10 Seeds You Need for the Survival Garden

There are many different types of emergencies that can have long-term repercussions on our way of life. One of those impacts is on our food system. Due to our aging infrastructure and roadways, emergencies can stall the delivery of goods, leaving a community without food for a given period of time. As well, personal emergencies such as job loss could also wreak havoc and make purchasing food all the more difficult. Because these types of emergencies can come out of the blue, many have taken to gardening as a way to insulate themselves from unforeseen emergencies.

Survival seeds are one of those long-term essential emergency preparedness measures that every family should have. They are lightweight, easy to store, and can provide a family with more than enough food. Having a variety of fast-growing seeds to turn to for growing in the garden or for sprouting will ensure a family can maintain their nutrition until help arrives.

Starting a Survival Garden

While sprouting is a quick, “just-add-water” solution for nutrition, growing a garden takes more expertise and planning. As with any form of preparedness subject, a well laid out plan is essential before beginning. Before a new survival gardener starts this endeavor, there are a few questions to consider.

  • Which are the vegetables that grow best in the area?
  • How much time do you have to devote to a large garden?
  • Do you have enough room to grow a year supply of food?
  • Will your survival group be assisting in tending the garden?
  • Do you have any physical limitations such as back or should problems, weight issues, etc.?
  • How long is your gardening season?
  • Do you have the ability to add greenhouses or grow houses to extend your gardening season?

Educating yourself on gardening topics such as micro-farming, soil balance, planting for the seasons, natural insect repellents, seed collection and seed storage could help you better prepare for a long-term emergency. As well,  it is important to keep nutrition in mind when planting a survival garden. Vegetables and fruits contribute an important amount of water to the body, as well as vitamins and minerals that help to digest nutrients, prevent illness and disease and helps to maintain a healthy body weight. That said, keep the basics in mind: vegetables, carbohydrates for added calories and fruits for preserving and for added health benefits.

Practice Makes Perfect

There are few people who have had a perfect garden experience the first time out. Many gardeners learn from trial and error and with each garden season, they learn more of what is needed for a bountiful harvest. Therefore, my advice for those wanting to start a survival garden is to start one now to work out any kinks along the way. Find a sunny spot in the yard and get a garden started! Those who have rocky or unhealthy soil could build an above-ground garden and fill it with rich compost and soil to begin. Two to three raised beds with the length of the yard are enough to produce plenty of vegetables.

Good quality soil is a must for garden beds. Soil rich in nutrients will give the plants what they need to grow. Compost is a popular soil amendment added to the garden and can be made with kitchen scraps. This is one way to keep a continuous supply of nutrients in the soil.

10 Seeds to Plant for the Survival Garden

To determine which seeds to add to the garden, consider non-GMO, heirloom quality seeds to produce highly nutritious food, and viable seeds to save for future harvests. If you are new to gardening, start with some favorite beginner garden varieties like radishes, swiss chard, lettuce, carrots, squash and zucchini, cucumbers, cabbage, and beans. These are all hardy varieties that are full of nutrition and will help you learn as you go!

Below is a list of easy-to-grow vegetable and fruit varieties that will also provide a balanced amount of nutrition.

  1. Allium varieties –  A good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, folate and potassium
  2. Berries –  High in antioxidants, vitamin C
  3. Beans – Beans are very high in fiber, calcium, Vitamins A, C, and K
  4. Broccoli – Broccoli is a good source of protein, Vitamins A and K, and carbohydrates
  5. Carrots – This root crop is a good source of carbohydrates, vitamin A, vitamin C
  6. Grains –  Grains are a good source of carbohydrates, are high in dietary fiber and manganese
  7. Peppers – High in vitamin A and C
  8. Potatoes – Potatoes are high in fiber, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Vitamin C and a good source of carbohydrates
  9. Spinach – Many call this a superfood based upon its large array of vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, iron, thiamine, thiamine, and folic acid.
  10. Tomatoes – Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, C, K, E, Potassium, thiamine, and Niacin

Another option for the survival garden is to plant perennials or vegetables that come back on their own each year.  Asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, garlic, and herbs of both culinary and medicinal value would make great additions. Keep in mind that some of these perennials, such as asparagus require two years to grow before they produce food. Do research on your part to determine if you wish to plant these perennials in your survival garden.

Create Sustainable Food Production

When you get your survival garden thriving, consider adding other sustainable food sources like small livestock such as chickens, rabbits, and fish, as well as fruit trees like apples, berries, grapes, lemons, and oranges to your operation. Having a wide array of food choices when times get tough will keep spirits up, nutrition high and give each person a high amount of energy. Sustainable food production will be a vital skill in a long-term emergency and understanding what to grow, how to do it, and when to grow will put you at a greater advantage for when that time comes.


This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 24th, 2017
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8 Responses to 10 Seeds You Need for the Survival Garden

  1. Nailbanger says:

    Good article, there is so much to growing your own food that most folks dont ar havent thought about.
    So many have this false sense of security with a seed vault or other such nonsense.
    The reality is that even strong experienced gardeners can lose their garden.
    Rain, friend or foe? A heavy rain and wind can destroy months of growth and work.
    No rain! Just as bad if you dont have a good water source.
    Seed saving? Had a discussion about this with a wannabe preparedness person, she had no clue, they would starve.
    Bugs/pest? Everybody has these warm fuzzy illusions of growing a huge bountiful “organic” garden. The reality is that the bugs and critters may eat more of it than you get to. I always tell folks to store away a bottle of pesticidal soap and maybe some Dipel(BT) and Pyganic(pyrethrin) and maybe a 2gallon jug of Oxydate(fungicide), all organic approved by the way, as the reality is that until you get real good and real experienced you may need a crutch now and then so you can still eat at some point.
    Row govers, polyethelene tunnels, cold frames, all stuff that can make your chances of success a little better, not fool proof but can defenitely increase the odds of success.
    We live in Hawaii, year round growing, what most would consider perfect! Just yesterday we had 3″ of rain in 5 hours and its still raining, if it wasnt for my tunnel and greenhouse and the fact that i have been laying down straw around my recent and past plantings, i wouldnt have a garden anymore. It would have been destroyed. It took some gass even with all that but it will make it, will need to spray fungicide or else everything will rot but most of it will make it.
    Birds! Cute little birds,,,,
    I have been trying to grow grains, if the rain or wind doesnt lodge it the birds will eat it or mildew will ruin it, its almost impossible to grow small scale grains here.
    The birds also do major damage to everything else, dig up seeds, eat all the fruit on plums etc, peck at cabbages and such, can be real frustrating, so better have a plan for dealing with that.

    • Steve says:

      Square Foot Gardening is first thing (a book) you should buy to get a clue about efficient space use and long, continuous harvest from small garden. Start small so you learn quickly, you don’t want to fail with a large investment in growing time and seeds. Check out Seed Savers Exchange for organic and heirloom seeds. Start your orchard now.

      • Nailbanger says:

        Ive actually been a commercial grower for years, just stopped production farming because of the FSMA, have had pretty good results with seed savers, but, i like Eden Brothers better though, more heirloom and open pollenated varieties than ss and better prices as well as cheaper shipping. I have SFgardening, found more useful info in Elliot Colemans books, especially New Organic Grower, his info has been spot on. Am currently trying to fence our homestead, want to incorporate livestock, our year round growing climate makes that a no brainer.
        Starting small is a good place to start, but they better start now because anyone can raise a few vegetables once, try doing it year in year out and save seeds to do your own varieties

  2. Nailbanger says:

    Another thing
    Variety, not in the sense of its the spice of life, but variety in relation to different varieties of the same vegetable. Not all veggies grow good in all places, so that survival seed vault may have 12 veggies that the seed was grown in the north east, but when you plant them in Arizona, ya may not even get it to set seed,
    Pollination? Do you know how or what the pollinators are? Theres a lot of stuff that relies on moths to pollinate rather than bees, then too what if theres no bees? Do you know what to do?

  3. Howard Brewi says:

    We are kind of the opposite end of climate from nailbanger. Interior Alaska at 61.9 north latitude. My advice about seed varities is to talk to your local master gardeners and cooperative extension for advice and to try more than one varitety of main crop plants. Here things like squash, beans and tomatoes must have season extender structures most years. We have found that you get a lot more bang for the buck using heat to extend our season into late April or early May compared to the effectiveness of using heat to extend into late September or early October. Maybe in Hawaii shade cloth is more of a necessity. What ever you do, if you want to grow for survival start now and can or preserve surplus as much as possible. Next year’s crop may not do so well.

    • Nailbanger says:

      Ive always wondered how they grow those giant pumpkins in Alaska! Was surprised to read about more than a few record holders coming from up there.

      • Howard Brewi says:

        They use heated greenhouses lots of fertilizer and lots of space for the pumpkins. The main factor is day length with the Matanuska valley (Palmer) having the sun up about 21 hours in June/July and a bit more up by Fairbanks. Light is the main reason it works better to use heat here in late April /early May. Also we have more tendency to have sunny days then so it takes less hours of heat.

  4. claylane13 says:

    Learn to identify local edible plants. There are plenty.

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