(Natural News) Setting up your own food garden is the best way to prepare for when SHTF. But planting just any crop won’t do. You need to be selective about which vegetable, fruit, or herb goes to your garden. Beets need to be one of your top picks for a number of good reasons.
In choosing which vegetables you need to plant, you have to think of more than just calories. Here are the reasons why beets are great for your vegetable garden:
Beets are very easy to grow
In SHTF situations, you may not have a lot of time to fuss over your garden, so you need a crop that’s easy to plant and is low-maintenance. Beets grow very fast – the bulbs mature within 50 to 70 days for most varieties, but you can pick them anytime. You can wait longer if you want larger bulbs, but not too long as they may become too tough and woody. Their large leaves also mean weeds do not receive enough light to fully develop, so they don’t require as much weeding as many other crops.
All parts of beets are edible
Food may be scarce when SHTF, so you’d want a vegetable that you can maximize for consumption. All the parts of beet are completely edible as long as you know how to prepare them:
- Roots – Beetroots take some time to cook because of their density. If you want to keep their red color, make sure to leave about two inches of the stem when you separate the root from the leaves during harvest. If you are cooking beets that are larger than 2 inches, you can cut them into quarters to speed up the cooking process.
- Leaves – Do not throw away the leaves because you can totally eat them. Young beet leaves are tender enough to be added to salads. The more mature ones can be cooked and eaten after they have been thoroughly cleaned.
- Stems – To see how tough the stem is, try breaking it into two. If it breaks off cleanly, you can readily eat it, whether cooked or as part of a salad. If it is too fibrous to break off, you will need to chop the stem into pieces and then cook it.
- Skin – Beet skin is edible, but you’ll need to completely scrub off dirt and its fibrous threads before you can eat it. This is especially the case if you are eating beets raw, such as in a salad.
Beets can be stored long-term
Because food may not be available all the time, you will need vegetables that will keep for a long time when stored. Beets can be canned, but you can also preserve them in damp sand. Potatoes can be preserved this way and they keep for about four to five months. Beets keep for two to four months, according to some sources.
Beets are healthy
You’d need all the calories you can get to survive, but you also need to be mindful of which nutrients you put into your body. Although corn and potatoes are just as easy to grow and provide more calories per pound (about 350 compared to beets’ 180), beets are not very high in sugars and fats but contain plenty of protein, sodium, potassium, calcium, and fiber. Their health benefits include:
- Increasing stamina
- Fighting inflammation
- Lowering blood pressure
- Boosting immunity
- Reducing the risk of cancer
Beets thrive well even in soil that is not rich in nitrogen, but it does need phosphorus to survive. Checking your soil’s mineral content will tell you whether you need amendments for your survival garden or not.
Learn the best tips about growing your own vegetable garden at HomeGardeningNews.com.