Are You a Paranoid Survival Gardener?

From time to time someone criticizes as another one of those sites aimed at making money from people’s paranoia. So I want to address that and put it in the context of gardening.

The terms “paranoia” and “paranoid” have been misused and abused, and no doubt that will continue to be the case as our language deteriorates. What do the terms really mean?

One definition of paranoia states, “Paranoia is a thought process heavily influenced by excessive anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion.” Someone who is paranoid suffers from paranoia. The terms literally refer to psychotic behavior or a mental condition.

What does this have to do with gardening? Let’s see. Do you feel intensely anxious when you garden? Do you feel persecuted? Do you feel like you’re being spied on? Do you keep looking over your shoulder, ready to plunge your three pronged gardening claw into a would-be assassin’s throat? If so, have you thought about moving to a safer neighborhood?

Seriously, if you’re like me—and most other gardeners, for that matter—you garden for a number of reasons. For example, you likely find gardening to be relaxing and therapeutic. It’s work, but what a thrill you get when harvesting buckets of tomatoes that started out as a packet of seeds. The miracles of God’s nature are mind boggling. And they taste mighty good, too.

Sometimes I take a radio or an audio book to listen to while gardening. It has to be something that doesn’t require much concentration or attention. However, more often these days I don’t want any distractions.

Digging in soil, planting seeds, harvesting green beans, or watering plants gives me time to think. Plus, it’s good exercise. And we need more of both in today’s ridiculously hectic life.

Volumes have been written about the benefits and wonders of gardening, and I don’t intend to reinvent the wheel here.

So what’s the connection to survival and preparedness? You can probably answer that as well as I can. Like many things we do to prepare for uncertainties, gardening is proactive. You’re growing food of your own, and you know where it comes from. These days that’s important.

Scientists and the media should each debate about the quality of our food. Mostly they don’t, leaving us to wonder. Then when someone asks questions, they’re called paranoid and reactionary.

Not only have we had e. coli outbreaks and other scares in the past few years, but who knows anything about the impact of food grown with genetically modified organisms (GMO’s)? Have you seen labels indicating a food’s GMO content? Not likely.

How many strange illnesses are caused by GMO corn in your corn chips or the corn syrup used in the can of soda you drank for lunch? How much do you think your doctor knows about such things?

Is asking questions paranoid? Shouldn’t we trust the “food authorities?”

Let me put it in these terms. The next time you’re out hiking or camping and get thirsty, will you drink water from that babbling stream or the water bottle you brought along? Naturally, you’ll trust the water you brought because you know and trust its source.

So it is with food you grow yourself.

There’s also been talk of food shortages in recent years. How serious is this threat? Can we know the truth about this? You may not be able to grow all of your produce, but anything you do helps.

Maybe you garden in hopes of saving money. Unfortunately, gardening can become rather expensive, defeating your purpose. Of course, you have to invest in useful equipment. Don’t buy cheap tools. You’ll be glad for solidly made tools in the long run.

But I generally encourage a simple, organic, minimalist approach to gardening. Thus my recommendations for such things as rock powder and molasses to build your soil.

As for why I refer to gardening as survival gardening, you already know growing your own food is an important part of preparing to survive. Survival gardening means you garden strategically. For example square foot gardening lets you grow intensively in smaller spaces. Or you might plant potatoes instead of petunias.

Whatever your reasons for gardening, I wish you all possible success. And if you meet someone who may lean a little toward paranoia, tell him to plant a garden. There are few things as rewarding as gardening, especially when you can escape the world’s insanity while preparing for it at the same time.

Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.