Survival gardening is something to look forward to since spring is just around the corner. We recently posted tips on preparing your garden for the winter and now that the frost will soon be leaving, it is time to get back to your backyard.
Survival Gardening: Plants to Grow This Spring
We have always believed it is a good thing to be prepared in all facets of life. Self-sufficiency is one benefit you can enjoy when you maintain a garden, especially one that includes vegetables and herbs that have a variety of health benefits. You are also homesteading and enjoying natural, organic, and most of all–nutritious food. At the same time, you’re saving money in the process.
Here are, in no particular order, some vegetables and herbs that can supply your necessary nutritional requirements and hopefully sustain you in times of disaster, crisis or SHTF.
Potatoes have been a staple of many people’s diets for thousands of years. They are fairly easy to grow, although they do have certain pests and diseases to contend with. Potatoes are also great for storing and eating throughout the winter. Here are homemade potato dishes you can try with your harvest.
Beets offer a great deal of nutritional value in the form of beet tops or greens, while the storage friendly beetroots offer calories and nutrients. You can learn these 5 gardening tips and tricks to make it fun.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato is a sprawling perennial vine that will spread over a large area if left unchecked. For best tuber production, it’s probably best treated as an annual where the soil can be prepared with fresh manure each season – otherwise, the crops in the second year of production will be much smaller. Prefers full sun, but will happily ramble into part shade areas and still produce tubers. Essentially, sweet potato is a sub-tropical/tropical crop but is worth trying in cooler areas after all chance of frost has passed.
Beans are great rotation crops to help maintain soil quality by replacing nitrogen back into the soil where the nitrogen has been depleted by other crops. Beans are rich in fiber, protein, antioxidants, and are low in fat. They are also very good food for the human diet and can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.
Eggplants are warm weather plants and should be planted after frost. This nightshade vegetable is high in fiber, antioxidants, and a good source of vitamins B1 and B6.
There are lots of great varieties of tomatoes to choose from, and they are very easy to grow. There is nothing like picking a fresh ripe tomato off the vine and experiencing that homegrown juicy sweet flavor as compared to the bland taste of your typical grocery store tomato. You can even preserve them for later (canning, freezer, dehydrate). Grow tomatoes and other essential foods with this self-sustaining survival garden.
This is a hot season plant and should be planted in April until early June. Peanuts are a good source of healthy fats, Vitamin E, protein, and antioxidants.
Carrots are staple root vegetables in our kitchen. It’s rich in fiber, beta-carotene, antioxidants, and vitamins A,C, K, and B8. Click here to know how to grow carrots!
Shell and snap peas are a valuable addition to the garden. As nitrogen fixing legumes, they also increase the fertility of the soil they’re grown in. They are relatively nutrient dense and doesn’t require much attention to let it grow.
Cabbages keep their nutritional elements nutrition regardless of the length of cooking. Whether you eat cabbages raw or shred and cook it, a cup full will give you a total of 33 calories. Doing this once every week may keep you healthy.
Berries, a great source of potassium, are said to be perfect for losing weight.
12. Grain Corn
Contrary to popular belief, corn is actually not a vegetable. It’s a type of grain that’s a good source of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Since it’s rich vitamins and minerals, it also a good addition to your survival garden.
Barley is a plant rich in fiber planted during spring and winter. It has several benefits and uses both for you and your farm animals. And yes, barley is used for making beer, so you can make that your next project.
Cooked broccoli in a cup only has a total of 44 calories. It has tons of fiber and no fat–an ideal vegetable for those on a strict diet.
Along with beans and corn, squash was one of the original “three sisters” in American Indian agriculture. Squash are vining crops that store well and have a good balance of nutrients and calories. Consider trying pumpkins and melons in addition to squash.
Did you know that plantain is an edible and almost magical “weed” which grows freely in backyards, meadows, and roadsides? The use of plantain goes as far back as the ancient Persians, so it’s definitely something you want to have in your backyard.
People may not expect this herb to have any healing effect, but it wasn’t labeled the “king of herbs” for nothing. This is also great in pesto as well as spaghetti! If you don’t know that yet, that is. With a life cycle of one year only, you will have to plant Basil every year to keep your supply of this herb in check.
The leaves and stems of peppermint contain menthol which is used in natural remedies, as a flavoring in food, and even in cosmetics. The plant is prolific and grows well in almost all locations. The roots of this plant emit runners that quickly overtake gardens so they are best planted in a pot.
Every herb garden needs lavender! Start from cuttings or plants as seeds are difficult to grow. Plant lavender in a sunny location with average to dry soil. Do not overwater.
Chamomile contains volatile oils such as bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B, and matricin; flavonoids, and other therapeutic substances. The flowers of Chamomile is famous for its medicinal purposes. It can be drunk as tea, can be dried, extracted, and even turned to creams and serums.
Watch this video posted by Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens about survival gardening tips on planting an edible food garden at home:
There are a lot of other plants that have been known to have medicinal benefits and practical uses for humans since time immemorial. There are actually other new discoveries made each year. You can even plant during the late summer with a few of these fall gardening tips. If you have the time to grow these plants then you have a greater chance of surviving if the SHTF.
If you want information on how to grow, harvest, and prepare even more nutrient-rich vegetables and herbs from seeds, be sure and check out our Survival Seeds Playing Cards here.
Do you have any more survival garden plants you know of? Please add them in the comments below!
Here are 5 Herbs for Your Survival Garden you should know about!
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in March 2015 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Featured image via homeyimprovements.com