Gardening is one of the most essential of survival skills, but if you are thinking that all you need to do is to stick some seeds into the ground and pour water on the dirt, you are not likely to get the bounty you are hoping for. The truth is, as anyone with this kind of experience will tell you, it’s a learned skill.
So if you hope to have food around for the long term after the zombies have come and gone, the only reliable option is to learn to grow food now…as in TODAY.
If you are blessed with enough land to grow a garden, then do it! If you don’t have space in abundance, then you can start as I did….by growing food indoors in pots. Doing this will at least put you in a position where you can begin to learn the skills necessary to plant, grow, and harvest your own food…well before you would find yourself in dire need.
One easy way to begin is herb gardening. If you have a window sill with sunlight, you have the space to grow them.
Why mess with growing herbs? Isn’t that just extra fluff? No…it is not. As I think of survival skills with multiple benefits, one skill I think of is herb gardening. This knowledge should be in every prepper’s arsenal. If you do not have the skills to grow them, then at least you should have the skills to use them. Of course, growing them yourself will ensure you will have them around to use in the first place. Herbs are very valuable for their nutritional, culinary, and medicinal benefits, all of which would prove to be very important in a time of need.
When it comes to food storage, the skilled culinary use of herbs can help to vary your diet. Face it….eating the same thing every day could get old. If you can add spice and variety by growing herbs on your own, why not do so? Now, I’m no expert chef, but I do have enough experience in the kitchen to know how herbs and spices can make eating more appetizing. So, I plan on having a store of dried and live herbs, spices, and heirloom seeds to supplement my basic food storage items to help make the most of what I will have on hand.
Besides improving taste, herbs can add greatly to your food’s nutritional value. Many herbs are good sources of important vitamins and minerals. This, by itself, may be a good enough reason to have them around.
However, when it comes to preparedness, perhaps the most important use of herbs is medicinal. For generations, the skilled use of herbs constituted the local pharmacy. If the world turns upside-down, you will likely not be able to go run to the corner drugstore to grab your routine over-the-counter remedies. Hopefully, you will have included a supply of such things in your first-aid storage. However, the question will remain of what options you will have after your supplies have been used, spoiled, or perhaps even stolen. Your choices will be limited, but the skilled use of herbs can help alleviate some of this. Again, the more you learn before you need this knowledge, the better off you will be.
As for learning and retaining the skills necessary to grow and use herbs, there are many good books and resources available. For myself, I have made a small booklet of cards, one for each herb I grow. On these cards, I have written basic information about the sowing, care, and use of each herb. This I plan to add to my “store of knowledge.” This is because I personally believe it is just as important to store preparedness references as it is to store stuff!
There is another point I would like to make before I close this post. In order to have a self-sustaining supply of herbs, (or any crop for that matter,) one needs to choose the right kind of seeds or plants. You must choose non-hybrid varieties! Other descriptions by which they are known by are “heirloom,” “open-pollinated,” or “non-GMO.” These are the varieties for which you can depend on to be able to harvest the seeds in order to grow again the next season. It is absolutely essential that you store non-hybrid seeds for your gardening plans. Otherwise, you will have food for a season….but that’s it!
In any case, it is ultimately up to you to decide which herbs to grow and to store for the use of you and your family. Choose wisely those that you would feel you would benefit from the most. Then do what you can to learn how to ensure you will have them around when and if you need them. My belief is that they will be well worth the effort.