Survival gardening is something that many preppers are keen to learn about. Gardening can be a rewarding and therapeutic hobby, providing fresh and nutritious produce for your table. But for beginners, it’s essential to choose vegetables that are easy to grow and maintain, ensuring a successful and enjoyable gardening experience – and before you need to start gardening in a critical emergency situation.
By starting with straightforward, low-maintenance vegetables, novice gardeners can build their skills and confidence while reaping the benefits of homegrown food. Then as you get more experienced, you can begin growing vegetables that require a bit more maintenance and care to expand your veggie gardening knowledge.
The following ten vegetables are ideal for beginners getting started on a survival garden
Radishes are one of the fastest-growing vegetables, taking just 3-4 weeks from planting to harvest. They prefer well-draining soil and can be sown directly in the ground. Thin seedlings to about 2 inches apart and keep the soil consistently moist.
Lettuce is a cool-season crop that grows quickly and can be harvested as soon as leaves are large enough to eat. Sow seeds directly into the garden, and thin seedlings to 8-12 inches apart. Keep the soil moist and provide some shade during hot weather.
Spinach grows well in cool temperatures and can tolerate some frost. Sow seeds directly into the garden, and thin seedlings to 4-6 inches apart. Keep the soil consistently moist and harvest leaves as needed.
Green beans are easy to grow and can be sown directly into the garden after the last frost. Bush beans are more compact and require less support than pole beans. Plant seeds 1-2 inches deep and 3-4 inches apart, and keep the soil consistently moist.
Cherry tomatoes are more forgiving than larger tomato varieties and can be grown in containers or the ground. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost, then transplant seedlings outside after the danger of frost has passed. Provide support with cages or stakes, and water consistently.
Zucchini is a fast-growing warm-season crop that produces an abundant harvest. Plant seeds directly in the garden after the last frost, spaced about 3 feet apart. Water consistently and provide support to prevent the plant from sprawling.
Peas thrive in cool temperatures and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Sow seeds directly into the garden, spaced 1-2 inches apart. Provide a trellis or netting for support, and keep the soil consistently moist.
Swiss chard is a leafy green that can tolerate a range of temperatures. Sow seeds directly into the garden, spaced 6-12 inches apart. Keep the soil consistently moist, and harvest outer leaves as they grow, leaving the inner leaves to continue producing.
Cucumbers are a warm-season crop that can be grown on the ground or trained up a trellis. Plant seeds directly into the garden after the last frost, spaced about 18 inches apart. Water consistently and provide support for climbing varieties.
Carrots prefer loose, well-draining soil and can be sown directly into the garden. Thin seedlings to 2-3 inches apart, and keep the soil consistently moist. Carrots can take 2-3 months to reach maturity, depending on the variety.
Growing your own vegetables is a fulfilling and eco-friendly way to enjoy fresh, healthy produce, and to supplement your family’s food supply, both during non-emergency situations and when you are in an emergency situation or living off grid without easy access to a grocery store for fresh food.
By choosing easy-to-grow vegetables, beginner gardeners can quickly develop their skills and enjoy the fruits of their labor under a less stressful situation. These ten vegetables are perfect for getting started, offering a variety of tastes and textures to add to your meals.
As you gain experience and confidence, you can expand your garden to include a wider range of crops, further enhancing your home-cooked meals and deepening your connection to the natural world. Happy gardening!