During times like these, with the coronavirus panic closing borders shutting down the world economy, it’s not a bad idea to plan a small garden to supplement your calories and become more self-sufficient.
The task of achieving full self-sufficiency is very difficult without a lot of land, animals, and storage space during winter, but even a modest garden can provide you with enough food to survive through tough times—and, more importantly, teach you valuable gardening skills that you will need in a true SHTF scenario.
For absolute beginners residing in most parts of North America, with little time to deal with pests, the following foods can form the basis of a quick garden setup in almost any backyard.
- Potatoes. There’s a reason that Ireland and other European countries feature potatoes as their staple crop, and came to rely upon them too heavily in the end. Potatoes are chock full of calories, and they contain a large variety of micronutrients from the soil to keep you from getting vitamin deficiencies. Potatoes are also easy to grow, have a high yield, and almost everyone likes them.
- Carrots. Another root vegetable, carrots are also easy to grow and pair well with potatoes. They don’t have as many calories as potatoes, but they are still caloric for a vegetable. They are high in vitamin A as well as numerous minerals from the soil. They can also be eaten raw as a snack.
- Squash. Native to the Americas, squash come in all shapes and sizes which thrive in varying temperatures and soil conditions. They are also reasonably high in calories, easy to grow, and produce a lot of yield. Known as one of the “three sisters” among the native Americans, squash (along with the more difficult to grow corn and beans) formed a big part of the native diet, and for good reason.
- Kale. Leafy greens add important variety and nutrients to the diet, and are known for their life-prolonging characteristics. Kale is a favorite among home gardeners because, unlike spinach and lettuce, it can handle heat and cold well (especially cold) and is fairly resilient to pests. For a beginner, kale is an easy way to get some good greens into your diet without too much work. Kale is so hardy that it’s been known to last over extreme winters and grow back the next year.
- Chickens. If you have the space and don’t mind having a few hens around the house, chickens that each lay an egg a day will give you the protein you need to survive over an extended period of time. There’s no substitute for animal protein in the diet, and chicken eggs are the easiest way to get protein without needing to hunt or raise livestock.
There are lots of great foods out there that you can grow or raise at home. Take this list as a starting point as you plan out your survival garden.