Gardening is not the same in every state. If you’ve ever planted food in your garden and had it fail, you may have made the mistake of planting foods that are outside your region. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a map which can help show preppers which foods will grow the best in their region and when those foods should be planted. The map is interactive, if you click on each state you will see much more information. (http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/)
Whether you buy seeds or plants, foods are labeled by their hardiness. Those labels are referring to the specific areas of a state where the plant will thrive. There are 13 regions divided by temperature into zones 1 through 13.
Southern states are divided by whether the area is coastal and tropical as well as whether they fall under the upper, lower or middle South zone. A state can be all of one particular region or a mixture of two or three. For example, Florida’s region is completely coastal and tropical while South Carolina is a blend of coastal and tropical as well as lower and middle South.
Some states are located in the Southwestern Deserts region. California is divided into zones by whether it’s northern or southern California and is divided b coastal regions and inland valley too.
The Pacific Northwest is a region and the Western Mountains and High Plains is another. The remaining regions are the Northern Central Midwest, the Middle Atlantic and the New England Region.
To locate your region, look on the USDA map for your state and it will tell you what zone you’re in. The map will also tell you when to plant your garden. When planting a survival garden, you want to plant to what will grow well in your region.
Grain and corn can grow well in almost all the regions, as will beans and peas. You can grow staples such as oats and barley as well as tomatoes. Potatoes and carrots grow easily in most regions.
Cabbage, lettuce and squash make great foods for gardening as well. Broccoli and herbs should be in a survival garden and you don’t want to forget to grow fruits for making jams and jellies as well as for use in pies and other desserts. Fruits from the berry family (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) are easily grown. Don’t forget to plant a section for herbs.
Almost everything that you grow in a garden, both fruits and vegetables, can be canned and safely stored as long as you make sure the food boils for at least 10 minutes. Foods that you can from your garden can keep for years, they’re healthier for you and will hold their fresh taste.
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