During World War II, Americans grew “Victory Gardens” in an attempt to supplement food supplies that were diminished due to the war efforts. The extra fruits and vegetables added nutrients to the tables of millions of families and became a dependable source of food in troubled times.
Today, many families are following that lead and growing survival gardens designed to contribute to food supply during prosperous as well as lean times. Survival gardens can also be a cache of seeds and gardening supplies that could be planted in an extreme survival scenario when families must be self-sufficient.
Learning the basics of a survival garden can help you ensure that you’ll harvest a bumper crop each year and take a step ever closer to becoming self-sufficient, whether from today’s garden or one in an emergency.
Where to Put Your Survival Garden
Choosing the best spot for your survival garden means you must look at a range of factors that contribute to the best growing conditions for your plants. Look for an area in your yard that gets lots of sun or at least partial sun. Avoid areas where there is shade for most of the day. Examine the soil to see if some areas are rockier than others, or seem to contain more clay or sand. Preferably, the soil should be dark, crumbly and relatively rock free. Finally, see how your garden spot sits in relation to water. Don’t put it too far from the hose or other water source.
What to Plant in Your Survival Garden
A successful survival garden should contain plants that are hardy and produce a high yield. The plants should also be fairly disease-resistant and contain maximum nutritional value. Some of the best crops for a survival garden include beets, kale, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, radishes, green beans and spinach. Other high calorie crops include sunflower seeds, broccoli, carrots and turnips. Peppers, cucumbers, watermelon, potatoes and pumpkin are other options for your survival garden that are prolific and easy to grow.
Caring for Your Survival Garden
Get gardening tips specific to your area from reliable sources, such as your local extension office or garden club. These groups can provide details on what time of year to plant. Prepare the soil by loosening it up with a tiller or by hand. Incorporate amendments like compost or fertilizer. Give your plants at least an inch of water each week and more during hot summer months. Keep weeds at bay by mulching around plants and pulling any that grow too big.
Planting a survival garden isn’t much different than a regular vegetable garden other than the choice of crops. As long as you include enough high-calorie plants and take into account all the soil, weather, pests and rainfall variations of where you live, you can supplement your family’s food supply and save money today, or weather out a tough survival scenario if needed.
Dirk Puckett enjoys writing about camping, outdoor adventures, self-sustaining practices and survival gardening tips.