Living off the land sounds as inviting as Christmas dinner. But many have hardly had adequate experience being “farmers.” In fact, many have had no experience at all when it comes to planting anything. That being said, the day is slowly approaching where each of us may have to trade in our company identification badges for a shovel and a pair of overalls. Educating yourself on farming topics such as mirco farming, planting for the seasons, natural insect repellents, seed collection and seed storage could help prepare for an upcoming economic crisis. Learn about how many vegetables or fruits the plant will yield. It is truly an experience when it comes to the first garden. And the plants have many things to teach.
The only way to be fully prepared as far as growing plants is concerned is to practice, practice, practice. If the economy takes a turn for the worse, then the gardening knowledge and skills acquired from practicing will come into play at this time. Initially, when beginning to plant a garden, start small and work your way up. Have a small garden plot or do container gardening if you are short on space. Make sure the seeds that are purchased are heirloom or non-GMO varieties. The seeds from these varieties will continually produce. As opposed to hybrid varieties that will only produce for one season.
With each gardening experience will come more wisdom on how to handle a larger garden. When researching what types of fruit and vegetables will be grown, think about what your family will need for an entire year. Keep in mind that if you are lucky enough to have any livestock, grains and grasses will be needed to be grown for them to consume. Any size family will have to have multiple plants. One plant per family member would be essential if you had a small hobby garden. You must think on a larger scale. You are planting a survival garden. And this is exactly what it means – to survive. Plant enough plants to have for food as well as to have left over for canning and preserving for the winters.
These seeds that were chosen were based upon their yield quantities, *ease in growing, nutritional content and for the season they are planted in.
- Barley –Can be planted in the spring and winter and has the best results when planted early in the season. This grain has loads of health benefits and a variety of purposes. Such as feeding livestock, grinding the grains for flour, as well as making beer. Barley is high in dietary fiber and magnese.
- *Beans – Beans should be planted in the early summer. One of the easiest vegetables to grow. Beans have different varieties such as pole beans and bush beans, kidney beans, etc. Pole beans begin and end earlier than bush beans. In comparison, pole beans give a high yield production. A stake is needed for the pole beans. Staggering your plantings will give continuous yields. Beans are very high in fiber, calcium, Vitamins A, C and K.
- *Broccoli – Plant seeds in mid to late summer to be ready for the fall harvest. One of the easiest vegetables to grow. This plant has a tendency to give yields past it’s first harvest. And can take light frost with no problem. Broccoli is a good source of protein, Vitamins A and K.
- *Carrot – Carrots prefer cooler weather and should be grown in the fall, winter and early spring. One of the easiest vegetables to grow. High in beta carotene and vitamin A.
- Cauliflower – This vegetable is a cool season vegetable. It harvests over a short period of time and cuts out a high head yield. High in dietary fiber, Vitamin C and K.
- Corn – This is a warm weather crop and should be planted after last frost. Has a good amount of proteins, calcium and iron. The plant will produce two ears per stalk.
- *Cucumber – This is a warm weather crop. This is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. There are large varieties and smaller varieties for pickling. Continuous picking increases the plants production. Cucumbers are good sources of Vitamins A, C, K and potassium.
- Eggplant – Eggplants are warm weather plants and should be planted after last frost. This night shade vegetable is high in fiber, antioxidants, and a good source of vitamins B1 and B6. This is a very versatile vegetable to cook with.
- *Lettuce – Plant two weeks before last frost as well as in the fall 6-8 weeks before the first frost date. One of the easiest vegetables to grow and one of the earliest crops to harvest. There are many different varieties that offer different nutritional content. This plant grows quickly and harvest can be extended by taking a few leaves at a time. Lettuce is packed with essential vitamins and proteins, iron and calcium. Vitamins such as A, B6, C, and K.
- Melon – Plant 4 weeks after the last frost as these fruits are intolerant to cold weather. Cantaloupes and Melon varieties need lots of space to grow. Getting the dwarf size of these fruits can save space. One melon plant will produce two melons. Good source of fiber, B6 and folate.
- Okra –Plant 2 weeks after last frost. This vegetable has a variety of uses such as in soups, pickled or canned. High in vitamin A, K and folate, and calcium.
- *Onion/Garlic – One of the easiest vegetables to grow. Plant onion in mid to late October. Onions can be pulled earlier and used for green onions. A good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, folate and potassium.
- Peanuts – This is a hot season plant and should be planted in April until Early June. Peanuts are a good source for healthy fats, Vitamin E, protein and antioxidants.
- *Peas – This is a winter loving plant who is resistant to frost. One of the easiest vegetables to grow. There are many varieties of the pea plant, such as shelling, snap, snow and sugar pod. Most varieties are fast growing. This is a good source of protein, fiber and has a good source of 8 different vitamins including vitamin A, B6, and K.
- *Peppers– Grow after the last frost. There are many varieties of peppers as well as choices on if you want them to be hot or mild. Sweet peppers are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. The more peppers are harvested, the more the plant will produce. Peppers are high in Vitamin A and C.
- Potatoes– Plant 4-6 weeks before last frost. 1 plant yields 5-6 young potatoes. Potatoes are high in fiber, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Vitamin C.
- Pumpkin– Start pumpkin seeds in the late spring. Pumpkins require lots of room for the vines to grow. Pumpkins are packed with vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate, iron, Vitamin A, C and E.
- *Radish – Can be started 4-6 weeks before last frost. Many have had success growing radishes in the fall as well. One of the easiest vegetables to grow. They are very tolerant of weather conditions. Radishes are high in Vitamin B6, dietary fiber, Vitamin C and iron.
- Spinach– Spinach grows best in cool weather. However, there are some varieties that like warm weather. Many call this a super food based upon it’s large array of vitamins such as Vitamin A, C, iron, thiamine, thiamine and folic acid.
- *Squash – There are both summer squash and winter squash varieties. One of the easiest vegetables to grow and most are prolific producers. Picking squash regularly encourages a higher yield. A Good source of Vitamin A, B6, C, K, and dietary fiber.
- * Tomato– Plant tomatoes in the late spring and again in the late summer. One of the easiest vegetables to grow. Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, C, K, E, Potassium, thiamine and Niacin.
- Turnips/Rutabagas – Seeds should be sown in late May or early summer. Turnips are fairly disease free and easily cared for. The greens as well as the root can be eaten. Turnips are high in B6, Vitamin C, Iron and Calcium.
- Wheat– Winter wheat can be planted from late September to mid October. This is the preferred variety due to the nutritional content as well as the protection it gives the soil in the wintertime compared to spring wheat. Spring wheat is planted in early spring. This is one of the most commonly used food crops in the world. Wheat is high in copper, zine, iron and potassium. Planting a 10×10 plot will yield between 10-25 loaves of bread.
Other seeds to take into consideration are crop cover seeds such as hairy vetch or clover. These crop covers loosen up soil as well as gives the soil nitrogen to feed the plants for the next season. These crop covers are also food for livestock such as cattle, sheep and rabbits. When the crop cover is mowed, the cuttings can be used as a natural mulch.
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. Do research and find the best plants for you and your family. Become familiar with planting cycles at a local level. Finding pertinent information regarding soil conditions, natural fertilizers, and germination of seeds can get you ready for a good planting season. The more prepping you do on this, the better your family will eat when they need food the most.
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Contributed by Tess Pennington of readynutrition.com.