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The Survival Garden

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Survival Garden
I don't actually do survival gardening but have a garden about 75x75 foot space, it works for us and I don't buy much in the way produce but for our off-the-gridders this what I see as a good to survive using a garden. I may be wrong, WildWoman, WarEagle, BraggSurvivor and others may know better than me. Sijohn a good friend of mine explained this as his way (not mine) and I try to do it here at home even though I have the luxary of going to the store. It has been said that one can raise enough food for a family of four in a 50- by 50-foot space. While such an area can provide a goodly amount of food, there is no way a family could survive, year-round, off such a small patch. In reality, all that this is is a “house garden” for providing fresh produce such as greens, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, herbs, etc. When one needs a garden to put up food, not only for the winter but possibly for a year or two, we’re talking about at least an acre of intense cropping. This includes a patch of wheat for grinding into cereal and flour; flour corn for hominy and corn meal; sweet corn for eating, canning, and dehydrating; and rows of dry beans as well as fresh beans (yellow wax, green, pole, etc.) for putting up. Here we stumble on the weak link in most folks’ gardens. They say “We only use a few pounds of corn meal or dry beans a year,” and they feel confident they can get by with just a few packages of such items, bought at the grocers. I can tell you that you will use many more pounds of these staples when you cannot eat from the store shelves. And if there are no store shelves to choose from, we will all need to take care of our own needs at home. Remember, it takes more than one year to get a garden into full production. You can’t just plow up a plot and expect to survive off of it, especially if you lack experience. You can’t grow everything, everywhere. Look at your local production capabilities. Here in Ohio I can grow just bout anything. In the high country of Montana, nearly everything is a challenge for my friend Sijohn even though he's gardened all is life. But he survives from his Montana garden with potatoes, wheat, and beans along with a number of cold-loving crops he grews. What you need to do is put your energy into growing what will make a crop in your location. But don’t be afraid to experiment. Everywhere I’ve gardened (Ohio, Tennessee, N. Carolina, and Korea) I’ve grown crops that locals said “wouldn’t grow.” To better use space, consider inter-planting as much as possible. Grow cornfield beans among the flour corn, radishes in the same row as carrots, peppers between rows of tomatoes (which act as windbreaks), pumpkins and squash next to a corn field where they can run into the corn after cultivation has stopped. (Don’t do this with sweet corn or you will have a devil of a time picking the corn stumbling among rampant squash vines.) Inter-planting will do much to save garden space, a large consideration in survival gardening, especially when you must cultivate and till by hand.

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