Disasters can occur anytime, and when they happen, food becomes scarce in the neighborhood. One of the most beneficial things you can do to prepare your family for these situations is to start a survival garden in your backyard.
What Is a Survival Garden?
A survival garden is a specially prepared small farm where you plant highly nutritious crops for your family’s dietary needs. The garden is also important when it comes to the production of vegetable that can be stored for future consumption. These food crops are selected mostly based on the calories they provide. They include protein, carbohydrates as well as fat producing crops.
Survival gardening is advantageous when it comes to natural disasters. With a survival garden, you are better prepared to face a food shortage problem that will likely affect society in times of disasters. Many harvested food crops from a survival garden also have long-term storage abilities like carrots, potatoes, onions, pumpkins, nuts as well as winter squash.
How to Start a Survival Garden
To start a survival garden, follow these simple steps:
1 – Identify the Perfect Location
When identifying the location for your garden, consider the following factors:
Sunlight – Survival garden should be located in a place that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight in a day. Most of these crops require sunlight as a source of energy for their growth and developments.
Accessibility – The garden should be near your home for easy monitoring. You can then easily check for pests, weeds, disease and the general conditions of the crops. Having it near also reduces the risk of thieves who may decide to harvest on your behalf.
Access to water – Your survival garden requires water for irrigation. This means that a water source must be available and accessible. It becomes easy to set irrigation system when the water source is near.
Fertile and well-drained soil – Most of the crops you plan to cultivate in the garden require proper drainage. A well-drained soil is well aerated, which allows the crops to grow well. You can also do some soil test to determine the nutrients level of the soil.
2 – Select Suitable Crops
Most survival garden crops are for family consumption. Therefore, you must determine how much your family consumes and then calculate how much your garden can produce. It is highly advisable to subdivide the garden into sections and also intercrop to ensure you cultivate several crops. Maximize the garden’s output but don’t intercrop crops that are not friendly.
Make a written plan for your garden. Ensure you have perennial crops like sage, mint, raspberry, blueberry, strawberries, bunching onions and asparagus in the garden. They should be planted at the back of the garden where they will be less disturbed. A survival garden should aim to produce several food crops either at the same time or in a sequence. Therefore, make sure you don’t plant crops that have the same pests or don’t follow each other in the sequence.
When selecting crops, be realistic and go for crops that are well adapted to the regions’ climate. On top of that, it is highly advisable to go for crops that your family loves and consumes more often. Also, consider the season of the year and make sure you incorporate those crops that can be preserved for future use. Don’t make it look too complicated, make it simple for a start so your garden can produce good harvests.
3 – Prepare the Land for Cultivation
If you want to harvest handsomely, you have to prepare your land properly. Clear the bush, plow, collect trash and compost it, and level the garden. Depending on the crop varieties you want to have in the garden, you can select to use either rows or bed. For crops like carrot and onions go for beds, and for crops like kales, cabbages, potatoes as well as corn go for rows.
Ensure you subdivide the cultivated land into plots that will be planted with different crops. If there is a plot, you want to mark and intercrop it to ensure you don’t affect the arrangement. Depending on the times of harvest you can plant some crops earlier to ensure they are not affected by competition for sunlight and nutrients.
When spacing your garden, also consider crops that require special training like tomatoes. Set the poles for training during planting to ensure you don’t disrupt other crops in your garden. If you are going for drip irrigation, make sure to set it properly to ensure crops get significant moisture for their growth. After planting it is necessary to fence the garden to keep off pest like rabbits, poultry, porcupines and squirrels
4 – Plant and Manage the Garden
Apply organic manure before planting, but if the soil needs a special nutrient boost, go for organic fertilizers. Use plant certified seeds as well as seedlings from certified seeds. After planting ensure that crops are well taken care of until they mature. Irrigate regularly and weed the garden when necessary. On top of that do pest monitoring as well as disease checks to ensure your garden is free from pests and diseases.
It is important to be well prepared for any disasters that can lead to a food shortage. With a well-prepared survival garden, you can cultivate the most important nutrient providing crops. The garden can be small, but with subdivision and intercropping, you can harvest enough. Follow these steps, and you will have the best garden that meets most of your family’s nutritional needs.
Resources & Further Reading
Guest Post Author Bio: Henry Rangkuti is a gardening enthusiast. His other passions include the outdoors, travel and technology. He writes about his gardening interest over at his website GardeningJourney.com.