*World War II Poster encouraging the use of home gardens, dubbed 'Victory Gardens'*
A lot of our posts may talk about the outdoor life fantasy, and while many of us idolize this type of lifestyle there is a higher likelihood that we live closer to civilization than away from it. One way to bring nature a bit closer to you is of course to maintain your own plants and crops. Whether you live in an urban or sub-urban environment, maintaining and growing your own garden is a great way to experience the beauty of natural things, even when surrounded by concrete and steel.
For us urbanites a window plant is something you'll commonly see in city apartment windows - that's human nature calling to our desires to maintain at least some natural elements in our lives, despite the advances in technology and infrastructure. While some of us may have a small herb garden or something along those lines, there is something to be said about taking it a step further. Grocery stores rely on farmers to supply the goods we all rely on, but that doesn't mean you can't supply some of your favorite foods yourself. Not only will having a home garden help put some money back in your pocket, you'll also get to experience the joy of eating the literal fruits of your labor.
Of course past just having some fresh, delicious produce, growing and maintaining crops is a worthwhile survival skill. As any farmer can easily tell you it's much more difficult than just planting a seed and hoping for the best. Plants are living creatures and demand the right conditions and treatments in order to flourish to their full potential. The best part about having your own garden is that what you choose to grow is entirely up to you, and should be based on your preferences, experience, and the amount of space you have available.
Below I'll highlight some of the most popular options and discuss the benefits of the crop:
This will be difficult to narrow down, as there's many crops that classify as beans. You have your pole beans (such as green beans) which grow on vine structures, and bush beans (such as pinto beans). Regardless of which one(s) you prefer to grow, beans are a very resilient plant and offer a lot of nutrients in their small package. Different types of beans have different requirements for growing, so be sure to check up on the environments they do best in. For example, a Pinto bean prefers a warm climate with lots of sunlight, with an average amount of moisture.
My personal favorite carbohydrate, potatoes have a history as a necessary staple around most of the world. Potatoes are another easy crop to grow but can provide large yields that can keep you fed for a good amount of time. They are not particularly fussy when it comes to growing them, and can be planted in 5 gallon buckets easily. There's many different types of potatoes, from your Yukon Gold to your Sweet Potato. Both are nutrient rich options that will definitely provide for a huge part of your diet if times get tough.
3) Bush Berries
Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are examples of bush berries that can help provide some sweetness to your diet. While these do require larger plots than say a potato plant, fruits are rich in vitamins, and a very important part of your diet. Regardless of the type of berry, you can bet that they need lots of sunlight and care to grow a good yield. While you can grow them in smaller batches to conserve space, there may not be enough from a small plot to constitute substituting trips to the grocery store.
Onions may not be the most nutrient dense food, but the one thing they are is delicious. The smell of a cooking onion is iconic, and instantly adds flavor to anything it's added to. Not only that, but I use onions almost daily in home cooking, and suffice it to say that even in an end of the world situation, I would rather have onions to make my food taste better than go without them. Onions are also extremely resilient, and used in everything from soups to pasta dishes.
This is probably the most difficult crop to grow on the list, as Tomatoes require a good amount of space between plants to properly grow. On top of this they are also extremely sensitive to the cold, so planting will generally begin indoors in early Spring to be then transplanted outdoors for harvest in the Summer. Certain types, such as the Cherry tomato are a bit more resilient, but still require lots of sun and water. They're extremely popular as a survival food due to their culinary versatility, similarly to onions.
And those are my top 5 picks for starting your home garden! What you can grow, and how much you can grow will be entirely dependent on your environment and the amount of space you have available. If you have a home in the suburbs you'll have much more room than someone who lives in an apartment. Either way, considering your options with the space available and the climate you live in will open up a load of possibilities towards becoming more self-sustainable. The food is great, but the knowledge goes much further.