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What’s the top foods to grow NOW?
Our top picks for survival garden crops have three criteria: high yields, staples, shelf life through simple preservation methods of curing, freezing or canning.
With the current condition we’ve found ourselves in, a lot of you are turning thoughts to survival and gardening is looking more like a priority.
What are the top Survival Crops?
GREEN BEANS – Here, I’m talking the vining variety. Vining green beans produce from about mid-summer until your first frost. You will most likely enjoy these by the bucket full! Easy preservation…I snap them and then place in gallon freezer bags for the freezer.
Some great varieties to consider planting are: Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean, Blue Lake Stringless, and Rattlesnake Pole.
POTATOES – Potatoes will give you an average of about 10 times the amount planted. For about 20 pounds of potatoes you should harvest roughly 200 pounds. Potatoes will keep in storage for 6-8 months. You can also “Can” potatoes to increase shelf life. For an easy growing method for potatoes check out “Easy Way to Plant Potatoes.”
If you’re looking at self sufficiency, you’ll want to keep back a few pounds as seed potatoes to plant next spring. Leaving the potatoes unwashed will help ensure your potatoes stay good longer.
WINTER SQUASH – There are soo many varieties of winter squash! Everyone is sure to like at least one…am I right? Winter squash produces high yields for a small amount of plants. Cure them by placing them in the sun for two weeks, turn over after week one. This method of curing hardens the skin of the squash, allowing it to remain shelf stable for close to a year. Store in a cool dark place like a pantry, cellar, or even under your bed in a box.
Some winter squash varieties are: butternut, spaghetti, acorn, delicate, Hubbard, sweet dumpling, and pumpkin.
The peas we’re speaking of is known as “Cowpea” in the South and “Field Pea” in the North. Probably the most well known variety is the “Black Eyed Pea.” Easy preservation, shell and toss in the freezer in freezer bags. They may certainly be canned for those who like the sport or don’t want to depend on electricity for your food preservation.
I love “Purple Hull Peas!” Mainly because they remind me of my grandmother, Mamie. She grew these every summer when I was growing up. Other varieties I was introduced to in the past couple of years are “Pink Eye” and “Speckled Purple Hull.” You can’t go wrong with any of these varieties.
To save seed for next season, leave several pods to dry on the vine or bush in August or September, depending on your first frost date.
Zucchini Squash – Zucchini has a reputation for being an abundant producer! At regular social gatherings, the home gardener will usually share their zucchini wealth with friends.
Zucchini is not a winter squash, meaning it’s peel cannot be hardened off for longer shelf life. But, you can chop and freeze or can. Shredding and freezing it to make bread or pizza later is also a win.
The zucchini plant does get big, but can be grown in limited space.
If you’re looking for crops to harvest soon, check these out:
Arugula: A peppery, leafy green with a quick harvest. Arugula is ready in 35 days!
Spinach: With the first harvest date in as little as 5 weeks, spinach and arugula make for a wonderful salad base.
Radishes/Turnips: These veggies give a 4 week turn around. These two crops are either loved or hated by most, an acquired taste you might say.
All of these crops can be grown in container gardens, like the tier stackable garden pots.
Large Harvest Crops
Some plants will give you a bumper crop, but are more of a condiment type plant.
Cucumber plants can give as much as a bushel per plant! Cucumbers are a vining plant. Great with salads and of course there’s canning to make pickles.
Most of the pepper plants will give A LOT! Pepper plants are a bush variety. Last year I chopped and froze bell peppers. I love having them to add in omelets and soups and different dishes throughout the winter months.
The All-Star of most gardens! Tomatoes canned into sauce, paste, salsa, soup…you can’t go wrong adding this to your garden. There are two kinds of tomato plants. Indeterminate is a vining variety and will give tomatoes until your first frost. Determinate tomatoes have a growing limit. They will give give fruit all at once and then they’re done. They are a bush variety and great for containers.
If you’re interested in more valuable gardening information we have a FOOD SECURITY SERIES! We want to encourage and help you on your food growing journey. NOW’S the time to take control of your food security! See ya there.
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Let us know in the comments below what you’re growing this year.