What to plant in your survival garden is a somewhat personal decision and there is no definitive guide for this but I have a few personal thoughts on this about some of the crops that will help most for survival needs.
First off in a survival situation you need to grow things quickly and get the most nutrition you can as staying healthy and getting proper nutrient levels is just as important as satisfying hunger. But beyond just providing high nutrition they should also serve practical uses.
Kale is definitely one of the most important greens to have in your diet. Kale is considered the phytonutrient master. The latest research shows, that of all the vegetables, kale has the highest concentrations of phytonutrients, especially the carotenoid phytonutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin. It’s also a rich source of vitamin A and calcium.
Not only is Kale the most nutrient rich green you can grow in your garden it’s also one of the easiest crops as well. Kale prefers cool weather and can withstand light frosts.
It can be used fresh as a salad or cooked as a green and is very filling and tasty. Fresh kale with sesame tahini sauce is amazing or steamed with a few dices of pear to soften the flavor and served tossed with raw flax oil and raw slivered almonds is one of my favorite dishes ever!
Kale can also be dehydrated and stored quite successfully so growing extra for food saving and storage is a great idea.
Growing an abundance of kale will help ensure your body gets enough calcium and phytonutrients so this goes at the top of my list for the number one crop you should grow in a survival garden.
Cauliflower is next on my list. It is high in dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium, Manganese, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus. It is also a good source of lutein, which may assist in eye-health. It also contains phytostols, a group of compounds recently determined to play a role in cancer-prevention. It contains 2.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams (roughly 1 cup).
Aside from the awesome nutritional value of cauliflower it is amazing for making creamy bases for soups and sauces. If you didn’t have access to dairy or do not want to include dairy in your diet cauliflower is the perfect alternative.
Steaming a head of cauliflower with a couple cloves of garlic and a little himalayan pink salt for a few minutes until it’s soft then putting it in the blender with a little water will make a great tasting as well as healthy cream sauce to go over pasta or with a little more water added will make a creamy soup. If no water at all is used then you also have a perfect substitute for garlic mashed potatoes.
This is very practical in a survival situation.
Cauliflower is a little more difficult to grow but can be grown all year round as long as the correct variety for the time of year is chosen. Cauliflowers take up quite a bit of space so don’t grow them if your vegetable patch needs high yield per square foot but if you can spare the space learning how to successfully grow them is very practical and is something that I highly recommend for the above reasons.
Cauliflower also dehydrates quite easily and can be stored up in bulk when dehydrated.
I’ve written an entire article on Why Quinoa Should be Your #1 Choice of Grains For Food Saving that goes into detail about the benefits of quinoa.
The recap is quinoa is a complete protein (meaning it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that are crucial to human function and health.) Having as many complete protein sources is critical in a survival situation.
But not only is it a complete protein and extremely high in protein (1 cup cooked quinoa has 12 grams of protein and 1 cup of quinoa flour has 16 grams of protein) but it can be used like wheat or like rice making it very versatile in it’s cooking uses….and it’s also completely gluten free.
The great thing is that it can be grown in nearly any soil condition and in extreme conditions. It’s in the grass family and grows pretty much like a weed…very hardy. Read the above article on how to grow it.
The leaves of quinoa are also edible and tastes similar to spinach and quinoa can also be sprouted for salads.
This is probably THE most practical crop you could grow in your survival garden.
Stevia is another great practical crop to consider. It grows very much like mint and can be used as a sugar substitute. I use real stevia every day to sweeten my hemp protein shakes, in salad dressing recipes that call for honey or sugar and even for sweetening teas.
Candida, bacteria, fungus, cancer and viruses all feed off of blood sugar. Having a low or zero sugar diet is definitely recommended for health reasons. Keeping healthy is important in survival situations and in every day life as well.
If you don’t have a sugar, honey or some other kind of sweetener supply on hand and are depending on your survival garden then stevia is something that grows fairly fast and will help provide some of your sweet tooth needs in a healthy zero sugar way.
Also there is no weird aftertaste with real stevia…only the processed white stuff has that weird nasty taste. Real stevia is amazing.
It can be used fresh or the leaves can be dried and powdered for storing.
I think everyone should have at least one or two aloe vera plants on hand. Fresh aloe vera is great for burns and it also works very quickly on painful anal fissures…kind of an unpleasant topic to write about but these issues also need addressing. Cutting up the inside aloe vera plant meat into very small cubes and inserting them into the rectum into the 2nd chamber of the anal passage way several times a day will help heal anal fissures very quickly.
It’s also been helpful for eczema, shingles, bleeding stomach ulcers, healing wounds and severe internal injuries. Aloe vera is a natural antiseptic, so smearing it on a cut, even if it’s a deep cut, will help protect the wound from infection as well as accelerating the healing response by the body.
So for alternative first aid remedies having a couple of aloe vera plants on hand is very wise.
Believe it or not you can also eat aloe vera. It’s great for digestion.
These crops are probably not the ones most people would think of first as tomatoes, squashes, beans etc. are usually the first ones most people consider, but in my personal opinion, these crops should definitely be priority crops in your survival garden plans along with your other favorite vegetables.
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