The survival garden has become a mainstay of prepping, especially amongst experienced preppers. The idea that we can stockpile enough food to meet every emergency is just not practical, especially when we add TEOTWAWKI events into the mix.
The truth is that there are potential problems in the world which are so big, that it will take longer than any survival stockpile for things to get back to normal.
Even in cases where the recovery period is months, rather than years, that survival garden can be useful, allowing you fresh food in your diet, as well as extending your stored food out to last longer. The trick is holding onto that food, rather than having your neighbors steal it.
We all know that OPSEC is an important part of prepping. If people find out who we are and what we’re doing, they’re likely to come knocking on our doors when things get bad, expecting us to share with them.
But hiding a garden is a different animal altogether. How do you grow food for your family, without having others trying to hop the fence and steal it for themselves? There’s no sense in growing it, if we can’t protect it.
⇒ This Hidden Survival Garden Will Keep You Well Fed When SHTF
It’s probably going to take a combination of strategies to successfully protect a survival garden from looting. No one strategy alone is going to work, unless you’re planning on running an armed patrol around that garden, day and night.
But then, if you do that, how are you going to get everything else done? Here are some ideas that might help protect your garden. Rather than picking one or two, I’d try to implement as many as possible.
The first and most obvious step to protect your garden is to install a good privacy fence around your yard.
While there are a lot of options in fencing available, the key to any privacy fence is that it can’t easily be seen through, whether it is made of cedar fence pickets or cinder block.
I’d recommend going higher than most, with a seven to eight foot high fence. It’s just too easy to see over a six foot fence.
Related: What Is the the Right Fence for Your Homestead?
Mostly, this privacy fence is going to stop the casual viewer from seeing your garden. But it isn’t going to stop your neighbors, especially those with yards that share that fence with your own. In that case, I’d be prepared to bribe those neighbors by being prepared to help them get their own gardens started.
I always keep a good stock of seeds and fertilizer on hand for just that purpose, as well as gas for my rototiller, so that I can help them get rid of their grass and get ready to plant.
⇒ Click Here To Get The 10 Medicinal Plants You Need To Have In Your Garden
In exchange for my help, I expect a bit of what they grow, as well as them hauling water for me to filter for both families to use.
I always have a good dog around, even though it is inconvenient to do so. Dogs are naturally territorial and will make a ruckus if anyone comes into their yard.
It doesn’t really matter if they can stop those people, just as long as they keep guard and let me know when they come. I’ll take it from there myself.
One nice things about dogs as guards is that they sleep lightly. So if someone comes in the middle of the night, you don’t need to worry about the dogs being asleep. They’ll wake up and check things out, raising the alarm.
Of course, having dogs means prepping for them as well. I have a few galvanized metal trash cans, which I keep filled with 100 pounds of dog food each. I have enough food for my dogs on-hand to last them longer than what I’ve got for the family. But then, the dogs aren’t about to eat the vegetables from my garden.
Most people don’t have any idea what they’re looking at, when they look at your garden, unless they are gardeners themselves. Until those plants start bearing fruit, the average person can’t identify what they are. In other words, they don’t know if they are decorative plants or vegetables.
The real giveaway is how we plant them. Rows of the same sorts of plants growing tends to look like a vegetable garden; but those same plants, planted randomly, looks like a decorative garden. The more we can do to make our vegetable gardens look like decorative gardens or even flower gardens, the better.
Related: The 24 Highest Calorie Vegetables for Your Survival Garden
Those who do see them are less likely to realize what they’re looking at. Hide obvious things like celery and pumpkins, and don’t use normal tomato cages to support your tomato plants. Rather, use some sort of homemade wood trellis to support the tomatoes, so that the cage doesn’t give the plant away.
This gets harder as the plants begin to bear fruit as most people can recognize a tomato or pepper pretty easily.
But if you plant flowers around those vegetable plants, the flowers will provide some degree of camouflage, making it ever harder to tell what you’ve got planted in your garden.
Speaking of planting plants around your vegetable garden, you might want to consider planting a few poisonous plants as well. I’m not talking about the kind that will kill anyone who eats them, but something more like poison ivy or poison oak. That should be nasty enough that if they get into your garden once, they won’t want to get into it again.
Of course, adding these plants to your garden carries risks, as those plants can get you and your family, just as well as they can anyone else who messes around with them. So if you have kids, I’d avoid this idea. Even for yourself, make sure that you have a plan for working on the garden, without coming into contact with them.
An electric fence is a time-honored means of protecting a garden or other area from animals, and it does a pretty good job of protecting them from people as well.
It is not normally considered in the same category as other traps are, so there is little risk of having problems with the law.
Related: Prepper Projects That Might Be Illegal In Your State
The big problem with an electric fence is that it needs electric power. That might be a problem in a post-disaster world, if the grid is down. If you’re getting your electric power from solar panels, are you going to have enough power for the fence as well?
Better make sure that you buy the most energy efficient electric fence and that you know just how much power it consumes. That way, if you need to increase the number of solar panels you have or add another battery to your shutdown system, you can do so.
Besides the aforementioned dogs, there are a wide range of different alarms that you can install around your garden, providing some warning that you have intruders to deal with. This can range from the most high tech solutions, involving motion detectors to the simplest trip wire tied to a can of pebbles.
Related: DIY TripWire Alarm Very Simple and Outrageously Loud (High Security Perimeter)
One simple thing is a solar-charged light with a motion sensor. But the key to any of these is making sure that the alarm is hidden well enough that the intruder doesn’t just see it and find a way to get around it.
Most alarms will require some electrical power as well, just like the electric fence does. The big plus here though is that they will most likely require considerably less power. Still, make sure that your off-grid power system is sufficient to deal with this need, along with your others.
Punji Sticks & Other Traps
You might be thinking the obvious answer is to put punji stakes and other traps around the garden.
While those might be of help, they are illegal in all 50 states.
Related: DIY Punji Stick Traps To Defend Your Home
The basic problem is that traps of any sort are indiscriminate. Once set, they’ll get whoever comes along. While that may be what you want, what if it’s a kid that the trap ends up hurting?
If you’re going to use traps, keep the legal risk in mind. Even so, there may be times when you want to do so. I keep a fair sized collection of caltrops on hand, available to be spread out as traps.
But I don’t leave them out in normal times. Rather I just save them for the time when they might be needed. When that time comes, I will be willing to take that risk.
Don’t Forget Other Looters
But people aren’t the only thing we’ve got to protect our gardens from. Don’t forget that there are plenty of birds, insects and animals that want to get what we’ve got. On one hand, we deal with these all the time, so we should be ready for them. On the other hand, I don’t actually see a lot of gardeners who are ready to deal with them.
I use predatory insects in my garden, rather than insecticides. Not only do they seem to work better, but it also helps keep my food healthier to eat. I’m not exactly a fan of eating pesticides, although I’m not one who runs around complaining about it. Rather, I just try to avoid using them in my garden.
To keep birds and animals out of my garden, I’ve constructed what I refer to as a “reverse greenhouse” around it. This is a structure with poultry cloth walls and a shade cloth roof.
The shade cloth is necessary, as the area I live in is very hot. Adding that has cooled the temperature inside my garden by 5 to 10 degrees, depending on the time of day. It also works together with the poultry fabric to keep birds from flying into my garden.
While the poultry cloth isn’t really strong enough to keep opossums and raccoons out of the garden, it works well. So far, they haven’t figured out that they can break through it. Hopefully they never will. In the mean time, my garden is well protected from these looters.
Genius idea of pungi sticks and traps. Good way to kill the dog
Not worried about looters.
It’s the people that will be telling YOU and YOUR family where and how they will live, will eat, will wear, will work and whatever else they want from you.
They will be what you should worry about.
They will come in all different kinds of people.
(No garden in USA. The feds say. The USDA wants you to register your garden.)
See how they will control YOU…
Better VOTE them out. OR else… more of this crap…
Vote lol how’s that been working for the last century
USDA want community gardens registered, not your private small garden.
It’s coming in time.
Control you, that’s the goal.
Voting is good but only when We keep tabs on those that are voted in. The problem is that we have not kept up on those that were voted in.
We traded God for satan.
Maybe we can vote someone that has ball’s and won’t bow down to the elite and the enemy So no vote, we lose valuable time to get ready.
It’s time that iam looking to get by voting. I know it dose not matter but it time that matters.
When it starts the Door’s will close. Soon we will see that come to play.
Exactly!! VOTE RED!!! PLEASE!!!
Was a decent article until the stupid addition of pungi sticks and traps.
Even the VC was smart enough to deploy those Area Denial traps in areas the Enemy controlled as harassment and night fear devices.
Never around your own home. You and your animals will be threatened by such foolishment.
the article is clearly against them thou
I agree with your comments. However, Rich M. did say that they were illegal in all 50 states AND that any trap you set could get yourself, your dog, a kid, etc.
I do not know Rich M. but I truly feel from his article that he put that segment in just for those that think punji sticks would be a good idea. Unfortunately, there are people out there that do not think things through before they do something (punji sticks).
Not all traps are illegal!
Place a few hundred sheets of fly paper around what you want to protect.
Won’t hurt anyone and all you need to do is look for someone covered in sticky fly traps to catch that thief!
Another one is a motion sensored lawn sprinkler.
Confetti bomb works too.
Guerilla Gardening – it’s a posting subject onto itself but part of survival gardening tactics – deserves a mention ….
dispersing your gardening away from your main plot – using public land or unused & untended property that can be eazily accessed without trespassing jeopardy ….
it chiefly concerns starting perennial food plantings, bushes and trees on a random basis that creates an innocuous appearance – true enough the general public doesn’t know one bush from another >>> your asparagus patch to harvest – your herbs to forage – your apple tree to pick …..
The very basic idea of a privacy fence defeats the purpose of holding a low profile.
The first thing any group out to take what you have is the apearence of your home. If it has a privacy fence or it looks rich then that is a home that will be attacked.
Best way to protect your garden is with only one way in with a biar patch around it. See the briar patch will do two things one is hide your garden from view and two will alow only one way in and out so you will have the culprits in a bottle and that makes for a good fire zone. A brair patch around your whole property with only on way in and the path on both side make them funnel where you want them and is not illegal.
Pungi sticks, traps and poisonous plants? This is stupid.
The author makes a point of addressing the issues AND cautioning against TRAPS, which deals with the liability issues… IF you put traps in and anyone gets hurt it is NOT the author’s fault. Same with the poisonous plants ….. alarms are another matter.
Razor wire! Ordinary chain link fence, run wire along top. Inside your fence run several rows close together so can’t climb over or out
Mentioned in another article; rooftop gardens or second story window boxes. Keep it out of easy reach.
Living in the desert allows me a better option than punji sticks without the potential legal issues: cactus. I just planted cactus near the base of the fence line and also under windows to inhibit break-in attempts. Anyone jumping over the fence blindly will be in for a very nasty, painful surprise, and my pets are smart enough to stay out of them.
30 seconds with a machete, or just strong boots and a good kicking will deal to pretty much any cacti quickly and relatively silently. The briar patch is a sound idea, very difficult to slash through a mature hedge.
My house is surrounded by butterfly gardens, funny how many of the plants are also for me. You can eat milkweed, Turk’s Cap, desert mallow, Queen Anne’s Lace, fennel, dill, parsley, tomatillos, various salvias useful for tea, passion fruit, sunflowers. Elsewhere on the property is a 1000 sq ft drainage planted solid with yellow nutsedge, a hated weed around here but a prime edible. There are some good stands of Smilax, prickly pear, and mesquite, various useful trees. Dandelion, mustard, pig weed, henbit. Good stands of Agave, Cannas, and rosebushes. I have a regular vegetable garden of tasty, corn, carrots, taters etc…, people will steal that stuff all day long but ain’t nobody going to sneak in and steal canna roots, tufa nuts, and milkweed shoots.
High privacy fences, beside the exorbitant cost and labor of building one, cast a lot of shade around your yard and garden. Gardens need sunlight to grow, solid fences defeat that objective. Dogs will ruin your garden faster than any looter could ever dream of. The ONLY way to completely guard your garden is to employ the help of your neighbors. It’s not bribery, it’s called building a COMMUNITY.
I wish that I could get with my community and do something to make it better, BUTT, My community SUCKS a bunch of soy people. They all suck up to each other and crap on all the people that are not kissing there ases…
So, NO way would I get with my woke community. Never trust a community… Or neighbors.
Lucky for me I have 26 acres behind my property that is owned by my neighbor and they aren’t using it at all so I do some survival gardening there just in case mine gets taken I won’t be without.
Why don’t all of you idiots kiss and make nice or take your childish bullshit somewhere else? Nobody cares which one of you is butt-hurt today and your comments are not only distracting, they are boring as hell.
John Doe – on the mark. Thank you
Cheap, simple deer, raccoon, possum ect ect garden protection. String old VHS tape, from old movie casettes , on thin 5 ft tall stakes co mpletely around your garden. Animals look at the waving vinyl tape and assume they are snakes. Has worked for 5 years running in my NE Ga. gardens. Believe it or don’t. It works for everything except bear and sooners of feral pig.
I have a pack of underfed and inbred Dobermans that roam my property. They never go near my prized heirloom vegetables because, well, they have never been fed such things. Vegetables are foreign to them. Its meat only for these things. And raw. And not enough of it.
Great, unless you have chickens and other livestock.
A few misses here…
What about the idea of a ‘normal’ front yard, and a good hidden back yard so people aren’t suspicious?
Or sacrifice garden in the front, serious garden in the back.
Or hydroponics and aquaponics, neither needs as much space, both can be run from solar pumps, less water than soil based gardening, and you can lock them up inside.
I’m a fan of the idea of dropping fences behind your houses and sharing back yards wiht your neighbours, or having gates between them – safety in numbers, shared gardens increase crop haul and variety, with shared labour and reduces risk of pests from over the fence etc.
Lack of discussion about fruit tress
Community gardens? Food trees for street scraping? Seedling, seed and tool community libraries for people to share?
Seed banks and seed storing?
Grow excess and bounty and share with neighbours freely anything spare to increase community protection of your crops.
An 8ft fence immediately invites inspection.
A lush green oasis in a world of badly tended gardens is going to draw attention fence or not.
A million and one things about effective gardening not covered.
Water is necessary, where’s it coming from?
So much more ground to cover!
Good points Sandgroper…when it comes down to it, if SHTF for any period of time over a couple of weeks, if you live in the ‘burbs then you’re pretty much fucked. Your only option for long-term survival is to join a predatory gang, activate your previously agreed/planned/tested community survival and defense plan, or bug the hell out to somewhere you’ve pre-prepared.
Build a double wall fence with the inner fence made out of hog panels and the outer fence made of cattle panels and a privacy fence completely around your garden with a double gate on both fences that is as wide as the space between the fences. This way you can open the gates into different configurations. Attach the fences to a kennel that has two gates and a dog house with a killer dog or two. The gates allow you access to the garden with both of them closing off the ends of the run around the garden but allow the dogs access to the run from the inner gate of the kennel. Access to feed and water the dogs is from the other kennel gate. Opening the inner gate to the garden will allow the dogs access to the run and the garden it’s self. Have rolls of barbed wire between the two fences but high enough the the dogs cannot get cut by it. This will keep the dogs from trying to jump or climb out and anyone trying to cross over the outer fence will be caught in the barbed wire and if their legs are hanging through the wire far enough they will be shredded by the dogs. When the garden is done for the year a couple of hogs can be put into the garden and they will root it up like a rototiller fertilize it and eat grubs and roots of weeds and othe plants. The dogs will guard the hogs from people trying to steal the hogs. If the intruder is killed by the dogs, feed him to the hogs.
Dog proof raccoon traps are very effective, plus raccoon meat is tasty.
“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
A good defensive move for your garden is to make it look like it’s not a garden. When SHTF, I will still want T-bone steaks, ice cream, and other luxuries, and so will everyone else. If you have a garden full of nice red tomatoes, big ears of corn, peppers, peas, and other veggies, someone WILL find out about it and attempt to take it from you. Some vegetables can be hidden among other plants, but the quantity may not be what you are used to. Other vegetables and substitutes look like nothing more than weeds. If you have what appears to be an untended garden, then people may pass it by thinking the risk is not worth the reward.
Instead of planting a lot of what people want, plant items that you are willing eat to survive. Having multiple gardens is good in theory, but as stated in an earlier post, what about water. Also, tending the gardens will eventually show signs of a trail; an easy invitation for others to follow in your footsteps.
Setting traps? I will eventually have to answer for my life choices. I do NOT want to have to explain why someone got hurt from my malicious activities. Defend your garden, but don’t rig it to maim or kill someone, because their friends/family may make your life even worse.
The wildlife that you are defending against is another potential food source. A secondary plot designed to attract those unwanted pests may just make your next meal almost desirable. Spreading human hair around your main garden will help keep it a little safer.
Some people like a challenge. The more difficult a location is to get to, the more they may be enticed to see what else you have. I don’t want to feed the world, and I DAMN sure don’t want the government telling me I have to, but, I do want to have the ability to help someone truly in need. That starving stranger can turn out to be either a friend or a foe. I would much rather have him/her as a friend that will help tend and protect the garden.
I’m a big fan of non-produce department edibles. Many gardeners have no idea that they are foods, so no one knows they can pick and eat them, because they don’t recognize them. Hostas, Malabar, Nasturtiums, Day Lily, Maypops, Scarlet Runners, etc. They see nothing, while I see food. Tasty too.
Maypops was the tires I drove on in my earlier days. I guess they could be eaten, but boy would they be chewy.
Concealed Rooftop gardens and sheds with clear roof pannels may work good. Second Story porches could work good as well. a chainlink fence around your garden with a chickenwire top may help insde a yard with a privacy fence. A greenhouse window that mounts directly to the outside of your house would work good for smaller plants and herbs. I try to grow many of my items in 5 gallon buckets or large pots that way they can be moved due to excess Heat, cold weather, or if anything went down I could take them with me. oftentimes I bring them in the house to extend the season by putting a light over them. you can fool them into thinking that there is more growing season (if you have power)
Some people expect every single point to be covered. To the negative people I would say write your own article or a book on the subject.
Having an electric fence might tip off your neighbor that you have some source of power, but if you have to explain, you tell them you have a small solar panel or that you have no power but you prefer to leave it setup rather than pull everything up. I’d rather protect my garden and property and deal with the neighbors who by choice or circumstance will have to realize we need each other.
Depending on your situation, maybe your neighbors are nosey, but not likely to steal, or they could be the pathetic begging types which can turn into the self-entitled demanding types…. it all depends. People have fences, it’s nothing unusual, thus nobody will assume you are hiding anything anymore than having a car or truck parked in your driveway indicates you have access to fuel or you store gas or diesel fuel. Surrounding your property with thorny bushes might seem out of place and make some people wonder if you are protecting something. You never know what people will deduce from looking at your home.
We can discuss being the “grey man” in the house that appears to look worthless owned by people who may not have any supplies, but if you are under threat of looters, thieves and those unprepared but self entitled people, you have to provide a secure environment and home with fences, locked doors, etc., and to defend it. If things are bad and people are truly desperate they’re going to search every home, every building, every structure, every shed, the back of places, dumpsters and so on. They’ll even be searching cars for change, clothing, and stealing fuel and parts.
Even if you’re hiding your garden, vehicles and home behind barriers such as fences, walls and inside structures you need to keep people out and make things inaccessible. Keeping it protected and keeping your home and yard difficult to observe and to physically penetrate may be required unless you plan to just hope that people will pass your place based on perception and optics.
I’d rather have my place built up with layers of protection than have everything open trying to create an illusion. There are people who always say, “People will come with guns, break in and steal your stuff”.
Just remember those looters or marauders are also taking a huge risk since they have no idea what they might encounter as they approach your house. They have no way of knowing how many armed people will be ready to greet them and what they might be up against. Assuming the invaders will have an easy time taking what they want is a defeatist attitude. People will defend themselves with as much conviction as the looters, if not more since they worked for what they have and are protecting their families.
I’m not impressed by those with one line negative remarks and I think they do a great disservice to people trying to teach or learn how to be prepared.
Of course there is more we can do to secure our homes such as heavy doors, bars over windows, trained dogs, firearms, barbed wire or thorns bushes, cameras and so on, but to cover all that would take more articles. We all have to choose what is appropriate for our own situation.
You make several good points. In my misspent youth i learned a lot about certain things related to home security. Here is an easy way to determine if your home is secure from looters. Run down to Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, Ace hardware etc and buy a regular sledgehammer. Something relatively light, like in the 8-10 pound weight range. What you have in your hands right now will “open” the vast majority of residential housing doors that open IN, as most do. This and possibly a wrecking bar or crowbar is all ya need to get into most houses. And that’s a single individual using them. Watch a few episodes of COPS sometime and observe the battering ram they use. Generally, its a heavy piece of 4″ diameter pipe about 3-4′ long with handles on the sides. If your doors and windows can withstand that, you’re in pretty good shape physical security wise.
To much information is connected to clickbank.com. Therefore we cannot read or print it. Sooo what good is it? I like to print a lot of stuff in multiples, so I can share. When the grid goes down. Having stuff on our computer is no longer useful. No one can possible remember everything. At least I don’t think so.