The Only 6 Seeds You Need to Stockpile for a Crisis

Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason May 4, 2018 06:42

The Only 6 Seeds You Need to Stockpile for a Crisis

Seeds are an essential item for any long-term survival plan. Stockpiling food is a great idea and everyone should do it, because there’s no other way to get through the initial weeks and months after a crisis hits, but there’s a limit to how much you can store; eventually you’re going to have to start producing your own. Foraging for wild foods can take up some of the slack, but in the end it’s going to be a lot more labor-intensive than growing it.

The question is, what should you grow? A look at any seed catalog will quickly tell you that there are thousands of options, so which ones to add to your stores? It’s tempting to get the widest selection you can, but in fact that’s not a good idea. You need to be selective about the seeds you buy – you need the right varieties, and the right number of varieties.

For the same acreage, you’ll spend more time and effort on it if you grow a larger number of crops. That’s a good argument to keep the number down as much as you can. On the other hand you don’t want too few crops either. That way, your entire food supply is vulnerable to a disease or pest that just happens to target what you have. If you’re growing two things and one of them picks up a disease, you’ve lost half your food. If you’re growing ten things and one gets an infestation you’ve only lost a tenth.

You also need to think about future crops. You can harvest seeds from this year’s, but you might not want to grow the same crops every year – that can be a quick way to exhaust the soil. Rotating the same crops around different patches can help, but varying the actual crops every year or two won’t hurt either. Having some extra seed varieties on hand will give you much more flexibility.

Finally, make sure you’re growing a balanced diet. Some crops are high in carbohydrates, some in proteins, some in fiber – but very few are high in all the nutrients you need. To keep yourself healthy you need a mix of crops that provides all your requirements.

So you need to have a few types of seed, but not too many. Getting the balance right makes the difference between a productive plot and hungry frustration. Avoid that by stocking up on this selection of all the seeds you’ll ever need:

 #1. Squash

Squash is a great food crop; it’s easy to grow, and the fruit is high in carbohydrates. It contains a lot of other nutrients too, including magnesium, potassium and Vitamins A and C. The squash family is diverse, too, meaning you can find varieties that thrive in almost any climate. Butternut squash and pumpkins do well in warm climates; zucchini is the one to go for if you live somewhere temperate to cold.

Squash is also a very versatile crop. Depending on the variety it can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. It’s easy to store, too. Whole squash can be kept in a root cellar for up to three months. Alternatively it can be canned or dehydrated for longer-term storage, and it freezes well too.

Squash seeds can be bought, and it’s also easy enough to harvest seeds from your own crop.

#2. Potatoes

Potatoes are another carbohydrate-rich crop and they also contain an array of other nutrients – they’re a good source of potassium, copper and Vitamin B6. Potatoes can be grown from seeds; either buy them, or collect them from the seed pods on mature potato plants. The drawback with potato seeds is that it takes two seasons to produce edible potatoes. In the first year the plants produce small tuberlets; use these as seed potatoes to grow a real crop the next year. On the other hand seeds can be stored long term. To cover the next season’s crop, keep a supply of seed potatoes as well.

Related: Preserving Potatoes Year Round – A Solid Choice for Preppers

#3. Corn

This grows best in a sunny climate, but if you live in a farming area you’ll know where it thrives and where it doesn’t. Corn is a very useful crop; apart from being eaten as a vegetable it can also be dried and ground, then used to make cornbread.

Corn is a wind-fertilized crop, and it will pollinate better if you plant it in blocks instead of rows. One thing to be aware of with corn is that it’s vulnerable to inbreeding, so aim to have at least 100 plants to guarantee a healthy gene pool.

#4. Spinach

Spinach is another versatile plant, which can bee eaten cooked or raw as a salad. It’s very nutritious, containing plenty of fiber as well as iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and Vitamins A, B-riboflavin, B6, C, E and K. It grows in spring and fall, so most (not all) varieties will deliver two crops a year. It’s also easy to grow.

Whenever you plant spinach, don’t pick it all when it’s ready to eat – leave a few plants to fully mature, then collect the seeds from the female plants. You can recognize the females by checking the small balls that grow under the leaves; on a male plant these are yellow, but on a female one they’re green. Let the plants grow until they turn yellow then pull them up, hang them upside down in a cool dry place for two weeks, then shake them to collect the seeds.

Related:22 Cans You Can Purchase for $1 or Under

#5. Beans

Most preppers already have a load of dried beans in their food stores, for a few very good reasons. First, they’re easy to keep and have a long shelf life. Second, they’re versatile and can be turned into a wide range of meals. Third, they’re a great source of protein and fiber. Sadly there’s a limit to how many beans you can stockpile, but the good news is they’re also easy to grow.

There’s a huge variety of beans on the market, but if you want to grow beans for storage the most popular choice is the navy bean. Green beans and peas can be canned. Some varieties are bushes while others need to grow up a stick; this can affect how much space they need. Most varieties do prefer warmer weather,, but they can be grown in most of the contiguous 48.

#6. Wheat

If you’re serious about self-sufficiency you need to reckon on growing, and processing, wheat. It’s one of the most nutritious thigs you can plant, being high in carbs, protein and fiber, and it also has significant amounts of B vitamins. Processing it into flour can be quite labor-intensive, but if you can manage that you’re able to be self-sufficient in proper bread.

There are plenty more seeds you can add to your collection depending on personal preferences, but if you have a good stock of these six, store them properly and rotate them as required, you’ve got the basis for a sustainable long-term food supply. Make sure you get heirloom seeds – GMO ones are often modified to stop them producing fertile seeds of their own, forcing farmers to buy more seeds every year. That’s obviously no good in a crisis, so look for more traditional non-GMO cultivars that can be bred generation after generation. Do that and you’ll have an endless supply of produce that will secure your long-term food supply.

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Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason May 4, 2018 06:42
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  1. Hoosier Homesteader May 4, 11:19

    If climate allows, Okra is also a must. It’s a sturdy plant, very prolific, the seeds are large and easy to collect for the next year; just let a few pods grow to maturity, cut them off the plant and save them for next spring.
    I’ve heard the flowers can be consumed, but I’ve never tried it, preferring the fruit to the flower.
    Plant a 50 foot row, and you’ll have plenty to eat fresh and to put up for winter enjoyment.
    My favorite way to eat it is picked fresh, sliced, and fried in butter in an iron skillet. …Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Bj May 4, 13:56

    My family is learning so much from your letters and we are so thankful for all you are teaching us. You are a blessing to us

    Reply to this comment
  3. Homesteader May 4, 14:04

    Learning to take a garden from seed to seed is a must and probably more important to learn that what to plant. Having that knowledge/ability can make you an invaluable asset to a post-SHTF community. Also, having viable seed to trade will probably make them worth their weight in gold, so to speak.

    A note of caution – We purchased “seed vaults” from two or three different sources (another mistake we made in our very early years of learning to prep). We found that a lot of those seeds were not mature and would not grow. By checking them when we did, we had time to rectify the situation but a lot of people will not get that opportunity. There’s going to be an awful lot of upset and hungry people out there when they find that those wonderful seed vaults they purchased and stored away are nearly worthless.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 4, 15:01

      A lot of stuff that is sold to peppers is junk. It really is a caveat emptor field. It seems as if alll the folks who used to sell encyclopedias and aluminum siding have moved over to the prepper field.

      Reply to this comment
      • Homesteader May 4, 15:33

        Isn’t that the truth?! Guess those “salesmen” had to go somewhere but why couldn’t it have been to used cars or septic tanks?

        Reply to this comment
      • Wannab May 7, 15:07

        I bought a seed collection from food insurance and everything I planted seemed to do very well. Only problem is they throw in a lot of exotic crap I will never use. Always best to collect what you like and will use and works well for your own environment.

        Reply to this comment
    • Elizabeth May 4, 17:36

      Hi, How could you tell the seeds were not mature(suitable to grow)? Have you found a Heirloom Vault that will be honest and sell a reliable Heirloom Vault? Did you tell the seller? Did they respond? I am a teacher for families learning to prep and I just told them about Heirloom Seed Vault and I would hate to be out of seeds years done the line. Please help me.
      Thank you so much. 🙂

      Reply to this comment
      • Hoosier Homesteader May 4, 21:28

        Lizy, you don’t really need an heirloom vault; just buy the heirloom veggies and save the seed. It isn’t hard to do 🙂
        Choose what you want to grow, save the seed, and you can sleep easy about your store of seeds.

        Reply to this comment
        • Hoosier Homesteader May 4, 21:29

          To clarify, “save the seed from what you grow”.

          Reply to this comment
          • Falcon May 4, 22:22

            We found out the hard way “store” veges arent worth growing. Saved the seeds of some awesome zukes. Plants grew big/fast & after flowering, died. Were Monsanto crap wthe suicide gene built in.

            Reply to this comment
            • Homesteader May 6, 13:10

              Store vegetables sometimes get treated with various gases, etc to slow their maturing or ripening. That could have a big effect on their seeds not being able to grow. Then of course, there are a lot of GMO vegetables in stores. Only God and Monsanto know what’s been done to them, and I think Monsanto tries to leave God out of the loop most of the time.

              Reply to this comment
            • Dordy March 10, 04:35

              It’s good they died, really, if you think about it.

              Reply to this comment
      • Homesteader May 4, 23:18

        Elizabeth – The seeds I was talking about were white instead of the black, brown, green, etc of mature seeds. The way I check seeds to see if they will grow is to put some in a little water. Then I wait a few days to see if they have sprouted. If they have, then the seeds in the package are likely viable. The seeds from my vaults would not sprout. I had purchased vaults from Patriot’s Pantry, Emergency Essentials (don’t even know if they still carry them) and one other place. Sorry, I don’t remember the third’s name. Did I tell them about the seeds in my vaults? No. I bought the vaults while living in Kentucky, then had an unexpected move to North Carolina. After I moved, it was another year before I was able to get a garden plot ready for planting. By then way more than a year had passed, so it was my problem to deal with.

        I would recommend anyone with a vault to check their seeds now while they can still get seeds to replace any that will not grow. If in doubt, use the method of a few seeds in a little water to see if they will sprout. Based on my experience with the vaults, in my opinion, it is better to just buy seeds from a store and then put them away in a jar or other container until needed. That way you can have the vegetables and herbs you and your family prefer rather than some random assortment that some company threw together. My suggestion is to date the seed packets with the date you bought them. Then when you start to plant them, you know for sure which is the oldest to use first.

        Once you have your seeds and your garden growing, the next best thing to learn to do is to take it from seed to seed. Learn to harvest seeds, not just vegetables. That way you always have a supply of seeds available, you know where they came from and how they were cared for, so you know what is in your family’s food supply. Herbs just need to be harvested from time to time but not totally cut down. Then in late summer, allowing the herbs to bolt, or go to seed. Most herbs will reseed themselves like that and then come back again in the spring ready for another growing season.

        Hope I answered your questions without causing more.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck May 5, 01:56

          Patriots Pantry is one of the companies I was talking about. A quick check to see if you are getting your money’s worth is to find out what the total calorie count of the package is that they are selling as X day’s of food. Divide the total calorie count of the whole 365 “servings” of food by 2,000. Whatever the number is left is how many “days” worth of food you really have. Even Mountain House, considered by many to be the cadillac of “prepper” food considers 1800+ calories a day’s worth of food. Well, you won’t starve to death on 1800+ calories a day but you will get lean and especially mean on that number of calories a day. Now, if you are a sedentary, 50 year old, post-menopausal woman, 1800 calories a day would be plenty. If you are an active 30 year old male engaged in the various chores necessary to maintain the homestead in a time of crisis, even 2500 calories a day is going to make you lean and mean. I say mean because you are going to be hungry all the time and you will constantly lose weight and muscle mass until you get down to the body mass that can be supported on 2500 calories a day. You will be in better shape if you are short. If you are over 6′ you are going to start being called Slim or Toothpick.

          One of the big vendors has now changed its copy to read servings but that is still misleading as most servings are in the 250 to 375 calories per serving category. If you simple add up the servings, sure, it looks like you are fine because it works out to, if your are lucky, 4 servings a day. Well, Cricket, 4 x 375 = 1500 back when I was in first grade. I realize with the new math that figure may be incorrect, but I am still going to go with it. Running 1500 calories short every day, you are going to be d-d mean and really, really lean. If there were movies being made in an EOTW situation, you could fill in as an extra in a film about the Nazi camps or the Japanese POW camps – maybe a zombie because your eyeballs would be shrunken in, your cheekbones would be very prominent and you would probably walk with a shuffling gait naturally.

          Reply to this comment
          • Homesteader May 5, 07:48

            LCC – I was talking about their seed vaults, NOT their foods.

            Reply to this comment
            • left coast chuck May 5, 15:06

              I realize that, but it just confirms what I was talking about for the whole product line. I think one is better off buying heirloom seeds at his local nursery in the varieties that will grow in his area and the kinds of food he actually eats. The seeds will be picked by the folks at the nursery who have to face their customers if they are junk for the area where they are going to be planted.

              The SoCal climate is so different from the Indiana climate that it takes different varieties to germinate. Varieties that work wonderfully in Indiana probably would germinate and wilt immediately here in this semi-desert climate. There are so many micro-climates in the U.S. that seeds have to be selected for varieties that will be worth planting in that climate.

              I don’t think a company that is putting together a “food value” and selling it in every climate across the country is doing anyone a service. If you look at the mail order seed vendors who are actually in the seed and plant business, they will give you advice concerning what varieties have a chance of surviving in your climate. The food vault concept is a good idea poorly executed for fast buck agents.

              Reply to this comment
      • TheSouthernNationalist May 6, 13:25

        Check out “My Patriot Supply” they have all kinds of heirloom seeds and other stuff too, this is where I buy seeds and have never been disappointed in the quality.

        Reply to this comment
      • Dave June 21, 19:29

        There is a catalog, Annie’ s Heirloom seeds @

        Good luck


        Reply to this comment
    • Mad Fiddler May 6, 05:28

      I’ve bought several seed vaults (#10 Cans) from different suppliers. Some suppliers are much better than others. Seeds are living things, and though they can last for years, when they’re sealed in an airtight container with packets that remove the free oxygen, they will eventually DIE. You can still eat’em. I have NO idea how long different seeds can survive in a sealed container. Extreme cold might make’em last, but freezing can disrupt their cells, too. It’s a fine balance. The only times I’ve been able to raise a decent garden were times when I didn’t have a full time job, and most of the work was prepping the soil. Once the plants were well established they grew WAY faster than any weeds!

      Reply to this comment
  4. Eronic420 May 4, 14:12

    Where’s number 4

    Reply to this comment
  5. Mel May 4, 14:28

    Just so you know #4 is missing. So there is only 6 seeds listed.

    Reply to this comment
  6. EthanEdwards May 4, 14:28

    I am looking for alternatives to a few of the recommended seeds as the DW is allergic to the plants. Presently we live in growing zone 6a/b, depending on what map you look at.

    For the potato I can use sweat potatoes/yams, but are there any others, as alternatives would be helpful in rotation. The wheat needs to go along with the corn, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply to this comment
    • Kelly May 4, 16:29

      Personally, I would choose Sorghum as an alternative to wheat or corn.Very flexible crop and drought resistant

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 5, 21:27

        Learn something every day. I looked up sorghum to see how to use it for food. I had always thought it was just cattle fodder. You can actually make bread out of sorghum and I now know why I see so much of it growing in SoCal. It grows well in semi-arid regions. According to Wikipedia in Honduras they make tortillas form sorghum. I had heard of sorghum molasses which while not really molasses I guess is sweet enough to pass for a cheap molasses. At EOTW I may learn to like sorghum molasses.

        Kelly, thanks for the reference to sorghum. Without it I would have never researched it. This site is so valuable. I have learned as much from it as form the many books I have read on survival and prepping.

        Reply to this comment
        • Homesteader May 5, 23:06

          Personally, I prefer sorghum molasses over regular because it isn’t as strong tasting. The regular is fine for use in baking where you need the stronger flavor to survive the heat of the oven.

          Reply to this comment
        • Rydaartist May 6, 02:38

          I also agree, it may also grow well in Northern California. I will let you know. My area? Far more water than you in Southern Calif., however my summers are upward to 108 degrees in the summer.m does anyone know of,some good recipes? Tried Pre-Packaged in Indiana and was terribly disappointed by the results.

          Reply to this comment
        • Kelly June 22, 00:09

          I’m glad to help with ideas, sorry for the late response, haven’t been around this article lately. Let me know how it turns out if you do grow any. I’m not in the position to grow it right now but hope to next year. Another fun fact is that you can pop it like popcorn but you don’t get those annoying kernel shells. Cheers!

          Reply to this comment
      • Rydaartist August 3, 19:23

        Hey! I am a 67 old broad that runs by herself a small farm with nut & fruit trees, garden and I hunt for a lot of my meat. I moved 10,000 pounds of soil this spring. Don’t generalize so pls… Though I know I am an exception not the rule.

        Reply to this comment
        • red March 8, 01:39

          Rydaartist: 16 years old? Remember the wisdom of George Burns. the movie, Oh, God, was cool about that. When asked what age God created Adam and Eve, he thought about it and said, 17. It’s the perfect age to be. You live at home, eat there, sleep there, and work like a dog, but it’s your money. I’ll be turning 17 in a few months, again 🙂 My mother worked just as hard as Dad on the farm. he worked 3rd shift and she took care of house and barn work. She was too short to handle the [plow, and the horse was afraid of her, anyway 🙂 Be an exception: Stay young. niio

          Reply to this comment
    • Govtgirl March 8, 00:04

      Maybe turnips? They are a great alternative to potatoes, though not calorie-rich. Do not confuse them with parsnips which I think are yucky. They are a white to yellow-fleshed gulp, purplish on the ends.

      Reply to this comment
      • red March 8, 01:46

        Gov: If you like turnips, that’s cool. I only like them raw, and the white ones (Japanese) are a lot sweeter with little bitterness. Canna for starchy food is better and easier to hide. If you do try, get a commercial achira, which tends to grow long roots with little branching. If you want the starch, do like Native Americans and peel, slice, and dry the roots, then grind to a powder. Mature roots tend to be fibrous, but all are bland. Shoots can be picked to use like asparagus, the leaves are eatable. Seeds are ground for flour. The starch is 2nd only to arrowroot.

        Sunchokes are a lot hardier than turnips or potatoes. niio

        Reply to this comment
  7. Randall Reed May 4, 15:34

    Second time I have ordered books from you and I have not received them

    Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty May 4, 23:50

      I think the reason that they were mentioned is that your body needs some carbs to survive and be healthy. I would add amaranth/quinoa to the list , possibly buckwheat. It’s obviously just a “starter” list to be tailored to individual needs/tastes. I do believe there was another typo in the squash section though- zucchini is a warm climate squash and the “winter” squashes do better in cooler climates. Check with neighbors/coworkers/local garden shops to see what grows well in your area and also read up on vegetarian nutrition strategies for inspiration.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Clergylady May 4, 15:52

    My ancestors down to me have always saved seed. Mostly local climate things but some the require a hot bed to get an early start.
    Blessed that they were farm families. They taught me to grow and save seed and how to preserve crops. I looked at “seed vaults”, from the mentioned experience I’m glad I stuck with what I know.
    I grow zuchinni and yellow squash for summer eating although some canned of dehydrated for later is good. I have several “winter” squash we grow a few of but my favorite is a gray hubbard from seeds originally in a few gift squash when I first moved here 41 years ago. I plant 6-8 in cups very early and once nights stop freezing we plant 3-4 for us and I share the excess with others. They require quite a bit of space for each plant but are well worth the space and water.
    I grow several old heirloom tomato varities. Most for different cooking and raw eating situations. Tiny ones to have something early, medium for slicing and salads, and paste tomatoes. Often I grow a few yellow pear tomatoes but share all but pne or two plants. Here by seasons end the plant is hugh and covered in tiny tomatoes. I eat a few every time I walk through the garden. They are good in salads and in jars of mixed colors and sizes of small tomatoes that I pickle for relish trays. Incredibly proliffic just one or two plants each year are plenty.
    Always there are beets. Nothing fancy. Just good old fashioned red beets. We cook fresh, and can them plain and pickled. .
    My mother loved beets so I grew up with served many different way. Boiled, peeled and lightly buttered; pickled; heated in a bit or lemon or orange juice with a hint of sweetness and the juice slightly thickened with corn starch; hot or cold; et. I enjoyed them all.
    My kids are good eaters and love salads. One of their favorites, was easy. Grate up a large bowl of raw zuchinni, stir in halved cherry tomatoes in any colors you have lots of, moisten with Italian salad dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature. They called it Mom’s zuchinni and we never had leftovers. Whoever was putting away food and doing dishes would sit down and eat what was left in the serving bowl.
    I was blessed to have farm raised parents. Raising a garden just seemed natural. So did preserving the crops for the next years meals.

    Reply to this comment
  9. CCTer May 4, 17:00

    This is a great intro article. I would love to see follow up letters on best way to collect and store the seeds.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Rydaartist May 4, 17:17

    Food is necessary, but so are clothing. Add one more seed (seeds are edible), is Flax Seed. Fiber broken down is spun into linen thread. Is it labour intensive? Yes. But flax can be stored for years before it is broken down for thread.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Lonejack May 4, 17:51

    Interesting list.
    I personally would remove corn from the list. Even if you lived in an area where you could grow corn it only produces two to three ears per plant and the plants need to be spaced far enough apart to allow sunshine to allow even those three years to produce kernels.
    The only way I would plant corn. Is if I were to plant beans and squash and use the three sisters method.
    One could also plant sunflowers in place of corn. As a sprout sunflowers have tremendous food value. Then you could use the sunflowers with the three sisters method.
    I would concentrate on the brassicas that is the number one food value can grow is watercress. Number two is Chinese cabbage or bok choy. Then spinach. All of these have amazing food value.

    I am concentrating and on growing sprouts because you can grow Sprouts in the dark for about 9 to 10 days and only need about 3 days of sunshine or artificial light for them to get green. They have tremendous food value.

    Reply to this comment
    • Prepper In Training May 4, 21:04

      Before dismissing a survival choice so readily, you should look at the benefits or negatives. A single corn stalk will not produce much, but when you have a sufficient quantity, you can increase the benefits of raising the crop.

      Corn can be used to make corn meal, corn flour, and can be an enhancement to several dishes. On top of what you can do with the kernel, you also have the corn silk, which has medicinal uses. See for more information.

      Corn stalks can be fed to you farm animals, and may also attract deer for added meat to your survival needs. Even composting the stalks will aid in your future garden requirements.

      Corn husks and cobs can be used for various other things. Researching for my post, I came across which discusses corn jelly, and using the cobs to smoke meat.

      Just because we only consider the normal uses for a plant (or other items), doesn’t mean it may not be more useful for a SHTF situation.

      Reply to this comment
      • Miss Kitty May 4, 23:56

        Corn husks can be dried , shredded and used for stuffing mattresses and pillows. Cobs can also be used to make smoking pipes and as “tp”, but I don’t know how well it would work) :¤

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck May 5, 02:03

          Miss Kitty: corn cobs and husks were used as TP for many many years since the Indians first showed white man how to grow it. I have never read what the Indians used for sanitary purposes — ever. For all I know that might have been one of the things they showed the white man. That’s very interesting. Of all the things I have read about Indian life, I have never read a word about how they handled something that occurs daily for most of us.

          Reply to this comment
          • Miss Kitty May 5, 04:06

            Neither have I, but I’ll do a bit of research and get back to you on that. One thing I did read was that oak moss was used as absorbent stuffing for baby swaddling, and shredded cedar bark on the NW coast, so maybe those were used in some way for TP.

            Reply to this comment
          • Katie May 5, 09:02

            Here in the NW spagnum moss was used for diapers and for sanitary napkins. Almost any of the north/northwest mosses can be dried and used. From a half Sioux friend came this info. She loved her stays with her grandmother in Montana Flathead area) who taught her to make a lemonade drink from moss gathered from creek bottoms. Could be a good drink which doesn’t have to be carried.

            Reply to this comment
      • Wannabe May 7, 14:43

        And if you have cattle the stalks can be used for feed.

        Reply to this comment
    • Ravick May 4, 21:43

      Thank you for suggesting sunflowers instead of corn in the 3 sisters method—what a great idea!
      No cucumbers or melons? I would have to include these as well. 🙂 Melons especially have some great nutrition and cucumber can grow up on a trellis to save space. Herbs and more lettuces and kale too! I know they’re suggesting the most nutrient dense and trying to save space, just saying.

      Reply to this comment
      • A. May 4, 22:15

        Dry corn stalks can also be used to burn as fuel… waste not, want not.

        Reply to this comment
        • Mad Fiddler May 6, 05:39

          Speaking of burning, someone pointed out that the ashes from burned hardwood are an excellent source of essential minerals for the soil of your garden!

          Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck May 6, 23:00

        I was in a grocery store yesterday and they were handing out samples of sunflower butter. It looked like peanut butter, a little more oily than most peanut butters. I could not tell the difference in taste between sunflower butter and peanut butter. I would have to try one and immediately try the other in order to detect any difference. The label said sunflower butter, the clerk handing it out swore it was sunflower butter. Coudda fooled me. Never knew one could make butter out of sunflower seeds.

        Learn something new every day if you’re not careful.

        Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty May 4, 23:46

      I think the reason that they were mentioned is that your body needs some carbs to survive and be healthy. I would add amaranth/quinoa to the list , possibly buckwheat. It’s obviously just a “starter” list to be tailored to individual needs/tastes. I do believe there was another typo in the squash section though- zucchini is a warm climate squash and the “winter” squashes do better in cooler climates. Check with neighbors/coworkers/local garden shops to see what grows well in your area and also read up on vegetarian nutrition strategies for inspiration.

      Reply to this comment
    • Rydaartist May 6, 02:44

      On this I would state….depends upon the type of corn, is the soil “brand new” I.e. a weed field. RENEES’S GARDEN has a bicolored corn that is harvestable in 65 or so days. This is for California only I can not speak for any other areas. That is 20 to 40ish days (105 days s a lot of time when you are hungry) earlier and I got up to 5 ears of corn In a new field. It also dried easily for future food.

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    • Chuck August 16, 18:11

      Popcorn is a better crop to plant than regular corn because it has never been genetically modified, and when ground into corn meal, it will make cornbread taste like cake if ground fine enough. Whatever you taste, I would recommend Popcorn over regular corn.

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      • Rydaartist August 16, 18:38

        What more pop for the corn? Well it works for me. However there are a number of Heirloom Seed Producers where the corn is true to it’s heritage as opposed to “let’s go bigger, taller and the one I love the least…throw the taste out let’s get Really BIG EARS!”

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  12. IvyMike May 4, 20:25

    Millions of acres of corn are planted in the no till method throughout the Midwest, and the plants produce beautifully planted as close together as grass in a lawn. Combine a grain and a legume in your daily diet and you get a complete protein, then you just need a bit of meat and dairy for calcium and B-12. Add peppers as a multi vitamin and you’re grooving. If it’s going to be long term survival better have a nitrogen fixing cover crop like vetch, clover, alfalfa, or peanuts. Gather leaves in the fall and make as many 10×10 piles 4 feet high as you can, keep the piles turned and watered and you can make a heckuva lot of compost over the winter. And practice now, your 1st couple of gardens are probably going to be disasters.

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  13. JayGee May 4, 21:08

    WHAT????? NO TOMATOES????

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  14. A. May 4, 22:17

    A large potato has as much protein as an egg.

    Turnip greens are edible.

    Raddish greens are also edible.

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  15. Labienus May 4, 22:53

    We usually grow these

    Swiss chard

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    • Chuckstur in NC May 5, 20:43

      A couple items to add…….I plant all items you mention but add cucumbers. We pickle some and trade many fresh ones with the neighbors. Now Swiss Chard is a mainstay in our house hold. We over plant and when the frost comes to our mountains we dig up many plants and replant in our greenhouse. This way we have fresh greens all winter. We then replant back in garden, eat early in the spring and while the the new crop is maturing last years replant goes to seed. It sure helps our 9 chickens with treats too.

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  16. Rydaartist May 4, 23:02

    All your plants listed take a minimum of 40 to 60 or more to bear food. How about radishes (30 days), carrots (35). Look at maturity dates when you are hungry and can’t eat the corn plant doesn’t make it.

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    • Miss Kitty May 5, 04:16

      Excellent point, especially since we’re supposed to be entering a “solar minimum” period over the next few years. That’s going to really mess up growing seasons if it goes on for an extended length of time. Ditto if we are unfortunate enough to have any major volcanic eruptions (anywhere!) spewing ash and crud into the atmosphere as that will lower temps further by blocking the sun. ( As an aside, prayers for those folks on Hawaii’s big island who are being displaced by the volcano. May they all be safe!)

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  17. mbl May 5, 04:30

    I’d choose spelt over wheat (yes, I suppose spelt is technically considered a wheat) because spelt is less fussy about soils. Ditto sorghum, which has been mentioned. The same is true for oats.

    Alfalfa can be grown for several years, and you can use the cuttings for animal fodder as well as providing lots of organic matter, and its deep roots can forage for minerals that are deep and bring it closer to the surface, so that the food you grow can be more nutritious.

    If you set up the area you want to use as a garden, you could have a block of alfalfa for 5-7 years, and a couple blocks using vetch, clover, sorghum, rye, and oats as cover crops for one year, and then a block for what you want to grow this year.

    Save all the seed you can, and use the one-year cover crop block(s) the following year, and a one-year cover on last year’s garden.

    After several years, plow under the alfalfa and use that section.

    I feel i’m not explaining this very well, but essentially, if you have a rotating garden system where you use part now and keep the rest covered with shorter term and longer term cover crops, you’ll be feeding your soil as well as providing yourself with stuff to use and seed to save.

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  18. CarmenO May 5, 08:16

    What??? Sorry, but taking into account how little space seeds take, I’m sure you can have more than 7, to have a balance diet and all the vitamins and minerals a person needs to be healthy. I always grow specialty potatoes, which I save every year, but if you had one of those rare years without a summer, the next year you would have zero potatoes unless you try growing some indoors (which I am experimenting with this year). Yes, the plants grew huge, don’t know if I will get potatoes yet, too early.) By the way, it’s May and I still have 3 butternut squashes left and they are still perfect. Being that this is Minnesota, it’s not like I left them in the ground until January. In other words, that type can last at least twice that long. Corn is rather iffy, if the weather is bad during the time you’re saving seeds for, they are only viable for about 1-2 years. The Okra that someone suggested has a very limited rage. Don’t want to save much, go to the dollar store (4 packets for $1) and get one of each type the carry. (Our town’s carries all the basics. And then buy or borrow the book Seed to Seed with tells you how long a whole lot of seeds are viable for and how to grow them. And do NOT forget the native edibles for your area, especially the ones that are perennial. Food for decades that you don’t even have to plant more than once, if at all. Birds are always bringing me new plants. As for wheat, you actually need a farm, if you have more than one person in the family. Most people don’t have farms. Interesting, but REALLY? Great site, this suggestion not so much. lol

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    • left coast chuck May 5, 15:23

      If the die-off rate is as high as some have predicted, there will be lots of land available in the average suburban tract for tilling by the survivors.

      Your comment about what grows natively is spot on. Mother Nature has done a fine job over the centuries of selecting the plants that grow best in your climate. Prickly pear grows great in SoCal. The fruit can be eaten and the pads can be cooked and eaten. Buckwheat grows wild all over California. It grows from the coastal plains all the way to the Sierra foothills.

      Before urban development cut so many of them down, live oak grew all over SoCal and the Indians used the acorns as a significant item in their diet. Black walnuts grew all over NorCAl until urban development did them in and the white man cut them down for the lumber and to plant English walnuts.

      Corn only grows in the dust bowl region due to massive irrigation. In an EOTW situation where irrigation will not be possible, that vast grassland will once again reappear. If the bison from Yellowstone are not hunted to extinction, they will once again roam the region from the Mississippi to the Rockies. Except for along creeks and rivers, farming in the Midwest will disappear.

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  19. Rydaartist May 5, 19:28

    I have a situation that might prove interesting, I purchased a box of mushroom spores that after they stopped flushing I added to one of my food planter boxes. I am currently harvesting spinach, carrots, kale and mushrooms. Now you must beware of what your mushroom looks like…I have harvested wild mushrooms for years. Any mushroom that doesn’t look correct do not eat!

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  20. Bill May 6, 22:08

    I was literally born at home on the farm, never seen a doctor until I was starting school or had a birth certificate or SSN. We grew almost all our own food as well as for our milk cows. We had around 250 milking at any given time.

    One thing I can tell you is this, if you seriously think that you will learn to farm and grow your own food all on your own, you will die. I don’t care how many books you read or back yard gardens you grow, you really need to learn from someone who knows, and this takes a commitment.

    Farming is very dangerous, and the chances of injury, infection and death are more real than starving.

    If you don’t have the very basic equipment to farm large areas of land to feed a family, your work load will increase so much that you will never be able to keep up.

    Like I said, I grew up on a farm and I am under NO grand illusion that I can find some land, and start right in farming again with some seeds I have squirreled away in some cans.

    Like my father used to say, don’t come to me sniveling and whining about a problem or issue unless you have a solution as well, because I more than likely already know the problem.

    So, now that I have the doom and gloom out of the way, here’s how I have addressed the problem…….

    What I started doing years ago, was making friends with local farmers. It’s a lot easier to do than you think. Go to farmers markets, the phone book, and just call them and ask if they sell what they grow, and start making small talk.

    I live in Louisiana, and I went down to the local Co-op and asked about local rice and sugar cane farmers. Long story short, I now know many farmers, and have become friends with them and more.

    Farmers LOVE to talk about their farms and the long history behind it, so humor them and ask them all about their farms and fathers before them, tell them how BEAUTIFUL their farm is and what a GREAT job they’ve done with it, and before you know it, you’ll have a new friend, WHO KNOWS HOW TO FARM.

    Stroke their ego, you and your families life might depend on it.

    Get to know them as a person and what they and their family like, and show up with that. I noticed they always had coffee on, so the next time I brought them some fresh Kona coffee from Hawaii and a dozen fresh donuts. Say I seen this coffee and thought about you and your coffee and thought you might like some.

    Once you establish this friendship, you’ll see how you can slowly start talking to them about world events, all the “WHAT IF’s” in life and ask them how would you keep farming if some thing happened like North Korea or China or Russia or whatever.

    Farmers are natural survivors, so this is a lot easier than you think. Just remember to come across asking questions and not throwing out wild crazy zombie crap. Farmers are busy 25 hours a day and 8 days a week, so don’t be dumb or too big of a pest.

    This is where you both come up with a plan of what each of you can bring to the table or willing to bring to the table for the good of both families, and the neighbors, because they are probably farmers too.

    You’ll also have cattle on farms and who will protect them from hungry people who come to take them and plan on having steak that night?

    You can offer serious protection in the form of rifles and people who know how to use them, that many farmers don’t have. You can also offer canned veggies that a farmer probably does not have to feed his family long term when some thing happens out of the blue.

    You just need to bring things to the table that the farm does not have, but will need for basic survival. Maybe you have a solar panel set up that can be moved to the farm when something happens, water treatment, a lot of medical supplies, food to hold you all over while the PRO FARMER goes out and grows more for the group.

    Right now, you can also start planting grape vines, berries, fruit trees, rhubarb, asparagus, and things like that on the farm prepping for the future, but you can enjoy every year as soon as they start producing.

    You need to show some form of commitment and you’re serious. It’s like bacon and eggs for breakfast, a chicken makes a contribution, but a pig makes a REAL commitment.

    You can get things now that you can use, and that a farmer will wish he had if some thing happens. A farmer has a lot on his plate everyday, so planning for surviving a SHTF event is not some thing he has time to plan for.

    Make yourself valuable to him, and him to you. Farmers are natural think ahead type of people and you need to think that way as well if you expect them to take you seriously. Farmers are thinking several years ahead as far as crop rotation and soil prepping and how crops work together like planting oats to protect the young alfalfa from the summer sun, that you plant with the oats. The next three years that’s your hay field for your animals.

    I could go on and on, but I think you get the basic idea. You must MUST surround yourself with people who actually know what their doing or you will not make it.

    It will be tough enough to make it when you know what you’re doing, like farming, but in bad times, it will be dang near impossible when bad times hit and you have little to no clue what you’re doing.

    Anyway, that’s my two pennies worth, but what the hell do I know anyway.

    Keep up the great work.

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  21. Wannabe May 7, 15:00

    I have been using seeds purchased in 2012 and still doing fine. Only go to feed stores and I always ask about non GMO and they direct me to such. You can tell the GMO to non because of the price and a lot of times they are listed as hybrid. NEVER buy Burpee. From what I can tell they are all GMO. NEVER purchase fruit plants from Lowe’s or Wal-Mart they buy from farms that use GMO. Was going to buy two peach plants from Lowe’s and my wife said I wonder if they ere GMO. So I called the company that grew them and they told me that their plants are in fact hybrid. Hybrid = GMO. This is why they guarantee fruit the same year they are planted. Stay away from them. It should take five years before a healthy non altered plant produces fruit. I keep seeds in freezer and seems to work fine from year to year. Never have successful with corn though. Don’t have enough space to have a healthy crop. Same with potatoes. Okra grows great even in hot weather. Just be sure to cut pods when they are about three inches and they will produce until you grow tired of picking them.

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    • MikeyW August 16, 18:52

      Hybrid does not necessarily equal GMO. Hybrid plants were developed long before gene manipulation was anything but science fiction. Of course, neither one will have seeds that grow true to the parent plant, which is why heirloom seeds are the way to go.

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    • Graywolf12 November 5, 15:23

      Please read up on GMO and hybrid. They are not the same. Use science text or Ag depts. of universities.

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  22. Christian July 10, 00:23

    Love the site and the article. Just read a really good book called ‘Spiritual Disaster Prepping’, by Stephen Wallis on Amazon and it covered mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of prepping. Add it to your list along with your seed savings and gardening. Can’t recommend it highly enough!

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  23. Graywolf12 August 3, 15:01

    Buy seeds from established seed suppliers like Seed Sabers, Parks, Burpee, ETC. Plant Day lilies, violets and Dandelions. Purslane shows up from nowhere, but seeds are available.

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  24. Graywolf12 August 3, 16:32

    I agree with Okra, and would like to add Radish, Turnip, and broccoli to the list.I allow broccoli to go to seed after we are full of heads and flowers. The bees love the yellow flowers and it is a prolific seed producer. The leaves as well as the buds are eatable.

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  25. Wildspirit November 5, 15:16

    I have tried to grow spinach many times. Can’t do it. It is hard to get it to start. But I can grow lots of lambsquarters, which tastes like spinach and can be used like it.

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  26. Tom February 7, 19:01

    Where are tomatoes? They would be very high for me.

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  27. Bren May 18, 00:46

    Thank you so much. I have a hard time trying to print out the pages.

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  28. red March 6, 03:04

    Chia! Both Mexican and Tarahumara (mountain) grow well here. Squash, definitely. Potatoes, spinach, and wheat, NO. Sweet potatoes keep better and taste better, spinach bolts too fast and amaranth is much better, with greens and grain; wheat has gluten and is mildly additive; maize is much better, anyway. niio

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  29. Rydaartist March 6, 14:59

    I agree with your choice of corn and amaranth and also wheat for the processing it requires. As for addictive!?! Please do more research as I could find only 1 Doctor’s statement with many stating Medically that more research needs to be done.

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