Preppers: Three Good Hot Weather Crops
Kevin Felts 06.19.18
While stockpiling seeds for a SHTF survival garden, how many preppers/survivalists divide their seeds into seasons? Typically, most people think along the lines of spring, fall, and maybe winter. Depending upon location some regions may have such a harsh winter nothing can grow.
However, the southern portion of the United States with our mild winters can grow a variety of crops mostly year round. The exception being during the most most harsh of winter months, such as late December and into January.
Just as winter is sometimes overlooked, so is the sweltering heat of summer. A lot of people are under the impression most crops planted in the spring will die once the summer inferno sets in. For the most part, that is true. However, there are some crops that do well in summer.
Believe it or not, some crops love the summer heat. Except for water, they seem unphased by the Hades inferno of July and August.
Okra is native to Africa and is speculated to have been brought to the Americas sometime during the slave trade. Okra is so well adapted to hot weather, seeds will not germinate until the soil temperature reaches around 70 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees depending on source.
Okra grows best with a balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13. Using a high nitrogen fertilizer, such as 16-6-12 or 21-0-0, may cause the plants to grow tall, yet will not produce okra pods.
Expect the plants to take around 60 days until they start producing under normal conditions. When the stalks start producing okra pods, the plants typically produce until late in the year, or around the first frost.
I have always heard the more okra is picked, the more it will produce. Once the pods are left on the plant, production will decrease. Typically, I stop picking the okra at least a month before the first frost. This gives the pods time to mature and develop seeds. At the end of the year, the seed pods are placed in a shed to dry, then stored in a cool dry location.
When everything has gone right, someone should be able to shake the mature dried okra pods and hear the seeds rattle inside.
Okra is an ideal crop for canning or pickling. It also goes well in a number of recipes.
Examples of hot peppers include jalapeno, cow horn chili pepper. There have been winters here in Southeast Texas were my jalapeno peppers were not killed by frost. As a result, they kept producing all the way through the next year.
To keep peppers producing they may need a side dressing of a balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13. Side dressed means the fertilizer is placed on the ground next to the plant, then washed into the soil with water.
Typically, I side dress right before a good rain, or use a water hose to wash the fertilizer into the soil.
Peppers are excellent for canning, drying and making ground pepper flakes, or used in a number of recipes.
Look for heirloom peppers, make sure they are not planted next to other types of peppers, and the seeds should be able to be saved.
Several years ago I planted yellow squash and zucchini next to each other. Each row was about 100 feet long, got the same amount of fertilizer, and the same amount of rainfall. Neither row used artificial irrigation. The only water the plans received was rainfall.
The end results was, the squash died in the middle of summer, but the zucchini kept producing. Typically, my yellow squash plants do well in summer, but zucchini does better.
Not only does zucchini seem to do better in the summer than yellow squash, zucchini will typically out produce yellow squash. If yellow squash is left on the plant for too long it will turn hard and start growing seeds. Zucchini needs to be left on the plant much longer before it will turn hard. I have picked zucchini that was 18 inches long and still edible.
The only real drawback to squash, it does not do well when canned. From what I understand it is not recommended any type of squash be canned.