When times are uncertain, many turn to a survival garden. And to be honest, why not? Survival Gardening provides healthy and readily available food at rock-bottom prices. It’s a good exercise, good for morale, and it’s fun. And if you have time to burn, this is a great way to free yourself from the stress of the whole world.
Even if you live in an apartment, you can have an urban vegetable garden. If you have a large garden, we will briefly talk about how to design a survival garden on a larger scale. But honestly, my goal here is to talk about growing your own food for survival purposes, and the most effective things to grow for calorie and nutrient density.
How Survival Gardening Works
Most people want to grow plants that look good and some that taste good. But when you create a survival garden, your goal is literally to survive. Every plant in your garden should have a use that reflects this purpose.
Of course, it is clear that you need vegetables to survive. They are diverse and provide a lot of nutrition. But your kids will rebel (and so will you) when you face the zombie apocalypse with nothing more than pumpkin and potatoes. In addition, you need vitamin C.
So add some fruit for your recent times pantry. Do not forget about spices for flavor and possible medicinal uses (although you should stick to those that are safe to cook, to protect your children).
Gardeners of small spaces should not panic. Hanging and freestanding containers can hold a surprising amount of material. For example, the Grow Bags are perfect for these precious potatoes! Kevin has written an entire book designed specifically for your needs, and it is full of fantastic information that will easily translate into an urban survival garden layout. You can use beautiful planters or try one of the many other methods in her book.
Plan Your Survival Garden Crops
Let me emphasize something here: grow food that you will eat.
Survival gardens only work if you use what you grow. If you don’t like something, don’t grow it. It can be considered a superfood, but if you can’t bring yourself to eat it, there’s no point in wasting time on it.
How many people do you need to feed? It’s easier if you Garden for one, but if you have many people, you should also take into account their preferences. My husband has a love-hate relationship with eggplant, so I grow a lot less of that and more things like tomatoes that he will enjoy.
Once you have an idea of what you would like to eat, it’s time to do a little more analysis on this topic. When trying to determine your survival, you need to think in terms of two things: calories and nutrition, and storage.
Calories and nutrition
Most nutritionists recommend a certain amount of calories per day for basic survival. If you get less than you need, you may feel shaky, sleepy, or just unmotivated.
For crops, starchy and sweet foods are usually the highest in calories and will make up most of your diet, but they may miss some nutritional aspects that you need. Balance this by growing an assortment of vegetables, fruits, and legumes to provide protein and essential vitamins and minerals.
Imagine, if you want, that you have an abundance of sweet and delicious strawberries.
Now imagine what they will look like in two weeks if you don’t store them properly. Eew.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grow them, just that you should plan for the majority of your crops to keep things well. Fortunately, there are many ways to store your crops.
As long as you still have energy, freezing is an option. Some types of vegetables can be pressed for after consumption. Consider lacto-fermenting vegetables as another storage option, and dehydration is another good choice!
We’ve included Kevin’s nine favorite crops here for you to check out, with lots of detailed information on why each is an absolute necessity in a survival situation. But we have more ideas than this. So read on to see our rundown of what we recommend most to people trying to make a living from their garden!
Top 5 Best Foods To Grow For Survival
Just reading this word makes you imagine green beans, doesn’t it? But there is a ton of variation in this category. Simply put, beans are an essential staple crop.
What you get with beans is a lot of dense nutrients in a small package. They can be grown in the form of a bush or a pole, so you can grow them in different ways. The seeds are high in protein, and the varieties with edible pods are excellent.
Grow a selection of bush beans and ice cream beans. Also choose a mixture of storage and fresh beans. Be sure to store some of these precious bean seeds with each harvest to plant a different crop!
It is more difficult to grow in an apartment, but it is a staple in the garden. Personally, I prefer growing sweet corn or flour corn when doing survival gardening. Once your corn is ready for harvest, you can dry it, nixtamalize it to increase nutrient density, and grind it into cornmeal. Kept dry, cornmeal will keep well in an airtight container.
Corn has the added benefit of being a perfect living trellis for your bean plants. Plant your corn first. Once you get a few inches from the growing corn stalk, plant beans around the corn. Make sure the soil is rich enough to support both types of vegetables! As your ice beans grow, they will climb onto your corn stalks.
Winter and summer squashes are great in your garden at the end of the world. You want them both. Summer presses grow quickly and immediately provide fast food. On the other hand, winter squash take longer to develop, but keep much longer if they are kept whole and intact.
Start your seeds for both at the same time as you can. Otherwise, choose winter varieties first, as they take longer to develop. If you like, these grow well around your corn and beans, creating what is known as a “three sisters” vegetable garden. Squashes act as a sprawling natural ground cover.
Although it is not particularly high in calories, cabbage is full of nutrients that your body needs. Rich in vitamins B6 and C, it is also rich in fiber. Whether cooked or used raw in salads and salads, it is an excellent choice.
But it’s a great survival crop for another reason: sauerkraut or kimchi, or whatever fermented use you want to use it. Once fermented, you now have a long-lasting vegetable option that you can use in soups, sandwiches, stews or on sausages.
Potatoes have helped people around the world survive periods of famine. This starchy root crop is also incredibly easy to grow, which is a big plus!
Growing potatoes is also easy in urban areas. Plant your potatoes in buckets or grow bags. When the tops turn yellow and pass away, you will find a container filled with delicious carrots ready to be harvested. And besides being a good source of carbohydrates, they also contain potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6.