9 Vegetables You’ll Need to Grow When the SHTF

how to grow vegetables
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How to Grow Vegetables

The world has seen some bad times recently right?

If you tried to buy any gardening tools or plants during the first phase of lockdown in 2020, there was a huge shortage of stock as everyone rushed to learn how to grow their own veg.

The Covid-19 pandemic took the world unaware with panicked shoppers buying foodstuffs in bulk from supermarkets and grocery stores. Some groceries were in severe shortage for certain locations. Lets take the opportunity now to learn a bit more about growing your own food in case you ever have to.

Although food shortages are relatively rare in the western world, we can always get some practise and learn the basics. By getting some things growing in your garden/ window box or even indoors, it’s a great string to add to your prepping bow.

If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that we should learn how to be more self-sufficient. Growing your own food is one way of preparing for such emergencies. On top of that – vegetables are fresher and taste better when you grow them yourself in your garden!

how to grow vegetables pin

Growing your own veg is a terrific skill to learn as it opens to door to the beginnings of self sufficiency. When emergency situations occur and our staple food supply chain is affected, it’s important you have knowledge and skills to provide nutrition and feed your family. The good news is, with the right knowledge, it’s pretty easy to get a survival garden going and that’s what this article is all about – to give you the confidence to give it a go.

There’s so many different types of vegetables you can grow like legumes, green leafy vegetables, root vegetables and others that grow as vines like pumpkins and melons. All these vegetables provide different nutritional benefits so think about the how to get a variety of what you need in your garden.

When starting out in the world of growing your own food, there are some factors to consider:

1. How fast the vegetables grow

2. The nutritional value

3. Soil type

4. Amount of space available

5. Availability of sunlight and water

Of course the other huge factor will be your location. Research what grows well in your area. Here are some good veggies to grow when SHTF.

Choosing the right plants and learning how to take good care of them is our first step into the (hopefully now not so scary) world of growing your own veg. Here are some ideas for what you could grow and how to start!


grow microgreens
pic by devi puspita amartha yahya on unsplash

Micro-greens, which grow in about 10 to 12 days, are suitable for growing in confined spaces with little sunshine. When you learn how to grow your vegetables, these ones come on top of the list because of their versatility and nutritional value. They will be ready to eat by the next weekend. You may opt to grow them indoors with artificial light or grow them next to a large window. They also do very well in greenhouses and as well as being nutritionally dense, they are fast growing.

The steps for planting them include:

  • Prepare organic soil by scooping one shovel from your lawn or garden – you can also buy soil from such places as Amazon – check the price here.
  • Place the soil in a pot that may be 16 inches for an individual person or a wide trough for family needs
  • Add some compost into your soil
  • Mix the soil using your gloved hands or with any solid object
  • Pick the seeds by hand and push each one about one inch into the soil
  • Gently spread the topmost layer of the soil to completely cover the seeds
  • Sprinkle some water
  • Water the pot gently every day and watch out for the sprouting
  • Continue to water them until they are about one and a half inches tall
  • Harvest the entire shoot with scissors and enjoy!


how to grow vegetables sunflowers
pic by justin casey on unsplash

You may already realize how pricey sunflower products have become. You can get the real and safe organic source of the raw nutrients by growing these in your backyard, garage, or kitchen window.

The only steps you need to follow in growing sunflowers are as follows:

  • Use a pot or container appropriate to the size of sunflower you are growing – min 6 inches tall.
  • If you select to grow the large sunflower mimosa, please use a larger trough or pot in the back-doors, garden, or a spacious area near the window
  • For the dwarf sunflowers, proceed with any suitable pot.
  • Insert the seeds of the dwarf sunflower about 8 inches apart
  • Insert the mimosa sunflower seeds about 2 feet apart
  • Water in the morning or evenings for three months without flooding the soil
  • Watch for falling petals and drying of back of the flowers
  • Watch them flourish into an amazing flower. When the petals dry and fall off and the green base of the head turns yellow, then brown, they are ready to harvest. Wildlife loooove sunflower seeds so you might have to think about protecting them if you notice the heads being robbed of their seeds.


pic by magda ehlers on unsplash

We know broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable with an impressive profile for vitamins and minerals, making it a great option for learning to grow. When mature you’ll be proud to produce fresh and healthy broccoli better than the grocery store. By keeping the pot cool and well-drained you’ll soon see broad sprouts spread over your pot.

  • The first step is to select the best seeds.
  • Prepare non-acidic soil by scooping the top soil from your garden and adding compost as one quarter of the soil
  • Use one small pot per seed or space them at about 12 inches in a larger trough or garden
  • Ensure that the water does water log the soil over one and a half inches deep
  • Monitor for bright green heads or purple-green ones to know that they are ready


grow radish
pic by jason leung on unsplash

Radishes are a common alternative for people that don’t like potatoes. You will have many options with these ones as you can roast, fry, or use them for salads. They also come in varieties that make it easy for you to grow.

The dark pink radishes are for summer growing. The whiter ones do well in spring and winter. You can also grow any of them indoors. Follow these steps:

  • Spread the topmost soil and sprinkle water 
  • Continue watering for four to six weeks until the leaves are bright green; if you see a few of them drying up, they may also be ready
  • Pull a few radishes in different spots to see whether they have formed a ready root.

You can now harvest your radishes, eat them immediately or store them for later.


how to grow vegetables wheatgrass
pic by peggy marco on pixabay

The famous morning ‘health shot’ that can set you back a whopping $4 at your local health food shop can be yours for a fraction of the price at home! 

Wheatgrass is easy to grow indoors where you can get full control of the environment and in only 6-10 days you’ll be able to harvest. Wheatgrass is stacked with multivitamins and a great source of magnesium and iron.

Your steps for growing wheatgrass are as follows:

  • Place a handful of wheatgrass seeds in a jar or container and pour water then immediately drain the water. These brilliant little mason jar kits create the perfect environment for growing shoots:

  • Leave the wet seeds in the container for a day to sprout
  • Spread a tray or trough with a newspaper and add composted soil to over half of the height.
  • Gently sprinkle the sprouts over it
  • Cover them with a wet paper towel so that the sprouts can grow further to about half an inch
  • Once the sprouts penetrate about an inch above the paper towel, transfer them to a sunlight source like close to a window.
  • Watch out for stems that produce a new blade or joint to know that your veggies are now ready


growing spinach
pic by davanath on pixabay

Spinach is a versatile leafy green vegetable best grown in cooler weather. Chock full of iron and a multitude of other vitamins Spinach is a great choice for a survival garden. It is super easy to grow as the only tasks involve thinning and watering. Plant them indoors or in your garden in spring and autumn.

  • Scoop some of it for indoor planting or potting and add plenty of compost manure
  • Mix the soil again and sprinkle spinach seeds all over the top
  • Gently mix the seeds with the topmost soil with a fork or the palm of your hand
  • Water lightly four days a week
  • Thin the seedlings to leave space of about three inches between each plant
  • Watch out for broad bright green leaves to know that they are ready


how to grow tomatoes
pic by kie-ker on pixabay

Ready to experience the joy of homegrown tomatoes that taste much better than from the store? With such flexible storage options (can, freeze, dry) they are an awesome addition to any sunny garden. You’ll need a garden or a wide trough and adequate light for the best results.

  • Prepare the seedlings with a starting mix that contains such additives as sphagnum, vermiculite, peat moss, and lime. Here is some perfect stuff for tomatoes on Amazon.

  • Obtain an egg tray or any other trough with similar semi-oval or semi-circular dents and add the starting mix to each dent
  • Insert two to three seeds per dent
  • Wait until the sprouts are about four inches tall to transfer the seedlings
  • Dig a hole twice the size of the seedling root and add some compost in it
  • Insert the seedling root and about half the shoot
  • Provide a form of support like a stick inserted in the soil or cage the tomato
  • Regularly sprinkle compost manure or fertilizer on the soil
  • Watch out for irregularities such as white spots, worms, and drying to thin the affected plants.
  • Once the fruits form, let them start to ripen with a yellowish color before harvesting. You can also let them ripen more if you regularly check your plants.

Green Onions

growing green onions
pic by armbrustanna on pixabay

Don’t want the endless wait for onions and all that peeling and crying in the kitchen? Then green onions are a great option for a food garden. They are some of the fastest-growing veggies and they have many of the benefits of onions with that of leafy greens to boot with a big shout out to their abundance of vitamin K. Here are the steps:

  • Obtain any container, trough, or pot and fill it half with moist soil
  • Insert the root of the bulb two inches deep into the soil and cover it with soil
  • Press gently around the bulb to ensure that it stands steadily in the soil
  • Keep the soil moist all the time by watering it every two days
  • Check them for readiness after about four weeks by squeezing the bulb gently to notice the soft spot at the top.
  • You can now harvest your green onions and enjoy their flavor


Millions of Irish can’t be wrong right? Easy to grow, packed with nutrition and calories, potatoes are a staple food for hard times. Learning how to grow potatoes is a terrific survival skill and requires no machinery and minimal labor to grow and harvest.

  • Add fertilizer or compost to soil and mix in
  • Dig trenches 4-6 inches deep
  • Place potatoes, eyes facing up every 8-12 inches and cover with soil
  • Water consistently and especially when flowering
  • When the stems grow to about 8-9 inches, pile up the soil covering about half the stems
  • Harvest by pulling out of the soil about 3 months later


how to grow carrots
pic by klimkin on pixabay

Another champion root vegetable, carrots are a good choice for growing in your garden – long-lasting and easy to grow in many different climates. 

The steps of planting carrots are as follows:

  • Double dig your planting area making sure no rocks or stones are present
  • For easy distribution mix your seeds with a handful of sand
  • Sow seeds ¼ inch deep a few inches apart separated in rows that are 1 foot apart
  • Water frequently in small amounts
  • Wait patiently as they may take 2-3 weeks to sprout
  • Harvest 12-16 weeks after planting


Knowing how to grow vegetables is a valuable survival skill. Take a moment to think about how important it would be to have the knowledge to grow enough food for you and your family.

There’s no better time than to start now. Even if you live in an urban area, grow bags, raised beds and pots can be used to help you learn the basics and feel more confident in understanding how to cultivate basic vegetables into a harvest that you can be proud of.

Have you tried growing your own veggies? What vegetables did we miss? Leave a comment and share your knowledge.

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