Urban Garden Planning

Many preppers live in cities, whether they truly want to or not. Their life situations are such that they are unable to just pull up stakes and move to the country. Yet, they want to at least be a little self-sufficient and urban gardening is one way to accomplish that.

There are options available for those who don’t have large yards where they can have an extensive garden. Of course, limited space means limited garden produce but you have to start somewhere.

Container gardening is one avenue worth exploring. With this method, you grow your veggies in planter boxes and other pots. No, you aren’t going to be able to grow rows of corn, of course. But, things like strawberries, tomatoes, even pole beans are doable with the right set ups. You may be surprised just how much you can grow on just a small patio or deck. You can even do potatoes this way. Use a barrel or make a cylinder out of fine mesh chicken wire. Plant your seed potatoes in several inches of good soil and compost. Keep adding soil as the plant grows, making sure new potatoes are fully covered at all times. By the end of the season, you’ll have quite a number of taters, just dump out the barrel.

For those with even just small backyards, try square foot gardening. Popularized by Mel Bartholomew, this is sort of like container gardening taken to the next level. Build boxes out of cedar or some other weather resistant material (but NOT treated lumber). I have success with using 2×10 or 2×12 boards. You’re just making squares with the boards resting on their sides. Use galvanized nails or screws made for outdoor applications. Put the boxes on the ground and fill them with soil. Square foot gardening actually incorporates an entire system, with dividing each box into a grid and planting certain things in each. Stop by your local library and pick up one of Mel’s books or do some Googling for all the details.

Many cities and towns have set up community garden plots. Some are free and others require a small fee to rent your own space. Essentially, these are vacant lots that the city owns and they allow gardeners to plant their stuff there. This is a great way to meet fellow gardeners, many of whom may just be preppers. Contact your local university extension office for info on where you can find a community garden in your area.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Get creative and I bet you can find some way to grow at least a little bit of your own food this year.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for SurvivalWeekly.com. He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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