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How To Start A Survival Garden In Your Backyard

Having a sustainable source of food is a bigger concern today than it has been in the last 50 years. One way to make sure you have fresh fruits and vegetables is to start a survival garden in your backyard.

Survival gardening dates back to World War II, when citizens and communities were encouraged to grow their own food. War gardens, known as “Victory Gardens” supported the war effort and supplemented their rationed diets. Today, survival gardening is more relevant than ever, with supply chain issues, natural disasters, economic instability, and global pandemics affecting food supplies.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to start your own survival garden in your backyard. We’ll discuss choosing the right vegetables, planning and organizing your garden, dealing with pests and diseases, harvesting and storing your produce, and saving seeds for future plantings.

What is a Survival Garden, and Why is it Important for Survival Preparedness?

A survival garden is a cornerstone part of survival preparedness for any prepper. It’s a garden specifically designed to grow vegetables and fruit in case of an emergency or disaster. A prepper garden typically includes crops that are easy to grow and maintain.

The importance of a survival garden can’t be overstated. In the event of a disaster, when food and supplies become scarce, the ability to grow food can be life-saving. A well-planned and maintained garden can provide food for months if not years. Survival gardens are a cost-effective way to supplement your food supply and reduce your reliance on grocery stores.

To get the most out of a survival garden you need to choose the right crops and plan accordingly. Root vegetables, like sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, are great choices because they’re high in nutrients and have a long shelf life. Fruits like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are calorie-dense and can be stored for long periods. Herbs, like fava beans and green beans, are easy to grow and add flavor to your meals.

A survival garden also has psychological benefits and provides exercise. Gardening can be therapeutic and provides a sense of accomplishment and control in a stressful situation. All of these can improve overall health and wellbeing.

What every survivalist should grow in Their Backyard Prepper Garden?

In the planning process for your survival garden, realize that not all plants are created equal, and some are better suited for survival situations than others. When planning your backyard prepper garden, think about the vegetable types that provide the most nutritional value, store well, and have a high yield.

The first plant category you’ll want in your prepper garden is root vegetables. These include potatoes, carrots, and turnips, which are nutrient-dense, easy to grow, and store well. They work in many recipes and are an excellent source of energy.

The next plant category is legumes. Peas, beans, and lentils are protein-rich and valuable in a survival diet. They’re also easy to grow and store.

We suggest that you grow some herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme. These add flavor to your meals and provide medicinal benefits. And herbs help with morale.

Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce are also great additions to a survival garden. They’re high in vitamins and minerals, quick to grow, and can be eaten fresh or cooked. Tomatoes and peppers are great options to add flavor and variety to your meals.

Lastly, consider growing a few fruit trees like apple or peach trees. They’re a great source of nutrients, store well, and can be dried or canned for later use.

How Much Garden You Would Need to 100% Survive On?

Figuring out how much garden space you would need to support your family 100%, means considering several factors…

First, there’s how many people you’re growing food for and what their caloric needs are. Next, you need to factor in the climate and growing season in your region, and lastly, the type of crops you plan to grow.

A general rule of thumb is that you will need 2,000 to 4,000 square feet of garden per person to meet their food production needs. The size of your garden plot can vary depending on the type of crops you plan to grow and the efficiency of your gardening methods. Also, think about how you’ll store and preserve your crops to last throughout the year.

In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, it’s also recommended to incorporate livestock and poultry into your prepper garden to provide a source of protein. Chickens and rabbits are great options because they don’t require a lot of space and can provide a consistent source of meat and eggs.

How Big of a Garden do you Need to Sustain a Family of 4?

To sustain an entire family of 4 with a garden, you would need a garden that is at least 1/4 acre in size. Growing a survival garden this size would provide enough food to sustain a family of 4 with a variety of fruits and vegetables year-round.

A well-planned garden, when properly maintained can provide a family with fresh veggies and tasty fruit throughout the growing season and beyond.

The success you have with survival gardening will be affected by more than just the size of your garden plot. Factors like the amount of sunlight, water, and soil quality will affect your crop yield. Choosing crops that are well-suited to your region and your family’s preferences will help to maximize the yield and overall success of the garden.

What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing a Location for My Prepper Garden?

Location, location, location. When planning your prepper garden, choosing a location that will allow your plants to thrive is incredibly important. There are several pieces to that decision.

First, how much sunlight does the area receive? Most vegetables require full sun, meaning they need at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. A lack of sunlight can lead to stunted growth or reduced yield.

Next, consider the soil quality. The soil should be fertile, rich in nutrients, and well-draining. You can conduct a soil test to figure out if your soil is suitable for gardening. If your soil isn’t ideal, you’ll need to amend it with compost or other organic matter.

Another factor to consider is water availability. Your vegetable garden will require regular watering, so you’ll want a nearby source of water. On the other side, you don’t want a spot that’s prone to flooding or standing water because you could end up with root rot.

Because location is so important make sure you can get to your garden easily for planting, weeding, and harvesting. If the area is too far away or difficult to reach, it may be challenging to maintain.

As part of your survival garden plan, think about where you’ll place your compost pile. You want it to be convenient for both the house and your vegetable garden.

Finally, consider the potential for pests and diseases. Avoid planting in areas where pests are prevalent. You don’t want it near standing water or under trees that attract pests. Planting companion plants can also help deter pests.

How do I Prepare the Soil for My Survival Garden

As you think about preparing the soil for your survival garden, there are a few factors to consider…

First, you want to make sure the soil drains well to prevent waterlogging and root rot. Additionally, you want to make sure the soil is nutrient-rich, to help your plants grow healthy and strong.

So how do we do this? First, think about adding organic matter to your soil. This can include things like compost, manure, or even shredded leaves. These materials will help with soil structure, and add nutrients your plants will need to thrive.

Another important step in soil preparation is to test your soil’s pH. Most vegetables like a slightly acidic soil, with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. If your soil is too alkaline or too acidic, you’ll need to amend it with materials like lime or sulfur.

Finally, many people chose raised beds or containers for their survival garden. A raised garden bed helps control the quality of the soil, improves drainage, and prevents soil compaction.

What Types of Soil Are Best?

Getting the soil right is essential to the success of your survival garden. The best soil for gardening is nutrient-rich, well-draining, and has a balanced pH level.

Loamy soil is considered the ideal soil type because it contains a mix of sand, silt, and clay, which helps with drainage and nutrient retention.

Sandy soil, on the other hand, drains quickly and may not retain enough moisture or nutrients.

Clay soil is nutrient-rich but drains poorly and can become compacted, making it challenging to work with.

If your garden has sandy or clay soil, adding organic matter like compost or aged manure can help improve its quality. Testing your soil’s pH level is also important because different plants thrive at different pH levels.

What Are Some Common Challenges and Problems Associated With a Survival Garden?

One of the most common challenges when it comes to a survival garden is pests. Insects, rodents, and other animals will wreak havoc on your vegetable crops, and can quickly destroy an entire garden if not caught quickly.

One way to combat this issue is to use natural pest control methods, such as companion planting or introducing beneficial insects. More on this later…

Next is the weather. Drought, heavy rain, extreme heat, cold weather, and other weather events will affect the growth and health of your plants. To compensate for this, choose plants suited to your climate and weather patterns. Installing irrigation systems and protective coverings can help protect your garden from extreme weather conditions.

Lastly, time management can be a challenge. Maintaining a survival garden means weeding, watering, pruning, and harvesting which all take time and effort. Set up a gardening schedule and routine that works for you and your family.

What is Companion Planting?

Companion planting is a gardening technique where different plants are grown close to one another in the survival garden layout for mutual benefit. This method is based on the idea that certain plants can enhance each other’s growth, protect each other from insect damage and diseases, and improve soil health.

Companion planting can also help to deter harmful insects, attract beneficial ones, and improve pollination. Planting marigolds around a vegetable garden can help to repel pests; growing beans near corn improves the corn’s nitrogen uptake from the soil.

Companion planting can also help to maximize space. Certain plants can be planted together that don’t compete for resources while supporting each other’s growth.

Companion planting has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples and small-scale farmers around the world. It became popular in the U.S. during World War II when Victory Gardens were encouraged. Today, companion planting is a popular and effective gardening technique for home gardeners and commercial farmers.

How Do I Choose the Best Seeds for My Prepper Garden, and Where Can I Purchase Them?

Choosing the best seeds for your prepper garden can be confusing to the beginning gardener…

First, look for seeds labeled as “heirloom” or “non-hybrid” so you know they’re not genetically modified and can be saved for future plantings.

Next, think about your climate and growing conditions when selecting seeds. Choose seeds adapted to your specific climate and soil conditions.

There are many reputable sources for purchasing seeds, including local nurseries, seed catalogs, and online seed companies. Choose a company that specializes in non-GMO, heirloom seeds and has a good reputation for quality and customer service.

Companies like Baker Creek, Seed Savers Exchange, and High Mowing Organic Seeds are popular among preppers.

How Do You Store Seeds For Survival?

Storing seeds properly means everything to the success of your survival garden. The key is to keep them cool, dry, and away from light.

First, remove any excess moisture from the seeds by placing them in a dry, well-ventilated area for a few days.

Next, put the seeds in an airtight container, like a mason jar or plastic bag. Add a desiccant packet to absorb any remaining moisture.

Store the container in a cool, dark place, such as a refrigerator or freezer. If you choose to freeze your seeds, make sure to label the container with the type of seed and the date it was frozen.

How Do I Prepare Seeds For Planting in My Survival Garden?

Preparing seeds for planting in your survival garden is an essential step to ensure a successful harvest.

For frozen seeds, when you’re ready to plant them, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to come to room temperature before opening to keep condensation from forming on the seeds.

Before planting, you need to determine which seeds need to be scarified or soaked. Scarification is the process of nicking or scratching the seed coat to help it germinate faster. Soaking helps soften hard shells. You should keep specific instructions for each type of seed in your prepper library.

Once you’ve determined which seeds need scarification or soaking, you can begin. Scarification can be done with a file or sandpaper.

Soaking seeds is simple, just place them in a container of water and let them sit for the recommended time.

After scarification or soaking, plant the seeds according to the instructions. Know that some seeds need to be planted deeper than others. Label each row with the type of seed planted to avoid confusion later on.

How to Chose the Best Vegetables to Grow in a Survival Garden

When you’re planning a survival garden, choose the right vegetables to grow based on your needs and resources. Some factors to consider include your climate, soil type, available space, and nutritional requirements.

Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale are great options for a survival garden because they’re easy to grow, high in nutrients, and can be harvested multiple times. Root vegetables like carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes are good choices because they’re nutrient-dense and can be stored for long periods of time.

Also consider tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, which are easy to grow and produce a high yield. Squash and zucchini are good because they’re versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.

When choosing vegetables, consider the amount of space you have, how much each plant will yield, and how many plants you need. Think about the time of year you’ll be planting and harvesting, because some vegetables might not do well in certain seasons.

If you’re just getting started with survival gardening, consider starting with a small selection of vegetables well-suited to your climate and soil conditions. Expand your garden in future seasons as you gain experience and confidence.

Tips for Planning and Organizing Your Survival Garden Crops

Along with everything else that’s involved in planning and organizing your survival garden crops there are other factors that affect your yields and long-term sustainability.

One of the first steps is to determine how much you can realistically grow in the space you have. Think about the types of vegetables and herbs that you and your family eat regularly and prioritize those crops. It’s also a good idea to choose a mix of crops that mature at different rates so you have a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.

Practice crop rotation to avoid depleting soil nutrients and minimize the risk of disease. Group crops with similar needs together, like plants that require full sun, partial shade, or similar soil pH levels.

To keep track of it all, create a garden map or plan to keep track of where each crop is planted, when it was planted, and when it’s expected to mature. This will help with harvesting and planting future crops.

What Are Some Strategies for Dealing With Pests and Diseases in a Prepper Garden?

When it comes to maintaining a prepper garden, dealing with pests and diseases is as important as anything. Pests and diseases will destroy all of your efforts.

Prevention should be your first strategy. Keeping your garden clean and free of debris can help prevent pests and diseases from starting. Choosing disease-resistant varieties of plants and rotating your crops can help prevent the buildup of pests and diseases.

If pests or diseases do become a problem, there are a few strategies you can use to address them. One option is to use organic pest control methods like companion planting, or using natural predators like ladybugs and praying mantises to control pest populations. You can also use organic methods to control diseases. Using compost and other organic materials will improve soil health.

Sometimes, it can be necessary to use pesticides or other chemical controls. If you do need to use these methods, follow all instructions carefully to minimize the risk of harming beneficial insects or contaminating your food supply. You should also rotate the types of pesticides you use to avoid building up resistance in pests.

How do I Harvest and Store the Produce From My Prepper Garden for Long-term Survival?

Harvesting and storing the produce from your prepper garden is the end goal for your long-term survival. Harvest vegetables and fruits at peak ripeness for the best flavor and nutritional value. Be sure to handle your harvest with care and avoid damaging them during harvesting.

Once your crop is harvested, some fruits and vegetables can be canned, dried, or frozen. Canning is a great way to preserve tomatoes, peppers, and beans. Drying is a great option for fruits and herbs. Freezing is a good method to preserve produce like corn, peas, and berries.

Proper storage conditions are very important to prevent spoilage so the crop retains its flavor and nutritional value. Store your produce in a cool, dry, and dark place to prolong its shelf life.

How do I Save Seeds From My Harvest?

The first step to saving seeds from your harvest is to select the healthiest and most vigorous plants for seed collection. Wait until the plant’s fruit or vegetables are fully ripe before harvesting them for seeds.

For produce, like peppers and tomatoes, let the fruit over-ripen before harvesting the seeds. For beans, peas, and grains, allow the plant to dry before harvesting the seeds.

Once harvested the seeds, remove any debris and allow them to dry thoroughly. Store the seeds in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a freezer, in an airtight container. Label the container with the plant type and date of harvest. Properly stored seeds can last up to five years.

How Do You Preserve Food for Long-term Storage?

When it comes to prepping, preserving food for long-term storage is core activity. There are several methods you can use to preserve food, including canning, dehydrating, freezing, and pickling.

Canning uses high heat to kill bacteria and create a seal to keep the food from spoiling.

Dehydrating removes moisture from the food, making it less hospitable to bacteria, and stretching its shelf life.

Freezing is an effective method for preserving fruits and vegetables, and meat, because it prevents the growth of bacteria.

Lastly, pickling uses vinegar or another acidic liquid to preserve vegetables.

Whichever method you choose, follow proper food safety guidelines and store your preserved food in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Preserving your food will give you a supply of food for an extended period, which can be critical in a survival situation.

How Do You Store Seeds For Survival?

Seeds are essential for survival gardening and propagating a sustainable food supply. Storing them incorrectly could have disastrous consequences.

First, make sure your seeds are completely dry before storing them in an airtight container so they don’t get moldy. It’s recommended to use a container made of glass or metal to prevent moisture from accumulating. Place a moisture absorber, like silica gel or rice, inside the container to keep the seeds dry. Store the container in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a basement or pantry.

Label the container with the type of seed and the date it was stored. Check the seeds every few months to make sure they’re still dry and viable. With proper storage, most seeds can last up to 5 years or longer. It’s also a good idea to have a variety of seeds in your storage, including heirloom and open-pollinated varieties, because they can be saved and replanted year after year, yielding a continuous supply of seeds for survival.