No matter how much food you have stocked, if a crisis lasts long enough there will come a time when you will need to grow your own food. Growing food is a crucial skill to know after a survival situation. But what if it isn’t safe or possible, due to weather conditions, to grow your food outdoors?
We have talked in the past about what foods you should be growing, but which of these foods can you grow indoors? We know that locally grown food not only tastes better, but is much better for you as well.
What To Grow Indoor
If you do decide to use homegrown food as a main source of sustenance, it is important to diversify your plants for several reasons. For starters, you will not want to eat the same thing over and over again. It will get boring and can also deplete you of valuable nutrients that the food is lacking.
More importantly, though, crops will live and reproduce at different times of the year. If you have only one kind of plant, you are covered for one part of the year and left completely exposed for the rest.
In this regard, crops are often grouped into three categories: annuals, biennials and perennials. Annuals have the shortest lifespan. It only takes them one summer to grow and reproduce. Biennials will use the entire summer to grow, last over the winter and then use the next season to flower. Lastly, there are perennials which can last for many years. They will flower and produce seeds once a year when they are in season.
Speaking of seeds, it is important to know that you should not consume all of the plants you grow. In order to keep this process going, you will need to collect seeds from your best plants and use them for the next growing season.
Carrots are a good choice for indoor gardening because they provide you with a lot of nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, niacin etc.
You will need to use a pot at least a foot and a half in length and width. The soil you use should be rich in humus for better results.
The seeds are placed an inch apart in rows six inches apart. Add a thin layer of soil on top and remember to water them frequently to keep the soil moist. It takes about two weeks for the seeds to germinate.
The carrots can be harvested once they reach about an inch or slightly less across the top.
If you want to collect the seeds, this will be a two-year process since carrots are biennials. At the end of the second season, the seeds should be mature. You can tell this if they are brown and have detached from the umbels. You will have to cut the seed stalks yourself. The seeds will not fall to the ground as they have little hooks to keep them attached to the plant.
Tomatoes are good for you because they contain vitamins and a powerful antioxidant called lycopene.
If you are using smaller pots, you will need to limit one plant per pot. Standard potting mix will work great for tomatoes.
Plant the seeds about a quarter inch deep. Give them plenty of sun and water, but don’t keep the soil too soggy. Occasionally, you should rotate the pot so that all of the plant is getting sun.
The seeds should germinate in 5 to 10 days. After a few weeks, you can add an organic fertilizer to encourage growth.
The indoor tomatoes will not grow as large as outdoor ones, but they are still as juicy. They are ready to harvest when they are firm and red, but have a bit of give when you squeeze them.
Those you want for seeds you should let ripen a bit more. The seeds can then be removed, but dry them before storing.
Oranges are some of the best fruits around due to their high antioxidant and vitamin C content.
In order to grow them inside, you will need to use dwarf orange trees. Even so, they will still need a lot of space combined with rich soil and plenty of sun. Try to use a large pot for these.
The roots can grow really long and can even begin to grow back on themselves. If this happens, the orange tree will need to be repotted in a larger pot.
As soon as the fruit turns orange in color, it is ready for harvesting. Leave the ones for seeds a bit longer, then collect the seeds, dry them and store them.
Scallions are a good choice for indoor gardening because they are very easy to plant.
You don’t even need seeds. You can take a bunch of scallions wrapped together and place it in a glass with an inch of water.
Change the water daily and it will not be long until new green shoots appear. When this happens, place the scallions in a small pot.
When harvesting, be sure to leave an inch or two of the scallions in the dirt.
Depending on what other foods you may want to grow outdoors, there is a way to trick some plants into thinking they are living in a more southern growing zone, and you don’t need a huge amount of space to grow the necessary amount of food. You can grow over 50 types of plants in just 4 square feet of space.