A Prepper Garden is Key to Survival: Here’s Why

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A Prepper Garden is Key to Survival: Here’s Why

Having a prepper garden might the difference between life and death for your family in a SHTF scenario.

Food is a huge part of survival. That’s why we focus so hard on develop a large food stockpile, but what happens when that stockpile runs out and we still are living our new reality? You need to have a survival garden to refill the pantry shelves and feed your family.

Everyone needs a prepper garden.

What if the economy crashed tomorrow? What if the store shelves emptied and stayed empty? How would you feed your family?

Don’t wait until a disaster strikes to plan a prepper garden; start now.

What is a Prepper Garden?

A prepper garden is exactly what it sounds like – a garden for prepping.

Food is an essential part of life, and in case of an emergency, having a prepper garden gives you a guaranteed what to feed your family. When your food stockpile runs out, your garden will be able to feed your family and restock your shelves with all of your home-preserved foods.

Having a survival garden means that you grow food that will sustain your family throughout the growing season and beyond because you store and preserve that food.

Many preppers are homesteaders, and they strive to produce as much food as possible. It’s often a goal to see if they can produce more each year, eventually eliminating the need to buy food from the grocery store.

Why Do You Need a Survival Garden

2020 gave everyone the reason why they need to have a survival garden. When the pandemic hit, many grocery store shelves emptied quicker than everyone imagined. Stores started to limit the quantities that people could buy, and panic set in for many people.

Pandemics won’t always happen – or we hope – but that doesn’t mean having a survival garden is a bad idea. Some reasons you might want to be a garden prepper include:

  • Loss of your job
  • Saving money and becoming more self-reliant
  • Natural disasters that affect our food production
  • Economic collapses and civil unrest

Whether you worry that a job loss or a natural disaster, feeding our families is one of the most important tasks we have. Growing food at home takes the burden of feeding everyone off of your wallet and puts it directly into your hands.

What to Grow in My Prepper Garden

Planning your survival garden is different than planning a typical vegetable garden. When you have a casual vegetable garden, you grow all sorts of things; some you might not even like or eat often.

A prepper garden focuses on growing foods that sustain life and provide calories. You also need to grow food that stores well. That might involve having a root cellar or a similar storage system, or figuring out how to can all of your food.

It’s best not to store all of your food in freezers. All it takes is a serious storm to knock out the power for several days, and your food supply would disappear.

If you are just starting, you want easy to grow plants. Here are some of the top staple crops that you should grow.

1. Beans

Dried beans are a shelf-stable crop that stores for long periods after drying. They’re full of calories and versatile; try replacing ground beef with beans in different recipes. Beans are pole crops that grow up vertical structures, so you can grow all kinds of beans without taking up much space.

2. Potatoes

Potatoes store for several months in a root cellar or cold basement without any preservation methods. Another idea is to can potatoes or freeze them. Potatoes are an easy crop to grow even for new gardeners.

3. Corn

Corn is one of the top staple crops; that’s why Native Americans include corn as one of the Three Sister crops. Not only does corn taste great fresh, but dried corn becomes popcorn, a healthy and filling snack. You also can grind up dried corn and use it to make cornbread or tortillas.

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4. Squash

Pioneers and homesteaders always grew squash. Some types of squash store up to six to eight months after harvesting in a root cellar if cured properly.

5. Cabbage

Many people think that cabbage is a spring crop, but it also grows well in fall garden. Cabbage stores in root cellars for several months, or try turning your heads of cabbage into crocks of sauerkraut.

6. Kale

Kale is an easy green to grow, and it’s cold-hardy. In some climates or with the right protection, kale grows year-round. All you need is a cold frame or green house. Kale is full of nutrients and vitamins.

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7. Onions

Onions might not fill your belly because no one wants to eat a bunch of onions for dinner. However, food tastes a lot better with some diced onions for flavor.

8. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a great addition to a survival garden because they add flavor to dishes. Pasta is a cheap, filling meal, and tomatoes store well when home-canned.

9. Spinach

Spinach is another green that grows well through most seasons. It starts early in the spring and grows until the fall. In some climates, you can grow spinach in the fall as well.

10. Apples

Apple trees are perennials and produce for years when cared for properly. If you have a cold basement or root cellar, apples store for several months, or they taste great when canned as applesauce, apple pie filling, or apple butter.

11. Peas

Peas are a filling spring and fall crop that everyone loves. Fresh peas taste better than store-bought canned peas. They add calories and produce early in the year, plus peas freeze and can well.

12. Carrots

Carrots are another staple crop that must be added to any prepper garden. Plant them early in the spring until the first frost of the year. Depending on how hard the ground freezes, some people keep the carrots outside in the garden year-round and harvest when needed. Carrots also store well in a root cellar, freeze well, and even taste great canned.

13. Garlic

What would dishes be without garlic? Adding garlic to your garden is easy; it fills spaces otherwise left empty. Garlic cloves store well hanging in the root cellar and add a delicious flavor.

15. Berries

Berries are perennial crops that produce for years, as long as you care for the plants. It’s hard to store berries unless you turn them into jams or freeze them, but they are a great spring crop that fits into landscapes well.

16. Herbs

Not only do herbs add flavor to dishes, but some are medicinal herbs that have benefits that keep you healthy. Make sure to include some in your prepper garden. Herbs are really the best survivalist medicine.

How to Plan Your Prepper Garden

When you decide you want to plan a survival garden, here’s some things to consider.

1. How Many People Do You Need to Feed

If you want to feed your family off of your prepper garden, you have to know how much to plant of each thing. For example, if you have a family of four, you need 45 bush bean plants!

Understanding how much you need to plant of each crop also helps with figuring out your survival garden layout and size. You can’t plan how big to make your garden until you know how large to make it!

2. Think about Calories

The goal of a survival garden is to feed your family and survive. Eggplants won’t help your family survive, even if they taste great roasted.

The bulk of your garden needs to be staple crops that are calorie dense, store well, and versatile. Think about crops that pioneers and homesteaders used to grow years ago; those should be what you grow.

3. Determine Your Preservation Methods

Think about what type of preservation methods that you want to use to preserve the foods you grow long term. Each offer pros and cons.

  • Canning is the most popular method and versatile. It’s possible to can almost any food, including meats, but it takes space to store all of the jars. Canning is a lot of work!
  • Fermenting is intimidating for some, but it’s one of the oldest preservation methods, relying on natural bacteria to preserve foods. You have to keep the foods in a cold location, and it changes the flavor of the food.

4. Design a Prepper Garden

Figuring out your survival garden layout is a big deal. Once you plant your garden, it’s not movable. Planning a survival garden means that you need to plan about providing food for your family.

Here are some tips.

  • Pick a place for your garden that receives six hours of direct sunlight or more.
  • Make sure the soil has good drainage, and you have access to water.
  • Plan your layout to ensure the plants that need the most sunlight receives it.
  • Use companion planting to encourage better health and production of your crops.
  • Figure out how you’ll water the garden.
  • Include fruit trees and bushes in your plans.

5. Test Your Soil

Before you start gardening, test your soil. Your local county extension office offers tests that help determine if you need to add nutrients to your soil.

6. Add Perennials

When considering what to grow in my prepper garden, make sure you add perennials. Perennial plants grow for years to come. Creating a food forest with all kinds of edible bushes, greens, and trees help to hide your prepping garden while feeding your family.

 

Think about The Challenges When Growing a Survival Garden

Growing a prepper garden isn’t as easy as you think, especially if you have to grow it after a disaster and your family depends on it. The pressure would be intense.

1. Limited Time

Time is a huge commodity, whether it’s now or after a disaster happens. You might think that you’re busy now, but you’ll be a lot busier trying to survive and keep your family healthy is a disaster strikes.

A survival garden should be easy to maintain once planted. Including as many perennial plants and easy vegetables is one of the keys to making gardening less time restrictive.

2. Limited Water

How are you going to water your garden? Right now, the answer might the hose attached to your house, but what if things go south and you need to water your garden after the SHTF?

Think about how you’ll get water to your plants and plan for that right now. The answer could be a system of rain barrels or a water collection system, or you might have a local stream that would allow you to divert water.

If you’re working on going off grid, you might already have an alternative water source, like a well that runs off of solar panels. Having a self-sustainable house means considering these alternative water sources; water is crucial!

3. Defense

If the SHTF and people see that you have a huge garden, you’ll quickly become a target. Adding a tall, wooden fence around your garden is the first line of defense; fences are better than hedgerows.

Consider defense when you design your survival garden. Some people like to incorporate as much of their food production as possible into the landscape to hide it. Growing a food forest is also a great idea; a food forest focuses on permaculture practices and integrating as many edibles into your landscape as possible.

4. Must Save the Seeds

In a true SHTF situation, you have to save all of your seeds for the future. Buying seeds won’t be possible; you definitely want prepper seeds in your stockpile. Think about how you’ll manage this if the store is closed and learn how to save the seeds for all of the plants that you grow.

5. Your Growing Season

If you live in a cold climate or even a tropical climate, your growing season might work against you. All crops have ideal temperatures for growth and the length of time they need to grow to reach a mature size. Make sure that when growing your own food, you use varieties and crops that will harvest in the amount of frost-free days you region receives.

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If you live somewhere that’s considerably warm, many plants don’t handle hot temperatures. You’ll need to plan a garden in the fall, winter, and spring months to give your crops the best chance of survival. Hot temperatures stress out plants as much as cold temperatures.

Don’t Wait to Plant Your Garden

Don’t wait until a disaster strikes to plant your garden. Start designing it now using the garden space you have. And gather the plants that are easy to grow that you want to plant. It could be the difference between life and death when the SHTF.

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