I’d venture to say most preppers have squirreled away a few seeds for the future, whether it be one of those apocalyptic sealed cans containing 50,000 varieties of lettuce or just a dozen packets tucked into a cabinet “just in case.”
The problem: if things really did collapse, most of us don’t know how to get those seeds to grow into plants that will actually produce honest-to-goodness food for the table.
Most folks are still at the “I bought a pepper and it died” phase, not the “I got 100lbs of potatoes from one of my beds last week” stage.
Bags of rice and wheat eventually run out. MREs do too (thankfully). Yet if you’re able to convert part of your lawn into a garden and have the confidence and skill to grow a good chunk of your family’s diet in that garden, you’re in better long-term shape than the guy with 1500lbs of pintos stuffed beneath his bed.
It’s the difference between consumption and production, which we Rothbardian acolytes understand so well. The non-gardener with the bagged beans cannot create more beans—but as a gardener you can. Almost infinitely.
Right now most of the vegetables my family consumes grow in our yard. We’ve also got hundreds of pounds of edible roots beneath the soil that can be dug as needed. These stockpiles can also be regenerated and increased year after year with the proper knowledge. It took me years to get to the point where I reached the certainty that even if things fell apart, I would have food.
That’s a great feeling. You can get there too. I’ve shared my gardening knowledge and methods (including how to till without gasoline and keep a garden irrigated without city water) in my new book Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening—but even if you don’t get my book, I want you to know how to get started today so you don’t starve tomorrow.
Ready? Let’s grow.
1. Set Serious Goals
Don’t start from nothing with the goal of “growing all you eat” if you fear failure and unless you’re willing to spend hours and hours in the garden. Start with something manageable, such as “I’m going to grow all my salad greens” or “I’m going to grow enough roots to feed us for a month.” Nailing down something smaller will boost your confidence and get you knocking down more goals.
2. Compost Continually
Quit throwing away potential soil fertility! No more excuses. Start a big pile somewhere and start chucking all your biodegradable kitchen scraps onto it. Having perfect ratios and a nice bin is a lot less important than simply DOING it. Throw stuff on the ground and it will feed the soil. It’s that simple. Throw it in the trash and you’ve exported potential fertility from your homestead. Don’t do that.
3. Experiment Constantly
One variety of bean may thrive in your area—another may fail. Test a lot of types and don’t get caught up in the pursuit of novelty. With survival gardening you want to grow plants that are tried and true and well-known for their productivity. With the exception of zucchini. Zucchini is nasty.