Debunking the Four Foot Survival Garden

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

If you’re anything like me, your survival planning never seems to end. Looking at new equipment, new methods and new scenarios has just become part of your life. You’re always trying to learn something new and comparing the new things you hear to the old ones you heard before.

That’s actually an extremely healthy attitude, as the survival community doesn’t just stand still. There are a lot of people out there, who are working on developing new tools, new equipment and new methods for survival. While good ideas don’t crop up every day, they do crop up often enough that your existing plans should probably be under a state of constant revision.

That’s what happened to me about my survival garden. I’ve got to admit, I’m not the world’s best gardener. Nor do I live in part of the country that is known for gardening. But there is a fair amount of farming around here, both growing citrus fruit and a variety of vegetables.

I’ve had a rather sizeable vegetable garden in my backyard for a few years now, learning about gardening and trying to prepare myself for the possible eventuality of having to produce my own food. It’s a good thing too, as I’m not a natural gardener. My 15 by 30 foot garden has never managed to produce as much as I would like it to. I’m sure that’s my fault, not the garden’s.

But amongst the various lessons that gardening has taught me, is that growing enough food to feed myself and my family is going to be a major chore, when and if the time comes. Along with that, I’ve come to realize that my 450 square foot garden isn’t going to be enough. I’m going to need a much bigger garden, perhaps even my whole backyard.

This really shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us, but I think it is. Part of that is that we’ve all seen people talking about growing everything they need in a four foot square garden or on an apartment balcony. While vertical gardening and other methods can help you maximize your space and get more produce per square foot, that still isn’t a big enough garden to feed yourself, let alone to give you enough of a harvest to feed your family too.

The real key here is the experience of others, more than my own experience. I’m sure that you’ve seen articles talking about how someone or other is growing everything they need in their backyard. I’ve read a number of these through the years and I’ve always been impressed by these people and their results.

But here’s the thing, in every one of those cases, the person who is growing that much food is using their entire backyard to do so. In other words, they’ve got something like a 3,000 to 6,000 square foot garden, not a 16 square foot garden. That’s a huge difference.

I even had a neighbor once who was heavily into gardening. His entire backyard was a vegetable garden, complete with a backyard sized greenhouse. Even with that, he wasn’t able to grow all the produce that his family consumed. He actually came over to talk to me about using my yard too; but I declined the offer, as I wanted the yard available for my kids.

So if you’re thinking of gardening as part of your survival plan, and you should, you probably need to severely upscale your thinking. Don’t just think about a single raised bed or even four or five raised beds, start thinking about how many raised beds you can fit into your yard, so that you can maximize the space that you have available for growing food. You may not want to grow that much now, but if a true disaster ever strikes, you’re going to need that big a garden to be able to feed your family.

Of course, that means more than just thinking about it; that means preparing to drastically expand the size of your garden, when and if the time comes. Going from a couple of raised beds to a yard full of them is going to be a lot of work. It’ll be even more to get the beds truly ready so that you can maximize your yield. But that’s exactly what you’ll have to do, in order to have enough for your family to eat.

Next time, I’ll show you how you can be ready for rapid expansion of your garden, without having to turn your whole yard into a garden right now.

In the mean time, be sure to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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