I first heard of The Secret Garden of Survival on National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Castle – don’t laugh, but I love that show. When I researched the book, I found that Amazon had it listed as the #1 selling book in the Garden Design Category. That did it. Had to have it.
The book is self-published by the author, Rick Austin, and he’s proud of it. With 132 pages for $30 I thought it was a too expensive so I opted for the Kindle edition, and download it for $10. Having said that, I recommend to you that you purchase the book. If IHTF you’re gonna want it in print, and – really, it’s worth it. The information is clear and concise. It’s easy to read, in plain English. It’s very detailed with complete, step-by-step directions.
As with most self-published books, be prepared for a few typos and grammatical errors. But if you can look beyond that, the author is a prepper and he writes in earnest, from the heart. He quickly earned my respect with the many photos. Obviously he’s practicing what he’s preaching. Obviously it’s working for him. From looking at the topography and his writing about “red clay soil” I’m thinking he’s growing some place in the Southeast – which is perfect for me because he mentions a few specific species that I can grow. Most of the photos show a lush and productive 2-year old food forest complete with berming as a water catchment system.
This book will be of interest to preppers because the food forest doesn’t look like a traditional row or raised bed garden. It looks like a dense, overgrown forest. It’s not a “pretty” garden, but if you have some land to grow a small forest, your food will be camouflaged.
The system relies on companion planting, in concentric circles, and in three dimension. Instead of planting rows, you use circles. At the center of the circle is a large central tree – perhaps fruit of nut. Around the tree, you’ll plant vines – perhaps grapes. The next circle is shrubs – berry bushes of all sorts. Around that you’ll plant medicinal or cooking herbs and flowers and the final circle are ground covers, maybe strawberries. Then move over 20 feet and plant another circle. It’s a very simple, natural, Garden-of-Eden type permaculture design.
Another thing that preppers will like is that you plant it once. Of course, you’ll want to add annual veggies but most of the core plants are perennial. And, the author promises minimum labor: no weeding, no pesticides, no fertilizing, no watering. If IHTF you’re gonna be busy with other things. Even if you don’t live at your bug out location, it will be nice to know that your food is growing now and is secure, without you tending to it. And, the starving hoards will walk right by without ever realizing your secret.
For more timeless survival wisdom and ideas, check out these survival guides and PDF downloads.