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The Case Against Corn for a SHTF Survival Food Crop

The Case Against Corn for a SHTF Survival Food Crop
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Regardless to popular belief, corn is not a good crop for surviving a SHTF Doomsday event.

When the topic of food crops for SHTF comes up in the forum, there is one that is talked about more than others, and that is corn. There is a common misconception that all someone needs to do to grow corn is to plant the three sisters – beans, squash and corn.

Using a tiller to work manure into a garden

In theory, the beans are supposed to supply the corn with much needed nitrogen. While beans and peas produce their own nitrogen, it is not in a form that can be easily used by other crops. In other words, there is more to growing corn than just planting beans with it.

Then there are the various types of corn. Corn seed we get from the local farm supply store is a far cry from native corn grown by indigenous Native American tribes.

Corn After SHTF


When Native Americans grew corn, their gardens used a type of composting. We know corn seeds were mixed with fish remains. The rotting fish provided nitrogen and various other nutriments the corn plants needed. However, the part about fish and composting has been forgotten over time.

For some reason survivalist think they can just plant beans with the corn and the beans will supply all the nitrogen the corn needs. If that were the case, why don’t commercial corn growers use beans?

The honest truth is, corn is a very fertilizer intensive crop. Besides fertilizer, lime is spread along the rows of corn.

To grow corn on any type of productive scale, besides limited occasion personal consumption, people would need access to nitrogen producing compost and manure.  With that in mind, growing acres of corn after SHTF with manure and compost is not only a waste time, it is a waste of resources.

Nutrients After SHTF

Corn is nutritionally deficient; the sole purpose of corn is to fatten up livestock, or to fatten up people. Calories after SHTF is important, but people need more than calories.

Why waste time growing a nutritionally deficient crop after SHTF, when we can put those resources to growing stuff like:

  • Pinto beans (for protein)
  • Spinach
  • Snap beans
  • Peas
  • Okra
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Squash

Question to the reader, would you rather grow a crop that provides few nutrients, or a crop that provides a wide range of nutrients, such as spinach or beans.

Let’s face the facts, beans are one of the perfect food groups for humans.  In the grand scheme of things, beans would be a better choice that corn.

Awhile back my and I were talking about when he was a child; he was raised on a rural farm here in Southeast Texas.   When I asked about the corn papa grew, he said the family rarely ate the corn.  When I asked what the corn was used for, dad told me it was used as livestock feed.  The corn was fed to the cattle, pigs, chickens, guineas, and turkeys.

Storing Corn After SHTF

One of the few things corn has going for it, it is easy to store.  Let the corn dry on the stalk, then harvest.

Once the dried corn stalks have been harvested:

  • They can be left whole
  • Shucked and ground into corn meal
  • Canned and preserved
  • Corn and husk ground and used as livestock feed
  • Canned and preserved in soups

Out of all of the survival food crops to for SHTF, corn is probably one of the best suited.

The Ball canning book and a pressure canner is highly recommended. There are too many corn recipes to go into with a single article.

Final Thoughts On Corn For SHTF

The point of the article is not to discourage the reader from growing corn after SHTF.  By all means, grow corn.  However, realize growing corn in modern times is a lot different than how the Native Americans grew corn.

There is more to growing corn than planting beans with it.

While corn is easy to save, it is deficient in nutrients.

What role does corn play in prepping for SHTF?

It is a filler, a treat, something that can be ground and used to fry food, but not as a main meal.

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Kevin Felts was born and raised in southeast Texas, graduated from Bridge City high school Bridge City Texas, and attended Lamar College in Port Arthur Texas. Hobbies include fishing, hiking, hunting, blogging, sharing his politically incorrect opinion, video blogging on youtube, survivalism and spending time with his family. In his free time you may find Kevin working around the farm, building something, or tending to the livestock
Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018