essential foods you should be growing
Posted in: Food and Nutrition, Homesteaders, Organic Gardening

The Best Survival Foods to Grow in 2023

Do you want access to the most nutritious foods available? Check out these survival foods and staple crops you should be growing instead of buying!
essential foods

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Take steps towards a healthier life, and learn about some essential foods to grow! You can take responsibility for some of your food now. Start where you are with what you have! Anyone can grow their own food staple crops. You don’t have to have a lot of space, or be a farmer to make a difference in your health and the planet by learning how to produce the freshest, most nutritious plants at your house! Get growing fast and plant these essential foods !

I am showing you the staple crops that you should be growing instead of buying at the grocery store! These essential vegetables, fruits, and herbs are some of the easiest plants to cultivate.

Growing your own food will give you confidence, pride, and nourishment beyond what you buy at the market.

It doesn’t cost much to start and takes very little time. Plant these essential foods, kick back and reap the rewards in no time!

This post is all about foods to grow this year,

essential foods you should be growing

Staple Foods to Grow This Year

self-sufficiency gardening

Survival Foods You Should Be Growing Now

You don’t need to be a gardener to grow your own food! You can start in early spring or grow foods year round depending on your climate. I’ve made a list of staple foods anyone can grow, and no it’s not sweet potato, corn, or rice crops!

Staple foods are just foods eaten regularly! You want to plant lots of these in your survival garden.

Whether you are a home cook or spend little time in the kitchen, quality nutrition should be at the forefront of your mind. Everyone can find a way to grow these essential foods – No gardening experience is necessary!

Essential Foods to Grow in Containers

Container gardening is a great way to grow a lot of nutritious foods. It is easy to get started, and you don’t need a lot of money or space.

You can take responsibility for your food! When you learn a few simple techniques, you can allow yourself and your family to have access to the highest quality, freshest food available. Foods grown by You are the healthiest.

Also, you know precisely how you raised the food. Gardening in containers is super easy. So, if you only have an apartment balcony, no worries! Start a container garden and plant seeds and easy-to-grow vegetables!

Whether you want vegetables that grow in the ground or an indoor vegetable garden in your apartment, it is not as difficult as you may think! Here are the things I would buy for indoor apartment gardening!

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Take Responsibility for Your Food

Taking responsibility for some of your food sources is the first step to becoming self-sufficient and provided a sense of security when it comes to food supply. What was once a way of life, gardening, has become a lost art to younger generations. 

We rely on businesses to produce food products that entice us with colorful packaging. We have the privilege of accessing food whenever and wherever without worrying about the process of production and logistics that move food around the world.

However, this privilege has a dark side. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and increasing numbers of autoimmune disorders are inevitable effects of this “luxury.”

Thankfully, you have options. You can change what foods you eat and what you spend money on in restaurants and stores.

In addition, you can grow some of the most nutritious foods that can fortify your diet and help you live a longer, healthier life. It is an easy step towards more sustainable nutrition for you and your family.

garden essentials

What to Grow in a Survival Garden

Begin your journey gardening with zero experience, and you will discover that many plants are simple to cultivate. All you will need are seeds, sun, and soil. 

You will wish you hadn’t waited so long to grow these essential plants. It is so easy to do!

Your little garden will make for fewer expenses on your grocery list, tastier dishes, and unsurpassed nutrition that can only come from freshly picked foods.

You can grow these plants in small containers, raised beds, or a community garden. Additionally, you will be able to produce some plants indoors on a windowsill or with a grow light!

These are the Best Seeds to Grow Indoors!

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essential foods you should be growing

Easiest Foods to Grow at Home

#1 Greens for Salads, Smoothies, and Stir-fry

Seriously, these are too easy. Greens are the best homegrown veg! There are so many varieties besides conventional spinach and kale from the supermarket.

Did you know that there are four types of kale and multiple varieties of each kind that are super nutritious? Greens are essential to a low maintenance vegetable garden!

While kale has been eaten for thousands of years, it has only been conventionally grown for grocery stores since the early 2000s.

It became a popular food choice since nutrition research revealed more data on phytochemicals and their importance in human biology. However, it is essential to note that scientists have not discovered everything there is to know about plants and the many bioactive chemicals that serve us, humans.

We are only beginning to understand these processes. Therefore, we can assume that plants are much more critical to our health than we can even begin to comprehend.

Kale and spinach make great additions to our diet. Not only for the health benefits but also because they are less pungent than some other greens.

So, you can hide them in smoothies and soups if greens are not yet your favorite food group!


Try These Heirloom Varieties

Best Survival Foods to Grow

  • Scarlet Kale
  • Tronchuda Kale
  • Casper Kale
  • Thousandhead Kale
  • Walking Stick Kale
  • Japanese Flowering Kale
  • Dazzling Blue Kale
  • Red Ursa Kale 
  • Dwarf Siberian Kale
  • Blue Curled Scotch Kale
  • Russian Red Kale
  • Nero Di Toscana
  • Lucinato (Dinosaur Kale)
essential foods you should be growing
  • Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach
  • Amsterdam Prickly Seeded Spinach
  • Bokoboko Spinach
  • Chijimisai Spinach
  • Chinese Multicolored Spinach
  • Galilee Spinach
  • Giant Noble Spinach
  • Gigante D` Inverno Spinach
  • Komatsuna Spinach
  • Merlo Nero Spinach
  • Monstrueux de Viroflay Spinach
  • New Zealand Spinach
  • Red Malabar Spinach
  • Strawberry Spinach
healthy foods budget garden

More Essential Greens You Should Be Growing

Kale and spinach are just the beginning.

Greens to include in your garden space include lettuces, Asian greens like bok choi, arugula, swiss charge, mustards, collards, and the list goes on.

Asian greens like bok Choi, pak choi, tatsoi are super easy to grow and super nutritious! Top your pizzas with tatsoi. In fact, the leaves are mild like spinach and taste great.

There is nothing better than grabbing a handful of fresh lettuce for a salad. No more food waste from old, bagged salad from the grocery store!

essential foods you should be growing

How to Grow Greens

Most greens prefer temperatures between 50-80 degrees and tolerate cold weather well. However, warmer temperatures can speed the growth of the plants too much. 

In our garden in North Carolina zone 8A, greens grow pretty much year round, but most varieties die back in the warm summer temperatures.

These plants require fertile soil, so a good organic potting mix and compost is ideal for raised beds or containers. Mix a little compost into the ground for in-ground planting. 

Plant the seeds and do nothing but water every few days. Keep the soil moist, but make sure the water can drain out properly if using containers. 

Pro Tip: Plant with herbs like parsley and oregano to help keep pests away and attract beneficial insects. 

essential foods you should be growing

Best Foods to Plant for Survival

#2 Seasonings

Most of these plants grow as perennials in temperate zones. They require very little maintenance, and provide so much flavor and health benefits.

Plant These Essential Seasonings

  • Bunching Onions
  • Walking Onions
  • Texas Early Onions
  • Southport Red Globe Onions
  • Leeks
  • Chives
  • Elephant Garlic
  • Russian Red Garlic
  • Chinese Pink or White Celery
  • Utah Tall Celery
  • Herb-Lovage (Celery-like taste)
  • Giant Prague Celeriac (root)
essential foods you should be growing
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro, Dwarf Lemon Cilantro
  • Greek, Spicy, and Vulgare Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Anise
  • Basil, Thai Holy Basil, Spicy Basil, Chinese Sweet Basil
  • Lemongrass
  • Sage, Pineapple Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  • Mints

With evergreen bunching onions, you can cut the greens and they will grow back, or you can use the whole onion.

They are so rich in flavor, and make the best powder when dehydrated and processed in a blender. You can dry and process all of the foods above to make shelf-stable seasonings to use!

Did you know garlic is also simple to grow? You can even plant cloves that you purchase at the grocery store. They are ready to harvest when the stems begin to fall over and turn yellow.

Herbs work well in windowsills, containers, beds, and among the garden between other fruits and vegetables. They are beautiful and work well in front yard and patio landscapes.

Did you know garlic is also simple to grow? You can even plant cloves that you purchase at the grocery store. They are ready to harvest when the stems begin to fall over and turn yellow.

Herbs work well in windowsills, containers, beds, and among the garden between other fruits and vegetables. They are beautiful and work well in front yard and patio landscapes.

Herbs work well in windowsills, containers, beds, and among the garden between other fruits and vegetables. They are beautiful and work well in front yard and patio landscapes.

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Use this quick garden companion planting reference to save time!

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I swear by this list! (I even have a laminated one hanging in my greenhouse for reference!)

Essential Garden Vegetables and Fruits to Grow

#3 Fruits:

Did you know that you can grow all sorts of berries in containers? Strawberries do very well in small spaces, vertical planters, and containers. Blueberries grow well in containers, too!

If you have the space, blueberries are a great bush to incorporate into your landscaping and do exceptionally well near pine trees where the soil pH is slightly acidic.

Once established you can expect berries for years to come! Fruit gardening does not need to be DAUNTING! There are ways to have fruit year round without a ton of maintenance.

This post goes into detail about which fruit trees you should plant.

Strawberries produce runners, and if you plant these in a large, permanent bed, you will only need to do maintenance once or twice a year.

Also, you will get fruit forever! Plant strawberries with chives and asparagus for a perennial ecosystem that will produce food for a very long time.

Grapes and muscadines are so fun and easy to grow, but need a little space and support to go wild. These are permanent fruiting vines, and will bring joy and so much nutrition to you and your tribe!

Tomatoes are so fun and easy to grow! There are so many varieties, and there is no comparison between a freshly-picked tomato from the garden and one from a store.

dream garden

Plant These Essential Fruits

Choose a variety that is adapted to your growing zone.

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberry Bushes
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Mulberries
  • Aronia Berries
  • Honeyberries
  • Red or White Currants
  • Grapes
  • Muscadines (Try Carlos and Tara varieties)
  • Cherry Tomatoes, Spoon Tomatoes, and Baby Boom Tomatoes are Super Prolific!
  • Heirloom Tomatoes- Experiment With Different Kinds!
  • Don’t forget about fruit trees! Dwarf varieties can take up no space at all, and provide food for 20+ years.

How I Grow Staple Foods in My Garden

I am in zone 8A (central North Carolina), and I grow herbs all these year round in brick planters on my back patio. It has morning sun and afternoon shade.

Also, I use the no-dig method with raised beds that I constructed from thick pine wood.

I will plant seeds in March-April and then again in August-September to keep everything in stock and ready to harvest. When the plants produce seeds, I save those so I will not have to buy seeds again.

Ultimately, my goal is to create a self-sustained garden that produces food throughout the year with as little effort from me as possible, so that we can eat sustainable foods. By consuming more whole fruits and vegetables, we can reduce food waste, too!

If you choose to use containers, start with an organic potting soil for containers or raised beds. Naturally, this makes it super easy to get started, and ensures that your plants have all the resources they need to flourish.

Are you ready to start growing your own fruits veggies and herbs? Or, are you an experienced gardener that has a few ideas to add to this list? We want to know your favorite homegrown vegetables. Let us know in a comment below!

Learn more about gardening.

How is your self-sufficient journey coming along?

Have you checked these essential gardening components off the list, yet? I would love to hear how it is going! Let me know about how gardening for self-sufficiency is working for you and your tribe by commenting below.


Learn About Sustainability

Knowing your food and taking responsibility for how it is produced is the best way to make a positive ecological impact. Starting a small garden can do so much for your peace of mind as well as the planet!

You are reducing waste and resources while relying less on conventional agriculture and its use of pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate.

Most importantly, you will be eating the healthiest way possible! See our post about zero waste grocery shopping for even more ideas.

Find out how to be more self-sufficient by gardening for sustainability.

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This post is all about essential foods anyone can grow.

essential foods
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