September is National Preparedness Month and this year Stoney Acres is celebrating by joining with other bloggers that are part of the Prepared Bloggers Network for the 30 Days of Preparedness Round Robin!
Our garden is a big part of or overall preparation plan. Of course we have food and water storage at our place, but a big portion of the food we have stored every year comes from our garden.
Most years our garden produces 60 or more different fruits, veggies and herbs. Many of these are eaten fresh but even more are either frozen, canned or dried and added to our food storage. But let’s face it. If we really want to be self sufficient gardeners there are some crops that have much more value than others. I mean you are not going to grow 300 pounds of green peppers and expect to live on them all winter, but 300 pounds of potatoes would make a big difference.
Here are the 5 best crops for self sufficient gardeners:
Of all the crops you can grow in your garden potatoes will bring you closer to self sufficiency than any other crop. Potatoes are packed with calories, have a good amount of vitamins and nutrients, are fairly easy to grow and if stored under the proper conditions can last over 6 months in storage.
I have read several books that say potatoes are so important that you should plan on dedicating at least 30% of your total garden space to growing them. Most years we end up with around 20% of our garden planted to potatoes and end up with between 250 to 350 pounds. That amount gives our family plenty of spuds to eat most of the winter.
With a little planning you can have potatoes ready to eat starting in June. You can the eat them fresh all summer and then have a big crop ready in the fall to last you into the winter. Those stored potatoes can last well into March meaning you are eating garden potatoes 9 months out of the year!
Here are a few links to articles on how to grow and store potatoes:
Everyone loves home grown tomatoes, they are a garden favorite. But they are also a very important part of becoming self sufficient.
Tomatoes are one of the most versatile and productive plants you can grow in the garden. They grow very well in all but the coldest climates. A small patch of tomatoes, say only 4 foot by 16 feet with around 16 plants can produce upwards of 200 pounds of tomatoes in a good year!
Tomatoes can be dried, frozen or canned. They can be made into soups, sauces, pastes and more. They then become the base ingredient in hundreds of kitchen recipes. Tomatoes are one of the easiest veggies to can because they are a high acid veggie and as such they can be water bath canned instead of needing a pressure canner.
Yes you read that right, POPCORN! Why on earth would I suggest your favorite buttery treat is the third best crop for a self sufficient gardener? Well let me explain.
I suggest you learn to grow popcorn because it is the only “grain” crop that can be practically grown in the home garden. You see there is a secret many people don’t know. You can grind popcorn, in a grain mill, into a really tasty and easy to use corn meal! You can then use that meal for baking corn bread, and other corn based bread products.
Popcorn is easy to grow, fairly productive and can be tucked into little hills all around your garden or even in your flower beds! It does require a lot of water so be prepared to irrigate. You also can’t grow popcorn and sweet corn together so be sure if you are growing both you leave at least 100 feet between.
For a more in-depth look at growing popcorn you can read this article:
Love it or hate it, squash, especially winter squash is an important crop to grow and learn to eat for someone wanting to be self sufficient.
Keep in mind that there are two types of squash, summer and winter. Summer squash are plants like zucchini, yellow squash, and Patty pans. These are very productive plants but have a very short shelf life and very few storage options. Freezing is really the only way to preserve summer squash. Please grow these great squashes but don’t plan on them being a big part of your winter storage.
Winter squashes are plants like butternut, spaghetti, banana and acorn squash and also include pumpkins. These squashes are very productive and when stored properly they can last through the winter. A big banana squash can feed you for several meals!!
You will need a larger garden to grow these winter squash. These vining plants take up a lot of room so plan on them sprawling all over the garden. Most winter squashes are good candidates for vertical growing. So try growing them on some type of trellis or other structure to save space.
Kale is a super food! It is so packed full of nutrients that you just can’t ignore it in your garden. Kale plants are also super productive and very hardy. With a little planning and a simple hoop house for protection in the winter you can easily grow kale all year long. If you grow kale in the winter you get the added bonus of eating the best tasting kale you will ever eat. The cold temperatures sweeten the kale up and turn it into a whole new veggie!
So there you have it! My list of the 5 most important crops for a self sufficient gardener! Do you agree or disagree with my list? What did I leave out? Let’s talk about it in the comment section below.
September is National Preparedness Month and The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!
It’s safe to say that our ultimate goal is to help you have an emergency kit, a family plan, and the knowledge to garden, preserve your harvest and use useful herbs every day – without spending a ton of money to do it. Luckily that’s obtainable for every family and a journey we would love to help you with.
This year we have posts about food storage, 72-hour Kits & Bug Out Bags, and every aspect of preparedness, from water storage to cooking off grid. You’ll also find many ideas to help you be more self-reliant. Look for information on the big giveaway we’ve put together for later in the month.
Be sure to visit our sites and learn as much as you can about being prepared. We’ll be using the hashtag #30DaysOfPrep for these and many other ideas throughout the month of September, so join in the conversation and make 2015 the year you become prepared.
The Prepared Pantry: A 3 Month Food Supply | PreparednessMama
How to Wax Cheese for Long Term Storage | Perky Prepping Gramma
Dispelling the Canned Food Expiration Date Myth | Self Sufficient Man
6 Canning Myths You Must Know | Melissa K. Norris
How to Dehydrate Cherries | Mom With a PREP
How to Dehydrate Milk for Long Term Storage | Perky Prepping Gramma
Survival Tips from the Great Depression | Self Sufficient Man
The 5 best crops for Self Sufficient Gardeners | Our Stoney Acres
Butchering a chicken | The Homesteading Hippy
Self-Sufficiency Simplified | Blue Jean Mama
3 Small Livestock Preparedness Tips | Timber Creek Farm
Essential Oils for Preparedness | Mama Kautz
Farm First Aid Preparedness | Timber Creek Farm
72-Hour Kits or Bug Out Bags
How to Build a 72-hour Go Bag | Blue Yonder Urban Farm
Build Your Dollar Store B.O.B. for your Car in minutes! | Simply Living Simply
10 Essential Oils You Need in Your B.O.B. and at Home | Blue Jean Mama
10 Must-Have Herbs for Your B.O.B | Simply Living Simply
5 Things New Moms Can Do to Prepare for Disasters | PreparednessMama
Trauma Essentials for the Prepper | The Prepared Ninja
Emergency Preparation for Those Who Are Disabled or Elderly | A Matter of Preparedness
10 Most Important Items a Female Prepper Should Have | Living Life in Rural Iowa
How to Prepare Your Car for Winter | Frugal Mama and the Sprout
How to Prepare For a Power Outage | Blue Yonder Urban Farm
Why Natural Health, Exercise and Whole Foods Play a Role in Survival | Trayer Wilderness
Getting Started With Water Storage | The Backyard Pioneer
10 Totally Free Prepping Things to Do | Living Life in Rural Iowa
21 Prepper Tips I Wish I’d Heard Before I Started Prepping | Urban Survival Site
Is Homesteading Like Prepping? | The Homesteading Hippy
What You Should Consider When Fire Is A Threat | Trayer Wilderness
11 Ways to Cook Off-Grid | Melissa K. Norris
How to Make a 72 Hour Emergency Kit | Mom with a PREP