Thursday, March 12, 2020

Plants for the Pandemic -- Vegetable Gardening Under Quarantine | Coronavirus special

It is now the middle of March and we are at least a month into Coronavirus panic. As the grocery store shelves clear of toilet paper and canned food, you might want to consider stopping by the nursery.

Now, if you don't live in an area with temperate climate and are still waiting for the last crop, you may have not had the opportunity to sow some seeds. But around this time nurseries and hardware stores are stocking up on plant starts.
Given that I have seen no evidence that this virus attacks vegetable crops, if I were to be placed under quarantine tomorrow, these are the plants I would seek out and buy from the store to have in my garden for the next few months. And this isn't a list of what vegetables that I consider to help fight off the virus by strengthening your immune system, but which plants will grow quickly and thrive so you can have a continuous supply of fresh produce if you happened to get stuck at home. A few dollars on plants today could prove to be priceless tomorrow.
Let's start with some herbs: Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano
All of these herbs are extremely hard to kill off and continuously regrow after being harvested. That's something you want to see with your plants during a time of crisis. Plus you can propagate any extra stems for additional plants as needed.
I would for sure want some developing or developed Kale plants to survive a pandemic. Kale is very easy to grow, tough to kill, and very nutritious. I would grab some plant starts for now and some seeds for sowing, which I'll go over later

This is an interesting one to list here, and I the reason though is obvious. You've likely seen many of those "regrow celery from the stalk" images online, and that is exactly why I chose it. If you don't make it to the nursery, you could grab these out of the produce aisle from the grocery store.
What you want to look for when shopping for these are the flats with all the tightly spaced onions. You can either separate the onions out when transplanting, or using the shoots in your meals. I'd recommend allowing them to all grow pencil thick before harvesting. Aside from regrowing from the base, if you uproot the plant, you can regrow the onion like how you regrow celery.
It will take at least a month to see some fruit, but you'll want fresh tomatoes after eating so much canned chili and beans.
Cucumbers and Peppers: Aside from producing all season long, both of these crops can be pickled if you start over producing. Helps free up some storage space in your fridge.
And if you were to grab some seeds from the store at the same time:

No explanation needed.
Extremely easy to germinate, grows fast, continuously regrows, and very strong flavor. Also extremely easy to harvest seeds from to regrow later.
Extremely quick growing crop that takes up little space.
These two plants are possibly the hardest of the listed crops to kill through neglect. Swiss Chard is packed with nutrients and regrows quickly. Beets are dual purpose, where you can use the leaves for most of the season and the root at the end.
Kale as a seed you'd use in conjunction with the store bought kale plants to succession plant throughout the year.

These start from seed a lot quicker than the tomatoes/peppers/cucumbers above and tend to yield a lot later in the season. And when they do yield, you'll have more zucchini than you'd know what to do with.
Bush Beans:
Produce a lot of beans in a small space. You'll want some fresh beans after weeks of canned chili and beans.
Now I hate growing carrots, but if you're not able to go to the store, this is a crop you must have in your garden. With the right soil conditions you can grow a ton of carrots in a small space. Plus they are tasty and nutritious!

I list turnips on this list because Urban Gardner Curtis Stone lists them as a crop you'd want for the zombie apocalypse because of how easy they are to grow and how resilient they are. If it works for the zombie apocalypse, it'd work for a pandemic.

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