If you want to feed your family yourself, why not simply grow your own? Mr DB’s recent look at emergency survival food supplies got me thinking (dangerous obviously). I cannot imagine having a bucket of dried prepared meals handy should zombies attack, but I do have a stash of home grown vegetables to munch on.
Of course there would be plenty of potential emergencies that might actually put an end to the vegetable plot, but hopefully not in the long term. If you grow from viable seed and then collect some of those seeds produced by those plants each season, in theory at least you should be able to continue enjoying your own home-grown produce for years to come.
It’s not exactly rocket science is it? In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that it is what people have always done.
Plant the seeds, harvest the fruit and veg, collect the seeds, plant the seeds….
But, with our move to hybrids and genetically modified seeds things have changed. These modern plants might be easier to grow or else guarantee supermarket quality produce (ie uniform and a little boring), but they are often either sterile or else cannot produce “true to type” offspring. So for many gardeners this traditional approach has all but gone.
In truth I am as guilty as anyone because much of our vegetable plot comes from seedlings bought very cheaply, locally. This saves us water and the difficulty of getting emerging seedlings to survive our windy exposed climate, but it does little for our “self sufficiency”, and only makes the problem of declining traditional varieties worse.
You can of course find heirloom seed varieties in many seed catelogues nowadays. And, if you do grow from seed it should wherever possible be from these heirloom types. Not only will you be keeping traditional plant varieties alive, you should also eventually be able to become self sufficient in your vegetable plot in the most basic sense. Since traditional heirloom varieties produce plants that can themselves give you seeds that will produce those same plants, generation after generation, you should not need to keep on buying more in the future.
And that is the reason this post is titled “Enjoyable Emergency Food Survival” – growing your own, from seed you have harvested is pretty full-filling. Simply planting something is fun. Getting outside onto the vegetable plot is good for the soul, and the body. Learning how to harvest seeds successfully is good for the mind too!
The crops I enjoy the most, and am the most proud of are the ones that have come from seeds collected myself. The garlic that has survived 6 years of cropping, eating, planting and growing, or the chillies that are so easy to grow from your own seed.
I’ve realised I need to grow more from heirloom seed in the future, since it makes the eating more enjoyable, knowing you can plant again for free next year. The vegetable plot might not offer instant food survival, but it does make providing for your family a little more fun than a bucket of packet meals!
I haven’t spent nearly enough time on our vegetable plot lately, but an afternoon of planting onions, lettuce and garlic yesterday was so enjoyable. It got the blood circulating and the mind thinking about spring, and future gardening endeavours. Hey it even got me motivated to write a post at A Self Sufficient Life which is something I’ve been promising myself I would start doing more often!
True, it also made my back ache a bit, but that’s just proof that I need to spend more time out there!
If you’re interested in finding out more about heirloom seeds the Seed Savers Exchange is a good place to start.