One of the best things about living in Florida is that it’s relatively easy to grow vegetables throughout the entire year. Florida summers are warm but get plenty of rain and sunlight to help your crops grow. The warm temperatures throughout the year make it perfect for those looking to plant a survival garden.
What Is A Survival Garden and Why Do You Need One?
A survival garden is all about creating a cozy, sustainable space that can help you be more self-sufficient during unexpected events or times when food might be scarce. The main goal of having a survival garden is to make sure you always have a reliable source of fresh, tasty fruits and veggies to keep your family going, even during hurricanes, economic challenges, or global health crises. By focusing on nutrient-packed, high-yielding, and easy-to-preserve crops, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and ensuring a continuous food supply.
7 Reasons You Need a Survival Garden:
- Food security: A survival garden can help safeguard against food shortages, ensuring that you have a consistent supply of fresh, healthy produce even when external factors disrupt food supply chains.
- Self-sufficiency: Growing your own food reduces dependence on grocery stores and large-scale agricultural systems, allowing you to be more self-reliant and less vulnerable to external factors that impact food availability and prices.
- Health benefits: By growing your own produce, you have control over the quality of your food, ensuring that it is free of harmful chemicals and pesticides. Consuming homegrown fruits and vegetables can lead to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
- Financial savings: Growing your own food can save you money on grocery bills, especially during times of economic uncertainty or inflation when food prices might be higher than usual.
- Environmental sustainability: Home gardening reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting food over long distances, contributing to a more sustainable food system. Additionally, using organic and eco-friendly gardening practices can help protect and improve the local ecosystem.
- Community resilience: Encouraging others to start survival gardens can create a more resilient community capable of supporting itself during times of crisis. Sharing surplus produce, exchanging seeds, and offering gardening advice can strengthen community bonds and foster a spirit of cooperation.
- Mental and physical well-being: Gardening can be a therapeutic activity, reducing stress and promoting mental well-being. It also provides an opportunity for regular physical exercise, contributing to overall health.
Best Canning Vegetables To Plant in Florida
Planting a survival garden in Florida, is not only an excellent way to ensure you have a fresh supply of vegetables during hurricane season but also a sustainable way to contribute to the local food scene.
Cucumbers are great vegetables whether you’re new to agriculture or you’ve been doing it for years. The plants are easy to grow, and each produces a lot of cucumbers, often yielding more than you know what to do with. Fortunately, preserving cucumbers is super easy and gives us delicious pickles you can serve as chips or spears.
Carrots are good crops to consider canning because pickled carrots are delicious, and you can serve them in various ways. Carrots are great filler vegetables in stews, casseroles, or sliced and cooked as a side dish. Finding a reliable food source is one of the challenges of living off-grid, and carrots help resolve this tension by being consistent, nutritious, and versatile foods.
Radishes are some of the best canning vegetables for a survival garden because they grow quickly and don’t require as much water as other crops. Radishes are crunchy, healthy, and delicious, with an extra tang you don’t get with many other vegetables.
Growing asparagus can be tricky to get the hang of, but it’s well worth the effort once it starts coming in. You can fit plenty of asparagus spears into a single canning jar, giving you plenty to eat once you break them out. We recommend cutting off the ends of the spears to add flavor during the pickling process and downsize the part of the vegetable we don’t normally eat. Then, you can compost the spear ends to create a natural, biodegradable fertilizer for your other crops.
Peppers are great for pickling, and they come in so many different shapes, sizes, styles, and levels of spiciness that you can find the perfect peppers for your palate. Peppers are also incredibly sustainable since you can collect the seeds and easily grow more after your initial harvest or save them for next year. Some good mild peppers are bell peppers, poblanos, and cubanelles.
Cooking with Survival Garden Produce:
Once you’ve harvested your survival garden vegetables, you can enjoy the fresh flavors in a variety of dishes. For a Venice-inspired meal, try making cucumber gazpacho, a refreshing cold soup that’s perfect for hot summer days. For a heartier option, cook up a delicious carrot and radish stir-fry, featuring your homegrown veggies and some local shrimp or fish. Pickled asparagus spears make a great addition to a charcuterie board, while spicy pickled peppers can be used as a topping on sandwiches, burgers, or even homemade pizza.
In an Emergency, What Can I Make With No Power?
This Radish, Carrot, and Cucumber Slaw is a versatile and refreshing dish that can be enjoyed in times of emergency or as a delightful side for everyday meals. Using canned vegetables and a simple vinegar-based dressing, it’s a no-power, no-fuss recipe perfect for preparing for hurricane season or when you’re looking for a crunchy and satisfying addition to your meal.
- 1 15 oz canned radishes, drained and sliced
- 1 15 oz canned carrots, drained and julienned or sliced
- 1 15 oz canned cucumbers, drained and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or honey (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (optional)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine the canned radishes, carrots, and cucumbers.
- In a separate small bowl or a jar with a lid, mix together the apple cider vinegar, sugar or honey, salt, and black pepper. If using a jar, close the lid tightly and shake the jar until the dressing is well combined.
- Pour the vinegar-based dressing over the canned vegetables in the large bowl.
- If using fresh parsley or cilantro and red onion, add them to the bowl with the vegetables.
- Toss everything together until the vegetables are evenly coated with the dressing.
- Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap, and let the slaw sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. You can also refrigerate the slaw for a few hours or overnight for an even better taste.
Stay Safe While Canning Your Homegrown Produce
When canning vegetables from your home garden, it’s important to consider what herbicides were used during growing. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in popular weedkillers like Roundup, can linger on produce and potentially cause health issues if consumed.
DrugWatch has a comprehensive guide that covers concerns around glyphosate residues on foods, research on health effects of exposure, and alternatives to Roundup that utilize organic methods. Protect yourself and your family by understanding what’s safe to can from your garden.
Some tips for safe canning:
- Wash all produce thoroughly before canning, even if it will be peeled. Use a baking soda solution to help remove residues.
- Peel root crops like carrots and potatoes if grown using glyphosate-based herbicides. The highest concentrations collect in the skins.
- Remove outer leaves of leafy greens like lettuce and cabbage. The younger inner leaves will have less exposure.
- Soak other produce like tomatoes, peppers, and squash to help draw out any lingering chemicals.
Ready To Start Gardening?
You can begin by visiting the Venice Farmers Market! They have vendors there with starter plants there to get you going. You can even pick up one of our adorable canvas bags to shop the rest of the market with. With so many fresh fruits, veggies, breads, cheeses and more, it’s a great place to visit on Saturdays!