Survival gardening is an important and necessary skill for the modern prepper. Having your own food supply close at hand is not only convenient but also provides food security. It’s a valuable addition to your survival food plan. Here are a few tips on how to create your own secret survival garden.
Why Plant a Secret Survival Garden?
Most grocery stores only stock a few days’ supplies of food at a time. During a crisis, the shelves empty quickly. Few people have more than a month’s supply of food in their homes. A large portion of that is in freezers and refrigerators and will quickly spoil if the power goes out.
Within a short amount of time, people will run out of food and start searching for something to feed themselves and their families. Anyone with a visible, recognizable garden will be considered a viable food source.
If you’re lucky, they’ll just steal your vegetables. If you’re not lucky, they’ll take the food and destroy what’s left of your crops or worse.
Living in a city or urban environment simply multiplies the potential amount of hungry people.
Limited Growing Space
One issue that urban gardeners face is having limited space to grow a garden. Whether you have a quarter of an acre or only a balcony, take advantage of the space that you do have.
Plants need three things to grow: sunlight, nutrients, and water. As long as they get these in sufficient amounts, they should produce the food you need.
Step outside and look at your space. Do you have a yard or a flower bed? Do you have a sunny window ledge?
Any spare patch of earth could potentially be turned into a growing space. A sunny kitchen counter or balcony can become a garden patch with a little ingenuity.
(If you’re new to gardening, check out these vegetable gardening tips for beginners.)
Mix Things Up
When survival gardening, you don’t have to use traditional rows or raised beds. In fact, your food supply will be safer if it’s not recognized as a garden.
Hide your vegetable plants among your landscaping. This works best with plants that are not readily recognizable.
Root vegetables, herbs, and unusual lettuces blend in well, especially if mixed in with non-edible weeds.
Spread them out. Place them in different areas around the yard.
Scattering your garden plants in different places also helps to protect from predators. If something gets one of your plants, chances are it will overlook the others.
Use Vertical Space
Try vertical gardening. Make the best use of the space that you have. Use trellises or go incognito by training climbing beans, cucumbers, and other vines to run up fences or walls. Hanging baskets can be used both outside and indoors.
Even if you live in an apartment, you can still grow a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in containers. Containers can be any shape or size, from five-gallon buckets to plastic yogurt containers. Make sure the containers have adequate drainage to keep your vegetable roots healthy.
Also, be sure to avoid containers that have held chemicals or any kind of toxins. If in doubt, find a different container.
One advantage of containers, depending on their size, is that they can be easily moved. You can bring them inside to extend the growing season or to protect your harvest from predators.
Growing Food Indoors
If you have space indoors, try hydroponics or small-scale aquaponics. With the proper equipment, you can grow plants even in fully enclosed rooms or basements.
What to Grow in Limited Space?
Is it even worth it to try to grow a secret survival garden if you have very limited space? Would you just be better off getting freeze-dried food?
A few small plants can provide a much-needed break from the dried and canned fare. Fresh produce also provides extra nutrition.
If you only have room for a few pots, focus on vegetables that grow quickly and provide maximum nutrients such as dark green leafy vegetables.
Root crops such as turnips, beets, and radishes grow quickly with edible leaves. Not only are they nutritious, but they may also even be unrecognizable to unexpected visitors.
If you have a bit more room, add some high-calorie vegetables such as beans and potatoes.
Healthy Food You Can Grow Fast
For a quick-growing, nutritional boost, grow sprouts. In 3-5 days you can have a healthy green vegetable even in the heart of wintertime.
You can sprout just about any kind of seed. Some of the easiest and most popular are alfalfa seeds, broccoli seeds, radish seeds, and clover. Lots of different mixes are available. You can even create your own.
Some seeds take longer to sprout than others. Just make sure to use untreated seeds that are marked “sprouting” seeds. (Regular garden seeds may be treated with fungicides or other chemicals that are harmful to eat.)
Camouflage – Hiding Your Secret Survival Garden
If your plants are in containers, they will be easier to move out of sight of prying eyes.
Just make sure they continue to get enough sunlight. Most vegetables require 6-8 hours of sunlight daily to grow.
However, some vegetables such as lettuces, spinach, kale, and broccoli will tolerate shade or fewer hours of daylight.
Landscaping – It’s What’s for Dinner
Plant edible landscaping. Most people are not aware of the many common plants and flowers that are edible. They will look for more familiar plants and leave your landscaping alone.
A few common edible flowers include dandelions, roses, nasturtiums, and chrysanthemums. Common edible weeds include purslane, clover, lamb’s quarters and chickweed.
Try Something Different
Plant unusual (and unrecognizable) vegetable varieties. It may be a tomato, but if it doesn’t look like the common tomatoes people are used to, they won’t know it’s edible.
Don’t talk about your secret survival garden. Most people will never even notice that you have a garden unless you tell them. However, once you mention it, they’ll remember it.
With a little ingenuity and planning, you can create an urban survival garden that no one around you will ever recognize. Not only will you be providing your family with fresh, nutritious food, but you will also be able to keep your food supply safe and protected from external influences.