The best survival crop

radish survival gardenThere is a discussion on the forum about the best survival crop.  In other words, if you were going to stockpile seeds, what type of seed would you focus on. Or if you were going to grow 1 crop, what would it be?  Some of the suggestions in the thread were – corn, beans, peas, greens, peppers, bell peppers, potatoes,,,,,,.

In my opinion, one of the best seeds to stock up on are greens:

Turnip greens
Mustard Greens

The whole plant is edible – roots and tops, so nothing goes to waste, except for spinach.
The plant does not need to be cooked – but it helps.
The leafy green top and the root provides different nutrients.

The problem is, people with heart conditions should not eat a lot of greens. The plants contain a lot of Vitamin K, which thickens blood. For people on blood thinners, this could pose a problem.

Greens can grow in just about any climate – but they prefer cool weather. In warm weather, bugs might eat the greens up before you get a chance to.

Greens are also good to feed to livestock. One Roman historian noted that greens prevent famine in both man and livestock.  On a county road just south of Jasper, Texas, there is a certain person that raises greens and sells them out of his field.  Towards the end of the growing season, he will turn his cows loose in the fields, so they can feast on any unsold greens.  There is an added benefit, as the cows refine the greens and drop fertilizer back on the soil in the shape of manure.  The manure is then tilled into the soil for next seasons crop of whatever he grows.

Because most of the above listed crops also grow a root ball, your going to need some kind of well balanced fertilizer like 13-13-13, or something with higher nitrogen and phosphorous content, but go easy on the pot ash – which is the 3rd number.

For the spinach and onions, your going to need nitrogen – which is the first number listed on commercial fertilizer. In the case of the spinach, nitrogen helps the plant produce large green leaves. In the case of onions, nitrogen helps produce tall stalks full of sugars, which is used to grow the onion ball.

Turnip and Squash SeedsSeed size:
The seeds for turnips, radishes and other greens are tiny compared to say a squash or corn seed. This allows more seed to be stored per a given container size.

Corn – has sustained mankind for longer then anyone knows, but it does not digest very well, and there is a lot of stuff that can go wrong with corn.  It needs a good amount of nitrogen fertilizer, raccoons love it, and deer will eat the young shoots.

Snap Beans and Peas – after greens, snap beans and peas would be my second or third choice.  They produce their own nitrogen, all they need is some potash mixed into the soil.  Peas and beans can be harvested, dried, stored over the winter and replanted the next year.

Okra – is a wet and hot weather crop.  Unless you have lots of rain, or lots of heat, don’t bother planting okra.

Melons – take months to grow, and when compared to other crops, melons do not provide a lot of nutrients.

Squash and Zucchini -one of the best crops a survivalist can grow.  Their packed full of nutrients, can be eaten raw, or cooked, can be stored for long periods of time – when canned or jarred – most of the types on the market are non-hybrid.

Potatoes – can be stored for months, easy to grow, susceptible to potato blight or parasites. When you have some free time, look up the Irish Famine of 1740–1741 and 1845-1852.  But other wise, potatoes are a good choice for a survivalist garden.