For that reason, I grow the "expensive" and "hard to get in good quality" stuff in my garden. I grow blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries, strawberries, swiss chard, spinach, cucumbers, asparagus, heirloom tomatoes, and various squash/melons/unique greens.
All of these things can be found at the grocery store. But.... the varieties are not there. The completely organic (no pesticides or chemicals at all!) are not there. The organic versions at my stores are usually super expensive and often wilted/molded/old. Most greens are slimy or turning brown. I have yet to find a really good store cucumber without wrinkly soft edges or spinach that doesn't contain slime. And don't get me started on sour berries or bland tomatoes!
But I digress....
Buying what is unacceptable or cost prohibitive makes sense, but if you are at all concerned about being able to provide for your family in a more self-sustaining way then you may need to rethink things a little.
If grocery stores become unavailable to you and you were responsible for finding/growing/bartering/hunting for 100% of what your family ate, what would you grow?
An honest look at that scenario should immediately frighten you. Unless you own acreage, fruit/nut trees, a fish-filled lake, and/or care for livestock (or at least chickens) then it is not possible to be self sufficient. What about sufficient until the grid comes back? Or sufficient enough that you can trade with others that might have the things you lack? These are all things to think about.
In a starvation situation, you need calories, protein, fats and vitamins. Assume very little meat will scurry your way. That's just reality.
I am going to put a few things into categories that might make you rethink your gardening habits. Sure lettuce and tomatoes are great (great sources of roughage/fiber and vitamins) but you will need to find adequate sources of fat, calories, and protein. You should start figuring out how you would grow these things now and have a plan in case you need to start growing them on a larger scale.
***Just an FYI***There are very little calories or fats in the wild plant world. Tubers and Roots are your best bet - things like burdock roots, cat tails, ground nuts, acorns/walnuts
**Also note** My bias is toward a cold/northern climate so there may well be other plants you can grow in your area that supply various essential nutrients. They are not excluded because they aren't important or good, I just can't grow them so they don't immediately come to mind.
Walnuts/Acorns/Pecans/Beechnuts/Hazelnuts - If you have oaks or walnuts growing nearby, do not chop them down - keep them and learn how to process their nuts to store them for winter and make them edible
Sunflower seeds - Remember to plant at least 2 for pollination (or your seed will be empty!) and store some for replanting the next year
Flax seeds - Good source of omega 3 fatty acids
Purslane - contains omega 3 fatty acids
Mache - contains some omega 3 fatty acids
Coconuts/olives/avocados - if you happen to live in an area that can support them. ;)
Chia seeds (warm climates only)
Beans and Fava Beans
Maple Syrup (not super filtered)
Corn: popcorn, sweetcorn, field corn
Sumac (only the tops)
Strawberries, Raspberries, blueberries
Orange, lemons, limes (if you can grow them)
Food that can store over winter without any electricity or preparation
Cabbage as sauerkraut
Cucumbers as pickles
Sun dried tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, berries, grapes
Sun dried fruit or vegetable puree leathers
There is so much more that can be added and other nutrients that are important. Also, consider variety for morale and interest. You will want a variety of perennial and annual plants to diversify your food security.
Most Americans tend to grow "salad gardens," if they garden at all, and none of those vegetables would provide much in the way of key survival essentials (aside from vitamins/minerals and a few calories.) Grow some of both for a balanced diet and better food security.
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