Don’t neglect perennial crops in your survival garden. Think in terms of edible landscaping. If you are going to have trees in the yard, they might as well be fruit trees. Same for hedges, why not make your ornamental hedges from plantings of Blueberry bushes or Surinam cherries?
Vining plants should be planted along fences, depending upon your growing zone these could be anything from grapes to passion fruit to kiwis.
These crops provide an annual supply of fresh fruits with a lot less work than a vegetable garden. A bit of pruning and a little watering, and you will have fresh fruit every year without weeding, preparing the ground, or planting every spring. Even on a town lot you can have a surprising number and variety of trees, shrubs and vines which can be very aesthetically pleasing and shout out “Yard Guy” rather than “Prepared Guy”.
In addition to perennial crops, crops that re-seed themselves save time and labor. We have several patches at our place which produce crops of herbs each year without replanting. These include several varieties of mint, Sun Flowers, lemon balm, lemon grass and oregano. If your climate permits, an asparagus patch will also produce year after year.
Potatoes and Mushrooms as Staple Foods
Producing staples can be problematical. Wheat and other grains require a lot of space and specialized skills and equipment to grow and harvest in meaningful quantities. Potatoes, on the other hand, can be grown in a trash can on a patio. Drill drain holes in the bottom of a 33 gallon can, put about 8 inches of compost in the bottom and plant seed potatoes.
As the plants grow up, cover them with successive layers of straw or other light well-draining organic material (an initial failure has taught me that lawn clippings are too wet and dense for this purpose!). In the end, you will have a trash can with potatoes from top to bottom, yielding as much as 30 pounds of potatoes per can.
If all you have is heavy shade, you might think mushrooms. Shitakes can be grown in oak logs in deep, damp shade. Oyster mushrooms can be grown in coffee grounds in shaded areas and even in a basement or the back of a closet.
A bit of preparation can enhance the habitat of native mushrooms and increase yields. Mushrooms provide a great deal of nutritional and medicinal benefits. Once established, mushrooms require little maintenance and no weeding!
Gardening is more a matter of knowledge and experience than supplies and equipment. As with all survival skills, the time to learn is not after a disaster. Do your homework now and get your trial and error out of the way while a dead plant doesn’t equal a missed meal.
Establish your edible landscaping; many of these plants take several years to reach peak yields. Get your seeds laid in and grow a garden every year. A crisis could arise at a time of year that doesn’t lend itself to planting, not having the survival garden going could cost you a year’s worth of produce when it is desperately needed.
Plant your survival garden now! Check out our selection of survival seeds here.