A lot of time has been devoted to the subject of food storage in the prepper/survivalist community. While food storage is a vital part of your preps, a survival garden lasts year after year.
In a long term survival situation (think extended grid-down scenarios, prolonged social disorder, disruptions in transportation and distribution systems, or a hyper-inflationary economic disaster) no amount of food storage can replace the ability to produce your own food on site.
The Benefits of a Survival Garden
Of all my preps, I view gardening as the most important. It is such an important part of my preparedness mindset that I no longer think in terms of “survival gardening”. Growing food has become a central part of my family’s “normal life” which has been fully integrated into our day to day. Why has this aspect of preparedness been elevated to this level?
There is a long list of reasons, but there are a few highlights that bear mentioning. Foremost on our list are the health benefits of home grown foods. We know exactly what we are getting from our garden, no chemicals, no Genetically Modified Organisms, just fresh, natural foods.
Nothing fuels your body better than fresh whole foods. Almost as important is the cost savings associated with food production. We have five kids and a trip to the grocery store darn near requires a second mortgage, anything we grow is one less thing to buy.
From a prepping standpoint, seeds and supplies for several years of gardening complement our food storage and ensure that we have more than one avenue of food supplies. Another important consideration is that should a martial law situation arise, with confiscatory provisions, it is unlikely that your garden will be dug up and carted away whereas your storage food could become fair game to government agencies.
Your choice of crops will depend on a variety of factors. What plants grow well in your region? How much space do you have available? How is your water supply? Do you have full sun, shade, or a combination of lighting conditions?
If you are not a master gardener, the first step is crop selection trips to your local nurseries and farms. Find out what is working well in your area and move forward from there. Having your soil tested at a local agricultural extension office is also a good idea.
Knowing what kind of soil you are working with can guide your hand and save a lot of heart breaking failures, allowing you to pick crops that thrive in your soil conditions or showing what amendments are needed to promote the crops you want.
The backbone of our garden is tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans and squash. In the spring and fall we focus on leafy greens. In most growing zones these crops are fairly easy to grow, and can produce surprisingly large yields in small spaces or even containers. Partial shade can extend leafy green production into the hotter months.
Herbs are another good choice for containers and small spaces. Fresh herbs can enhance a meal made from dehydrated foods, adding flavor, vitamins and minerals, and in many cases benefits to your immune system. A little fresh basil and oregano can transform a jar of tomato sauce into a gourmet sauce!
Many herbs do well in partial shade, and can be brought indoors in containers for year round production. A good herb garden could be you pharmacy in a survival situation, a comprehensive volume on medicinal herbs is an essential element of any survival library.
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