Preppers, Get Ready For Secret Gardening!

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Preppers, Get Ready For Secret Gardening

Is there a better time of the year more appropriate to talk about gardening than now? Early spring gardening brings benefits all year long and is just great for survivalists who have it as a hobby. I hope you remember the time I’ve outlined what a rewarding activity this is and how profitable it can be for preppers.

In that article I also told you very briefly about another type of gardening – the secret garden of survival. In the meanwhile, I’ve researched this practice and the more I learned about it, the more I loved it.  Now I can wholeheartedly say the secret garden of survival is something every survivalist should try. And here’s why:

What is a secret garden of survival?

The secret garden of survival is a camouflaged food forest that can produce 5 times more food per square foot than a traditional garden.

Rick Austin (also known as the Survivalist Gardener and the author of the Secret Garden of Survival book) came up with this concept. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of advertisements of this book on a lot of websites in the prepping community. I’ve read his website inside and out, so I can now tell you the main benefits of this type of gardening.

This garden looks like an overgrown underbrush, so it doesn’t attract unwanted attention from looters or thieves.

“It looks natural because it is the way that nature grows things. Nature does not grow plants in nice, neat, straight rows, nor does it grow fruit on trellises, etc. Nature grows things wildly, and plants naturally work together in symbiotic relationships that intermingle, intertwine, and ultimately benefit one another.” (Rick Austin for Efoods Direct)

Austin’s concept is based on the principles of permaculture, a healthy sustainable alternative to agri-business and biotech conglomerates. You can find out more about this philosophy and self-maintained agricultural systems on the Permaculture Institute’s site.  It’s worth the time.

Why is a secret garden of survival so amazing?

This is a garden that you plant only once in your lifetime and it provides for at least 30 years. It’s the essential prepper food source, offering you all the veggies, fruits and nuts  your family needs to consume. And all this with minimum of effort from your part: you only give it a little boost to get it started and then you have plentiful of harvest without any weeding or fertilization. The least amount of work for the most amount of food.

And there are several other advantages too, such as:

–          you don’t have to use pesticides or other weed killers

–          you don’t need to water, mulch or weed, saving you a lot of wasted time

–          it doesn’t take a lot of space

–          self-sufficiency and independence from grocery stores

–          a healthier lifestyle

–          it’s disguised, saving you from enemies, thieves and looters, and….

–         it saves you a lot of money

It’s the way people around the world lived for thousands of years.  With no electricity, no refrigeration and no commercial agriculture, but only with the plants they harvested every year (and which they only planted once!)

How to get started?

Everyone can plant his own camouflaged food forest and it would really be a shame to not do so if you’re already gardening in the old fashioned way or have a yard you don’t use for anything else.  You can step up to the next level.

A few essentials for everyone who wants to do this:

–          you have to work with nature and love it, let nature do what nature does best

–          it needs some careful planning, at least in the first year

–          you’ll have to learn a thing or two about stealth and intensive gardening, companion planting and growing plants that grow well together

How to organize your secret garden?

First of all, you need to investigate your backyard and your soil, decide for the perfect spot and imagine how you’ll organize your garden.

You can even start with barren soil (Rick Austin started with North Carolina red clay and did it, others grew great camouflaged gardens in the sandy Florida soil) and improve it in time. Also, choose the best exposure to the sun and keep in mind that a southern exposure is recommended.

To obtain a garden looking like part of the landscape or like a forest, you’ll have to plant in concentric circles instead of rows, just like suggested below:

secret garden

The central piece should be a fruit or nut tree. Arrange all the other plants around it in guilds, to form a mini ecosystem. The tree in the center will provide shade (especially for the shade seeking plants growing right under the tree) and protection. The herb layer is designed to provide a defensive perimeter , attracting insect pollinators and bad bugs such as predatory wasps.

If you already have a garden, you don’t need to ruin it or abandon it to create your secret garden. Use them together – interplanting can be a successful strategy if done properly (your current garden could control erosion in your perennial garden). Expand the edges of the established area of your traditional garden and use that ground.

What plants should you grow?

If you’re absolutely new to gardening, you must know a secret garden of survival is for perennials (plants that grow year after year without replanting), and not annuals (your typical supermarket vegetables which come from crops you need to replant every year).

You’ll be able to incorporate some annuals too, like tomatoes – heirloom are best for this type of gardening – and save the seeds every year.

You can plant chestnuts, walnuts, cherries and blueberries, apples and pears, grapes, horseradish (these grow well up north), even figs, peaches, almonds, loquats in the south.

On Mother Earth News you can find a list of 10 best perennials, selected for their productivity and versatility, and you can choose your favorites. The list includes wild leeks, kale, artichoke and even asparagus, all great survival foods.

I don’t know about you, but the concept of a secret survival garden just makes perfect sense to me. Food coming out of your garden year after year is the ideal situation for every prepper out there. Not to mention the natural advantage of having your food less obvious to the eye of starving and unscrupulous people.  I already have great ideas for my backyard, what about you?

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  • By Jan Vessell, June 18, 2016 @ 08:48

    I’ve had raised beds for years and planted a bit of everything, especially tomatos and cucumbers, and green beans. However, recently become attuned to prepping, I’ve decided to practice canning and growing vegs to can. So I’m concentrating on high carb food. Squash, cucumbers, eggplant and my usual tomatos. Also cabbage to can and green beaans for freezer, maybe some to can too. I have a small orchard so have just finished plums- Asian plum sauce and plum jam. Next are 2 different types of plums, Shiro and Ozark. Then the peaches (3 trees) and 1 apple. May have some grapes if I can net them sufficiently. People need to think of more to grow than lettuce family and what you can immediately consume, winter’s comong.

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