The Survival Garden - Growing Food Like You Had To

The premise behind growing a survival garden 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.

Our hoophouse is a key part of our survival plan

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.


We have a well-stocked pantry and a cold room to eat from 12 months a year

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 may also write about the evolution of our 'systems' as we go along.

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