Survival Gardening Doesn’t Have to Be Gloomy



Survival gardening isn’t something you need to get depressed about. Just plan your gardens as if the supermarket doesn’t exist and the worry will melt away. Plant a big garden – it’s fun and great exercise.

Sometimes you can get so consumed with the “what ifs” that you miss the beauty of right now.

Fear is everywhere and it’s even crept into the realm of gardening.

There’s a good reason for this, of course. We see the Republican establishment freaking out over outsider Donald Trump… and the Democratic establishment freaking out over outsider Bernie Sanders.

We see waves of immigration sweeping into Europe and wonder if there will be any native European culture left in another generation or two.

We see the possibility for runaway viruses and the even higher possibility of a deeper financial crash following the multi-year papered-over Depression we’ve been in for a decade.

And then we think, “could I feed myself if things got bad?”

I’ve been a property consultant for serious preppers, food forests, prepping websites and even developers. A lot of that material stays off this blog because I like to keep things light, plus I keep my clients confidential. I also simply enjoy writing about fun gardening stuff here, despite the scary “Survival Gardener” title I use for the website.

It’s probably a personal failing. I need to knuckle under and help teach you guys some of the skills you need to grow lots and lots of food in case it’s ever a necessity. I’ve poured more of that information into my books, of course, but don’t always dump all my prepper stuff here.

On our homestead we’ve been able to supply all of our large family’s vegetables from the gardens out back and have had some extra to share.

backyard survival gardening

That’s a great feeling.

Though I started gardening on a larger scale because I felt we were facing an uncertain future, the fear for tomorrow really melts away when you’re out in the sun, pushing a wheel hoe, planting seeds with a two-year-old or filling a basket with sun-warmed green beans.

Stop. Breathe. Say a prayer. Pick some more green beans. Kiss a kid. Plant another row of corn.

It’s easy to get caught up in the fear and forget to live.

My In-Depth Guide to Survival Gardening

Grow_Or_Die: The Good Guide to Survival GardeningLast year when I wrote Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening, I let myself dig into the various scenarios of what could go wrong and how it could go wrong.

Could I garden if the electricity went out?

Or if the well gave up?

Or if we ran out of gas?

It’s good to ask these questions and I spent a lot of time and research on them, not to mention testing lots of crops, tools and methods across multiple garden plots in multiple climates. We grew crops in Tennessee for multiple years, then grew simultaneously in temperate North Florida and in tropical South Florida. I was even working on setting up a test plot near Canada but realized I simply couldn’t do everything as well as I wanted being spread that thin.

All that to say, I put in the worry and tested the methods so you won’t have to do quite as much.

Readers agree:

grow or die survival gardening reviews






Grow or Die could easily stand alone as a crash-course in gardening… or it could be the end-of-the-world manual you need to get through a crisis. Consider it cheap insurance at $2.99 for the kindle version and $14.95 for the full audiobook version.

The paperback version from my publisher has been delayed longer than expected but it’s on its way soon. I have the proof on my desktop right now (thank you, Matthew).

Knowing that I can grow a garden in multiple climates and produce plenty of food if things got ugly brings me plenty of peace.

There’s no room for gloominess when you have the knowledge in your head and some crops in the ground.

I’m rooting for you.



*Image at top courtesy franzconde. Creative commons license. 

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  • Thanks. There are so many things we are not prepared for if it happens. Power to the well is a big one… what to do.
    Thanks for your books.
    I hope the print version of your latest book comes out soon. I keep checking Amazon.. but no luck yet.

  • The main reason I read your blog daily is that I really like the positive upbeat view of doing something so important. I agree, there really *is* a great deal of fear everywhere these days. Why bring the fear into the garden? No, I think that the garden is a place to take a break from all of that. Yes, prepare. Yes, do everything you can, but do it without the fear.

    Another thing I really like about your blog is the wonderful, unusual edibles you feature. I have been able to try a lot of new things because of your blog. It’s also helped me when you feature other ways of growing gardens–hugenkulture, permaculture, square foot, food forest, sneaky edibles, that series about people in fights with their cities over front yard veggie gardens, etc.

    (BTW, you didn’t fool me with your April Fool’s joke, because I read your blog so much that I knew this is what you do on April Fool’s.)

    • Ha!

      I have so much fun that even though we do garden like it’s the end of the world, it just isn’t scary. Who can be scared when the trees are in bloom, the sky is blue, and a psalm is on your lips?

      Finding crazy rare edibles is a lot of fun. I really enjoy hunting down data.

      Glad you didn’t fall for April Fools. You would not believe some of the comments I got. Heh.

  • It would be great to have more topics on this subject.

  • SheSellsSeashells

    For what it’s worth, I picked up Grow or Die on my Kindle last week. And read, and took notes, and cackled intermittently. And promptly bought the compost book, plus a spare copy for my father. I’m…not fearful, precisely, but noticing a tendency to turn inward because it doesn’t seem to me like it’s worthwhile to do anything *but* hunker down at this point. Regardless, you’ve got a new fan and I will be trumpeting your gardening virtues to the sky when I have the opportunity. (Not buying the Florida books, though. Florida scares me.)

  • The joys of gardening are many – knowing you can feed your family in times of lack is definitely one of those joys.

    The past few days I was able to experience another type of gardening joy. I found two ladybugs hanging on our guava! I looked again two days later and found four! We have ladybugs in OUR little aspiring food forest garden! That is so cool. The little buggers showed up all by themselves. David said they would and they did.

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