Water, shelter, and food are all essential for survival. In a grid-down situation, you won’t last long without it. While your food storage may last for a while, what happens if the world doesn’t get back to normal? What will happen when the food storage runs out?
In this episode, we’ll cover some of the basics for starting a prepper’s garden.
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Start A Prepper's Garden
Keith Thomas 00:00
Water, shelter, and food are all essential for survival. In a grid-down situation, you won't last long without them. While your food storage may last for a while, what happens if the world never gets back to normal? What will happen when the food storage runs out? If you haven't thought about it, it's time to start thinking about investing some time into growing a garden, A preppers garden, Survival Garden, Victory Garden, whatever you like to call it can provide food medicine, and a valuable resource for trade. In this episode, we'll cover some of the basics for starting a preppers garden.
Welcome to typical prepping the podcast dedicated to everyday readiness and disaster preparedness. We're here to help those folks who seek to start their own disaster preparedness plan or those who have gotten started but are not quite sure where or how to take the next steps. Each week, I'll present a disaster preparedness topic with actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to start or grow your personal disaster preparations. Thanks for stopping by to listen today.
Hi, I'm Keith, and welcome to typical prepping. In this episode, we're going to talk about starting a preppers garden. This is not meant to be some comprehensive guide to gardening but a bare basics look at how to get started. And for those who are novice gardeners, this will give you an idea of what you're getting into. So why should we start a garden? Why would we start a garden when we can just go to the grocery to buy produce. In Episode Six, starting an "Emergency Food Pantry". We talked about the fact that most grocery stores only have enough food on hand for their communities the last three days or less. Having a garden will allow you to have enough food stored to survive beyond the emergency stash in your 72-hour kit.
There are many benefits to having a garden space. If you're growing vegetables that you and your family enjoy gardening can reduce your monthly grocery cost. In times when there are no disasters or emergencies. The plants that you produce in your garden will provide far better nutrition than commercially packed foods and are much better for you in every way. Another benefit to a garden is that a garden can produce products for trade. In a long-term grid-down situation food will become a valuable commodity in a time of need. Also, seeds and preserved foods will become extremely valuable. If you have these products, you'll be able to get just about anything you want. A garden can also produce medicine. If you're growing herbs, medicinal herbs will become valuable if modern medicines are unavailable. Humans have used herbal remedies for centuries to survive. A good herbal reference will become invaluable to you if you decide to grow medicinal herbs. A garden can also become a place of therapy. Gardening is great for those who deal with stress or high blood pressure. Getting close to nature can be relaxing and very therapeutic. A garden can also become an opportunity for teaching. If you have children, you can teach them to have useful gardening skills. Learning gardening skills also opens the opportunity for you to teach friends and neighbors how to garden. Whether or not they need these skills in a disaster emergency situation. Gardening can help them to become more self-reliant.
So you may ask, well, where will I grow a garden there are several options for finding space for a garden the first one that comes to mind is your backyard. If you have space in your backyard, you can till a sizable inground garden the size of your garden space is obviously depending on how much room you have in your backyard. The backyard garden lends itself to the opportunity of having different types of gardens. You may be able to grow sun-loving plants or plants such as corn beans and tomatoes in the in-ground garden while growing shade-loving plants or plants such as potatoes, herbs and strawberries, and containers. The backyard also lends itself to raised bed gardening. With a bit of creativity, You can also incorporate many herbs, vegetables, and fruits into the surrounding landscape.
The next option would be a patio or deck. If you don't have the luxury of having a backyard or live in an apartment or townhouse, you may still have the opportunity to grow vegetables on your patio or deck. For patios and decks, you would be utilizing container gardening or vertical or tower gardens and there are a wide variety of vegetable or herb plants that can be grown in containers. Depending on the amount of space you have, a decent amount of food can be produced from these gardening methods.
Another option is vacant lots or rental space. This option for acquiring garden space is to look around your neighborhood for vacant lots or homes that have unused garden space. In many cases, the owners of these lots will allow you to rent the space for a garden. Homes that are owned by Elderly or widowed persons that have unused garden spaces can be approached and asked if they would be willing to rent out their garden space or allow you to use the garden space in exchange for some of the harvest. In either case, it's a gesture of good faith to offer some of the season's harvest.
And the last option is a community garden. A community garden may also be utilized to build your stored food supply. I do have reservations about this option, especially in times of a disaster or emergency. Because I feel that these would be the first places to be raided should a disaster or emergency halt food supplies. However, this might be a good option in order to start a garden and build a food supply.
So let's look at the types of gardening we can do. We'll look at what I consider the easiest methods to start and the methods that can be set up without a lot of specialized equipment.
First is an in-ground garden. Traditional in-ground gardens are what most people think of when talking about gardening. The in-ground garden is possibly the most labor-intensive of the three types of gardening we'll talk about. When choosing a spot for an in-ground garden. Care should be taken to choose an area with proper drainage. One way to ensure this is to choose the highest point on level ground or an area with a slight slope to at least one side of the garden. You should also choose an area where your plants will receive at least six to eight hours of full sunlight. Your plants must have sunlight in order to thrive. You may need to arrange your plants to make the best use of the sunlight and space. As an example, you may want to plant taller plants on the north side of the garden so they don't shade the smaller plants. Make sure your garden is in close proximity to a water source. Whether you supply water from municipal sources, collected rainwater, or water you have hauled in. Care should be taken not to overwater or water too quickly. If you have the resources, you can devise a simple drip system using 20 or 30-gallon containers at the end of each row connected to enough drip line or soaker hose to slowly water your plants and allow for natural drainage to work. Mulching your plants will also help to keep the soil moist around the plants and help to conserve water. The biggest hurdle to overcome with an inground garden is the soil quality. If the soil packs and conforms to the shape of your hand when squeezed in the palm it has too much clay and must be amended using sand, gypsum, and compost to make the soil loamy. If the soil falls apart quickly in your hand when squeezed, it's to Sandy and we'll need amending with compost and other organic matter to help hold the soil particles together and retain moisture.
The next type of gardening that you can do is raised bed gardening. Raised bed gardening is a very versatile way to garden. Raised beds are generally a frame six to eight inches in height filled with a soil mix of your choice. This type of gardening allows greater control over soil makeup, drainage, and pH levels. Raised beds have been made with frames as tall as three-foot, which would allow for Hugelkultur, which is a garden bed layered with decomposing wood, twigs, leaves, and decomposing compost covered with a topsoil/compost mix. The idea is that as the materials beneath decompose they perpetually feed the bed with nutrients. Mixes for smaller beds include topsoil, compost, and peat moss. The soil mixes for raised beds should ideally be loose and remain loose. Raised beds can incorporate covers to extend the growing season, or accommodate shade cloth for shade-loving plants. These beds can also be built with a bottom and placed on sawhorses for persons with disabilities, or those who are unable to get down on the ground level. There are numerous ways to plant a raised bed garden, so do some research and find what works best for your garden. Due to the shallow depth of these beds, they usually produce higher yields, especially when covers are incorporated to start growing earlier and continue growing longer into the season.
Your next option for gardening is container gardening. Container Gardening works along with the same concept as raised beds. Only the plants are grown in flower pots or other suitable containers and are ideal for decks and patios. Soil mixes can be commercially prepared, or you can blend your own. Most commonly used vegetables and herbs grow well in containers, although the yearly yields will be much lower than other methods.
So what do we grow in the garden? There are many vegetables and herbs available for your garden. I suggest that you grow vegetables and herbs that your family will eat in order to take full advantage of your gardening efforts. Be sure when buying seeds to buy only heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds will continually produce the same quality fruit year after year. Buying heirloom seeds is especially important when planning to save seeds from your harvest for planting next season. Saving seeds and building a seed bank is yet another valuable skill and a money saver as well. I'm not going to explain seed saving now, but I will include an episode dedicated to seed saving later in the year. Some of the vegetables and herbs I recommend to get you started, are beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, potatoes, spinach, squash, tomatoes, turnips, Basil, catnip, chamomile, echinacea, garlic, ginger, lavender, lemon balm, marigolds, peppermint, sage, and thyme.
Learning a few organic gardening techniques will serve you well should you find yourself in a grid-down situation and there are no garden centers or hardware stores to go to for fertilizer or pesticides. Every gardener should learn how to make their own compost. There are complete and comprehensive books dedicated to the subject. In most cases, a compost pile consists of plant matter and some kitchen scraps. And these will consist of old plants from the garden grass clippings, leaves, and eggshells. This is another area where a bit of research is in order. You should never add feces from carnivorous animals or human feces to your compost pile as these may contaminate your compost with unhealthy disease-causing bacteria. Cow, horse, and chicken manure are recommended. With chicken manure being the most sought after.
You should also learn organic pest control methods. The easiest method is to learn companion planting with flowers and herbs that naturally repel insects and plant flowers and herbs that attract beneficial insects that will feed on insects that harm your garden plants. Again, a bit of research will produce some simple solutions.
Once your garden has produced a harvest, you will need to know how to can and preserve that harvest. Canning consists of the hot water bath and pressure canning. Different vegetables require different canning methods for long-term storage. Most jar manufacturers have a step-by-step canning handbook to help you learn proper canning techniques and which vegetables require which techniques. Root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and onions can be preserved by racking them in a root cellar. If you don't have a root cellar, you can use an old refrigerator or construct a makeshift cellar from a large metal garbage can buried in the backyard. There are several plans available around the internet for makeshift root cellars.
In conclusion, a garden can produce food, medicine, or valuable products for trade for you and your family. A garden can also become a place to escape the stress and anxiety of a chaotic world. Securing a suitable garden area, choosing plants suitable for your area, organic techniques, and how to preserve your harvest will be both satisfying and beneficial to you and your family in good times or during a grid-down situation. That's it for this week. Folks. Join us next week when our topic will be preparing for a power outage. In that episode, we'll be talking about what you need to do to prepare before, during, and after a power outage. Until then, stay safe and be prepared. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with your friends and family. leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. This really helps the show and gets our message out to others looking to start or improve their Prepping skills. If you found value in this content, feel free to leave me a donation at; buy me a coffee.com/typicalprepping. Your donation helps with the production cost of the show so I can continue to bring you more amazing content. Also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Until next time, stay safe and be prepared!