossible to go an entire growing season without pests. I opted to deal with my pesky pest problems with a natural homemade solution using the following: 1/2 gallon of water, 1 teaspoon natural soap, 1 teaspoon peppermint oil, 1 tbsp neem oil (with Azadrachtin), and 1 teaspoon rosemary oil. Be sure to test a couple of leaves before applying to your entire garden. If there is no damage, feel free to proceed. Always spray in the morning and never in direct sunlight. Spray the leaves, stems, and soil and avoid the flowers or buds where bees will pollinate to bring about the harvest. For preventative maintenance spray your garden with the solution 2-3 times per month (bi-weekly for example). If you are experiencing an active pest problem, use the concoction every 3-4 days for about a month until you have the issue under control and then move to the preventative maintenance cycle. I purchased my 1/2 gallon spray bottle on Amazon.
Regularly fertilize and enhance your soil.
Most soils come with some form of fertilizer, however, as your plants begin to grow, they are extracting these nutrients. Banana water (simply soak banana peels in water for at least an hour, or longer and pour into soil) is a great way to inject potassium into plants, and there are plenty of store bought options you can grab and store. If you want to save some money and go the natural route, here are a few options for making your own fertilizer at home.
Consider watering needs when planning your garden layout.
Different plants have different watering needs, which makes it very important to plan accordingly. There are also watering differences based on how you are growing your plants. In-ground gardens have different watering needs from raised bed gardens, and potted plants need to be water more often than both. Check out this site for the best watering guide I’ve been able to find!
Implementing companion planting to ward off pests.
After a very frustrating season with some of my crops, I now understand the importance of companion planting, and will never deviate from the practice LW. Companion planting is essentially pairing your crops with other plants to attract pests away from your bounty (the crops for your family). Check out these resources to learn more:
Use Garden Planning Tools to assist you in your journey.
The following links are to tools one can use to plan their garden. The sooner you start the better. Most Spring gardens should be planned by January/February.
- https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/kitchen-garden-planner/kgp_home.html (Free)
- https://www.gardenmanager.com/ (Free plan, with subscription options for more hands-on assistance)
- https://gardenplanner.territorialseed.com/subscribeinfo.aspx (Three subscription options ranging from $29-70 annually/bi-annually)
- https://www.smartgardener.com/subscriptions/new (two subscription options ranging from $10-30)
- Crop Calculator – https://www.ufseeds.com/calculators.html
- Find your Zone – https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/
As previously stated, I’m in the beginning stages of my food preservation journey, nevertheless, I’m going to share everything I know and discover as I go Lord willing life last. My goal is to be in a position to preserve the abundance of our garden in 2022.
There are many types of preservation, some we all use regularly. For example, freezing is a form of preservation. You can freeze many things, most typically meats, cheese, fruits, vegetables etc. One thing I recently purchased to aid with frozen preservation is a vacuum sealer. This device extracts air from the packaging, which helps to prevent freezer burn. Because freezing doesn’t work for everything we need to preserve, I’ve invested time in learning more about other methods to lengthen the shelf-life of the crops we grow.
There are two primary types of canning:
- Water Bath Canning – Water Bath Canning is less complex, and is only used for highly acidic foods that don’t require longer processing to prevent bacterial growth. This type of canning is usually embraced by beginners.
- Pressure Canning – Pressure Canning is a bit more complex, however, it can be used to preserve nearly all foods. The equipment is a bit more expensive as well.
Below I’ve captured some of the resources I’m using in my journey.
- Canning & Preserving for Beginners: The Essential Canning Recipes & Canning Supplies Guide
- Store Food for a Long Time: A Year Without Grocery Store
- The Farm Girl’s Guide to Preserving the Harvest: How to Can, Freeze, Dehydrate, and Ferment Your Garden’s Goodness
- The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning
- Canning and Preserving Around the World + Beginners Guide
- Canning Jar Lifter – used to lift jars from the canner safely.
- Canning Funnel – used to safely pour contents into a jar without excessive splatter and mess.
- T-fal Pressure Cooker/Canner – used to seal jars/cans.
- Water Bath Canner – you really just need a large pot, which many of us have. Just do a Google search and you will find what you need to see if you need to make a purchase.
- Mason Jars – canning jars with lids
- Canning Labels
- Sturdy Ladle
- Canning Spatula/Bubble Popper – used to properly fill jars and remove air bubbles/pockets.
- Magnetic Wand – used to easily retrieve canning lids and rings into canner’s hot water when sterilizing them.
Amazon and other vendors have packages that include many of these items. Just do a search for Canning Supplies, and see if it is more cost effective to purchase a package, or acquire the items a la carte.
I will update this section as I explore this portion of my journey LW.