Preppers are known for always being prepared when disaster strikes. Being a prepper doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a survivalist. These are totally different terms.
Unfortunately, the media confuse them as being the same. Being a prepper boils down to having the right mindset so that you are prepared when the unexpected strikes.
Make no mistake. In many parts of the United States, it seems that emergencies are unlikely to happen because we’re plugged into a very complicated and powerful infrastructure that gives us the light, power, and gas, and other essentials that we need for a high standard of living.
But what if I told you that all of those things can disappear overnight. That’s how dependent we are on the grid.
And the more complicated a system is, the harder it will be to revive when the unexpected happens The unexpected can and does happen because the only constant in life is change.
So what do you do in that situation?
Well, the key is to be mentally prepared.
To ensure that you and your loved ones will make it through days, weeks, or even months after an emergency, you should develop the basic know-how and proper expectations and assumptions.
This means, building a self-reliant home or thinking in homestead terms.
How Does This Play Out?
Well, most Americans don’t even think they’re vulnerable to lack of access to food.
If you live in the middle of a city, please understand that the reason you can eat, day-after-day, is because your corner grocery store is plugged into a vast transportation and food production and processing network.
What if something happens to that network? What if the roads get blocked or for whatever reason transportation is not possible? What if the producers go under for whatever reason?
It’s a nightmare scenario. There are no two ways about it, and therefore it’s really important to know the basics of farming.
Now, you might roll your eyes and dismiss all of this thinking: “I live in the middle of the city. How in the world will I be able to farm?”
Well, it’s actually easier than you think. If you have any sort of access to soil or dirt, you’re half-way there.
Basic Farming for Preppers
As a prepper, here are the essential steps you need to know to start farming.
1. Build a Plot Near Your Home
It doesn’t matter if you live in a condo, an apartment complex, or a single-detached home in the middle of a concrete jungle. Please understand that most people can get some dirt together and put it in a container. That is the building block of a garden plot.
You don’t have to build a massive farm or plantation. Having enough container pots of soil is a firm foundation for growing whatever you need to survive.
2. Plant an Herb Garden
A basic plant you can grow and enjoy is an herb.
There are many different herbs out there, and you could simply grow them by putting them by the window sill. And you can also grow edible plants by lining them up on your porch or any open area where they can get access to the sun.
3. Grow Potatoes and Root Crops in Buckets
If you have access to a bucket and you can get soil, you can poke drainer holes and grow potatoes and other root crops in buckets. These types of crops are very helpful because they pack a lot of calories.
4. Choose Plants and Seeds That Are Ideal for Your Climate
As a prepper, you can’t just grow everything green and expect things to work out. Pay close attention to your climate zone.
In the United States, there are many different climate zones and growing seasons. You have to know these details. Knowing these can help you pick the right plants, seeds, and crops and plant them at the right time of the year to have a decent harvest.
This is not just a matter of getting seeds together, putting them in the soil, and hoping for the best. It doesn’t work that way. You have to work with the climate in your area.
5. Store the Right Garden Tools
The great thing about being a prepper is that garden tools don’t have to be formal. As long as they do the basic job, you can create your own garden tools.
For example, there are many ways you can poke a hole in the ground, there are many ways you can scrape dirt, and there are also different methods for picking out weeds.
Knowing this, you can plant a successful garden by improvising your own garden tools.
6. Learn About Beneficial Insects
Keep in mind that there are two kinds of insects: insects that help you and insects that destroy your plants.
Know the difference between the two and encourage beneficial insects like ladybugs.
7. Learn How to Properly Harvest Your Crops
It’s one thing to plant; it’s another to maintain your plants; another to harvest.
Make sure that you properly harvest, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Also, learn how to store them.
This is where a lot of preppers fall apart because they only put in a lot of time, effort, and focus in growing plants. They fail to properly store them.
Failure to do so leads them to give these fruits and vegetables away or let them go to waste.
Please understand that proper storage is just as important as learning how to plant and grow crops.
8. Some Basic Plants You Can Grow at Home
Depending on your climate zone, you can look into growing herbs, like chives, basil, thyme, or rosemary. You can also grow lettuce, green beans, peppers, sprouts, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, squash, pumpkins, and zucchinis.
9. Use Composting
As much as possible, use your household and kitchen wastes to create a fertilizer that will help you grow more food. This is fairly straightforward.
You can create a compost bin that you just turn in week after week, or you can even dig up a pit and put all your waste there and then open it back up after a few weeks to turn it.
However you want to do it, make sure you recycle because you don’t know if you’re going to have access to industrial or chemical fertilizers.
10. Learn How to Take Care of Livestock
The first thing to come to mind upon hearing about livestock is big animals such as cattle or enormous pigs.
But chickens, rabbits, or even bees are also livestock. They are aptly called micro-livestock.
The great thing about rabbits, for example, is that they multiply very quickly; they get fat fast, and they eat pretty much any vegetable. They go well with a basic vegetable patch and their droppings can be used as fertilizer.
Canning and Food Preservation
If you want to farm, you also have to know the basics of preserving and storing the food that you worked so hard to produce. This is where canning comes in.
Canning and food preservation are important for preppers because they help them preserve large quantities of food and extend its shelflife for as long as possible.
Acidic foods like apples and apple-derived products, berries, peaches, fruit juices, and fruit sauces usually last the longest because of the acid they contain.
Concentrated tomato products also last longer than canned tomatoes.
Less acidic foods like beans, corn, and others are safe to store, provided you can find an area that is cool enough, dark enough, and has low humidity.
Most vegetables and all types of meat are low in acid. So you need to take special care in preserving these types of food. Either you add salt or you use a pressure canner to prevent bacteria from growing.
Drying is another option for meat and many types of veggies that are usually harder to preserve. Either you use an electrical dehydrator or you can lay out thin strips of salted meat and veggies under the sun.
The Basic Ways of Preserving Food
Just for your reference, there are four basic ways to preserve food and extend its shelf life: 1) pickling; 2) canning; 3) drying or dehydrating the food; or 4) freezing it.
Obviously, the last option requires access to electricity. Keep that in mind.