7 Staple Crops for Northern Gardeners (@ The Grow Network)


If you live in a cold climate and have to garden to feed yourself, what staple crops would you grow?

There are plenty of staple crops in the tropics (I cover 10 good ones in my Top 10 Tropical Staple Crop Countdown video), but as you move farther north it gets harder to produce a lot of calories on your land. Seasons are short and sunlight is less intense, plus the variety of plants you can choose from is greatly limited.

Yet all is not lost.

Here are a few tried-and-true survival crops for the north, plus one that shows great potential.

7 Staple Crops for Northern Gardeners


Your best bet as a survival staple in northern climates is the trusty potato.

staple survival crops - the potato

Potatoes are really hard to beat on yields and caloric content, plus they take less space and a lot less work than small grains.

I’ve grown wheat, oats, barley, and rye. Though they’re pretty easy to grow, processing makes them a serious pain. I outlined the pros and cons in this article–go read for yourself. Potatoes are much simpler.

The Three Sisters

This is a classic method of gardening practiced by American Indians, as seen here.

Interplant corn, beans, and pumpkins/winter squash for a three sisters garden.

Let’s cover them individually.


(CLICK HERE to read the rest)

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One comment

  • I would add a soup or marrowfat pea – the sort you harvest when dried and reconstitute for soups and pease porridge. I’d also put in parsnips – they have nearly the same calories as potatoes per pound, but can’t catch blight which can be a big issue where I am in the UK. I might also add broad beans, partly because they can be overwintered and provide a crop near the end of the hungry gap.

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