With staggering food bills and supply chain issues, it's increasingly common to hear about people planting a go-to food source on their property. A recent survey shows that 42% of Americans started growing their own produce.
But why wait until inflation and prices soar? Gardening for survival embraces self-sufficiency, whether you're dealing with financial issues or worrying over current events and your long-term future. When everyone else is trying to figure out how to start a garden in the midst of a crisis, you could be harvesting your own food calmly and confidently.
Take control of your food source and develop a garden that works for you. Get started with these gardening survival tips to make the most of your time and resources.
Start with What You Have
You don't need acres of land and an unlimited budget when gardening for survival. Instead, you can start with the space you already have. A backyard is ideal, but not always necessary. Use window boxes, hang vertical planters indoors, and situate small plants and herbs in your window boxes. No matter how little space you have, there's always a way to plant your own food.
The same mindset goes for your budget. Seeds and gardening don't need to cost a fortune and prove a worthwhile investment. Seed Armory also accepts EBT and SNAP, making survival gardening more affordable than ever.
Focus on the Essentials
Don’t overwhelm yourself with the endless options of seeds and produce. Instead of trying to plant everything when gardening for survival, start with the essentials. Focus on nutrient-rich food that is relatively easy to grow and incorporate into daily meals.
Bean - Contender
Beans are an excellent source of healthy carbohydrates and Vitamins A, C, K, folate, protein, and manganese. They grow well during cool seasons and offer a distinctive flavor for your meals or side dishes.
Corn provides dietary fiber, Vitamin C, B1, folate, magnesium, potassium, and folate. It's also an excellent crop to roast as a treat or add more filler and sustenance to a salad or vegetable dish.
Cabbage is a filling and nutritious crop with Vitamin K, C, and B6, fiber, some protein, calcium, potassium, and so much more. Cabbage is also filling and easy to add to stews, salads, or with meat and rice rolled up inside its leaves.
If you're gardening for survival, make sure kale is one of your cornerstones. It's packed with copper, manganese, Vitamins A, K, B6, C, and calcium. The nutrients packed in kale are also linked to lower cholesterol and cancer prevention.
Beets are known for their nutritional value, including fiber, folate, manganese, copper, potassium, Vitamin C and B6, iron, and fiber. Beyond adding them to a salad, you can also pickle them to extend their shelf-life and create a tasty snack.
Squash is high in antioxidants and rich in potassium, magnesium, manganese, and sources of vitamins A, C, and B. Squash is also highly versatile for roasting, steaming, baking, frying, grilling, or sautéeing.
Peppers - California Wonder
California Wonders are delicious sweet bell peppers that are sturdy, relatively easy to grow, and filled with Vitamin C, A, and B-6. Stuff them with meat or other veggies, chop them up for a salad, or enjoy them with dips.
It's common to see carrots when gardening for survival, and for good reason. They're teeming with Vitamin A, C, and K, potassium and fiber, daily calcium, and iron. They're also a great snack, a side dish, or tossed into salads.
Cucumbers are filled with Vitamin K, C, and magnesium and have fiber and protein. They're fabulous with herbs and dip or pickled for a long-lasting snack.
Plant Something You Enjoy
Gardening for survival may sound serious, but it can (and should) be rewarding. Once you've got the essentials down, plant foods you enjoy, like melons, even if they may prove more challenging to master. But don’t discount tried and true varieties. You'll probably discover fruit and vegetables you were once underwhelmed about suddenly taste amazing when grown fresh from your garden.
Incorporate Companion Gardening
Gardening for survival doesn't need to be complicated, and a few tweaks can help enhance your yield. Companion gardening involves planting two plants near each other to help share their benefits. Some plants help with pest control, pollination, or shade. For example, corn, beans, and squash often pair well together. Or try planting cabbage alongside beets, spinach, onions, and lettuce together.
Plant Heirloom Seeds
Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated and passed down through the generations. In other words, they weren't tampered with by humans or hybrid seeds, which are produced in greenhouses.
Hybrid seeds aren't recommended when gardening for survival, as you don't know what you're getting. You could end up with seeds that don't pass down generation seeds or produce hybrid fruits and vegetables, making them harder to grow again and less predictable with companion gardening.
Grow Medicinal Plants
Every survival garden needs medicinal seed varieties to help empower your health. Here are a few plants to try for your own backyard.
These colorful flowers are traditionally used to boost blood circulation, strengthen bones, reduce body heat, and treat illnesses, including eczema and fibromyalgia. Or add them to salads or attract bees to your survival garden.
Echinacea - Purple Coneflower
Echinacea has been used for centuries for the common cold, bronchitis, respiratory infections, and some inflammatory conditions. It could also help give your immune system an overall boost.
Fennel - Florence
Fennel is commonly used for digestive, repository, endocrine, and reproductive issues. Many people use it as a diuretic and to combat nausea and vomiting.
Lavender - English
Lavender is commonly used to relax and promote better sleep. But it can also help treat headaches, nervous energy, fungal infections, minor wounds, eczema, and aches and pains.
Purslane - Green
Purslane helps support your cardiovascular system and is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. It could also help prevent strokes and other issues like heart disease.
Or pick up one of our medicinal seed vaults to amplify your gardening for survival options.
Save Your Seeds
Once you start growing fruits and vegetables, make sure you save the seeds and store them properly. Our Ultimate Garden Starter Set provides everything you need to stay organized and preserve your seeds.
- My Lightning - A mycorrhizal fungi that helps maximize nutrient intake and water absorption.
- Azomite - A soil enhancer that adds minerals to the soil.
- Jiffy Pellets - Compressed peat pellets are a convenient, no-mess way to start your seeds and then quickly transfer them into the ground with minimum shock to the plant and its roots.
- 2 Handheld Seed Dispensers
- Seed Savings Packets - Extra resealable seed bags to help preserve your seeds. You can also use them to split up batches of seeds to save some for later and plant some now.
- Silica Gel Desiccant Packs - Moisture quickly derails seed preservation. Add our moisture-absorbing packets inside your opened seed packets to keep them dry.
- Plant Labeling Supplies - Keep your plant beds organized with these convenient bedding labels to stick into the soil.
Develop a Survival Mindset
Gardening for survival is as much a mindset as it is a strategy. Gardens don't automatically flourish, and it's normal to experience some setbacks and a learning curve along the way. It's essential to look at obstacles as challenges that enhance your self-sufficiency. The more you overcome, the more confident and capable you are.
Ready to start your own gardening for survival project? Browse our survival seeds, kits, and supplies, or purchase our pre-packaged options. We provide a one-stop shopping experience for your survival gardening needs.