Have you ever doubted yourself because someone has told you you’re prepping wrong? They drag out all kinds of scientific evidence as backup. Some of them come with alarming warnings. You’re going to waste money, time, and effort. You might hurt yourself. You could even poison yourself. So you freeze up while you go study all the different ways and methods of safe prepping. Then you get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing.
Even bad preps are better than no preps.
In fact, bad prepping can save your life, or in our case our garden.
When I was a kid in the early 80s, living in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, my parents made sure to do some prepping. No one called it that. Some called it wise. Some called it frugal. And even back then, some called it paranoia.
Looking back on it, people of today might even call it dangerous lunacy. We did things like refilling empty milk jugs with water and sticking them down in our basement. Nowadays there are plenty of articles and blogs floating around the internet explaining the dangers of this practice, how milk residue can grow bacteria even if you wash the jug first. You can also find articles on how to make such water safer, like this one from Oregon State University.
We didn’t have internet in the early 80s, let alone blogs or pdfs of university studies. We didn’t know.
Then one summer, a drought hit. The city turned off the public water. Every few days, differing neighborhoods would have their water turned on for an hour or two so people could flush their toilets and wash dishes. Officials told everyone not to take showers, not to fill up water jugs, and not to water their lawns or gardens. We neighborhood kids ran from house to house up the street. We laughed like it was a game, a contest to see which house’s trickle of water petered out first and which lasted the longest.
We didn’t notice the worried looks on people’s faces. We didn’t notice the sorrow and fear in their eyes as they watched their gardens shrivel and die. We didn’t notice the neighbors looking at our garden with jealousy and anger.
We did notice when they asked our parents why we were watering our garden against city ordinance. That’s when my parents would give them a jug of that undrinkable water in our basement. That’s what we used to keep our garden alive. That’s what they went and poured on their garden in a desperate attempt to do the same.
If we had known what not to do, we wouldn’t have had that water.
If we had known what not to do, our garden would have died with the rest.
If we had known what not to do, vegetables and fruits wouldn’t have been fresh on our plates for almost all of that year, helping us to grow and stay healthy.
My parents did bad prepping. And we thrived because of their mistake.
If you think you might be doing something wrong, do something anyway. Don’t go all out. Just pick something simple to start yourself off, like grabbing a few extra water bottles or cans of meat for your pantry shelf. At the very worst, you’ll have learned something from the experience. And you never know, it could save garden.
What bad prepping have you done that can be repurposed for a different use?
Share your knowledge in a comment and help others out with their mistakes.