9 Must-Haves For Your Survival Garden

Dear Rich Lifer,

Getting groceries used to be just another chore you had to do every week. 

Now, it’s become a luxury. 

All across the country, people are waiting in long lines only to find bare shelves. 

Coming home with much less than you hoped for is crushing. 

After all, as the head of a household, your first responsibility is to provide shelter…

And your second is, of course, to provide food.

When you can’t do that because of circumstances outside of your control, it can frighten you to your core. 

You start to worry, thinking, “How will I feed my family now?”

One way to get around this is to drive from store to store, hoping that one of them will have the items you’re looking for. That takes hours, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll find what you need. 

You could also order food online and hope that it will be available for pickup. This time, though, so many people tried this option that it’s taking 7-10 days or even longer for their orders to become available… and if things get worse, even that won’t be an option. A better approach is to create a stockpile so large you can sustain long enough to weather any storm. (More on that next week.)

And an even better way to plan ahead is to create a survival garden.

A“Survival Garden” Is Smart AND Easy

You might worry that you don’t have much of a green thumb, but with all of the resources available online now, it’s hard to mess things up.

Here’s how to plant your survival garden, and the top fruits and vegetables you should make sure you add to it. 

First, determine your hardiness zone. You can find that information here on the USDA website. 

Once you’ve got that information in hand, you can pick varieties that are right for your area. 

Next, decide how much space you want to devote to your survival garden. You can keep it in a corner of your yard and grow a pretty good store, or decide to do away with grass entirely and grow a ton.

Oh, and with vertical planters you can add even more, so take advantage of that, too. 

When you’ve got that determined, draft a simple layout. You can adjust as you go, but it’s a good idea to know how many of each type of plant you can afford to have. 

Here’s What Every “Survival Garden” Should Have…


A great source of protein and fiber, beans are a must have for any survival garden. You can grow bush beans or pole beans (or both), so there’s a lot of flexibility as to how you add them to your garden plan. Be sure to find bean varieties that work for your zone – some grow better than others. 


Because of their sturdy nature, potatoes grow well in a variety of soil conditions. Also, you can usually harvest them before summer droughts happen, and they store well for later use. As a good source of carbohydrates, potatoes will keep you full and happy.  


You’ll want to grow both winter and summer squash in your garden. The summer squash grow quickly, so you can get them to your plate faster, but the winter ones last longer. Starting them at the same time (if possible) is a good way to make sure you’ll have this nutrient-rich vegetable all year round.  


Lentils don’t get nearly as much credit as they should. Like beans and peas, they have tons of protein, and they’re very versatile. You can add them to soups and stews, or harvest them and dry them out to keep for a future rainy day. 


Who wants to eat food without flavor? While onions don’t bring a lot in the way of calories, they do pack a punch in terms of taste. They can also be used for homeopathic medicine. For these two reasons alone, onions are a must-have.


These are another have-to-have if you want to enjoy your food. Easy to grow, fresh tomatoes are packed with lycopene, Vitamin C, potassium, and other nutrients. They’re the perfect component for salads, sandwiches, and salsa –  or you can just slice and eat with a sprinkle of sea salt. 


Another staple, carrots are full of vitamins and minerals. They’re perfect as an ingredient or when eaten alone as a snack. Also, because they’re grown underground, they withstand all but the harshest of freezes, so you can keep this crop going for a long time. 


It’s not a Rich Life without a little sweetness, and berries provide that for you. There are so many varieties to choose from, and if you can or freeze them, you can enjoy them all year round. 


Whether you like spicy varieties like jalapenos and habaneros, or you want something mild like bells, peppers are another perfect plant for your survival garden. Plant these now and you’ll be so happy to have some crunch and flavor in your future. 

Oh, and speaking of flavor…


One more type of plant you should always have on hand? Herbs. Setting up an herb garden is cheap, and they’re easy to maintain. When it comes time to cook any of the vegetables you’ll have on hand, you’ll be glad you thought ahead and planted basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, too. 

If you have room for more, of course you can always add to your garden as you go. Gardening has rewards beyond providing food for your family, so who knows, you might forgo the lawn entirely and start a miniature farm of your own.

By the way, you don’t have to wait until everything goes back to normal to get started. Home improvement stores are essential businesses, so if you’re looking for something to do and a way to protect your family, you can actually start this important project today. 

If you start a survival garden, you’ll never have to worry about empty grocery shelves again. It will take some time to reap the benefits of your hard work, so get started now – especially if you have a lot of free time on your hands. 

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

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Nilus Mattive

Nilus is the editor for the daily e-letter The Rich Life Roadmap and a Paradigm Press analyst.

Nilus began his professional career at Jono Steinberg’s Individual Investor Group, where he published his original research through a regular investment column. Later, he worked for a private equity business and spent five years editing Standard and Poor’s...

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