Root Vegetables – The most important items in your garden

For most families with limited land, root vegetables will be your most important components of your garden.   If you had 40+ acres of land, you could have an expansive farm with cows, chickens, grains, and a diverse garden.  For people with 2 acres or less, you will want to put priority on growing root vegetables.   Around the world, root vegetable are essential sources of calories and part of the daily diet of many cultures.  The reasons why root vegetables are so important:

  1. Root vegetables are calorie dense
  2. Root vegetables are relative easy to grow
  3. Root vegetables are easy to store over the winter in home canning or a root cellar
  4. Root vegetables grow well in cooler, northern climates where there is a short growing seasons
  5. Root vegetables are not highly visible from a distance (you can see corn growing a mile away)
  6. Gains, such as wheat and corn, suck all the nutrients from the soil, and must be rotated annually to different fields or require chemical fertilizers
  7. Grains require specialized tools or tractors to harvest
  8. Vine vegetables, such as cucumbers and green beans, have relatively few calories
  9. Many root vegetables can be grown from bags or plastic buckets

The following are some discussion points about root vegetables:

Potatoes

The most important of all root vegetables to cultivate is the potato.  Potatoes are very nutritious and carry a lot of dense calories.  In just one-quarter acre, you can grow enough potatoes to supply an entire family for a year.   For a hard-working adult doing manual labor, that person will need 3000 to 4000 calories per day.   During an economic collapse, people will revert back to manual labor.  Those that survive will be the people who can adjust to a life of hard labor from sun-up to sunset.   Potatoes will be one of the best ways to supply a lot of calories.   In a previous post, I talked about why potatoes are an important component of your long-term gardening and food storage plan: Potatoes – The Ultimate Survival Prepper’s Food.   Potatoes are perhaps the best cold climate vegetable to grow.   Potatoes are very sensitive to growing temperature.  White potatoes typically do not grow well in warmer climates.  If you live in a warmer region, you will want to grow sweet potatoes instead. One of my favorite side dishes is mashed potatoes.  The following is my own personal recipe for mashed potatoes:

    1. Peel and boil 5 pounds of russet potatoes with two tablespoons of salt in the water
    2. When tender to a fork, remove from water and let thoroughly drain.  Do not rise under cold water!!
    3. Place the drained potatoes in a large bowl (glass bowl is preferrable) and add the following:
      1. One-half cup of heavy cream
      2. One-half cup of sour cream
      3. One-quarter cup of blue cheese salad dressing
      4. Three teaspoons of white pepper
      5. Two teaspoons of black pepper
      6. Two teaspoons of salt
      7. One-eight cup of parley (fresh is preferable, dried is okay)
      8. One-eight cup of chives (fresh is preferable, dried is okay)
    4. Mash and blend all the ingredients thoroughly.  A few lumps are good and proves it is fresh.
    5. Place in a serving container and cover with towel to keep warm until serving time.  Yum!!!

For more information about potatoes, please visit the following links:

Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes.  One of my favorite meals is a thick steak with a baked sweet potato on the side.  And I can get my hands on a sweet potato pie, I’ll eat it as much as my stomach will permit.    Sweet potatoes are a priority for gardeners in warmer climates.    You will want to grow sweet potatoes for the same reasons as white potatoes – dense calories, easy to grow, and high yields in relative small space.  Here are some links about growing sweet potatoes

Other Root Vegetables

The following are some other root vegetables to included in your seed storage plans and gardening practices:

  1. Carrot
  2. Beets
  3. Turnips
  4. Jerusalem artichoke
  5. Yams (which are commonly confused with sweet potatoes)
  6. Cassava (or commonly known as yuca)
  7. Rutabaga
  8. Kohlrabi
  9. Taro
  10. Radishes

Medicinal and favoring root vegetables

There are some root vegetables which have medicinal qualities.  These include:

  1. Garlic and onions – reduces blood pressure
  2. Ginger – helps with stomach upset
  3. Ginseng - improves vitality and energy
  4. Tumeric – reduces inflammation and pain
  5. Fennel – for flavoring

For more information about this topic, please visit the following links:

There will be a time in the not too distant future, where food and water will be scarce.  The key to survival is self-reliance.   Your ability to grow root vegetables will greatly contribute to your food self-reliance.  Root vegetables allows you can grow a lot of calories in a small amount of space.   If just as simple as growing carrots, you just seed, weed, and pull.  Not very hard!

May all your family’s stomachs be full at the end of each day!

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