Now picture this. You could plant a survival garden that you…
- Plant once in your life-time
- Takes very little space
- Grows 5 times more food per square foot
- Provides food for the next 30 years
- Never have to weed
- Never have to use fertilizers
- And never have to use pesticide– ever.
- And it’s all disguised to look like overgrown underbrush!
Rick Austin has been doing it for years and has been teaching others to garden that way. In fact, he’s written Secret Garden of Survival–How to grow a camouflaged food-forest to show you and me how to do it, too.
Who is Rick Austin?
To quote from Rick’s info, he “is a long time survival expert, and has been using sustainable living and home building practices for 30 years. He is a permaculture gardening, solar, and off-grid living expert and has been a guest speaker to architectural, agricultural, sustainable building, and survival preparedness conferences. His presentations contain real life examples, photos, and anecdotes.”
I can tell you from our interview that he’s the real deal. He’s been prepping long before prepping became fashionable.
What’s in his book?
- What Do I Know About This?
- Starting with a Clean Slate- barren or existing ground; southern exposure, slope
- Grey Water Systems- as simple as laundry, complex as man made wetland
- Swales, Irrigation, Micro-Climates- exposed rocks collect and give off heat
- Permaculture Guilds- different types, how to plant them, what to plant
- Rain Water Collection- everybody has a roof.
- Vegetable and Herb Garden- key hole garden
- Infrastructure for the Garden- how to create berms, retention ponds,
- Preparing the Ground- micro-organisms, mulch, nitrogen fixers
- Planting Your Food Forest- proper way to plant, tools,
- Observing and Improving- wet, dry, hot, cold, windy,
Natural Pest Control- deer, raccoons, rodents; fire ants, trap plants (mustard)
- Growing Through The Season- what to do beginning, middle, end of season
Bonus–What To Do After The Harvest- preserving- canning, dehydrating
What about Rick’s survival garden
Keep pests away. For example, planting onions around fruit trees keeps mice away in winter. Catnip near tomatoes keeps tomato hornworms away. Attract beneficial insects by growing plants that will attract them.
Plants are grown in concentric circles around fruit and nut trees to achieve the food forest, camouflaged look. Space is saved when you grow vines up the trees. And plants are interplanted. This is both stealth gardening and intensive gardening.
Each tree with its surrounding plants is called a guild. Trees are planted 40 feet apart, but plants growing out around each tree will take up enough space so the guilds touch one another.
Rick has about 20 fruit and nut trees. He grows as many fruits as he can for his region in North Carolina, including numerous kinds of berries. He grows grapes, too.
From their first year of gardening this way, Rick and his wife grew more fruits and vegetables than they could consume. This was all done without fertilizers or pesticides. Even Rick is amazed by how well it all works.
It takes careful planning to make this system work. You must consider the space you have and select carefully for the varieties of plants that do well in your area. Rick says the best way to get started is to get his book and follow the step by step directions. Pictures demonstrate more than many words could explain adequately. It’s his goal to make it simple to understand.
This is truly low maintenance gardening. In fact, Rick doesn’t even worry about weeds. He says the most work comes at harvest time. Fortunately, crops are harvested at different times.
But the key is to work with nature, rather than against it.
How can you find out more?
No matter where you get the book, you may want to get the paperback version so you can take notes to refer to later. And you’ll have a hard copy for the future when we find ourselves in the proverbial off grid situation.
What do you think? Does Rick Austin’s secret garden of survival sound too good to be true? Or is it the way survival gardening was meant to be? Is this something you’ll try? Would you grow this way at a bug out location? I’d love to know your thoughts in a comment below.