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Saturday, April 15, 2017

10 steps to start homesteading, on the cheap

10 steps to start homesteading, on the cheap
  1. Simplify your life. This would be the first thing to do when you want to start homesteading. Sometimes we get caught up thinking we always need to be doing more, when in fact doing less but doing it really well, is a much better (and cheaper) way to go. Is there anything in your life that is draining your time, energy, and money that you could eliminate or cut back? Maybe your kids are signed up for a few too many activities. Maybe you are a member of a book club, have a side hustle, go to the gym every day, and volunteer at the library. Those are all good things, but you can’t always add more and add more, sometimes you need to cut a few things. So if you are really serious about homesteading, realize that it is a time commitment. You will end up frustrated and disappointed if you try to ADD homesteading without taking anything else out.


2. Make homesteading friends. Homesteading is significantly easier if you have some buddies for a lot of reasons. One is that it’s nice to have some support when you need it. If all you ever hear from people is how crazy you are for homesteading, and you don’t have anyone to talk to that agrees with your craziness, you’re going to get burnt out.
Another reason is that it’s nice to partner up sometimes. Let’s say you are really good at growing tomatoes, and you have a neighbor with too many laying chickens. This is a no brainer right? Trading is something that homesteaders love!
Number three would be that you are going to have homesteading questions. The best people to ask those questions are experienced homesteaders in your area. Weather, climate, laws, etc are things best answered by someone who lives right where you do.
And fourth, to save the most money possible, you must borrow things. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just a smart thing to do. If you don’t have the money to buy something, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs when they aren’t using it. Every year I borrow a canner from my mother in law, a juicer from my aunt, and a dehydrator from my friend. I also had another friend give me her old canning supplies because she didn’t need them after all her kids were moved out. Make friends! Just do it.

3. Start gardening. This is the first homesteading thing I did in my adult life. That might have something to do with the fact that I studied permaculture as a teenager, but still. Dirt is one of my favorite things in the world, that might have something to do with it too.
You can start gardening for about $5 really. All you need is some dirt, sun, water, and a packet of seeds. It DOES NOT have to be special dirt. Contrary to what some people believe, seeds do grow in almost any old soil. You might not have the same size tomato plants as your neighbor who uses miracle grow, but your seeds will still grow. A shovel is handy, but if you don’t already have one you can borrow a friends, or grow a “no-till” garden. If you have literally no piece of dirt/land to grow some seeds in, get creative. Use pots, sign up for a spot in the community garden, or better yet, BORROW a few feet in your friends yard. Seriously, I can’t think of a single homesteader that wouldn’t let you share a tiny piece of their garden if you are willing to take care of it.
If your excuse to not start a garden is money, consider it crossed out. Then check out How we save over $2,400 every year with our garden.

4. Preserve what you grow and what you gather. Preserving food is a dying art. There are a million ways to preserve fruits, veggies, meat, nuts, and everything else. The whole point of it is to save the food you have from going bad and wasting. What better way is there to save money than figuring out ways to use everything that you already have?
The 4 biggest ways that I preserve food are canning, freezing, dehydrating, and cold storage. You can borrow canning supplies, but you will need to purchase canning jars unless you know someone who has extra. You can borrow a dehydrator, though I feel like dehydrators pay for themselves in the first one or two uses honestly. If you don’t have a freezer then you may want to wait on that one since they are hard to find for less than a few hundred dollars. As for cold storage, if you don’t have space in a basement or under your house, you can literally dig a hole in the ground.
Don’t think that you can’t preserve food if you don’t grow a large garden. More than half the food that I preserve comes from somewhere other than my own yard. Check out this post on How to get free produce to learn how I get food to fill my freezer and my canning jars every year for free.
If you aren’t preserving, you are probably wasting. Which can be the same thing as tossing dollar bills in the garbage can.

5. Learn to sew. Sewing is not an all or nothing activity. You do not have to sew all of your kids clothes to save money. Every little bit counts. If you don’t own a sewing machine, that’s okay. Although it is easier and faster with a sewing machine, you can start out with small things that only require a needle and thread. Take for example mending your husbands pants instead of buying new ones. How about letting out the hem to your growing sons pants so they fit for a few more months.
To me, sewing and mending is one of the best examples of “making it work”. It is an incredibly valuable homesteading skill that saves you money. Make it a goal to learn at least basic sewing skills.

6. Get starts from other people. Growing things is a big part of homesteading, whether that is plants, animals, or a family. Plants and animals cost money. But almost everything that grows, is multiplying and growing more. Plants send up shoots, drop seeds, or re-root themselves. Animals have babies. Instead of buying everything you need to grow plants or raise animals, get your “starts” from your friends and neighbors.
Ask your friends what things they have extra of, or what things are always producing more then they need. Here are a few examples of things that are all over the place where I live:
10 plants you should never pay for. Where to start when you want to homestead
  • Raspberries- they send up new shoots every year, and gardeners just rip the new ones out.
  • Strawberries- they re-root themselves wherever the vines touch the ground, creating a new plant.
  • Willow trees– easiest tree to root, just cut off a baby branch and stick it in water
  • Sunflowers- produce about a million seeds on each flower, grab a dead one at the end of the season from your friend and sprinkle the seeds in your yard.
  • Quaking Aspen trees- send up tons of baby trees all around it. That is why they are usually “groves” of aspen trees.
  • Ground covers- They spread everywhere guys. Just hack off a corner plant and drop it in the dirt at your house.
  • Potatoes- You know when you forget you had a bag of potatoes downstairs and it starts growing? Stick them in the dirt, they are alive!
  • Grapes- fill a bucket with dirt, and pop the tip of a grape vine (still attached to the mother plant) down in it a few inches. Water it for a few weeks and it will root.
  • Herbs- some herbs bunch up and fill in really well like thyme. Taking starts is as easy as digging up part of the plant.
  • Chickens- I have had many friends try and drop off their chickens and roosters at my house. That’s free meat and eggs guys!

7. Plan ahead. I am a procrastinator to the extreme. I know I am, and I try to fix it, but the fact is that I will probably struggle with it forever. When it comes to homesteading, procrastinating costs you money, time, and problems. Make lists, have a calendar, plan meals, draw out your garden. The more you plan, the better you can manage your time, and the more money you will save.
Let’s look at an extreme example: think about what a difference it would make if you were to plan out an entire year of meals. I have never heard of anyone doing this, but humor me for a minute. You could plan out your garden for exactly what food you would need to grow. You would know how much of each thing you needed to preserve. And you could save a ton of time always having things ready for your meals. Now I know that was an extreme example, but if you fall anywhere in the middle, you are still on your way to some pretty great homesteading, planning ahead, and saving money. And that goes for anything, not just food. Plan ahead what tools and supplies you will need for the whole year. You could be asking friends early on, or keeping your eyes out for those things at the thrift store. Think about it.

8. Cheap chickens. I call them that because they are. Farmer and I started our chicken adventure with $26. We built a little house out of scrap wood, and we kept them in a box in the laundry room before they were big enough to live outside. The baby chicks cost us $16 for 8, and a bag of starter feed cost $10. We let them free range after that. Cheap, cheap, cheap. And they are an easy animal to start out with if you don’t have any experience.

9. Compost. Starting a compost pile doesn’t cost a dime. Just start throwing everything compostable into a pile, and water and churn it every once in awhile. Composting is not a complicated thing and it’s really hard to get it wrong. But the benefits of having your own compost is a more productive and healthy garden, and free fertilizer. Add some of the chicken poop from your new chickens to your pile and you will really have some black gold.

10. Quit buying things you can’t afford. Part of homesteading is being frugal. The easiest way to blow through money is to buy things you can’t afford. I say that because when you put things on payments, you end up spending way more money on something just because you couldn’t wait a few months. Make a rule for yourself that you won’t buy anything unless you have the cash for it. Sometimes that means waiting awhile yes. But there are more benefits to that habit than just saving money. Peace of mind, better relationships with your family, and more trust from the people you have money dealings with are some of the ones Farmer and I have noticed.

Homesteading is a big commitment, but absolutely worth it in my opinion. It’s empowering to become more self-sufficient. It’s stress-relieving, (scientifically proven) to grow a garden. Homesteading also saves a lot of money, if you do it the right way.

A few more of the things that will change drastically when SHTF hits!

Hello, my friend and welcome back!  I talking to other Preppers, I often hear them say that they would be happy if SHTF hit because the world needs to change drastically.  While I can completely understand the want for change, I don’t really think they know what it is they are asking for.  This is the subject of today’s post, so grab a cup of coffee my friend and have a seat while we visit.

It seems many people fantasize about the coming time when SHTF.  They speak about not having to go to work every day and no more credit card payments and even being able to do what they want when they want.  It’ is a nice fantasy, but that is all it is and they really need to understand that.
When SHTF hits, these same people will be begging to have their old job back.  Why?  Because having that job meant they would be able to eat each month and buy all of the little things that make our life so comfortable in today’s world.
They fail to realize all of the modern convinces that make up our day to day lives.  Internet, television, microwave oven or even the vacuum cleaner are just a few of the items we take for granted on a daily basis.  Instead, you will be gathering wood for a fire and talking to your neighbors, instead of chatting on the internet while heating your dinner in the microwave.  This is, of course, depending on whether or not you have any food at all.
Oh yes, I have heard it all before.  “Oh but Sarge, I have a whole years’ worth of food stored up for just such an occasion, I got nothing to do but sit back and let all them walking dead die off and I’m home free!”  I think not.  Nothing is ever that simple, at least not for most of us mortals!  Old Mr. Murphy is bound to show up and your ironclad plan will go straight to hell.
They say that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans!  In the military, we say that “No plan ever survives the first battle and that is so very true.  If you think for one moment that it will be all fun and games, then you are in for a very rude awakening my friend.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the thing that could happen to ruin your perfect little post SHTF life, that you have planned. To start with, there will be no Police of Sheriffs Dept. to call on when someone decides to take what you have or hurt you.  You know what they say, you only truly have what you can keep and hanging on to supplies and women will be a major effort when that time comes.
Here is the problem, your neighbors or those around you will notice that you have not been doing without just by looking at you. You are going to need fresh meat, so you are going to have to hunt right? You can bet your neighbors have been waiting and watching for just such an opportunity, so when you return from hunting, make that IF you return from hunting, you will find that all of your great supplies now belong to someone else along with your wife and daughters.
There is no scenario where life, even for a single week will be the dream your keep thinking it will.  You really need to wake up and add others to your group.  Even if you do, it will still not be the Utopia you’re dreaming of.  What about critical medical attention?  What if you or one of your group suddenly needs their appendix or gallbladder removed or even worse?  What then?  You do what every good father or husband or wife does…you do whatever you have to!  You risk it all just to save one life.  Most of us will do about anything to save the life of someone we love and SHTF will be no different.
OK, I guess what I am trying to say is that you will never be fully prepared…… unless you are a Millionaire and have a hand selected group of Medical, Mechanical, Engineering and Horticulturist groups standing by and they have everything they could possibly need, stored in larger quantities just waiting.
As for me Brother, the only thing I have a million of is weeds in my front yard!  I know that I will never be even close to completely ready, so I just do the best I can.  One thing is for certain though, the time directly after SHTF will be no picnic, to say the least.  No matter how bad things get now, do not want for a disaster to befall our world or our nation.  Just pray that you have enough food and knowledge to simply survive.
Pray for the best and prepare for the worst, because in the end, that is all any of us could really hope for.
Well until next time, stay safe, stay strong and stay prepared.   God Bless America!
-Sarge-

Why Preppers Should Spend More Time Learning (and Less Time Shopping) 

Hey – you, with the shovel.  Stop building that bunker. I want to ask you a question. Also, you – the folks with the shopping cart full of shelf-stable food. Hold on a minute.
How much time do you spend learning?
And by learning, I don’t mean some required on-the-job training or skimming over an article here and there. I mean a time that you set aside on a regular basis, whether it is weekly or daily, to focus all of your attention on something you need to learn.
Many people, once they get out of school, don’t spend a lot of time in study. As far as actual, scheduled study time, it’s gone along with their childhoods once they get their degree or diploma. But recently, when I asked the community what you felt you should focus on to further your preparedness efforts, a huge portion of you said, “Skills and Information.”
Becoming adept or knowledgeable is not going to magically happen without some concentrated effort and some resources. Just owning some books on a topic isn’t enough. You have to delve into it deeply and try it out if you want to be able to depend on that skill or knowledge during a difficult situation.
And best of all, it can never be taken away from you. No government officials doing so “for the greater good.” No jerk whose entire survival plan revolves around taking what you stored. No natural disaster that destroys your homes, your preps, and all your worldly possessions. In a long-term scenario or exteme situation, the only way to be truly prepared is to be able to independently provide for your own needs, without relying on the government, the stores, or the supply chain.
Once you’ve learned something – really learned it and put it into practice – it’s yours forever.
If you’re on a budget, you’re in luck. It often costs very little to obtain the knowledge. Between books, local classes, and online courses, you can get a ton of information and practical steps to take for a very nominal fee. And, sometimes, it’s even free. Of course you need supplies, but stop shopping for a little while and focus on increasing your knowledge. Bonus: Your future purchases will be made with more discretion due to your new information.
But it won’t happen without some determination and some time blocked off specifically for that purpose. You have to learn like your life depends on it.
Because, one day, it could.
First, I’ll provide some of my favorite resources and then I’ll tell you my secrets for making learning a priority.

Build your library

Most of the time, people in the preparedness world like to have hard copies of important information. This way, if the power goes out and you can’t access the internet or recharge your Kindle, you still have access to vital advice.
Some of these books are for just such an event, while others are guides to building your self-reliance skills.  Commit to picking up a good book each pay period until you have a library to reference during any type of scenario. But don’t just buy it and stick it on a shelf. Read that book and put some of the ideas into action. You may not have time to sit down and read 200 pages in the midst of a crisis, right?
My own books are indicated with a star. *
Be sure to check out used bookstores, libraries, and garage sales, too. Look for books that teach self-reliant skills like sewing, gardening, animal husbandry, carpentry, repair manuals, scratch cooking, and plant identification. You can often pick these up for pennies, and older books don’t rely on expensive new technology or tools for doing these tasks.

Bookmark some websites

The internet is a wonderful place, and best of all, a lot of this knowledge can be found for FREE! The more you know about crisis situations, the more ready you will be to face them.
Some sites are friendlier to beginners than others, so if you stumble upon a forum where people seem less than enthusiastic about helping people who are just starting out, don’t let it get you down. Move on and find a site that makes you feel comfortable.  If you see them utter the words, “If you aren’t already prepared, it’s too late,” run, don’t walk, away from them. No one needs that kind of doom and gloom. It’s stressful, unhelpful, and honestly, kind of mean. Plus, I firmly believe it’s never too late as long as you just get started.
To get the most out of a website, I strongly recommend subscribing to the newsletter. For example, I provide information to subscribers that isn’t available on my website, plus I share a lot of personal stories about how preparedness and frugality have helped our family live a comfortable and secure lifestyle. As well, when I find a really cool offer or discount, I can let you know about it ASAP. (You can subscribe to it here and get a free bundle of PDFs of the information readers have found to be the most helpful and inspiring over the years.)
Following are some of my favorite sites, and the link will take you to a good starting point on these sites. In no particular order:
Bookmark these, subscribe to the newsletters, and learn for free!

7 Ways I Make Learning a Priority

You may notice that there are a couple of days per week on which I don’t usually post articles or send newsletters. That’s because, on at least one of them, I learn. I set aside the entire span of my workday for it, too. I don’t mess around. Here’s what my study schedule looks like:
  1. I block off time for it. I have “work hours” even though I’m self-employed because I find it makes me more productive. I get up early, feed animals, grab some coffee, and get to work on the things that require the most concentration. Then, by the time my daughter is up and over her morning muteness, I’m finished with the things that require my undivided attention. I treat Learning Day exactly the same as any other work day.
  2. I catch up on newsletters.  I don’t usually take the time to read newsletters the day they come (there are a couple that are so good I have to, but mostly, I save them in a file on my email. Then, I sit down with my coffee and read them all.
  3. I keep a link document. As you can imagine, with the amount of research I do, I read many articles per week. However, there are dozens more I want to read but just don’t have time at the moment. Instead of losing them to the vagaries of the internet, I have a document to which I paste links all week long so that when I have time, I can sit down and read the articles. Once I’ve read them, I delete them from my list.
  4. I take online courses. Man, I love the internet. I can learn about things that would have cost thousands of dollars and time in a classroom before. Almost everything I learned about homesteading or running an easy-to-use website originated from an online course. On my designated learning day, I catch up with any webinars or assignments.
  5. I listen to podcasts or videos. If the information is presented in a format that I can listen to, I generally do that while I’m doing laundry or working in the kitchen. Those links go into my link document too.
  6. I take notes.  I keep two learning journals. One is for preparedness/homesteading information and the other is for website and business-related stuff. I take notes of the things that inspire me or seem the most applicable to my situation.
  7. I implement what I’ve learned. At the end of my learning session, I make a plan to implement the things I’ve learned. Maybe I add a button to my website that makes it easy for folks to print off the information. Perhaps I figured out a good way to plant a certain vegetable, so I order the seeds. You get the idea.
Now, you may not have an entire day to spare but I’ll bet you could take a few hours away from other activities, right? Having the information at hand can help, but often, in a crisis, seconds count and you won’t want to waste that time looking things up in a book.

Finally, you have to actually do stuff.

You can read and listen to podcasts until the cows come home, but until you actually put what you’ve learned into practice, it will be of as much use to you as the difference between an isosceles triangle and a scalene one – something you learned but never applied.
  • Take a prepping course and actually follow the to-do lists and do the challenges – there is a section each week of low-cost tasks and the challenges don’t cost a penny.
  • Take the master gardening class, make a plan, and produce the best garden ever.
  • Go take that First Aid course and brush up on your skills regularly.
  • Learn 5 ways to light a fire without matches and actually practice until it becomes easy.
  • Involve the family – you can make this fun!
Become a prepared, skillful person takes time. If you’re really serious about it, you’re going to have to commit to more than just stashing away some buckets.
Make learning a priority. It’s the least expensive but most important prep you’ll ever make.

 

Key Elements for Self-Sufficient Gardening – Part 1, by B. C.

I was blessed to grow up on a farm and later was fortunate to be able to receive an advanced degree in Agriculture. For the last 15 years my wife and I have been running a small diversified farm where we produce vegetables, fruit, and animal products for local markets and a C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture). During this time we’ve spent several years in several countries doing agricultural mission work, seeing how the rest of the world feeds itself, and doing our part to assist them with that.
Over time we’ve worked hard to turn our own 30-acre farm into a self-sufficient property. My goal has been to see our farm as one that could feed my family and other families far into the future if “the front gate gets shut and locked.” As SurvivalBlog readers are well aware, this seems to be more of a possibility with every passing day. The discussion on growing your own food often arises, and a recurring theme is the advice that you aren’t just going to open a pack of survival seeds and feed your family. I couldn’t agree more, but I often feel like readers get brow-beaten with that advice and can leave the discussion a bit overwhelmed and in the end do nothing to advance their food security.
Growing enough food to feed your family for an extended period of time is a daunting task, but let me assure you that it is doable with a plan, a little land, and the willingness to try. We have to be successful every year in order to stay in business, and that has naturally led us into growing techniques that work. With this article I want to share with you a few key elements of these techniques that I hope will be a big help in your journey towards food security.

Element Number One: The Importance of Timing and Food Storage

Step number one for growing enough food to survive is food storage. Now I know that this seems contradictory, since we are talking about growing food. Why would we store a bunch of food if we are planning on growing it ourselves? The answer is timing. Unless you never buy anything from the grocery store and already grow all your own food, year-round, most people would need to ramp up production tremendously in order to provide all of the food that they need.
Nobody knows when the tractor trailers will stop rolling and the grocery shelves will be empty. It could be any time of the year. The absolute worst time of the year for this to happen would be at the end of summer or the beginning of fall when warm season crops are a distant memory and it may be even too late to start any cool season/winter crops, which are normally started in August/September in our Zone 6. Starting in October, you would have a long winter and at least six months before the earliest spring crops could be harvested, and even longer for the high-calorie crops like potatoes, corn, and other carbohydrate-rich grains. So, even if you are planning on growing enough to feed yourself, six months of food storage is a minimum. A year’s worth is even better, especially for inexperienced growers. You’ll definitely need a little food insurance, as your first year’s crops are probably not going to meet your expectations.
If you are going to be eating year-round from food you produce yourself, it makes sense that you need to be growing just about year round. There is no need to take the extra expense and work to preserve all your food when you can eat most of it fresh. This is entirely possible in most zones, with good planning and the willingness to eat a wider variety of crops than corn, beans, and tomatoes.
The key here is a good plan and a succession of crops that are planted and harvested at the right time. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to buy a cheap monthly planner and to write all my seeding, transplanting, and harvest dates down. Make notes on what varieties you use, what works and what doesn’t. Start with a planting calendar from your local extension agent if you need a place to begin. The point is that every year you tweak your planting schedule on what works best, and after a season or two you’ll be way ahead of the game and planning will get easier with every passing year.
The bulk of our produce is grown from April to October, but we have things growing and eatable, pretty much year round. We do this with some basic season extension techniques, the main one being the use of a greenhouse and unheated high tunnels.

Element Number Two: Season Extension

A key element to growing success is how long it takes you to go from seed to harvest and how much of the year you are able to produce food. The normal three or four month growing season most people enjoy is not enough to produce the food you’ll need for the entire year, especially if you are limited in growing space. For that reason you are going to have to use season extension techniques with a minimum of a small heated greenhouse and a bigger unheated high-tunnel.
The one technique that we use that I consider the most valuable in extending our season and resulting in successful crops is producing our own transplants. Using a transplant rather than direct seeding crops automatically allows you to start the growing season weeks ahead of time. If we can start it in the greenhouse, we do. The only crops that don’t begin as transplants are the large seeded crops, like corn and beans, as well as some of the root crops like carrots. That said, even corn and beans can be transplanted, but they can only stay in pots for about two weeks before they need to be set out, so you aren’t gaining that much. If you have the ability and means to start your own plants from seeds, you are greatly broadening your horizons into the best varieties for survival gardens that you will never see for sale as a transplant in your local nursery or garden center.
Another advantage of producing your own transplants is the fact that you can provide optimum germination conditions for your seeds, which means you need less of them. You also give the plants several weeks head-start free from weed-competition, which is the bane of direct seeded crops. If the weather is not conducive to plant growth you can hold the plants a little longer in a protected environment before planting them out. A trick I use is to use a larger volume container for the first transplants I produce. That way they have plenty of growing space if I need to hold them a week or two later to wait for the weather. The later transplants that go from seed to field in just a few weeks get smaller containers that take less soil, as there won’t likely be a need to hold them longer in the greenhouse.
It doesn’t have to be big, but you do have to have a place to produce transplants. We are a commercial farm, but our greenhouse is only about 14 by 33 feet, and for several years we made due with one half that size. For a small family, an eight by twelve foot greenhouse would be a good start and would be doable in most anyone’s backyard. Of course, go as big as you can afford or have space for, as you’ll find a greenhouse is a useful structure that can be used year around. Our current greenhouse has insulated north and west walls and is a wood frame covered by double-walled poly-panels.
On the north wall we have a bank of 55-gallon water barrels that act as a heat sink, as well as a base for our plant benches. This water bank is made from food-grade poly barrels that are locally available for about eight dollars each. Filled with potable water, this is also an instant water storage system of nearly 1000 gallons of water. This design is very efficient, and we can heat it with a small propane heater. We’ve got a mid-sized storage tank that holds about two years worth of propane at our current usage.

Heating the Greenhouse

I tried a wood stove to heat the greenhouse at one point, but it just doesn’t make sense unless you are living in the greenhouse and can constantly monitor the temperature. An external wood burning boiler on a thermostat would be great, but it doesn’t make economic sense to use a costly unit like that to heat a small greenhouse. It’s better to spend money on improved insulation and be able to use a smaller heater.

 

The Best Seeds To Have For Survival Preparedness

April 14, 2017, by Ken Jorgustin


“When looking for long term survival seeds, you will need to grow carbohydrates from starchy vegetables, such as Winter squash and pumpkins, and protein from dry beans and grain. No other grain yields as well, and is as easy to harvest and grow without machinery as corn.”
-Seed for Security

When looking at the yield of calories per pound, the vegetables that come out on top are…
1. Beans
2. Yams
3. Potatoes
4. Corn
Related: Garden Vegetable Calories

Other considerations for seeds purposed towards survival and preparedness include:


We need foods which provide the energy to keep us going!
Grains, starchy vegetables and fruit all provide calories. Corn grown as a grain is my first choice. Not only is it very high in carbohydrates, it yields better than the small grains like wheat. Corn can also be grown and harvested with simple hand tools.
Starchy vegetables include root crops such as beets and winter squash and pumpkins. Fruit tastes sweet because of the sugar, but is not as high in carbohydrates as it seems. Small fruits like berries and grapes can be established in a few years, but trees will take much longer. If you have a place to plant them, do it THIS year.
There are three general categories of food nutrition. Vitamins, Protein and Carbohydrates. While the grocery store shelves are full, that is the order we are usually looking for. However, when foods are scarce, the order is reversed. Getting enough calories becomes the most important goal.
No matter what happens, we all need to eat. Growing our own food and storing it will save us money. If we don’t have a place to grow food now, we still should have the tools, seeds and knowledge. A well stocked pantry should include not only food, but the means to produce and preserve it as well.
I recommend that everyone should buy and store whole grains to eat, such as rice, wheat and oats. Even if you won’t be growing all these grains in the future, they can save you a lot of money buying them in quantity and eating them now. Stored grains can feed you while you get your garden up to the size you will need. The money you save will allow you to buy other things to prepare. Grains keep best and contain the most nutrition whole. Rice is an exception, removing the hull on brown rice extends storage life. You will need a grain mill to make flour, and to learn how to cook foods you like from the grains you choose. You can and should grow some of your own grains at home too.
Choosing A Hand Grain Mill
An Electric Mill
Fresh meat fish and eggs are widely available now, but would be very scarce and expensive without refrigeration. Freshly caught or butchered foods may become an occasional luxury at best. Beans will eventually become our major source for protein. They are not hard to grow or store in the fully mature dry stage.
I would recommend stocking up on a quantity of seeds (which should last several years). If you have not planted a garden before, I highly recommend that you start now. It takes a number of growing seasons to figure things out and every year that you wait is another year lost…
My primary requirements for “survival” seeds are calories. That means potatoes, corn, and beans (which are also high in protein).
Tip: For potatoes, I save a number of them from the previous season because as they age they will grow green shoots, and you can use these potatoes to plant next spring. Supply yourself with an inventory of seeds including corn and beans. These can be found at your favorite seed supplier or you might consider “Seed for Security”.