This year was our first year growing potatoes, and we tried them in barrels. We had one barrel of Red Pontiac and one of Yukon Gold.
The idea is that you take a big barrel, drum, bag, or other vessel and make sure it can drain out the bottom, then put in about 6 to 8 inches of soil and plant your seed potatoes. As they grow, soil is added to keep pace with their growth, until you reach the top of the barrel. They are supposed to send out roots all along their path to the top of the barrel, sprouting potatoes all along the way. The end goal: a barrel full of potatoes.
This year is our first year in our house, and the first year we’ve used this garden space. The raised beds in our garden were a big selling point of the house. Last winter we bought our seed for the year, the garden tools we were lacking, and some soil test kits. Busy with life, we got much of the garden planted late (not terribly late, just later than we wanted) and skipped the soil tests. Bad idea.
About half way through the growing season, the lackluster performance of some of our veggies prompted us to pull out the test kits and check our soil out. The most important discovery is that throughout our garden the soil PH is far higher than it should be, over 8 in some places. Most plants perform best in a range of 6 to 7, with some acid loving plants performing well as low as 5. An elevated soil PH can keep plants from absorbing available nutrients, which inhibits growth, invites pest problems, decreases yield, and makes the food produced less rich in micronutrients.
To us, financial independence is a large part of self-sufficiency. Debt is a claim on future labor. When a substantial part of your income is going towards debt, you are working for your creditor, not for yourself.
We have been following the method presented in Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey to reduce our debt and build wealth. The basic idea behind the method lies in the seven steps of the program: