One of the foundational pillars of civilization is agriculture. On a smaller scale, it’s called horticulture. And that’s important because the only way to survive a severe grid-down experience is to have the ability and the knowledge to grow your own food.
In this Youtube video from Canadian Prepper, he talks about a one-year test he did to plant a survival garden. He started with a small, 10 x 10-foot plot and primarily grew potatoes, carrots, onions, and some green beans. The question was, which of these foods is the most important for survival?
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To Heirloom or not to Heirloom
Heirloom vegetable seeds are a great thing to have and grow, but don’t depend totally on heirloom seeds. They don’t present a lot of staple crops providing calorie-dense foods, although they do provide a nice variety.
The Importance of Calorie Density
The best survival foods you can plant are calorie-dense, providing more calories per pound. You also want a hardy variety that will grow in numerous plant hardiness zones.
Some Key vegetables he planted were:
- Fruit trees (shrubs)
The Importance of Micronutrient Density
You want to plant vegetables that provide you with high amounts of vitamins and minerals and also have a long shelf life. Off the grid means no refrigerator so you’ll need to think about root cellars and vegetables that store well.
You need to think about not only how a vegetable or fruit tastes, but its versatility. There’s only so much you can do with rice, but there’s a lot of things you can do with potatoes:
- Roast them
- Mash them
- Bake them
- Slice them and fry them
- Whip them
- Make French fries
- Pan fries
- Steam them
- Add them to soups
- Hash browns
- Potato bread
- Potato pancakes
One of the best known and longest lasting potatoes for storage and versatility is the Russet Burbank potato. They can store for up to 165 days, which is enough to get you through the winter and still have some potatoes leftover to replant for the next crop.
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What’s the Catch?
Potatoes are high in starches or sugars and can raise your glycemic index if your blood sugar is a problem, so remember to supplement your garden planting with a range of vegetables, particularly onions, carrots, and squash.
The Rototilling Key
Make sure you turn, loosen, and if you can, rototill your soil. Potatoes need room to expand and grow and tightly packed soil doesn’t make it easy for them.
This post is just a brief summary of the video below. For more details on growing potatoes for survival food, watch the full video.