Enjoyable Emergency Food Survival – Grow Your Own

If you want to feed your family yourself, why not simply grow your own? Mr DB’s recent look at emergency survival food supplies got me thinking (dangerous obviously). I cannot imagine having a bucket of dried prepared meals handy should zombies attack, but I do have a stash of home grown vegetables to munch on.

Of course there would be plenty of potential emergencies that might actually put an end to the vegetable plot, but hopefully not in the long term. If you grow from viable seed and then collect some of those seeds produced by those plants each season, in theory at least you should be able to continue enjoying your own home-grown produce for years to come.

It’s not exactly rocket science is it? In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that it is what people have always done.

Plant the seeds, harvest the fruit and veg, collect the seeds, plant the seeds….

But, with our move to hybrids and genetically modified seeds things have changed. These modern plants might be easier to grow or else guarantee supermarket quality produce (ie uniform and a little boring), but they are often either sterile or else cannot produce “true to type” offspring. So for many gardeners this traditional approach has all but gone.

In truth I am as guilty as anyone because much of our vegetable plot comes from seedlings bought very cheaply, locally. This saves us water and the difficulty of getting emerging seedlings to survive our windy exposed climate, but it does little for our “self sufficiency”, and only makes the problem of declining traditional varieties worse.

Unusual Heirloom VegetablesYou can of course find heirloom seed varieties in many seed catelogues nowadays. And, if you do grow from seed it should wherever possible be from these heirloom types. Not only will you be keeping traditional plant varieties alive, you should also eventually be able to become self sufficient in your vegetable plot in the most basic sense. Since traditional heirloom varieties produce plants that can themselves give you seeds that will produce those same plants, generation after generation, you should not need to keep on buying more in the future.

And that is the reason this post is titled “Enjoyable Emergency Food Survival” – growing your own, from seed you have harvested is pretty full-filling. Simply planting something is fun. Getting outside onto the vegetable plot is good for the soul, and the body. Learning how to harvest seeds successfully is good for the mind too!

The crops I enjoy the most, and am the most proud of are the ones that have come from seeds collected myself. The garlic that has survived 6 years of cropping, eating, planting and growing, or the chillies that are so easy to grow from your own seed.

I’ve realised I need to grow more from heirloom seed in the future, since it makes the eating more enjoyable, knowing you can plant again for free next year. The vegetable plot might not offer instant food survival, but it does make providing for your family a little more fun than a bucket of packet meals! 😉

I haven’t spent nearly enough time on our vegetable plot lately, but an afternoon of planting onions, lettuce and garlic yesterday was so enjoyable. It got the blood circulating and the mind thinking about spring, and future gardening endeavours. Hey it even got me motivated to write a post at A Self Sufficient Life which is something I’ve been promising myself I would start doing more often!

True, it also made my back ache a bit, but that’s just proof that I need to spend more time out there!

If you’re interested in finding out more about heirloom seeds the Seed Savers Exchange is a good place to start.



13 Responses to “Enjoyable Emergency Food Survival – Grow Your Own”

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  1. Liz says:

    That’s exactly what I thought when I saw those buckets of freeze dried “food”! And the bucket will only last so long, whereas a garden can last forever if you’re careful with the seeds.

  2. Amara says:

    I was thinking on similar lines a day or so ago. If I get the veg plot going properly, we could outlast any of the natural disasters common here (New Zealand). Earthquake, tsunami, zombie apocalypse… but perhaps not a drought. But in NZ, the weather is funny. While one end of our short short country is having the worst floods in a century, the other is having the worst droughts. I’m bang in the middle, so don’t get the worst of either, so fingers-crossed we’ll be okay.

  3. Bazza says:

    Have a look at gardenate.com as it is a great site for getting to know what to plant and when. Sign up for the reminders.

    Be sure to keep your garden areas well fertilised with compost or animal manures as by doing this they will retain moisture better as well as enhance the crops.

    Get proper advice on saving seeds, Root crops such as carrots is as follows:- take several of this seasons carrots that have matured making sure they have the characteristics that you would like, dig them up and cut the tops back to about 25 millimetres and then replant them. they will re-sprout and go to seed.

    Remember that brassicas and cucurbits either need caging or a great deal of distance between varieties to keep the varieties from cross pollinating.

    We have grown the better percentage of our vegetables for many years and our biggest concern at the present is the changing climate. Here we are in the middle of our summer and it is so cool/cold that tomatoes, capsicums and others are just not growing as they should.

    • Bazza – good points on cross pollination an roots.

      I hear you with regards to the weather being odd. We’re desperate for rain and have been throughout much of 2011.

  4. What a great topic. I have seen a lot of posts on Pinterest about emergency food supplies, and inhere are always pictures of an army of canned food in those posts. I would definitely rather eat my own fresh and preserved foods than Twinkies and such. I am not a master gardener, so I will cheat on the seed this year. The Dreamboat and I are members of a CSA. I think I will try my hand at seed saving from that. Thank you for the great idea. Now, let’s just hope those zombies don’t like heirloom tomatoes.

  5. Ernie says:

    If hybrid plants and seeds are sterile or nonviable, how do we get the plants in the first place? I don’t understand the process.

    • The magic is creating a seed that will grow into a crop. But the fruits of that crop do not have seeds that will create that exact same crop in the future. So you need to buy seeds every time you wish to grow that crop (or of course use cuttings to clone the plants).

  6. Carl says:

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    Congrats A Self Sufficient Life!

  7. Floyd says:

    A little off the topic here, but I think relevant. When I make home made soup,
    I dehydrate some of it and place it in plastic bags. I just add water later, and it’s just as good as the original. I have an Excalibur Dehydrator, but the job could be done by sun or oven for drying the soup. So far I have tried Lentel with ham, and Scotch Broth. Both are excellent rehydrated.

  8. greenleaf says:

    Yes.. Its a good advice. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD. My way of doing it is through EDIBLE LANDSCAPING. Its the artistic way of producing crops and vegetables in your own lawn. Its not that hard to do it. But it will take time, though. Growing our own food takes patience. However, we reap what we sow. If we want to be healthy, we have to grown our own food. Buying from commercial supermarkets may offer us vegetables that have pesticides. So, to be sure, lets practice Edible landscaping.