Lets talk about food production during some kind of long term SHTF situation. Whether its nuclear war, some kind of new disease, climate change,,,,, combination of several things, there might come a point in time when you have to grow your own food. So what types of seeds should you stockpile for some kind of long term SHTF situation? Lets break it down to 3 categories – short term storage, mid term storage, long term storage.
Short Term Storage Foods
These are the foods that need to be eaten within a few days to a couple of weeks of being harvested. This is going to include most of your leafy greens, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, spinach, summer squash and zucchini.
Beans and peas are a good example of short term and long term foods. We will get into storing peas and beans later in the article. For snap beans, they can be picked, boiled and eaten right after their harvested.
One of the benefits of beans – they do not require extra nitrogen to be added to the spoil. Throw some manure and pot ash down, and the beans will supply their own nitrogen.
Leafy greens do not make good warm – hot weather crops, bugs love them. I have seen bugs wipe out several rows of greens in a matter of 1 or 2 days.
Turnips and radishes are easy to grow, but will need to be eaten within a few days of being harvested.
Cucumbers can stay good for several days, to maybe a week or so after being harvested. Cucumbers have certain “issues” that may not make them good for a long term post SHTF situation – they like lots of water and they require lots of nitrogen. So unless you have some kind of organic high nitrogen fertilizer available, and lots of water, cucumbers may not be a good choice.
Okra is a good quality high producing plant, but you have to cook or boil the okra pods before their edible. One of the problems with okra, their a hot weather plant that likes lots of water. If you live in a cool region, okra may not be a good plant for you.
Mid Term Storage
These are the foods that can be stored for several months before they have to be eaten.
This list includes:
- Certain types of winter squash
Certain fruits can be and dehydrated and stored long period of time. If you have some wire trays available, place the fruit on the tray, and put the tray into something hot – like a car or truck with the windows slightly cracked. During the summer time, the inside of a truck or car can reach 40 degrees higher then the outside temperature. So if its 80 degrees outside, the inside of a car can reach the 120s.
With outside temps in the 90 to lower 100s, temps inside a car or truck can reach around 140 degrees. In other words, the inside of a truck or car can act as a dehydrator for drying stuff like apple slices and plums to make prunes.
Winter squash is a name used to describe squash that can be stored for several weeks, or several months before it has to be cooked. One example is the Acorn Squash – it can be stored in a dry cool place for several weeks before it needs to be eaten.
To store potatoes, just make sure their kept dry and in a cool dark place.
Onions can be stored in some panty hose, or somewhere they will not be bruised. The nice thing about storing onions, the root ball can be planted to grow more onions. When its time to plant the onion, the ball will send out a green shoot. When you see the green shoot, its time to plant the onion.
Long Term Storage
These are the foods that can be grown in the summer time, dried and stored through the winter.
Pecans do not require any special attention to store for long periods of time, just make sure their kept dry and in a cool location. In the southern part of the United States, early settlers would plant rows of pecan trees around their homesteads. The bushels of pecans the trees produced, provided the settlers with a source of food during the winter months. If nothing else, the pecans were used to make pecan pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas. With modern recipes, 1 slice of pecan pie can have 400 calories.
Special attention should be paid to stockpiling beans that are high in protein, fiber, folate and other nutrients
Chickpeas – 8.86 grams of protein in a 3.5 ounce serving
Black-eyed peas – 211 mg of calcium in a 1 cup serving and 19.91 grams of protein in 1/2 cup.
Lentils – 26 grams of protein in a 3.5 ounce serving
Kidney beans – 24 grams of protein in a 3.5 ounce serving
Peas – 5.4 grams of protein 67% RDA of Vitamin C, 23% RDA of Thiamine (Vitamin B1) in a 3.5 ounce serving.
Pinto beans – 8 grams of protein in a 1/2 cup serving
Soybeans – 36.49 grams of protein in 3.5 ounces
Peas can be shelled, dried in the sun or by using the inside of a car or truck and stored for several months.
Beans can be strung together using needle and thread, and hung up to dry. This is where the term “string beans” comes from.
Types of Seeds
One of the big benefits of snap beans – under good conditions, the plants can be picked every 2 – 3 days. Lets say that you have several rows of snap beans 100 feet long, you should be able to pick those rows ever 2 – 3 days. The harvested food should be enough to feed an average sized family for several days.
During the spring of 2010, my family and I planted a community garden that 3 families shared. In one day we picked almost 5 gallons of snap beans and 5 gallons of potatoes. About 3 or 4 days later, we picked another 3 – 5 gallons of snap beans. This picking continued every 2 – 4 days until the drought put a stop to the bean production.
- Tomatoes (heirloom)
With snap beans not only do you get a high producing plant, but you have a crop that can be dried and stored for a long period of time, or that can be canned / jarred and stored for several months.
On top of being high producers and being able to be stored for several months, beans are rich in nutrients. All three of those factors makes them an excellent choice for anyone interested in long term survival post SHTF.
For some kind of long term SHTF situation, some of your better seeds to stockpile are beans, peas, onions, greens, radishes, corn, cucumbers, winter squash and summer squash. Those plants should be able to supply your family with a short and long term food supply.
One of the goals is to be able to grow your food during the summer, dry it in the summer sun if need be, and then store it during the winter months.