Getting the most produce out of our garden space has always been a challenge for us. It’s been fun learning how to grow our own food and I’m thankful that we haven’t had to rely totally upon what we’ve been able to grow ourselves but the thought of that very scenario has always been at the back of my mind.


Some vegetables give very little yield compared to the space they occupy and the amount of work required to grow them…… at least for us anyway. Few things are more disappointing than taking care of a patch of corn all summer long only to have the ears come in small or insects damage them. Even in the best years, some vegetables are just plain inefficient to grow. In a situation where our health would be heavily dependent on what we could produce, slow-growing and resource-hungry veggies would be my last choice.

I’ve come up with a list of common vegetables that can begin providing nutrition in as little as two-weeks. These would be an ideal supplement to anyone’s emergency or survival food plan. Carrots, turnips, radishes, rutabaga and beets are five plants that not only have roots high in nutrition but their leaves also contain as many or nearly as many nutrients.

  • They can be grown indoors and are hardy enough to grow outdoors around here in very cool weather.
  • Their seeds can be sown heavily. After they sprout they can be thinned and the young plants can be eaten.
  • They can be planted between rows of other plants or anywhere else there is a little bit of space in the garden or yard.
  • Their leaves don’t grow as tall as other plants so they won’t block the sunlight to the slower growing vegetables nearby.
  • They can be planted in intervals to provide a continual source of food.
  • They can be stored long term or canned. Turnips and Rutabagas can even be left in the ground over-winter.


We always keep as many seeds for these varieties on hand as possible. This is so we can expand our planting if necessary. Also, some of these plants require 2 growing seasons to produce their seeds so by having plenty of seed around we won’t need to wait for replanting. Seeds are cheap at the end of summer and I will just buy up the store’s display when they are on sale. For a few bucks it’s better to be safe than sorry.

All of these plants do well in a container. To increase our gardening space, we utilize the barrel method that we described in our previous articles. The barrels keep the moles, rabbits and most of the bugs away but we still need to provide some protection against deer.

This year, we’re going to skip some more of the inefficient stuff and put in more root vegetables, squash and drying beans. So far, these have proven to be the best yield for our efforts.

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