The next instalment from Kowhai Thompson

Permaculture – Be Prepared, the Survival Garden Trend

Permaculture gardening attracts all types. City people who want to have their hands in the soil and some fresh herbs for a meal. Lifestylers who want to be more self sufficient, and survival types who want to be prepared should bad times come.

Over the last few decades there has been a trend for ‘prepping’ developing in many western countries.

Preppers are those who are very well prepared for financial hard times or natural disasters. Often this means cupboards packed with tinned food, gas cannisters and water. This is not a completely new idea. Vegetable gardening was particularly important during the depression and during the wars of the 20th Century. In countries such as the US which felt the brunt of the financial shock of 2008, there is a growing awareness of the benefits of being prepared for financial shocks too. In New Zealand it is more likely to be natural disasters that could cause us to be without food for a few days or possibly a week or more. A home garden that is stocked with some good food sources could be a saviour during unexpected events. There are a few key crops which provide valuable nutrition if required.

  • Potatoes are great survival garden crop, can be planted in many different types of soils and provide valuable carbohydrates. They also store well over Winter.
  • Pumpkins are a great crop to grow for calories and store well also.
  • Hazelnuts & Almonds provide valuable fats and protein.
  • Parsnips are flavourful and have lots of nutrients, they store well in the ground with a thick layer of mulch on top. 
  • Sunflowers provide vitamin E and trace minerals. A bit of work to peel but a good store of nutrients.
  • Apples & Pears are a great source of vitamins and minerals, preserve well for Winter storage. 
  • Scarlet Runner Beans can be dried completely and stored in jars, an excellent source of protein.

With these key crops you’ll have a basic survival garden, or if you’re running late home, skip the supermarket and head to the garden instead!