The Survival Garden - Growing Food Like You Had To

This is the first of a series of articles about growing a survival garden. The premise behind the articles is that Business As Usual (BAU) will not continue as usual much longer, and that things like jobs, money, and government services will be in increasingly short supply over the coming years. This series of articles will talk about how to deal, from the perspective of (what should be) our top priority - ensuring we have enough food.

Introduction to The Survival Garden
It's no secret that the world is in a scary place these days. To the many environmental crises - peak oil, peak water, peak soil - can be added peak unemployment, peak personal and government debt, and the apparent peak loonyness of our political 'leaders' i.e. some are advocating the destruction of what remains of our natural world, some are pursuing policies to decimate the economy, and some are busy creating a police state by default; a few are attempting all three. And it seems the ones that aren't, are ineffectual.

Here's what I see coming, and the premise for writing this Survival Garden series. We are facing the long-term disruption if not destruction of Business as Usual - i.e. shortages of food, fuel, common services and paid employment. You still have time to plan and prepare, but that time-line is measured in years, not decades. The resources you will need - i.e. tools, supplies, skills and a support network - can't be acquired overnight.

Putting these things in place to help our families and communities survive also won't happen by accident. Each of us needs to put preparation on 'project status', with defined goals, a plan and a budget.

If, like me, you have kids you should have a strong incentive to do what you can to assure their survival. Both my kids know to retreat back here to the farm if TSHTF.

Here's another key point: We also need to understand that, as handsome, smart, and talented as the readers of this article obviously are (and I'm not much better myself ;-) no one can do everything necessary for survival. We will of necessity be inter-dependent with our friends and neighbours for long-term survival.

So we need to actively seek out like minded folks, and plan and take action cooperatively where it makes sense to do so. Our families will survive better if our communities survive as well.

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Why a Survival Garden? Why Not Store Food?

You might be thinking "But why plan to grow a survival garden at all? Can't we just store up food to get through a crisis"? Storing food is an excellent idea, and everyone should start a stockpile of non-perishables immediately. Begin by acquiring a 3-week supply, then grow to 3 months, and eventually find space to store a full 12-months of basic supplies.

BUT, we are not talking about a transitory crisis here, but rather a major disruption to BAU. Every stored supply, no matter how large, will eventually run out. Long-term survival means creating a sustainable food supply, and that means growing your own food.

That pretty much covers off the 'why' of growing a survival garden. The next articles in the series are going to focus on the 'how'. Here's some of the topics I'll be writing about:

  • Crop choices

  • Tools and equipment

  • Skills and education

  • Space required for crops

  • Adding small livestock to the mix

  • Creating your network

  • Closing the loop - seed saving and food storage
You can see that some of these will stray a little bit from gardening, but all will be relevant to the idea of providing for our own and our family's long-term survival.

And, to wrap it up, a bit of a confession. Suzie and I have done reasonably well in acquiring the skills and tools and contacts that we believe will be needed in the near future. But I am not as 'prepared' as I want to be. So I'm also going to write about the evolution of our 'systems' as we go along. I hope you will share your experiences, too.

Check back, these articles will be coming out roughly once a week for the next couple months.

What's your take?

Got some ideas, questions, comments about the upcoming end of BAU? Got a topic you would like me to expand on? Share it here.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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re Survival Garden: I have an odd shaped farm... 
Hello, our small 2 acre farm is a narrow 65 feet wide by some 1400 feet long. The home is only 80 feet from the front of the property, and another 200 …

re survival garden: Escaping the Crash of an Economy Not rated yet
Love your newsletters and was thrilled to read this after a few weeks hiatus. I live in Oregon, USA and have been talking to a friend about preparing …

re Survival Garden: Another view Not rated yet
Scott, for the most part I agree with you. I hate to view the future of our country as it seems to be playing out. Somehow we forgot that being a free …

re Survival Garden - zoning Not rated yet
I love this topic - we have been looking for over a year for a large(r) parcel of land where we can do some urban farming and still manage the commute …

re Survival Garden:Community decision-making Not rated yet
We can't rely on the idiotic political system to make community decisions post-BAU. We need to develop the skills and infrastructure to do it ourselves, …

re Survival Garden: Can't wait! Not rated yet
Sweet! Really looking forward to this series! I know you're really busy so thanks for taking the time to help folks be as prepared as possible. ---------------------- …

re Survival Garden: Potential income during SHTF scenario Not rated yet
Dear Scott, I have read with great interest your articles over the last few years, ever since my wife found your web site. We have fully intended to start …

re Survival Garden: Seed Supply Not rated yet
Once the "bottom falls out", many will try to begin growing gardens. That will probably put a strain on the suppliers of seeds and plants. With the increase …

re Survival Garden: Growing Food in the winter months Not rated yet
I would like to know crops that will grow in the winter months so there will be food to eat year round. Hoop houses and a cheap way to build them. -------------------- …

re Survival Garden:This series is right on target Not rated yet
Until 5 years ago I worked in the high tech industry, but moved on to a small 5 acre farm with the goal of creating the self-sustainability you describe. …

re survival garden - BAU Not rated yet
The topic has been on my mind a lot too. There are a lot of community spaces, such as churches, that can repurpose part of their land/landscape to food …

re Survival Garden: I welcome all guidance at getting started.  Not rated yet
It's near winter in the Midwest as I've realized the pressing nature of the situation. Next spring I will plant my first garden- I'm planning box gardens …

re Survival garden: Thank you. Not rated yet
My Husband (just married 11-11-11) are trying to prepare for the above mentioned situation. We want to become as self sustaining as possible. We have …

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See also . . .

A Quarter-Acre Farm Plan

A Raised Bed Garden Plan

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