When we first started gardening years ago, it was more of a fun hobby than a means to provide cheap food for our family. Then in October of 2012 we moved to the farm, and created a gardening plan that was truly meant to save money and be a reliable resource to provide food for our family of six. Now, our goal is to have a Prepper Garden.
What is a Prepper Garden?
For us, having a Prepper Garden means growing food that will be sustainable to feed us in the present growing season and in the months following the harvest as well. Eventually, we hope to get to the point where most all of our food is provided by way of our prepper garden.
The road to this path has been an interesting one. As hard-core foodies, we’ve always enjoyed a wide variety of culinary tastes and delights that spanned the globe and the food varieties available at the local grocery stores and specialty shops. Then, a couple of things happened on the way to foodieville:
- Our son started exhibiting serious reactions to certain food/food additives, forcing us to start researching what we were eating
- We woke up to our enormous amount of debt, forcing us to start looking for ways to save money
- Oldest daughter started researching different food lifestyles, leading us on a journey to a macrobiotic lifestyle
As we researched ways to help overcome the above hurdles, we started to learn the value in clean eating. Now, I’m starting to utter regarding our eating habits two words that I thought would never, ever, enter my food-loving vocabulary:
Vegetarian (a person who generally avoids eating meat, fish or poultry)
Vegan (a person who generally avoids eating any kind of animal product, including dairy and eggs)
Gasp! Who is this girl? Where is my steak-loving self? A quality ribeye on the grill at home used to be my go-to splurge meal, and now I’ve traded it in for grilled Tilapia with a squirt of lemon juice and a bowl of organic brown rice!
Alas, it is what it is, and the way we feel on our new clean diet is so gratifying that we’ve chosen to leave behind (most of the time, anyway) all but whole grains, veggies and the occasional fruit.
Enter, The Prepper Garden.
With our new eating lifestyle, a garden that truly sustains us for the year is not only a possibility, it’s becoming more and more of a necessity as we struggle to find quality organic veggies and fruits. Here’s how we plan our Prepper Garden:
Steps for Planning a Prepper Garden
1. Determine which veggies (and fruits) you eat most often and buy most often at the store. When planning a prepper garden, the goal is to feed yourself and/or your family for the long term. Work to plant veggies and fruits that are a regular part of your diet. Yes, there’s room for playing a bit with new and different things, but remember that the main purpose for your garden is feeding your family for the long term.
2. Determine which veggies and fruits from that list are most conducive for long-term food storage. In our garden, we plant easy-to-freeze and can veggies such as green beans, peas and carrots. We also plant tomatoes for variety – with them we can have canned or frozen tomatoes, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, etc. We also plant a heavy amount of potatoes and onions, as they store really well long-term both in root cellars and in cold basements/garages.
3. Plan your garden layout using vegetable companion planting. Keeping mind of companion planting rules when you plan the layout of your garden will help make sure that your veggies grow well and encourage each other to be strong.
4. Have your soil tested. Healthy soil with a good nutritional balance will increase your garden yield exponentially. It can mean the difference between your potato plants yielding 1 pound of potatoes and 5 pounds of potatoes.
5. Learn how to properly can vegetables and fruits. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is our #1 go-to book for all things canning. It’s well-written and easy to follow, even for beginner canners. It also has super easy recipes for quick food prepping.
6. Prepare for area bugs/garden pests. Each area has different types of plant bugs and pests it has to deal with, such as rabbits and squirrels. Learn what types of bugs and pests are native to your area, and then learn how to control them.
Remember that the goal of your prepper garden is to feed your family long-term, both throughout the growing season and throughout the year as well. By following the above tips, you can maximize your long-term food storage and minimize your trips to the grocery store.
Do you garden for fun, to make a serious contribution to your food supply, or both? What new garden veggie will you try this year? What do you plant the most of in your garden?
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