Water melon Radish

Quick things to grow in a crisis

Whilst people have gone mental hoarding toilet paper (which I am so confused about by the way) I am focusing on the easy wins for the veggie patch, and hoarding seeds instead (not that has anything to do with a pandemic, long time seed hoarder right here).

I thought I’d do a quick round up on things you can get growing in case the shops run out.

Sprouts

3 days and you have mini greens. You can easily do this with just a jar and an old stocking, soak the seeds and drain. Do this twice a day and you’re set. Popular choice is alfalfa, but my favourite is a mix of radish and kale, but you can also sprout onions, snow peas all sorts of things!

Microgreens

Get your greens in a couple of days by sprouting. Micro greens are just basically your greens that you densely plant and harvest quickly. It could be lettuce, wheat, mesclun mix, herbs, radish. Just sprinkle your seeds onto a seed tray with moist potting mix and cover lightly with additional mix. Once they get 4 leaves (around 7-10 days depending on your chosen green), harvest and start again.

Asian greens

Fast to germinate and fast to grow, you can be harvesting these in as little as 4 weeks. I personally love Pak choi, just keep your succession up and you’ll have plenty of food.

Rocket

I planted these a couple of weeks ago and they took 1 day to germinate. 2 weeks on and I can now harvest to add to salads. Rocket also makes a mean pesto.

Swiss chard / Kale / Non head forming lettuces

Now these can take a while to get going, but I’ve added this here because the are great staples to have in the garden and you can pick what you need. So no need to worry about ongoing succession planting.

Radish

In ideal conditions, radish can be planted via seed and harvested in as little as 4 weeks. And you may be thinking, blurgh, radish, but it is pretty versatile with a bit of creativity. You can eat it fresh in a salad or cook it up- add it to a curry or sauté it. We ferment ours and they are amazing!

Beans / Peas

A little longer than the other suggestions (around 8 weeks to harvest) but a good one to get in the ground and have a harvest relatively quickly in comparison to some crops. Plus there are only so many greens you can eat.

Cherry tomatoes

Another one that isn’t instant but it’s a good one to get in the ground and let it do it’s thing. Get seedlings if you can to speed things along, and you should be harvesting in 8 weeks.

Up your perennial game

If you haven’t already get your perennial garden up and running, you’ll thank yourself later.

What have you already got growing?

As a kid I remember being flooded in for a couple of weeks (it was probably only 1 but felt like forever), we’d get occasional deliveries of milk and bread boated across the flood waters but you know what we mostly survived off? Pumpkins. It was the one thing in abundance in the veggie patch. We had pumpkin scones, soup, pie… surprisingly I didn’t get sick of pumpkin. BUT did you know you can actually eat pumpkin leaves. And sweet potato leaves. So whilst you wait for things to be ready, have a look at what you have growing and see if you can eat parts of the plant you wouldn’t normally eat.

Get to know your weeds

Until a couple of weeks ago I didn’t know that you could actually eat sticky beaks (or cobblers pegs or farmers friends or whatever you want to call those annoying little black sticky burrs). Head to the library and find a book on local weeds and get to know what is around you. We have dandelion and loads of purslane hanging around so we’re set.

Crop swap

You may have an orange tree that is pumping out loads of fruit, but you really want some sweet potatoes. Join a crop swap group and see what you can swap with other members of the community. Or pop your head over the fence and ask your neighbour, they may have some spare loo rolls to swap for some greens.

I hope this helps in your preparedness for system collapse, and if you run out of loo paper, I’ve got plenty of sweet potato leaves if you need some.

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