Preparing for the unknown: How to create a survival garden

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Updated Jan 12, 2023

survival gardenWe’ve talked about a multitude of different gardens, but one we have yet to touch on is the survival garden.

Survival gardens have grown in popularity, especially with the multitudes of dystopian novels, movies, and TV shows around today, and they are designed to provide enough crops to permit a family to live on the garden produce alone.

Since there is no definitive way to tell whether or not your customers will one day be required to live only on what’s in their survival gardens, it’s best to prepare ahead of time just in case.

When taking into consideration the amount of food and calories it would take to feed an entire family, relying strictly on what can be grown in a backyard garden seems like a daunting task.

Just like people prepare for impending storms, earthquakes and other natural disasters, the same ideas of preparation should go into a survival garden. Take a look at a few suggestions on how your customers can get the most out of their survival gardens, whether they are used for their intended purpose of survival or not.

Getting started

Survival gardens may not be the most intricate or hardest gardens to create, but they do involve time and planning.

To begin a survival garden, start by creating a garden plot. This plot can be small or containers can also be used if space is limited. Also talk to your customers about the kinds of vegetables and crops they want in the garden and how much of each they intend to plant. This will help give you a better idea of just how much space will actually be needed.

Whatever your customers decide to do, be sure the garden is planted/placed in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day. The area should also have good drainage, and it should be free of large stones and silt.

Be sure that the area has access to water. It should be close enough to a water source where a garden hose can easily reach the garden, or some kind of irrigation system should be installed.

Along with keeping the garden in close proximity to water, keep in mind that the garden also needs to be easily accessible to your customers. This allows them to check the garden regularly for pests and weeds, and it lets them keep an eye on the progress it’s making.

What to plant

Talk to your customers about starting off small with a few easy-to-grow vegetables such as peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes and bush beans. Be sure to use open-pollinated seeds since these will continue to grow and produce.

Other crops that will lend an ample amount of calories to the mix while not taking up much space are winter squash, sunflower seeds, beans, corn, peanuts and potatoes. For those with a vegetarian diet, sunflower seeds and peanuts are two of the best ways to get necessary quantities of fat.

Naturally, your customers won’t be able to eat all of their goodies at once, so choosing options that will store well is a must. A few options that do store well are beets, carrots, turnips, cabbage, kale, rutabagas, leeks, and onions.

When choosing what to plant, be sure to stress to your customers the importance of thinking through the decisions. Don’t just let them choose crops randomly.

Their choices need to be vegetables that their families will actually eat, enjoy and be able to use in multiple dishes.

For more ideas on what to plant in a survival garden, click here.

Arranging the plants

To get the most out of a survival garden, it’s important to carefully plan out where the vegetables will be placed.

Place perennial herbs and vegetables, or ones that are harvested throughout the season, toward the back of the garden or in a section all of their own. This will keep them from getting disturbed throughout the other activities in the garden.

A few examples of perennial vegetables are: asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb, horseradish, ginger, garlic, and bunching onions.

A few examples of popular perennial herbs are: chives, mint, basil, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

A few examples of perennial berries are: elderberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, huckleberry, and strawberries.

Keep in mind that there are some vegetables that just cannot grow next to each other, so keep those in mind when planting. For example, potatoes can inhibit the growth of tomatoes and squash, and beans can inhibit the growth of onions.

This shouldn’t keep your customers from wanting to have all of these vegetables present in their survival gardens; it should just help keep them aware of location when beginning to plant.

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