It’s not easy to sit back and write about preparing for local or national or even global events. Depending on a person’s location what I write about may not pertain to them in a personal way.  I live subtropical and I am blessed with almost a year round growing season, I have the beginnings of a food forest going on with permaculture overtones, I am growing the steady annuals with some perennials and trying out some old timey native plants that haven’t been seen round these parts for many a moon.

But that doesn’t mean much to somebody in the midwest, does it?

It should.

It should in the sense that it’s important to know your region and plants that are native to your specific area’s growing conditions. These are plants that for the most part have survived and thrived in your area. Even if you are a suburban backyard gardener,  understanding the historical data of what is best suited locally can add another layer of potential security in personal food production. In a grid down scenario or even a ‘wow grocery prices are insane’ scenario this can mean the difference between an empty belly and a not-so empty belly.

Aren’t Native and Heirloom the same?

I will flat out tell you I’m no Botanist. I’m no Master Gardener. I am a multigenerational farmer/gardener who has a lot of soil experience and I read and constantly learn. I have made many mistakes and had many successes, What I say here is simply the opinion of someone who knows ‘just enough to be dangerous’.

Heirlooms are open pollinated seeds of older varieties often handed down through generations. Yes, that is a generalization. Native plants occur naturally in a region and have adapted naturally to that area to survive and still produce in most cases. Yes some native species can be heirlooms.
For instance I grow a native variety of Persimmon that has grown wild in in this area of Florida. I know that it will produce in a variety of Florida weather situations, as will fox grapes, figs and the prickly pear I have in my front yard.

But *This plant* was introduced 500 years ago is it Native?

Now this whole conversation can get pretty deep into ‘what is considered native?’ Are Everglades tomatoes that were brought over hundreds of years ago by the Spaniards considered native? Or an adaptive heirloom?  Good question. I’m not sure.  There are some opinions out there on this. The way I see it, if it has withstood the test of time and it just won’t seem to be terribly phased by weather changes and still has some wild varities thriving it might be worth growing.

Now this is not to say that you shouldn’t keep right on growing your heirloom tomatoes and hybrid varieties that are bred for resistance, I am saying that it is prudent to cover all your bases. Just grow stuff!  In ground, in a container, heck try some hydroponic lettuce. Grow hybrid, heirloom, and native. Think of your gardening in layers of protection just as you would the protection of your homestead or the food preps you keep on hand.

The point is to just get out and do it!

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Saunya Rogers

Saunya Rogers

Saunya Rogers is proud to be one of far too few remaining Florida Crackers. She grew up on a Farm and Ranch-that has been in her family for generations-deep in the woods of Central Florida. She spent many a day playing in the swamp "dodging the gators and snakes". She is a descendant of Pioneers who helped settle and 'tame' not only Florida prior to statehood but most of the South as well.

For more about Saunya, read her full bio by clicking her name in the Team section above.

Saunya Rogers

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