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Survival Gardening: How To Boost Your Disaster Preparedness

December 28th, 2011

It is as good a time as ever to begin your own survival garden for you and your family.  This year, increased food prices, economic uncertainty and recent record natural disasters have undoubtedly heightened our concern about the safety and availability of food. A desire for a survival garden may also be rooted in the fact that you crave fresh, organic and non-GMO vegetables, fruit and herbs year round. Or like our parents and grandparents during World War Two, “victory gardens” save money, while allowing commercially grown food to be directed to areas that need it.  Whatever the reasoning, survival gardens are easy to construct and following these additional suggestions can allow your family to eat healthfully from home.

How To Start A Survival Garden:  First, decide what your gardening goals are.  Are you looking to add a few more fresh fruits and vegetables to your weekly meals? Perhaps you want an emergency food supply? Or, maybe take it a step further and completely live off the grid? Whatever you decide, it’s best practice to begin by planning a 4-foot wide space for your garden.  You do not want it any wider or you’ll have some trouble planting, harvesting and weeding in the center.  You may make the length as long as you prefer, yet many like to begin with 4×12 feet and the opportunity to grow larger as need be. Pick a location that’s relatively flat and receives sunlight with some shade at certain parts of the day.

After you have found the perfect location, dig an area about 1 foot deep.  You may dip deeper to add more vitality to your garden, but keep in mind that you’ll need more soil to compensate.  Using sized pieces of wood, form an “L” at one end of the garden and use a power drill to set each screw in.  Do the same for all four corners until you have a sturdy rectangular shape. Fill in the hole with nutrient-rich, organic soil, leaving some space a few inches at the top.  Use compost periodically to boost the soil’s needs.

Deciding What To Plant:

Grow any type of fruits, vegetables and herbs you prefer, but do keep in mind that some plants are advantageous to grow together while others will literally steal nutrients from the plant next door.  Check our Companion Gardening blog post to see a complete list of companion plants.

Planting medicinal herbs and plants is a good practice for those who aspire to grow a garden for emergency purposes. Garlic, onions, aloe, cloves, anise seed and other herbs have proven medicinal qualities that could be helpful for injuries and other ailments in a crisis.

Emergency Seed Banks: Many of us want to be prepared in any type of natural or economic disaster, and creating your own emergency seed bank is one way to ensure your seeds are viable when you need them most.  Begin by selecting a wide variety of seeds that are non-hybrid heirloom and non-genetically modified.  Next, make sure your seeds are completely dry and place them in a vacuum-sealed bag.  A Mylar® bag may also be used to ensure tight sealing.  Then, place bags in an airtight, waterproof container or a compact storage case.  Carefully label your seeds and keep planting guides in the container as well. These simple steps will increase the lifespan of your seeds, while giving you more control and self-sufficiency over your food supply in a worst-case scenario.

Storing Fruits and Vegetables: Canning your leftover fruits, vegetables and herbs from your survival garden can prevent waste and can prepare you and your family for most unexpected emergencies.  Using mason jars and two-piece lids will suit you just fine for canning foods.  Make sure the food, cans and lids are sterilized before you label and place the jars in storage for later use.  Freezing food in air tight bags will also retain most of the nutritional value, while blanching vegetables before freezing can stop enzymatic activity that slowly causes the quality of the food to dissipate. Remember that freezing is better for short-term consumption, as a loss of power could mean the loss of your food if you do not have a backup generator.

Do you have a prepared food source for your family in an emergency? 

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Jerry’s Garden: “Good luck happens when preparedness meets opportunity”

May 3rd, 2011

Hi Everyone!  Hope you all are enjoying the beginnings of Springtime!  Spring is such a nice time of year—everything seems to be renewed and refreshed, trees and plants turning green, bees buzzing past you, baby animals opening their eyes for the first time—you get the point!

However, Springtime can also be a dangerous time when it comes to weather.  Flash flooding and tornadoes are pretty common during this time of year.  Because the ground is typically already soaked with the winter’s snow, and because it tends to rain a lot during Spring, oftentimes the rain has nowhere to go—except into your home!

Tornadoes typically rear their nasty heads whenever there are massive weather changes—such as severe cold fronts meeting severe warm fronts.  Springtime is an ideal time for tornadoes to form.  Many of us in the greater Raleigh, NC area experienced this phenomenon a couple weekends ago.  Tornadoes are by no means a common occurrence in our area, but they do show up from time to time.

This time, when they showed up, they really wanted to make sure everyone noticed them!  We had over 60 separate tornadoes touch down in our area, causing millions of dollars in damage, killing 2 dozen people, and hurting hundreds more.  My wife and I managed to escape unscathed—slight property damage but nothing more.

The reason I bring all of this up is to ask the question of you, “Are you prepared for natural disasters?”  I know many of us prepare for disasters such as drastic climate change, government collapse, biohazard situations, etc., but do we prepare for every day disasters Mother Nature may decide to throw our way?  Disasters that can last only minutes, but can drastically alter our lives none-the-less?

I think it’s important, if you call yourself a “prepper“, to be prepared for any disaster that may come your way—not just the more exciting, conspiracy theory type of disasters.  My wife and I, for example, have a hurricane/tornado survival kit prepared.  We have a plan and a contingency plan.  We knew what to do, where to go in our home, and how to keep ourselves safe when we heard a tornado had been spotted touching down in our area.

Natural disasters can happen anywhere and some can happen with absolutely no warning.  The best thing you and your family can do is be prepared for all scenarios.  Go over the plan with your family, rehearse it, and come up with an alternate plan in case the first one is not viable.  The goal is to survive.  Material things can be replaced, but lives cannot.  Be prepared and your chances are better that you will survive any kind of disaster thrown your way!

About the Author

Jerry Greenfield

My number one focus is growing my own food. I don’t think that really counts as a hobby.  For some people it is, but for me, growing my own fruits and vegetables and saving my own seed is the key to survival. The only person you can count on is yourself, if you ask me. The government is trying to help us all with GMOs and welfare, but it’s all a crock. I also like to build things and read Transcendentalist authors from the 1860s.

Connect with Jerry via his blog and Facebook page: Grow Like Crazy


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Growing Debt and Growing a Victory Garden

September 20th, 2010


Humble Seed will often point out reasons why growing your own food is important, from the freshest foods possible to a sense of personal accomplishment, but there’s another necessary reason why so many families today are turning to gardening: debt.

Today’s economy has forced many families into picking and choosing where they will spend their hard earned money, and sometimes, it can come down to what bills will be paid versus what types of meals will be put on the table. There are families feeling the pressure to buy more processed foods, because they are less expensive. Sadly, processed foods can be very unhealthy. There are also families choosing to grow their own foods, because starting from seed is inexpensive, and the yields can be high—with enough vegetables to feed your family and more for an entire growing season. Aside from the expenses of getting your garden ready and maintaining it, growing your own foods can be very economical.

If you do not have the space or yard for your own garden why not partner with a family member, friend or neighbor and create a joint victory garden? Victory gardens were first created during World War I and World War II in order to minimize the pressure on the public food supply that was caused by the wars. They were herb, fruit and vegetable gardens that were planted at families’ residences and public parks. Today, with the slowly recovering economy and continuing frustrations with the way our foods are being produced and processed, the word ‘victory’ can be an inspiration for a better and more sustainable world. With the popularity of victory gardens growing, it’s clear that people are making informed choices about where they will spend their money, how they will manage to stay afloat during the bad economy, and what foods they will feed their families.

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Guest Blogging for Humble Seed

June 8th, 2010

At Humble Seed, we know that people who live sustainably or are interested in living sustainably through growing their own foods are knowledgeable on various subjects related to our philosophy of:

We believe that the benefits you receive from growing your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables from seed outweigh buying store-bought foods.

Whether you are an experienced gardener, a prepper, or an organization that is interested in growing a community garden, growing your own food from seed provides you with fresher foods, saves you money, and can help you maintain a healthy and self-reliant lifestyle.

If you’re an individual who [or you work for a company that] is passionate about topics that complement the Humble Seed philosophy and happy to share your expertise for the betterment of our planet, we would like to consider you as a guest blogger for our Humble Seed website. From composting to seed saving and heirloom vegetables to community gardens, we’re excited to help build awareness through great, informative blog posts.

Guest blogging is a great way for an individual or company to get new readership via linking back to your blog. It’s also great for readers, as they will get to learn about topics they’re interested in from fresh, new perspectives.

If you’re interested in guest blogging for Humble Seed please send the following information to

  1. Short bio that outlines how you fit in with the Humble Seed philosophy.
  2. Link to your blog or website.
  3. Topics within the niche that you are interested in covering.

Note: This is not a paying gig but more of a ‘sharing is caring’ blog partnership in order to promote sustainability.

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