The Survival Garden: Is it safe to eat?

Crop of vegetables. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and other vegetables.

If your kids don’t know what it is, how will they ever try it?  More invaluable information for parents that can’t be resisted. Think how joyous it will be when your kids says, “I grew that.” and chomps down on a raw green bean.

Hey, my little green bean, that plant is cabbage. Knowing what plants names are and if they are edible or not will help your family supplement food stocks. To do this get a field guide on edible native plants to learn what is safe to eat. If you are a city dweller, you maybe surprised at the amount of wild plants that are edible, and how many urban gardens there are. The bigger your garden the more food you will produce. With a large garden, there will be better chances that you will have enough food to feed your family. When your garden is producing, you should cut down on the consumption of your dried food stocks to save them for winter. If you are short on space your garden does not have to be in one place, take advantage of all the space that you can. Roof gardens, bucket gardens, and places that get enough sun to grow. Break out the cement to get to the soil and plant your garden there. Use all the space available as best as you can. Planting easy to grow, low maintenance food plants are essential for filling your bellies and familiarizing kids with fresh produce. Peas, beans, tomatoes, squashes are on the top of the easy to grow list. Vegetables that store for a long time such as winter squashes, acorn squash and pumpkins are important to include. Potatoes and carrots can be stored in the ground for almost an entire winter if buried and have enough mulch on top insulate from the cold. Pickling also helps with long-term food and great for mid winter treats. Have your kids help start a survival garden. (Hint: The survival part is your sanity because you’ve gone crazy trying to get them to eat vegetables.)

Get some dirt and seeds, stick em in the dirt an inch or so down, and don’t for get to water. Most plants need an average of one inch of water every week. Putting mulch around the base of plants can help hold in water for the plant and keep weeds away. Watering in the night or early morning will help with water absorption and retention by watering deeply and infrequently, plants will develop larger root spreads. The plants will be better able to maintain the foliage they have grown, and will not wilt at the first sign of neglect. Watch them grow and enjoy the slow process of plant growth. The survival garden is also a place of relaxation and contemplation.

What to do if plants won’t grow in your yard.

Amending Soil
You will learn as you go what plants in your garden grow better than the other plants. In some areas of your garden, you will see that zucchini grows larger in one spot than another. This is due to the condition of the soil; you can fix the soil by amending the soil with compost. Amending will improve the physical properties of soil by increasing the water and nutrient holding capacity, and improve aeration and water infiltration. There are three methods for amending your soil.

Composting is the first method and is great for small gardens. the on lt down side is that compost makes flies. If you are going to compost do it away from where you eat and sleep. You will be better off for it. Now take all those scraps from the food that you didn’t eat and have no refrigerator for and toss them on the ground. Shovel some dirt over the scraps and repeat this process for a few weeks. Then using your kids and a shovel let them dig up the compost and turn it over. Toss some dishwater on it every now and then to keep it moist and repeat the process of scraping and turning. Mix this into your garden in between plantings. To spark your kid’s interest in composting, make it a worm hunting expedition, your children will learn about compost and have fun chopping up worms or throwing worms at each other. While they are doing this, teach them about the nutrients that plants need to grow.

Growing cover crops (also called green manure) is another method for adding nutrients that is more practical for larger gardens. How it works is that; on a large scale you will grow plants that provide nutrients or help condition the soil based upon your needs. There are Nitrogen adding crops and non-nitrogen crops. Beans and clover add nitrogen. Non-nitrogen plants such as rye, oats, and wheat have large taproots that help increase water absorption, add nutrients, and hold the soil in place.

Poop, poop works wonders for your garden. If you have any animals that produce, large quantities of poop like rabbits or chickens. Add the poop to your soil between plantings. Ultimately, the combination of all three methods is the best way to fix your soil and Chickens make eggs and rabbits are delicious and give you pelts to make clothes.

Elements responsible for plant growth, plant functioning, leaf, flower, and fruit production, and plant health.

Plants need nitrogen for leaf and stem growth.
Phosphorus helps with root development.
Potassium is for overall plant health.

Calcium, magnesium, zinc and molybdenum are other trace elements that are for over all plants health. You will also get trace elements including manganese dioxide, iodine, calcium fluoride, iron oxide, zinc, boron, iron sulfide, and calcium carbonate from compost.

Spacing your Plants
Plants need elbow room. Space the seedlings 18-24 inches apart when planting will allow for better root development foliage and height. Think of the size of the plant and make space for it. Carrots will grow to the thickness of your thumb and a head of lettuce will be the size of a basketball. With vine type, plans such as cucumbers and tomatoes make sure to have plenty of room. Tomatoes can grow as tall as six feet high and be 4 feet wide. The vine from a cucumber can be as long as 15 feet. Having a trellis for tomatoes and cucumbers will help support the plants growth and control the space that it will use.  If you are using the bucket, method for your garden spacing your plants is not going to be any trouble at all. Just pick up the bucket and move the plant.

Diversity
It’s tomatoes on the menu! Every day until the fall crops are ready to harvest. I can think of a thousand reasons why to plant as many types of vegetables as possible. The number one reasons are boredom, sick and tired, cannot possible eat it again and you will just loose your appetite thinking about eating another tomato. While planting a large amount of one type vegetable that is good. Having a variety in your garden will help with successful meals at your dinner table. The health and sanity of your survival group will benefit with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Trap Cropping
Trap cropping is all about, distraction and substitution. Trap cropping will help protect your garden from insects and increase your gardens yield from decreased loss of plants. (E.g. growing dill will protect the tomato plant from the tomato horn worm or nasturtiums to feed the aphids.) Learn to identify the pests by watching what they eat. Plant the plants that the insects prefer to eat as your trap crop. Control the insects in the trap crop by removing the plants that are showing signs of infestation. Additionally, by having a wide range of plants in your garden you will create false landing zones for harmful insects. With minimal food available for the pests, they will move on to other places in search of more bountiful sources of food.

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One thought on “The Survival Garden: Is it safe to eat?

  1. Great post! I agree completely that food producing garden is the way to go. The benefits are countless and more importantly – you eat healthy food. I am slowly switching to hundred per cent veg garden. Wish me luck. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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