Do You Have a Prepper Yard?

Blooming fruit tree

I really don’t like to say that I’m lazy. But, just because you don’t like to say something, doesn’t mean it ain’t so! Now, this isn’t a full time perpetual state, but if I can cut a corner without any compromise to quality or results, then I am all about that!

I have long been of the opinion that in order to be fully prepared for a long term crisis, you need to have not only a good stock of food laid in, but the ability to produce food as well. This is a challenging proposition in some regards, in particular if you have that lazy bent working against you. Let’s face it, catastrophes and disasters don’t come at predictable or convenient times, that’s part of their nature.

So it’s not a great idea to anticipate that one will come in the spring, when you can get a garden planted in time to do you some good. In order to be prepared for whatever level of self sufficiency you are capable of, you need to be ready at all times which means you need to be producing food now, before the balloon goes up! But gardens are a lot of work, and require a lot of time, the demands of everyday life don’t allow everyone to pursue gardening with the vigor needed to make it a significant source of food in a pinch.

Fortunately, there is a lazy man’s solution to this dilemma! This solution is what I like to call Prepper Landscaping. The theory is that by planting trees, shrubs, and other perennials that produce food, I have gotten ahead of the curve without the constant spring and summer work of serious gardening. You get the added bonus of beautifying your yard or property at the same time.

It’s mid April as I write this here in the Missouri Ozarks, and a lot of trees are blooming. It is a beautiful time of year. In my yard, plums and pears have already gone through their full bloom, peach trees are doing their flower thing, apples are starting, and my Asian Pears are putting on a gorgeous display. I am not trying to disparage the redbuds and Dogwoods that are blooming as too, but my trees have an added bonus in that every one of those blooms has the potential to become fresh fruit later in the summer and into the fall. So there is tip one, plant fruit trees!

Do it now because it takes a while for them to mature. Unlike a vegetable garden, fruit trees don’t require weeding and tilling, and sowing each year. Once you have them you have them for life and fruit out of your yard always tastes better than fruit from the store. You will get a lot of enjoyment out of your fruit trees even if a long term crisis never occurs, and kids especially love to be able to go out in the yard and pick a piece of fruit for immediate consumption!

In addition to fruit trees, there are a wide variety of shrubs and bushes that can also provide fruit for the table in bad times as well as in good. Hedges and borders can be created from these. When I lived down south one of my favorites was the Surinam Cherry. It makes an awesome privacy hedge, and in season provides large quantities of tart fruit great for canning or eating right off the branch.

Now that I’m in a more temperate zone, I like small shrubs such as Blue Berries and Currants. These are actually very attractive as landscaping shrubs, and the fruit is delicious and a good source of vitamins and antioxidants. Under windows I like a nice Gooseberry bush, the fruit is phenomenal and the thorny nature of the plant make it a great deterrent to any that might wish to gain access through a window. Black Berries are another good choice as a thorny dissuader.

There are also a number of fruiting vines that are great along fences or on trellises. I have grapes and cold hardy Kiwis, some on fences, some on trellises, and they are even nice on arched entry way gates. For the Kiwis I built a pergola, and it looks awesome when the vine is at its peak of foliage in summer. Down South, passion fruit was a favorite of mine, and it really dressed up a fence line while giving a lot of good fruit.

The point here is, planning for a long term survival situation can also be an aesthetic endeavor. Most of us like to have a good looking yard anyway, so why not combine that with food production? In fact, done right the aesthetic attributes can be a part of your opsec, you’re not planting a survival garden and prepping, you’re just creating a fancy yard!

Don’t get the wrong impression, there is work involved in Prepper landscaping, so it isn’t a complete dodge for the truly lazy! But, the work is limited to certain times. You will have to do pruning or trimming once or twice a year, and mulching as well. Most of your fruit bearing perennials love a good mulching, and for a month or so each year it can be a lot of work getting everything properly mulched. But, after the initial planting and the annual chores, fruit producing plants are a lot less work than vegetable gardening, and they can be integrated into the work that most of us do in our yards anyway.

So, do your research, find out what fruit bearing plants work in your area, and get busy! You don’t need to be on a multi acre homestead, even the average suburban yard has plenty of room for a significant amount of fruit production. When the market is out of fruit, or closed all together, you will be very happy to have the fresh fruit for eating and preserving. If the crash never comes, you will still get a lot of enjoyment and a savings on the grocery bill to boot.


Pat Bellow, Homesteader

PS: Have you downloaded your copy of the Miracle Farm yet?  Get it now.


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