How To Grow A Survival Garden

This is a new term that many people may not understand but we will change that with this article, plus inform you on how to grow a survival garden.

A survival garden is designed to provide enough food for you and your family to survive on if necessary. Off-grid living is growing in popularity and to be successful in this type of lifestyle you must know how to grow enough food to survive on.

Growing a survival garden is not only for people living off-grid. Consider the frequent recalls of produce and other food items due to contamination and you can see the need to have a home-grown food source.

No one can predict what the future holds but if you plant and grow a survival garden you can rest assured your family will have food to eat no matter what happens.

How Much Food To Grow In Your Survival Garden?


How much food would you and your family need to survive for one week? One month? One year?  What crops should be grown in a survival garden? How large should the garden be?  How do I start growing food?

If you don’t have the answers to these questions, you’re not alone. Most of us don’t know because we have never considered the fact that one day we may be reliant on the food we grow ourselves.

Backyard gardening and container gardening are food-growing methods we are familiar with. We can keep a houseplant alive, maybe even a couple of tomato plants, but how many plants will need to be grown if all you have to eat is what you grow in a survival garden?

Start Small

If you’re not familiar with gardening, start small. Growing plants is a continuous learning experience and you will learn something new every growing season.

Start with a small garden to discover how much food you can produce with a few containers or small plots of land. This will help you determine how much one plant produces, which vegetables and fruits your family prefer to eat, and tips for growing specific plants.

Prepare Soil

Select a location for the survival garden that is in full sun. Food-producing plants will need at least 6 hours of direct sun every day.

Work the soil to the depth of 12 inches with a tiller or tuning fork. Add 4-6 inches of compost on top and lightly work it into the soil.

If using containers, purchase potting soil that contains compost or use 3/4‘s potting soil and 1/4 compost in each container.

Compost feeds the soil so it will be fertile enough to support plant growth, prevent soil compaction, promotes drainage and aeration, plus it encourages healthy microbial activity in the soil.

Easy Garden Plants

Start with a few food-producing plants that are easy to grow like radishes, peas, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. This will allow you to learn about gardening while growing enough food to create a fresh salad.

Select seeds or plants that are open-pollinated (an heirloom variety) so the plants will produce usable seeds that you can save and plant again next season.

Heavy Producers

If you are familiar with gardening you need to plant heavy producing plants that provide enough vegetables and fruits to preserve for winter eating.

Potatoes, beans, tomatoes, squash, corn, sunflowers, cabbage, beets, turnips, carrots, rutabagas, cucumbers, and blueberries are prolific producers and are easy to preserve.

Three Season Garden

A survival garden should be producing food three seasons a year and provide fresh food most of the year.

Cool-season crops, like cabbage, lettuce, radishes, turnips, and spinach can produce a harvest in spring and again in fall. After harvesting cool-season vegetables in spring, use the space to plant warm-season vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and pumpkins. In late summer when the warm-season vegetables have slowed their production, plant another crop of cool-season vegetables.

Extend the growing season with succession planting and the use of plant covering. Succession planting is simply planting seeds every two weeks to extend harvest time. The use of plant covering, like cloches, a hoop house, mini-greenhouse or full-sized greenhouse, will provide them with a protected environment in which they can grow.

Self-Seeding Plants

Select self-seeding plants for your survival garden so plants will return year after year without having to be re-planted. Self-seeding plants, also known as volunteer plants, develop when produce is allowed to remain on the plant until it becomes over-ripe and fall from the plant. The seeds from the fallen produce will remain dormant in the garden soil until the soil warms in spring.


Knowing how to grow food is a skill that everyone should learn, and growing enough food to survive is an attainable goal. Our ancestors did it before the era of supermarkets, and so can we, with a little gardening know-how and the right plants.

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