Letter Re: Seeking Advice on Gardening Skills, Seeds, and Crop Mixes

Mr. Rawles:

I’d like your advice on gardening. What skills should I concentrate on, pre-Crunch? What crops should I plant to be ready for a major Crunch? (If it makes any difference, I live in the Midwest.) What is the best source of seeds? Thank you, – T.D.W.

JWR Replies: I recommend concentrating on organic gardening and composting. (This is in anticipation of a long term scenario where commercial chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not available.) Learn seed gathering and saving.

Concentrate on vegetable crops that grow well in your climate zone. Practice using all–or nearly all–non-hybrid (“heirloom”) annual seed varieties. These will “breed true” and continue to produce well, year after year, from your saved seed. (Hybrids won’t!) As previously mentioned in SurvivalBlog, I highly recommend the heirloom seed variety packs sold by The Ark Institute, in Bandon, Oregon. Practice using those seeds this gardening season to see which varieties do well in your microclimate, and again, practice saving seed for future crops. (The book “Seed to Seed” describes how to do this for many types of vegetables and grain crops.)