50 Essential Crops to Grow in Your Survival Garden

50 Essential Crops to Grow in Your Survival Garden

Nadia Tamara Do It Yourself, Emergency Food, Emergency Preparedness, Home Garden


50 Essential Crops to Grow in Your Survival Garden

No crops are off limits when growing a survival garden, but some are better than others in terms of:

  • how easy they are to grow (in different climates)
  • how quickly they produce a harvest
  • how nutritious and calorie dense they are
  • how they can be stored

The following fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs are highly nutritious. They contain properties that will boost your overall health, especially during emergency situations. It’s important to eat them in appropriate amounts; some foods are so nutrient-rich that your body can only handle a limited portion at a time. Make sure you take into account any prescription medications and over the counter supplements you are taking, as they could interfere with the vitamins and other properties of each crop. Before making drastic changes to your diet (even healthy ones) consult your doctor.

A large part of your survival garden should include options that are delicious to eat in their raw form. Most of the time, the raw version of a fruit or vegetable provides us with the highest nutritional content. This is not the case for all vegetables because some, like potatoes, cannot be eaten raw. In times of crisis, you might not have the means or time to cook your food and may have to result to a few raw meals. Keep your options open for such circumstances.

So, what should you be growing in your survival garden?


1. Amaranth


Health benefits: Amaranth is a gluten-free grain. It provides fiber, protein, antioxidants and micronutrients. It reduces inflammation and lowers cholesterol. It’s the only grain that contains vitamin C, but it also contains magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin E. The leaves contain vitamin A, C and folate.


How to grow: Amaranth can be grown all year. The leaves are used throughout the year as lettuce greens. When planted around spring time, the wheat will sprout around fall. Learn how to grow it here.


2. Asparagus


Health benefits: Asparagus helps lower blood pressure and improves digestion. It provides vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate and fiber. The only downfall, in a survival scenario, is that it’s low in calories.


How to grow: When asparagus is planted, you cannot harvest it the first year (perhaps not until the third year).  After that however, they will grow year after year and they will produce a harvest that can last a decade. Learn the tricks to producing a great asparagus harvest here.


3. Barley


Health benefits: Barley is known for its properties that help lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. It provides a healthy source of fiber as well as vitamin B1, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, chromium and niacin. Many of these nutrients will be vital to keep your heart happy and healthy during any difficult time. Also, barley is used in brewing beer which can make it a fun hobby during survival times, and even a good bartering item.


How to grow: Barley is very easy to grow and grows fairly quickly. This growing guide is detailed and will answer many questions.


4. Basil


Health benefits: Basil is an incredibly fragrant herb that is used to spice up some of our favorite Italian dishes. It’s rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, magnesium, eugenol and vitamin A. Some sources say that eating basil helps relieve joint pain and reduces stress and anxiety. These are definite reasons to grow basil in your survival garden, especially during a time of crisis when you can expect to be more stressed and anxious.


How to grow: Basil is easy to grow under the right conditions, which is outdoors throughout the summer. It will produce a plentiful harvest and the leaves must be pruned consistently so it grows stronger. Get a head start growing guide here.


5. Beetroot


Health benefits: Beets are a superfood. They help lower blood pressure and they’re good for your heart, liver, bones and brain. Another benefit is its properties in boosting physical endurance and energy levels, which is something I’m sure everyone will need more of during a survival scenario. Beets are also a good source of iron and folate. They contain vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, antioxidants, calcium, nitrates, magnesium and betaine. Beet greens are also full of nutrients and can be eaten in a salad or blended in a smoothie.


How to grow: Beets are a great long-lasting crop that can withstand freezing temperatures and will grow quickly. You can find all the tips and tricks for planting delicious beets here.


6. Berries


Health benefits: Berries are considered a super-fruit. They are one of the healthiest fruits on the planet, so make sure you grow some in your survival garden. Berries are a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamins A, C and B6, as well as manganese, copper and folate. They are rich in antioxidants which help fight inflammation in the body. They are also considered a heart-healthy fruit because they don’t contain cholesterol.


How to grow: Berries are fairly easy to grow. There are four main varieties, so learn how to grow each kind here: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries.  Just make sure that wherever you’re growing them is not too close to your home…especially if you live in bear country! Bears love berries probably more than you do.


7. Broccoli


Health benefits: Broccoli is rich in vitamins A, C and K, fiber, protein, magnesium potassium, folate, iron and zinc. Vitamin C is known for building collagen, which helps your body heal from cuts and wounds quickly. These nutrients are also important in strengthening your bones and preventing osteoporosis. This is a great vegetable to grow in your garden, especially when your body needs a boost in recovering from minor injuries. Research has determined that the best way to receive the most health benefits is by steaming it lightly, but it can be eaten or fully cooked raw as well.


How to grow: If grown in the right conditions, broccoli will produce a harvest for several months, including through summer. To grow your broccoli under the perfect conditions, read this guide.


8. Brussel Sprouts


Health benefits: Brussel sprouts contain antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins C and K.  Its many properties help to fight cancer, promotes increased energy, improves bone health, and lowers glucose levels. All these benefits makes it a great survival food to grow in your garden.


How to grow: Brussel sprouts taste better after a light frost, so they are a great vegetable for the fall when the weather starts getting colder. They take some time until it’s time to harvest them but the nutrients outweigh the wait time. Read these tips for a great Brussel sprout harvest.


9. Cabbage


Health benefits: Cabbage, both green and red, are known for their benefits in improving digestion, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation and regulating the immune system. Green cabbage is often used in fermented form as kimchi and sauerkraut (these have amazing benefits too, by the way).


How to grow: Cabbage is a tricky crop to grow because it only tolerates cool temperatures. If you learn the tricks of growing cabbage successfully, you’ll enjoy two harvests per year. You can use this guide to get the best insight.


10. Carrots


Health benefits: Carrots are said to have properties that reduce the risk of cancer. Carrots contain beta-carotene, minerals, fiber and vitamin A. It’s a delicious vegetable that most children also enjoy and it has become a staple in many recipes. Also, dogs can eat carrots, so you can even feed it to your furry family members.

How to grow: Carrots are not just easy to grow but they also grow quickly under the right conditions. They tolerate frost well and most varieties are resistant to pests. They’re a great survival crop. Learn how to grow them here.


11. Cauliflower


Health benefits: Cauliflower is an immune boosting vegetable that helps strengthen your bones, reduces blood pressure and helps your body detox and digest food. It contains antioxidants and has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in vitamins C, B6 and K as well as magnesium, fiber, manganese, folate, thiamin, niacin and many other minerals. Lately it has become a healthy alternative to pizza crusts, rice, bread and even meat substitutes. It should definitely be included in your garden for optimum health.

How to grow: Cauliflower should be grown in your garden when you have acquired some gardening knowledge. It is a difficult crop to grow because it needs a steady temperature around 60 degrees F. If you’re ready for a new challenge, you can start by reading this growing guide.


12. Chamomile


Health benefits: Chamomile is an extremely beneficial plant. It’s known for lessening stomach and menstrual pain as well as aiding in digestion. It helps treat anxiety, wounds, infections, insomnia and cold symptoms. All these medicinal properties are going to help you survive through any crisis.

How to grow: Chamomile might be a little tricky to start growing, but once the plant is established it’s very easy to maintain. Chamomile is drought resistant and if often used alongside other plants to keep pests away. Learn growing tips here to have a thriving plant.


13. Corn


Health benefits: Corn has received a negative reputation lately however let’s be real…any fresh vegetable is better than processed food, so clear the negative stigma and see what it can offer your body. Corn is rich in minerals (magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, phosphorous), high in fiber and contains vitamins A, B and E. Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant that helps our bodies grow and protects them from illnesses. It’s highly recommended for survival gardens because of its high caloric value, which is something many other vegetables don’t have. Corn has become a staple in the diets of third world country populations because it helps people maintain a healthy weight in order to survive.

How to grow: First and most importantly, make sure the corn seeds you purchase are non-GMO. Corn is a tricky crop to grow but it’s worth learning the steps. Check out this guide for the best growing tips.


14. Cucumber


Health benefits: Cucumbers are mostly water, so when you’re feeling a bit dehydrated this vegetable will refresh you. Cucumber helps your body flush out toxins while filling you up with nutritious minerals and vitamins, such as copper, manganese, potassium, vitamin C, K and B vitamins. It has the ability to fight inflammation and cleanse your digestive tract and it can help give you fresh breath. The idea that cucumber can fight off the bad bacteria in my mouth is a good enough reason for me to add it to my survival garden!

How to grow: Like I just said, cucumbers are made up of mostly water, so the main requirement for growing them is to water them constantly. Makes a lot of sense, right? They’re an easy crop to grow and also grow quickly. Follow this guide for a successful harvest.


15. Eggplant


Health benefits: Eggplant is a wonderful source of vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins and fiber. This is a vegetable you don’t have to peel because the skin is also highly nutritious, including magnesium, potassium, antioxidants and fiber. Eggplant can be cooked in various ways and will add a new texture to your survival cuisine.

How to grow: Eggplants prefer to grow in warmer climates. They’re a little tricky to grow, but will produce a decent harvest. Learn the best way to grow eggplants here.


16. Garlic


Health benefits: Garlic has been used in medicine for thousands of years. It has been used to treat countless ailments as well as enhancing the flavor of food. Use garlic in your food to strengthen your immune system. Be careful not to overdo it however, as it is very strong and many people report stomach pain, heartburn and other problems when used in large quantities.

How to grow: Garlic is both tolerant to frost and easy to grow. Growing garlic in your garden will significantly ward off pests and the bulbs can be grown year after year (using the best bulbs from the previous season). Learn how to grow garlic here.


17. Ginger


Health benefits: Ginger one of the healthiest spices on the planet and is often used in natural medicine because of its rich nutritional properties. Ginger reduces muscle pain and soreness, nausea and morning sickness, inflammation, aids in digestion and lowers cholesterol levels. More importantly, fresh ginger contains a bioactive substance that can reduce the risk of infections. Ginger is rich in vitamin C and B6, iron, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals. This is an amazing root to grow for optimum health during a disaster scenario.

How to grow: It takes about eight to ten months to have a fully grown ginger plant, but its nutritional value makes it worth the wait. Ginger can be grown in pots or outdoors, making it a great plant for all kinds of survival gardens. Follow these growing tips.


18. Green Beans


Health benefits: Green beans are a great source of vitamins and minerals. They provide vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, fiber, iron, protein, zinc and silicon. These minerals help your bones, hair and skin stay healthy. They should be eaten raw for maximum nutrition but are delicious when cooked alongside many meals.

How to grow: Green beans will produce a continuous plentiful harvest and they grow quickly, making it a perfect survival veggie for your garden. This is a good place to start, if you’re planning to grow green beans.


19. Jerusalem Artichokes


Health benefits: The Jerusalem artichoke does not resemble an artichoke at all but rather is a root vegetable closer to a potato. It contains prebiotic properties that provide beneficial gut bacteria and support intestinal health. They’re high in potassium, protein, probiotics and iron. It should become a survival food staple because it’s high in calories, which you will certainly need to maintain a healthy body weight in times of crisis.

How to grow: Jerusalem artichokes are great for growing directly in the soil or in pots and containers. They will also come back year after year if grown properly. This guide will help you get started.


20. Kale


Health benefits: Kale has become one of the recent popular superfoods and for good reason! Kale is full of nutritious properties such as chlorophyll, calcium, folate, antioxidants, potassium, vitamins A, C, B6 and K, fiber, iron and protein. Don’t worry if you don’t like the texture or flavor of it. Just blend it up in a banana smoothie and you won’t even notice you’re drinking it. This superfood is a must in a survival garden.

How to grow:  Apart from all the amazing benefits of kale, it’s also a hardy plant that can sustain fall frosts. Learn how to successfully grow kale here.


21. Lavender


Health benefits: Lavender has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It helps to heal bug bites and minor wounds. It can be used in tea to help relieve muscles, insomnia, indigestion, and detoxify the body. The scent is known for its calming properties and some use it to reduce anxiety, restlessness, and stress.

How to grow: Lavender should become a key plant in your garden, not only because its beautiful and fragrant, but more importantly because it attracts pollinators to your yard. Pollinators are vital for your other plants to grow and produce a harvest. Learn some insightful growing tips here.


22. Leeks


Health benefits: Leeks are full of goodies, such as vitamins A, B6, C, and K, fiber, magnesium and iron. They can be sautéed or cut in thin pieces and tossed in a salad to receive the maximum benefits.

How to grow: Leeks will produce a harvest from autumn through spring time. They’re generally easy to grow. Find some helpful growing tips here.


23. Lettuce


Health benefits: Lettuce, like cucumber, is amazing for its hydrating properties. It also has folate, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C and calcium. It helps promotes sleep, lowers inflammation and controls anxiety.  It helps in creating a refreshing crunch to a hot summer day and can easily be used to substitute a bread bun.

How to grow: Lettuce is harvested in the spring and fall and grows fairly quickly. It’s recommended to plant the seeds at different times. When one plant is ready to be harvested, the next one will be ready shortly after. Check out these 9 ingenious tips to grow high-quality hydroponics lettuce.


24. Melon


Health benefits: Melon is an amazing fruit. Many of its benefits include niacin, vitamins A, C, B6 and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, fiber, beta carotene, and other minerals. It is mostly made up of water so it’s a refreshing snack when you’re feeling hot or dehydrated. 

How to grow: Melons, again, are primarily made up of water so growing them requires a lot of water. They take a long time to grow but are definitely worth the effort. Whether you’re planning to grow cantaloupes or watermelons, read these amazing growing tips first.


25. Mint


Health benefits: Mint is known for relieving indigestion, gas, seasonal allergies, flu-like symptoms and inflammation. Mint is often added to salads, smoothies, water and tea. Its medicinal properties make it a great plant to grow in your survival garden.

How to grow: Minimal care is needed for mint plants. They grow best in containers because they can become invasive, but that only means that they grow really well. Learn some growing tips here.


26. Moringa


Health benefits: Moringa oleifera is often called the tree of life because it is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. It contains protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, beta-carotene, magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C and B vitamins. It protects your liver, relieves stomach pain, It’s anti-fugal, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial properties which help in fighting off infections often caused by Salmonella and E.Coli. Some use it for the treatment of anxiety, depression and fatigue. This miracle tree shouldn’t be overlooked when planning your survival garden.

How to grow: Moringa grows quickly and can be harvested year-round. It grows in warm climates but is easily accessible to people all around the world. Read this insightful guide that speaks about the benefits of this herb, as well as important tips for growing and harvesting.


27. Okra


Health benefits: Some sources speculate that okra is the new superfood. Although it must be eaten in controlled portions, the benefits are tremendous. Okra contains vitamins A, C, B6, K, folate, thiamin, calcium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorous, zinc, copper, protein, riboflavin and manganese. It can be eaten in its raw form or added to soups, stews, fried and steamed.

How to grow: The okra plants love warm weather so it will be a perfect addition to your survival garden during a time when most other plants are not able to grow. This advice is really helpful if you’re looking to grow okra.


28. Onions


Health benefits: Onions are used in natural medicine to boost immunity, treat cough, relieve stomach aches, and even as an insect repellent. They contain calcium, sodium, selenium, potassium, vitamins B6 and C, fiber, and many other wonderful properties. They’re a great choice for a survival garden because of its natural medicinal properties.

How to grow: Onions are easy to grow and can be grown indoors. They will provide an endless supply of onions, making this a great survival crop. Follow these tips for a plentiful harvest.


29. Parsley


Health benefits: Parsley is loaded with nutritious components such as iron, folate, vitamins A, C and K. It has disease-preventing properties, protects against diabetes and improves calcium absorption in the bones. Its a great addition to spice up any survival meal and will freshen up your breath afterwards.

How to grow: Parsley is easy to take care of (especially indoors) and grows well in a shared pot with other herbs. Under the right conditions, it will take it three weeks to begin sprouting. These tips can help you get your parsley plants started.


30. Parsnips


Health benefits: Parsnips are good for the heart, bones and teeth, and they strengthen immunity. It contains fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and vitamins C, B9 and E. They are a great survival food because the fiber helps to make you feel full longer. Plus, it can be used in all types of dishes, whether raw, cooked, steamed or sautéed.

How to grow:  Parsnips take a longer time to grow but they are best harvested after a hard frost. It’s a vegetable that is eaten in late fall and throughout the winter, making it a great cold-weather survival veggie. Learn how to grow parsnips here.


31. Peanuts


Health benefits: Peanuts have an abundant amount of benefits, except for people with peanut allergies of course. They are a great source of fiber, protein, antioxidants, folate, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, selenium, manganese, potassium and other minerals. They are a quick snack with high nutritional value and a great excuse to make your kids a homemade trail mix.

How to grow: Peanuts are a good survival plant because they can grow in various climates. Although they prefer warmer temperatures of up to 80 degrees F, they can withstand frost temperatures and can grow in temperatures as low as -15 degrees F.


32. Peas


Health benefits: Peas are rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, fiber, vitamins A, C and K, saponins, folate, manganese and protein. They strengthen your digestive system. Peas will become a natural go-to option if you or someone in your family is constipated, which is common under stressful situations.

How to grow: Peas are very easy to grow but their growing season is short. Make sure you reap all the growing benefits by reading this guide.


33. Peppers


Health benefits: There are many varieties of peppers but the consensus is that they’re very nutritious. Peppers are rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, B6 and C, folate, potassium, and fiber. Red bell peppers contain beta-carotene. Spicy peppers will add a kick of spice to your food but are helpful for sweating and sinuses, especially when you’re dealing with the flu or the common cold. Sweet peppers are a great survival snack that can be eaten raw or cooked into numerous dishes.

How to grow:  Peppers are grown during warm seasons. They’re a survival garden favorite because they resist most garden pests, especially the spicy ones! Learn how to grow peppers here.


34. Potatoes


Health benefits:  Although most people frown upon too many starches in your diet, it’s an important substance in survival times. Potatoes are rich in fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, vitamins B6 and C, copper, manganese, niacin, and phosphorus. Potatoes are high in carbs, so it’s a great alternative to pasta or other starchy processed foods and they will add substance to your survival dishes.

How to grow:  Potatoes can grow in a wooden box structure, the ground, and even in a trash can! They are grown in colder weather but can also be grown around winter time in warm climates. Find the best growing tips here.


35. Pumpkin


Health benefits: Pumpkin has two benefits: the pulp and the seeds. Pumpkin is a vegetable that promotes heart health and lowers blood pressure. It is rich in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and E. Pumpkin seeds have similar properties and can be added to soups, salads, and trail mix or other snacks. Pumpkin puree is also used in some baking recipes as a healthy substitute to oil or butter.

How to grow: Since pumpkin grows into a big squash, it requires very rich soil and warm climates. It’s not a difficult crop to grow if you learn how to do it. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be eating delicious pumpkin goodies in no time!


36. Quinoa


Health benefits: Quinoa is a superfood and an absolute must in a survival garden. It contains all nine essential amino acids, it’s high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, iron, zinc, folate, calcium, vitamins E and B, copper, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. It has anti-inflammatory properties, helps control blood sugar and it’s gluten-free. It can be used in breads, pancakes, salad and many other dishes.

How to grow: Quinoa is ideal for a survival garden because it tolerates droughts and it doesn’t demand much attention. Read these growing tips for the best quinoa.


37. Radishes


Health benefits: Radishes have many benefits, including cleansing the kidneys, improving hydration and lowering blood pressure. It’s rich in calcium, vitamins A, C, B6 and K, potassium, sodium, zinc, phosphorus, folate, and other minerals. They’re used to treat some ailments including fever.

How to grow: Radishes are said to be one of the easiest crops to grow. They will also provide a continuous harvest for several months. Find some growing tips here.


38. Rutabagas


Health benefits: Rutabaga is very similar to turnips. It’s a root that helps build immunity, strengthens the bones, delays aging, and lowers blood pressure. It contains magnesium, manganese, potassium, fiber, vitamins B6, C, E, and K, zinc and iron. The roots and leaves can both be eaten and can be prepared in various ways, such as roasted, sautéed, steamed and mashed.

How to grow: Rutabaga is grown annually and grows well alongside turnips. It’s an ideal survival crop because it tolerates droughts and frosts. Learn growing tips here.


39. Spinach


Health benefits: Spinach is another superfood. It contains folate, vitamins B6, B9, C, and K, iron, carotenoids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other nutrients and minerals. It is a great staple to any dish, in the form of a salad, or sautéed and can even be added to smoothies for the added nutrition without compromising the taste.

How to grow: Spinach is easy to grow, it can be grown indoors and it can be harvested twice a year. It takes six weeks from when it’s a seedling to harvest time. Learn how to grow spinach here.


40. Sunflower Seeds


Health benefits: Sunflower seeds are a survival garden favorite because they’re entertaining to eat to pass the time. Not only that, its nutrition content makes it a great option for health reasons. They are high in magnesium, selenium, vitamin E, copper and antioxidants. Magnesium helps to promote a healthy mood which will be a huge benefit during a critical and distressing situation.

How to grow: Sunflower seeds are not only beautiful to have in your garden but they’re also tolerant to the heat and drought. Find sunflower growing tips here.


41. Sweet Potatoes


Health benefits: Sweet potatoes are anther filling staple that can accompany many dishes. It includes many nutrients such as fiber, calcium, vitamins B and C, iron, selenium and beta-carotene. Although the best way to eat them is cooked, they can provide a delicious meal to those craving a touch of sweetness in bitter times.

How to grow: Sweet potatoes are very easy to grow and a few potatoes will provide a plentiful harvest when grown in the right conditions. They are also heat and drought tolerant, making this an essential crop to grow in your survival garden. Find some growing tips in this detailed guide.


42. Swiss Chard


Health benefits: Swiss chard is full of nutritious properties. It is a great source of fiber, potassium, iron, vitamins A, C, E and K, and magnesium. Much like beets, it helps with physical endurance, and has cancer-fighting properties. Keep in mind that it has plenty of sodium so this is a vegetable which does not require an additional pinch of salt. Eat it raw in salads and enjoy its full nutritional benefits.

How to grow: Swiss chard is easy to grow, it tolerates hot and cool temperatures, and can grow in the ground or in pots and containers. This is a clear guide to help you get started.


43. Thyme


Health benefits: Thyme is an incredibly nutritious and medicinal herb that is rich in vitamin A. Some people use it to treat arthritis, diarrhea, stomach pains, and sore throats. In a crisis scenario, try this natural cough syrup.

Thyme Cough Syrup: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 4 tablespoons fresh thyme. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/4 cup of honey. Drink 1-2 tablespoons every hour until your throat feels better and your cough is gone.

How to grow: Although growing thyme seeds is a bit difficult, it’s easy to maintain if bought in plant form already. You can also grow it using plant cuttings. Find some growing tips here.


44. Tomatoes


Health benefits: The main reason to grow tomatoes in a survival garden is well, because nothing tastes more delicious than home-grown tomatoes. Have you noticed how bland the store-bought ones taste? I can’t believe people still waste their money on them. Taste the true flavors of a tomato; all varieties boast in nutrients such as vitamins C and K, antioxidants, folate, potassium and many other minerals.

How to grow:  Tomatoes can be grown indoors and outdoors, so they’re perfect for those who have balcony-sized gardens. Learn how to grow your tomatoes quickly by following these tips.


45. Turnips


Health benefits: If people knew how nutritious turnips are, I think they would be very popular in our store shelves. Turnips are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, fiber, protein, omega-3s, folate, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, iron, and and B vitamins. They are great for your bones, gut, lungs, heart, and metabolism. They contain anti-inflammatory properties and aids in digestion. The greens and the roots can both be eaten. Turnip roots can be eaten raw and cooked. The question isn’t “should I grow turnips?”, but rather, “why am I not already growing turnips?!”

How to grow: Turnips can be grown in spring and fall. They grow very quickly, making it a great survival crop. Learn how to grow the best turnips using this guide.


46. Turmeric


Health benefits: Turmeric contains curcumin which is has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and brain boosting properties. It has medicinal properties due to its bioactive compounds. Not only is it a healthy spice to add to your meals, but its also flavorful and colorful.

How to grow: Turmeric is much like ginger in that it is grown from root cuttings and takes seven to ten months (from the moment it’s planted) to obtain a harvest. It’s easy to grow and doesn’t require much attention (other than watering it). Plus, it can be grown indoors! These tips will help you grow a successful turmeric plant.


47. Winter Squash


Health benefits: Winter squash refers to the hard-skinned squashes, such as acorn, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash. Squash comes in many varieties but they all offer many benefits, such as fiber, vitamins A, B6, and C, phosphorous, potassium, folate, riboflavin, magnesium, and manganese. It’s a great addition to many dishes and provides a filling meal even when the portions are small.

How to grow:  Winter squash is harvested during the autumn, which is when they reach full maturity. At this point, the skin is too hard to be eaten (as I’m sure you’ve noticed when purchasing one of these at the store). This helps maintain the freshness of the vegetable and will help it last a few weeks, making it the perfect winter vegetable. Read these growing tips.


48. Wheat


Health benefits: Wheat is sometimes frowned upon in today’s society, especially if you have a gluten intolerance. The truth is, the processing of wheat is probably worse than the actual grain. Wheat has many benefits and can be used in countless ways as has been the case throughout centuries. Wheat is a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, iron, copper, folate and niacin, among other minerals.

How to grow: Wheat is fairly easy to grow and will produce a plentiful harvested when grown properly. This article provides some great information to help you get started.


49. Wheatgrass


Health benefits: Wheatgrass contains vitamins A,  B6, C, E and K, as well as chlorophyll, antioxidants, iron, zinc, calcium, manganese, amino acids, selenium and magnesium. These nutrients are essential in boosting your body’s immunity and purifying your blood. Wheatgrass tastes a lot like grass. It’s typically made into juice shots that are then added to smoothies.

How to grow: Wheatgrass is easy to sprout and can be harvested within two weeks. One seed will provide about two harvests. Use this guide to walk you through the steps of growing your own wheatgrass.


50. Zucchini


Health benefits: Zucchini is known for its ability to improve adrenal and thyroid functions, as well as boosting energy, aiding digestion and blood circulation. It’s full of nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, fiber, folate, and potassium, among other minerals. It has become popular to use it in baking and as a healthy alternative to pasta. Because it’s such a versatile vegetable, it is a great option to have growing in your survival garden…plus, it’s delicious, and who says no to delicious?!

How to grow: Zucchini (and yellow summer squash) are harvested during the summer time. They are not allowed to reach maturity before being harvested because it leaves the skin soft and edible. Follow these tips for growing zucchini and other types of squash.


Of course these are just a handful of amazing options and you don’t have to plant all of them in order to survive. If you did, you would probably need a farm! Some people might have a small property or apartment balcony to grow their food, while others might have acres of land. Wherever you’re at, pick a few of the best options that sound like they could work for your environment, living space and lifestyle.

It’s always a good idea to grow your own food because it’s cheap and it’s readily available. Okay, technically it’s not that cheap. Growing your own food does come at a price. You will have to water and tend to your garden often. Some crops might grow well one season and might be weak the next. But the struggles you might face far outweigh not having fresh food at all. Unless you can purchase your produce at a market. In which case, would you rather taste the real flavor of food or eat vegetables that taste bland and are grown with chemical pesticides. You are what you eat, chemical pesticides and all! Besides, the pesticides don’t only kill pests- they also kill a lot of vital nutrients in the food. Your body and your family will thank you when it receives the maximum nutrition in home-harvested produce. It is so worth the effort, especially in the long run.

This is the final tip! Anything that is “wasted,” whether it be because the leaves of a certain vegetable don’t get used or a vegetable got rotten, should be recycled in your compost bin. The compost will eventually be used as soil and it will refresh your garden with many more nutrients which will help your plants thrive. That’s the circle of life…or a garden’s life!

Happy harvesting!

What are your favorite survival crops? Tell me in the comments below!


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