War. Famine. Food and water shortages. Supply breakdowns. The list goes on and on as the mainstream news and social media serve the masses a steady diet of fear and impending doom. However, every dark cloud has a silver lining or two as well. After the Covid lockdowns, there seem to be at least two good things that came out of those crazy times.
First, most sane, and situationally aware people began to realize how fragile the just-in-time food delivery system was. Second, people took matters into their own hands and started planning/planting their own victory gardens. Many new and seasoned homesteaders, preppers, and survivalists alike saw the writing on the wall during these dark days and they either began growing their own crops or beefed up their current garden.
One of the most satisfying feelings in prepping is picking your own freshly grown fruits and vegetables. To get to that point, we all had to go through the education process. Everything from questioning whether you would plant in containers and raised beds to using grow bags for some crops and planting directly in the ground for others was part of the learning curve. There were other issues to consider as well such as how many rain barrels would be needed if the grid went down and how to maximize that collected rainwater through a drip irrigation system. You may have even calculated, or at least considered, how high you wanted the chicken wire fence to go to keep the four-legged creatures out.
- Start building your army! Arbico-organics sells a myriad of beneficial insects and pest control supplies that can meet most budgets.
- Figure out your Alternate and Contingency plan (P.A.C.E. plan in essence). If the grid is down and you must plant crops but cannot purchase any beneficial insects or pest control, you are going to have to do things the old-fashioned way and entice beneficial insects into your garden by building “bug hotels”. You can also try to map out the best plants that will invite these predacious warriors to assist you even if it is a WROL out there. (Ex. Fern–leaf yarrow attracts lacewings, hoverflies, and ladybugs.)
- Deepen your attack strategy with natural controls such as nematodes, diatomaceous earth, sprays, and cover hoops.
- Figure out a way to “relocate” wasps and hornets without killing them. A garden hose will aggravate them if they are setting up shop under your porch roof, but they will get the hint and move on to somewhere else. You don’t want to kill them! As painful as they can be, they are also one of the best exterminators you can have on your property.
- Try not to kill any spiders. (Did I just write that???) If you see spiders in your garden, it means there is food for them to eat. Garden spiders (yellow and black) are the best in a garden and one egg sac can have as many as 1,000 baby spiderlings ready to hatch in the spring.
- Try to avoid harmful chemicals and sprays as they can kill off beneficial insects as well.
- For the sake of your sanity, factor in a percentage of crops lost due to insect damage. For example, if you plan on planting “X” amount of corn, have a mental number in your head or on the spreadsheet above as to what you could potentially lose due to the corn earworm. (You will lose probably a lot of the tips, but the corn is still good and edible, but it will be a compounded loss nonetheless.)
In all seriousness, Garden OPSEC is a Tertiary Prepper Skill you will want to incorporate into your prepper plan immediately. With the current food supply shortages and fall quickly approaching, having a solid game plan before spring is crucial as most of us can still purchase products without a tremendous number of issues. That can all easily and rapidly change by late fall and/or winter so try to get ahead of the curve now if you can.
Stay strong, keep learning new tertiary prepper skills, and have fun building your bug army!