If you have a backyard garden, what could you do to maximize its effectiveness for prepping and survival? What should you grow? First off, if you’re like me and don’t have 20 acres, you need to change the way you think about yield rates. While you can grow a lot of lettuce per square foot, lettuce has low nutrition per lb. We need to think about how to produce the most nutrition in a small amount of space.
Here are my top 4 picks for best foods to harvest.
1. Hulless Pumpkin: This variety of pumpkin is actually the easiest to harvest, and some varieties can provide 100 to 200 lbs of pumpkin flesh and 4 to 5 lbs of seeds per 100 square foot of garden space. The seeds are high in protein and fat, and the flesh provides carbs and is high in beta-coratene. You’ll even be able to have a Halloween celebration!
2. Soybeans — This bean contains complete protein and both essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6, along with some carbs. In addition, you can pretty much grow soy beans in spring summer, or fall. Winter would work if you live in the deep south like me. You can expect to get about 6 to 7 lbs of soybeans per 100 sq ft of garden space. Drying and salting soybeans is a great way to store them – and a nice snack.
3. Quinoa and Amaranth — These two are pretty similar. Both are a lot like wheat, but they contain protein and are a better source of essential amino acids. If you are in hot, dry weather, you’ll probably have better luck with the amaranth. For a cooler, wetter climate, quinoa is a better bet. They’re good to yield about 4 to 5 lbs per 100 sq ft of garden space. In regards to recipes, anything you can do with rice you do with quinoa or amaranth.
4. Potato and Sweet Potato — I don’t really love potato or sweet potato, but we’re talking about emergency prepping. Eating something you don’t like is much better than being dead, or so I hear. Potatoes have tons of carbs and very little protein, so they don’t really help someone’s fitness career, but you need to get your calories somehow. Even if you are stuffed with pumpkin flesh and soy beans, you are going to have some trouble maintaining a weight. With a yield of 40 to 50 pounds per 100 sq ft, you can get almost 15,000 calories of total food energy.
While these food sources will provide basic sustenance, take the time to include some things you like. There is no reason to try to eat to survive is you’re just going to go crazy eating plain amaranth and soy soup. If weather permits, tomatoes and peppers are great flavor makers.