1. Get the Information.
Survivalists understand that knowledge is power. Gardening is not just a series of best practices; it requires a certain understanding of biology and plant behavior. While this article is a great place to start, My Patriot Supply recommends investing in a few books to development your in-depth understanding of gardening. Some books we recommend include The Art of Gardening from the Homestead Blessing series and The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith. It would also be beneficial to start looking into preservation techniques, such as canning, pickling and drying. A great intro for these techniques is Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader.
2. Decide on Your Crops.
The next step is deciding on what crops you would like to grow and purchasing those seeds. If you are in the US, check with your local Extension Service. These agricultural resources can supply you with both crop recommendations for the region and planting calendars. When selecting the seeds, look for heritage or heirloom varieties, as these are non-gmo and the most rugged (i.e. these are tough seeds that can stand up to difficult growing conditions.) If you want a fool proof starting kit, consider a comprehensive seed vault that features a wide variety of seeds such as the Patriot Survival Seed Vault. It would be wise to also keep an additional seed vault on hand to serve as “back up” should tough times lie ahead.
3. Evaluate the Location.
Decided where the garden will be located. Be sure to select a space with enough sunlight and access to water. Now would be a good time to think about investing in an emergency water filtrating system. If the area is exposed to wildlife, you may need to install fencing to keep out the hungry critters.
4. Prep the Land.
Clear the ground of rocks, weed and debris. Till the soil and add a layer of compost, decaying leaves, grass clippings, or manure to enhance the soil’s quality.
5. Plant Your Harvest
Plant seed in accordance with their recommended planting dates for your region. Again, your local Extension Service can help you determine the right times to plant. In some climate zones you may have two cycles available. Different crops have different plants requires. Plants like lettuce, radishes, garlic and onion require a relatively shallow hole between 4 to 6 inches deep, while potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, peas, and carrots require a greater depth around 12 inches or more.
6. Enjoy the Fruits (and Vegetables) of Your Labor!
Few things in this world are as satisfying as growing your own food and being self-sufficient. I recommend pacing your harvest to be in step with your consumption. When food gets close to over ripening, harvest the remaining vegetables and fruit and consider home canning, drying or pickling it so that you can enjoy the harvest in the future.